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Jill Nobles Smile Peace Love Boscobel House Hudson Valley Wedding

5 Surprising Things Your Bridal Party Expects Of You

We’ve all read those absolutely cringe-worthy emails sent by a bride to her bridal party making insane demands for her wedding. Everything from wanting extravagant parties, to making her party wear expensive designer labels, to getting angry when someone can’t be there 24/7 for her every waking need…essentially, despicable.
 

Your bridal party is not a group of people you can demand anything of. In fact, if you expect them to do that, then you really need to reconsider a lot. Yes, your bridal party is there to help you, of course, but to expect (or demand) them to make their world revolve around your wedding is simply out of the question. Period.
 

That being said, as the bride-or-groom-to-be, you do have a responsibility to those you choose to be part of your bridal party. So, what exactly is your responsibility and where is the line between needing help, wanting help and demanding help? To answer that, we need to go back a bit and actually look at the history of bridal parties.
 

What exactly is a bridal party?

 

Historically, the tradition of bridal parties started with the groom. Centuries ago, the responsibilities of the groomsmen (known then as the Groom’s Knights) were to ensure that the bride and her dowry arrived safely to the groom. As time went on, the bride enlisted a Maid of Honor, or Senior Maid, to help her in the days leading up to her wedding. Kind of like a personal assistant, the Senior Maid would help with the decorating and make sure all the bride’s needs were met.
 

As the tradition evolved, the bride eventually added more “maids” and both the groomsmen and bridesmaids dressed similarly to the bride and groom to both confuse evil spirits and prevent harm to either the bride or groom form a jealous past lover.
 

RELATED: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHOOSING YOUR BRIDAL PARTY

 

Do you need a bridal party?

 

Well, the quick and easy answer is you don’t. You just need two witnesses to sign your marriage license. So, if you’re worried about who to ask or how many people to ask, you can make it really easy on yourself by just choosing two. You can choose one and your partner can choose the other.
 

For most couples, choosing a few people for each side is the norm. They mostly consist of closest friends or family members to help with different aspects of the wedding, be of support to both the bride and groom and yes, sign the marriage license. The key word here is support and it needs to be a very symbiotic relationship. Here are some examples of that give-and-take relationship and what your bridal party really expects of you.
 

They EXPECT you to reach out to them for opinions and feedback

 

Asking your bridal party for their input or help is encouraged. You asked them to be a very special part of your big day, so they want to feel important and feel like they contributed to your happiness.
 

You CAN’T expect them to…

 

Let them make decisions for you. You may ask your bridal party to go dress shopping with you or go to your hair and makeup trial and they are going to give their opinions, but, you need to remember they are just that. Opinions. You need to make the final decisions based on what feels right to you. You can’t let their opinions sway you because, at the end of the day, you are the one that needs to be able to live with your decisions.
 

If you are feeling overwhelmed by their opinions, you can just simply say “That’s a good idea. Let me think about that.” That does two things right away. It lets the other person know that they’ve been heard and that you appreciate their ideas. It also diffuses the situation so you don’t have to be put on the spot. As long as the other person feels heard, they most likely, won’t care if you follow through on that idea because you took the time to listen and appreciate them.
 

RELATED: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO HAVE A DRAMA-FREE BRIDAL PARTY

 

They EXPECT you to keep drama at bay

 

The beauty of your bridal party is that you can ask whoever you like. From childhood friends to coworkers, to family members, your bridal party expects the group to be diverse, but with that, they expect you to be responsible enough to ask people who keep drama at bay. They are saying yes to be in your wedding to help you and see it as an honor. They don’t want to be involved in stress and neither do you.
 

You CAN’T expect drama is inevitable

 

There is such a thing as a drama-free bridal party, and one of the best ways to ensure that is by keeping your party small. Now, there are some who say that the size of your bridal party should match the size of your wedding, and I say “NO WAY”. No matter how large your wedding is, smaller is ALWAYS better for managing personalities and keeping stress at bay.
 

If you have a bridesmaid of groomsman that is causing a lot of drama and has got caught up in thinking that your wedding day is their wedding day, dismiss them immediately. Yes, you can “fire” a member of your bridal party. A wedding is stressful enough and you don’t need any added drama.
 

They EXPECT you to take their needs into consideration

 

You need to realize, and be ok with, the fact that not everyone in your party is on the same playing field. Take their budgets and time concerns into consideration. In fact, this is a must. Everyone in your bridal party is going to have different jobs, which means they all have different incomes. Everyone is going to have a different budget. Everyone is going to have different free times. Everyone is going to have their own life, with their own responsibilities.
 

You CAN’T expect your bridal party to neglect their own needs for yours

 

If you want a high fashion, glamorous wedding and you want your girls to wear expensive gowns, it may not be possible for some. If that’s not ok with you, you have a few options. One is to pay for their dress yourself or offer to chip in, and the other is to offer a range of dresses in the same color, so you have a cohesive look, but one in which they can choose which fits best into their budget.
 

If someone decides to do their own hair and makeup because they can’t afford to go to the salon, accept it or pay for the service for them.
 

You also can’t be hurt if someone can’t make every wedding-related event. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care about you, but maybe they just couldn’t rearrange a previous commitment or fly out or travel to be with you.
 

They EXPECT you to be transparent

 

bridesmaids in their dresses

Photo Credit: Kristina Walter

Transparency is absolutely essential and assuming your party knows what you want is a costly mistake. Explain your vision, and let them know your thoughts on aspects of your day. Keeping everyone on the same page reduces stress and anxiety on both ends.
 

You CAN’T assume they know what you want

 

Want a surprise shower or no shower at all? Tell them. Don’t expect them to know. Don’t want a raging stripper party for a bachelor or bachelorette party? Tell them, otherwise you are going to be devastated and embarrassed. If there’s anything you do or don’t want for your wedding, tell them. Even if you are super close siblings, assuming they can read your mind is a bad idea. Always be transparent, even if they know, so you all are on the same page and so that all expectations are met.
 

RELATED: 13 OF THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES ENGAGED COUPLED MAKE REVEALED

 

They EXPECT you to accept them for who they are

 

I’m saving the best for last. This almost sounds like a no-brainer. “D’uh! Of course”, you might be thinking, but you’d be surprised, especially given the opening to this post, how many times members of a bridal party have been asked to change something about them for the wedding.
 

You CAN’T ask someone to change any part of them for your wedding

 

Under NO CIRCUMSTANCE can you ask your bridal party to change who they are or make them feel uncomfortable. You can’t invite someone to be in your bridal party and then ask them to lose weight, get a tan, cut or dye their hair, cover up tattoos, or change themselves in any way.
 

If your focus is only on how you want people to look in your photos, then you really need to take a step back and consider why you are getting married in the first place. Is it to have nice pictures or is it to formally declare your love to someone you are going to grow old with and create a new glorious life with?
 

Is there anything you would add? We’d love to hear from you!
 

Featured Photo Credit: Smile Peace Love Photography

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ill nobles smile peace love boscobel house hudson valley wedding

Breathtaking Boscobel Wedding from Smile Peace Love Photography

Ariel and Mackenzie share the story of their breathtaking Boscobel wedding in beautiful Garrison, New York
 

Tell us about your wedding and overall theme?

 

“We chose our venue because it is surrounded by the beautiful, lush outdoors. Our goal was to have the Hudson River, the marsh beyond Boscobel and the beautiful trees be our decoration. We wanted that to be what was talked about, other than us of course. I wanted to keep our style very simple and elegant. Not too decorative. I wanted the grounds of Boscobel and the flowers to be the main “decorations.” Our color palette was to (try) match the blue mason jars that many people love. So there were a lot of blue accents.”
 

Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception?

 

“Nature was the decoration for our ceremony. The beautiful backdrop of the Hudson River Valley was the best!! Because of the weather, we had everyone stand instead of bringing out chairs. We only had about 10 chairs for parents, grandparents and anyone who needed to sit. It allowed everyone to take in the view more. That’s how I like to look at it. For the reception, we had it under a couple of tents. There was not much decoration. The florist did a wonderful job in creating the centerpieces and the tables were arranged simply but were elegant!”
 

You talk a lot about the decor and having nature as your backdrop, describe how the flowers tied into that vision?

 

“The florals were beautiful, simple and elegant. I was very picky about what would go into the bouquets but the florist was very accommodating and did a beautiful job.”
 

Jill Nobles Smile Peace Love Boscobel House Hudson Valley wedding

wedding day look captured by Smile Peace Love Photography

Moving on to fashion…how did you choose your wedding day look? How did the groom? Describe both looks.

 

“The day we got engaged I found my wedding dress online, which was about a year and a half before our wedding date (which I also knew the day we got engaged! 7/1/17 was the date). I knew what style dress I wanted right away. It was a high neck dress. I typed that in Google and saw it. It was a Nicole Miller dress. The neckline was very important because I have broad shoulders so lots of dresses make me look huge so the high nick line accentuated my shape more. The dress hugged my body so I knew I would have to work out a good amount before the wedding but thankfully I love working out! At first, I was thinking of going without a veil but then I decided, last minute, that I wanted a cathedral veil. I think I saw a picture of a lady online with a slim dress and long veil and thought it looked beautiful. Thankfully my mom agreed!! My husband and groomsmen wore medium grey suits with a white button up and black shoes. A very classic, simple look. They each wore a “swimming pool” blue bow tie. I wanted to have some fun with their look so bow ties it was. They looked good though. Very happy with how their look turned out!
 

You had a lot figured out on the day you got engaged. How did you and Mac meet? Tell us about the proposal.

 

“We met at a bar while we were living in Syracuse, NY. I was going to school and he was working in the area. But we did not hit it off right away. We met the one night, he came over but we never exchanged numbers. I was going home that weekend so I did not think I would see him again. But then the following week we saw each other again at the bar and that is when we hit it off. It is history from there! Mac proposed to me on Thanksgiving Day 2015. We were visiting his parents in Cazenovia, NY. Everyone was sitting at the dining table before dinner started and I decided to say, “We should each say what we are thankful for,” not knowing what was about to happen. So I went first, since Mac was sitting right next to me, and then he went last. It was amazing and beautiful.”
 

What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?

 

“Our wedding vows! Mac was nervous but because he held it together nicely, from my point of view, I was pretty calm when it was my turn. It went better than I thought it would since I usually stumble over my words in front of lots of people.”
 

Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?

 

“Planning a wedding is stressful but try to enjoy every bit of it. Also, try to plan ahead of time. I was thankful we were able to wait a year and a half to get married so I was able to check several things off my list of “wedding to-dos” before the big rush started. Getting things done ahead of time is always nice because things will always pop up and will take longer than you think.
 

As for marriage advice…be who you are. If you start changing who you are because of marriage, you will end up not being happy and then it will hurt your marriage. Spend time with each other doing fun things, going out, playing games, going to the gym, going for a walk…all those things help you bond in a special, meaningful way. Love each other unconditionally. You will argue and get mad and frustrated with each other but love each other. Talk to each other about the frustration, the pain. If you keep it in nothing will get resolved and will cause more problems. Be you and love each other for who you both are.”
 

Photo Credit to all: Smile Peace Love Photography

 

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Mohonk Mountain House Wedding in New Paltz, NY by J. Ferrara Photography

Mohonk Mountain House Wedding

“Jessica and Justin were married at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY.   It ended up raining for the whole day, but that didn’t stop them from having a great time anyway.  They are so in love, and so sweet together, it was easy for us to capture great images without leaving the porch area.  They had a sweet ceremony with personalized readings and a sand ceremony including Justin’s two sons.  Jessica’s dress was stunning and fit her perfectly.  They are both kettlebell fitness enthusiasts, so we got a shot of them with their kettlebells as well!” – J. Ferrara Photography
 

Photo Credit: J. Ferrara Photography

 

 

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The Best Expert Skin Care and Makeup Tips For Your Winter Wedding

By guest blogger Daniela Soto, Owner of Beauty by Daniela

 

To me, winter weddings are so magical! The air is crisp while the grounds may be covered in a beautiful blanket of light snow, and the sun shines bright through all the naked visible trees. There’s often a wood-burning smell in the evening along with crackling noises and a unique charm like no other season. Since your wedding is about to stand out during the winter months, you want to ensure that your skin is perfected so that the makeup looks amazing. Below are some important tips that will help you achieve a gorgeous face on the best day of your life!

 

Skin tips

 

Hydrate

 

One of the negative impacts that we get from having cool, crisp air is that our skin can become extra dry from the lack of moisture in the air. The heat in our homes is on so high to keep us warm but yet it works against us by drying the skin. Hot showers feel amazing in the cold winter months but these are stripping out any oils in our skin which we need to retain. Bathing and showering in lukewarm water is best. A humidifier is a great investment for any winter brides as it aids with producing moisture in the air with helps with dryness on the face and peeling of chapped lips. While this may sound cliché, I strongly recommend drinking more water what you are used to drinking as this will help the skin become more supple and radiant.

 

Cleanse

 

As the seasons change so does our skin. We, therefore, need to compensate for that by having a different cleanser during this time frame. Rather than washing your face twice a day, stick to washing your face in the evening. If your have dry skin to begin with, use a milky cleanser that will not further strip your skin. Cleansing oils are great to use if you want to try something different as these will use good oils to cleanse your skin while removing the bad oils and dirt that are currently trapped in your pores from makeup.

 

Exfoliate

 

Often, we see flakiness associated with dryness which you definitely do not want for your wedding day. To help with the flakiness, you want to exfoliate no more than 1-2 times a week on your face. It’s best to do this at night after you have washed your face with a gentle cleanser. Don’t forget to exfoliate your lips as they too need extra care in the winter time and focus around the corners of your nose as dry patches tend to build up in that area. Try a rice powder exfoliator which isn’t harsh but yet gets the job done in removing any flaky lingering dryness on the skin.

 

Moisturize

 

Moisturizing dry skin is so important year round and especially during the winter months because it protects the skin and leaves it feeling hydrated. In the long term, moisturizing is proven to help against anti-aging which is a win for us all! For dry/parched skin, reach for a cream with a high oil content rather than a water based moisturizer. Creams are great for nighttime as they tend to be thicker and higher oil content means it will be higher absorbed by the skin. Always remember to use a spf of 30 or more each day regardless of what the temperature is outside.

 

Makeup tips

 

Now that I have provided you with some skin tips, let’s talk makeup for winter brides!

 

Foundation

 

Stick with a dewy finish foundation if you have dry skin. It will give a youthful glow to dull skin. Mix a tiny bit of illuminator in with your foundation when applying it to your face to help diminish winter dullness.

 

Cheeks

Rosy cheeks are a must and should resemble a flushed effect. You don’t want to pack on the blush but you do want to use a bit more than normal so that it translates well in the photos. Go for the glow and add a bit of highlighter above the blush to further add luminosity to the skin.

 

Lips

 

Red/Berry/Wine color lips are so beautiful during this time of year. The contrast against the skin will automatically brighten your complexion. Make sure your lips have been well exfoliated in the weeks to come if you are going to be using a bold lip. In the morning before having your makeup done, apply a thick layer of Aquaphor to the lips so that way before you have your lips done, they have been moisturized. While matte lipsticks are great, I don’t recommend them for this season. Stick with a creamy lipstick but first apply a lip primer and then line your lips entirely with a lip pencil. Next, apply a few layers of lipstick while blotting in between so that your lip color lasts longer but yet your lips don’t feel dry. Keep the lipstick close by for any touchups which may be needed.

 

Follow these tips and rest assuring that both your skin and makeup will be camera ready and you will look amazing in your wedding photos! Perhaps some light snowflakes will fall to add a finishing touch on your big day!

 
What’s your winter skin routine? Does your makeup look change in winter?
 
Featured Photo Credit: Jac & Jules Photography

 

 

 

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The Worst Times of The Year to Get Married in 2019 and 2020

If you are one of the estimated 3,600* couples to have gotten engaged in the Hudson Valley over the holidays, congrats!
 

By now, you and your fiancé are probably deciding on when to get married, if you haven’t done so already. Chances are, you might be finding that choosing a 2018 date with vendors who are still available is slim. There’s a good reason for that.
 

The average length of engagements is around 18 months*, so that means that couples who got engaged in 2016 or early 2017 are getting married in 2018 and have reserved most of the available dates. So…realistically, if you got engaged over the holidays, you’re going to have to look at dates in 2019, or even 2020!
 

The first thing you should think of when choosing your date is what else is going on during the time you’re thinking, and the second thing you should think of is when you want your anniversary to be. It’s easy to be caught up in the moment for your wedding, but that date will last a lifetime. That being said, there are three main categories of dates that you should avoid, if possible, and two specific to the Hudson Valley, that you shouldn’t necessarily avoid, but requires a bit more advanced planning. Read on to learn more and scroll all the way down for a complete list of date that you may want to avoid.
 

Avoid birthdays or special family dates

 

When my husband and I got married, it was a no-brainer for us to get married in October. Not only are both our birthday’s in October, but more than half of the month is full of friends and family birthdays and anniversaries. So, of course, we wanted to add to the list.
 

We quickly found out that “adding ourselves to the list” was a lot trickier and challenging than we thought. While we’re happy we did it, it was incredibly stressful to plan because we only had 4 Saturdays to choose from and needed to make sure none of them fell on anyone else’s special day, including ours.
 

While we did have one special guest who was turning 6 on our wedding day and made sure we made it special for him with a little cake and singing “Happy Birthday”, you still need to put yourself in your guest’s shoes. Do YOU really want to be going to a wedding on your birthday or anniversary?
 

While you may say it wouldn’t bother you, when the day comes, it will. Trust me, I know! Several years ago, I was invited to a wedding that took place on my birthday. I already had previous birthday plans prior to receiving a Save the Date, but it was a friend of mine at the time, so I didn’t want to not go to the wedding. With some rearranging, we made it work, but it was still tough.
 

RELATED: 4 THINGS YOUR GUESTS REALLY WANT AT YOUR WEDDING

 

Avoid holidays (big or small)

 

Many couples think getting married on or near a holiday like Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day or even a long holiday weekend like for Memorial Day is easy because their guests are already in “celebration” mode and they may have extra days off from work. However, the truth is, for guests (and some venues), it’s really inconvenient. Here’s why…
 

Christmas, in any given year, is a crazy time for so many people and adding a wedding into the mix can really make it insane for you and your guests.
 

For many, New Year’s Eve is one of those holidays you either love or hate. You either want to be out celebrating, living it up or have nothing to do with it at all and want to be in bed by 11:00 pm. Many people don’t like to be out on the road that night either because they know many people will be out celebrating and you never know who might be on the road drunk.
 

For many venues, they host their own New Year’s Eve parties and may not have the night available for your wedding, or they may be available, but be more expensive.
 

Valentine’s Day (if it falls on a weekend) is a bit cliché. In fact, there have been articles written that say people who get married on Valentine’s Day are more likely to get divorced. Who knows if that’s true, but thinking long term, do you really want your anniversary to always be on Valentine’s Day, or do you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day separately? Also, think about floral costs. It may cost you more to get flowers for your wedding due to the high demand.
 

When you think of Memorial Day, it’s a patriotic day set aside to remember those who fought and continue to fight, for our freedom. In addition, it’s the first long weekend of the year and the unofficial first weekend of summer. People plan getaways and vacations around that time, sometimes a year in advance, meaning your wedding might interfere with their plans or their plans may interfere with your wedding and they may not be able to come. Even if people aren’t going away, it’s still a long weekend and some people may not want to do anything. Costs for hotel rooms are also going to be more expensive, so you want to make sure you take that into consideration as well.
 

Avoid repetitive, “superstitious”, leap dates, or somber memorial dates

 

In the past, dates such as 11/11/11 or 12/12/12 were hot days for weddings. In fact, couples who wanted these types of dates booked way out to make sure they got them. While not so prominent now, looking in the years ahead, 8/18/18, 9/19/19 or 2/20/20 may be popular dates as well.
 

If you are superstitious, you may want to avoid dates like Friday the 13th or March 15 which is the “Ides of March”, the day Julius Caesar was assassinated, and is traditionally considered a superstitious date. Leap dates you want to avoid for obvious reasons and September 11, and any other somber memorial dates are others you might want to avoid.
 

Hudson Valley times to be aware of

 

There are two times of the year in the Hudson Valley that require a little extra advanced planning. Having a wedding during these times is totally doable, you just need to plan accordingly.
 

May and June

 

May and June are some of the most popular months for weddings. But, guess what else happens in the Hudson Valley in those months? College and High school graduations. There are dozens and dozens of colleges and high schools in the Hudson Valley, and while students are not typically booking venues for graduation parties, their families, who come from all over the tri-state and beyond, are booking hotel rooms. You want to make sure that you book hotel room blocks far in advance so your guests don’t have to compete for rooms.
 

RELATED: MAKE THIS MISTAKE AND YOU’LL RUIN YOUR FALL WEDDING

 

Fall

 

More popular than May and June are September and October. You have tourists coming in to look at the fall foliage, colleges have both homecoming and parent weekends, not to mention countless festivals. The same issue you have with hotels in May and June happens here again.
 

In 2017, JUST in September and October alone, an estimated 2,900* weddings took place in the Hudson Valley. Let’s break that down… say each wedding had 120 guests, estimating half those guests need hotel rooms, that’s 174,000 people (or 87,000 couples) needing rooms in 8 weekends. If that’s not competition, I don’t know what is.
 

So, we want to know how you chose your wedding date if you have one already? Did you find any challenges with your date?
 

Source: The Wedding Report
 

Featured Photo Credit: The Photography of Jeremiah Shaffer

Wedding dates to avoid in 2019 and 2020

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Maltese Cross

3 Ways I Incorporated My Maltese Heritage Into My Wedding

Here’s a little fact about me. I’m Maltese. Usually when I tell people that they literally look at me like I have two heads. The conversation usually goes like this…

 

“Mal-what?” they ask.

 

“I’m Maltese!” I say.

 

“Oh, like the dog?”

 

“Well, not exactly. My family comes from Malta?”

 

“Malta? What’s that?”

 

“An island in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sicily”

 

“Oh, so…your Italian?”

 

“Nope. Maltese.”

 

Malta

Photo taken by my cousin

Then I go into my favorite part where I get to talk about Malta. How it’s a country composed of three “tiny” islands (about 200 sq miles) between Sicily and North Africa with a population a little over 400,000. How it has some of the oldest ancient ruins on earth that predate the pyramids of Egypt. How it has its own unique language (Middle Eastern/Arabic with a mix of English, French and Italian) that’s the only Semitic language that’s written in the Latin alphabet. I could go on and on because I love educating people about Malta.

 

I’m first generation American on my father’s side, second generation on my mother’s side. In fact, if you do the math, I’m probably more Maltese than American (though I’m proud of both my heritages equally). But here’s the ironic part…I’ve never been to Malta (yet).

 

I’ve come close twice. Once in college when I was studying abroad in Europe (but wasn’t allowed to travel outside of the group I was with) and once the year I got married, when my cousins went. I couldn’t go then because between saving and planning for a wedding and saving for a house, it just wasn’t financially possible at the time. So, visiting is still on my bucket list.

 

That being said, because I’m so proud of where my family comes from, it was very important to me to incorporate my Maltese heritage into my wedding. I’ve said over and over that one of the best things about weddings is that it’s a great opportunity for the couple, even though they are coming together as one, to showcase their induvial styles, religions, heritages, cultures, etc. So, here’s what I did…

 

RELATED: 3 UNIQUE WAYS TO SAY ‘THIS IS US’ AT YOUR WEDDING

 

I incorporated my Maltese heritage in the details

 

Maltese Cross

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” This is a rhyme brides know all too well. The “new” was easy…that was my dress. The “blue” was easy…stickers I put on the bottom of my shoe that read “I Do.”

 

The “old” and “borrowed” was tricky. I was trying to figure out what those could be and then my mom had an idea to look through her jewelry box.

 

As we were going through the box which is full of family heirlooms, I found a magnificent filigree Maltese Cross pin that belonged to my grandmother as well as some lace she made. Making filigree jewelry and lace are traditional Maltese arts. My thought was to use them both on my bouquet. While I opted, in the end, not to use my grandmother’s lace (for fear of getting it stained from the flowers, or oils from my hand), I did have lace wrapped around my bouquet as homage to her and attached the pin to it. (There’s another story here on how I lost the pin on my wedding day and miraculously found it the next day…but that’s a whole other story for a whole different day).

 

I incorporated my Maltese heritage through romantic proverbs

 

Maltese wedding

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

My husband is Irish, so Irish wedding traditions and blessing are easy to find. Maltese wedding traditions and blessings, not so much.

 

Most Maltese are Roman Catholic, in fact, we’re some of the oldest Catholics in the world, dating back to 60 A.D. So, other than having a full Roman Catholic mass wedding, it was really hard for me to find ways to incorporate Maltese wedding blessings. Not to mention, the Maltese language is very complex, so I needed to find blessings that also had English translations.

 

I thought a cool thing to do would be to have Gaelic and Maltese love proverbs scattered on the tables during cocktail hour. I went online to see what I could find, because we know that if it’s online it must be “true”, right (haha!), and held my breath that what I found was correct (I’m not too fluent in the language). My saving grace was that if they weren’t right, only a few people would know. Thankfully, I have a cousin in Malta who looked over the sayings and said that, for the most part, they were right, so I went with it.

 

RELATED: 4 THINGS YOUR GUESTS REALLY WANT AT YOUR WEDDING
 

I honored my Maltese heritage by keeping my last name

 

My last name, Zammit, is not common at all over here in the States, but in Malta, my last name is like Smith or Jones here. It’s very common.

 

When couples marry, 98% of the time the bride takes the groom’s name. However, I didn’t want to lose my very Maltese name. Now, I know no one can take my heritage away from me, but without my last name, no one would be able to tell, from the outside, what or who I am. It’s very much a part of my identity and how I define myself.

 

A disclaimer here is that changing your name is a very personal decision. Everyone is going to have a different reason for changing or keeping their name, and whatever you decide is correct. For me, I wanted to keep my name but also honor my husband and our unity by taking his name as well, so, I hyphenate my last name.

 

Hopefully, learning how I incorporated my heritage into my wedding will give you some ideas on how you can do the same for your wedding. What specific part of your heritage or culture are you incorporating into your wedding? We’d love to know.
 
Featured Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

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Should I Hire a Professional Photographer for My Wedding?

Everyone knows planning a wedding is expensive. That’s no secret! Yet, while you think that you may be saving money by getting family or friends to help you out with some of the services you would otherwise hire out, it’s safe to say its a short-term gain. For many couples, the first thing that comes to mind when saving money is hiring a friend or family member who is a really good amateur photographer to take their wedding photos.
 

I mean, how hard is it to take a photo, right? Wrong!
 

Taking wedding photos is actually more complicated than you think and goes so far beyond clicking a button. Similiar to any other wedding vendor you may be thinking of hiring, they are experts for a reason. Your wedding photographer, if you hire a good professional one, is shooting weddings EVERY. SINGLE. WEEKEND during wedding season!  That means they are constantly and consistently practicing their craft.
 

As our final article in our Photo and Video Summit, we asked Hudson Valley wedding photographers to share their thoughts on hiring a professional wedding photographer. You may be surprised by what they have to say…
 

 

Hire a professional wedding photographer for peace of mind

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Erica Leman of Sweet Alice Photography says, “When planning a wedding, I think it is absolutely normal to try to save money wherever possible. Weddings are expensive! It’s common to want to try to save a few dollars where you can, and so the idea of potentially asking a friend to take care of your wedding visual needs is often presented. However, while some minor items can be swapped out for less expensive options, photography and videography shouldn’t be one. When hiring a professional photography or videography vendor, you are basically, first and foremost, paying for peace of mind. When hiring these types of individuals, you are hiring them not only for their talent behind the camera but also for their dedication to your wedding; the assurance that they will be at your wedding, prepared and on time; their insurance backing; their skills as an editor; and their experience in the industry and with weddings, in general. Weddings are not days to take lightly, and hiring a trusted vendor over a friend is always a better choice.”
 

Hire a wedding photographer based on passion

 

“Friends should be your guests,” says Doug Madden of Duetimage Photography… “Unless your friend has a great passion for photography and photographing you.  If that sounds like the friend you have in mind, then, by all means, have him or her shoot for free.  Seriously.  Because that’s what a pro brings to the table.  Passion for the craft, passion for the equipment, passion for making great imagery for their clients.  If you sense a lack of passion on the part of your friend, or even a pro, then you should look elsewhere for your photographer.  Otherwise, you’re likely to regret it.”
 

Hire a wedding photographer based on proven results, not just hope

 

A wedding is an uncontrolled, once in a lifetime event,” says Lynette Romero of Pioneer Media. “Even if your friend has a creative eye and a good camera, they are missing real-life experience. A professional videographer will excel when difficulties arise, because of their EXPERIENCE. Difficult lighting? Less than perfect sound setup? Huge bridal party? Makeup and hair running late? These hurdles can happen on any wedding day, and you don’t want your “photographer friend” learning on-the-job at your wedding. A pro will come to your wedding with proven solutions, backups, and contingency plans.
 

Editor’s Note: This is the last of the The Ultimate Wedding Photo & Video Summit – a weekly series where 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.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Pioneer Media

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Featured Couple: Jenny & Janine

Their Love Story…

 

“We met at a summer camp for children in Cold Spring Harbor, NY the summer of 2008,” says Jenny. “We were both camp counselors.” Jenny and Janine are long Island Natives and still live there today.
 

Their Proposal…

 

Jenny said yes in July of 2015. She says, “We spent a week at the shore in our favorite beach spot Rehobeth Beach, DE. I went to the University of Delaware for my undergraduate degree and we have a lot of memories from many fun-filled weekends at the beach. On our return trip home from vacation, we stopped at the University of Delaware to walk the campus, visit with old friends who stayed in the area, and bought some new college sweatshirts from the college bookstore just like old times. We ate lunch on Main Street and then decided to walk the large campus green. Janine got down on one knee under a huge oak tree in front of my favorite college historic dorm. I cried, and of course, I said yes! We had been together already 6 years prior. I was completely surprised!”
 

Why the Hudson Valley…?

 

Photo Credit: J.Ferrara Photography

“The Hudson Valley is near and dear to my heart,” says Jenny. “My grandparents lived in Cornwall-on- the- Hudson their entire lives. I spent many summers, holidays and special occasions at my grandparents’ house. In 2014 my grandfather passed away, their beloved home, which my grandfather built by hand, was sold, and the Hudson Valley is the one place in the world I can still feel close to him. There is something about the Hudson River and the mountains and the smell of the air of there that I feel his presence. Having our wedding at the Caldwell House Bed and Breakfast was a no-brainer. We wanted a long weekend wedding celebration with our immediate families, just 15 people. We rented every room in the entire main house for the weekend.”
 

Wedding Theme…

 

Jenny and Janine had a small wedding with a rustic, autumn theme full of simple, elegant touches
 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

Jenny says, “When I met my soon-to-be wife under the most beautifully decorated fall gazebo under the bluest clear sky. It was a picture perfect weather day.”
 

Advice for Engaged Couples…

 

Jenny says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. The magic of the day passes so quickly so savor every moment. Everything will fall into place.” She also says to “Laugh a lot. It’s a good stress reliever.”
 

Vendors…

 

Venue: The Caldwell Bed & Breakfast, Salisbury Mills, NY

Photography: J. Ferrara Photography, Cornwall, NY

Dessert: Jones Farm, Cornwall, NY

Rehearsal Dinner: Billy Joe’s Ribworks, Newburgh, NY

Centerpieces and Bouquets: hand-made by Jenny
 

Photo Credit to all J. Ferrara Photography

 

 

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Expert Advice For Finding Perfect Photo Locations

I remember when my husband and I were planning our wedding, I spent hours looking for perfect locations for photos.  I scoured Pinterest endlessly pinning wedding photos of every kind…outdoor photos, indoor photos, posed photos, and everything in between. Then my husband and I made a list of all the places we wanted to go to get photos that would give us the desired look we found in all those Pinterest photos.
 

Through no fault of our own, we had a 3-hour gap between our ceremony and reception, so we thought we had all the time in the world. In fact, one of the places we thought about going for photos was 40 minutes away from our wedding and reception.
 

 

When we finally got our list complete and felt it was good enough to show our photographer, he stood in silence for a few minutes. I’m not quite sure what he was thinking, but we could tell right away that we had no idea what we were doing and that our lack of knowledge cost us a ton of time, time we could have used doing other things.
 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Once our photographer had time to process our list, he broke it down and rationalized what we gave him. He gave us the best advice we ever received. Keep the list small, keep the list simple, and keep the list local. While three hours was a long time, it actually did go by very fast, which he warned us it would. We narrowed down our list from 6 locations, two three, one of which was the church.
 

Apparently, choosing too many locations is a common mistake couples make. So, we asked Erica Leman of Sweet Alice Photography, for advice on how to find perfect wedding photo locations:
 

Keep locations close

 

“It has become standard for most weddings to occur in either one or two main locations,” says Leman. “Either both ceremony and reception in one spot, or ceremony in one location, and reception in another. As much as possible, I would recommend staying in one main location for photos. Traveling between a few different places for photos, especially with families and wedding party groups, can cost precious time on a wedding day.”
 

You’ll be surprised how many photos/poses you’ll be taking at each location, and all the little nooks within a location you’ll find for your photo, so there’s no need to drive all over town to find the perfect spot.
 

RELATED: 5 WAYS TO GET BEAUTIFUL WEDDING PHOTOS ON A TIGHT BUDGET

 

Look for at least one outdoor spot

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

“If your ceremony and/or reception location is really not conducive to photographs,” says Leman,”I would recommend finding a great outdoor spot that:
 

1) Has enough space for the entire wedding party and family, if needed, and
 

2) Has open shade, and the ability for at least a semblance of privacy so you do not have meanderers in the background of your photos (local and state parks are great for wedding photographs, but sometimes picnickers will be around – just be aware!).”
 

Keep in mind that locations can change

 

Leman says, “One location may look amazing in summer, but it will be a totally different story in the winter! And, keep in mind that some locations change occasionally; for example, if you are counting on an open field, and a developer buys it, they may start to build on your awesome space before your wedding day (this does happen)! It’s important to take a peek at your photo location just prior to your wedding to ensure that it is as you expected it to be.”
 

Pay attention to permits

 

Leman says “If you do choose a location besides your ceremony/reception spot, make sure you don’t need permits to shoot there. If you do, make sure you request them as soon as possible to ensure that you won’t run into any snafus on your wedding day. Keep in mind that ordering a permit is often the responsibility of you as the client, rather than the photographer – take a peek at your photographer’s contract to be sure of where this responsibility lies!”
 

So, we want to know, what locations have you chosen for your wedding photos? Did that list change at all?

 

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. 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 photography questions.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

 

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How To Get Great Wedding Photos In All Kinds Of Weather

by Doug Madden, Duetimage Photography
 

 

“Don’t be angry with the rain. It simply doesn’t know how to fall upwards.” — Vladimir Nabokov
 

It’s not going to rain on your wedding day!
 

How do we know that?
 

Because that’s what the Knot and Wedding Wire and Style Me Pretty and every other blog in the universe tells us. Just look at all those real wedding photos. Not a drop of rain anywhere. All those real weddings are outdoors, under sunny blue skies, with the Santa Monica Mountains in the distance.
 

Wait a minute — Santa Monica Mountains?
 

If you’re a SoCal bride, the odds are in your favor that you’ll have sunny blue skies. But if you’re a Hudson Valley bride, there’s a very big chance that your wedding day could have less than desirable weather conditions.
 

Here are some of our tips for getting the most out of your wedding photography in rain, snow, and — yes — full sun.
 

Taking Shelter

 

Rain is a major game changer because everything you might’ve planned for the outdoors has now got to happen indoors. Your imagery will then depend a lot on your photographer’s ability to handle artificial light.
 

Quite often in the wedding photography business, you will hear photographers say things like “I prefer to shoot in natural light” or “I only work with natural light because flash looks too artificial.” In some cases, this comes out of an aesthetic value that is genuine because honestly, nothing beats “Mr. Sunshine”. But in most cases, I think this statement can be translated to mean: “I don’t know how to shoot with a flash”.
 

Light has a mind of its own. It bounces off walls, ceilings, and floors. It reflects off bright clothing or gets gobbled up by dark fabrics. With the sun as your sole light source, you always know where it is and where the shadows are. But when a flash tries to take over the job, especially indoors, there are a lot of unknowns. Your photographer’s experience will help him or her envision what that flash will do once it is fired. There’s a lot of brainpower that goes into the mathematical calculations required for a good exposure. For photographers who like working with artificial light, this is a challenge they eagerly await. For natural light photographers, however, this is a task to be avoided.
 

If you’re concerned about rain, it’s a good idea to have an honest conversation with your photographer. Ask how they feel about shooting indoors if rain forces you inside. Also, look at their portfolios. How many indoor images do they show? The number will tell you a lot. If every shot you see is taken outdoors on a sunny day, your real concern is not just rain: it is really about how well your photographer will handle all aspects of indoor photography (like your reception coverage).
 

RELATED: 7 THINGS YOU NEED TO DO IF SEVERE WEATHER THREATENS YOUR WEDDING DAY

 

snow wedding photo

Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography

Snow is Your Frenemy

 

Snow, like rain, can force you indoors when it’s really bad. But when it’s a gentle snowfall or after it has already accumulated, it can be magical.
 

First, let’s talk about the magical. Snow changes landscapes and compositions. It brightens things up with a certain glow and brings purity to your imagery.
 

Put a lot of thought into your outerwear if you’re planning a winter wedding. Furry wraps, fluffy scarves, headwear will all have a role to play in your look. Do you want to be Elsa the Ice Princess, or Lara from Doctor Zhivago? Footwear is a practical decision as well as a fashion decision. Bring along some nice winter boots for any outdoors photos then switch over to your glass slippers for the indoor portion of your event.
 

Pinterest has a motherload of ideas for props and things to do in the snow, but here, off the top of my head, are a few ideas for posed imagery:

     

    1) Make a miniature snow bride and a snowgroom as self-portraits

    2) Trace your name and wedding date in a field of snow

    3) Toss some powdery snow into the air and let it come down like confetti.

 

As for the ugly side of snow, the things you need to be concerned about are mostly financial. If a blizzard strikes on your day, you and your guests won’t likely make it to your venue. Make sure that your photographer’s retainer refundability is spelled out. In the event of snow cancellations, our studio will honor your booking for another day. Other vendors and venues have their own policies regarding snow cancellations. Wedding insurance is a VERY good idea for winter weddings, and we can’t stress that enough.
 

Sunshine: Too Much of a Good Thing

 

Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography

We all have an assumption that all’s well when the sun is shining on your wedding day. But as we all know, there can often be too much of a good thing.
 

For photographers shooting in strong sunlight, especially at midday, there is the problem of strong shadows. In such situations, photographers will try to compensate with reflectors or flashes, or seek shade in which to take pictures. But an even better way to deal with the issue is to schedule portraiture for hours when the sun is not directly overhead.
 

RELATED: 4 AWESOME BENEFITS OF DOING A FIRST LOOK

 

If you’re planning an outdoor ceremony, be careful to check which direction your audience will be seated in relation to the officiant. If your officiant will be standing with the sun directly at his or her back, your photographer (just like your guests) will be staring directly into the sun. This can create flares in your imagery which can be pesky; sometimes they look great, sometimes they can blow out an image. If you have control over your outdoor ceremony staging area, take steps to minimize a bright sun from upstaging your nuptials.
 

Finally, hot sun can cause discomfort, makeup fails, and health issues. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, make sure you and your guests have plenty of sunscreen. Brides should consider makeup with UV protection and which stands up well to perspiration. Make sure water is readily available for everyone, and for those senior citizens on your guest list, try to make sure there are umbrellas or some other forms of shade available.
 

Embrace Mother Nature .. and Your Photographer

 

It would be wonderful if we had total control over the weather. But as we are mere mortals, that’s just a fantasy. The final and best piece of advice we can offer is to trust your photographer’s creative instincts to use undesirable weather to your advantage. If you’re comfortable with getting wet, cold, or sunburnt for great images, go for it.
 

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. 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 photography questions.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography

 

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4 awesome benefits of doing a first look

I have to admit, I’m a bit superstitious. When I was getting married, the idea of doing a first look was a very new trend, and one my husband and I quickly dismissed. We were always told that seeing each other before your ceremony was extremely bad luck.

 

In the years that followed, and as the trend got bigger and bigger, we realized that, superstition aside, doing a first look would have been kind of cool to do. To have a private moment, just the two of us, would have been really very special.

 

As our photo summit continues, we asked Alicia King of Alicia King Photography to share some of the benefits that come with doing a first look, besides a private, romantic moment.

 

 

Doing a first look saves time

 

“Have more time to focus on pictures of the two of you,” says King. Scheduling time for photos of just the two of you saves you more time later in the day. If your reception is directly after your ceremony, you can go straight to your reception without having to be pulled away for photos. “You get to enjoy cocktail hour, as does family and wedding party if it’s all done beforehand,” says King.

 

Enjoying cocktail hour, not just for the food, is a great benefit of doing a first look. King says. “You have more time to spend with your loved ones who have traveled from near and far to see you.” Often times couples have to take time out of their dinner to greet guests, whereas doing a first look eliminates that step giving you have more time to enjoy your reception and more time to talk to those you love.

 

RELATED: HOW MUCH TIME SHOULD YOU ALLOW IN YOUR DAY FOR WEDDING PHOTOS?

 

Photo Credit: Alicia King Photography

Doing a first look reduces stress, nerves, and anxiety

 

Additionally, King says “You get to see each other up close instead of from down an aisle for the first time that day.” It really gives you a chance to look at each other and tell each other how wonderful they look. You put a lot of time and effort into choosing your perfect gown and doing a first look gives your spouse the chance to admire your gorgeousness!

 

Doing a first look does not diminish the emotion of the ceremony

 

Some might think that doing a first look might take away from the “magic” of seeing each other for the first time at the altar. “It doesn’t take away from the ceremony at all,” says King. “I’ve had multiple couples do a first look and then get extremely emotional during the ceremony itself.”

 

Seeing each other beforehand is one thing, but when you are in front of all your loved ones, with the music playing and your bridal party all in formation, it gives you a different energy and emotion altogether.

 

RELATED: 4 EXTRA BENEFITS OF HIRING A PROFESSIONAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Doing a first look helps you get better photos

 

From a photographer’s viewpoint, doing a first look has many benefits. King says, at the basic level, your hair and makeup is freshest. While hair and makeup will last you all day, nothing beats seeing it when it’s freshly done.

 

Another benefit is timing. “If your ceremony is later in the day, you would be chasing sunlight during cocktail hour (if you do photos after your ceremony), especially for late fall and winter weddings,” says King.

 

Lastly, doing a first look gives your photographer more time to focus on other photos. “Your photographer has more time to focus on reception detail shots, & guests at cocktail hour if possible,” says King. The time that would have been spent photographing you, will now be spent taking photos of other parts of the day that might have been missed.

 

Did you do a first look? We want to know?

 

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. 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 photography questions.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Alicia King Photography

 

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4 Things Your Guests Really Want At Your Wedding

Engagement season is fast approaching and the new year may have you in the depths of wedding planning sooner than you think. But, before you dive deep into planning every little detail, you might be interested to know that what you think your guests want – or would find important – may differ vastly from what they actually want. They don’t care as much about the details as you would think.
 

When you plan your wedding, it’s important, first and foremost, to not see it as a competition. Your wedding day is not a day to “out-do” your friends or family members. It’s a day to celebrate your love for each other and your new beginning. It’s about tradition, rituals and is a sacred moment in your life.
 

One of my pet peeves is when couples get so caught up in the details and stress out over the minutia, that they forget the entire purpose and meaning of the day. However, it’s very easy to get caught up in that frenzy because we’re bombarded every day with photos, Pinterest Boards, videos, and language that suggests that if we don’t do something a “certain” way, or if we don’t have a certain “thing” then we’re doing it wrong and our wedding will be ruined FOREVER!! As a blogger, I’m very aware of this.
 

Am I right? Just reading that stresses me out. As a blogger, I’m very aware of this.
 

RELATED: 5 SECRETS TO BEING AN AWESOME WEDDING GUEST

 

So, I want to give you permission to take a deep breath, take a step back, and look at the bigger picture. If you really want to know what your guests want at your wedding, the easiest thing to do is look back at the times you were a guest a wedding. What do you remember most? What did you enjoy the most? What did you not like? Chances are, whatever your answers are to those questions, are exactly what your guests want.
 

But it really breaks down into these four categories (in no particular order):
 

Your wedding guests want to feel included and appreciated

 

No matter how large or small your wedding is, your guests want to feel appreciated for being there on your special day. However you want to do this is up to you, but most couples will go around to every table to talk to their guests during the meal, or may even do a receiving line. Some may thank their guests in a speech or toast or may give them special favors or goodie bags for guest staying in the designated accommodations.
 

My suggestion, if you really want to do something special for your guests, is to write them a little message or note on the back of, or attached to, their escort card as to why them being at your wedding means so much to you…and not because they gave you a gift.
 

Your wedding guests want to have a good meal

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Let’s face it, who doesn’t love food? For me, personally, nothing says love more than a home-cooked meal. However, since you aren’t going to be cooking your wedding food (PLEASE, don’t DIY this part of your day. Leave that to the experts), when choosing your food, think about what people love, or what people may not have all the time that they can indulge in a bit.
 

My advice would be to choose a selection of food that is interesting and unique mixed with a nice array of comfort food. The more choices you have the better. I always love variety. Now, this doesn’t mean break the bank. Look at the offerings your venue provides and go from there.
 

If food is really important to you, and you have room in your budget, go ahead and choose add-ons. Maybe add on a sushi bar or a s’mores dessert bar or a mac n’ cheese bar. Something that’s fun, interactive and can, for a moment, bring people back to their childhood. I was at a wedding once that had an ice cream sundae bar, and I literally saw grown men run across the dance floor from the other side of the room to get their ice cream and make their sundae. It was hysterical and so much fun!
 

RELATED: THE LITTLE WEDDING IN THE WOODS AND WHAT IT TAUGHT ME

 

Your wedding guests want to have a good time

 

Your guests are at your wedding to celebrate your marriage, but at the end of the day, your guests want to have a good time, too.
 

Let’s think about this for a second. How often, do you, personally, get dressed up, go out, have a nice meal, go dancing, or spend the night away from home? I’m guessing not too often. So, this is a chance for your guests to let loose and celebrate and forget about whatever is going on in their lives for a night.
 

However, having a good time means different things to different people. Some couples just want a quiet reception that’s an intimate dinner for a small group. Some want an all-out party. The thing to remember is that no matter what kind of reception you want, you aren’t going to make everyone happy, and that’s ok.
 

If you have a quiet dinner, there are always going to be guests that wished there was dancing. If you know who those guests are, and if you are up for it, perhaps you can do an after-party at a nearby venue.
 

If you decide to have a big dance party, there are going to be guests that aren’t going to dance no matter waht song is played. Make sure you seat people together in a way where they aren’t left at a table by themselves when everyone else at their table is on the dance floor. If you can, seat the dancers with the dancers and the non-dancers with the non-dancers so that they have someone to talk to. Or, you can ask your DJ to play some songs that you know you won’t dance to, and take that time to go over to your non-dancing guests and talk to them for a few minutes.
 

Your wedding guests do not want to be too inconvenienced

 

While your guests want to have a good time, they also don’t want to be too inconvenienced. Again, being inconvenienced means different things to different people, but to me, one of the biggest inconveniences is having your wedding venue and reception site really far away from each other. It’s understandable that your ceremony and reception will be at different locations, but when your two locations are too far away from each other, then you risk the chance of some guests just going to the ceremony and not the reception (or vice versa).
 

I’d say 30 minutes is a good distance, but 45 minutes to an hour is the absolute max distance your venues should be from each other. The closer the better, especially if you’re planning a wedding in the winter months when the threat of snow could be an absolute problem.
 

Another inconvenience could be requiring your guests to follow a specific dress code. You may want a black-tie affair, but asking your guests to follow that means most will have to go out and by a formal gown or rent a tux, and that might be a problem for some.
 

Here’s a hint…your location will set the tone for your wedding, and, if your guests do a little bit of homework (or if you post photos of your venue on your wedding website), your guests will get clues as to how to dress. If you are having a backyard wedding or a barn wedding, chances are your guests aren’t going to come dressed dripping in sequence and pearls. However, if you are having your wedding at a grand estate on New Year’s Eve, they’ll know they have to step it up a notch.
 
What are some of the things you loved or hated at weddings you’ve attended? What are some special ways you are making your guests feel super special at your wedding?
 

Featured Photo Credit: J. Ferrara Photography

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Featured Couple: Kristen and Rich

Their Love Story…

 

“It was June 2008 and the recent Council Rock High School graduates headed to Ocean City, NJ for one final celebration with their friends before college,” says Kristen. “While soaking up the Summer sun and enjoying some rest and relaxation, I met Rich unexpectedly for the first time on the boardwalk. Rich says he was captivated by my smile, and after introducing himself, he hoped that the infatuation would soon become mutual. He challenged me to a round of mini-golf — if he won, he would get to take me out on a date. He lost that wager, but I still wanted to go on that date all along. The rest of the week consisted of sunbathing, beachside fireworks, and dinners, all together. From then on, we were inseparable.”
 

Photo Credit: J. Ferrara Photography

Their Proposal…

 

Kristen says Rich proposed in Kristen’s childhood home in October of 2016 with a special “purr-fect” surprise.  “I heard a soft “meow” behind a closet door. I opened the door to find a kitten, and around the kitten’s neck was an engraved bracelet that read, “Will you marry my Daddy?” As she read the bracelet out loud, Rich got down on one knee
 

Why the Hudson Valley…?

 

“When choosing a location for our wedding, we knew we wanted the ceremony to be outside and the reception to all occur at one venue,” says Kristen. “We both have family in the Philadelphia area but now currently live in Connecticut where we have established relationships with friends and co-workers. We began looking in the Hudson Valley area as it would be a perfect “in-between” location for all parties. We fell in love with the view at The Garrison and just pictured tying the knot overlooking the beautiful scenery.”
 

Wedding Theme…

 

Because Kristen and Rich met in the summer, that was the inspiration for their special day. “We met nine years ago in Ocean City, NJ during the month of June, and throughout those years we have created some of our greatest memories under the summer sun,” Kristen says. “Our floral bouquets and table arrangements all included bright colors with specific flowers, like Snapdragons, that reminded us of our childhood. Rich’s Grandmother made our wedding day truly memorable by officiating our ceremony. Together, we wrote every word in our wedding vows and ceremony, adding to the uniqueness of the day’s events.”
 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

Photo Credit: J. Ferrara Photography

“One of the most memorable moments during our wedding was our introduction as husband and wife and our first dance,” says Kristen. “We adored every minute of this celebration, hand-in-hand as we sang to a song we’ve loved for years. Our first dance song, “One and Only” by Adele, was further incorporated into our wedding cake by including the lyrics into the icing on the middle tier.” Another memorable moment for the Kristen was when her dad saw her for the first time in her dress.  “My dad is my number one fan and I am his little girl. It meant the world to me to see his reaction and have him by my side as I married the man of my dreams,” says Kristen.
 

Advice For Engaged Couples…

 

“Plan time during your wedding day when it can be just the two of you,” says Kristen. “We were able to sneak away to the Bridal Suite in between our cocktail hour and wedding reception to sample each of the hors-d’oeuvres that were served to our guests. This not only gave us the opportunity to indulge in the food, which many brides and grooms forget to do, but the private time also allowed us to truly appreciate all of the planning that culminated into this momentous occasion. This was by far the most memorable and special time of the night!”
 

Vendors…

 

Venue: The Garrison

Photographer: J. Ferrara Photography

Videography: Taylor Del Villar at J. Ferrara Photography

Florist: Dramatic Innovation Floral and Event Design

Hair and Makeup: JKFlashy

Music and Entertainment: A Perfect Blend Entertainment
 

Photo Credit To All: J. Ferrara Photography

 

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The Forgotten Benefits of Hiring a Second Photogrpaher

Today’s blog post is written by Jeremiah Shaffer, Photographer

 

Whether you’re having 300 guests at your wedding or 98 guests, a second photographer can greatly impact your final wedding images. In the past year alone, I can think of several specific instances that my second photographer got a shot that became invaluable to the entire collection. Shots that would have never happened if I were shooting alone. It was actually after one of those instances that I decided I was shooting with a second photographer pretty much exclusively. Even for a smaller wedding where the thought of a second photographer might seem a bit overkill.
 

 

Starting right from the beginning of the day 2 photographers has it’s biggest advantage; I’m with one (generally the bride) and the 2nd is with the other (groom). Now we have photos of everyone getting ready, which might not seem like a big deal until you see your final wedding images in their entirety. Seeing your day, the progression from start to finish really completes the collection of images. And guys, getting ready pictures are a lot more than just getting dressed. Laughing at raunchy jokes together, playing cards, sipping whiskey, maybe playing a quick pickup game of basketball or whiffle ball before they head out to the ceremony. There a lot of things you’re doing before the ceremony that might seem meaningless and trivial at the time, but there’s a lot more meaning when the day is done and you’re looking back at it in its entirety. Shooting by myself, unless the couple is getting ready at the same hotel or in the same house, those memories would never be captured. Moments that would be missing from your day.
 

RELATED: 4 EXTRA BENEFITS OF HIRING A PROFESSIONAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Now, at a wedding with a couple deciding to do a first look; 2 photographers = 2 different views and angles of the same moments of seeing each other for the first time. Getting the reaction of both the bride and the groom are nearly impossible with only one photographer. And from there as we continue on with the formal style portraits, 2 different sets of eyes taking portraits at the same time will give us more options for your final wedding photo delivery. Everyone sees a situation differently, especially 2 photographers. As much as we may have a similar shooting style, our inspirations for a situation may be coming from different places resulting in 2 completely different images from the same moment.
 

Photo Credit: Cody Tatro for Jeremiah Shaffer

A wedding that doesn’t utilize a first look will benefit even greater from 2 photographers. As the wedding begins and the bride starts walking down the aisle, I can photograph her reaction as my second photographer is capturing the groom’s reaction simultaneously. And afterward, since we didn’t do your portraits before the ceremony, we have to do them before the reception begins. During the time we’re getting portraits, my second photographer is photographing all of the reception details before guests start getting comfortable at their seats. Your place cards, centerpieces, table settings, etc… all of the little details that you’ve lost sleep over since you began planning your wedding. That way, when your reception is set to begin, we have all of those details captured so we can now concentrate on your grand entrance into your reception.
 

During your reception is another area of your day where you might not think a second photographer is necessary if you’re planning a smaller wedding. A perfect example I can think of is during the first dance. While my attention might be on the couple dancing, I may miss a moment of parents looking on, smiling at their children as they dance for the first time as a married couple. That’s an incredible moment that certainly can’t be missed, which might be if there was only one photographer on hand.

 

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. 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 photography questions.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Cody Tatro for Jeremiah Shaffer

 

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The Unusual Side Effect Of Your Proposal And How To Fix It

Did you suffer from “Engagement Hearing Loss” when you were proposed to? Not sure what that is? Well, let me tell you my story and see if you can relate…
 

Almost seven years ago, my husband and I got engaged. We were on vacation in Walt Disney World (our home away from home) and were about to get our picture taken in front of Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom. We patiently waited in line until it was our turn. We put our bags down, assumed the position, the PhotoPass Photographer took our photo and we were off…or so I thought.
 

As we were leaving, the photographer asked if we could take one more photo, so we put our bags down again and got back into position, only this time, my soon-to-be-fiancé/husband, angled me towards him. I remember saying “What are you doing?” as he started talking, and after about the third word I knew EXACTLY what he was doing!
 

“Oh my gosh…he’s proposing!!!” I thought, and then everything went silent. No sound at all! I could see his mouth moving, so I KNOW he was talking, but I had NO IDEA what was coming out of his mouth. I could see him on one knee, see him opening the ring box, I remember immediately going into an ugly cry and almost instinctively grabbing the ring but then pulling back. I couldn’t hear anything because I was overcome with such shock and surprise. It was the most intense surprise and wave of emotion I’ve ever experienced.
 

RELATED: THE NUMBER ONE TRUTH THAT CAN RUIN YOUR PROPOSAL

 

A few seconds later, I heard some older gentleman in line behind us yell out “Did she say ‘yes’?” and then everything snapped back. “Oh, my gosh!” I thought again, “There are people waiting, let’s grab our stuff and let those poor folks get their pictures.” The rest of the day, I kept asking him over and over what he said, but it was pointless. I wasn’t absorbing anything. I’ve never been so happily surprised in all my life!
 

What I’ve found, in these past seven years, is that many of my friends and acquaintances that have gotten engaged have suffered from the same “phenomenon”. No one can really remember what was said, and no one can really remember hearing anything come out of their fiancé’s mouth. Almost everyone has a similar story.
 

It’s kind of funny when you think about it because guys stress so much over what to say, and we never end up hearing any of it…LOL! I guess, guys, that’s good for you. You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself.
 

My advice to anyone getting engaged is to have it recorded somehow. Hide a hidden camera on a tripod, hide a friend with a camera in the trees, whatever you have to do, because we’re going to want to see it over and over again just so we can finally hear what you’re saying.
 
So, I’m curious…Have you suffered from “Engagement Hearing Loss?” We’d love to hear your proposal story and if you remember anything that was said.

 

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

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