Monday, November 8, 2010

This Will Be Our Year: Los Angeles/Malibu Vendor Review

Well hello, Hive, remember me? I already told you that I wasn't ready to say good-bye, but now that I'm nearing on one year of blogging for Weddingbee (holy crap; that's coming right up!), I thought it was time to start wrapping things up with my last few recap posts. *tear*

For the sake of brevity and fairness, I'll only be review the vendors that I would recommend—those that I'm neutral or negative on I'll either leave in the Vendor Reviews or in my head. :)

Venue: Calamigos Ranch
Highly recommend

The venue was the one truly budget-busting item of the entire wedding, but I believe that we got what we paid for in numerous ways. Included in the per-head costs were an absolutely beautiful (outdoor) ceremony and (indoor) reception space (which rendered big decor expenses unnecessary!), dinner service with very good food, three hours of beer and wine bar, cake-cutting, an excellent ceremony coordinator (ask for Claudia! She was great!), and complimentary valet service for our guests. We upgraded our chairs from white wooden ones, and had passed hors d'oeuvres, which were delicious. (They offer options for bar upgrades and draping fabrics from the ceiling—we didn't expect or pay for the white ones we had, so I'm not sure if they are standard or not—as well as heat lamps for the ceremony in case it gets cold, which we didn't end up needing.) We were able to save a lot of time looking for vendors because most of our needs were provided by the venue.

It's true that Calamigos hosts a lot of weddings—sometimes 4 or 5 at the same time—which I know is a deal-breaker for many brides. We never saw anyone from another party, though; the sites are pretty isolated from each other.

(guest photo)
Photographer: Meg Perotti
Cannot recommend highly enough

Meg was an absolute blast to work with, and she took absolutely beautiful photographs, to boot. Sometimes I like to think of the wedding I would have had if I got a do-over (i.e., if MIL Spaniel had let us have the wedding in her backyard! ;). On the one hand, I'd change almost everything. On the other hand, there is no way I would have hired anyone other than Meg to photograph the day for us. We received over 900 images from the six hours she and Regis shot, and they are all beautiful! Meg was very professional, fun, and had amazingly fast turnaround. I had a lot of vendor hiccups, but I never for a moment was worried about my photographer, and she did not disappoint!

Sadly for us Southern California brides, Meg has moved back to the Bay Area, but she travels! ;)

(personal photo)
Invitations: Invitations by Ajalon
Highly recommend

I loved my letterpress invitations. I found the design I wanted from their gallery, but they also do custom work (or will print your designs), and they often have really great specials, which was the only way I could afford letterpress! The quality was excellent, and Trish was great to work with.

Coordinator: Tina Molina Events

Out of an abundance of caution, we hired Christina to ensure that someone was running the show and looking out for our interests, rather than just relying on the coordinator provided by Calamigos. Christina was extremely helpful in developing our timeline, keeping track of vendors so that I didn't have to, and setting up all of the decorations that we brought. She also took care of all the logistics and much of the clean-up at the end of the night, a headache I was happy to pass to someone else!

Flowers: Les Fleurs de Vie

Devi was another low-maintenace vendor: we met in person a few months before the wedding, I showed her some pictures of what I wanted, and she delivered, at a very reasonable price.

Stay tuned for next time, wherein I share the (hard-won, and I don't wish them on you) lessons I learned in selecting vendors!

All photos by Meg Perotti, unless otherwise noted.

Miss anything?
The Spaniels Are Married!
Watching Paint Dry
Vendor FAIL
Putting Our Faces On
Something New
Boutonnieres and Tuxedos
Sneaky Spaniel: The First Look
Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Hey Laaadies! (The Wedding Party)
Signing Our Lives Away
Marriage Is a Process...ion
We've Only Just Begun (The Ceremony)
Organized Chaos
All Kinds of Pretty and One Big Fat Ugly
(This Will Be Our) Budget Recap Post
Wedding Rituals
This Is Not Good-Bye

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