Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pug Vendors Part II

My vendors continued...

I actually found 39 East Photography mentioned on the Weddingbee boards.  CK is very talented and a pleasure to work with, both leading up to the wedding and on the day itself.  It is important to hire a photographer whose work you respect, but also someone whose personality meshes with your own in order to make you comfortable on your wedding day.  And CK was that person for us.

In terms of the quality of his work, you've seen the photos that I've posted.  While many photographers are on the photojournalistic side of the fence these days, CK is truly that guy.  His photos have a subtle, atmospheric quality to them that portrays the mood of the moment--they have a muted elegance to them that seems timeless to me.  There are many styles out there and you just have to find something that works for you.

I think CK excels at capturing sentimental moments, and beautiful bride and groom photographs such as the ones below. 

Orna Maymon of Ornamento
As I previously mentioned, Orna did an amazing job with our flowers.  I did not do a vast amount of vendor research, partly due to planning from across the county, and I'm sure I could have found a less expensive florist, but Orna was so pleasant to work with, talented, and very familiar with our venue.  She was incredibly understanding of our budget and never ever made me feel judged--she did not blink an eye or say a word when I eliminated typical items such as all bouquets (including bride's bouquet), boutonnieres, escort card and cake table flowers.

Ceremony: In-house hotel A/V

Reception: iPod/my brother in law
We used an iPod for the reception music, with the hotel's A/V services for amplification and a microphone for toasts.  Even with a group of about 50 people, it was very helpful to have the speakers.  If it's in your budget, I recommend a speaker/microphone system even if you are going the iPod route.

One of our lucky stars blessed us with a brother in law who was the perfect emcee.  He was articulate, watched the timing of the reception so he could properly introduce the toasts, shoe game and cake cutting, and added just the right dose of humor to his words.  Furthermore, having a family member as the emcee helped contribute to the evening feeling so personal.

See, he's funny even when he doesn't have a microphone

If you are thinking of having a friend/family member act as your officiant, I highly recommend it.  I should note that Kevin and I are not attached to any religious institution and therefore there wasn't any other officiant that was a natural choice.  For us, having our friend as the officiant it made the ceremony very personal and comfortable, and I was honored to have her standing with us at the ceremony. I wrote the ceremony because I did not want her to have the stress of coming up with her own text, but otherwise she took it away with flying colors.

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
I've never stayed at a Ritz-Carlton and don't know if I will ever have the opportunity again (waaahhh...), but for our wedding, it was amazing.  We knew going in that we were paying a premium for this venue, but we heard from others who had stayed there that the level of service would be incomparable.  So what did the Ritz-Carlton have to offer?

1.  Awesome surroundings and facilities.  Our guests raved about the Ritz--the hotel itself and its grounds, which were, to say the least, gorgeous.

2.  Outstanding customer service.  The Ritz makes very clear that it considers service a top priority.  It was palpable that every single member of the staff worked to ensure that each guest was happy and that things ran smoothly, not only during the wedding but during the entire weekend.

3. A de facto day of coordinator--every couple who decides to get married at the Ritz is assigned an event coordinator.  For us, this was huge.  We worked with Lesli Mack--she was the one who told me that we did not need to hire a separate day of coordinator because the Ritz provides many of the services of a DOC and the size of our wedding (50 people) was manageable.  Lesli was very capable, and as a guest noted after the event, "had her shit together" the day of.

I mean look, I'm practically worshipping the woman

4.  Food. This ain't no standard throwaway hotel fare.  We had several seafood dishes on our menu, which for a large group can be hard to cook properly, but they were perfectly executed. Everyone raved about the food--delicious, beautifully presented, and ample but not slopped-on portions.  It was very important to us to have outstanding food at the wedding for a variety of reasons, and we were thrilled at how things turned out.

Kelly Zubal of Inticing Creations 
Having our wedding in Half Moon Bay, which is a bit removed from San Francisco and San Jose, limited the choices of bakers we could use because of the often outrageously high delivery fee.  Through yelp research, I found Inticing Creations, which I think is part of a collective of women-owned start up businesses with space in the Mission District of San Francisco.  

Kelly is very pleasant in person and makes one mean vanilla cake--I'm definitely a chocolate kind of girl, so it speaks volumes that we chose her yummy vanilla cake, which she makes with brown sugar (genius).  And her frostings are to die for--caramel toffee, cookies 'n' cream, etc. She didn't always promptly respond to emails, but it didn't bother me too much because our cake was a fairly straightforward affair and we didn't have a lot to discuss.

Guest photo of our yummy three tiers with white buttercream and sugar crystals

Which vendors are most important to you? Any other vendors that I'm missing? 

Photos courtesy of CK Hwang/39 East Photography unless otherwise noted

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