Category Archives: Vendors

Could You Please Take Our Picture?


From the very beginning, photography was very important to us, though for slightly different reasons. I wanted to have rich photos from our day because after the last dance has been danced, the food is all gone, and the wedding dress has been packed away, all we will have left will be our memories and the pictures. And I really wanted those pictures to be amazing. For the mister, since most of his family would not be able to make the trip from Michigan to our wedding, he wanted to have really nice photos for his family to view.

Our search for a photographer began and ended with one guy: Ed Pingol of Ed Pingol Photography.

Teana and Aaron Engaged - 0035_fhdr

Eddie is actually a friend of mine, so that makes him a friendor. I’ve been hounding him about being my wedding photographer since he first started in the business and I’m so excited that he’ll actually be taking our pictures.

Eddie is so incredibly easy to get along with and has a great eye for amazing pictures so having him as one of our vendors was actually a relief because we knew for a fact that he would be able to get along with our guests and other vendors (especially the DOC) and that we know that we’re going to get some really fantastic photos.

Ed Pingol Wedding Photography

Even though we were sure Eddie would be our photographer (he was the only one we met with), I still took some time to contact other photographers (23 to be exact) to see how his package would compare, but they either had amazing photos and astronomical prices or they had prices that were more aligned with our actual meager photography budget but their photos left something to be desired. We weighed our options and seriously considered the effects on our budget if we went with Eddie. There just wasn’t any comparison for use; these will be our tangible memories from the day and one of the few things we’ll be able to share with our children. So while we went way over budget to secure Eddie’s work for our wedding but honestly, I was more than happy to splurge here and tighten the belt elsewhere.

Ed Pingol Wedding Photography


How did you find your photographer? Did you splurge?


Finding our Florist

florist[source: Ralph Daily via Flickr]

Finding a florist was a study in contrasts. While I had a surprisingly easy time figuring out what kind of flowers I wanted to have, I had an equally difficult time finding a florist who could deliver what I wanted within our budget.

I get it: I live in the SF Bay Area – vendors do not come cheap. But I really thought our new $1,000 budget would make finding a florist not so painful. I can’t image how I even thought we would be able to do anything with our original budget! A few potential florists had $1,500 MINIMUMS while others informed me that it was impossible to get the style I wanted with our budget.

But I was undaunted. I was able to find a day of coordinator under budget so I knew I’d be able to find someone to put together our flowers. Out of the 12 florists I contacted, I scheduled meetings with three of them, all of which did not flinch at our budget.

The mister met with the florists with me, which was a great help because he’s the official “Asker of Tough Questions.” The first florist we met with was nice and took the time to flesh out more of what I wanted and gauge our price sensitivities. While I did appreciate her careful attention to our bottom line, I did feel like she was pushing me to lower cost blooms above all else. She asked me if I liked carnations and even after hemming and hawing and finally saying, “Well, I don’t HATE them,” when I received her quote, there were carnations everywhere, including the corsages for our moms. I’m more than willing to spend some extra dollars on our moms’ flowers! She was more than willing to revise her proposal so it was more in line with the other proposals we received and while she was the most affordable, we crossed her off.

We met the second florist at her home, which she works out of. I liked her but couldn’t really get a real read on her because she rushed us out of our meeting. After spending nearly an hour with the first florist, I wasn’t prepared to meet and leave in under 30 minutes but that’s exactly what happened. She asked a few questions about our wedding and what we had planned so far, what we wanted, and bing, bang, boom! We were shaking hands and walking out the door. Her proposal ended up being almost $200 over budget and another one bit the dust.

The third and final florist was my first choice and I had my fingers and toes crossed that she would work out. We met her at Starbucks and in between talking about our wedding and floral visions (she told me that if she were to get married again, she would like to use the flowers I chose!) we chatted about our families and life. It was almost as if we were already friends. I was nervous about what her price would be with all the additional pieces we discovered we needed (we added two bridal party members, flowers for my grandparents and some other decor pieces for the living room of our venue) but we both left the meeting wanting her to work out. She took the time to visit the venue to get an idea of what kind of arrangement would look good on the mantle in the living room and presented her proposal: while it was more than the first florist, she came in under budget!

I’m so excited to be working with Mayumi of Pricanti Floral Arts and Design. She has been a real sweetheart and we were really impressed that she took it upon herself to visit our venue. Not only did she come in under budget, but she also had the best floral recommendations to boot! Orchids, peonies, anemones and ranunculus? What?!

pricanti floral headerThis was the picture that made me fall in love with Mayumi.

I’m confident that Mayumi will be able to bring my floral visions to life and I’m really looking forward to seeing what she ends up designing. Now let’s pray that I’ll get my parrot tulips. She emailed me back in July to tell me she saw some Parrot tulips at the flower mart so there’s definitely hope!

Tip: If you feel like your preferences are not being heard, SPEAK UP! Yes, the vendors are the pros and know how things work but if you’re not feeling their recommendation, you don’t have to accept it.

How did you find your florist? What factor went into your decision?

My Wedding Fairy Godmother

bride wars candance bergenBride Wars anyone?

Once we decided to have our wedding at the Hacienda de las Flores, we had to wait until we were a year out from our wedding date before we were able to book the venue so we were at a standstill until then since I didn’t want to start making plans until I knew for sure we would have the venue and the date, but once we signed on the line, I set out to find our first vendor: a day-of-coordinator.

While I can handle planning the wedding on my own (c’mon now, I’ve been planning this shindig for the past seven years!), I knew from the beginning that I wanted a DOC to take the reins on the wedding day. After watching several weddings before me, I definitely saw the benefits of hiring someone to handle all the details and timeline the day of. After all the time spent worrying about the details leading up to the wedding, I didn’t want to worry about the wedding day itself. If something happened, I didn’t want to know or stop the festivities so I could figure out how to fix it. All I wanted to do was show up, look pretty, get married, and eat cake.

Plus, I didn’t want to make my family and friends work on my wedding. That, and if I’m being honest, I’m a perfectionist (surprise, surprise) and I love my family and friends, really I do, but I don’t think I trust any one person enough to set everything up exactly the way I want them to be. Not that it would be impossible; it would just take me a while to convince myself things are fine. Hiring a professional alleviates a lot of these issues.

What I didn’t know was how expensive DOCs could be. We had a very modest budget and while I found several DOCs in the area, to say I had sticker shock was an understatement. Many emails and phone calls later,  I was worried and discouraged as my long list of coordinators quickly dwindled and worried that we wouldn’t find anyone within our budget, even after increasing it by two hundred dollars in hopes of finding someone.  After what felt like ages, we found two coordinators who were available for our date and fit nicely within our budget.

I met with the first coordinator after work and really liked her. She was relatively new but I felt that she knew her stuff and could handle our wedding. Plus, we got along fabulously, which is an important consideration since we would be working very closely with her. She was my favorite so imagine my disappointment when I saw her fall apart under  the pressure of the mister’s questions during our second meeting. He wasn’t especially hard on her; she just tripped over some of his more critical questions. Ultimately, while she seemed fully capable of doing a good job, he wasn’t fully convinced she would be the best fit for us.

We met the second coordinator at our venue. This meeting was a night-and-day difference from the first. From the moment she sat down, she chatted with us about our relationship and started asking questions about which factors were the most important for us, how we envisioned our wedding, and other details about the day. I had shared my Pinterest board for the wedding with her beforehand and she had gone through it before the meeting and knew what I was going for and had some great suggestions for us as we toured the venue. I was getting excited about her but did my best to temper my excitement since I needed the mister to be on-board. Then when she skillfully navigated the question and answer round from the mister, we knew instantly she was the coordinator for us. We hired her on the spot.

I’m excited that Linda of Simply Events will be our day of coordinator! She was a lovely woman and just as excited to work with us. While her business is relatively young, she has over 20 years of event management experience, including wedding coordination at wineries so we definitely got the best of both worlds: a newish coordinator establishing her own business with the experience of a seasoned professional. Plus, her rates was under our original budget! I’ve already been bouncing questions and ideas off her and she’s been really responsive and honest about her opinions. She was already our smartest investment.

Tip: Day of Coordinators can be expensive but keep looking; there are some great options out there for everyone!

Are you passing the buck to a day or coordinator (or a friend or relative) or do you think you’ll handle it alone?