Thank you for visiting my vendor review. Please remember these are my accounts and opinions upon the vendor interactions I experienced while planning our wedding. I have tried to be as accurate and honest as possible in the hopes it may help future brides in making a well-informed decision.
From the first time we walked into Capriotti’s we knew it was the venue for our special day. We met Melia on a snowy Friday night in December 2007, the hall was beautifully decorated for an upcoming Christmas dinner. We spent a full hour talking with her, looking over menus, touring the venue – including the kitchen as they were preparing for the upcoming meal. They are one of the few venues we visited that gives you package pricing for the entire reception from start to finish. They were also extremely flexible in customizing the packages to truly suit your wants and needs. We booked the Monday following our visit.
Over the next few months Melia and I corresponded mostly via email and also by phone. She was always prompt in returning messages or responding in general to any question/idea I had, and trust me I had a ton! We scheduled our tasting six weeks before the wedding and every entrée in the tasting was exceptional. We were so impressed by the food selections we ended up adding an entrée to our package because it was just SO good. They also were extremely flexible in setting up for the big day, allowing our décor vendor to come in the Thursday before, and us anytime we needed to, so we weren’t pressed for time in those short days before the wedding.
On the day of our wedding reception, we arrived to the bridal suite stocked with anything and everything we could drink, and our own display of the appetizers our guests were enjoying in the main hall. We also had two attendants running for drinks and refills on food for the entire bridal party. Dinner was served family style and all tables were served within minutes – we had just shy of 200 guests. They had a large staff on hand making sure every table had ample refills of any entrées they desired. The service was impeccable; our guests did not wait or want for anything and the food was out of this world! We had so many compliments from our guests during the evening, especially the quality of food and the service the staff provided.
Booking rooms with them was a breeze. I simply called up and told them we needed a block for our wedding and they set aside 25 rooms in different combinations king, double, smoking, non-smoking, ect. I received our group booking form to sign and return a few days later. They gave us a rate of $69 per night and that rate was good until 3 weeks before the wedding. Very nice to deal with over the phone, calling me a few days before the deadline to tell me how many rooms had been booked from our block. They even gave us a jacuzzi suite for the $69 rate!! A member of the bridal party decided to stay over last minute and they honored our rate the day before the wedding, no questions asked. We also had a lot of fun at their lounge after the wedding, they had a really nice crowd of people there for karaoke, fun time!!!!
I came across Chuck B’s website just doing a Google search for DJ’s in our area. The first thing that impressed me was his website itself, with many samples of events and numerous client testimonials. He also was within our budget so I dropped him an email to check if he had our date available. We were in luck! After he received our deposit, he sent us a planning packet, pretty standard information he would need about our song selections and bridal party information. He also asked us for all our vendors’ information in case he could be of assistance during the day of, if any vendors went missing or had issues. We had one planning meeting with him a month before the wedding to finalize all our song selections, and tie up any loose ends we had. We emailed a lot back and forth before the wedding, he even edited a version of our first dance song so it would more timely for us to dance to.
He really did a fantastic job during our reception! He moved through all specialty parts of the evening seamlessly, keeping an eye on our timeline so nothing got skipped or rushed. He stuck to our “no play” and “must play” lists and kept the dance floor packed! He also gave us some extra’s we hadn’t expected. We did not pay for the prop package he offered, but he still brought a few cute little things and put them out for our guests. He also created about a dozen personalized cd favors with all our special songs from the night! A few days after the wedding a package arrived at the house from him which contained a DVD full of photos and video clips he and his staff had captured during the night. It was such a cute little gesture, he really does aim to please!
We chose to rent a party bus for our wedding transportation needs in place of the traditional limo. Ed’s had nice fleet and excellent prices for the day. They are a very straightforward and easy company to work with. After stopping by to get a tour of all the busses in their fleet, we booked the biggest one they had. Not only would this be our bridal party transportation it would be guest transportation to and from the reception. Ed’s provides you with a list of approved drivers for the larger busses, since they need a bus driver’s certification to drive it. The smaller busses can be driven by anyone with a valid driver’s license. Any driver on that list also keeps all their information on file with Ed’s so you do not need to do any extra paperwork for insurance purposes. You simply leave your payment information with Ed’s and the driver takes care of the rest! We were lucky enough to know one of the driver’s on Ed’s list personally, so booking her was a definite!
The best wedding cake I have ever had in my life, bar none! Honestly I would have paid double what she actually charged and still would have been pleased! I was given the recommendation of this vendor by one of our patients at work, it’s her daughter in law. She kept telling me that her DIL Jenny bakes cakes out of her house, with the help of her friend Sue,,,,,,yada yada. One day she brings in a scrapbook of cakes her DIL and friend have done, and my jaw seriously hit the floor. I couldn’t wait to show Mike the photos and call and set up our tasting. Mike and I have a sweet tooth to end all sweet tooths, so to impress our taste buds is not always easy!
She does charge a fee for her tasting which to me is understandable, you are taking their time and their product. When we did our tasting it was $25 that she credited to your final cost if you booked her. We tried at least 8 different cake flavors, 6 icings and 2 fondants (even they were delicious). We opted for a marble cake (no filling) with buttercream icing and fondant accents. We brought a photo along which helped her to sketch out our ideas and the final product was exactly how we envisioned our cake! We did have to pay a delivery charge (which was nominal) because they are about an hour away from our reception venue. Our cake was phenomenal and so beautiful too!! Our cake cutting was before dinner so it could be served to our guests as dessert. When we tasted the cake, it was so much better than what we sampled at the tasting!!! It almost spoiled our dinner, we just wanted more cake! Guests were even asking for seconds!! Well worth the money spent, she will always have my business when it comes to our specialty cake needs.
I’ve gone to this salon for almost 5 years now; they are a great group of ladies!! Everyone in the shop is personable and easy to get along with, not to mention TALENTED! I had done a few hair and makeup trials before the big day, and Hillary nailed the look I wanted for both. The night before the wedding my girls and I went in for manis and pedis. The morning of the wedding they were there bright and early to start us off. When I arrived at 8 am they already had my two nieces and FSIL done! I made the mistake of forgetting my photos of my favorite hair trial with Hillary, but she assured me she remembered what I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, what she did was beautiful, but nowhere close to what she had done at my trial. So ladies don’t forget the importance of taking your trial photos along with you on your wedding day!
Overall I gave them an A rating. My makeup was fantastic and lasted all day, even my fakie lashes didn’t budge. My hair was very nice to start (not as nice as my trial) but my curl dropped even before the ceremony was over. I am not placing the blame on their technique, it was more weather related. My hair was long and thick, I wanted a soft curl and knew the risk I was taking considering we had pouring rain the entire weekend of my wedding. All my girls were pleased with their hair and makeup and the cost of the services they received.
Our rehearsal dinner was catered in our church hall immediately following rehearsal. Hess’s gives you a lot of yummy home-style food options for a really good price. We chose their hot buffet with traditional favorites like baked chicken, filling, roast beef, ect. It also came with a tossed salad, rolls, accompaniments and all tableware. We added on their hot and cold drink option (coffee, soda, water) as well as dessert selections. You also have the choice of having them serve you the entire meal (full gratuity) or they can set up and drop off (partial gratuity). We opted for the set up/drop off since we were trying to keep this casual and allow everyone to take their time and mingle. Hess’s staff arrived promptly and we showed them to the kitchen facility and they took it from there. The food smelled wonderful as we did our rehearsal upstairs!!
I gave them a B only for this fact – having to return serving items the following day – the day of the wedding. When I initially spoke to the catering manager and she explained the process of the set up/drop off, she told me that all food was packaged in disposable pans and came with disposable serving ware. What she failed to tell me was that in doing the drink option they would be bringing coffee in the large stainless pots, and obviously would need them back. When we got downstairs to eat, there was a note left for us, with a list of all items that would need to be returned, and they requested that they would be returned promptly the next day. It would have been easier to have paid the full gratuity and made them serve us, clean up after themselves, and take their items home. My Dad was the only one who could sneak away the morning of the wedding and make the 45 minute drive to take them back. They also forgot to bring bottled water.
The ladies at Jaimee’s Bridal were truly my wedding salvation! Please scroll down and read Sullum’s of Olyphant review for an eye opening comparison. I stopped in Jaime’s after work one day without an appointment and asked I would be able to browse gowns on my own. Even without having an appointment they all took time to help me look at their selection. I was so down in the dumps over the situation with the gown at Sullum’s, I seemed like the saddest bride in the world looking for a gown. They definitely could tell I wasn’t the usual bride who entered their shop all bubbles and butterflies, and I reluctantly told them the story. They were all very shocked over what I had experienced at Sullum’s. I had tried on 3 gowns on when they pulled a Maggie Sottero gown and immediately fell in love with it!!! It had just come in a sample shipment the day before and hadn’t even been steamed. Jaimee gave me sample rate on that gown even though I had been the only person to try it on. It was brand spanking new!
Not only did I get a great deal on my gown, I only was required to put down a $50 dollar deposit. I could pay off the balance however I liked, as long as it was paid in full by the day I needed to pick it up from them. I was so thankful of this after losing my $550 deposit on the gown at Sullum’s. And lets talk about alterations!!!! My gown alterations including bra cups and bustle, was a flat fee of $40. I was in heaven! I stopped in frequently with payments on my gown and everyone always greeted me with smiles and friendly conversation. They always wanted to know how things were going with the bridesmaid dresses. They were just as worried as I was that they would not come in on time for the wedding. They are very organized, were prompt with calling me to set up my fittings, and the quality of their work on my gown was excellent! I highly recommend Jaimee’s for both a good deal on gowns and also their excellent customer service.
Karen is the organist for Zion Lutheran Church for as long as I can remember. She has a great knowledge of songs and hymns from her many years of service in the church. We chose very traditional hymns and classical selections for our ceremony music. She knew them all by heart and played them beautifully. Her fee was very reasonable and included the rehearsal and ceremony.
My boudoir photos were shot by Kristen Piece of Artpatch Photography. I came across her information on craigslist.org. She has a studio in Brooklyn but during the Spring of 2008, was spending time in the Wilkes Barre area with family. Kristen's resume includes many different shoots and events as well as extensive experience in the visual arts for over 20 years. She has degrees in Art Education and Fine Arts. She has been involved in the art, music and fashion world since she was a teen in the 80's.
I booked Kristen for a full day session at my home, which I was splitting with two close friends who wanted boudoir photos for Anniversary gifts for their husbands. We had a total blast!!! Kristen was so great to work with and got amazing shots, almost 2000 photos combined during the shoot! She gave us each a DVD with our unedited photos and full rights to reproduce them however we pleased. She also offered retouching and printing services for an additional charge. I did my own photo editing and created an album on mypublisher.com.
Lucas Photographix is a family run business in our small town for almost 30 years. I chose them for my photography needs because I think it is very important to support small businesses in our economy today. They are very traditional photographers in style and composition, but provide a wonderful quality product and have excellent customer service. Stephen was our photographer and our wedding package included our engagement shoot for a $35 fee. We received 60 proofs a few weeks later, the traditional printed 5 x 5 pictures were ours to keep and reproduce however we like.
Stephen and I phoned and emailed back and forth a few times before the wedding. I had gathered a “must take” list of photos done in a photojournalistic style to show him some of ideas of shots I would want done. He was very open to these suggestions and was able to incorporate them along the way, along with some other great ideas he had as we went along. Stephen and his assistant arrived promptly at 10am and quickly got to work setting up a backdrop for traditional portraits. He was good at keeping an eye on our time and we were finished and ready to depart when our shuttle bus arrived. They were completely unobtrusive during the ceremony. I don’t know how he managed to get some of the shots he did, because I never noticed him taking the photos during the ceremony at all. We were lucky enough to be rain free and got all our outdoor shots in. During the reception they only sat down about 15 minutes to eat dinner and were back at it, grabbing all sorts of great candid shots.
Six weeks after our wedding date we received a hardbound leather album containing 200 proofs of the traditional printed 5 x 5 pictures. We ended up with a nice mix of very traditional portraits, photojournalistic shots, and overall wonderful candids from the day. We had so many nice shots it was hard to choose our 11 x 18 enlargement, which also came as part of our wedding package. The proof album itself is a nice keepsake. Lucas Photographix is a solid deal for their price, if you don’t mind their non-digital approach. If you want a wedding package that contains 1000 proofs on DVD or website, they are not the photographers for you.
Reverend Brown is our temporary pastor at Zion Lutheran Church. I was very hesitant at first on the thought of him performing our marriage ceremony, because he was brand new to our church. We got to know him in the few short months before our wedding and I can say he is a truly lovely person! He was very open and willing to our request of a ceremony that varied from the ones contained in the Lutheran Handbook. He allowed me to create our own ceremony, using traditional aspects from the Lutheran Handbook as well as non – traditional ideas I found on my own.
I booked our tuxedo package at a bridal expo I attended. Sarno’s was running a special for a free groom’s tux and half price tuxedos for the bridal party, all for just a $10 booking deposit! Mike and I went to visit their showroom in Scranton and were pleased with the selection and service. While we were there they informed us that vests and shoes were not included in the “tux” rental, but all in all it was a good deal.
I rated them B+ because we had a few issues with tuxes not fitting properly the day of the wedding. Our OOT groomsmen had phoned in their measurements, which were taken at tux shops in their local areas. I am not sure if the measurements were relayed incorrectly or taken down incorrectly at Sarno’s, but two of the tuxes were WAY off in size! Mike also had to have last minute changes made to his tux when he arrived for his final fitting and to pick up the OOT’ers tuxes as well. Everyone looked sharp in spite of the fact that some shirt sleeves were way too short and pants being way too big.
I’ve used Tressa in the past for spray tans and always loved her results. All my girls and even my Mom wanted a spray tan for the wedding!!! Tressa was able to accommodate our entire party at one time and did a beautiful job giving us all a sun-kissed glow! She is a little pricier than the booth based sprays such as Mystic Tan, but she does the application by hand and its always even and never fake looking!
We used Sharon for our shuttle bus driving needs. She is one the list of registered drivers at Ed’s USA Auto Rentals for the larger busses. I know Sharon personally so booking her was an easy choice. She offers a very reasonable hourly rate. She was on time for all pickups, dressed in a professional manner and was always friendly and courteous to our guests.
Stillcreek, Inc. was the décor vendor that Capriotti’s recommended, since they utilize that company for their linen and in house décor needs. Melia gave me Carol’s business card and we set up our first meeting. Carol’s shop is wall to wall with gorgeous floral and décor ideas. We were able to walk through for a while on our own. In a few minutes she joined us and we pointed out items we liked and ideas we had. There are no prices listed on her rental pieces. After the walk around, we sat down and had a discussion with her and had to ask her straight out “how much is this ----?” She gave us a verbal “price range” on the items, which would depend upon the specifics of what we wanted. We found we were doing a lot of on the spot mental math to figure out what we could and could not afford. She worked out a spreadsheet with the final costs of our items, set up/delivery charges and emailed it to us to look over.
Our décor and linens the day of our reception were gorgeous. I felt the money was well spent because of the fact that her company would do all the setup/tear down. We certainly didn’t want to put out 200 chair covers and sashes and be responsible for hauling everything around. Although we were happy in general, we did have some small issues. I rated her a B for the following reasons:
1. She was hard to reach. Taking well over a week to return a few of my emails and phone calls. Sometimes her assistants would call us to “schedule” appointments we already had scheduled. When I would finally speak with Carol she would be apologetic of the delays and confusions in contacting us.
2. We had to meet with her in person four times. We basically talked about the same things at #2 and #3, in my opinion a phone call would have worked just fine.
3. We never got to see a sample of OUR centerpiece. At our first walk around we picked out a tall trumpet style vase with floral arrangement, which would be lighted from underneath and surrounded by votives. She referred to that vase by a nickname and quoted us a price. We never questioned what we were receiving and were never offered to see a sample. When we walked into Capriotti’s the day before the wedding, our centerpieces were set up on eiffel tower vases and not the trumpet vases we requested. There also were no votives surrounding them. With our wedding only hours away we decided to let them stay as they were. The arrangements were beautiful it was just a bummer walking into a room and expecting to see something that was not the way you had it planned.
BRIDES BEWARE! This shop was recommended to me by my Matron of Honor and a coworker. Both had used them many times for bridal and formal gowns – but not in recent years. I ordered what I thought was my “dream gown” in August of 2007 from Sullum’s. It was the typical bridal gown appointment with the consultant, we talked budget and style, and started trying on samples. I picked out a very lovely Allure gown and I knew it was the “one.” She took my measurements and we completed my order form. I never paid attention to the size she wrote down for me, it never even crossed my mind at the time. I was asked to pay half down at the time of order, which was $550. I was also informed that my gown alterations were “ala carte” and to expect at least two fittings. There was no cap to the cost of the gown alterations, and the bustle would be an additional $125. My Allure gown arrived in March of 2008 as expected. I immediately scheduled an appointment for my bridal party to select their gowns and together with my Mother and Grandmother went in for our appointment. The bridal party was measured for their gowns, 5 in total, which gave them free alterations! All of my girls were OOT’ers and chose to pay in full, figuring it was one less thing they would have to worry about later.
When they were finished it was time for me to try my gown on, and that’s when the trouble began. When I put the wedding gown on, it was so overly big that I had to hold it up with my arms to keep it from falling directly off my body and to the floor. When I looked at the tag it read size 24 and I wear a 14 in street clothes. I am a realistic person and know that no gown from stock will fit anyone perfectly, but the amount of alterations this gown would have needed to fit me properly was ridiculous. The beauty and integrity of the design would have been drastically altered when inches of the material would have been cut off every seam to make it smaller. I was devastated and the look on my family’s faces was of pure disbelief. When I expressed my concern about the size of the gown all they kept telling me was “oh hun our seamstress is excellent she will make it work just fine.” I asked them to check the gown to see if maybe the wrong size had been sent for my order, or the gown had been labeled the wrong size at the factory. The saleswoman would not do this, instead she went to get the bridal gown “consultant” who did my initial appointment back in August. The “consultant” looked at me in the gown and said “oh you must have lost considerable weight since you ordered!” “but don’t worry we will schedule 4 – 5 fittings and get this right for you.” When I asked them the cost of the alterations and bustle they could not give me a definite dollar amount, only that I should anticipate at least $100 per fitting plus the $125 bustle. I was in total shock.
We left the appointment and I was sick over what had just happened. There was no way I could afford $600 alterations in addition to the cost of the gown itself, which was $1100. I called another dress shop who carried Allure gowns and made an appointment with them. I tried size 14 samples that fit me very well and was told the largest size they would order for me was a 16, so a smooth and easy fitting could be achieved. I called Sullum’s during the week to set up another appointment with the bridal consultant there. I brought with me my Weight Watcher records that showed I had only lost 3 pounds since ordering my dress in August. During my appointment the consultant got very indignant with the fact I brought that information in. Now she could not simply say I lost enough weight to cause the gown to be so large. She also didn’t like the fact that I flat out told her I went to another shop and was measured for a size 16 and not a 24! I told her I felt she ordered my gown grossly oversized to make extra profit on my alterations. She told me if I was that unhappy I could walk away from the gown, lose my deposit and order a new one. They would do absolutely nothing to help fix the situation. They would not reorder, exchange or do anything to correct, what in my opinion, was their mistake! So that’s what I did, I did not know what else to do. I just took my business elsewhere.
Now my bridal party had already placed their gown orders and paid in full March 8, 2008. I prayed that they would have a better experience than I had, but no such luck. On August 12, 2008, 45 days away from my wedding, I receive a call from Sullum’s concerning my bridesmaid gowns that were ordered back in March. It seems that they cannot locate my Maid of Honor’s measurements. It was my sister’s gown and I had her original receipt with all the information, so I was able to tell them exactly what she needed. The saleswoman tells me to call THEM in a week to get an updated idea on when the gowns should arrive. The manufacturer of the bridesmaid gowns (Alexia Designs) puts a 10-12 week estimated delivery on all gowns, but she assured me they would be in on time. We were all fuming because all my girls live OOT, some even out of state, and they wanted to start scheduling fittings by mid August.
The gowns arrived the first week of September and my girls started to call and set up fittings. Sullum’s hassled them about coming in on Saturday’s because that is their “bridal gown day” and they prefer to do bridesmaid gowns during the week. I had to call and insist they schedule Saturday appointments since the gowns came in late and my girls did not leave in close proximity to the shop. I spoke directly with the owner who made the comment “we can do their fittings the night before the wedding if we have to.” I cannot even explain how badly I wanted to explode but did my best to keep it in. They also tried to charge one of my bridesmaid alteration fees, until she showed them her original receipt which clearly had marked FREE ALTERATIONS.
In all the weddings I have been a part of over the years, I have never EVER encountered such a poorly run and dysfunctional dress shop. It was one ordeal after another, and one story after another on the phone, each time you called you got a different version. I would not recommend this shop to anyone for anything.
Finding a quality videographer within our budget was very important to us. I did a lot of searching online and could not find many videographers in this area who provided the quality product we wanted, for the price we wanted to spend. Many videographers offered packages with photography included in the price, which in actuality is a great deal, but we already had our photog booked. I found Valley Creek Productions in an online search and was very impressed by the video samples on their website. I contacted Justin Chan to see if our date was available, and if he would be willing to travel out of his normal service area to do our wedding. He was very easy going and worked out a flat fee for his travel, in addition to the cost of the package we wanted.
Justin normally includes videoing the rehearsal in his packages, but because of the distance we omitted that and he gave us a second videographer for our entire wedding day. This was a very nice gesture since only one videographer was included in the package we chose. He was always very prompt in returning my emails and calls, and sometimes I was the one who was difficult reach as the wedding got closer. We had absolutely zero problems with this vendor, he was very easy to work with and did an excellent job on our wedding day. Justin even finished the editing process on our video ahead of schedule; I received our review copy within one month! We were so pleased with his edit on this version no revisions had to be made, and our final copies arrived a week later. They were beautifully packed in DVD cases customized with our photo on the front cover and “cast” of the wedding party listed on the reverse. We were extremely happy with our video!
I was a little nervous in January when our pastor of the last 8 years retired, but I quickly came to know and love Pastor Brown. I have always been in love with the visual aesthetic of my church, although it has begun to show its age in recent years. I did my best to let the character of the church come through, and decorated it as minimally as possible. The church Secretary even offered to print our programs free of charge, which I thought, was very considerate of them. Had I not been doing them as a DIY project I would have gladly taken them up on that offer.