Sarah Slavik Photography

Atlanta's Best Wedding Vendors - 2010

Each January, we come up with a list of vendors from the previous wedding year who best exemplified the service standard couples and professionals expect from a top notch vendor. Each year, as we photograph more weddings than the last, our decision to choose just one from each category becomes increasingly difficult. In 2010 we photographed 33 weddings and experienced such a range of creativity, talent, and professionalism from the vendors.

While this list is comprised of our favorite vendors, we are in no way affiliated with these companies and individuals, and are happy to provide tips and recommendations regarding other past vendors to couples during our pre-wedding consultations.

Wedding Venue: Neverland Farms - Cleveland, GA

If there was a Wedding University, Suzy Tebor, the owner and manager of Neverland Farms, would be the Dean. We shot two beautiful weddings at the Farms in 2009. The work from those weddings led to three more couples giving us the honor of photographing their nuptials in 2010. Every time we shoot a wedding at Neverland Farms we fall in love with: the breathtaking outdoor setting, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains; the organic food, served by family-like staff; and the overall relaxation of the idyllic environment. Suzy Tebor and Neverland Farms meet all of our needs as wedding photographers, and many of our past couples feel the same.

Reception Place: Olde Towne Athletic Club - Marietta, GA

The Olde Towne Towne Athletic Club consists of 12 tennis courts, a fitness facility, a pool, a restaurant and bar, and most importantly: a beautiful spacious ballroom, elegantly decorated, with lovely high ceilings, perfect for using bounced flash to photograph a reception. The ballroom at the OTA Club is quite large, accommodating almost 300 wedding guests. They provide excellent catering and the staff is very professional. Their website will tell you that they are "East Cobb's Best Kept Secret". Well, now the secret's out.

Ceremony Place - Frost Chapel - Berry College Campus, Rome, GA

Frost Chapel is a beautiful venue option for a couple who dreams of a romantic church wedding. The Chapel consists of lovely stonework architecture, equipped with archways and stained glass windows, nestled on a hill in the woods with a nice little winding path leading up to the chapel doors. The inside is a little dark, but this is made up for by the fact that, unlike many churches, there are no photography restrictions about where and how the photographs may be taken. Also, any couple who marries at Frost Chapel will have access to the gorgeous Berry College campus grounds for portrait opportunities. Just follow the winding path to the enchanting Swan Lake to see what we mean.

Band - Nelson Brownstone - Metro Atlanta Area

Nelson Brownstone, led by charismatic lead singer and songwriter Dennis Brown, is a high energy cover band that plays a wide variety of contemporary music in addition to the classic wedding oldies. Very professional, they sounded and looked great. They also made sure to pay close attention to the couple and their guests, feeling out the energy in the room. Because of them, the reception was a big success. We are not the first to notice that Nelson Brownstone is a step above the rest; visit their website to read other similar testimonials.

Videographers: Wages Films - Atlanta, GA

As photographers, we take a very subtle approach to our wedding day photography. We try to be as discreet as possible, allowing the festivities to go uninterrupted while we capture all the important moments. Our belief is that the best wedding coverage is achieved when the subjects are unaware of the cameras. Paul Wages, of Wages Films, shoots with minimalistic equipment and his films are excellent. He cooperates well with photographers and avoids many of the issues we occasionally encounter with videographers, such as directing actions and approaching guests to ask them to "say something for the camera." We feel this type of involvement is not necessary to capture the wonder and romance of a wedding day and Paul Wages is the proof.

Officiant: Jeremiah O'Keefe West - Atlanta, GA

You may remember Jeremiah from our 2008 list of vendors. In 2010 we had the opportunity to photograph two more weddings officiated by our Irish friend. Chaplain Jeremiah O'Keefe West is a non-denominational wedding officiant, very popular in Atlanta, who is willing to go wherever he is needed. His approach to weddings is very easy-going and fun, but not cheesy, and we never grow tired of his smooth baritone voice. He always shows great interest in the couple and makes sure to tailor the ceremony to fit their relationship and personalities. A ceremony by Jeremiah is sure to be one that you and your guests will always remember fondly.

Wedding Coordinator: Amanda Dana from Ashley Baber Weddings

Amanda Dana was a pleasure to work with. She was one of the most helpful coordinators we have ever seen. She really had a sense for the flow of the wedding and she was always a few steps ahead of the proceedings. Amanda was particularly helpful to us, directing groups of people to multiple locations where we took formal and lifestyle portraits. Her energy and enthusiasm were contagious.

Wedding Cake and Desserts: Cecilia Villaveces Cakes - Athens, GA

We encountered Cecilia's Cakes for the first time at the wedding of Nicole and Ivan in Athens. Cecilia is known for her creativity as well as the range of delicious customizable options for her cake design. It's not every wedding that we are fortunate enough to try the cake, so maybe we are a little biased, but we are so glad we got to try this one. The groom's cake was a "simple" tiramisu that was truthfully the best dessert we have ever eaten at a wedding. If you are not impressed by the craftsmanship of Cecilia's cakes alone, we suggest you try a sample.

DJ: Mike Stephens of M&S Mobile Productions

Mike Stephens, a.k.a. DJ Sqwish is a hardworking and extremely friendly DJ who can do a lot for your wedding reception. Something that stood out was that he provided two screens for music videos as well as a slideshow of the bride and groom's pictures. The music videos were an instant hit at the reception and Mike went the extra mile to work closely with us, making sure we had everything covered. Mike Stephens has been working as a professional DJ in this business for nearly a decade and it shows.

Accommodations: Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel

For many weddings our photography coverage begins in a hotel suite with the bride and her bridesmaids getting ready for the ceremony. These moments are not always the easiest to capture as there are many factors that affect the quality of the photography conditions. The best conditions are found in hotels that provide spacious rooms with good light, an attractive lobby and free parking is always a plus. The Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel has an extraordinary 14-story atrium lobby that anyone would find impressive, and the rooms employ a clean contemporary design that works great in pictures.

We had some great experiences in our 2010 year, and we look forward to an already promising 2011 wedding season, when we will undoubtedly have more difficult decisions to make. We'll see all you Atlanta wedding fans back here in January 2012 for more recommendations from what will hopefully turn out to be a very eventful year.

Yours Sarah and Slava
in January, 2010

See also: Atlanta's best wedding companies—Our 2009, 2008, and 2007 winners.

Back to:
Wedding Photography Directory