It’s hard to believe the 4th of July is already here! If you are planning a military or 4th of July wedding and are looking for patriotic-themed ideas and inspiration, you are in the right place. We wanted to give you some ideas on what you can do for décor, attire, or photos.
We reached out to Hudson Valley wedding photographers and wedding planners and asked them to share some of their favorite all-American wedding inspiration with you.
You’ll find American pride on walls in several Hudson Valley locations. This styled shoot (1) was taken in the village of Wappingers Falls…
Photo Credit: The Ramsdens
Photo Credit: The Ramsdens
Photo Credit: The Ramsdens
and this styled shoot (2) was off Main Street in New Paltz.
Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography – Hudson Valley Wedding Photography
for military weddings. you really can’t get more patriotic than a wedding at West Point Military Academy.
Photo Credit: Rose Schaller Photo
Photo Credit: Rose Schaller Photo
Photo Credit: Rose Schaller Photo
JoAnn Provanzano, owner and certified bridal consultant at What Dreams Are Made Of in Kingston, has had the pleasure of planning many military weddings over the years, and shared two of her most recent weddings with us. Captain Matthew & Mrs Nicole Talley who were married this past May. Their ceremony was at The Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity at the United States Military Academy at West Point with a reception at the West Point Club. “From when she was a little girl,” Provanzano says. “Her dream was to marry a military officer. The couple’s religion is very important to them, as is the military tradition.” Today, Matt & Nicole now live in the state of Washington.
Photo Credit: What Dreams Are Made Of
Photo Credit: What Dreams Are Made Of
Lieutenants Charles & Regina Costanzo were married this past April also at The Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity at the United States Military Academy at West Point with a reception at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. “Gina and Charlie are adorable and their love for each other is so beautiful,” says Provanzano. “They went through many obstacles before walking down the aisle.” Just four weeks before the wedding, Gina was told she would be deployed. Thankfully, she was allowed to remain home and have the wedding of her dreams.
Photo Credit: What Dreams Are Made Of
Photo Credit: What Dreams Are Made Of
Photo Credit: What Dreams Are Made Of
Take some time to watch fireworks…
Photo Credit: Rose Schaller Photo
or add some red flowers…
Photo Credit: Rose Shaller Photo
or wear some festive attire…
Photo Credit: What Dreams Are Made of
(1)Vendors featured in styled shoot (Wappingers Falls):
Photography – The Ramsdens (Poughkeepsie)
Planning – RSVP by B Wedding Coordination (Poughkeepsie)
Florals – Lucille’s Florals of Fishkill (Fishkill)
Wedding dress – Betsy Wise Bridal (Beacon)
Hair and makeup – La Tua Bella (Rhinebeck)
(2)Vendors featured in styled shoot (New Paltz):
Flowers – Flowers by Elissa (Gardiner)
Dress – Style des Reves Custom Dressmaking (Accord)
Hair – Hudson Valley Hair (New Paltz)
Makeup – LaV Beauty (Ulster Park)
Bridal Jewelry – Harriet Forman Barrett (New Paltz)
When it comes to wedding jewelry, the engagement ring gets top prize. The minute an engagement is announced, everyone wants to see “the ring!” However, once guys choose the engagement ring, they also have another important decision to make about jewelry…their own ring.
Believe it or not, men have just as many, if not more, choices when it comes to choosing their wedding band than they do choosing an engagement ring. However, unlike women who are used to frequently wearing jewelry, men don’t usually wear any jewelry. In fact, their wedding band may be the first (and only) piece of jewelry they ever wear.
Because of this, some men may feel uncomfortable wearing a ring, not because they aren’t proud to be married, but because it physically feels uncomfortable having a piece of metal on your finger. It does feel different and takes some getting used to.
It’s very normal, for men and women, who now have such an important piece of jewelry on their finger all the time to freak out at times and touch their finger to make sure it’s still there. I still do it sometimes, especially in the winter when it’s cold and you’re wearing and taking off gloves all the time.
There are several things to take into consideration when buying a wedding band, and so we asked Hudson Valley jewelers to help guide you through the process:
James Matero, co-owner of Jaymark Jewelers in Cold Spring says “wearing a wedding band is the tradition: ‘With this ring, I thee wed,’ so you want to exchange the rings if you are doing any form of a remotely traditional ceremony.”
If you don’t want to wear a band, make sure that you have that conversation with your spouse-to-be. It can be a very emotional subject to bring up, so make sure that both parties leave the conversation feeling happy about the final choice. Maybe you wear your ring out, but leave it off at home. Maybe you both forgo rings and get tattoo rings. Maybe you just don’t wear a ring at all. Whatever the case, make sure it’s discussed.
“If you’re going to buy a wedding band,” Matero says, “think about it because guys generally don’t wear a lot of rings. This is potentially the first one they’ve worn. Unless they wore a high school ring or a college ring, this is usually the first one. So, they don’t think about what they want in a ring.”
How do I start narrowing down my choices?
Jocelyn Z. Klastow, vice president of Zimmer Brothers Jewelers in Poughkeepsie, says a good way to start is with a budget. Trying on a few different rings is also a good start. “I encourage guys to try every different kind on, kind of like a wedding dress,” she says. “You may have this thing in mind, and when you try it on, you don’t like it. A lot of times they (men) end up with something totally different than what they thought they would choose.
Do you want something classic or trendy? “We are finding that coppery rose-gold accents, along with heavy textured finishes in gold and Damascus Steel are very popular,” says Mateo.
That leads to the next point, which is getting a good feel for the types of metal and design choices available for men’s wedding bands. You can get rings made out of old gun barrels, samurai swords, wood and everything in between. Matero says, “There’s everything from rings that look like a baseball, the stitching, to real tree and mossy oak patterns, there’s alternative metal bands that will hold up to anything, and then there are gold and diamond bands.” He says one of the things you should think about is how and when you are going to wear your ring. “A lot of times you can’t wear it to work: An electrician wearing a metal band on his finger, isn’t exactly safe.”
Is this ring right for me?
First, and foremost, Klastow says it needs to be comfortable. “This is the first piece of jewelry a lot of men will purchase that they are going to wear all the time.” Like I mentioned earlier, it does take a little getting used to, but you want to make sure that it feels good on your finger. Is it heavy? Thick? is it too thin? Does it chafe your finger? You need to have it on for a little while to get a good feel for it. Put your hand in your pocket like you are taking out your phone or your wallet. Does the ring catch on your pocket or does it slip right into the pocket?
Another thing to consider is if you want it to match your spouse-to-be’s ring. Remember, rings are going to be photographed as well. Do you want both rings to be white gold, or are you OK with one being white gold and one being yellow gold or a different color metal?
Lastly, Michael J. Halpy, owner of Hannoush Jewelers in Wappingers Falls, relates back to what Matero says about usage and how you are going to wear it. Halpy recommends taking a look at your lifestyle and finding a metal that matches. “I’m a big proponent of gold or platinum bands and the reason is because it’s a malleable metal that you can work with, so it can be sized, it can be adjusted, soldered if it cracks…it can be fixed without even knowing.” Other metals can’t be sized or altered as easily. Halpy says, “It takes special machinery to make these other rings that are forged in tungsten carbide or titanium or steel and all sorts of other different alternative metals.” If damage happens in a stronger metal, you need to get an entirely new ring, which, presents many issues, one of which being that the sentimentality is gone. Your ring will no longer be your original ring.
Are you going to wear a wedding band? Is there a special metal you’ve had your eye on? If you’ve gotten your wedding band, we’d love to see it to give other guys inspiration.
When it comes to planning a wedding, each couple has their own set of unique needs. Some couples want to handle it all on their own, which is perfectly fine. Others really struggle with trying to get the vision they have in their head into something real and tangible.
Maybe you fall somewhere in the middle. You can handle most of the planning but just need an extra set of hands to help with the details the day of the wedding or the week leading up to your wedding.
Jeanne Stark, owner of Hudson Valley Ceremonies in Rhinebeck, says, “Any couple who feels that they need a little bit of assistance to an enormous amount of assistance should hire a wedding planner.” Though, she says it’s not for every couple or for every wedding. “If you’re having primarily an all-inclusive venue that does pretty much everything,” she says, “that’s usually the person who won’t hire a wedding planner,” However, she says there are exceptions, especially if the couple is doing a lot of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) details, or is having the ceremony at a different venue and moving the party to an all-inclusive afterwards.
Whatever your needs are, a wedding planner can help you fully enjoy your day without an ounce of worry or stress. Doesn’t that sound nice?
We spoke to Hudson Valley wedding planners to break down the different types of planning and coordination usually offered, so that you can make an informed decision to choose what type of assistance you need for your wedding…if any.
Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography
Full coordination is just that. Wedding planners coordinate almost every aspect with you and are there to hold your hand every step of the way, from venue scouting, to invitations, to favors, and day-of coordination with vendors and staff.
Angela Christoforo, owner, wedding planner and designer at Elite Wedding & Event Planning in Saugerties, says full planning and design is a growing trend in the Hudson Valley. She says couples are having a hard time seeing their whole vision and how things are going to come together the day of the wedding. “They have all these Pinterest boards and all these things they love, but coming up with a cohesive design plan for the wedding is a big challenge for them,” she says.
Full coordination, for Joann Provanzano, owner and certified bridal consultant at What Dreams Are Made Of in Kingston, means “I am available to them (the couple) to do everything with them. I actually hold their hand. We go to appointments together, I am with them as much as they need be to be with them.”
Stark says, “Full planning is where someone walks through the door, and says, ‘I want to get married.’ So we narrow everything down, we figure out date, location, and then continue on with all the other vendors.”
Nellie Hill, event planner and owner of Nellie Hill Events is Hurley, says most couples who book full planning with her usually have the venue booked, but some do not. For those that don’t have a venue picked out, “I help them with a budget to make sure that they are kind of aware of what everything costs, because people usually have no idea,” she says.
Partial coordination is really what it sounds like: The couple has their venue and maybe some of their vendors, but needs help tying together all the loose ends. Stark says, “Partial planning is when a couple has already found their venue, they already have their wedding date and now they pretty much need everything else. So that can be a very small partial planning or it can be very extensive partial planning, depending upon the location and how many services they need. But that basically is more sight visits, more visits with vendors, contract negotiation, a little bit more extensive hand holding, basically”
Provanzano says, “Maybe they (the couples) need their décor decided on or they haven’t actually put together their invitations yet; maybe they’re looking for ceremony musicians, transportation, things like that.”
Month Of/Week Of/Day Of Coordination:
These are kind of all clumped together because each planner has their own version and calls it something different. It’s important for you to know, that if you book day-of, week-of, or month-of coordination, you should really have an ongoing relationship with your planner before that week, month or day in order for you and them to form a relationship, for your planner to get a good feel for you, your personality, your vision, and for you to have an open line of communication so that if a problem should arise somewhere along the planning process, they can step in and help.
Stark says, “We like to build a relationship; we like to foresee if there’s any problems that way we kind of steer them in the right direction instead of finding out a month before (the wedding) when it’s too late.”
Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography
Provanzano says, “A week or two before the wedding, I get together with my couple, we try to do a walk through with the venue, we do a timeline of the day, I share that will all of the other vendors, tweak it wherever it’s needed.” She also takes this time to review all vendor contracts so that the day of the wedding, there are no hiccups or issues.
Bianca Hendricks, owner and founder of RSVP By B in Poughkeepsie, says every couple should have a day-of coordinator. She says, “Your wedding isn’t just 8 hours long. It isn’t just the ceremony or just the reception. It’s important to us that each couple, their family, and their friends are all able to relax and enjoy the entire day from the beginning to end!”
Other Planning Services
If you live outside the Hudson Valley and are having a Hudson Valley wedding, you want to make sure that you hire a planner from the Hudson Valley who is familiar with the area, familiar with your venue space, familiar with your vendors, and most importantly is in the area should you need assistance with anything.
If you are a couple planning all aspects of your wedding but just needs someone to check in with to make sure you are on the right track, a virtual wedding planner may be just right for you. Stark says virtual wedding planning “…is for someone who really doesn’t need a lot of hands-on (help), but they want someone to be virtually there – phone, email, Skype, to just be able to organize them, make sure they’re going in the right direction, and be there to answer any kind of questions to relieve their anxiety.”
Are you hiring a wedding planner? If so, what type of coordination are you using? What is the right fit for you?
Raise your hand if you’re a Disney fan (my hand is raised). Now, if you are, my next question is how many of you, if even for a brief moment, thought of having your wedding at Walt Disney World? I know that was the case for us…for about 5 minutes, until we decided it would be best to have our wedding closer to where all our friends and family live.
Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who felt that way. Teresa Marra from Poughkeepsie, who is also a Disney Travel Planner, had a very similar situation. She and her husband Peter got married in October of last year and says, “We were originally going to get married at Walt Disney World but what swayed us against it the most wasn’t the price tag but knowing that many of our friends and family wouldn’t be able to share our special day with us.”
While having a destination wedding, especially in Walt Disney World, sounds really nice, you also have to consider your budget and your guests. While WDW is not that far from the Hudson Valley (if you fly), for some, it can be too expensive, are just not feasible for your guests to travel long distances to be with you on your special day.
However, if you are a Disney fan, and a Disney wedding is not in your cards, you can have a Disney-inspired wedding right here in the Hudson Valley. Believe it or not, the Hudson Valley actually has several ties to Disney, some you may know of, others you may not. But one thing is certain, you will finish this article with tons of inspiration for your own Disney-inspired wedding. From your engagement to your honeymoon, this is the ultimate guide to having a Disney-inspired wedding in the Hudson Valley.
Let’s get “schooled” (pun intended…you’ll see why) on Disney inspiration for your engagement or engagement photos. Engagement photos are a great way to be a little more creative with your photos, and is a great way to incorporate Disney theming, since many times couples use photos from their engagement session on their Save the Dates.
On the banks of the Hudson River, just north of Rhinebeck, lies the historic campus of Bard College that plays a key part in Disney legend. Brothers Richard Sherman (no, not the NFL player) and Robert Sherman graduated from Bard in 1949. Who are the Sherman Brothers, you ask? This brother duo went on to work for the Walt Disney Studios, wrote some of our culture’s most prolific and endearing songs, and wrote more motion-picture musical scores than any other songwriters in the history of film!
While you might not be familiar with their names, you definitely know their songs. Ever heard of “It’s a Small World (After All)”? Ever see “Mary Poppins”? How about “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”, “The Jungle Book”, or “The Aristocats”, just to name a few? They wrote all the song for those movies and many, many more. If your mom or dad ever told you as a kid that a spoonful of sugar will help your medicine go down, you have the Sherman Brothers to thank for that. To learn more about the Sherman brothers and their connection to Bard College, click here
Photo Courtesy Bard College
If you’d like to pay homage to the Sherman Brothers or that part of Disney history, how about getting your engagement (or wedding photos) taken on campus? However, there are a few things you need to know. First and foremost Bard is a college, and students and academic programs come first. Couples need to remember that at any given time throughout the year, events are going on all over campus. From classes to graduate programs, to conferences, festivals, and camp, there’s always some activity going on and your photo session will not be the only thing happening on campus.
Second, Susanna Armbruster, Coordinator of Summer Programs and Community Resources at Bard College, says, “People who want to have their pictures taken on Bard’s campus need to complete an event request form that I provide directly to them. Once it is determined that the photo shoot does not interfere with Bard’s scheduled activities, we talk about logistics to see if it can work out. Photographers are required to provide a certificate of insurability. Some locations require a fee.” To receive your event request form, or for more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Since Marra and her husband did not go to WDW for their wedding, they had a Disney-inspired wedding right here in the Hudson Valley, which was truly magical. Disney plays an important role in both their lives. Their first date was going to see Disney’s “Big Hero 6” movie and some of their earliest conversations revolved around Disney and WDW. And they, like yours truly, also got engaged at Disney World.
Marra’s wedding should give you some great inspiration for your own Disney-inspired wedding. I’m saying Disney-inspired instead of Disney-themed for a reason. A Disney-themed wedding, to me, conjures up visions of Disney napkins, paper plates and party hats. A Disney-inspired wedding, which is what Marra had, is very different. Inspired weddings have touches and elements linked to a certain theme without it being overly obvious.
Because of their love of classic WDW attractions and Halloween, their wedding was inspired by the WDW Haunted Mansion attraction (not the movie). “Most of the wedding was heavily influenced by the black and purple wallpaper…the graveyard part of the ride,” says Marra.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Haunted Mansion attraction, it’s one of WDW’s first and most beloved attractions, being there since the gates of WDW opened in 1971. It’s a fun, not too scary attraction, which really has two distinct themes and takes you through 15 very different, fun, and funny rooms. It really has a fantastic back story, but that’s another blog post all on its own.
Marra incorporated elements of this classic attraction into other parts of her her day. “Before everyone walked down the aisle,” she said, “the opening narration when you first entered the ride played and then we walked down the aisle to the song that plays at the beginning of the ride and in the ballroom part (of the attraction).”
Disney wedding dresses
While Marra had a custom-made dress inspired by a vignette in the Haunted Mansion attraction where there are dancing Victorian ghosts in a ballroom, you can purchase your own Disney Princess-inspired wedding dress from designer Alfred Angelo. They are not sold at every store, so you want to make sure you call your local shop to see if they carry that designer label. These princess-inspired dresses, while they embody the spirit of so many Disney princesses, are gorgeous gowns and are in no way costume-y. Princesses featured include Pocahontas, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, Ariel, Elsa, Snow White, Tiana, Mulan, Belle, and of course, Cinderella.
Nestled behind Cinderella’s Castle in the Fantasyland section of the Magic Kingdom is the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, another one of WDWs iconic and beloved attractions. If you want that same nostalgic feel, Bear Mountain Inn at Bear Mountain State Park has a classic indoor merry-go-round, with 42 finely detailed hand-carved animals. The Merry-go-round Pavilion, as it’s called, can accommodate up to 100 guests for a seated dinner or 150 for a cocktail reception and is where Marra and her husband had their reception.
They also had another unique Haunted Mansion-inspired twist to their reception. “When we were announced during the reception we came out to ‘999 Happy Haunts’ (the grim grinning ghosts song),” she says. That song is one that’s played during a portion of the attraction.
Photo Credit: The Ramsdens
It’s no secret that the Hudson Valley is home to some amazing bakeries and confectioneries. Your wedding cake is the perfect place to show a little creativity and your love for Disney. A wedding cake, or groom’s cake, is the perfect canvas to have a little fun. You can have everything from a full-on Cinderella’s castle cake, to a Darth Vader groom’s cake or a subtle hint to your love of Disney with a few Mickey’s thrown in there.
Check out Marra’s cake with little Mickey pumpkins all over it.
You and your guests are going to need some place to spend the night. Did you know that the Residence Inn/Springhill Suites (formerly the Residence Inn) in Fishkill is connected to a very famous Disney movie in a very enchanted way?
All the music for Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”, the 1991 animated movie and one of Disney’s most beloved films, was written in a conference room (with a rented piano) at the Residence Inn! While the original building is no longer there, the legend lives on. As the story goes, the film’s lyricist, Howard Ashman, who was suffering from AIDS and in severely failing health, needed to stay close to home (which was near Fishkill) while the music for the film was being created. So the rest of his team, which also included composer Alan Menken, flew into town, and went to work creating some of the most beloved and most recognizable Disney music. Isn’t that neat? To learn more click here.
Now, if you were fascinated by that tidbit, wait until you hear this one! I hope you’re sitting down for this. The team was so impressed by the level of customer service they all received at the hotel that they wrote the song “Be Our Guest” in honor of that! Is your mind blown yet? I know mine is!
Photo Courtesy of Residence Inn/SpringHill Suites
Jerry Culkin, who is the Vice President of Operation for True North Hotel Group, the group that currently manages the Residence Inn/Springhill Suites (and the group that also managed the old Residence Inn) says he heard about the legend of the “Beauty and the Beast” music long before he joined the True North Group at various Marriott meetings and conferences (True North Hotel Group is a franchisee of Marriott, Hilton and others).
“As the story goes,” Culkin says, “the cast and crew were so impressed they wrote a song about the service and hospitality they received that made it into the movie (“Be Our Guest”). This was per a letter the cast and crew wrote to the hotel saying the song was a tribute to the service and hospitality that was extended to them. This letter was kept in an awards curio in the gatehouse area which I did see when I first arrived.” Unfortunately, over the years, the hotel changed hands, went under renovation, and the letter sadly disappeared.
However, if you’d like to pay homage to this little piece of Disney legend, and book rooms there for you and/or your guests, Cathy Johnson Sales Manager of the Residence Inn/Springhill Suites, will gladly help. “We are a dual property,” she says, “so typically our wedding blocks are in our SpringHill Suites part of the property.” As for room blocks, “we start blocks at 10 suites and as those suites book we can check availability and add accordingly up to 25 suites total,” says Johnson.
Last, but not least, you need a vacation after your wedding. If having a wedding at WDW isn’t a reality, a WDW honeymoon (otherwise known as a Disneymoon) can be. I can vouch for this since we took a Disneymoon. So, while I know WDW is not Hudson Valley related, you can book your trip with certified WDW vacation planners based in the Hudson Valley.
Why is Walt Disney World a great place for Hudson Valley couples to honeymoon at?
Photo Credit: WCHV
Marra, not only had a Disney-inspired wedding, but like I mentioned earlier, is a Travel Planner for It’s All About The Mouse Travel, LLC., and says WDW is the perfect place to go for Hudson Valley residents. “Going to Disney is a fantastic option for Hudson Valley couples,” Marra says. “Florida is a pretty cheap flight from all of our surrounding airports and that doesn’t just mean you’re stuck going to Walt Disney World, many Disney Cruise options disembark from Florida as well.” Actually, some Dinsey cruises even disembark from New York City, if you’re not into the whole flying thing.
“What Hudson Valley residents will really appreciate about Disney is their level of customer service,” Marra says. “So much of the Hudson Valley revolves around tourism that our bar for hospitality is already pretty high and Disney really goes above and beyond when it comes to hospitality.”
Sara Fredericks, travel planner and owner of Dreaming of the Mouse in Kingston, agrees. “I think Disney could be a great way to have a honeymoon from the Hudson Valley,” she says. “Whether you’re flying from Albany, Westchester or Newburgh, the flight is about two hours and 45 minutes, our convenient airports are easy to park at, easy to get through security, and then once you’re at Disney you can have your entire vacation there or it’s a great way, after a few days, to move on to a different vacation.” She says from there, “You could take a quick flight to the Bahamas, you could go to Port Canaveral to board a cruise, you could take a drive to the (Florida) Keys or Miami.”
Walt Disney World is NOT just for kids
Kimberly Elias (who has the perfect name, since Elias was Walt Disney’s middle name), is a Disney Vacation Planner for Endless Travel in Wappingers Falls. She says, “Unlike popular belief that Disney is just for kids, it offers so much for adults to enjoy as well such as excellent restaurants, superb golf courses and even spa services.”
Fredericks says, “For Walt Disney World, there’s lots of activities that you couldn’t even bring kids to: There’s golf (regular golf, not miniature golf), there’s signature dining – now children are welcome but most people don’t bring children because of the cost – signature dining with dress code even,” and let’s not forget about the spas too!
Expert tips on what you need to know before you go…
Photo Credit: WCHV
Elias says, “Planning a Disney trip requires a lot of advanced planning and can be very overwhelming. Disney can become the most magical honeymoon, with the help of a Disney Vacation Planner.” Booking through a vacation planner is critical, she says. “If you are interested in a Disney vacation, it is very important to book with an agent who specializes in Disney. Most agents like myself, have a deep love for Disney and love to help others experience the magic of Disney.”
She also says that visiting WDW when school is IN session is a big help. “Try to avoid school vacations such as Christmas and spring break. The parks will be very crowded and without proper planning, will be very difficult to work through.”
Fredericks has some last bits of advice too. “My best advice is the second that you’re even thinking about Disney is to start getting the process started. There’s certain things that need to be booked at certain timelines to ensure availability, such as certain meals, character experiences…at least six months in advance.” She also warns about trying to cram too much into your trip. “Spread it out,” she says. “The (park) tickets gets cheaper, more affordable the more dates you add to them, and you need to schedule rest and relaxation in your days. Going into the parks from open to close for three straight days is a quick way to need a vacation after your vacation.”
Marra has some final thoughts, and one is to treat yourself. “When my husband and I went on our Disneymoon to Walt Disney World we made sure to splurge on stuff we’ve always wanted to do but never could justify spending money on before (at WDW) like a fireworks cruise.” She also agrees with Elias: Having someone else plan your trip is best. “It doesn’t cost any extra to use a Travel Planner,” says Marra, “and they take so much of the burden and stress off of you so why wouldn’t you?”
So, there you have it! The ULTIMATE guide to planning your Disney-inspired Disney wedding, from engagement to honeymoon. Are you having a Disney-inspired wedding? We’d love to know all about it! Are you “Disneymooning?” We’d love to know what you have planned.
To view more of Teresa and Peter’s Disney’s Haunted Mansion inspired wedding at Bear Mountain Inn, check out the gallery below.
Featured Photo credit and to all gallery photos: The Ramsdens
Venue: Merry Go Round Pavilion at Bear Mountain Inn (Bear Mountain)
Dress: handmade for me by Wedding Dress Fantasy (Teaneck, NJ)
Flowers (including flower crown): Dark + Diamond (Beacon)
Photographer: The Ramsdens (Poughkeepsie)
Jewelry: Copper Fern Designs (Hudson Valley Etsy Shop)
If your dream wedding dress comes with a train of any length, you need to do something with that train after the ceremony so that you (or anyone else) don’t step on it during your reception. The most common way to do that is with a bustle. A bustle ties up your train bringing it up so that the hem in the back matches the hem in the front and gets it out of the way for ease and comfort.
In order to bustle your train, your gown will need to have buttons and hooks attached to it during the alterations process. This is something you want to make sure is done properly and securely, otherwise your train will fall while you are dancing. How do I know that will happen? Because it happened to me. Trust me, the last thing you want to be doing at your reception is stopping every two seconds so someone can rehook it.
We spoke to Tina Pomarico, owner of Lady Gray Bridal in Beacon, who teaches you everything you need to know about the bustle on your dress and how to hook it.
Where do the buttons and loops get attached?
There are really two main types of bustles: a French Bustle and Traditional Bustle. With either, the buttons are sewn onto the back of the dress and the loops are sewn onto the train of the dress. The difference is that French Bustle buttons and loops are sewn on the inside, while Traditional Bustle buttons and loops are sewn on the outside. Each bustle gives the gown a very different look. With Traditional Bustles, Pomarico says, “When I’m bustling a gown, I try to make the bustles (loops and buttons) as discrete as possible because they’re laying on the train, and while it’s open and down, you really don’t want to see them, you just want them to blend into the gown.”
How many buttons and loops does it take to bustle my gown?
It really depends on the length of the train and the weight of the fabric. Pomarico says two or three is the norm, but sometimes as many as five or more.
A secure bustle boils down to three things: the type of button, the type of loop, and the number of loops. “When I do my bustles,” says Pomarico, “I do them with a Soutache Loop (a narrow, flat, braided loop). It has no stretch to it, it really does hold and I always give my girls extra bustles (loops) because if it breaks from someone stepping on it, I don’t want them then to have to safety pin it up, so I’m always giving them extra.” These loops are also designed in a way where if someone does step on your gown and pull the train, the loop will break without ripping your gown. That’s why it’s always good to have multiple attachment points and multiple loops at each point, so you can easily fix it.
You also want to make sure that the buttons are strong ones with metal backs, called Hopper Backs, so that they can hold the weight of the train without breaking or ripping your dress.
If you still aren’t convinced, try jumping around in your dress for a few minutes. If the train stays put, you’re good to go.
The main thing with bustles is that you need to choose the one that complements the line and silhouette of your dress. You never want to break that line. When the bustle is up, your dress should look like it never had a train to begin with. Your seamstress or shop consultant should be able to determine what’s best, or at least have you see it both ways so that you can determine what you like best.
How do I bustle my train the day of the wedding?
The first thing to remember is to never start with the top middle button. “What’ll happen is if you do that it starts taking these folds and you kind of lose your way, and you can’t really find them (the loops). It’s much easier to bustle from the outside in,” says Pomarico. Plus, she says, “The center bustle carries most of the weight on any gown.
“When we start our bustles,” she adds, “start with the furthest one (button) out, and where there’s one on one side, there’s one directly across on the other so that it’s even.” Starting with the outer buttons also helps distribute the weight equally on the sides so it lays beautifully.
The best way to do this is to have two people help, so that they are pulling up the train at the same time. When you go in for your final fitting, your consultant will walk you, and whoever else is with you, through the process.
Featured Photo Credit: Wedding Connections of the Hudson Valley
If you are getting married next summer, now is the time you should be sending out your Save the Dates (STD for short). Chances are, by now, you’ve been invited to a few weddings and received a STD in the mail, but for those who don’t know, a Save the Date is literally an invitation-type card, trinket or, in some cases, an e-mail or video, informing you that a wedding will be taking place on a certain day, that you are invited, and to expect a formal invitation in the mail closer to the time of the wedding.
Mailing your Save the Dates is a critical step in your planning process for many reasons. First, it forces you to create a guest list, which is the most important part of the whole planning process even bigger than choosing your date. You need to know who to send them to and your guest list and that number will help you determine the size and scope of your wedding, will help you determine the type of location you want, and the all-important budget. Second, STDs help you choose a date. You can’t send out a Save the Date without a date; that would be pointless.
However, while that does sound like a lot of work, it’s important to get the date and guest list done first. It will help you immensely with the rest of your planning as those are the two things every vendor you speak to will be asking you…when is your wedding and how many people are you inviting. They may ask you where you are having it too, but it’s not as important, yet.
The good news is, that unlike invitations, STDs don’t need to have anything specific on it other than the date. You really just want your guests to book that date on their calendar. They don’t need to know specifics just yet because they unwritten rule is if you receive an STD, you will be getting a more detailed invitation at some point, at which time, guests can officially accept or decline.
To help you navigate through your Save the Dates, we asked Hudson Valley stationers and graphic designers for their advice:
When should you send out your Save the Dates?
Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics
Frankie D’Elia, owner and creative director at Fitting Image Graphics, Inc. in Carmel, says, “There is not a universal timeframe for when to send out your Save the Dates,” but he always suggests that as soon as you know your date, let your guests know as soon as possible after that so they can secure that day. ”Keep in mind,” he says, “that you’ll want to give your guests as much notice as possible if your wedding falls around a holiday weekend. This is because people generally plan their vacations or days off from work around holidays and you’ll want to catch them before they make plans; your big day, of course, takes priority!”
Kristal Walden, owner Kristal Walden Graphic Design in Beacon, says, “Usually you send out your Save the Dates a year before your date.” However, she says, “If you don’t have a year out, send them out ASAP.”
“We say nine months to a year,” says Amy Eddy, co-owner of Graphic Nature, LLC in Fishkill. “Usually if it’s on a holiday weekend or if you have a lot of out-of-town guests, we say a year out.” Sometimes they have couples who come in six months before their wedding and want to send out Save the Dates. At that point, Eddy says, “We say don’t waste your money because in two months time you are going to work on the invitations.” However, she says, if you are in that situation and don’t send Save the Dates, she recommends sending out invitations a little earlier. More on that in the coming weeks.
Stephanie McHoul, also co-owner of Graphic Nature, LLC, says, “They’re usually pretty basic. If there’s no photo, first and last name (of the couple) are important, and then they (the couple) usually keep it very vague.” Sometimes they’ll put location in terms of city, usually never a venue name, but if the couple has a wedding website, they’ll include that. This way, guests can visit the website which the couple can update as they get more details or just list all their details at that time.”
Should the Save the Date match the invitation?
Because couples are coming in a year in advance of their wedding to do their Save the Dates, many details of the day are still unknown. Eddy says, ”Half the time they (couples) come here to do Save the Dates and it’s a year out from their wedding and they don’t really have their ‘vision’.” That’s OK. McHoul says, ”It’s nice if it’s complementary…I personally like it when things coordinate without being overly ‘matchy-matchy.’ ” Eddy says, “Most of the time it’s just a big photo with script font, save the date, and it’s very simple so it’s not so themed or specific.” That way it leaves room to design an invite the way you want that’s more specific to your theme or aesthetic once you know it.
Dana, an event planner, had just recently moved to Westchester for her job, which was based in Connecticut. Since she was new to the area, and as a way to meet new friends, she decided to get a part-time job as a bartender at a local Italian restaurant in Stamford, CT. One of her new colleagues, who she met on her first day, was her future husband-to-be, Martin. A few months later, some of her coworkers from the restaurant were going out for drinks and Martin asked Dana if she wanted to join them. However, Dana quickly realized as they were closing the restaurant that she and Martin were the only ones heading out. The following week, Martin asked Dana out for dinner, and the week after that Dana cooked dinner for Martin. “The rest,” as Dana says, “is history.” As the old saying goes, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!
Miami has always held a special part in their lives. It was the site of their first vacation as a couple, and it was the place they eventually moved to. “It was a tradition of ours to do a nice Christmas Eve dinner at a special restaurant,” says Dana, and they wanted to keep that tradition alive, especially now that they had moved to Florida. So, on Christmas Eve, Martin took Dana to a restaurant they visited one Valentine’s Day in Key Biscayne and proposed.
Why the Hudson Valley?
Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo & Video
Dana grew up in the Hudson Valley and always dreamed of getting married here. “The scenery of the Hudson Valley can’t be beat,” Dana says. “Finding a venue that provided those stunning unforgettable view, as well as a local farm-to-table food concept, was exactly what we imagined. As an event planner the food and beverage needed to be above average and that’s exactly what we received.”
Most Memorable Moment…
Dana says “having my future husband’s mother from Uruguay come from her country for the first time and attend our wedding. She was able to meet my mother and make a connection with my family regardless of her not speaking our language.”
Hudson Valley Professionals…
Wedding Planner: Dana Prytula (the bride)
Flowers : Floral Fantasies by Sara (Rhinebeck)
Cake: The Pastry Garden (Poughkeepsie) and Floral Fantasies by Sara (Flowers)
Hair : Hair Design by Danielle (Middletown)
Makeup : Makeup by Danee (Marlboro)
DJ and Lighting : DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style (Wappingers Falls)
If you’ve been to many weddings, you’ll know there’s a certain ebb and flow to them and certain main elements you can rely on, mainly being that weddings have some type of ceremony with some type of celebration after. What those end up looking like is totally up to you and your personal style and taste.
I mentioned I am a traditionalist, to an extent. I love the formality of weddings, but I also love it when couples change up tradition to match their personal preference, taste and personality. What’s great about weddings being full of traditions, is that, by definition, means that they aren’t rules. You can basically do whatever you want. While there are some traditions that can totally be skipped or changed up, there are 5 that, in my opinion need to stay:
Wedding Tradition: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography
What’s great about this tradition is that it’s vague enough that a bride can make it as obvious or as subtle as she wants. That’s why it’s a tradition I think should always be kept…more so than keeping a white dress. Why? Because fashion changes, times change, styles change. A dress is something that will be memorialized in photos and is one of the outwardly obvious indications of the bride’s personality so she should choose what she likes and what makes her comfortable and radiant.
This is such a time-honored tradition that I think any bride, no matter how traditional or off-beat will agree, is something she won’t be walking down the aisle without doing. The something new is almost always a wedding dress, so that can be ticked off a bride’s list right away. The something blue can be something subtle like blue shoes or blue stickers on the bottom of her shoes spelling out “I do” to something more obvious…maybe a blue dress or blue flowers or even blue hair!
Something borrowed can be absolutely anything and sometimes, can be combined with something old. For me, my old and borrowed item was a brooch my grandmother always wore which I had attached to my bouquet.
Wedding Tradition: Keeping the ceremony a ceremony
Back in the day, almost all wedding ceremonies took place in a house of worship. Now, more and more ceremonies are taking place outside or in non-secular locations. Either way, they are beautiful in their own right. However, every once in a while you hear about the couple that gets married under water, gets married while sky diving, or gets married doing some sort of non-traditional activity. While I do agree it’s your wedding and you can do what you want with it, it’s VERY, VERY important to not make light of the situation. A wedding is a sacred, special, meaningful day, and the ceremony itself is so life-changing that it needs the proper attention, formality, and dignity it (and your relationship) deserves. There are other times during the day you can express your love of diving, running or any other activity you enjoy, but the ceremony needs to be a ceremony…dignified and formal (however you define it).
Wedding Tradition: Mailing out paper invitations
Photo Credit: WCHV
I know couples are strapped for cash and sometimes, invitations can get expensive, so especially now, in this tech-based society, many couples are opting for paperless invitations. While I understand the financial aspect of it, and understand most people just throw them out afterward, it kind of goes back to my last point about keeping your ceremony formal and dignified. Now, does that mean you need to spend $10 a piece on invites? Heck no! You can print them yourself. What that does mean is seeing your wedding in the bigger picture. Are all your guests going to be able to navigate an e-vite? Are you going to want pictures of your invite? Are you going to want to keep some for framing?
Now, there are things you can do so save paper and money. Maybe send electronic Save the Dates, or have guests RSVP electronically to save money on postage, but sending a paper RSVP to grandma instead. You could even try sending post card invites and then include all pertinent information on your wedding website. Whatever you decide, sending an invitation sends a message to your guests that it is a special event.
In this day in age, it’s very easy to say “I’m going to have a friend take our photos” or “I’m just going to play my iTunes playlist” or “I’m going to cook all my food,” and while that’s all well and good, you have to think about the end result, and what that all really means.
While it’s not really tradition, it is something you shouldn’t skimp out on. Is your Itunes play list going to give you the type of entertainment you want? Who’s going to announce you, or announce the speeches or announce the cake cutting or last dance? Are your friends’ photos going to capture every moment you want? Do you want your friend to work or have a good time? How long will it take to the photos back? Will they be edited? How are you going to get an album? Same with the food…are you going to cook or get married? You can’t really do both without having to work on your wedding day. Who’s going to set up?
So, that’s why the professionals are there, to help you enjoy your day and make it everything you dreamed of.
Wedding Tradition: Honoring those who have passed
At most weddings, there is either something said about those who couldn’t be there physically with you, something written about them, a candle symbolizing your loved ones or even a table with photos of your loved ones. However you want to recognize your loved ones is up to you, but it’s a tradition that needs to be kept. Remember, your wedding is about two families coming together, sharing love, and honoring your loved ones reminds everyone of their love for you and how their loved shaped you into who you are today.
What wedding traditions would you keep? Would you trade one of these for another tradition? What traditions are you keeping in your wedding? We’d love to know.
I am a bit of a traditionalist. I like the formal celebratory traditions that weddings bring with them…to a point. I do feel some of them are outdated, so my wedding was a nice mix of traditional and non-traditional elements.
Many couples today may want to mix it up a bit, and forgo some of the traditions their parents or grandparents grew up with, but may feel guilty doing so. I’m here to tell you that it’s OK. Traditions are just that, traditions, not rules. Rules are very different. Rules you have to follow or else you may face consequences. Traditions are just elements passed down through the years, so far passed down that you may not even know why or how they began.
I’ve been writing about wedding for a long time and I can tell you that in my research, many wedding traditions started centuries ago, so it’s time for a change. Here are some of the traditions you shouldn’t worry about skipping:
Wedding Tradition: The white gown
Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography
Tradition has it that the bride wears white as a symbol of purity. While history books are unclear really how this trend started, many say Queen Victoria was the first one to popularize white wedding gowns, as that’s what she wore at her wedding in the late 1800s. But many brides, for decades after, even as late as the early 1900s wore colored dresses. So, if you want to buck tradition and go for something not white, feel free. As is, when you shop for wedding dresses, you may end up with a gown that’s not white anyway. White is a very harsh color and washes some people out. You may end up with off white, ivory, or even a blush colored dress.
Wedding Tradition: Having your father walk you down the aisle
This can be the cause of a lot of stress for some brides. It’s something of daydreams and the moment everyone in attendance waits for, seeing the bride walk down the aisle. However, if a bride doesn’t have a traditional “father” in her life, for whatever reason, it can be a very bittersweet walk. Every family dynamic is different and if you are a bride who, for any given reason, doesn’t have a “father” to walk down the aisle with, choose the person in your life who has been like a father or role model for you, or who helped raise you. Maybe it’s your mother, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, brother, sister, whoever. Maybe you want both your parents to walk you down the aisle, maybe you want to walk down alone or you and your husband-to-be want to walk in together. The choice is up to you, and there’s no wrong decision.
Wedding Tradition: Having bridal parties
Ok, here’s the sad, unromantic, real truth. The only thing that matters is that you have two witnesses to sign the marriage license. That’s it. So you don’t even have to have a bridal party if you don’t want. Some people just have a Maid of Honor and a Best Man, who serve as the witnesses and hold the bouquet and rings and forgo the bridal party. Some have massive bridal parties (which I don’t think is a good idea for many reasons). Some have Men of Honor and Best Woman (instead of Maid of Honor or Best Man). Again, here, the choice is up to you how you want to handle it, but if you decide to forgo a bridal party all together, that’s fine. Some people might actually be relieved because they don’t want the added stress or expenses that come with the responsibilities of being in a bridal party
Wedding Tradition: The wedding cake
Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography
Who doesn’t love cake? Actually, more people than you think. Me for one. I’d prefer ice cream cake over real cake any day…especially with extra cookie crunchies in the middle. That being said, everyone has seen photos of family members cutting the cake and feel like they want to carry on that tradition, even if they don’t like cake. And that’s fine. However, if you want to change it up, try cupcakes, or pizza, or even donuts instead. The possibilities are endless if having that formal cake-cutting portrait is something you want to skip
Wedding Tradition: Throwing the garter and bouquet
In recent conversations I had with Hudson Valley DJs, they say this is one of the fastest disappearing trends they’ve seen. For a variety of factors, couples just aren’t doing it anymore. Couples are waiting longer to get married and may not have many single friends at their reception. Maybe you get embarrassed really easily and don’t want any part of it, because, as we all know, it can get a bit risqué at times. I didn’t have it because of both reasons, and honestly, no one missed it. I felt a little funny at first not doing it, but nobody cared and it gave us more time to dance. Not only that, but if you are on a tight budget, not doing this could save you money becasue you won’t have to buy a garter or a tosser bouquet.
Wedding Tradition: Not seeing each other before the wedding
By now we know this is a tradition that many couples skip and opt for the First Look instead. It has many benefits, but is not for everyone, especially if you love tradition. Doing a first look gives you and your spouse-to-be a private moment alone away from the crowd to quietly see each other before the festivities begin. It helps a lot of couples relieve some of the stress and anxiety they feel prior to the ceremony and lets them relax a bit more once the actual ceremony starts. It has a practical function as well. It allows you and the photographer to get some pictures done and out of the way before the ceremony, freeing up time later in the night.
Wedding Tradition: Bachelor/bachelorette parties
I feel this tradition slips by the wayside the older the couple are. For example, some couples feel it’s their last “Hurrah” before being “tied down” and do want a big celebration. However, most of my friends, who are in their 30s, have all forgone that tradition or changed it up. If they do have parties, they are more like a round of golf for the guys and a spa day for the girls.
Wedding Traditions: Wedding registries or bridal showers
Photo Credit: WCHV
Many couples are living together before they get married, and therefore have everything they need. They don’t register for gifts and will sometimes even ask their guests to not even bring a gift, or instead, ask them to donate to a Honeymoon Fund or a local charity instead. Showers are great for couples who really need a lot of stuff, or perhaps are moving in together after the wedding and want new items that they can call their own.
Wedding Tradition: Having a flower girl or ring bearer
Just like you don’t have to have a bridal party, you don’t have to have a Flower Girl or Ring Bearer either. Do they make for a cute photo op, absolutely, but you need to look at your guest list, and your family, and see if it’s something you can even do. Maybe there are no kids available or young enough to be given that role, and that’s ok. Maybe you want to have both your grandmothers be the flower girls…that would be so cute. You don’t even have to have both. Maybe you just have someone who can be the ring bearer, maybe you just have someone who can be the flower girl. It’s best to always check with their parents first to see if they think their child could handle the pressure. Sometimes, it’s too much, so don’t stress about this. If you want it, and can make it happen, great. If you can’t that’s OK too.
Wedding Tradition: Dancing a formal first dance
First dances always make for a great photo op, but many couples struggle to find “their song”, and unless they’ve been a dancer their whole lives, can’t really do much more than what I like to call “the 8th eight grade shuffle”. Many couples choose to take lessons to choreograph a dance, but if that’s not for you don’t worry. The first dance is a great way for the couple to showcase their personality. Everything from the song choice to the type of dance you do. However, It doesn’t have to be a rehearsed, choreographed dance. It can be an upbeat dance to a modern song or even a flash mob. Whatever you choose people are going to love because your personality will shine. Dancing doesn’t come easy for some people, especially when all eyes are on them, so if you are more comfortable doing something fun or even inviting all your guests to dance with you, you can do that. There are no rules.
Wedding Tradition: Getting married on the half-hour
There is an old superstition that says getting married on the half-hour brings good luck as opposed to getting married on the hour. I have no idea where this superstition comes from, but I remember freaking out a bit when we were told our ceremony at the church had to be at 2 pm because they had confession and mass later that evening. The truth is, you should be getting married at a time that is convenient for you and the venue…half hour or not.
Wedding Tradition: Walking down the aisle to Wagner’s Bridal Chorus
Wagner’s Bridal Chorus (AKA Here Comes the Bride) has been a traditional wedding song for decades and is usually the song countless brides have walked down the aisle to. However, it does have a sinister context, which, for those in the know, may have an aversion to having it played at their wedding. My mom couldn’t have it played at her wedding. It was in a church, and they forbade it from being played because of where it came from. So what’s the story? It basically boils down to the plotline in the Opera it comes from, Lohengrin, which has elements of paganism, infidelity, murder and tragedy. Yikes! In recent times, the Bridal Chorus is not always used, not for the reason mentioned above, but because brides just want a fresher take on this tradition. Many brides are opting for other traditional classical pieces or more modern songs.
What wedding traditions did you skip or change? Join us next time when we talk about the 5 traditions that you should consider keeping.
I may be really dating myself here, but I remember attending weddings back in the day when the Electric Slide, Conga lines, and the Chicken Dance were the hits of the night. Everyone looked forward to those group dances. Didn’t you?
I also remember being dragged out onto the dance floor, despite not wanting to be there, for the bouquet toss, then stealthfully hiding in the back and slinking away so I was nowhere near that thing when it landed.
More recently, though, I can’t even remember the last time I saw a group dance at a wedding, and I think it was 2009 when I last saw the bouquet and garter toss thrown. This made me curious: Is this just coincidence or is this a trend? What other traditional elements of the receptions are staying or are seeing a decline? So, I decided to ask Hudson Valley DJs what trends they’ve been seeing. You might be surprised by the answer:
It’s unanimous with all DJs we spoke to: Group dances are almost dead. Some couples do the Cupid Shuffle, as that’s a newer song; but the Electric Slide, Conga lines, the Macarena, the Chicken Dance – all that. Gone. So, if you didn’t want one, but were thinking that you needed to include one of those dances at your wedding, you don’t. Unless you REALLY want to have one.
Bouquet and Garter Toss
This, by far, is the fastest-disappearing trend. I didn’t do it and actually felt enormous guilt not doing it, because it’s tradition. It’s not a wedding without it, right? But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I couldn’t find any justifiable reason to do it. I knew I would feel very uncomfortable with my husband putting his hands up my dress in front of our family and friends, plus, we had maybe five single friends at our wedding which would have made it really weird.
David Fischer, DJ and president of M. C. Fish Entertainment, Inc. in Fishkill, gives a little history on this tradition, as it was originally just the bouquet toss, but then the garter toss was added so that both the bride and groom had something to do. Today, he says, the bouquet and garter toss are rarely done. “I offer options,” says Fischer. “If you only want to toss the bouquet, you don’t have to throw the garter.”
Richie Schneider (DJ Richie Styles), DJ and manager of Music Speaks Volumes in Wappingers Falls also says more commonly, just the bouquet is tossed, but he tells couples, “If you feel that you don’t have many single people, don’t do it,” explaining it can become embarrassing when you get only two or three people. “If it’s going to be awkward, don’t do it” he says, which is exactly what we did. Just scrap it!
Donnie Lewis, owner of Your Event Matters and Illuminate Event Lighting in Hopewell Junction, says, “That (the bouquet and garter toss) tends to be a nightmare, trying to get people to come out on the dance floor and participate in it because they just don’t want to.”
Plus, it takes away from dance time, and Joey Garcia (DJ Joey G.), owner of Jade DJ Entertainment in New Paltz, says couples want fewer interruptions in the night and more time to dance and party.
Lewis says the traditional cake cutting may be the next trend to fade away. “I think the cake cutting is making it’s way out,” he said. “We’ve had more and more couples decide not to stop the party to do the cake cutting.” That doesn’t mean it going away completely. Lewis says “I’ll advise them to come in during the cocktail hour and do a mock cake cutting, so at least they’ll have a picture.” Cake will still be served after dinner, but by cutting it early, they don’t have to disrupt the party and cause a break in the action.
Anniversary Dance –
One of the biggest newest trends is something called the Anniversary Dance. This dance, which has several variations, is basically a way to acknowledge those invited guests who are married, especially those who have been married a long time, and celebrating the one couple that’s been married the longest.
Fischer says one variation is the elimination process. “You invite married couples up,” he says, “and begin eliminating them based on how long they’ve been married — one year, five years, 10 years, 15 years,” then the couple still left standing gets a gift and recognition from all your guests. “So now, not only did you honor that couple that’s been married 30, 40, 50 years, which is awesome,” he says, “you honored all the married couples that got up.”
A variation he’s seen includes a bride and groom writing down the names of the single men and women in attendance on a piece of masking tape and sticking the tape to the bottom of their shoe. The bride writes the women’s names; the groom writes the men’s names. At a certain point at the reception, whoever’s name is still pronounced and legible gets a bouquet.
Lewis has a different approach. He asks everybody to make a big circle and asks the crowd who’s married. Once the couple who’s been married the longest has been identified, they then dance together in the middle of the circle of guests, in front of their closest family and friends, recreating their first dance. He says it’s usually always a tear-jerking moment. During part of the song, he has the bride and groom join in to recognize the oldest and newest married couples, then has all the married couples join them.
Bridal Party Introductions –
Two interesting trends have been happening with this. Lewis has seen bridal party introductions becoming less of a “thing” because couples are focusing on themselves as a couple, realizing the five minutes it takes to introduce the bridal party could mean an extra song or two could be played.
On the other hand, Garcia says introductions are getting more personalized. “Introductions are huge,” he says. “I always tell people that (the introductions) sets the tone for the party. You want fun, upbeat high energy music. I’m getting more where they tailor the music to the people coming in where they do a song for every couple.”
What dance trends are you doing or not doing at your wedding? Is there a trend you miss? What traditions are you skipping? What new ones are you creating just for your special day? We’d love to know.
Featured Image Photo Credit: Jade DJ Entertainment
While summer may not officially be here yet, we’d be kidding ourselves if we said we weren’t already in summer mode. That means vacations, beach days, barbecuing by the pool, and weddings … lots and lots of weddings. If you are getting married in the summer or are attending a summer wedding, here are some tips for you to stay cool and stylish.
Summer has always been a popular season to get married, as you might have discovered when you were doing your planning. Who wouldn’t want to get married in the summer — fresh air, bright sunshine, longer days (though my husband would say the day isn’t longer, there are just more hours of daylight)? You also have more options of where you can get married: inside, outside, maybe even on a beach. However, summer also means heat, so here are some ideas to help you with your wardrobe decisions to keep you cool.
Think about the location of where you are getting married. If you are getting married outside, you might want to opt for a looser, more free-flowing gown made of silk organza chiffon or tulle (though, too much tulle can make you hot) to keep you cool. If most of your day will be spent inside with just photos outside, you could opt for something a little more formal and structured. Just make sure you use a makeup setter to keep your makeup from dripping, keep tissues on you to blot the sweat, and carry a fan to keep cool between shots.
While sleeves are a big trend, opt for something sleeveless or strapless, but don’t forget your sunblock. You don’t want to burn up in the summer sun. If you like the look of sleeves, but are afraid of getting too hot, see if your dress can be ordered with removable sleeves or a removable bolero that hides a sleeveless gown underneath
Well, guys, unless you and your fiancé are having an informal dress code, you will be in a suit or a tux. Tux material, which is usually polyester, is very hot and heavy, so you may want to opt for a nice suit instead, which gives you more options in terms of fabric and colors. Again, it goes back to location of your wedding. If it’s outside, a suite may be best. Try to stick to lighter, softer colors like grey or beige. You might also want to consider a linen suite which is very breathable. The downside to linen, though, is it wrinkles … a lot! So, if you are doing your photos before the ceremony, that would be OK. Otherwise, prepare to have a steamer handy. If the wedding is indoors except for photos, then you could get away with wearing a tux. Again, just like for the brides, make sure you have tissues to blot the sweat and a fan to stay cool.
Also keep in mind the same rules apply to your bridal party. They’re going to be in the same environment as you so the same tips need to be applied to their outfits as well.
Before I get into the tips for what you should wear to a summer wedding, there are three things you must remember, no matter the time of year or location…
If the dress code is Black Tie, that means you need an evening gown or a tux. If it’s a casual outdoor wedding and the dress code is jeans and country boots, you need be there in jeans and country boots. If there is no dress code, that means you need to dress like you would for a work event or business event. A nice dress that you wouldn’t mind your boss seeing you in and for guys, that means a suit. Why do I keep talking about work attire? See my next point…
You are attending a wedding, not a club
You know what I’m talking about: no club clothes! That means nothing too revealing, nothing too tight…like suck-it-in-tight-and-hope-the-zipper-doesn’t-break tight, and nothing shiny (like leather). Even if the affair is a very casual one, it is still a wedding and a sacred event. There will be clergy in attendance, there will be elders in attendance, there will be kids in attendance, and, you never know, your boss might be in attendance too if the couple invited coworkers. Why am I making such a fuss over club clothes? See my next point…
You NEVER, I mean EVER want to upstage the bride!
First and foremost, that means no all white dress (unless specified in the dress code). The bride is in white for many reasons, one of which is to make sure she stands out. Evening wear is usually on the darker side, and even when the lights dim in the reception venue and the dancing starts, you can still spot the bride in a large crowd because she’s in all white. If your outfit has some white in it, that’s fine, but all white is a big no-no. It also means no sequence (even if it’s black tie). All eyes should be on the bride, not you. The bride should be easy to find and the one person at the event that stands out the most.
Ladies, take a cue from the bride. Guys, take a cue from the groom. The same fabrics that keep them cool will also keep you cool.
Layer what you wear
I know that sounds odd to say for summer, but temperatures are a funny thing. The bride and or the groom will be hot most of the day (no matter the season) because of all the activities they need to be a part of, but as a guest, you aren’t doing as much running around as they are. Bring a sweater if you will be in air conditioning. Sometimes the thermostat doesn’t want to cooperate, and if you’re like me and get cold easily, you want to cover up until you start dancing. Being too cold is just as uncomfortable as being too hot. Also, if you’re outside, it might get chilly at night, so the sleeves will keep the chill off. Plus, sleeves also help with mosquito bites and keeping those nasty bugs off your skin!
Miscellaneous essentials for summer weddings
Last but not least, don’t forget your sunblock, a fan, sunglasses, water, bug repellent, an umbrella if it’s going to rain, and high heel protectors so your heels don’t sink into the grass.
What advice do you have for staying cool and stylish at a summer wedding?
I’ve attended many gorgeous weddings over the years, and no matter the location or the type of ceremony (non-denominational or not), what I love most about weddings is how each couple makes it their own and how you become part of such a sacred event. Whether it’s a simple ceremony or one full of cultural or religious traditions, no two weddings are ever the same.
I have to admit weddings full of religious or cultural traditions hold a special place in my heart. The symbolism is so beautiful and you get to see, first-hand, centuries-old traditions come to life. It also gives you a chance to learn more about what makes the bride and groom so special. These traditions helped make them who they are, and it takes you into their world, if only for a brief moment.
That’s why I was so excited when my best friend got married. Besides the fact I love her like a sister and was so happy she was going to be spending her life with the one who makes her truly happy, she was having a wedding unlike any I had ever been to before. Her wedding incorporated two ceremonies, one Hindu and one Christian. This was my first Hindu wedding, and I was thrilled to witness first-hand, the rich traditions of her culture.
Photo Credit: Red Pepper Shots
The only things I knew of Hindu ceremonies prior to the wedding was that they usually last a few days and are very ornate, colorful and full of blessings, traditions, and rituals that signify the sacredness of the marriage. I knew the groom usually enters the ceremony on a white horse, and I also knew as part of the ceremonial rituals take place prior to the wedding, the women received tattoos made from the Henna plant, called Mehndi, and the bride’s Mehndi takes hours of precise designing covering her arms and feet.
While my friend’s wedding ceremony was an abbreviated version lasting only about 45 minutes, it contained 9 beautifully symbolic ceremonies I want to share with you, so you can see the differences, as well as the similarities in weddings that you might be familiar with and with those celebrated in other parts of the world.
The bride and groom exchange flower garlands which signify their acceptance of each other in marriage.
This is an offering of prayer to the Lord Ganesh, who blesses the bride and groom. Ganesh is the Lord of beginnings and removes both material and spiritual obstacles.
In this ceremony, the parents of the bride join the hands of the bride and groom, signifying the handing over of their daughter to the care, love, fidelity and security of the groom. This is similar to what you might be familiar with of the father of the bride (or significant family member if the father is not able to be there) giving the bride away.
A corner of the bride and groom’s garments are tied together symbolizing the bond of marriage.
Photo Credit: Vijay Solanki
Agni Pujan and Havan
The ceremonial fire is set up by the priest, or Pundit. The fire is set up in a copper bowl called the Havan Kund and the fire symbolizes the illumination of the mind, knowledge, and happiness.
Once the fire is lit, the bride and groom circle it seven times, with the priest bestowing blessings. The blessings are for eternal happiness and a healthy marriage, and as they circle the fire, the couple seeks four basic goals of life: Righteousness (Dharma), prosperity (Artha), pleasure (Kama), and salvation (Moksha). Each of the seven circles around the fire represents the vows the bride and groom make to one another. They are:
Promising to nourish each other physically, mentally, and spiritually
Promising to grow together in strength
Promising to preserve their wealth
Promising to share in their joys and sorrows
Promising to care for their future children
Promising to be together forever
Promising to be lifelong best friends
The groom places red powder (Sindoor) on the forehead of the bride signifying she is now a married woman.
Mithai are sweets. In this ceremony, the bride and groom feed each other Mithai as a symbol of sharing whatever they have together in life.
The ceremony has come to an end and the bride and groom bow to the Lord, the Pundit, their parents, and all the elders who offer blessings to the newly married couple.
Can you see how, while different, many of the ceremonies are very similar to what you might be familiar with?
We’d love to know what kind of cultural or religious wedding ceremonies you’ve attended. What similarities or difference did see? What were they like?
Featured Photo: the Mandap, or canopy, where the ceremony takes place. Photo credit WCHV
“We found love in a hopeless place … and, yes, that was the song that we walked into as we were introduced,” says Kristen. “That has been our ‘theme song’ since we started dating. We used to work together at a bank … dating someone you were working with was frowned upon! So needless to say we kept it a secret for a long time … to the point when people ask us how long we have been together we really don’t have a solid answer.” Hiding their relationship was no easy feat because even out in public, Kristen was afraid someone from work would see them.
“AJ eventually switched locations and we were no longer at the same branch … so one night when we were out, we texted our boss and came clean! Felt so much better!” Soon after they came clean to their boss, AJ surprised Kristen with Broadway tickets to see Mary Poppins, which was Kristen’s favorite movie as a kid. “That’s when he made it official that we were dating, so if we need a date that we started dating we use January 28, 2012! We were honestly friends first … and the rest is history! We wouldn’t change a thing!”
Photo from bride’s personal collection
“His proposal was perfect!” says Kristen. “It was our official 3-year dating anniversary. AJ got up in the morning before me and had breakfast on the table with flowers by the time I got up. We ate breakfast, got ready and both headed to work. It was a normal day.” The day progressed as usual — a trip home during lunch to grab her food and walk their dog, Tex. Toward the end of the day, AJ started texting Kristen wanting to know when she was coming home. She texted him and when she got home and was in for quite a surprise.
“I opened the screen door to the house to a Post-It above the lock, with the following: ‘Hey, baby! Welcome home … may want to have your camera out … card first … Tex is fine (upstairs) … Happy Anniversary!!!’ ” When Kristen opened the door, she found flowers on the table, presents next to the flowers, rose petals and candles everywhere, and ‘We Found Love’ playing in the background.”
“There were more instructions in the card in regards to the presents. I decided to skip the presents and go find him. … Our bedroom door was closed with rose petals leading to it, the word ‘Love’ spelled out on the door, and I finally picked up on what was happening!” says Kristen. “I opened our bedroom door to more candles and petals, and there he was. He started to talk to me. … I started to cry but held it together! He got down on one knee, opened the box, I lost my breath, and he said those four words every girl wants to hear. And bam, we were engaged.”
Photo Credit: Majestic Studios
“Our theme was all about us!” says Kristen. “I love the bling, but it was a simple, elegant bling. Everything that we had that night in the Grandview had a meaning behind it!” For example, each table centerpiece had three vases on them which has significant meaning. “The most important part of that is that there were three on every table, three for love! It was always something my grandparents and parents always said to each other and to us, and it was something we wanted to incorporate into our special day.”
Why the Hudson Valley?
Kristen says “Hudson Valley is home … and we simply fell in love with the Grandview. Couples panic about their venue; I panicked because we only looked at one! They had and offered everything we wanted — perfect venue, Shadows next door for the after party, hotel rooms for all of our 246 guests with transportation … it was honestly perfect for us!”
Most Memorable Moment…
Photo Credit: Majestic Studios
“Honestly, if you asked us separately, at different times, we would both say the same thing: the first time we saw each other!” says Kristen. “He (AJ) was up at the altar, and I was walking down the aisle with my parents. … I swore I wouldn’t cry, and I didn’t, I was just smiling from ear to ear. My smile couldn’t get any bigger when I looked at him, and then I saw his lip quiver. I looked away from him for a second to kind of regroup and the next person I made eye contact with was my Aunt Pat, who by the way was hysterically crying! I remember laughing in my head! Everyone tells me that they were all looking at AJ when I walked down the isle and that makes me happy because his reaction was by far the best ever. I’m proud of him for not crying but he will always tell me ‘You cut me deep, babe!'”
When it comes to weddings, the “Do It Yourself” trend is here to stay. With more and more couples wanting to incorporate personalized aspects into every part of their day, DIY weddings seems to be the way to go. In addition to making their wedding personalized, many couples are planning weddings with limited budgets or at non-traditional wedding venues, and so, DIYing elements is a perfect fit.
Let’s not forget, too, that for the bride or groom who just have a knack for crafting or making things, a wedding in the perfect playground to let your creative juices flow. It was for me.
However, DIYing your wedding is not always as easy or as “perfect” as you think it’s going to be. While, what we see in magazines or on sites like Pinterest are beautiful and are great for inspiration, when it comes to actually recreating what you see and doing it yourself, it’s not always that easy. We asked two Hudson Valley DIY brides – Michelle from Suffern, and Lauren from Poughkeepsie – to give their real, first-hand experience on what it was like making their wedding come to life.
Michelle – “DIY has always been in my blood. I am a crafter at heart, and absolutely love to create things and be able to put my own personal spin on it. If I can make it, why buy it? It means so much more when you can personalize things. Plus, it gives a sense of empowerment and gratification. Creativity is so important to me; it keeps my sanity! After finishing a project, what’s better than admiring it and saying ‘WOW!!! I did that!’ ”
Lauren – “The biggest thing that inspired me to go DIY with our wedding was seeing all of the amazing ideas on Pinterest and thinking, ‘Why spend all that money when we can do most of this ourselves?’ I knew finding a stylist for the ideas I liked would cost an arm and a leg and I figured, I’m great at copying ideas, why not do it myself?”
What did you DIY?
Photo Credit: Susan Pleiman
Michelle – “I wanted to carry a unique bouquet that would last forever. That’s when I came up with my brooch bouquet idea. I had asked my friends, family, and patients to donate their favorite pieces just to make it THAT much more special. Another thing that I made were my invitations.
“The theme of the wedding was ‘rustic-vintage,’ so there was a lot of lace, doilies, burlap, wood, and chalkboard that was used. I made all the menus, the fans, the place cards, the ‘table numbers,’ the takeaways and had my centerpieces bought from Bed Bath & Beyond with Shoprite flowers in the vases.’
“I decided to have each table with ‘Love’ in different languages in the center. The ‘Love’ phrase took place of the table numbers. For the place cards, I had small honey jars with squares of lace on top, complete with twine wrapped around. They held little tags with my guests’ names and the ‘Love’ phrase in whichever language their table had on it.
“We had a ‘photo area,’ in front of the fireplace mantle where the reception was held. I had made all sorts of props on long dowels complete with eyeglasses, old-fashioned mustaches, chalkboards, and large picture frames for people to hold up in front of them…I wanted to have a cute takeaway for the end of the night, so we went with milk and cookies.”
Lauren – “Personally, I made the bridesmaids’ bouquets, I did my own makeup, I made all the signs and decorations, set the tables and their settings up myself, I made all the decorations for the centerpieces. We had my husband’s aunt make all the desserts and the cakes and his friend make all the food (taco bar). We set up the ceremony area and decorated an arbor with a lot of things we found around my sister in law’s house (we had the ceremony and reception there).”
What does DIY really mean in terms of saving money or invested time?
Photo Credit: Susan Pleiman
Lauren – “While we didn’t spend nearly as much on a wedding as most people do (in the end we spent about $9,000-$10,000 total including attire on a 100 person event), it was still a lot when all was said and done. Every time you turned around you’d be spending money on more things. When you hire someone to do something, like the centerpieces, you just pay money and it’s there looking beautiful. But when you’re doing it yourself, every little piece you envision has to be purchased or found on some crazy scavenger hunt. So it takes a lot more time than you would think.
“In addition, I think because we were doing it all ourselves and didn’t really have “deadlines” other than the day of the wedding, procrastination ran high and we spent a lot of the morning of the wedding running around trying to set everything up, finish decorations, run out for last minute items, and just worried about the little things (like not having a tap for the keg!).”
What advice do you have for those interested in DIYing their wedding?
Photo Credit: Susan Pleiman
Michelle – “Although being a DIY bride was stressful, and tough, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. As long as you prioritize, and plan things out, you’ll be fine! Lists were my best friend. And get friends to help put things together! Not only does it save you money, but it really puts a sense of self into your wedding. And people will notice. Do not have a cookie-cutter wedding…get your creative juices going!”
Lauren – “Don’t be discouraged if things don’t turn out exactly how you envisioned them. Some of the items you see in pictures are nowhere to be found, or crazy expensive! So improvisation can be key in this regard. Just go with the flow. Also, don’t procrastinate! Things will go wrong or not turn out right, but you can eliminate a lot of that if you set a deadline to get everything done, like a week before the big day so you can just relax until the ‘I do!’ ”
What advice do you have for those who love the DIY look but don’t have the time or know they don’t have crafty genes?
Lauren – “Employ your crafty friends and family! Show them the picture of what you want and ask them to help or bring any creative ideas to the table (even though everyone will already be throwing ideas at you). In terms of making things from Pinterest, don’t expect it to look exactly the same. Go into your crafting knowing it won’t, but that you’re also making things for your own, unique wedding. If you’re determined to have everything looks the same to a T, expect even more money or investing in the help of a professional.”