Firestone Winery Wedding Review

Firestone Vineyard, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez Wedding Photography
EDIT: If you are looking to see out photos of Kelly and Joe that we photographed at Firestone Vineyard, please feel free to click here. You'll love them!

You might remember the preview we posted on Kelly and Joe's wedding [we're still working on their 'official' blog post with our favorite pics]. Well they were kind enough to post up a review on the great wedding forum site SantaBarbaraWedding.com. Take a read, you should have your wedding at Firestone and bring us along!

Here it is!

We (Kelly and Joe) were married September 13, 2008 at the Firestone Winery's Crossroads Estate. Our wedding was more beautiful and more amazing than we could have ever imagined. Here's the scoop on our vendors.

Photographer - Ian Grant (www.iangrantphotography.com or distinctphoto.com). Ian is out of Los Angeles (where we live too), but was eager to photograph our wedding even though it was a hike. He was the least expensive quality photographer we found. His portfolio was impressive, but the actual wedding day pictures he took blew us away and far exceeded our expectations. If anyone wants to see the pictures check out his website or e-mail Kelly (kellyangers@yahoo) or I (joseph_a_kaufman@yahoo.com). On top of taking great pictures, Ian and his wife Tanya were great to work with. I barely knew they were there on the day of the wedding (except for the posing pictures), and as a result we got tons of candid photos, which was what we wanted. Grade = A+

Location Firestone Winery's Crossroads Estate - We fell in love with this venue as soon as we saw it. Although it was pricey, it was worth it. All of our guests commented that this was the most beautiful wedding location ever. Jill Remy is Firestone's event manager, and she was incredible throughout the entire process. The only problem we encountered was the morning of the wedding. We were doing set up (Kelly was doing her own flowers which required us to set some things up on our own earlier). A couple getting married the next day was doing their rehearsal, which is completely understandable and okay. What was unacceptable was that the group of people in the rehearsal were moving around the chairs we arranged and basically just getting in the way. What really stressed us out was that they were playing with games we set up for our guests and snooping around while we were setting things up. Not a huge deal in the big picture, but it was somewhat stressful at the time. Other than this minor snafoo, everything was perfect. We highly recommend the Crossroads Estate as a venue. Grade = A

Wedding Coordinator - Joy Proctor with Joy De Vivre (her website is www.joydevivre.net). There are three elements to our wedding that we would almost force people to use if they were our close friends. The venue, the photographer (more on him later), and Joy. To say that Joy was helpful or that Joy made our wedding less stressful just doesn't capture how good of a job she did. She was amazing. Joy clicked with Kelly and Joy seemed to know what Kelly was thinking before she even thought it. This made the wedding come out exactly as Kelly had dreamed. As the groom, having Joy involved helped in that it gave both Kelly and I an ally in the planning process. She was soooo organized. With us living in L.A. Joy was our eyes and ears on the ground. Her insight and organization were incredible. She also helped save us money with some of the vendors, and is one of if not the least expensive coordinators in Santa Barbara. Grade = A+

Caterer - Santa Barbara BBQ. The food was excellent, and all of our guests loved what they ate. We had a buffet style and I am not sure if there was anyone at our wedding who didn't go up for seconds. The staff (led by Bia and Sydney) was amazing. The only complaint was a late minute addition to the bill of $600 for an extra hour set up. That's fine that they charged us, but we would have preferred to have been advised of the set-up charge prior to the eve of the wedding. Our wedding coordinator was great in both working the caterers and helping us work with the bill. Grade = food gets an A, but based on stress involved with the bill, total grade is a B

Flowers, Invites, Favors - Kelly, who is interning with an L.A. florist, did all of the flowers, the letter pressed invitations and save the date cards, the menus, the programs, the little touches here and there, and the wedding favors. The wedding favors were mini-lemon/orange bundt cakes with icing, wrapped in tiny green boxes. Kelly did an incredible job, and will soon open up her own flower business doing wedding flowers. If anyone wants pictures check out Joy's website (www.joydevivre.net) or Ian's website (www.distinctphoto.com or www.iangrantphotography.com). Having gone through the process as a bride and groom, it was tough doing so much on our own. It was worth it though when everything came out exactly as we wanted. Grade = A++ (but I'm biased)

Cake - Donna Hollenbeck - Nothing but good things to say. I think the cake cost $1.75 a slice. It was red velvet with cream cheese icing. I saw another comment that Donna didn't do fondant or fancy designs, but Kelly gave Donna a picture of what she wanted (which was sort of fancy) and Donna did an awesome job creating what we wanted. All of our guests raved about the cake. Donna is also an incredibly nice person who was a joy to meet. Grade = A

D.J. - Santa Barbara D.J.'s, Matt Armor - Matt Armor with Santa Barbara D.J.'s was our D.J. We have very picky and eccentric tastes in music, and gave Matt a detailed list of what we wanted played during the pre-ceremony, the cocktail hour/dinner, and the dancing. The pre-ceremony and cocktail hour/dinner were perfect. Matt took what we gave him and mixed it perfectly. A number of guests commented positively on the music. The dance floor was filled the entire evening, and we don't think there was a single moment when the floor wasn't packed. Having said that, there were a few songs on my must play list that didn't make it (including Ritchie Valens' Donna, which was my mom's song), and the mother/son dance was to the wrong song. Although Matt veered a little from our play list during the dancing, he knew what he was doing and everybody had a blast. In short, while I am a music freak and would have liked to hear one or two more of my must play songs during the dancing, Matt did an excellent job and kept everyone dancing all night long. Grade = B+

Transportation - Santa Barbara Airbus - Nothing but good things to say. Were there early and got everyone home safely (dancing in the aisles having a blast). Grade = B+

Hair and Make-Up - Nicole Thompson - (Her website is nicoledeanne.blogspot.com). Kelly looked beautiful, Nicole was super affordable, and again, Kelly looked beautiful. Hair and make up was perfect. Grade = A+

Rehearsal Spot
- We had a beach barbecue at El Capitan State Beach. We did everything ourselves. Actually, we bought the carne asade, shrimp and fish, and asked the brothers-in-law to take over and plan it. They did, and we had a blast. Super inexpensive too. Grade = A

Any questions, please feel free to contact us. Our wedding website, which hasn't been updated with pictures of the wedding but someday will, is kellyandjoewedding.blogspot.com

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  • Amanda - I am s inspired by this incredible wedding! I have been looking for locations on the central coast and think this could be the one! I love all the DIY aspects as well as the fresh colors!! And a beach BBQ for the rehearsal dinner, what a great idea!

    Ian - your photography is unbelievable! I can't wait to get engaged so you can do my wedding too!!

    Until then...

    Amanda :)

  • ian - Thanks Amanda! Firestone is one of the best locations I've shot at, I always look forward to landscape themed weddings so it was a real treat to shoot it. :)

  • jennifer bosserman - can you accommodate a wedding on Jan2 20010, for 150 people?

  • David Murphey - What a photogenic location. Really like the giant tree as a backdrop for the ceremony.

  • ian - It's an amazing location, I wish I could shoot all my weddings there!

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