We married in Oak Park on April 23 and want to congratulate and thank the Oak Park vendors that all surpassed our expectations.

We did nothing to announce or conceal my role as reporter for the JOURNAL, and I never got the sense that anyone treated me any differently than they would have any customer.

The one exception was Anthony Gambino, owner of Cucina Paradiso, where we had our rehearsal dinner. I had interviewed Anthony before for articles, but he gave us the standard party deal. The food was perfect, service fantastic, and priced competitively with other restaurants we looked at. Once the curtains were drawn on the party room, the atmosphere was secluded and intimate.

Kudos to Mark Ramsey, pastor at First United Church, who kept the wheels on the thing despite the groom and groomsmen showing up two minutes to show time. Forgetting the rings would have been long forgotten if I hadn’t told everyone the story.

The Carleton, where we had the reception and housed many of our guests, impressed us, on both the hotel and catering sides. Joan O’Connor, who took oversight of our wedding after her predecessor moved to the Foxes’ new Oak Brook hotel, worked tirelessly and invisibly. Many commented on the historic beauty of the hotel and its central location.

Another Anthony, at Oak Park Bakery, surprised us. We gave him a picture from a magazine of what we wanted?#34;a simple white cake with white pearl-like drops, paid for it, and that was it. The cake looked perfect, beyond what I’d hoped. The pictured cake got its crisp appearance from fondant, a chewy almond paste better for looking than eating. Anthony used butter cream, which I expected to be too mushy to create the same effect.

Not only did it look perfect, it tasted great. The butter cream was light and airy and a delightful mix of vanilla and raspberry. And, all it took was a short conversation with him and the photo. Having to do so little for something like the cake was an incredible time- and worry-saver.

But by far our loudest applause must be saved for KaBloom, our florist. The freshness of the flowers, the beauty of the arrangements and how they listen to what we wanted and did it perfectly made us believers in the newly opened shop. It was the second florist we visited for a quote. The first, a long-established Oak Park florist, tried to sell us her vision of what we wanted, rather than listen to what we wanted.

KaBloom gave us a trial bouquet and centerpiece, each on the day of one of our showers, so we could make sure they understood exactly what we wanted. And, of course, the trials spruced up the showers.

We thank Tom and Julie Wallbaum and especially Sandy at KaBloom, and highly recommend them. It was exactly what we asked for and they met our budget.

In fact, we’d recommend all of our Oak Park vendors. The problems we encountered (which were minor as problems go) were with our out-of-town vendors.

It says something about a community that you can throw a wedding for 165 people and keep so much of your business local.

Thank you.

Drew and Nicole Carter
Forest Park

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