We’ve Moved!

Come visit us at http://engageology.com

We’re In a Magazine!

One of our photos was chosen to be used in an article featuring our wedding photography. It’s an international magazine – based in Bulgaria. Apparently it’s like the Bulgarian version of Marie Claire or Glamour. At any rate… I consider it a big “yay!”

Here’s the pic –
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Here’s the link – http://www.lauraivanovablog.com/?p=1018

Stay tuned to see another photo from our wedding published (this spring). This time, in a well-known U.S. magazine.

Vendor Review – Hairstylist

Vendor grade: A+++

Maybe it’s not even fair to review my hairstylist, because she is not available to most MN brides, but I will anyway.

Michelle is amazing. She came to my house for my trial and did 2 styles — first, the style I asked for, then a simple chignon so we could compare. We took photos, but we both loved the vintage-y curled style we started with.

On the day of the wedding, she was more than prepared, doing my hair while we chit-chatted, then pulling the bangs to the side so my makeup artist could do her magic. Once my makeup was finished, Michelle set my bangs and shellacked my entire head. The results were stunning.

Even though the day was SO windy, my hair stayed perfectly in place. I received SO many compliments.

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I’d be happy to forward her info to you, if you ask via e-mail, but know that she lives in Portland, Oregon and you would need to pay for her airfare and lodging. I wouldn’t have hired anyone but her for this day.

Vendor Review – The DJ

Review grade: A

Our DJ, John from Soundquest Entertainment was SO great to work with. He provided me with several forms, such as a timeline of the evening, favorite songs/types of songs, songs or artists to avoid.

He kept the music at a volume that was great for dancing, but not forcing the older relatives to leave. Their selection of music was pretty spectacular, I had a hard time coming up with something that they didn’t have.

The DJs with Soundquest work in pairs, so if one is on break, you’ve still got someone manning the “station.”

The best part was: John was totally willing to stand up to guests for our desires. We’d requested no chicken dance and no dollar dance. I had a family member begging him to do one, and he refused – until he had the okay from us that we’d be willing to do it.

I’ve been to too many weddings where the bride and grooms wishes aren’t met, and ours was the complete opposite.

I’d honestly, heartily recommend him to any friend or acquaintance looking for a great, energetic (but not annoying) DJ for their wedding or party, and I hope we can find a reason to hire John again.

Oh, and we heard from several relatives that the music was good — and the volume was great.

The price is fair too — 4 hours of entertainment and an hour of dinner music would be only $500.

Venue Review – Arneson Acres

Venue grade: A+

We weren’t originally planning to have our reception at Arneson Acres. In fact, we were all set to have it at another location, with a ceremony at AA, until several surprises caused us to change venues.

We are SO glad that we did change!

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Vendor Review – Officiant

Vendor grade: A-

Since we knew that we wanted to be married outside, we weren’t too set on having a specific person marry us. We wanted someone who would do the ceremony we both wanted (somewhat quick, personal and comfortable).

We emailed and spoke with several officiants, and none really fit what we were looking for. Finally, I accidentally found this site.

We used their online ceremony builder to put together our ceremony (combining their prepared options with some of our own) to come up with exactly what we wanted.

Reverend Maverick showed up a bit before the ceremony (it would have been nice if he’d been a little earlier, but we didn’t ask him to be any earlier, in fairness to him) and we discussed the order and setup of the ceremony, then relaxed a bit as we waited for our guests to file in. He seemed a bit soft-spoken at first, but once the ceremony began, we found that his voice projected nicely, even in the wind.

The ceremony was warm and sweet and executed perfectly.

We were very happy with the Reverend, and also quite pleased with the price (around $200).

Vendor Review: Midway Rental

Vendor grade: B

We went through Midway Party Rental for our tables, chairs and tent. This was an unexpected expense for us – with the venue change, we hadn’t budgeted for a $1,000 rental bill, but we made it work.

They were great about working with us only 2 weeks before we needed the tables and chairs, and fairly responsive (though there were 2+ times when we didn’t get any sort of response for over a business day, which was worrisome on such a tight deadline.

They were responsive when I asked them discount one of the items (the order was already around $1,000), though the discount wasn’t nearly as much as another rental company we were considering (though the final cost at Midway was a bit less).

We paid extra ($165, rather than $75) for Saturday delivery, Sunday pickup, but didn’t really have a choice – as we weren’t allowed to leave everything at the venue from Friday to Monday.

My largest qualm is the quality of the tables they delivered. Our day of coordinator said that they were so old (and poor quality) that they kept closing while they were being set up, and were generally difficult to work with. They felt flimsy when we sat at them, but at that point, there was very little we could do.

All in all, I wasn’t “wowed” by their customer service, but the delivery was made on time, and picked up on time, and we received everything we asked for, so I’d call our review of Midway Party Rental “decent.”

Vendor Review – The Florist

Vendor grade: A

I didn’t want to spend a lot on flowers. Though I love them, and love the look of them, photography was really our “one thing” that was most important. As items and changes were made to the budget, the floral budget shrunk.

I worried that I wouldn’t be able to find a great (smallish) bouquet at a decent price. My maids didn’t need bouquets because we planned to give them clutch bags that they could carry down the aisle — so my bouquet was our largest concern.

I knew I wanted ranunculus — and that pink just HAD to be included.

I found my perfect bouquet and the perfect florist at Chez Bloom.

Laura was fabulous to work with and she supplied me with a lovely bouquet made up of ranunculus (my only “must-have” flower), calla lillies, sweetheart roses and pink fresia. Sigh. The bouquet was perfect. Lovely size, great color and simply amazing.

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The price was more than fair for what I received – and I am now slightly regretting not getting bridesmaid bouquets — I bet they would have been incredible.

I highly recommend Chez Bloom and might just have to switch from Bachmann’s to Chez Bloom as my go-to for arrangements.

Vendor Review – Caterer

(note: this review is absolutely separate from the cake/cupcake review)

Vendor grade: D

We were really struggling with the menu for the reception. We wanted something nontraditional and delicious. We wanted roasted vegetables, meat and something other than potatoes. We wanted a meal that our guests would remember.

We decided to work with Miel y Leche for our reception meal.

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istockphoto

I approached Sheela with a price that we were comfortable with (with room to wiggle in either direction, we were completely ready for a counter-price) – a price that was right in the range of their catered meals – and she accepted the price.

I presented my thoughts on the menu:
chicken skewers —– beef skewers
roasted vegetables —– fresh fruit
bread and butter —– couscous
cupcakes
(no drinks were included and we provided our own dishes)

When we met, Sheela suggested we add:
eggplant rolls with mint and chili
quinoa with fruit and nuts

I was all for the additions — how delicious!

When we presented the quote, we were anticipating 150 – 160 guests and MyL was to plan for those numbers, accordingly.

The day of the wedding, dinner started late. The catering team arrived late, so we gave them a little slack. Dinner was supposed to begin at 5, and they pulled up to the reception site at about 4:50 – and started to unload.

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Vendor Review – Cake

(note: this review is for dessert only, not for the catered meal)
Vendor grade: B+

It’s no secret that Miel y Leche cupcakes are awesome. I’ve blogged about them a handful of times, and I consider myself lucky that they aren’t easily accessible to me, or I’d probably gain 100 pounds.

We chose 4 flavors for our wedding:

White chocolate with raspberry mousse
Chocolate with peanut butter mousse and chocolate ganache
Carrot cake
White cake with lemon filling and vanilla buttercreme

The cupcakes were delicious and our friends and family went on and on about them.

image from mielyleche.net

image from mielyleche.net

The only negative to them is that the staff from Miel y Leche took FOREVER to get them out. We’d told them that we’d like them out by 6:15 — at 6:45, my groom marched into the kitchen at the reception site and brought our cake (carrot) out so we could try to keep on schedule and cut it.

On a similar note, a few of our guests dug into their cupcakes because they asked the MyL staff if they could have one (before we cut ours — grr) – and they said, “I don’t care, it’s not my problem.” Soooo, we started the cutting late and we already had a few guests munching on cupcakes by the time we were able to cut our cake.

Once we cut the cake, it was indeed delicious and moist, but tempered slightly by the staff. One note on our cake: we asked for a carrot cake for our little bride & groom cake – we also asked for “spackled” frosting, and didn’t request any sort of decoration. Imagine my surprise when they showed me our cake and there were frosted carrots all over it. It felt as though it was a mini-birthday cake. I was crestfallen to see all the carrots piped onto the cake, but there was really nothing I could do. Sigh. So if you do work with them, please, please, please make sure they understand that you don’t want any stupid decorations on your cake – and make sure they understand EXACTLY what you want it to look like.

I would recommend Miel y Leche, just consider having them drop off the cupcakes, rather than actually preparing them to be served, and all will be well.

The cost: between $2 and $3 per cupcake, depending on quantity.

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