Hudson Valley wedding photographer Majestic Studios

The Number One Truth That Can Ruin Your Proposal

You’ve found “the one.” You have the ring. Now you just have to plan the proposal. It’s, without a doubt, the most monumental question someone has to ask, and someone has to answer, in their entire life. So much hinges on those four words: “Will you marry me?” With such an important question to ask, here’s the one truth no one talks about: Proposing in public could make or break the entire thing.


Now, don’t get me wrong – witnessing a public proposal is awesome. Whether it’s on the streets of New York City, at a Major League Baseball game, at Walt Disney World – I saw four in one day there once – it’s so cool!


But here’s the thing: While neat to see, there is a person on the other end of that question.  A public proposal could turn one of the most romantic moments in your life to one of complete embarrassment and dread for the person you’re asking. Here’s why…


If your partner hates attention, a public proposal could send fear and embarrassment through their entire body. Even your wedding could cause a lot of stress because of knowing that all eyes are going to be on you.


However, there is one thing you can do to make sure you create a magical moment for the both of you:




Pay attention to hints


Yankee Stadium proposal

Photo Credit: WCHV

For most couples, they get to a point when they both know they are ready to get married. The proposal may not have happened yet, but you know it’s coming. Maybe you’ve even spoke about getting married or started to look at rings. If you know it’s coming, you could just come out and say that you don’t want a public proposal, that you want something quiet instead. Kind of takes a bit of the surprise element out of it, but it certainly ensures you get your way.


You could also drop or fish for hints. Let’s say you and your partner are at a Major League Baseball game and see across the big screen a marriage proposal. If you say “Oh, that’s so cool!” and are really excited about it; but your partner reacts or says something opposite of that – chances are, a public proposal may not be the best thing.


If one of your friends got engaged in private and you are explaining how it all went down to your partner, and they say something or act in a positive way about that, chances are, that type of proposal would be awesome for that person.


Maybe they hate attention but have always dreamed about getting engaged in front of Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World. Feel that person out by dropping subtle hints or have a friend do the investigating for you. Remember too, that some “public” places aren’t always as public as you think. There may be so many people around that they are so busy doing their own thing, that they aren’t paying attention to you at all.




But … what if you are proposed to in public and are frozen in panic?


To be clear, the panic isn’t because the love of your life is asking for your hand in marriage, you’re panicking because you have onlookers and hate attention. Here’s the bad news…I can’t tell you what to do.


What I can tell you to do is try to ignore what is going on around you. This is your moment, your loved one has put their heart on their sleeve and left themselves vulnerable, on their knee, asking you to spend the rest of your life with them. Focus on that moment, as it will only happen once.


In fact, as someone who got engaged in public, I can say that it was really neat to have the folks who saw, complete strangers, congratulate us, give us words of wisdom, wish us luck. It was really such a heartwarming experience to witness.


What is your ideal proposal? Would you prefer a private or public proposal?

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6 Important Things You Need to Tell Your Photographer

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly series (through December) where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. This is not a sponsored post; no compensation was received or exchanged for this blog post or the promotion of the photographer.

Today’s contributing writer is Alicia King from Alicia King Photography


When it comes to your wedding day, all your vendors are important, but perhaps one of the most important is your photographer. Now, I’m not just saying that because this is a post on photography, I’m saying it because it’s true. They are one of the most important vendors because they are one of the first vendors you need to book, they are one of the vendors you spend the most time with, they will be with you almost all day during some of the most private and emotional points of the day, they will help you create a timeline (if you don’t have a planner), and they are the ones who will create the family keepsakes you will treasure for a lifetime.

If you have a photographer and you haven’t been communicating with them, you need to start now. If you think that just telling them when and where to show up is enough, you are mistaken. Photographers need to know waaaaaaaaay more than you think, and to help you with this process, we’ve asked Alicia King, Owner, and Photographer at Alicia King Photography, to share with you exactly what you need to be telling your photographer to make sure they capture everything you want them to on that day, the day you don’t get to do over.

Details, details, details


Hudson Valley Wedding Photography Alicia King Photography

Photo Credit: Alicia King Photography

Since I was a DIY bride, I had so many details that I wanted photos of. I made sure our photographer knew of everything I wanted a memory of. King says “The first thing I would highly suggest telling your photographer about would be if you have any special family heirlooms you are incorporating into your day that you want to be photographed. This could include a special charm or fabric wrapped around your bouquet or a necklace that belonged to someone important. If it’s something that means something to you, let your photographer know!! That goes for other details as well. Even if a specific detail isn’t an heirloom, if it’s dear to you, and you want a photograph of it, make sure to mention it!”




Any special or unique moments of your day


King says “It’s also helpful to let your photographer know if you have chosen to incorporate anything special or unique into your ceremony or reception. For example, a sand mixing ceremony, the Hora, or singing happy birthday to a guest if the wedding date happens to fall on the same day.” Our wedding day was also the birthday of a special little guest who was turning 6. We wanted to do something special at the reception for him, so we purchased a big cupcake for him and had everyone sing happy birthday as the staff brought out the cupcake with six candles on it. If we hadn’t have mentioned that to our photographer (or our DJ too, for that matter), he could have possibly missed the whole thing. By telling him in advance, he knew to expect it. King also says “Some church ceremonies also include the first kiss in the middle of the service instead of at the very end so that would also be something to tell your photographer if you know ahead of time!”

Who your family members are


“You may also want to let your photographer know if there are key family members coming that you want photographs of or with,” says King. So, this may seem silly but think about it. Your photographer knows you, maybe your parents, but he doesn’t know who your cousins are, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. You want to make sure you give him or her a list of all the important people in your family you want pictures with. They don’t have to know what they look like, because they will announce who they want to have pose for photos, but if your grandma is there and if they don’t know who your grandmother is or if you want a photo with her, that’s a photo op you will most likely regret getting.


Special spots


“I always like to ask my couples if there are any special spots at their venue that they would really love to take photos,” says King. “Sometimes they say no and want me to choose (which is totally fine!) but sometimes they say yes! It is always my goal to take pictures the couple really wants, so knowing what spots stick out in their mind as important helps tremendously!”

Venue restrictions


Hudson Valley Wedding Photography Alicia King Photography

Photo Credit: Alicia King Photography

You may not realize it but venues may have restrictions in terms of where and how something can be photographed. “Most times,” says King, “Churches have strict rules about what a photographer can and cannot do. It is a good idea to find out from whoever is performing the ceremony if there is anything your photographer needs to know.” For example, King says “Some churches have balconies that photographers are not permitted to use for photography. If you have asked your photographer to take a picture from the balcony, and they are not permitted to go up there, it would be better to know that ahead of time then expect it and not receive it.” As a related topic, this is a question you want to make sure you ask your venue about. Some may tell you, but if they don’t make sure you ask to be double sure.




Officiant restrictions


“It is also a good idea to ask whoever is officiating your ceremony if they personally have any restrictions,” says King. Everyone knows that your ceremony is the most important part of your day, and so, because of that, your officiant may have restrictions such as no flash photography during the ceremony.

In the end, your photographer needs to know almost as much as you do about your wedding day. King says “It sort of sounds funny but keeping them in the loop will make your day go as smooth as possible!”

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Avoid These 3 Wedding Photography Pitfalls

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly post where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. Each week through December, learn from the very best so you can make smart and educated decisions when it comes to preserving your special day. Click on any photo to be taken to the photographer’s website. This is not a sponsored post; no compensation was received or exchanged for the purpose of this blog post or for the promotion of the photographer.



Today’s post is written by Doug Madden of Duetimage Photography


Everyone makes mistakes.  And sometimes mistakes are not due to simple carelessness or bad judgment.  Mistakes can come about through good intentions too, and this is how I think some couples are undercutting their wedding photography.


Here are three examples of how couples can wind up shortchanging themselves when planning their wedding photography timetable, and some practical advice for avoiding these pitfalls.


The Friend Factor


Hudson Valley wedding Photography

Photo Credit: Duetimage

Quite often, when talking to prospective clients for the first time, we hear the phrase: “We want great wedding photos, but not of us.  We mostly want candids of our friends.”


Now I get it.  Your wedding posse will likely include good friends from college and high school.  Maybe even further back, to elementary school, playschool, possibly the neonatal unit.  You love your BFF’s and you want to remember their camaraderie on the biggest day of your life.  But I can think of no worse plan for your wedding photography than making your images all about them and not about yourself.


Wedding photographers can seem hung up on portraiture and there’s a good reason for this.  That’s because weddings are about beauty, about looking your best on a day when you’re spending a lot of money on stunning venues, elegant decor, a knockout dress, and everything else that goes into a wedding.  Your photographer wants you to look as gorgeous as all that.  And even more importantly, your photographer wants to capture the love that shines in the eyes of you and your spouse on the day that you formally commit to each other.


At our studio, we always recommend that the bride and groom set aside at least one hour for their portraits.  When clients hear this, they usually want to head for the hills. That hour is easily imagined as a very long shooting time, and many clients are often concerned about stepping away from their friends for so long and missing out on the party.


The good news is that you don’t have to.  If you’re concerned about being a good host to your besties, plan your wedding portraiture before your guests arrive.  If your friends are in the wedding party and will be present all day, then explain to them your intention to take wedding photos alone as a couple.  It’s a pretty sure bet that they will understand and they’ll find plenty of ways to occupy their time while you’re working with your photographer.  And since wedding minutes go by faster than normal minutes, your couples portraits will likely be over before you even know it.




The Live Audience


Hudson Valley wedding Photography

Photo Credit: Duetimage

Sometimes couples have no problem setting aside time for their portraits.  Where things start to go wrong is in the crowd control department.  More often than not, members of your wedding party might want to trail along while shooting things like first looks and couples portraits.  These are moments that should be set aside exclusively for the bride and groom, and their photographer, and here’s why.


Mothers of the bride can be notorious for making an insensitive comment to their daughters that deflates their confidence when the cameras are clicking.


Bridesmaids, in their enthusiasm, can start giving camera directions that run contrary to what the photographer is trying to achieve.


Large groups of friends watching from the sidelines can get rowdy, and especially with a drink or two, they’re likely to get loud and tease you all in good fun.  And it is good fun, except that it eats up time and diminishes the sense of intimacy that bride and groom photos require.


If first looks and portraiture are important to you — if that’s the kind of imagery you’ve been looking at for months on Pinterest and wedding blogs — then you can’t be shy about demanding your “me” time.   Tell Mom that you love her.  Thank your bridesmaids for being there.  And tell your friends they can tease you when you show them your wedding album.  But your camera time belongs to you and your spouse alone because the moment can’t be repeated.


They’re Just Formals, Nothing Personal


Hudson Valley wedding Photography

Photo Credit: Duetimage

So, you’ve set aside time for portraiture and you’ve drawn a clear line in the sand when it comes to crowd control.  So now you’re going to make it up to everybody by including each and every guest in a 100 or so formal shots.  Right?


Quite often, when our clients create their photography schedules, they tend to use family formals as a time to acknowledge each and every guest at their event.  The lists of guests to be photographed can be quite extensive, ranging from relatives to kindergarten friends, to relatively new work colleagues.  Sometimes couples are pressured to have formals with friends and colleagues of their parents, who they don’t really know.  And sometimes guests end up on the formals list because so-and-so is on the list, and the other people might get insulted if they’re not included too.


The thing to remember is that while formals look simple, each group to be photographed takes time to setup and pose.  It all comes down to minutes, which as I’ve already said are shorter on wedding days than on regular days.


We recommend choosing the subjects of your formals very carefully.  Narrow the list down to the really important people in your life, namely your parents, siblings, and grandparents, plus any aunts or uncles who’ve been a positive force in your upbringing.  Friends who have stuck with you through thick and thin, or who were instrumental in bringing the bride and groom together, certainly deserve a formal too.  As do guests who have traveled to your wedding from very far away.


Making the final selection can be painstaking for couples who are concerned about bruising the feelings of their guests.  If this sounds like you, keep in mind that most people will understand the need to keep your list small.  Everybody gets it that time on a wedding day is limited, and chances are they’re planning to take their own selfie with you anyway.




It’s All About You


As you might have noticed, in each of the examples above, the solution is to keep the focus on you and your spouse as a couple.  And that’s the way it should be.  Weddings are a formal declaration of a union, broadcast to the world at large by way of those present at the moment you say, “I do”.  Let your wedding photos say: we are here … we are one … and this is our time.




Join us next week as our Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit continues with more great advice from Hudson Valley wedding photographers as they answer the most commonly asked questions.

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Unique Hudson Valley wedding gifts - ThirstyNest

4 Wedding Gift Ideas Unique To The Hudson Valley

Is this you? You received an invite to a wedding and are starting to think about what to get the couple as a wedding gift. You are struggling with this thought because the couple has everything, but you don’t want to just settle on giving them money or a gift card. You want to give them a physical present, but you want to give them something unique and different. Maybe you are the couple getting married and are looking for different gifts to register for. Lucky for you, the Hudson Valley offers a huge array of really unique wedding gift options.

There are so many ways you and your guests can think out of the box, rock an awesome gift, and support our local community. Because the Hudson Valley has so much to offer, we can’t list everything because this post would go on for days. However, we’ve broken it down into four categories to get your creative juices flowing.


Wedding gift category #1 – Unique wedding registries


Unique Hudson Valley Wedding Gifts - hill rock bourbon whiskey

Photo Credit: ThirstyNest

We’re all used to the “traditional” wedding registry where couples can register for home goods such as cookware, bakeware, bedding, china and the like, but did you know that there are tons of other gift registries you can sign up for? These alternative registries are particularly appealing for couples who are already living together before their wedding day and don’t need to or want to register for home goods but want something a little different instead.


Jacki Strum, founder of ThirstyNest, the first wine and spirits registry, perfect for the modern couple, allows couples to register for everything from drinkware, wine, spirits, even bar furniture. But here’s the best part! ThirstyNest offers Hudson Valley spirits which are perfect for adult beverage enthusiasts! They have Hudson Valley Bourbon Whiskey which is small-batch, limited-edition whiskey and is the first family of whiskeys distilled in New York since Prohibition. They also have Hillrock Solera-Aged Bourbon from Hillrock Distillery which is the world’s first bourbon aged the same way cognacs, sherries and ports are distilled on property that was once owned by a Revolutionary War Captain!




Wedding gift category #2 – Hudson Valley tours and experiences


unique Hudson Valley wedding gifts-craft beer tour

Photo Credit: Hudson Valley Craft Beer Tours

Between local history, local food, local farms and the tremendous growth of breweries, wineries, ciderie, and distilleries, The Hudson Valley is a hotbed for great excursions and tours. Dann Gavaletz and Ray Hannon, owners of Hudson Valley Craft Beer Tours, offer custom tour packages to local breweries, wineries, cideries or distilleries throughout the Hudson Valley.

It’s no secret that over the last several years, there’s been a tremendous growth of breweries opening in the Hudson Valley. Gavaletz and Hannon say there are over two dozen new sites, which in addition to the older, established facilities in the area, gives connoisseurs a vast array of brews and a wide choice of tastes for people to sample.


unique Hudson Valley wedding gifts-craft beer tour

Photo Credit: Hudson Valley Craft Beer Tours

You can visit these breweries yourself, but let’s face it, the Hudson Valley covers a large area and they aren’t always close together. Even though you are just tasting samples, you are still consuming alcohol, so having a designated driver who can take you to several sites in one day is a fun and safe alternative.

Their tours are perfect for anyone looking for unique alternatives to bachelor or bachelorette parties or even a great excursion for guests in town for a long weekend when they come to celebrate your wedding




Wedding gift category #3 – Art classes for the artistic, DIY couple


Unique Hudson Valley wedding gifts - couples painting party

Photo Credit: Paintbrushes & Party

If you or a couple you know love to upcycle, do DIY projects or just love a great craft project, you might want to consider gifting them an art class or DIY project class so that they can do something together to hang in their home. The one thing about living together is that you now have to combine two, sometimes totally different styles, into one living space, so creating something together brings a little bit of both of you into the piece.


Paintbrushes & Party in Poughkeepsie offers that unique experience. With everything from canvas art to wood pallet creations, couples could totally create a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork that truly symbolizes their tastes and love for one another. Owner Deanna Moriarty says it’s also a great date night idea. She says “They (couples) love laughing and creating together! …Our diptych paintings are lots of fun and our wood pallet signs have also been popular with couples.


Wedding gift category #4 – The gift of nature and history


Last, but certainly not least is the gift for nature and history lovers. If you live in the Hudson Valley, you are surrounded by state parks, recreational parks, hiking trails, or historical homes. That’s part of what makes the Hudson Valley so great and is what is a big draw for so many couples to live here.


If you or a couple you know loves nature or history, you might want to consider gifting them an Empire Pass. Most New York State Parks and historical sites charge a vehicle fee and this pass waives that fee.


There are six different versions of Empire Pass-type cards that range in lengths of time (annual or lifetime) and range in who they serve. You can also purchase a gift card so that the couple can choose the pass that’s best for them.


We’d love to know what non-traditional wedding gift did you purchase or receive? What other ideas do you have for gifts that go beyond money?

Featured Photo Credit: ThirstyNest

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5 Ways to Get Beautiful Wedding Photos on a Tight Budget

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly post where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. Each week through December, learn from the very best so you can make smart and educated decisions when it comes to preserving your special day. Click on any photo to be taken to the photographer’s website. This is not a sponsored post; no compensation was received or exchanged for the purpose of this blog post or for the promotion of the photographer.


Today’s contributor is Erica Leman of Sweet Alice Photography


We all know that weddings are expensive and today, many couples find themselves paying for most, if not all of it themselves. Many couples today also have other financial obligations to take care of such as student loans, rent or savings for a down payment on a house, or even family or child-related expenses.


wedding photos tight budget

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

With all of that, budgets are tight, and some are extremely tight, but no matter how tight your budget gets, the one thing you should never eliminate from your wedding budget is photography.


It’s very easy to say you’ll have a friend or family member take them, but in the end, you will most likely regret that decision when you are looking back at your album years later and see subpar photos. Unless your friend is a professional, you aren’t going to get the photos you really want or deserve to have as part of your legacy. Do you really want your friend or family member taking your photos instead of enjoying their night? Remember, they want to enjoy their day, and can’t really enjoy themselves if they are photographing you all night and “working”. It also puts a lot of pressure on them as well.




Additionally, and most importantly, your photos are not a purchase, they are an INVESTMENT you are making to yourself, your memories, and your family. Don’t think that just because you don’t have that much money to invest, you can’t hire a great photographer. In fact, the opposite is true.


We spoke to Erica Leman, lead photographer for Sweet Alice Photography, about what couples who are on a very tight budget can do about saving money on wedding photography.



Why is she the perfect person to answer this question? Because she was a bride on a budget. She says “Believe me, I totally understand tight budgets! I was the bride who had everything in a spreadsheet to make sure we didn’t go over our budget and had to finance my own wedding dress. I cried when I didn’t think I could find a photographer in our budget – and I was a wedding photographer! Budgets are a big piece of wedding planning, and ensuring that you don’t overspend is key when you are starting a life together.”




wedding photos tight budget

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

What are some conversations you can have with your photographer if you are on a tight budget?


As a photographer and a budget-conscious bride, Leman says don’t assume you can’t afford a photographer just because you have that much budgeted for it. Having a conversation with your photographer is a must and these are some things she suggests:


Think about the hours of coverage you want? “If you don’t need an entire day’s worth of photography coverage, ask your photographer what type of hourly options may be available,” she says.

Think about your album. Leman says “If your photographer includes an album as a part of your wedding package, ask if that may be taken out, either to save money or in favor of more hourly coverage.” I might even add asking if you could purchase your album at a later date when you have more money to invest in one. Maybe as a nice first-year anniversary gift. That’s what I did (after thinking that I would make my album myself and realized it was never going to happen). 


Ask about second photographers. “If your photographer shoots with a second photographer, ask if their hours can either be reduced or completely negated,” says Leman.


How about a trade? Leman has a great thought. She says “If you offer a good or service yourself, ask your photographer if they may be willing to accept a partial barter as a portion of the payment.” Of course, this all has to be agreed upon beforehand and spoken about in depth prior to signing any contract. Plus, not all photographers may be interested in doing that.


Keep an open mind. Leman says “When looking for ways to stay on budget with your photographer, please be open to their suggestions, as well as the fact that they may not be able to accommodate your request. Not every photographer likes to shoot weddings solo, and they may not be able to accept barters as a form of payment. It’s ok to move on, and find someone who may better fit your financial needs.”


We’d love to know, if you are a couple who had a candid conversation with your photographer about your budget, what are you doing to keep your budget in tact?


Please join us next week when we hear from another great Hudson Valley Photographer answering the most common photo/video questions couples have

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Featured Engagement: Kaila & Jeff

Their love story…


Photo Credit: Jeremiah Shaffer

Kaila and Jeff met on a dating website. Kaila says, “I guess those algorithms really work!” But, you can say it was their favorite number, 28, that really started the ball rolling.

“We spent a few days messaging back and forth on the site prior to him asking for my number,” says Kaila.  “After that, we texted for a few more days. About two weeks after, I called Jeff one Saturday morning with all intentions of seeing if he wanted to hang out since we were getting along pretty well via texting. I spent the next two hours trying to convince Jeff that we’d probably have a really good time if we just spent the afternoon together. He was super hesitant; he was so terrified of dating it was almost comical. Finally, he goes ‘alright, what’s your favorite number?’ I, without hesitation, said 28. It’s always been a very significant number in my life and most of my major life events happen to incorporate the number 28.  Little did I know, the same was true for Jeff and that’s how I got him to agree to hang out with me that day. I guess, as they say, the rest is history.”


The proposal…


Photo Credit: Jeremiah Shaffer

Christmas Eve is always a magical time and it was super magical for Kaila, as she had no idea Jeff was about to propose! She describes how the whole proposal went down after everyone opened presents. “My whole family was down at my sisters’ lake house on Sleepy Hollow Lake,” she says. “We were all gathered around the tree and, in true Kaila fashion, I was the one orchestrating the gift exchange, so I was standing up and handing out gifts.”

She had just finished handing out the last gift to her mom, which were framed photos of her and her siblings. “I was so engrossed in giving her these gifts,” she says, “That I didn’t really realize what was happening around me. I gathered up the last of the gift wrap that was on the floor and I said ‘ok, that’s it!’ Then I see Jeff come around the side of the tree. Again, was still completely oblivious to what was going on. He cutely says ‘There’s one more gift..’ and he pretends to reach under the tree and then gets down on one knee and opens the ring box.”

After that, Kaila suffered from what I affectionately call ‘Proposal Amnesia’. Something that I think almost every woman goes through, including yours truly. She says “Honestly, after that, it was kind of a blur. My hands went up to my eyes and I started crying. I’m sure he said some really sweet stuff, and thankfully my cousin got the last half of it on video, but I mostly remember him saying that I make him the happiest he’s ever been, and thankfully I did comprehend the ‘Will you marry me?’ part, and ecstatically agreed.”

What are they most excited about…?


With their wedding a week from tomorrow, Kaila says “I’m looking forward to our first look. I can’t wait for that intimate moment where we see each other for the first time. I think it’s so sweet – to be away from the crowd, just the two of us.”

Advice for engaged couples?


Photo Credit: Jeremiah Shaffer

Kaila has some of the best advice. She says, “Never doubt yourself.” How perfect! Here’s why she says that. “We’re having a superhero themed wedding. It’s quirky – some would say down right bizarre – but it’s what we want and it’s what we’re big, geeky fans of,” she says. Did she have doubts about her theme? Sure! “I’ve definitely had the thought in the back of my head during this whole planning process of ‘Will people think this whole theme is pretty juvenile?’”, she says. “But you know what? So what if they do! We are downright obsessed with the whole thing. My best friend designed our comic-style wedding invites and I cannot tell you how many of our guests have said how unique and fun the invites were.” Kaila says “So, basically, just go with what YOU want and what’s going to be a real reflection of you and your fiancé. This is your day, after all.

Why are there only 28 photos in this post? (added question because this is so cool)

As you know, 28 is both Kaila and Jeff’s favorite number, and the fact that there are 28 photos is a magical coincidence that they both love.

According to Jeremiah Shaffer, the photographer who took these amazing photos, the skies opened up right in the middle of their engagement session at the abandoned Catskill Game Farm. It was POURING rain and he, Kaila, and Jeff had to run for cover in an old concession stand for a good hour while the rain passed. While inside, Jeremiah continued to take photos. Once the rain let up, they continued to explore the grounds but because of the rain, they ran out of time to explore the grounds as fully as they had hoped.

Kaila says “Jeremiah texted me the day these engagement photos were ready stating that we got 28 awesome photos. It still freaks me out sometimes how often it comes up, but I also feel like it’s our little sign that everything is on the right track.”

Photo Credit to all: Jeremiah Shaffer

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bridesmaids in their dresses

What You Need to Know About Choosing Your Bridal Party (part 1)

One of the first things most couples do once they plan their date and let the engaged life settle in for a bit is to chose who they want to have in their bridal party. This, in itself, can create a lot of stress for some people. Couples may think they know who they want standing next to them, but then, the “what if’s” come in.

Have you ever said any of these things..?


• What if I don’t ask someone, will their feelings be hurt?

• What if my sides don’t match in number?

• What if my bridal party is too small or too large?

• What if I ask someone who really doesn’t want to be in my wedding?

• What if someone in my bridal party can’t afford to be in it?

• What if I ask someone who’s married? Does their spouse have to be in the bridal party too?

Bridesmaid for Hire Jen Glantz

Photo Credit: Jen Glantz

If you’ve ever asked any of these questions, then this is the place you want to be. Over the next few months, we’re going to be covering all these topics and more, so don’t worry…we have your back.


Now, I know we always talk to experts in the Hudson Valley, but sometimes, the experts we need to give you the best advice are outside of our market, as in this case. We reached out to two bridesmaid experts to give you advice on how to choose and handle your bridal party.


Angela Napoletano and Beth Palmisano, are friends and co-owners of Dear Bridesmaid. Based in Virginia, this online resource offers bridesmaids tips, products, and advice, to make their time in that role as easy and stress-free as possible. Jen Glatz is a professional bridesmaid, based in New York City, and is the founder of the website Bridesmaid for Hire & Author of “Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire)”. Together, they share their expertise in helping you choose your bridal party and navigating your bridal party questions.




How do I choose my bridal party?


This can be a heavy decision for many couples. I know in other posts I’ve talked about the unromantic side of weddings as a way to help you de-stress and not go crazy over details that might keep you up at night. Mainly, that all you really need are two witnesses and don’t even need a bridal party at all if you don’t want one.


HOWEVER, I don’t like to focus too much on the unromantic side of things, because, we all know, a wedding is the most romantic event you’ll ever be a part of. The problems creep in because brides and grooms overcomplicate this process.


Glantz says, “Keep your bridal party simple. Use the elevator trick. Who would you want to be stuck in an elevator with? Sounds funny, but it’s true. Being stuck in an elevator is a lot like being at a wedding. It can be emotional, overheated, scary, and people might even get hungry or hangry. Those are the people you want to have as your bridesmaids – the ones who will be calming you down not adding to the drama.”


The elevator trick is a great tool to help you decide. No bride or groom wants extra drama. If you are not inviting a particular person to be in your bridal party because of the drama they create and are worried about how they will react to not being invited, think of it this way. it’s better to have that drama be done and over with outside of your wedding than during your wedding.


choose your bridesmaids

Man in the Moon Studios

Palmisano says she sees two themes play out most when the bride (or groom) choose their party. First, she says that you need to remember that being asked to be in a bridal party is an honor and should be reserved for the most important people. “These are the sisters, oldest friends, even mothers who are given the badge as a thank you and symbolic gesture of love.” Second, she says some brides go beyond that and invite newer friends. “…Typically friends present in the bride’s life at the time of wedding prep. The ones she sees daily and counts on for a quick favor or to accompany her on errands.” She says having a mix of old and new friends/family members is great because it gives you a nice mix of people you can turn to throughout the planning process.




How many people do I choose and do my sides need to be even?


Ok, so here’s my two sense on this…the smaller the better. I know there are traditional “rules” that say the size of your bridal party should match the size of your wedding, but honestly, the bigger the party, the more stress it means for you. That’s more people you have to organize, more opinions you have to deal with, more of everything, and who want to deal with all that stress?


Your bridal party is NOT a position to take lightly and is not for anyone who has ever meant anything to you. You’ve all heard stories about couples who had enormous amounts of people in their bridal party? Why? Use the K.I.S.S Method (Keep It Simple Silly)


However, if you really want a big bridal party or if you really want a small bridal party, know that there is no right or wrong answer as to what you should do. Nor, is there a right or wrong decision to having the sides match in number. Palmisano says, “There is no right or wrong and count is really based on the bride’s preference. Bridesmaids and groomsmen don’t need to be even but some couples prefer that.”


Does the brides’ side need to be all women and does the groom’s side need to be all men?


Of course not! The one thing to remember about weddings is that while there are traditional “rules” like I mentioned before, it’s still your wedding day. Couples today want their day to be different and personalized, so really there are no “rules”, it’s whatever you like. “The bride should choose ‘her person’ to stand beside her on the special day. If it’s a guy he should be up there,” says Palmisano


Featured Photo Credit: Kristina Walter

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Photography Trends and Highlight Videos – What You Need To Know

Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit is a weekly post where the some of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding photographers and videographers share their insights on the most commonly asked questions about wedding photography and videography. Each week through December, learn from the very best so you can make smart and educated decisions when it comes to preserving your special day. Click on any photo to be taken to the photographer’s website. This is not a sponsored post; no compensation was received or exchanged for the purpose of this blog post or for the promotion of the photographer.

Today’s contributor is Lynette Romero of Pioneer Media

Photography and videography go hand in hand when it comes to your wedding. Photos are great for capturing snapshot moments of the day, while video captures the sound, movement and the essence of your wedding day. Photos are a must when it comes to capturing your special day, but your memories go up a notch when you have video capturing your conversations, your voices and everything that makes these precious moments such a great legacy and a treasured heirloom.

Hudson Valley Wedding Photography

Photo Credit: Pioneer Media

Today, we spoke to Lynette Romero (photographer), who, together with her husband Bryndon (videographer), co-own Pioneer Media in Newburgh. In our conversation, Lynette discusses current photography trends as well as explains the difference between a traditional wedding video and a highlight reel.


Photo trends


Photography trends change over time. Just look at what you’re seeing on Pinterest compared to what your parent’s album looks like. Today, couples are asking for more intimate and personal moments to be captured and not so much of the formalized portraiture you saw 15-20 years ago.


Photographers love capturing those special moments on film because they not only make each wedding unique but also creates a really special keepsake that’s so much fun for the couple to look back on. Many of these special moments happen the morning of your wedding (or during the ‘getting ready’ phase of the day).


WCHV: What are couples doing the morning of their wedding that makes for such memorial moments? 

Romero: “Many couples mark the unofficial start of the wedding day by exchanging gifts or cards and reading their notes to each other for the video and photo. Since the morning of the wedding sometimes can be stressful or busy, reading love notes from each other focuses the couple back on each other. It sets the tone for the first time they see each other, and adds great content to their wedding video and photo album.”

WCHV: What are some ways couples have personalized that moment?


Romero: “At a recent wedding, our groom wrote a love note on the bottom of his bride’s shoe. We saw a variation of this idea at another recent wedding, where the whole bridal party signed and wrote little notes on the bottom of our bride’s shoe.”





Hudson Valley Wedding Photography

Photo Credit: Pioneer Media

When it comes to videography, there are two main types. There’s documentary style which is more traditional and captures longer moments. Think of this as the type of video you would take on your phone. You are capturing the moment live, without edits. Then there is cinematography style, which is video edited with the addition of music for entertainment value to make your day look more like a movie.


Cinematography style is one of the hottest trends, and most of the examples you see online are highlight reels. Think of them as the “movie trailer” for your wedding


WCHV: What exactly is a highlight reel and how is it different than a regular video?


Romero: “Our highlight reels are typically one song length, three to five minutes. They are very cinematic and include the most emotional and entertaining content from the day. Our full videos are much longer, normally at least a half hour, but have the same cinematic style, with shorter clips and set to music. In both cases the audio (can be the card readings, the vows, the toasts, etc.) drive the story of the video.

What are some of the moments you want to be captured on your wedding that goes beyond the traditional? What special moments do you and your spouse-to-be have planned? We’d love to know. 


Please join us next week when we hear from another great Hudson Valley Photographer answering the most common photo/video questions couples have

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Your wedding dress: how do you know when you found the one?

Buying a wedding dress is one of the most emotional purchases a woman will ever make in her entire life.  We all envision that moment when you put on a wedding dress, look in the mirror, and hear angelic voices serenade down upon you as you realize that this is THE dress. We all envision that moment where everyone is crying as you say ‘yes’ to your dress.

This inevitably puts a lot of pressure on the bride to get it ‘right’. Just like with your spouse, you never want to settle, but you also have to be open to knowing that not all brides get that weepy moment…and that’s ok. If you are expecting that moment and will not say yes to any dress until that happens to you, then you are setting yourself up for failure.

So we decided to go to the experts and asked local bridal gown shop owners for their insights into helping you find THE ONE.



To find THE dress, keep an open mind and trust your consultant


Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Before even stepping foot into a bridal shop, brides will do research online or look in magazines, pulling pages or saving photos to Pinterest of gowns they like. In each of these clippings, there’s something about that particular dress that catches the eye of the bride – either the silhouette, the detailing, the designer’s name.

Often times the biggest disappointment comes when the bride tries on the dress she loved in the magazine or online and it doesn’t look the same on her. While it’s great to come in with ideas, as it helps to narrow down the focus, it’s also important that you shop with an open mind, for such an occasion.

Tina Pomarico, owner of Lady Gray Bridal in Beacon says when a bride comes in “They tell us what they are looking for. We’ll pull out what it is that they’ve asked for.” However, she says, as the women start trying on the dresses they came in thinking they wanted, and start sharing what they like or don’t like about the dress, that’s when you need to start trusting your consultant.”

At that point, Pomarico will usually say “’You know, I have something that I really think would work beautifully for you, would you be willing to try?’” She says, the brides-to-be usually all agree “…Because they trust in our expertise and all that we offer. So they’ll put something on and be pleasantly surprised and think ‘Wow! I didn’t really think this would be the silhouette I would really choose.’”

Your consultant is also helping you by empowering you to make the decision on your own, by ironically, saying nothing at all. Laura Howard, store manager of Chamonix Bride in Rhinebeck says consultants try to say as little as possible when the bride is on the floor in front of the mirror and in front of her entourage. She says “We don’t ever say ‘Oh, I love that on you!’, ‘I love this detail.’ We just let them kind of figure it out and we can tell if they need guidance. We say ‘Well this one has the lace that you were looking for’ or ‘What don’t you like? What aren’t you loving?’ …and we just have that dialogue to help them figure out themselves.”

Here’s a tip. If you have a dress on and the longer you have it on, the longer you find ‘issues’ with it, it’s not your dress. Take it off and move on. If, on the other hand, you have your dress on and the longer you have it on, you are just finding more and more things you love about it, chances are, that’s a good sign it’s a keeper.

To find THE dress, don’t try on anything that’s outside your budget


Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

I can’t stress this enough that it’s so, so, so important that you do research on what you like and the price point you’re comfortable with, and that you go into the dress shopping appointment with that budget in mind, and that you NEVER go over budget. Why? Because it’s almost guaranteed that the minute you start trying on gowns that are out of your price range, you are going to fall in love with one that you can’t afford.

If budget is no issue, then, by all means, go for it. But for many brides, a budget is extremely important. Now, that being said, it’s also a misconception to think that lesser priced gowns are poorly made. The average wedding gown will cost anywhere between $1,200 and $3,500. In that range, you can find beautifully made, beautifully detailed dresses with all the bells and whistles you can think of.

But, be wary of the too-good-to-be-true-find-of-the-century dress deal that you find online. Never buy your gown online. Always go to a reputable salon to make sure you are getting what you pay for.




To find THE dress, trust your gut and don’t wait for the waterworks


Finding THE dress is a remarkable experience. Pomarico says “It’s really great when you see that moment when they actually try THE dress. You know, when they put that gown on and that emotion comes through, that’s not something you can make up. And after 34 years…I still get the goosebumps.”

However, the biggest factor many brides use to determine if they’ve found THE one is whether or not they cry, or their mom cries, or their whole entourage and consultants cry. The reality is most brides DON’T cry!

You might be asking yourself “Well, if I don’t cry, how will I know it’s the one?” Pomarico says “You will know. It’s an emotion I cannot describe. But when you experience it, you’ll know.”

“Sometimes you get that very emotional bride,” says Pomarico, “And she’s crying and so is her mom, and then we get those who… don’t get that flood of emotion, but we can still tell. They have that look in their eye and that look on their face, and they stand there and they say ‘I don’t want to take this off.’”

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Howard sees the same thing in her store. “We have people that are crying, then I’m crying, mom’s crying. Then we have girls that are just focused and analyzing. Nine times out of 10 you can tell immediately. They (the bride) stand up straighter, their posture is better, they’re playing with it, they’re sitting down, they’re giving it a full test drive.”


Betsy Wise, stylist at Lambs Hill Bridal Boutique in Beacon and owner of Betsy Wise Bridal also in Beacon says everyone is different. “You can tell when someone feels really great, you can see it on their face,” she says. Not everyone has the experience you see on tv. She says “people do find the dress and cry, but that’s not everybody’s experience, and I think it makes people (brides) feel insecure like, ‘Oh I’m not doing it right! I didn’t cry! I didn’t have that experience!’ Everyone is different, and everyone is going to find their right dress in their own way.”

Guess what… I was a bride who didn’t cry. Not one tear, but I knew, deep down, it was the one. I didn’t want to take it off. The longer I had it on and started twirling in it, and dancing in it and picking up on all the details and nuances, I knew it was the one and didn’t want to try any more dresses on.

So, if you’ve found your dress already, what advice do you have for brides who are still looking?


Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography


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