In case anyone needs some referrals, here are the people and places with whom/which we entrusted our wedding. After-wedding reviews will be up soon!
The Church & Officiant: Saint Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, Father Jesus Soriano, Vallejo, CA
We are having our wedding ceremony at Saint Catherine’s, the parish that Crystal has been attending since junior high school, and the parish at which we both received the Sacrament of Confirmation (though during different years). It is a gorgeous church with a skylight that lets the sunlight come down to light the ambo and it’s unique pentagonal shape (as opposed to the traditional long rectangle) creates a greater sense of togetherness and community.
Fr. Jess is the pastor at St. Catherine’s and has presided over baptisms and funeral services for the Zapantas. He gives really wonderful, inspired and inspiring homilies, which is why Crystal requested him to officiate the ceremony. Visit the Saint Catherine of Siena Parish website.
The Reception Site: Hilton Garden Inn, Fairfield, CA
After looking at many potential reception sites, Crystal’s mom actually suggested the Hilton Garden Inn, and after meeting with their Catering Manager, Doree, we decided that this would be the best venue for us. It’s not too far from Vallejo and is actually right by the Solano Mall.
We will be reserving a block of rooms for guests who would like to stay the night; we will be posting more information about this later. Visit the Hilton Garden Inn website.
The Designers: Louie & Crystal, San Francisco, CA
We decided to design and make the invitations, programs, et cetera ourselves for a couple of reasons: (1) DYI-ing is more economical and (2) we love designing stuff, anyway. The invitations were mailed out, we hear some people have already received them. Now it’s time to work on the program, favors, escort cards, table numbers… not that much left, right? ~_^
The Wedding Coordinator: Michelle’s Wedding Essentials, San Ramon, CA
During our consultation with Michelle Dumas and Dana Heredia, one thing that Michelle said really stood out:
I have champagne taste on a beer budget. They were very conscious of trying to meet our needs, and even before we decided to work with them, they gave suggestions and referrals, and even drew out centerpiece ideas.
From setting up centerpieces, to giving vendors their payments, to even picking people up at the airport, their goal is make sure that the bride and groom they work with have as little stress as possible. Visit Michelle’s Wedding Essentials.
The Photographer: Ed Pingol Photography, Vallejo, CA
Ed Pingol Photography is comprised of a husband and wife team who take amazing photographs that reflect the aesthetics of graphic designer, which makes for amazing pictures with great compositions and awesome lighting. Visit Ed Pingol Photography.
The Bridal Gown and Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal, Pinole, CA
We are really trying to stay within budget and don’t want our bridesmaids to have to spend a lot of money on dresses they may not want to shorten and use again. David’s Bridals has reasonable prices for dresses of decent quality. Crystal bought her dress in March 2007. The bridesmaids just ordered their dresses, which should be arriving in mid-July. If you go there, I would ask for Miriam (who helped Crystal try on lots and lots of dresses until she found my bridal gown last year) or Jennifer (who helped the bridesmaids and me – she is a rock star who put up with me coming in four times to get the bridesmaids dresses taken care of. Someone else there was not very helpful at all on the one day Jennifer wasn’t there – which is why I’m really recommending you ask for one of the two consultants who helped me. Look at the bridesmaids attire on The Dresses page. Visit David’s Bridal online.
The Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse
Louie and Crystal decided on Men’s Wearhouse for the tuxes, which will make it easier on the groomsmen to get fitted, pick-up, and return their tuxedos. Once they get you into their system, the guys just need to bring in the Group Number, which is linked to the styles picked out, to any Men’s Wearhouse. Tuxes can be returned at any Men’s Wearhouse store, as well. Their packages are great because it includes everything from the tuxedo to the shoes to the cufflinks. Look at the styles Louie picked on The Tuxes page.
Chris, the person who registered the wedding party and did Louie’s fitting, was cool, very professional; try to get him if you can, as the other dude that was there seemed like he was just trying to avoid work. I will be calling their Customer Relations to see if they can somehow still honor the $25 off Wedding Special I made a deposit on at a bridal show last year – I will update on how that turns out.
Update: I called Customer Relations who told me to speak to a manager at the store about getting the discount and telling him/her to call the corporate office if there are any problems. We went back to try to get this taken care, and we also brought Vic (one of the groomsmen) to get fitted. Unfortunately, the manager wasn’t there, but more points for Chris — he remembered registering us, my name, and Louie’s email address. Visit MW Tux.
The Floral Designer: Flowers by Anne
Flowers by Anne was recommended to us by Michelle and Dana (Michelle’s Wedding Essentials). Anne was also highly recommended by many brides on ProjectWedding and The Knot. Her prices tend to be quite a bit lower than a lot of commercial florists, especially in the Bay Area, but that does not mean you have to sacrifice quality of flowers or of workmanship.
You start the process by reviewing her portfolio online and filling out the pre-consultation form with the designs and flowers you like, which will get you an estimate. I recommend waiting until you have a strong idea of what you’d like, so you don’t get so overwhelmed looking at all of the designs and trying to figure out everything you need. After receiving your estimate, if you are happy with what you see, you can schedule your personal consultation, at which time a $75 holding deposit is due (unless the event is less than 90 days way, at which point you give a 50% deposit).
During our consultation, Anne did a great job of helping us choose flowers and designs that reflected our personalities and tastes. She guided us towards choices that would give us the most value and the most impact, while keeping the aesthetics we envisioned intact. She even introduced Louie to kermit button mums and gave us a bunch to take home that were leftover from a previous wedding she worked on. We are so excited to have found her! Visit Flowers by Anne.
The Bakery: Sugar Bowl Bakery, San Francisco, CA
At first, we were considering doing cupcakes or bibingka in lieu of the traditional wedding cake. Our main concern, was the taste and whether people would actually enjoy the cake. Begrudgingly, Louie agreed to go to cake tastings with Crystal, and he was more-than-pleasantly surprised.
At Sugar Bowl Bakery, we were able to choose up to 5 fillings/flavors, which were presented to us as mini-cakes (which we were able to take home afterwards. Score!). The cakes were moist, the buttercream was not too rich, and it was just a very yummy experience. The cakes are also reasonably priced, especially since we prefer clean designs. Michelle, the wedding cake consultant, even drew out a couple of our design ideas. It’s really easy to communicate with her, especially via email, and she’s been great about getting back to us to quote adjustments as we play around with design ideas. The flavors we chose are Princess, Strawberry Ganache, and Strawberry Rum. Visit Sugar Bowl Bakery.
The Emcee: Christopher Abad, Legaci, Concord, CA
Chris Abad of Bay Area R&B group, Legaci, will be the Master of Ceremonies during our reception. We are really excited to have him, as he’s very personable, handles himself well with different age groups, and is very on top-of responsibilities. Plus, he can always belt out some sweet runs to get people’s attention when needed. Visit Chris’s MySpace page.
The DJ: Bizibeatz, Vallejo, CA
We are fortunate to have Bizibeats aka Windsor DJ our wedding. His experience ranges from weddings, corporate parties, and clubs, which is testament to his ability to work a wide range of crowds. We are so excited to have him! Visit Bizibeatz’s MySpace page.
The Videographer: Walter Boncato
Recommended by one of the best men, Micah, Walter is an upcoming videographer, who really works to meet the specific needs of the couple he’s working with. He recently got married himself, and is able to bring that perspective behind the lens. We trust that he can capture all the moments we missed and that we don’t want to forget.
Update: Unfortunately, we never received our wedding footage.