Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens
Pros: Beautiful garden, unbeatable location
Cons: Event service coordinators are not very accommodating (when you can actually get a hold of them). All requests were pretty much promptly met with a "no." Preferred vendors for catering get charged by garden and that charge is passed on to the customers. Extremely expensive. Nothing is included, everything is extra.
Overall Rating: Okay - better value if you go with one of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg parks
Sheraton Hotel Charlotte Airport
Pros: They had a competitive group rate and offered online reservations
Cons: Everything else. Some guests were not given the group rate initially. The contract tried to make us liable for guests' damages. It also made us accountable for 90% of the rooms we booked for the group rate - meaning if enough guests didn't reserve rooms, we would have been charged. They did not notify us that they would be doing CONSTRUCTION during our wedding event. They promised us a suite where the bridal party could get ready, and I had to personally walk down and talk to the hotel manager (don't mess with a bride on her wedding day) the day-of because they still did not have a room ready for us. Extremely unhappy.
Overall Rating: Horrible - never again doing business with this hotel
All the Right Grooves DJ Services
Pros: Less expensive than other DJs. Did a great job. Didn't upcharge for extra microphone, etc. Gave us a CD of songs from our wedding which was a nice touch. As promised, she wasn't all cheesy.
Cons: Hard to get a hold of right before wedding to confirm details.
Overall Rating: Excellent - would definitely hire again
Heather A. Hawkins, Make-up Artist
Pros: She has a great personality and does a great job on both hair and make-up.
Cons: We were running a little late for pictures before the ceremony because hair and make-up got a little behind schedule.
Overall Rating: Excellent - Just make sure you allow extra time for bridal party to get ready
James Mendez Photography
Pros: Amazing engagement photo session, great guest book layout, extremely easy to work with, got some great shots of the wedding, gave us digital rights to pictures for personal use
Cons: A little on the pricey side, we were a little disappointed that we didn't get all the shots of just the two of us we wanted at the wedding, but to their credit, everything was kinda rushed at that point. Accidentally took most of the cake pictures from the wrong side.
Overall Rating: Excellent - Just pre-plan all the formal shots you want to get beforehand
April's Floral Expressions - Silk Florist
Pros: Everything came out wonderfully. She did our cake decorations for no charge. She is very easy to work with and was dedicated to making sure I was happy with what I got. She even came to set up all the decorations and decorated our arbor.
Cons: She works full time during the day so can best be reached after regular business hours. At first, she sent me some ugly pictures trying to gauge what I was looking for. That made me a little worried, but she pulled everything off perfectly in the end!!
Overall Rating: Excellent - Would definitely hire her again, no question!
Brenda's Cake Gallery
Pros: Located in Belmont close to the garden which made for a lower delivery fee. Almond cake with butter cream frosting is delicious!! Faith is very friendly and easy to work with. We got exactly what we wanted.
Cons: Brenda is a little distracted when you try to speak with her. They tend to be very busy during wedding season, so it is sometimes hard to confirm details on your time schedule. They weren't able to do a simple floral cake topper that we wanted, so we had to have our florist do it.
Overall Rating: Good - having a yummy cake is important. Must check to see if they can do the design you are looking for.
Head over Heels Wedding Planning
Pros: Took off a lot of stress the day-of wedding and during the rehearsal. Got our food for us from the buffet and added a few nice touches like personalized guest baskets in the bathroom. Successfully pulled together all the details.
Cons: Didn't do too much before the wedding, but helped a lot for day-of set up. Some family complained that favors and other wedding decorations were thrown away instead of saved.
Overall Rating: Good - Make sure to let them know if you want to keep everything that is left over from the wedding
Joan Johnson Harpist
Pros: Fairly priced, played well
Cons: Initially friendly but later hard to reach as she was traveling. Wanted us to rent a tent as cover for her harp which would have cost an extra $100 or so dollars.
Overall Rating: Good - didn't go above and beyond but did well enough
Lily Rose Bridal
Pros: Carried the Casablanca 1831 dress that I wanted. Cute little boutique.
Cons: Denise, the owner is pretty rude. The seamstress, however, was very friendly. Price wasn't the lowest, but was reasonable enough.
Overall Rating: Okay - had I been looking for better customer service or a lower price, I might have shopped around a little more
Creative Solutions Event Rentals
Pros: Lindsay was very detailed in making sure our contract was correct. They were extremely familiar with the garden so we didn't have to worry about that aspect.
Cons: They were the only vendor we could choose from for DSBG. They weren't very creative, they just gave us what we asked for and didn't really make any suggestions.
Overall Rating: Okay - they got the job done
Karen Warren Catering
Pros: The coordinator Dottie was great because she had worked for the garden before. They were much lower priced than the other preferred DSBG vendors. They were very flexible and let us buy our own alcohol. Plates, napkins, glasses, and silverware were included in their price.
Cons: They started serving the appetizers a little late. The food was good, but it wasn't so great that it knocked your socks off.
Overall Rating: Good - value was right