Follow Us

Categories

Archives

Search Tags

Hudson Valley elopement Lake Minnewaska Michele Iljazi Photography

Hudson Valley Elopement at Lake Minnewaska

Elopements are traditionally seen as a wedding done alone, without fanfare or guests and are perfect for couples who just can’t stand the thought of planning a wedding, or who value and treasure privacy. Angelina and Sergio decided on a Hudson Valley elopement at Lake Minnewaska for the privacy, and as you’ll read, that was very important to them. But first, get inspired by their gorgeous elopement with photos by Michele Iljazi Photography
 


 

How did you meet?

 

Sergio and I first met in passing about 20 years ago when we were teenagers working in the same shopping mall, but we never really spoke at great length — we simply admired each other from afar. Then we “bumped” into each other a handful of times before ultimately reconnecting on Match.com in 2010. He emailed me the most engaging, friendly, non-creepy, and sweet note. I became curious, but reluctant to respond because he had no profile picture up yet. Three days later, he finally uploaded one, and I realized it was him — the guy I had been crushing on from afar! I wrote him back immediately. This interaction was quickly followed up with a coffee date later that night, and we have been virtually inseparable ever since!
 

What was your proposal like?

 

Our proposal was unforgettable and one of the best moments of my life! My husband put amazing thought, creativity, and love into the entire occasion, and surprised me with the proposal the day after Christmas, my favorite holiday. Just when I thought the excitement of Christmas was over, Sergio presented me with one last, wrapped present—something he had been creating. He casually handed me the gift, and upon opening it, I found a collection of comic-book style snapshots of moments we had shared, that he had sketched, designed and rendered on his own! He managed to combine humor, innovation, and romance in an album which was sealed with a handwritten note asking if I would spend the rest of his life with him, filling that album up with continued memories together as his wife. When I looked over, he was down on his knee with the most beautiful Heidi Gibson engagement ring that he had custom-made just for me! Of course, I said yes!
 

Why did you decide to elope?

 

We chose to have an elopement because we value the privacy and intimacy that it has to offer. For us, the idea of an elopement felt humble and peaceful, which is a feeling that often gets lost in the hustle and bustle of planning a large-scale wedding.
 

Why did you choose Minnewaska State Park?

 

We chose Minnewaska State Park because of the mountainous views, the reflective quality and serenity of Lake Minnewaska, and the overall feeling of being connected to nature. Upon standing on the rocky cliff overlooking the lake, where we had our ceremony, it literally felt like we were floating in the clouds! There is no other place that can allow you to feel so grounded while simultaneously making you feel like you’re floating.
 

What style were you going for?

 

The style we were going for was bohemian and organic. As the bride, I wanted my look to be unique, feminine, and eclectic while still maintaining that natural vibe!
 

What was your favorite and most memorable moment of the day?

 

It’s really difficult to pick just one!! We chose to exchange private vows we had written to each other in a small gazebo on the way to the ceremony site, which allowed us to shake out our nerves and connect on such an intimate level. Sergio would tell you his most memorable moment was during our ceremony. He describes seeing the sunset behind me, the sounds of nature in the background, and a visual that he says was “picture perfect.”
 

Do you have any advice for engaged couples?

 

The best piece of advice we could give is to have a clear understanding of who you are as a couple so that your wedding is a reflection of your true essence. Don’t get too distracted by the opinions of others!
 

Who were your vendors?

 

Photographer: Michele Iljazi Photography

Bridal Boutique: Everthine Boutique

Bridal Hair: Jessica Sefcik

Bridal Makeup: BeautyMarked Studio

Floral Design: Jakkelyn Iris

Read More
Hudson Valley Wedding White Poppy Weddings New York Country Club New Hempstead New York

Rockefeller Center Proposal and a Hudson Valley Wedding at the New York Country Club

Shannon and Mier’s engagement at Rockefeller Center was like a scene out of your favorite romance movie, complete with a surprise engagement party, and capped off with a week-long cruise! If you thought that couldn’t get any better, wait until you see their photos from their Hudson Valley wedding at the New York Country Club in New Hempstead, NY. White Poppy Weddings captured every detail perfectly and you can see that Shannon and Mier’s day was full of love and laughter. But first, we got a chance to interview the lovely bride, Shannon, and she tells us more about their beautiful love story and shares some REALLY GREAT advice to engaged couples as well.

 

How did you meet?

 

We were introduced through our mutual friend, Nicole. Mier was friends with her in high school and she became my suite mate in college. Every summer I would go to her house on Long Island to celebrate her birthday and it was always a good mix of high school and college friends getting together. I would only see him once a year at her party and it wasn’t until the summer of 2013, which was right after college, that we decided to take a chance and go on our first date together. After that, I found myself traveling to Long Island quite often.

 

What was your proposal like?

 

We had booked a cruise to leave out of Miami on February 12th which also happened to be my birthday. We were flying out early the day before so on the 10th Mier had organized a dinner with our parents to celebrate my birthday. I’m a huge planner so I wanted to set up the whole thing but he insisted on making the location a surprise and the only reason I agreed was that he kept telling me that I shouldn’t be the one planning my birthday. How could I argue with that one?

 

We woke up that morning and he wanted to go into the City for the day which was super spur of the moment because I was under the assumption that he was going into work because it was a Friday. I had also tried convincing him earlier in the week to take the day off but he said he couldn’t, so you could imagine my excitement when he told me he wasn’t going in to work.

 

Rockefeller Center Proposal

Photo from Shannon’s personal collection

We got up and I was trying to find a nice outfit to wear because I am now assuming that my surprise birthday dinner is in the city. One thing leads to another and my getting ready process took a little longer than anticipated so we missed our first train. Oops! He had mentioned that he wanted to go to The Top of the Rock and ice skating at Rockefeller Center but since we missed our first train, we’d only go ice skating because we had tickets already for open skating for a specific time. I was extremely fine with that because ice skating in the City was one of my bucket list items that I’ve always wanted to do. We get into the city and check in at the rink. I remember getting on the ice and feeling so excited to finally be able to see a different perspective of Rockefeller Center.

About 5 minutes before the session ended, Mier says that he’d like to take a picture in front of the main statue. We’re the last people on the ice and he asks an employee if they would mind taking a photo. He hands her my phone and as we’re skating over to the statue I hear “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve start playing. Everyone that knows me knows that is my all-time favorite song so I don’t even see a ring yet but I know it’s coming because as I am listening to “Bittersweet Symphony.” I see the biggest smile on his face with tears in his eyes. Mier gets down on one knee and asks me to marry him in the most perfect way. Everyone from above was cheering for us and I remember being overwhelmed with such joy and happiness. It’s moment in time which I get to relive frequently because the girl that was supposed to take our picture captured that exact moment on video.

 

Afterwards, we sit down at the ice skating rinks bar and got treated to a glass of champagne. At this point, I completely forgot about my birthday dinner but Mier tells me that he actually booked a reservation closer to our house in Hastings. We finish our champagne and hop on the train to head back. I’m on cloud 9 and very excited to see our parents and show them my new shiny piece of jewelry. He said that we just needed to stop at the house really quick because he forgot a card that he wanted to bring to the restaurant.

 

We get inside and are greeted with a big “SURPRISEEEE!” Our family and friends came running towards us with open arms and already being an emotional wreck, I start crying once again.

 

The rest of the night was spent celebrating with all of our loved ones and the next morning we flew off to Miami to spend the week cruising tropical islands as a newly engaged couple. It could not have been more perfect.

 

Did you have a wedding theme or vibe you were going for?

 

When planning my wedding I always had the vibe of classy and elegant in the back of my mind. I didn’t want extremely bold colors but rather more neutrals with a pop of lighter blue hints. The blue was incorporated in the bridal party and with our floral arrangements. The first element that I knew we had to have were hydrangeas. They are my absolute favorite flower so I knew that blue needed to be the focus point. Pinterest did a great job at helping find ideas.

 

Why did you choose the Hudson Valley for your wedding?

 

We chose the Hudson Valley for our wedding because my family is from upstate and his family is from Long Island so we thought that it would be a good idea to pick an area that was close to being between our two homes.

 

What was the most memorable moment from your wedding day?

 

There was a moment in the middle of the reception when I sat down while everyone else was on the dance floor. I will never forget that moment because I was overcome with such happiness seeing all of our family and friends having the best time celebrating our marriage. I think it’s very important for couples to take in those moments on their wedding day because it allows you to step back and truly feel all of the love that is surrounding you on your wedding.

 

Do you have any advice for engaged couples about wedding planning?

 

Find your venue as soon as possible. Some people think it’s crazy to start looking right after you get engaged but I have to disagree. While it’s nice to enjoy the time being newly engaged, it’s also important to start looking for your dream location to get married. It could take some time to find that perfect place and if you have a specific day or month in mind, that’s even more of a reason to start the hunt early so you can get the date you want. Schedule those appointments!

 

Also, I cannot stress this enough….. make sure you love your vendors and know who you’re working with! These are the people that you will communicate with frequently which is why it’s super important to feel comfortable with your vendors. There’s a lot of trust that you will need to give them because these are the people who are supposed to make your dream wedding become a reality. Luckily, could not be happier with the vendors that we chose. Everyone was phenomenal and we will be forever grateful for them.

 

Vendors:

 

Venue: New York Country Club – New Hempstead, NY

 

Photography: White Poppy Weddings – Newburgh, NY

 

DJ and Videography: Music Speaks Volumes – Wappingers Falls, NY

 

Hair and Makeup: Bella Trucco – Marlboro, NY

 

Flowers: Bassett Flowers – New City, New York

 

Photo credit: White Poppy Weddings
Read More
Hudson Valley Wedding at Cedar Lakes Estate photos by With Love and Embers

Weekend-Long Hudson Valley Wedding at Cedar Lakes Estate

Taryn and Jason’s Hudson Valley wedding last month was magical in every sense of the word. It began with a proposal in Beacon, NY and ended with their family and friends camped out for an entire weekend at Cedar Lakes Estate in Port Jervis, NY. Check out their stunning photos by With Love & Embers and read all about their beautiful love story, their proposal and some really great advice for choosing vendors as well as cherishing the “engaged” phase of your relationship.
 


 

How did you two meet?

 

Taryn: Jason and I both went to Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania and met during the fall of 2007. I had just started my freshman year and he was a sophomore. We met fairly early on during my freshman year (his sophomore). F&M is a small school so everyone pretty much knew each other, and this was especially true of the athletes (I was playing on the lacrosse team and Jason played baseball). I’m not sure if either of us remembers the exact moment we met, I think it was more gradual…we had a lot of mutual friends, given that the athletes mostly hung out with each other. We started spending more time together in smaller groups, got to know each other a little better, and eventually realized that we had a connection that felt a little deeper than friendship.
 

Tell us all about the proposal!

 

Taryn: We got engaged on a Friday, October 30, 2015, about 8 years after we first met. I was in my 4th and final year of medical school and had just taken one of the biggest exams of my career. Jason wanted to go away for the weekend to celebrate but wanted to surprise me with the details. We started driving north, and within 2 hours, we turned off the highway onto an exit that I knew very well. We were going to Beacon, NY—a small town in the Hudson Valley we visited and fell in love with the year before. Within seconds, I realized that Jason had most likely booked a converted barn that we had found on Airbnb the year before, but it had been unavailable for months. When we got there, Jason said we were running late for our dinner reservation, and asked if I could quickly grab my bags and put them inside so we could head to town for dinner.
 

Still not suspecting a thing, mostly because Jason remained so calm, I opened the door to the barn to find a string-lit filled barn, with 2 horses quietly eating. (I grew up riding horses, so I was MUCH more intrigued by the two of them than the twinkling lights, candles, roses, and the bottle of champagne). It wasn’t until Jason walked over and asked “Can you put your bag down?” that I turned, saw his face, and instantly knew what was happening. I’m still not sure what he said to me, but all I could focus on was the look in his eyes. I actually don’t even think I looked at the ring for a good few minutes! It was the most magical moment, and for a guy who was not the best with romantic gestures and surprises, he pulled out all the stops for this one. We went to dinner after calling our families and made a deal to not tell anyone else until the end of the weekend. We really just wanted to enjoy each other without the distraction of a million phone calls and text messages…and social media, which was the best decision. For the last surprise of the weekend, Jason had set up a celebratory dinner with our families back in the city on Sunday night. The perfect end to the perfect weekend!
 

Describe the wedding planning process. Why did you choose the vendors you worked with?

 

Taryn: After taking some time to just be engaged, we slowly started looking at venues online. Cedar Lakes was the first place we visited and from the moment we stepped onto the property, we knew it was where we wanted to get married. Even in the dead of winter, it had a certain magic to it. And in the spring and summer, it’s really is an indescribable place. Jason and I wanted a venue that truly reflected our relationship and who we are as a couple. The outdoors are really important to both of us and play a pretty significant roll in our lives, and in our relationship. Living in the city, we rely on our trips to Vermont, weekends at his family’s lake house, or at my parent’s home near to ocean to ground us and give us a re-charge. We wanted a place that could bring together our love for the mountains, the forest, and water. Cedar Lakes just felt like us. Additionally, our family and friends are so important to us and we were really drawn by venues that allowed for weekend-long celebrations. As a former summer camp, CLE allowed us to host both of our extended family and our entire wedding party on-site, which allowed for a really special weekend.
 

Planning: We realized early on that we were going to need a lot of guidance, as work was crazy for both of us and, as mentioned, Cedar Lakes required a good deal of coordination. We knew we needed someone who was comfortable with the property, the staff, and all of Cedar Lakes Estate’s intricacies. We were introduced to our planner, Amanda of Bespoke Moments, by the CLE team. She has planned countless weddings there over the last few years and after our first conversation, I knew she was perfect for us. Handing the reins over to the Bespoke Moments team was the biggest sense of relief I felt throughout the whole planning process, and it truly allowed us to relax and enjoy. Amanda was integral in a number of vendor choices including the DJ (Generation Events), our rentals (Hudson Valley Vintage Rentals), and our stationary/signage. She also provided us with our “wedding bible”–a multi-page Excel document to keep us on track and organized throughout the planning phase–which truly became our bible.

 

Photography: We knew we didn’t want “traditional” wedding photos and hoped to capture the love, emotions, and candid moments from our day in an organic way. A friend of ours had chosen Jillian & Ryan McGrath of With Love & Embers photography for their wedding–we absolutely loved their photos and knew that their style would be perfect for us and our venue. When we first met Jill & Ryan, we felt an instant connection and as if we had known them for years. And more importantly, we felt so comfortable in front of their lenses during our engagement shoot and understood how important this would be on our wedding day.

 

Florals: Starting out, we didn’t realize how expensive florists and floral design teams can be, so it did take some searching around to find a florist that was within our budget. Kate Amato of Viridescent Floral Design from Beacon, NY came as a welcome recommendation from our Cedar Lakes team. From the moment I met Kate, I was confident that she would not only create something extraordinary but that her calm and friendly demeanor would make working together a breeze. She took my scattered thoughts from our first meeting and came up with a proposal that truly grasped our vision. Kate was also very comfortable with recycling the arrangements and design elements in different ways throughout the weekend events, which not only helped us save money but allowed our guests to enjoy those beauties a little bit longer!

 

Officiant: My husband and I come from different religious backgrounds–he was raised Jewish and I was raised Catholic, however, neither of us envisioned a religious wedding ceremony. We knew that having a non-denominational officiant would allow us to craft and personalize our ceremony, and to integrate the traditions that were most meaningful to us. The moment after we finished our first phone call with Alice, we knew that we had our celebrant and did not need to look any further. And once we met with her a few months before our wedding day, it felt like we had known each other forever. Beyond that, she was also extremely professional and organized and provided us with numerous resources for ceremony elements, readings, vows, and beyond. She also gave us a complete breakdown of the ceremony and a provided a timeline for our venue, which made the whole event run flawlessly.

 

Describe your wedding day.

 

Taryn: The wedding day itself turned out to be beyond anything we could have ever imagined. To this day, we still have trouble finding the words to describe it–it truly was the most magical, perfect day of our lives and an incredible way to begin our new life together. The weather was beyond perfect (something that doesn’t happen too often for big events in our lives!) and the whole day just went flawlessly (except for a minor bustle snag). To this day, our friends and family continue to tell us that it was one of the best weddings they’ve ever attended–we’re obviously biased but we couldn’t agree more!
 

One of the really beautiful things about Cedar Lakes Estate, beyond the physical beauty, is the fact that the wedding celebration becomes a weekend getaway, as all of our family and wedding party were able to stay on the estate. Each event is held on site, which allowed our family, wedding party and guests the chance to relax and enjoy the weekend without having to be transported to multiple different sites. Jason and I arrived early in the day on Friday and got the chance to unwind a bit before our guests started arriving. We had a short ceremony rehearsal before starting our rehearsal dinner on Friday evening. We included just our family and wedding party for the dinner hour, but invited any guests who were staying onsite or in the area to come for “Welcome Drinks” and to listen to a few speeches.
 

Our wedding day started on Saturday morning with breakfast for our on-site guests. Cedar Lakes Estate is a former summer camp, complete with a pool, twin lakes and blob launch, and acres of property, so we invited our wedding guests to join our families and wedding party on site for lunch and outdoor activities during the day on Saturday. Some of the best videos and photos of the day were from the blob!
 

Jason and I chose to do a first look. I thought it was going to be one of the most emotional moments of the day for me, but I was just so excited to finally see him (and show him my dress–so hard to keep that a secret for 9 months!) that we couldn’t stop smiling. I also decided to do a first look with my dad, which turned out to be the more emotional one. We finished up photos ahead of schedule and had this really awesome moment before our ceremony with the entire wedding party plus our parents. We had about 20-30 minutes to just relax, chat, and make a toast or two–nothing crazy but I felt like having just those final few minutes helped calm any remaining nerves and really set the tone for the rest of the evening.
 

Our ceremony was beyond anything we could have ever envisioned. It ended up being the most emotional part of the day for me–the setting was so intimate and you could just feel the warmth and love radiating from our guests. Definitely lots of unexpected tears from me! Our officiant created the most heartfelt and meaningful ceremony, focused on the two of us and how our relationship has grown together over the last decade. We also included a ring blessing–we had our parents come up under the arch with us and say a blessing over our wedding rings. It was unexpected (for them) but a really touching moment! My dad surprised us with a handmade birch arch (chuppah), with wood he gathered in Vermont. Standing under it with Jason during our first moments as husband and wife is a memory we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives.
 

The reception was the MOST fun we’ve ever had. The moment before entering the reception was one of my favorite memories from the day (see more below!). The decor in the barn was beyond anything we could have dreamed of. It was incredibly warm and welcoming, with lots of soft light from the candles. We chose to honor Jason’s culture and did the Hora right after the first dances, which got our guests out on the dance floor and the party started. We have a really incredible picture from that moment of everyone up and dancing, one of our favorites from the night. I’m fairly certain the dance floor was packed the entire night—everyone from my 90-year-old grandmother to my cousin’s new 2-week old baby (well, just for a short while)! We chose to serve dinner family style, as we felt it would really continue our hope to make the weekend feel as warm and welcoming as possible. Besides the food just being absolutely impeccable, I think our guests truly enjoyed sharing a meal together in that way. It really was the most perfect day we could have ever imagined!
 

Jason: From start to finish, our wedding day was incredible. We got lucky with the weather and ended up with a sunny 75-degree day, which lent itself to plenty of outdoor activities with my groomsmen and our on-site guests. Family and friends were able to enjoy the hiking trails, the pool, and even the blob launch on the lake. Being able to spend the first half of the day relaxing with everyone was really special and set the tone for a really relaxed celebration. It’s just a shame that bridal prep takes so many hours because I know Taryn and her bridesmaids would have loved to participate! We also (shockingly) were finished early with our photos, so we had about 20-30 minutes to spend privately with our family and wedding party before the ceremony. It was a happy accident and ended up being a really special pre-ceremony gathering.
 

The ceremony itself was magical. We stood surrounded by our closest friends and family, with the sun was shining on the lake behind us, shaded by the quiet of an evergreen tree grove. Taryn’s dad hand-built our wedding arch–made out of birch trees that he gathered from Vermont. It added a personal touch and it was very meaningful to Taryn and me. We know how hard he worked to put it together, and we can’t thank him enough for it! It’s something we’ll treasure forever
 

What was your favorite moment from your wedding day?

 

Taryn: can I say the entire weekend? Ha! It’s really hard to pick one.
 

1) Seeing Jason for the first time during our first look, we had one of those silent connections where we knew exactly what the other was thinking–and feeling so excited for that moment to have finally arrived!
 

2) walking down the aisle with my dad, and seeing the look on Jason’s face. Then when they hugged…ahh so many tears!
 

3) our officiant had us turn to our guests right at the beginning of the ceremony to say “hi!”. this was super cool, I think a lot of couples don’t get that moment to absorb the crowd and for us, being able to wave to everyone and feel their warmth was amazing.
 

4) right before Jason and I were announced at the reception, we had this brief moment together standing outside the barn without anyone else. The barn has huge glass windows so we could see everything inside. Looking into the windows, seeing all our favorite people in one room, and all the gorgeous decor—it was like we saw the entire two years of planning come together before our eyes. We just looked at each other with gigantic smiles on our faces–knowing that we were about to kick off our new life together in the most incredible fashion.
 

Jason: There were two big winners for me. First, our ceremony. I don’t love a lot of attention so I was expecting to feel just nerves and adrenaline. But we ended up having the most beautiful, peaceful ceremony surrounded by all of our friends and family members. There were a lot of truly special moments from the ceremony that we’ll remember forever. Second, Taryn and I first dance together as a married couple. It was a moment of quiet – we zoned out everything around us and it felt like we were the only two people in the world. And then the party started!
 

What is your advice for newly engaged couples?

 

Taryn: Unless you’re on a strict timeline, take some time to just enjoy being engaged before diving into wedding planning. It’s one of the most exciting periods of your relationship, and the happiness that surrounds you during that time is unparalleled. Celebrate with your friends, your family, and most important, each other. Try to make as many decisions together as possible. There will obviously be the inevitable disagreement here and there but try not to let the little things get between you. The day is about celebrating you as a couple and who you are as a couple, and we found that doing things as a team brought us closer throughout the process.
 

When you do start to plan, I think one of the biggest things to lay out first is the budget. Setting a budget and talking about the finances first will enable you to more easily decide on venues and vendors…and will prevent a lot of headaches down the road. Most importantly, remember that this day is about you and your partner. If there are opinionated voices, find out what is most important to them and maybe attempt to compromise, but ultimately it is your day. Lastly, wedding planning can be stressful–deadlines, budgets, decisions, opinions–turn to each other for support and remember what the day is really all about. And, if your budget allows for it, hire a wedding planner! Even if it’s for a few months, it was SO worth it.
 
Jason: Enjoy every moment, and please don’t worry about the color of the napkins.
 

Vendors:

 

Wedding Planner & Creative Direction: ASE – Amanda Savory Events

Cinema & Videos:  Joshua Brown Photography

Florals: Viridescent Floral Design

DJ & Entertainment: Generation Events

Rentals: Hudson Valley Vintage Rentals

Stationery & Signage: Shine Wedding Invitations 

Hair & Makeup: Face Time Beauty

 

Read More