Your vendors make or break your wedding. This is a list of the vendors we used in Vancouver, Toronto, and the Internet, as well as a few notes about them. There's also a list of inspirational sites where we stole good ideas from.
Ring Design: Era Designs - We LOVE Era Design. Rosemary (the owner and designer) designed both our engagement rings as well as our wedding bands. She was great to work with, made adjustments when Kate was unhappy with her initial engagement ring design and put up with a lot of questions from two geeky lesbians. Totally recommend her!
Dress Alterations: Clara Couture - Due to unforeseen circumstances, we ended up buying our dresses online and only had about a week and a half to get them altered. The ladies at Clara Couture were unfazed by the timeline and did a quick, professional job. The dresses fit like gloves and looked fantastic; they even had time to make us a couple of matching wraps from fabric we brought in. Kate also bought her tiara there. Because it was last minute and we were a little panicked, we didn't even ask about the price of the alterations beforehand; it ended up costing us about 50% more than we wanted. We were happy to pay - but it's always good to ask about the price up front.
Marriage Commissioner: Marion Whiffin - Marion was very friendly and pleasant to deal with; at our little ceremony, she managed to bring some aplomb to the event, even though we were outside on Granville island, getting rained on just a little. We'd definitely recommend her to any couple.
Photographer: Erin Riley - We loved Erin's documentary-style wedding photography and she came highly recommended by a friend. She and her assistant Sammy really captured the mood of our event and took fantastic shots of friends, family, performers and decor. Our only complaint is that she shot most of the pictures of the two of us from below instead of above, so we both look extra fat, like sumo wrestlers. Sigh . . .
Cake: Emily's Company [Contact Info, etc. on its way ...]
Venue: The Great Hall - Located on the corner of Queen and Dovercourt in downtown Toronto, the Great Hall had everything we wanted: terrific Victorian architecture, a stage, room for dancing, a kitchen for the caterers, a room for people who didn't feel like dancing and it's very accessible by car or transit. It was a pretty good deal (for Toronto) and our contact there, Mandy, was great to work with. We paid extra for the tulle and disco ball decor and also for the awesome sound system, which we used for the show and then for the dancing afterwards. We were really happy with our choice of venue.
Caterer: 10tation Event Catering - The Great Hall has four "preferred caterers" - if you choose to go with someone who's not on their list, you have to pay a $1000 fee. Naturally, we chose someone off the "preferred" list. We had a really good experience planning the event with our contact person at 10tation - she was a pleasure to work with, really seemed excited about our wedding, came up with great ideas and suggestions and kept our budget in mind. Unfortunately, she left the company a week or so before our wedding. The person who took over for her was not the onsite supervisor for our event and not everything we told her was communicated to the onsite supervisor. As a result, there were some miscommunications around timing and set-up, so we had to manage the catering more than we'd expected to. That said, the food was excellent and the staff were charming and helpful.
Piano: Peter Nunn - We found Peter through a very roundabout way ... a friend recommended a piano player who ended up having a conflict but who passed the gig to Peter. Peter was really excellent. He totally got the idea of what we wanted and was really great working with our singers who ranged from professional to amateur. He took direction from me when we worked through the tempo on one of the pieces and he worked really well with Sean, our emcee during the cabaret. He also came dressed in a tux and tails, totally getting into the event. I would definitely hire him again!
Hair: Cinelli Hair - Cinelli is my (Kate's) regular hair salon in Toronto (yes, I STILL haven't committed to one in Vancouver. Marlene is my stylist and she is a ROCK STAR. Love her. She did an amazing job with my bridal hair. PLUS, they were able to fit Rose in at the last minute and do her super-great wedding hair too. Love Cinelli!!
Florist: Poppies - We went with Poppies because it was right across the street from our venue and because it was woman-owned. We were a little worried initially because it took them a long time to get back to us about things and because we never got to see any samples. Ultimately, however, they did a super job; the colours were perfect, the bouquet and boutonnieres were beautiful, everything was done on time and they even made a couple of flower topiaries that were the highlight of our decor. Also, they let us pay for it all with a credit card, which was handy at a time when we were cash-strapped from paying all the other vendors by cheque.
Rehearsal Dinner: Brassaii - we had our family dinner the night before the wedding at Brassaii. There were about 34 of us. The folks at Brassaii were really great, particularly in person. We sometimes had a little trouble connecting with their event staff on the phone or on email, but they came through for us on the day. Their serving staff, in particular, were exceptional - friendly and effusive, they really made the night shine.
Kilt Rental: Cairngorm Scottish Imports - These guys were FANTASTIC! Super helpful on the phone as I was making the arrangements. The guys could send in their measurements over the internet. And when we went in for the fitting, it was a breeze. One of our bridesmen had mis-measured and he needed a different kilt - no problem. Really excellent service.
Limousine Rental: Enchanted Limo - I found these folks over the Internet through a Google search. They were one of the few that a) had the mini-bus we wanted and b) responded to my initial query and other queries via email. Really helped with trying to manage the time difference. Their driver showed up on time and was excellent. Limo was clean as well as really tricked out.
ON THE INTERWEB
Registry: Buy-Our-Honeymoon.com - When you're as old as us (well, Kate anyway) and you've been shacking up for a while, you tend to have all the china you need. This site was the perfect registry for us - registering for different aspects of our honeymoon. The folks over there are super-friendly and helped us with a few set-up and functionality issues. We've gotten a number of comments from people that it was a great idea. And we agree! For the record, this was our list - for fans of Rose's writing, you'll enjoy the descriptions.
Dresses: Sydney's Closet - Gorgeous dresses in size 14 to 44! We both ordered our dresses from this site. We were worried they might take a long time to arrive, as the store is located in the States, but both dresses arrived less than a week after we ordered them. We got both of them on sale, so both dresses were quite a bargain.
Wedding Favour Bags: Organza Bags - excellent website for ordering organza bags. All different styles and sizes. We got the 4x6 non-gusseted bags. Incredibly reasonably priced. Lots of colour choice. They did express shipping which was important. And they changed it to a better shipping for Canada after I submitted the order. Totally recommend them!
Wedding Favours: Tea Forte - We decided to give out two of these stylish tea bags as our wedding favours. We placed a rush order over the Internet and had them shipped directly to our hotel. One reason we went with them is that they have shipping to Canada down to a science - two shipments a week and they know ahead of time how much duty will be. So we didn't have to worry about someone paying for it at the hotel. Also, one package was delayed - their customer service was excellent; they called me and emailed me about it and kept me up to date on what was happening. Totally recommend them!
Staying Organized: pbwiki.com - we used pbWiki (and Google Docs, actually) to try to stay organized with guest lists, budgets, to do's and planning mini-events like a favour-making frenzy. Really easy.
Fonts & Images for Print Collateral: Veer - If I can, I buy all my fonts and images from Veer. I <3 Veer. They have amazing collections and really try to foster a design community. Also, they are Canadian (Alberta, I believe) and their customer service and research services rock! We bought the Gypsy Switch, P22 Art Nouveau Extras and the P22 Cruz Extras fonts as well as a couple of clip art images for the invites.
Invitation Fold: PocketMod - I first saw PocketMod a couple of years ago on ChipChick. Fell in love with it and always wanted to use it. So we used the folding format for our invitation. You can see a demo of how to fold it on their site. Lex has a great photo of our invite/booklet.
Candy Topiary for Centerpieces: The Topiary - My initial idea for our centrepiece topiaries was something like this photo (details on creating them). But, we kinda waited til the last minute, so they don't look quite like that. But if I had more time to source the candy, I think we could have done it.