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What You Need To Know Before Scheduling Your Hair & Makeup Trial

Join us for part 1 of a 2-part series. Today we discuss general facts about your hair and makeup trial.

 

With so many aspects of wedding planning, there are some items that you might think you could skip in an effort to save money. However, skipping on a hair and makeup trial is not recommended. Why?

 

Well, picture yourself on the day of your wedding: You go to the salon, because we know that your hair and makeup should be done by professionals, and the stylist asks what you are doing. They do what you ask but then you suddenly realize that what you wanted looks totally different on you than what you expected it to. Well, because it’s your wedding day, you are on a tight schedule, so you don’t have time to redo anything. That leads to a very stressful situation and something you don’t want to be worrying about last minute, especially on your wedding day.

 

RELATED: THIS IS THE ONE MISTAKE THAT CAN RUIN YOUR WEDDING PHOTOS

 

So, what exactly is a hair and makeup trial?

 

Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo & Video

A hair and makeup trial is just that: a trial run. It’s a chance for you to try out different styles of makeup and different styles of hair that you think you might want for your wedding day. That way, the day of your wedding, you and your stylist know ahead of time what styles you are going to have, so the appointment is streamlined, organized, stress free, fun, and, most importantly, efficient.

 

Since your hair and makeup appointment is usually the first stop on your wedding day itinerary, if you run late at the salon, it has a chain reaction on the rest of your day, making you late throughout the day. Knowing what the plan is ahead of time helps to get you in and out in a timely manner.

 

How far in advance should I book a trial?

 

Unlike buying a wedding dress or booking your vendors, scheduling a hair and makeup trial doesn’t really have a set timeframe; however, you want to make sure you schedule one at least a few months out from your wedding. This way, you have time to see what you like, have time to think about the looks you tried, and have time to make another appointment, if you feel you need one. You also want to make sure that you leave yourself enough time to prep your skin and get it close to the way you want it for your wedding day.

 

RELATED: EXPERTS SHARE BEST ADVICE FOR FLAWLESS WEDDING DAY SKIN

 

How long does a hair and makeup trial appointment last?

 

Each salon is different, so that’s a question you want to make sure you ask when booking your appointment. “I block out an hour-and-a-half,” says Stephanie Jones, owner of The Blushery in Beacon, who primarily does makeup. Rebecca Lee, owner of Bella Luci Salon in Poughkeepsie, says a hair trial lasts about an hour, and for makeup, expect an additional 45 minutes to an hour.

 

What you need to know and what should you bring with you

 

First, you need to know that a trial really starts with a conversation. You may have an idea of what you are looking for, but you need to have an open discussion with your stylist about your day. Cheryl Conklin, Platinum Stylist and Bridal Coordinator of Salon Lucere in Chester, says it’s always good to know what kind of wedding you are planning to have “Is it a very glamorous evening wedding? Is it formal? Is it casual? Is it outdoors? Because that does effect what we suggest for them,” she says.

 

Photos

 

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

“Usually, I tell them that they can bring in any pictures that they like,” says Jones. Sometimes she finds that brides don’t necessarily have a specific style. “They (brides) could bring in 10 totally different looks; but at least I know what kind of colors they like, if they want more of a smoky eye, if they want more of a natural look.”

 

The thing to remember is that the photos you bring with you are really meant for inspiration, not meant to copy exactly. “The good thing about a trial is that we take the pictures and make them applicable to them and their hair,” Lee says, “because sometimes the picture has extensions and they aren’t taking that into consideration, or the whole hair texture is completely different than their hair texture, so we use that as inspiration to then create a look that fits their hair style and their hair type.”

 

You also want to bring in a photo of your dress. “If they don’t have a dress,” says Jones, “they tell me either what kind of dress style they like or what color their bridesmaids are going to be, and we just go from there.”

 

Headpiece

 

It’s always a good idea to bring in any headpiece or hair accessories you plan on wearing that day, including your veil. “If they have it (headpiece), we like them to bring it,” Conklin says, “because sometimes it will dictate a bit of the hairstyle.” She says it also gives the stylist an idea of the overall look you are going for.

 

“If they have a headpiece,” says Lee, “I always say bring it to the trial because sometimes the style (of hair) that they chose doesn’t look well when the veil is in or we need to make a few adjustments so that it does compliment the hairpiece. Are they going to wear the hairpiece throughout the day, or just the ceremony, are they taking it out? Who’s going to do that? We do try to train at least one person (in the bridal party) to be able to put it in and take it out.”

 

We hope this gives you an overview of how to prep for your trial and what you can expect. Join us next week when we go into specific detail about your makeup and hair trial and how to leave with the perfect look for your wedding day.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

 

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Learn How to Save Hundreds On Your Wedding Dress

Growing up, my dream was to be a wedding gown designer. After I graduated from high school I went to a great college to study fashion design, even interned at a couture London Bridal Salon where gowns were custom made for brides in the shop every day! It was incredible!

 

That experience taught me so much about the world of gown design, not only about what quality means but also about the time and materials needed to make a gown.

 

RELATED: What You Need To Look For in a Quality Bridal Gown

 

When you purchase a regular everyday dress off the rack, more often than not, the materials and construction are such in which it can be easily mass produced, manufactured quickly and made in a way in which the manufacturer and the seller make a profit. Retail prices on regular off-the-rack garments are much more affordable than a custom wedding gown.

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Now, you might be thinking that gowns are mass-produced, and I can see why: Hundreds of shops across the country carry the same style from a particular brand. However, those are just samples. Think of them as the floor model of furniture or cars. When you buy a couch or a car, you are not buying the one sat in and tried out, you are getting a new one customized (maybe) just for you. You can’t just walk out of the store with it.

 

Same goes with wedding gowns. With gowns, you also have to remember that because this is a gown worn only once on the biggest and most important day of your life, no detail is missed. The materials chosen are the best. The embellishments and beadwork are done by hand using only the finest beads and crystals, the lace is the most beautiful it can be, and that all comes at a price, both for labor and materials.

 

RELATED: Who Should Help You Say “Yes” to Your Wedding Dress

 

While all that is great, if you are a bride on a tight budget, shopping for a dress can be a source of tremendous stress because it’s a huge purchase that takes up a good portion of your budget. However, there are two great ways you can save money on bridal gowns, which you may, or may not have heard of before. However, they are not foolproof and come with some catches. Here are the pros and cons…

 

Save money on a wedding gown by attending a sample sale

 

Going back to the example of the couch and the car, when stores are trying to get rid of inventory, they put their samples on sale. So, the test-driven cars, the traded-in cars, the floor model furniture that everyone has sat on, the discontinued models, it all goes on sale to be sold to make room for new stock.

 

Bridal gown shop owners do the same, and their sales are called sample sales. The samples that brides have been trying on over the past year or more are going on sale to make room for new stock. Below is a video from a recent sample sale at Lambs Hill Bridal Boutique in Beacon, where we speak to shop owner Charlotte Guernsey and a bride-to-be about the sale.

 

 

PROS

 

What does that mean for you? That means saving a huge chunk of money, sometimes up to 50% or more, and each store does it slightly differently. Guernsey says “a sample sale is when we are clearing stuff off our rack, so you’re going to be buying something that was a sample that other brides have tried on.” She says, “It’s discounted because it has been tried on.”

 

CONS

 

There is a big catch with sample sales. Gowns are sold AS IS! They can’t be ordered in your size. Guernsey says, “We’re not going to be ordering it for your size, so it more or less need to fit you off the rack, but you’re going to get a great deal for it.” Additionally, the fabric may have slight tears or holes from brides trying them on, zippers may be broken or buttons may be missing, and the bottoms may be stained a bit from all the walking.

 

Many stores will list what is wrong with the dress on the tag, so that you are aware of it, and can fix most of the problems. Check with the individual store to see what they charge for fixing those problems. Dresses can be taken in, but because they won’t be ordered in your size, they cannot be taken out…much.

 

Lastly, bridal runs small, so remember that when shopping. The range of sizes can be very limited.

 

RELATED: What Top Bridal Gown Trends Will You See in 2017

 

Save money on a wedding gown by attending a Trunk Show

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

The term ‘Trunk Show’ was coined a few centuries ago when traveling salesmen would go into town showcasing their goods out of a trunk that they would carry around with them. In bridal, “The trunk show is when the company comes with their entire line…that’s not in stores yet. So it gives brides an opportunity…to try their entire line on, plus everything else we have in the store,” says Guernsey.

 

PROS

 

If you are a trend-setting bride, trunk shows are perfect for you. Bridal salon owners typically choose a few gowns from a particular product line to have in their stores and usually do this during Bridal Market, a semi-annual event where design houses and the buyers for bridal salons choose the samples they want to carry in their store. With trunk shows, you get to see the entire line of one particular designer, not just the styles the store carries.

 

Laura Howard, store manager of Chamonix Bride in Rhinebeck, says the “designer will ship us about 10-30 gowns that we don’t normally offer… It’s also a really great time to try on gowns that you otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to…They are usually the upcoming season’s gowns or current season not in inventory.” She says it’s also a great way for the store to see what their customers are going to be wanting next season so they can make sure they have what brides are looking for and can get them in that season.

 

RELATED: Highlights from New York International Bridal Week

 

CONS

 

The major con with trunk shows is the discount, ironically. Because the dresses are for the upcoming season, many manufacturers put a limit on the amount the gowns can be discounted. Most of the time, you are only going to be saving about 10%, not like sample sales where you could be saving up to 50% or more.

 

However, 10% is better than nothing. If your dress is originally $1,500 and you’re saving 10%, that’s $150 which can then go towards a veil or alterations.

 

Another con with trunk shows is that if there is a particular designer you are looking for, you need to be vigilant about doing your research to see what stores offer that designer’s trunk show, if they do at all. That may mean you need to travel outside of the Hudson Valley for your gown, which can pose its own set of unique logistical problems.

 

Have you purchased your gown yet? Will you be attending a Trunk Show or Sample Sale? We’d love to hear your story.

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Not Sure if You Want to Hire a Wedding Planner? 5 Things You Need to Know

When I was planning my wedding, I didn’t hire a wedding planner. I had preconceived notions of what a planner did and honestly, I was looking forward to the challenge of planning a wedding and didn’t want to spend any more money than I already had. I’m the type of person that loves to plan, loves to create, and my wedding was the perfect playground for me. We also had our reception at an all-inclusive venue, so I felt like everything was taken care of, and it was, perfectly.

 

There was, however, one part of my day that did not go as planned, that still bothers me to this day and still has me doubting my decision of not hiring a planner, at least a day of coordinator. Here’s what happened…

 

When we arrived at the church, my bridesmaids and I were led to a room off to the side of the vestibule in the church. Within a few seconds, my girls left the room to line up with the groomsmen and then I heard our processional music playing. I couldn’t see anything from where I was waiting, but in my head, I envisioned the bridal party walk down the aisle, like we rehearsed the day before, and knew we good to go.

 

However, it wasn’t until I saw my video that I realized the timing was totally off!! Our first couple to walk down the aisle did so before any music started playing, then the second and third couple walked to music, then our ring bearer started walking down to my music!

 

The thought never entered our mind that we needed to make sure someone was going to signal to the organist in the choir loft that we are ready to go. She couldn’t see us and needed guidance! We never thought to ask the question of how the timing was going to go. We just assumed, somehow, it would happen…but it didn’t. Once the ceremony started, the organist had vocal cues from the priest to know when to start playing music, but to start, she had nothing…co clues or signals to know when to start.

 

It’s such a tiny detail, but when you spend hours planning your perfect day, and something like that happens, it’s cringe-worthy!

 

I share this story with you, not to scare you, but to show how common misconceptions can sometimes lead to poor decision-making. So, I wanted to take this time to debunk some common myths about wedding planners to help you make a more informed decision when it comes to your wedding.

 

Myth #1 – Wedding planners are too expensive

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Weddings

Many couples think that hiring a wedding planner is a luxury, something that they will spend money on, IF they have money leftover in their budget. The result is many couples, at least those familiar with the Hudson Valley, forgo this “luxury” because they don’t think it’s worth it.

 

Truth –

 

As with all aspects of your wedding, you are investing in something much more. You are investing in memories. Joann Provanzano, owner and certified bridal consultant of What Dreams Are Made of in Kingston, says, “Yes there’s a price, but there are so many perks to it (hiring a wedding planner) that people don’t realize.” Perks include all the little items that some folks forget about such as cuing the music at your ceremony or making sure your gifts are packed and taken back to your hotel room.

 

Other perks of hiring a wedding planner is that they can act as a mediator and “therapist” of sorts. If families don’t get along, your wedding planner can step in and ease some of the tension by finding workarounds. They deal with the problems at hand so that you can relax and not be so stressed out. Jeanne Stark, of Hudson Valley Ceremonies in Rhinebeck, says with a wedding planner, “You have an advocate on your side, you have someone that you can always run questions by, etiquette, family issues.”

 

Another perk, which kind of sounds ironic, is that by investing money in hiring a wedding planner, you could actually be saving yourself money (and time and stress) in the long run. Stark also says that planners have vendors in their repertoire that you may not ever know about. Little hidden gems, as she likes to call them “We also have a lot of vendors that they’re (couples) not going to find on The Knot or Wedding Wire,” she says. “They just don’t advertise, they don’t feel they need to or want to and they’re going to be at a lower price because they’re not paying for advertising.”

 

Myth #2 – Wedding planners are too bossy!

Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo & Video

This misconception, I’m sure, comes from the portrayal of wedding planners in movies and TV, where they show up and start bossing people around. Think Martin Short’s character Franck from Father of the Bride. While it’s fun and entertaining, for the most part, wedding planners are not like that.

 

Truth –

 

Nellie Hill, Event Planner and Owner of Nellie Hill Events in Hurley, says the right planner actually keeps their relationship with other hired professionals cordial. “We all work together,” she says. “I’m not going to step on their toes…I will just step back and make sure that it’s happening from afar.” However, she says, as the second set of eyes, she makes sure everything happens the way it’s supposed to. She gives an example of a photographer. “They are a professional, they know what they are doing” but if she sees something happening that they may not be aware of, she will make sure to tell them.

 

Stark says a common misconception is that wedding planners go around yelling at everyone, telling vendors what to do and bringing them down the lowest level they can charge. “A good wedding planner,” she says, “is a team player, we’re all on the same page, so the misconception is that we are there to tell everyone what to do, and we’re not.” She continues to say that “it’s not our job to say ‘do this!’ It’s our job to say ‘let’s come up with a couple ideas,’ and then they (the couple) can choose what’s comfortable for them or what they feel is going to work best in that situation.”

 

However, if you are still unsure of this truth, talk with your vendors and your venue on planners they’ve worked with before. You want to make sure that the planner you hire works well with others and is not the type that lives up to this misconception.

 

RELATED: The One Thing That Will Ruin Your Wedding and 4 Ways to Prevent It

 

Myth #3 – I don’t need a wedding planner because my wedding is in a non-traditional venue

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Getting married at a non-traditional venue has its perks, but also has its setbacks. Remember, most non-traditional venues were built with another purpose in mind first, like a barn, an inn, or an old industrial space, not for weddings. That means that you need to turn that space into a wedding venue.

 

Truth –

 

Provenzano says, “Unique venues such as barns, backyards, wineries – it’s more complicated.” If you are turning a non-traditional space into a wedding venue, it’s all on you, unless you hire someone to help you. You need to provide everything from tables, china, napkins, silverware, to portable restrooms, heat, tents, etc. Even if you are a DIY bride, do you really want to be in charge of all of those details? Stark says, “Most of our clients are going to be ones that are in a venue where they pay a site fee and they have to do everything. EVERYTHING! So that’s a typical couple that would need a wedding planner, just because there’s so many moving parts, so many components to the wedding itself.”

 

RELATED: DIY Weddings: 5 Things You Need To Know Now

 

Myth #4 – I don’t need a wedding planner because I’m getting married at a full-service venue

 

A full-service wedding venue is one you would typically associate with a wedding. A catering hall at a venue or hotel where you choose your linens, your menu, etc. and have staff taking care of you throughout the night. Because of all the staff catering to you during the night, it’s easy to assume you don’t need a wedding planner.

 

Truth –

 

While most couples who have weddings at venues like this do not hire wedding planners, “Full-service wedding venues still need someone there”, says Provanzano. The venue is almost always your biggest ticket item. “If you have a problem with the venue,” she says, “and you don’t have a planner that you’ve hired, who are you going to turn to?” You need to go to someone who works at that venue instead of having an independent person to help you through the issue.

 

Hill says at full-service venues, “sometimes the maître d’ may not be there when a vendor is not showing up…the maître d’ is following the food and managing the staff.”

 

Myth #5 – A wedding planner will take control and not give me the wedding I really want

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Some people have this misconception that a wedding planner will take over all control and force their opinions onto a couple creating a wedding that is the planner’s vision and not the couple’s vision.

 

Truth –

 

When you hire a wedding planner, you are also hiring a third-party “voice of reason.” Sometimes couples get so caught up in the wedding day that their expectations are set way too high, and become unrealistic. The wedding planner comes in and brings them back to reality. Provanzano encourages couples to make smarter decisions. If a couple wants a flame thrower at the reception or wants to spend $2,000 on invitations, she will often times show them what else they could get for their money that would go a lot further instead. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but she gives alternative options to let the couple ultimately decide what’s really important to them and what they really want to do.

 

“The other part of being a wedding planner,” Stark says, “is making sure that clients are making good choices, in a timely manner, and unfortunately, sometimes, being the one that says ‘OK, I know you love the fact that you want to come in a hot air balloon, unfortunately, you have a $25,000 budget and that’s going to blow it out of the water.’ ” Because of that, Stark says planners “sometimes have to be the one that has to be the bearer of bad news. But from experience, what you do is you say ‘well, what about this idea instead? It’s going to be a third of the price, it’s something spectacular, and people are still going to think it’s really cool.”

 

The fact that this “voice of reasoning” may be where this myth comes from, the reality is, the couple actually ends up makes smarter decisions.

 

Are you hiring a wedding planner for your wedding? What made you decide to hire one? Why did you decide not to hire one? We’d love to know.

 

Featured Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

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Featured Couple: Melissa & Kaveh

Their Love Story…

 

Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo & Video

Their story started out as a series of missed moments. Melissa says, “Kaveh and I spent years just missing each other, as a mutual friend kept trying to set us up, but the timing never quite worked for both of us. Then about 4 years ago we were invited to the same holiday party where we met for the first time and have been together ever since.”

 

The Proposal…

 

Their proposal didn’t go quite as planned but worked out perfectly in the end. “Kaveh had been working on planning a proposal for just before my 30th birthday,” Melissa says, “however I got sick and threw a bit of a wrench in his plans. I insisted on staying home to rest up and he switched gears and prepared to do it another time. We ordered sushi and had a picnic in our living room, surrounded by tissues and tea. It was there that he ended up proposing, saying it was those moments that made him want to spend our lives together so what better way to ask.”

 

Wedding Theme…

 

“We didn’t really have a theme,” Melissa says, “but I love rustic elements and pastels.”

Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo & Video


 

Why the Hudson Valley?…

 

Melissa says, “I have family that lives in the Hudson Valley and growing up it was always one of my favorite places to visit. With so many happy memories there it was a natural fit for our wedding.”

 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

Melissa says the most memorable moment for her was during their first dance. “It was when my nerves melted away,” she says, “and it was just me and Kaveh surround by our cheering friends and family.”

 

Hudson Valley Professionals…

 

Venue – The Garrison (Garrison)

Photography/VideographyEmma Cleary Photo and Video (New York City)

FloristFloral Fantasies By Sara (Rhinebeck)

HairAnnaliese & Co. (Fishkill)
Makeup
Bridal by Alexandria (Fishkill)

 

Photo Credit to all: Emma Cleary Photo and Video (Click images for larger view)

 

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engagement rings: what you need to know beyond the 4 “C”s

OK, guys, listen up, this blog post is just for you. We’re going to teach you everything you need to know when it comes to purchasing an engagement ring. From when to buy it, to how to buy it to what to do with after you buy it, we have you covered. We know this is a big moment for you and we have your back.

 

You may be nervous or excited, or maybe a little bit of both, but you’re not alone. Michael J. Halpy, owner of Hannoush Jewelers in Wappingers Falls, says, “There’s some guys that come in with their buddies for moral support, there’s some guys that come in and they take that deep breath when they walk through the doors, and there’s some that are just really confident and know exactly what they want.” So know, straight away, no matter what you are feeling when you go shopping, it’s totally normal!

 

But before we get into the details, you need to remember one thing: Buying a ring is “the beginning of the beginning,” says James Matero, co-owner of Jaymark Jewelers in Cold Spring. Because of that, “it’s important to keep a couple of things in mind,” he says. “Buying an engagement ring is an emotional purchase. Yes, you want to get her something she loves, but you’re also going to get something that really is a symbol, it’s a promise, you’re getting her an emotional item, not just a physical item. So getting something she loves is important but making sure it means what you want is also important.”

 
RELATED: 3 Essential Details You Need to Know Before Attending Your First Wedding Expo
 

General rules to keep in mind outside of the 4 “C” s

 

Photo Credit: Jaymark Jewelers

By now, you should be very familiar with the four “C”s, but in case you don’t know, they are carat weight, color grade, clarity grade, and cut grade. However, choosing a diamond goes far beyond that.

 

Matero says, “Aside from the 4 ‘C’s the most important thing to remember is you aren’t buying a diamond based on paperwork, you’re buying a diamond based on how beautiful it is.” What does he mean? Well, diamonds may have great characteristics on paperwork that comes with each ring highlighting the 4 “C”s, but you may not like the way they look. “Sometimes the most highly graded diamonds may not look as pretty to you as something else,” he says. “So it’s always important that you look at the diamond and see them in person because what’s good on paper isn’t always the best.”

 

Another thing to remember is that no one “C” is better than the other, you want to go for an overall pleasing aesthetic to the entire ring.

 

How far in advance should you purchase the engagement ring?

 

Jocelyn Z. Klastow, Vice President of Zimmer Brother Jewelers in Poughkeepsie, recommends 4-6 weeks is good, but 6-8 weeks is better. You want to make sure you give yourself enough time to choose a great ring, size it, and have it ready for “popping the question” especially if you plan to propose on vacation. One tip she has is that if you are planning to propose on vacation, DO NOT under any circumstance put the ring in your suitcase. Keep it in your carry-on.

 
RELATED: 5 Tips You Need To Know For Awesome Engagement Photos
 

So, how do you figure out what she likes?

 

This can be tricky or not, depending on how open you are about getting engaged and if you want to keep it a surprise or have her be part of the process.

 

Get her involved

 

Photo Credit: Zimmer Brother’s Jewelers

“One of the trends I’ve seen over the last 7 years or so is having the women involved,” says Halpy. “It used to be traditional, the guy used to come in and pick out a ring and it went on her finger and that was that. But now, there’s so many different designs, there’s so many different styles, different types of metals, different shaped stones. Brides have their unique desire for their engagement ring. They might have a specific design in mind and at the end of the day, it’s a big investment for anybody. Whether you’re spending $500 or $20,000, it’s a lot of money for an engagement ring and you want to make sure that your bride is going to be happy with what you get.”

 

 

“I also think that it’s a great way to really start and cement that communication, on the relationship end, to find out what someone is really liking.

 

If you want to keep it secret

 

Matero says if your significant other has a Pinterest account, try to get onto that and see if there are any boards for engagement rings or wedding-type information. That’s a good source. Other options can include getting siblings or family involved, or asking friends.  A few years ago, my best friend’s boyfriend reached out to me and asked if I could help get some info on what kind of rings she likes because he was going to propose. I took my friend out that night for a girl’s shopping night and tried very hard to come up with a story that would get her to divulge what kind of ring she liked. It was tricky, but it worked. I felt an enormous amount of pressure to get it right, so now I know exactly what you guys go through.

 

Photo Credit: Zimmer Brothers Jewelers

Klastow says if you are keeping it a secret and doing it on your own without a “super sleuth” plan, here’s what you need to know. “We always say pay attention to the clues beforehand because she’ll be giving them, you just have to know to keep your ears open for them,” she says. “Most men that come in, I will say, have an idea of what she likes. Whether it’s been through a stealthy Pinterest hunt or whether she’s actually emailed him a picture, whether a friend’s ring was maybe something that she liked.”

 

However, if you don’t have any of that, “the number one thing it boils down to is what’s her style,” Klastow says. Then, “we start with what color metal does she like, and most brides are opting for white, so that would be white gold or platinum, but we are getting more requests for yellow gold and rose gold as well.” Then, she says the next question is halo or no halo “because halo style rings have become the most requested style over the past five years.”

 

The discovery process continues by figuring out what type of person she is. Klastow says if she is more sporty, you may want to go with a lower setting or maybe a half bezel, which is a metal edging around the diamond, that seals it in place instead of prongs. Basically, you want something that is in line with her lifestyle and will not get in the way of her normal day-to day activities. If she’s more girly and frilly, you may want something with a more dramatic high setting which gives the ring a very bold and romantic look.

 

Ring size

 

Photo Credit: Hannoush Jewelers

You might be thinking this is all well and good but how in the world do I find out what size she is? This is where your secret agent skills come in. Halpy says, “Finger size is an important thing and it’s a difficult something to find out without asking her directly or bringing her somewhere to find out.” He recommends paying close attention to the jewelry she wears on a daily basis. “Most girls have a ring, some type of ring, so just keep an eye out for what finger she wears it on…and then try to sneak that ring in (to the store).” It’s important to pay attention to the hand she wears it on because finger sizes vary by hand. This will give you the size or a close approximate size, so if it needs to be resized, it’s a small fix that won’t ruin the integrity of the ring.

 

Last but not least, you need insurance

 

You chose the ring, but there’s one more thing you need to do: insure it! “There’s a couple different things you can do for insurance,” says Halpy. “There’s some people who have renter’s insurance, so you can call whoever your renters agent is and get a quote from them. If you own a home, you can call your homeowner’s insurance and get a quote to get it added on there.” You can also go through the jeweler themselves to see what agencies they recommend, agencies that only insure jewelry. As with everything, it’s important to do your due diligence to make sure it is properly insured.

 

Photo Credit: Jaymark Jewelers

Klastow says most people like to insure the ring against theft of loss, but, she says this is very important: “You want to make sure that when you insure it, you’re not insuring it for a percentage of the replacement value but for the entire replacement value.” When you do this, you also want to make sure that your ring gets reappraised every seven years to make sure you are getting the correct value if anything should happen to it.

 

So, guys, what do you think? Are you feeling more prepared now to get the ball rolling? Matero has some final words before you venture out to the jewelry store. “It’s a big purchase,” he says, “so it’s smart to do you due diligence.” You don’t need to be an expert, he says, but “trust your professional, think about what she likes, and take a deep breath. Enjoy the shopping experience.”

 

We’d love to hear your proposal story? Did you both pick out a ring or was it a surprise? What super sleuth method was used to figure out what kind of ring to buy?

Featured Image Photo Credit: Jaymark Jewelers

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8 Easy Ways to Save Money as a Wedding Guest

Planning a wedding is expensive, but sometimes being a wedding guest can be extremely costly as well. We love our friends and family, and we love that they are getting married, but if you get invited to several weddings a year, or even one every few years, it can be a source of a lot of anxiety and stress. Between gifts, travel, hotel rooms, showers, and what you are going to wear, being a guest is anything but cheap.

 

However, take a deep breath and relax. Part of the reason guests may feel so overwhelmed is because of preconceived notions they have about what a gift should be. First, and foremost, know that the rule that you should at least cover your plate is not the rule anymore. So that should make you feel a little better.

 

Second, you have to remember that most of the time, those who invited you know what’s going on in your life. They aren’t going to expect an expensive gift if they know your budget is strapped. Last, remember that you are invited to a wedding because the couple wants your presence, not your presents. They aren’t inviting you because of the gift they think you are going to give them, and if they are, you may not want to go to that wedding.

 

So, knowing that, I’m going to share 8 EASY ways to save money as a wedding guest without breaking the bank.

 

Save money on your wardrobe

 

Going to a wedding is a great excuse to go shopping for a new outfit, but this can be problematic if you are attending a lot of weddings or don’t have the extra money to spend on a new outfit. Here are some ways to get around that. First, take a look at your closet and see what you have. If you have a little black dress or even a dress you normally wear to business meetings, you can always jazz that up with accessories, sweaters or shoes that are considerably less than buying a whole new outfit.

 

Also, take a look at whose weddings you are going to. Chances are, most times guests who are at one wedding are not going to be at another you go to, so wearing the same outfit again, is not the end of the world. However, if you know some of the same people are going to be there, that’s where changing up your accessories can be a great help if you are worried that people might notice you are wearing the same outfit.

 

Photo Credit: JT Sander

Save money by just saying “No”

 

If your mailbox is getting flooded with wedding invitations and with each one you feel worse and worse, do yourself a favor and just say no. Just because you get a wedding invite, it doesn’t mean you have to go. Choose the ones that mean the most to you and just go to those only. If you are really troubled by saying no, talk to the couple and just explain your situation. You might be pleasantly surprised by their reaction.

 

Save money by making gifts

 

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

If you are crafty, have a special talent, provide services or love to cook, making a wedding gift is a GREAT alternative to buying a gift and is guaranteed to be more memorable than a check in an envelope. Some of the greatest wedding gifts I received were handmade and now decorate our home. If you provide a service, gift the couple a complimentary service. If you love to cook, make them a basket full of your homemade treats or meals that they can freeze and save for a rainy day. If you love to plan parties, suggest throwing brunch the next day at your home. When you think outside the box, there’s several alternatives to keeping your bank account in check.

 

RELATED: 5 Secrets to Being an Awesome Wedding Guest
 

Save money by taking advantage of hotel room blocks or cheaper alternatives

 

If you are attending a wedding out of town and need to stay overnight, always ask the couple if they have rooms reserved in a hotel room block. Check out the price before you book. Often times, hotel room blocks do come at a discounted rate, but not all the time. Even so, the discounted rate could still be pretty pricey. If it fits within your budget, great! If not, search the surrounding area for hotels that might be cheaper.

 

Save money by using coupons or sales on registry gifts

 

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

While many couples have a wedding gift registry, it doesn’t mean that you have to get those gifts from those particular stores. There are pros and cons to this. The obvious con is that if you decide to purchase an item from a registry list at a different store, there is no way for that couple, or other guests, to know that item was purchased, therefore the couple could end up with duplicate gifts.

 

The plus side to this is that by searching for the same gift at a different location, you could be saving a ton of money. Between coupons and sales, an item that costs $100 from the registered store could be half that somewhere else. This does take time to do the research to see where you can find that item cheaper, but if it means saving money, it might be worth it.
 

RELATED: 7 Practical Ways to Create Your Awesome Wedding Registry

 

Save money with free shipping

 

If you can’t find a gift anywhere else cheaper through coupons or sales, you might want to look for free shipping options. You could save quite a bit on shipping, particularly if an item is heavy. What you also want to do, if you get free shipping, is have the item directly shipped to the couple, this way, eliminating having to incur the cost of shipping the item you just had shipped to your house, shipped to them.

 

Save money by “chipping in”

 

If you and others you know are going to the same wedding, you might consider chipping in, not only with the gift, but with travel fares as well. You can all chip in a get the couple a great gift that all of you might not have been able to afford on your own. You might also want to consider carpooling and chipping in on travel costs such as rental cars, gas, tolls, or even hotel rooms. Consider rooming with those friends instead of getting a room all to yourself.

 

Save money by literally saving money

 

Last, but not least, if you do decide to go to all the weddings you’ve been invited to and want to give a gift or money, the best way to save money is by literally saving money. You know months in advance what weddings you are going to. Take a moment to sit down and make a list of all the expenses associated with those weddings and literally just start putting money aside each week to cover all your costs. A little bit each week will add up pretty fast.

 

What are some of the best ways you’ve saved money as a wedding guest?

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Top Floral Trends and Your Wedding: What You Need to Know

When it comes to choosing flowers for your wedding day, there are so many options to choose from. Some brides go with their favorite flowers, some want traditional arrangements or pick flowers that hold special meaning to them, yet others want what’s new and trending.

However, it’s clear that one trend, in particular, is sweeping wedding by storm. The shabby-chic, country, vintage, “casual” look is in, and it goes far beyond having an outdoor wedding on a farm with a barn in the background. It’s safe to say that no matter your venue, many brides today want that organic outdoor feel.

With that in mind, we asked Hudson Valley florists how they’re seeing this trend incorporated into today’s weddings.

RELATED: 3 Valuable Tips for Choosing Your Perfect Wedding Florist

 

Bouquets

 

Photo Credit: Floral Fantasies by Sara

Sara Salazar, Owner of Floral Fantasies by Sara in Rhinebeck, says brides are going with bigger bouquets. “Brides are staying away from tiny bouquets or even tight compact bouquets,” she says. “Now they want a loose, airy feeling like they’re (the flowers) freshly picked out of the garden.” This is a trend that started late last year and this looser, more casual feel seems to be continuing into 2017 and beyond. Theresa Colucci, owner of Meadowscent in New Paltz, says, “In the past, there were a lot of mono-botanical arrangements, meaning bouquets and arrangements of all one type of flower. Now, there’s more texture, more use of foliage. The designs are airier and open.”

Steve Morgan, owner and designer of Morgan’s Florist in Poughkeepsie, says when choosing a bouquet, keep in mind that the bouquet needs to compliment the bride and her gown. “No one should say they love the bride’s flowers,” he says, “because the flowers shouldn’t overwhelm or overstate the bride. For example, if a bride’s gown is ornate and really has a lot going on, the arrangement should be simple.”

Textures

 

Colucci mentions textures, which are also playing a huge part in wedding floral trends. What do we mean by texture? The best way to describe this is by thinking of a forest. Forests have all sorts of lush greenery, from plants with smooth leaves, plants with fuller greenery, and lots of twigs and wood. Kathy Herzing, owner of Hyde Park Florist and Gifts, says that forest look is very appealing to couples these days. “Unusual foliage like thistle and succulents” gives bouquets and floral décor that sense of bringing the outdoors in. She says the textures are countered by the softer feel of wildflowers.

Sarah Faoro, owner of Floral Affairs by Sarah in Gardiner, says, “The succulent fad is exploding” and can be found in both bouquets and décor. “Succulents aren’t just a gorgeous addition amongst fresh flowers, but also double as a pretty keepsake.”

Colors

 

Faoro says that a very popular color palette is soft neutrals like blush pinks and blush peaches. “However,” she says, “now we’ll see the addition of deep, rich colors: wine, navy, moss and gray. Also mixed in will be some brighter pops of coral, orange and pink.”

RELATED: 3 Steps You Need to Follow for Choosing Beautiful Wedding Flowers

 

Photo Credit: Floral Fantasies by Sara

Décor

 

Because couples today want that feeling of being outdoors, even if they are inside, Salazar says in barns, industrial-looking venues, even tents, couples are bringing in actual trees to decorate the space to give it more of that outdoorsy feel!

Faoro says trees and large floral displays are seen throughout ceremony and reception spaces. “Couples are opting to invest in giant floral topiaries for either side of the sweetheart table or a lush floral wall to hang at the reception as a photo-op for themselves and guests. Arches and gazebos are being adorned with extravagant garlands and place card tables are greeting guests with show-stopping florals in an effort to ‘wow’ their guests.”

How much does this new trend cost?

 

Well, I have good news and bad news on this. In the past, and if you are a bride that still wants a more traditional look, adding greenery can sometimes save you some money because you are interspersing it throughout substituting the more expensive flowers.

However, because the current trend is to use so much more greenery, you really aren’t saving as much as you would think. Salazar says, “It’s not like we’re doing just a little greenery here and there. The garlands are expensive. People think that by using the greenery, they’re going to be saving money, but they’re not because there’s so much labor that goes into doing a garland.”

However, don’t lose hope yet. There is still a way to save if you want a lot of greenery in your wedding. Salazar says, “What we’ve been doing a lot of is just placing greenery on the table, so you don’t have so much labor and it gives you a similar look.”

Now that Hudson Valley florists have shared these trends with you, what do you think? Are you choosing any of these trends for your wedding or going with a more traditional, formal look? We’d love to know!

Featured Photo Credit: Floral Fantasies by Sara

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30 Truths You Need to Know About Your Wedding (Part 3)

One of the most special days of your life is here and you are bursting with excitement! You’ve waited for this day for so long and you’ve played it out in your head so many times, you know exactly how the day is going to go before the day even arrives. However, there are things that happen on your wedding day that may stray from the vision in your head. Good or bad, there are things that no one ever tells you about your wedding day, that they should. Today, we finish our massive list of 30 wedding day truths you need to know.

 

Wedding Truth #21 You may not get cash or gifts you registered for

 

Part of planning your wedding is registering for gifts. Most couples do this, but some, if they have been living together for a long period of time, opt out. And that’s totally fine. The main purpose of the wedding gift registry is to make sure you have most, if not all of the items you need to start your life together. Typical items may include china, bedding, kitchen appliances etc. Most of these gifts are given at the shower, but if there are still items left, some guests may give them to you at the wedding. Another popular wedding gift is cash. However, you may have a guest who, for whatever reason, strays from that registry and would prefer not to give cash either. Perhaps they are crafty and decide to craft you a wedding item. Maybe they are giving you an heirloom. Be prepared for guests to take liberty with your gift. Some of the best gifts we received were hand-made and now hold a special place in our home as a constant reminder of that day.

 

RELATED: 7 Practical Ways to Create Your Awesome Wedding Registry

 

Wedding Truth #22 Your wedding is not the time to change who you are

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Your wedding day will inevitably change who you are forever in terms of your marital status, but it’s not a day to change who you are as a person in terms of how you act and what you look like. What do I mean by that? Take me, for example: I wear glasses, always have since the age of 9. They are part of who I am. I wasn’t about to ditch my glasses (though I did go as far as trying contacts for the day and hated them) just because I am getting married. I realized that’s part of who I am. Why is today any different? If you wear natural makeup, your wedding day may not be the time to try cat eyes with mascara or a bold red lip. If your wardrobe is full of classic staples, you may not want to wear a blinged-out wedding dress. I know there is a lot of pressure to have a “perfect” day and I realize that in magazines, you hardly ever see brides with glasses on, but guess what? That’s not real life. You have to be you, after all, that’s who your fiancé wants to marry.

 

RELATED: The One Thing That Will Ruin Your Wedding and 4 Ways to Prevent It

 

Wedding Truth #23 You will tire of kissing and smiling

 

Wedding days are full of love and romance, there’s no denying it. There’s also no denying that by the end of the night, you are going to be really sick of kissing and smiling…in a good way. From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, you will be posing for photos all day. Many of your wedding photos include kissing poses. You are going to get really tired of having to pose for kissing shots or pose with a smile. Sure, it makes for awesome photos, but soon, you are going to want it all to stop so you can actually smile and kiss organically and naturally. You are going to get so used to smiling and kissing that the day after, it’s going to feel weird not doing that.

 

Wedding Truth #24 You will be the most exhausted you have ever been in your life

 

I mentioned before that your wedding day will be the best day ever. It’s so much fun and so full of excitement that you will never want the day to end. And you don’t. However, no matter how much you want the night to go on forever, you will be exhausted! Trust me, when everything is said and done and you finally have a moment of quiet to yourself, exhaustion is going to hit you like a ton of bricks! You’re probably already working on little sleep from the night before (if you were too excited to sleep), then you were the center of attention all day, then you partied hard, then you had to maybe entertain guests for a few days and you have to pack and prepare for your honeymoon. It’s exhausting and you can only sustain that for so long before you crash. For me, I passed out on the plane on our way to our honeymoon and didn’t even realize I was asleep until we were in our descent. I never, ever sleep on planes, no matter how hard I try, so I knew I was spent! My loving hubby took some pretty funny selfie photos of me dead asleep, too!  I actually love them because they say so much.

 

Wedding Truth #25 Not everybody dances

 

DIY Wedding

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

Dancing is the part of the reception I think everyone looks forward too, however, it doesn’t matter how great your DJ is and how pumped he gets your guests, the truth is not everyone is going to dance. It doesn’t mean they are not having a good time, but some people are just not into dancing and won’t under any circumstance. And here’s a bit of advice if you notice some people not dancing at your wedding. Do not force them to dance! Ever! You could be making it very uncomfortable for them. Just let the non-dancers do their thing.

 

RELATED: The One Mistake Couples Make When Hiring Their DJ

 

Wedding Truth #26 Your wedding day is not just about you

 

In some instances, your wedding day may coincide with a special day one of your guests might be celebrating, like a birthday or anniversary. If that’s the case, make sure you acknowledge that. Yes, people are there to celebrate your marriage, but your guests are at your wedding when they could be celebrating their special day, so make sure you do something special for them, too. Perhaps ask the DJ to play a special song, or purchase a small cake or cupcakes and have everyone sing happy birthday. At our wedding, one of the kids we invited was celebrating his 6th birthday. We surprised him by purchasing a special cake, asked our maître d’ to put in a candle, told our photographer and DJ what we had planned and everyone sang happy birthday to him. It was truly a sweet and special occasion for everyone!

 

Wedding Truth #27 You are going to love the attention

 

One of the things that stressed me out the most about our wedding was knowing that we were going to be the center of attention. I hate being the center of attention and I was even shaking walking down the aisle because I knew everyone was looking at me. Even though two people are getting married, it’s always the bride that seems to get the most attention. Everyone wants to see the dress! No pressure! But, I have to say, that by the end of the night, I actually missed being the center of attention. Think about it. It’s the one day where you are put on a pedestal. Everyone wants to make you happy, and will do whatever it takes. You’re catered to all day, and without sounding arrogant, it’s kind of nice. It’s the only time in your life you are going to experience that, so enjoy it…but don’t let it get to your head.

 

RELATED: 30 Truths You Need to Know About Your Wedding (Part 1)

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Wedding Truth #28 You are going to be congratulated by everyone…even strangers

 

It’s not every day you see people walking around in tuxes, evening gowns and big white dresses. Remember, for everyone not at your wedding, your wedding day is an average, normal day. People are out running errands, living their lives, so for them, seeing a wedding party out and about is an exciting coincidence. People you don’t know will be congratulating you everywhere you go. We had some photos taken at a park, so everyone who was walking or jogging by said congrats. Even people driving by honked their horns at us. It was really cool!

 

Wedding Truth #29 Your wedding day makes you a better person

 

I mentioned earlier that your wedding day is not a day to go changing who you are on the outside, but fundamentally, getting married changes you. The unromantic side is that it really boils down to you signing a piece of paper, but that signature represents so much. I remember being in a constant state of euphoria for months after our wedding. I felt like I was in a unique and elite club. There’s something so amazing about being officially married, saying “husband” or “wife” for the first time, knowing, that forever and ever, you have someone watching your back, a trusted partner. Even people I know who were in long-term relationships prior to getting married say nothing beats that feeling. You literally become a better person!

 

RELATED: 30 Truths You Need to Know About Your Wedding (Part 2)

 

Last but not least…Wedding Truth #30 Your wedding day goes by incredibly fast

 

You’ve all heard the expression that time flies when you are having fun. It goes even faster on your wedding day! Actually, there have been studies done on this phenomenon. No matter how much you want to stop time and savor the day forever and ever, your reception does have to come to an end. It really feels like in a blink of an eye, it’s all over. All the planning, all the prepping, all the coordinating, it’s over in a flash. That’s why it’s so important to hire a professional photographer and videographer to capture the day. The experience is one you can never really repeat and to have photos and videos to replay the day whenever you want is priceless.

 

Are you recently married? Is there something you discovered about your wedding day that no one told you would happen?

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Featured Couple: Sandy & Steven

Their Love Story…

 

Sandy and Steven were college sweethearts. “We met in college during the first few weeks of our first year through mutual friends,” says Sandy. “We became really close over the years as we shared so many of the same interests. We didn’t hang out too often but when we did, we made a big deal about it. Ultimately, we graduated sitting side by side with the same majors (Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Spanish Liberal Arts). The rest is history.”

 

The Proposal…

 

bride in wedding dress

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

Christmas was the setting for their proposal, which is a very special time for both Sandy and Steven as they usually set aside one day to buy decorations and put the Christmas tree up, usually with a movie playing in the background. Sandy also loves to make Christmas cards for the family, so Steven used taking their Christmas card photo as the perfect decoy.

“I got home (from work) and he had the holiday decorations out and ready,” says Sandy. “We put on a movie and got straight to it. We wanted to take our holiday picture after we were done and Steven suggested we prop the cell phone up and record it and then screen shot the phone screen when we like a certain pose… I thought he was a genius for it.”

After the decorating was done, it was time for their photos. Sandy quickly put on some jewelry and Steven said he was going to run to the bedroom to “choose a watch to wear” for the photo. On his way to the bedroom, he hit record, for what Sandy thought was to screen shot a photo for their cards, but was really to capture the proposal. “He came out and it all happened in slow motion, I could tell he was so very nervous and he got on one knee and asked me the big question… I said yes immediately,” said Sandy.

After Sandy said yes, Steven had one more surprise. Letters to Sandy he wrote every day since he purchased the ring a few weeks before over Thanksgiving weekend. “We quickly started calling family who was in-the-know and our close friends who were over the moon excited.

The next day, we went out to lunch to celebrate, as we walked into La Stazione (one of our favorite New Paltz restaurants) our families were waiting for us, filled with so much joy!”

 

Wedding Theme…

 

“We wanted a rustic theme,” said Sandy. “We are very big on nature, light, woods, flowers and burlap. We both love trees and the metaphor trees provide. My dad always has analogies that have to do with trees and nature. We also included lots of lanterns. Our color scheme was a blush rosy pink, mint and hints of gold.”

 

Why the Hudson Valley?…

 

groom

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

“I was raised in The Bronx and Steven in Long Island. We both came to SUNY New Paltz for school in 2007,” Sandy says. “We fell in love with the picturesque views and tranquility of our college town and lived there through college. We tried to live back home with our families after graduation, but that was very brief. We both started looking for jobs up here (Hudson Valley) and have never left. We have no family up here but there was just no way we would get married anywhere else. The Hudson Valley is our home and it was such an honor to share the natural riches of our home with family and friends for our special weekend. For a lot of our college friends, it must’ve felt like a homecoming of sorts.”

 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

For Sandy, there were many moments that really stood out. “Walking down the aisle was very special, Steven was very giddy and I, whom everyone expected to be a mess of tears, was all smiles and excitement.” Sandy also says, “Our first dance was so special because Steven learned the words to our song and whispered them in my ear whilst we danced.”

In addition, Sandy says, “We both got blessing from our parents before getting married in Saint Joseph’s in New Paltz. Steven got a special blessing from his grandmother who was able to make the trip from Colombia.”

Family really made the day special for them. “We had family come from so many places (Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, and Spain); it was so special to see these loved ones after quite some time.”

 

Hudson Valley Professionals…

 

Venues: Saint Joseph’s Church (New Paltz) & Christos Catering (Poughkeepsie)

Photography: Myles Studio Photography (Highland)

Hair & Makeup: Bridal by Alexandria (Poughkeepsie)

Cake: Pastry Garden (Poughkeepsie)

Flowers: Osborne’s Flower Shoppe (Poughkeepsie)

Transportation: A Hudson Valley Limousine, Inc. (Pine Bush)

Photo Credit to All: Myles Studio Photography

 

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the one mistake couples make when hiring their DJ

When you hire a DJ for your wedding, did you know that you are not hiring them based on the fact they play music? That sounds crazy, right? I mean, they are called disc jockeys for a reason!

 

I’ll be the first to admit that we hired a DJ for our wedding because we wanted people to dance, have a good time, and get their groove on for a couple of hours. But when I stopped to think about it, our DJ did so much more than play music. Actually, the music came second to what really made our guest have a good time.
 

Here’s what I mean. A few weeks ago I saw this on the website of Digital Musicians Entertainment: “In this new age of easy access to technology it seems like it’s possible for anyone with a laptop and some speakers to be a “wedding DJ.” The truth is, what we do encompasses so much more than pressing play. It’s so much more than playing other people’s music through some big speakers.”

 

I was floored! That really made a lot of sense, so I thought I would ask professional wedding DJs in the Hudson Valley their thoughts, and they all agreed that playing music is just a part of what makes your wedding hop.

 

RELATED: Why Hiring an Experienced DJ for Your Wedding is a Bad Idea

 

David Fischer, DJ and president of M. C. Fish Entertainment, Inc. in Fishkill, says, “A lot of people think that a DJ is a human jukebox – that a DJ just plays music – and that is about the last thing we do.”

 
dj quote
 

In fact, Domenic Trocino, owner of DJ Domenic Entertainment in Poughkeepsie, says, “The DJ, more important than the music, guides and directs, becomes the master of ceremonies, makes sure things happen at the right time, they coordinate between the vendors, the caterer, and the other various vendors. … The DJ is the nucleus of the formalities.”

 

Those are some powerful words – the nucleus of formalities. So let’s break this down into what DJs really do, and that goes far beyond playing music.

 

 

Wedding DJs can sometimes act like your wedding planner, and guests look at them as the ones in charge

 

Think about weddings you’ve attended in the past. Did it seem like a choreographed dance? Dances, speeches, cake cutting, dinner, photos all seemed to be happening at the right time. That wasn’t by chance.

 

“There’s so much more to DJing a wedding than just playing music,” says Joey Garcia (DJ Joey G.), owner of Jade DJ Entertainment in New Paltz. “We’re involved in everything, and the whole flow of the evening is in our hands. We need to make sure that everything is happening according to the schedule. We need to make sure that it’s what you want it to be, and planning is the biggest part of that.” That includes working with all your vendors and making sure everyone is on the same page following the same schedule.

 

Andrew “Enriquez” Nikola, DJ and president of Enriquez Entertainment in Marlboro, says, “DJs aren’t just playing music. It is not an iPod. An entertainment company is a wedding planner, an MC, and a DJ. They are working closely together with all the other vendors, as well as the venue, to ensure the greatest success of the event for the couple.”

 

This is why Fischer says guests often look at the DJ like they are the ones in charge.

 

RELATED: 9 Crucial Things You Need to Do for Your Wedding Vendors

 

Wedding DJs are also the MCs (Master of Ceremonies) and entertainers

 

I spoke to Pat Mahan, owner and DJ at Digital Musicians Entertainment in New Windsor, who was the inspiration for this post, to explain what was written on his website. “The DJ is so much more than playing music,” he says. “If you take away the master of ceremonies or if you take away the DJ, yes, you have somebody playing music at your wedding … but the downfall to that is, all the little things add up and take away from the total music time.” Little things, such as not mixing songs properly, stalling when certain formalities are being done, essentially anything that a DJ with little experience does, that interrupts that natural flow of the night and takes away from dance time.

 

When you work with a single operation DJ, meaning the DJ is the company, they are the DJ and the MC. With multi-operation DJ companies, meaning the DJ business has several DJs working for them, you will often times get a DJ and an MC for your wedding. Richie Schneider (DJ Richie Styles), DJ and manager of Music Speaks Volumes in Wappingers Falls, says, “It’s really important to have a two-man show, like a team. You need a DJ to play the music all night long and an MC to be on the microphone and get in the crowd to make sure that everything is being hosted correctly.”

 

 

DJ Bri Swatek, owner of Spinning with Style in Wappingers Falls, says, “If certain things don’t come together … if the DJ isn’t doing a good job moving people through the day, people will remember that lack of flow, they’ll remember it wasn’t organic, it wasn’t natural.”

 

Wedding DJs are your own personal AV, backstage, and lighting crew

 

Swatek explains “a good MC, a good DJ will get their hands into every single part of the wedding day, even little things like ‘what are your wedding colors?’ Well, why are you asking that? Because I’m bringing lighting, and I want to make sure that it coordinates with what you’re doing.”

 

But you also need to look at your wedding day as a whole, not just the reception, in terms of what you are hiring your DJ to do. For example, are you having an outdoor ceremony? Then you need wireless mics. Are you having music at cocktail hour? Then you need a separate setup.

 

Fischer says, “They (couples) lean on me a lot for the ceremony. Two-thirds of all the weddings I do, I’m involved in the ceremony.” He says almost any ceremony outside of a place of worship is going to need something, whether its live music like a violinist or at the very minimum a PA system. “If they (the couple) are out in the middle of a field on a farm and there are 200 guests,” he says, “the people in the first three rows are going to hear it (the ceremony) but what about the other 175 guests? So at the minimum, you need PA.”

 

 

Mahan says music should really be the last thing you discuss with your DJ. “The music is a byproduct of the process,” he says, “and the process is what’s important.” A truly experienced and qualified wedding DJ will be able to answer questions like “What happens if the first song cuts out? What happens if I have a last minute request? How do you accommodate that?”

 

So, you can see, a wedding DJ does so much more than play music. In our next article, we’re going to teach you the best ways to hire a DJ, what you should be looking for and questions to ask.
 
If you already booked your DJ or had your wedding, what did your DJ do that surprised you in any way? What made you say “Oh, I didn’t know that?”

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30 Truths You Need to Know About Your Wedding (part 2)

I love being able to look back on our wedding day and seeing it not only as a the most incredible day of my life, but also taking things that I learned about myself and that day and sharing them with you, to help give you insights and prepare you for things that no one might not tell you about your wedding day. Today, we continue our list of 30 Wedding Day Truths…

 

RELATED: 30 Truths You Need To Know About Your Wedding Day (Part 1)

 

Wedding Truth #11 – You will watch your wedding video more than you think

 

Wedding photography is usually one of the first things couples book, but videography is sometimes the last and is often an afterthought. I know it was for me. We have great family videos but the one thing I did not realize was just how much I’d watch those videos after our wedding. I never thought I would watch them at all, so that’s why we opted out, which now I kind of regret. if you are on the fence about getting videos done, please invest in them. You’ll thank yourself later.

 

 

Wedding Truth #12 – Traditions don’t need to be kept

 

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

Nowhere is it written that you have to follow certain traditions for your wedding. You don’t have to do anything (except sign the marriage license) that you don’t want to do. For instance, the first look used to be a real no-no, partly due to superstition, and now, almost everyone does one. You can walk down the aisle with anyone or no one, you can have a bridal party or no bridal party, you can have a best man or best woman, you can have a maid of honor or man of honor. Dances, toasts, and reception traditions such as the bouquet and garter toss don’t have to be done at all. We didn’t do the bouquet and garter toss, and guess what? No one missed it. want pizza instead of cake, go for it. That’s what makes weddings so great. It is literally a blank slate. So, traditions are there really as a guideline and as a source to show you what can be done, but it’s your day and you can make it your own any way you like. Now, if you are getting married in a house of worship, there may be guidelines you need to follow, so make sure that you run any plans past the officiant first to make sure it’s ok.

 

Wedding Truth #13 – You will be late

 

When was the last time you went to a wedding, or any event for that matter, that started on time? Even if you have a wedding day timeline (which I highly suggest you have) you will run late. I always like to think of the time on the invite as the time when guests should all be there and to help ease the anxiety a bit, I would warn your fiancé now that you may be late. Now I’m not talking super later here, but five to 10 minutes, probably. Why? Well, by the time the limo arrives, by the time everyone gets situated, by the time the music starts to play, and the photographers are set up and the bridal party walks down the aisle, that takes a few minutes. I think I was about 10 minutes late by the time everyone piled into the limo and got to the church and the bridal party got lined up. But don’t stress, if you plan for that little bit of slack, you have nothing to worry about.

 

Wedding Truth #14 – You might have to pay for people who don’t show

 

When you book your venue, in the Hudson Valley especially, many venues have guest minimums. That means you need to guarantee that minimum amount of people will attend, and even if they don’t you still have to pay for them. Say, for example, your wedding venue has a guest minimum of 100 people and you invite 100 people, but, by the time you get your RSVP’s back, only 90 people can make it. You still need to pay for those 10 no-shows. However, don’t let this worry you. Speak with your venue or your caterer to see if they might be able to throw in an extra appetizer, or up lighting, or even give you those ten meals to take home. What are you going to do with ten take-home meals? Well, you can give them to guests like your parents or grandparents so they don’t have to cook the next day, or you can stock your freezer so when you get back from your honeymoon, you can relive your wedding meal and not have to cook either.

 

Wedding Truth #15 – People aren’t going to care about the details as much as you

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

I hate to sound like Debbie Downer here, but not everyone is going to remember the details as much as you. That was a hard one for me to swallow because, as a DIY bride, you take so much time to make all the details and to make sure everything looks perfect.  But, at the end of the day, people remember the food and the entertainment more than any other aspect of your wedding, even more than your vows or your ceremony…unless it’s something really different or unique. So, a way to destress is to know that, yes, you want a pretty and beautiful day, but you don’t have to go overboard on the details

 

Wedding Truth #16 – Personalizing your wedding is a great way to make it memorable

 

So, I just mentioned that the details may be overlooked by some, well, one way to make sure people remember your wedding is by personalizing it as much as possible. So, writing your own vows, perhaps a unique “tying the knot” ceremony, photos, memorials, dances, cake, etc. The more you can personalize your wedding, the less it makes it like every other wedding and the more it makes it your own.

 

Wedding Truth #17 –There is no such thing as a perfect wedding

 

No matter how hard you try to make your wedding perfect, there is no such thing as a perfect wedding. Something will not go as planned, it could be something as small as running five to 10 minutes late or something big, like your cake falling to the ground. Hopefully, the imperfections will be minute, but know that no matter what you do, something may not go as planned. But, here’s the best part. You know the details of your wedding inside and out, so if something doesn’t go as planned and you notice it, changes are, no one else will. That being said, however, the one factor no one has control of on their wedding day is the weather. It’s crucial to make sure you have a backup plan for the weather.

 

RELATED:  The One Thing That Will Ruin Your Wedding and 4 Easy Ways To Prevent It

 

Wedding Truth #18 – Perfection is what you make it

 

So, now that you know that no wedding is perfect, perfection is what you make it. A while back, I read a blog post called “Don’t make these color mistakes”. Talk about pressure! Listen, if you like two colors and put them together, they are perfect for you, and that’s what matters. It doesn’t matter if someone behind a computer in an office says you are making a mistake. If you like it, go for it. Also, if you get caught up in the fact that something didn’t go as planned, then it’s going to ruin the rest of your day. Your wedding day is not the day to keep planning, your wedding day is for you to enjoy the moment, get married, and soak in the memories you are making. At some point you have to just give it up. You’ve done all that you could do, you rehearsed and planned as much as you can. You just have to trust the process. To be extra careful that your day runs as smoothly as possible, you may want to consider hiring a wedding planner for day or month of coordination.

 

Wedding Truth #19 – The emotion of the day may not hit you until after the fact

 

Weddings are an emotional day, no doubt about it, but sometimes, the emotion of the day may not hit you until after the fact. You may be so pumped on adrenaline that it may take you some time to decompress and absorb your wedding day. Being around so many people, being on the go constantly all day makes it hard to sometimes take in everything that’s going on. For me, it didn’t hit me until we were on our honeymoon and I had time away from all of it to realize that I am married, that we had a beautiful wedding and that I just experienced the greatest day of my life.

 

Wedding Truth #20 – You can eat at your wedding

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Often you hear of couples who miss their entire dinner because they were busy talking to guests or taking pictures. In my opinion, the only time missing dinner is OK is if the sun is setting during your dinner and you want sunset photos. Otherwise, if you want to be part of your cocktail hour and dinner and actually eat, you can. You need to make sure that you let your photographer know that you want to be back in time for cocktail hour. Traditionally, if you don’t do a receiving line at the end of the ceremony, couples will go around during cocktail hour or during dinner to say hello to each guest. If you are greeting your guests during dinner, my best suggestion is to visit each table during the first course. This way, the only food you’re missing is soup or salad (which your venue can pack up for you so you can have it later) and you grab your guests before they start digging into the main course. If you unfortunately need to miss dinner, make sure your venue packs up a meal for you to go, so that you can enjoy it later and has some snack foods available to you so you can nosh while you’re dancing to keep your energy up.
 

Featured Image Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

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