In no particular order:
Gayle Smalley, Justice of the Peace
Oh man, did we ever luck out when we found Gayle. Before we met Gayle, we struggled to find the right person to officiate at our wedding. We didn’t want a religious ceremony, but we did want a meaningful ceremony that would reflect our values. We met with several Justices of the Peace who were willing to “say whatever we wanted them to”, but none brought the energy we were looking for. From our first meeting with Gayle (when she served us freshly baked cookies!) it was love at first sight. Throughout the process of writing our ceremony, she was a patient, knowledgeable collaborator who helped us create a wedding that was exactly right for us. On our wedding day, she was a calming, happy presence we were so happy to have standing with us.
Za Restaurant (350 Third Street, Cambridge)
We were absolutely blown away by the service we received from Steve Kurland and his team. It felt like there were 100 waiters attending to our every need, including guests’ requests for special pizzas to accommodate food allergies. They really seemed to enjoy having us there and didn’t mind our last minute addition of a photo booth to the party. They even sliced and boxed our leftover cake for guests to take home as favors.
On top of the excellent service, our guests were raving about the delicious pizza and salads. Before our wedding, I was dreaming about our cake, but the day after it was the pizza we remembered as the star of the show. In fact, the night we got back from our honeymoon we had Za for dinner. Even if you aren’t planning a party, you owe it to yourself to go to Za for a pizza.
J & B Photobooth (www.jandbphotobooth.com)
One week before our wedding, Greg and I decided our reception still needed a little extra entertainment. We hired J & B Photobooth and it absolutely made the party. Hiring them could not have been easier. We called them a week before the wedding and they gave us a great price. They set up and tore down everything on their own, created a cute logo with our initials to go on the photo strips (I believe if you want to create your own, you can do that too), and were super affordable considering that the photobooth added entertainment, a guestbook, and favors to our party.
Everyone from kids to grandparents had a great time using our photobooth, due partly to the fun props, and partly to the staff who were happy to come into the booth and help arrange people to make sure they all fit in the picture, and provide friendly direction for those who needed it. The photobooth was a great place for our family and friends from different circles to meet each other and play together. One of my favorite things to come out of the wedding has been all the new friendships showing up on my facebook feed. A large number of those were due to the photobooth.
Katie Jane Photography, LLC http://blog.katiejanephoto.com/
Choosing a photographer was one of the most difficult choices Greg and I made in our wedding planning process. Whereas we had agreed on most of the other decisions (invitations, flowers, etc) with photography, we found ourselves wanting different things. Greg wanted a photographer with top of the line cameras and the expertise to use them. I wanted someone who cared about making people look good – catching them from the right angles at the right moments. We couldn’t seem to find anyone remotely good enough within our budget. Until we found Katie Jane.
Even including the travel expense fee (which I’m convinced could not have come close to covering her actual travel expenses) for her to come to our wedding from New York, Katie Jane was a bargain compared to Boston photographers. And, I’m sure there’s not a professional photographer in the world as generous and personable as she is. When we met with her for our engagement photo session (included in our package), it felt like we were spending the day hanging out with a friend. And on the day of our wedding, when I was so stressed I couldn’t have added 1 + 1 together, she was a a genius of organization, running through our posed photos quickly to make it as fun and easy as possible for our family and wedding party. If you are engaged and need a photographer, contact Katie Jane quick because her schedule fills up quick (for good reason!).
Victoria (event coordinator)
We were sorely in need of someone to help us set up and coordinate our reception, when Greg’s aunt (our own Malcolm Gladwell-esque people connector) suggested the sister of her daughter’s friend who is in school for event planning. If the job she did for us is any indication, this woman is going to be running the world someday. Victoria stepped up the day of our wedding and took care of everything so all we had to do was enjoy ourselves. Whenever there was a question (time to stop serving pizzas? Cut the top tier of cake or save it?) she found us and made sure we were comfortable before letting Za’s staff know what to do. It was great to have one point person who knew what was happening at any given moment, and made sure everything got done on time.