Tag Archives: wedding planning

Wedding Snark

8 Oct

Okay… this is the dishy post where I talk about the vendors I had bad experiences with. Disclaimer: All of this is just my personal opinion stemming from my personal experiences, yada yada yada. Alright, with that out of the way, are you ready for some snark? Good, me too…

First up, and probably worst up: Martino’s Bridal on Bank Street. Awful, awful, awful experience. In spite of some mild protesting coming from the wedding party, I insisted that the dresses be ordered in April, shortly after Easter. Why? Because I am paranoid and neurotic, and I tend to assume that the worst will happen, so I expected something to go wrong with the bridesmaid dresses, just as I expected something to go wrong with everything else. At least with regard to everything else, I was pleasantly surprised when it all went according to plan. As for these bridesmaid dresses… we ordered them around April 20th and were assured they would arrive within 6 to 8 weeks, as is standard. 8 weeks passed before I even noticed, so it was probably more like 10 weeks after the fact when I called to follow up. No, they’re not in yet; they will be here by the end of August. Given the fact that the wedding was September 20th, that seemed to be cutting it a little close, but it’s not like there was anything I could do to speed the process up, so I accepted that. September 1st rolls around and still no dresses, so I’m back on the phone. Where are my dresses?? Oh, they should be in within the next three days. Three days goes by and again I’m back on the phone. WHERE ARE MY DRESSES?? It’s only at this point that I get actively pissed off. I hounded them all day that day. I got my mom and my bridesmaids to hound them too. It was arguably my one bridezilla moment. But we got the dresses the next day. Fancy that.

Might I add, during one of these phone calls, the sales associate to whom I was speaking snapped at me when I asked when she would be checking the day’s order to see if my dresses were there. “I was just about to before the phone rang.” Oh right, because this is my fault. Sorry to stress you out so much, lady, but this is my wedding we’re talking about here!

It’s also worth noting the fact that at no point did any of the sales associates at Martino’s apologize to me for the situation. The day the dresses arrived, my mother went straight to the store to pick them up, and the lady there at the time told her to tell me that she was sorry, but a direct apology would have been nice.

First runner up for worst service ever: Zeina, the seamstress from The Perfect Alteration. Was her work good? Sure. Was it bloody expensive? Heck yes! Was the bridesmaid dress ready for pickup on September 18th, two days prior to the wedding, the date upon which we all agreed that the dress would be collected by myself and my bridesmaid? Hell no!! Pins, everywhere! Raw edges, everywhere! My bridesmaid, being yelled at for not bringing the shoes we didn’t realize she’d need as we were under the impression the dress was being picked up for the wedding taking place not 48 hours later! And also being told repeatedly that she’d need to wear Spanx. Thanks, Zeina, but we came for the alterations, not for the running commentary on our body types. She does good work but her concept of customer service leaves a lot to be desired.

Lastly… Eternity Bridal! Understand, when I went there about a year ago when I began searching for my dress, the experience was fantastic. The dress was perfect and reasonably priced, the store was cute and classy with a good selection of styles and sample sizes, and the service was impeccable… they even threw in a free veil and throwaway garter! So why am I hating on them now? Simple: They’re the ones who directed me to Zeina. Not such a big deal in and of itself, but when I wrote an email recently to inform them of my overwhelmingly negative experience with her, thinking that they would appreciate the feedback, they wrote back with a long defense of her behaviour (essentially saying that they are aware of how rude she is but they believe her work justifies it), and said that she must not have been aware of the wedding date if the dress was not ready by the 18th as expected. Read: “It has to have been your fault.” Yeah, except it actually wasn’t my fault at all. I understand that the ownership of Eternity Bridal has changed since I bought my dress there, so even though my experience buying a dress from them was positive, I’m not so sure I’d recommend them anymore. Their response to my complaint smacked of ego; obviously they value their own opinions more than feedback from unhappy customers.

All of this being said, I consider myself very lucky, because aside from an issue with a girl who agreed to stand in my wedding party and then backed out right before the bridesmaid dresses had to be ordered, that was really the extent of my wedding drama. From what I understand, it’s usually a lot, lot more challenging. I tried to take a pretty relaxed approach to the wedding and had no expectations of “perfection” or a “dream day” or anything like that, so I think it made it easier. Yes, there were small details that I probably would have changed in retrospect, but nothing aside from these three experiences actively upset me. Based on my experiences with them, I would definitely caution any other Ottawa brides-to-be against using services from the aforementioned places and people.

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Wedding Tips

8 Oct

The thing about planning a wedding is that, ideally, it’s something you only do once in your life… so it’s not something you get a practice run at. Things either go according to plan, or they don’t. Lucky for Steve & me, everything went perfectly on our wedding day, due in no small part to the built-in event planner from the venue… but her talents and time notwithstanding, I still think I learned a trick or two. So now it’s time to share.

Start early and stay on top of things.
It’s true what they say, wedding planning happens in spurts: A flurry of activity right after the proposal, and another burst right before the ceremony. Things sort of die down in between. Take advantage of that time to finish little tasks. Figure out what you want to take a diy approach toward, and then make a plan for getting those things done. And don’t forget, there are certain tasks that you simply can’t do unless you’ve completed the pre-requisites first. For example, you can’t finalize anything to do with the ceremony, really, until you’ve met your officiant. You can’t meet your officiant until you have your marriage license. You can’t get your marriage license more than 3 months ahead, or else it will expire. Plan for such details accordingly.

Use a checklist from an established bridal website or magazine to help keep you on track.
Bridal checklists are all over the internet… I used the one from theknot.com and found it useful. I also liked the Real Simple wedding book. They release a new edition every year; it costs about 10 bucks and you can find in the magazine section of any bookstore. A tip, though: Check off any items that don’t apply to you the instant you are 100% sure they won’t apply to you. For example, I like to live on the edge (and I’ve been going to the same hairdresser for about 11 years, so I know what to expect from her), so I didn’t do a trial run on my hair. Cross that off the checklist! Why? Because if you’re staring at a list with a million unchecked to-do’s on it, you’ll get real stressed real fast. Eliminate whatever you can, as soon as you can.

Don’t bother writing your own vows.
The pros already have this covered for you. Steve and I wrote our own, and then ultimately decided to go with the most traditional vows that our officiant had in his book. We put what we had written toward speeches instead. Speaking of which…

Don’t forget, you have to give a speech!
Traditionally, the groom speaks and the bride may or may not choose to. Personally I think that’s a bit outdated and I appreciate it when both the bride and groom say a few words, so Steve and I planned for both of us to speak. Unfortunately, neither one of us wrote things down ahead of time, nor did we confer on how we expected the speech to go. I’m fairly adept at public speaking, so my portion of the speech went fine (I think), but Steve’s was a tad… um… shaky (sorry babe, you know it’s true though!). If you’re not used to public speaking, definitely write things down beforehand, and practice until you feel comfortable.

Know that nobody’s going to care if you cut a few corners.
It’s not necessary to have crazy expensive favours (nobody remembers them anyway) or a decked out wedding website unless that’s what you want to have. Basically, don’t get caught up in little details that are meaningless to you. Save your energy for more important things (like picking the music!).

Finalize prices with vendors well in advance.
Not gonna lie, I got sticker shock from a few things… but by the time I found out how much it cost, it was too late to renege. Get all your estimates well in advance.

Exploit friendships wherever possible, but do so carefully.
We had friends take care of the cake, photography, makeup, and flowers, because we have friends who are bakers, photographers, makeup artists, and florists. If you have connections to pros or semi-pros, don’t be afraid to ask them if they will take part in your wedding! Just be cautious: A wedding is a Big Deal, so if you don’t think your friend can tackle the challenge with professionalism, it’s better not to ask in the first place so nobody winds up angry or with hurt feelings.

Give up-and-comers a chance.
If you can get recommendations for amateur vendors who are trying to get their start (ex: student photographers), then why not give them the opportunity? If their sample work is up to snuff, there’s no reason not to give them the experience… and usually they don’t charge as much so you can save a couple bucks here too!

Use Google to search for the best vendors and sites.
The internet makes it easy to get referrals to excellent venues, dj’s, photographers, and so on. Use Google, or search wedding communities such as theknot.com or weddingbells.ca. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure all your vendors are on the up and up.

Set limits on how many vendors you are going to go see.
From the beginning, Steve and I made a rule that we would only see five or six vendors for any given aspect of our wedding. So, six venues, six photographers, six bakers, etc. etc. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting caught up in the mentality that there might be something better out there that you’re missing out on. Set limits, stick to them, and save your sanity.

Bring flip flops!
My shoes seemed comfy enough, so like an idiot I skipped bringing a second pair of shoes to the ceremony. By the end of the night I was dancing barefoot and I was very, very dirty. They’re not kidding when they say bring a pair of shoes!

Don’t stress too much about losing weight beforehand.
They all know what you look like. And spanx really do work wonders!

That’s all I have for now, but of course I will add to this if I think of any new words of advice to share.