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romantic garden wedding F.E.A.S.T. at Roundhill Windau Photography

Romantic Garden Wedding at F.E.A.S.T. at Round Hill

Regardless of what the temperature is outside, spring is here! Megan and Eric took full advantage of the beautiful springtime blooms when they planned their wedding at F.E.A.S.T. at Round Hill creating a truly timeless event. The day was perfect! According to Peter Kupersmith, head of operations at FEAST, “Megan‘s lighthearted excited energy balanced Eric’s cool, calm demeanor. Their beautiful portraits among the spring wildflowers complimented their floral wedding details, which included a beautiful wedding cake dotted with tiny purple flowers.”
 

If you are planning a spring wedding, check out these gorgeous photos by Windau Photography for a ton of floral garden wedding inspiration.

 

Vendors:

 

PhotographerWindau Photography

Floral DesignerGreenery Plus Florist

CakeThe Pastry Garden

 

Featured photo and gallery credit: Windau Photography

 

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WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

Library-Themed Wedding at the Historic Barns of Nipmoose

“Kristina and Philip planned a library-themed destination wedding in the mountains of New York State. They picked a location with gorgeous historical barns, and worked hard on the decor and design of their wedding! I absolutely loved the details that they picked, being a fellow book and library lover! I also loved the florals with a mix of succulents and peonies! The entire day felt like a fairy tale with gorgeous weather and an absolutely stunning sunset. The band was rocking inside of one of the barns and guests were spread out on the grounds enjoying delicious food and drinks, yard games, and fire pits. The day was spectacular and a perfect representation of the two of them!” – Brooke Azevedo, Brooke Ellen Photography
 

Vendors:

 

Band: Silver Arrow Band

Florals: Rose to the Occasion

Caterer: Jeff Loshinsky Catering

Event Venue: Historic Barns of Nipmoose

Photo credit: Brooke Ellen Photography

 
WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

WEDDING AT HISTORIC BARNS OF NIPMOOSE BY Brooke Ellen Photography

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LGBTQ Weddings: Important Info You Need to Know About Your Wedding Vendors

It started off as a question asked during a venue tour and ended as something much more.
 

“About five years ago, a mother of a groom asked one of our sales managers in their first tour, ‘How will you refer to my sons during their planning process?’” says Margaret Brower, director of sales at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie, NY.
 

A simple, yet weighted question.
 

After months of planning and getting to know the couple’s families well, Brower asked the mother why she asked that question during their first visit. She says, “That mom wanted to be sure her sons were going to be getting married at a venue where they didn’t have to be on the defensive. … She explained that every tour they went on, the venues used the word ‘bridal’ – bridal show, bridal suite, bridal party – and in this wedding, there is no bride.”
 

That was an ‘Aha’ moment for Brower. “A lightbulb went off that we needed an education on being better at serving and representing ALL of our couples,” she says.
 

She realized, at the moment, how exclusive wedding industry standard language is to ‘brides’ and ‘grooms’. “As a company, we talked about that pointed question (that this mom asked) and the vulnerable place it came from. We made a conscious decision as a company to be leaders in the movement to change that,” says Brower.
 

Soon after, Brower, along with the general managers, sales staff, maître d’s, operations staff, and banquet managers at all Bonura Hospitality Group venues (The Grandview, Anthony’s Pier 9, The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel, West Hills Country Club, Water Club Luxury Living, Shadows on the Hudson, Blu Pointe) and the Bonura Hospitality Group corporate office attended an all-day certification program conducted by Bernadette Smith, founder and president of the Gay Wedding Institute and 14 Stories.
 

RELATED: FEATURED COUPLE: JENNY AND JANINE

 

What is the Gay Wedding Institute Certification Program?

 

Smith, who, coincidentally, is originally from the Hudson Valley, explains that the certification program is an intensive program designed to educate wedding industry professionals about the nuances of same-sex marriages.
 

In this program, Smith says, wedding industry professionals learn appropriate language and terminology, learn what wedding traditions same-sex couples prefer, learn how to rebrand their marketing materials and signage within their venue, get a detailed look at LGBTQ wedding data, trends, and are educated on laws and policies.
 

Brower says, “Bernadette’s certification course was motivating, captivating, and empowering.”
 

“The Bonura Hospitality Group are the only caterers and wedding professionals who are certified in our area,” says Brower. “It has actually made us better in so many areas because our training was not just about language. We dove into LGBT wedding data, trends, traditions, best practices in sales and marketing, cutting-edge information on laws and policies, and received resource material for future questions. We also learned about being an advocate for your client. That was my favorite section!”
 

What do vendors and venues having this certification mean for you, the engaged couple?

 

Before we discuss what the certification means to engaged couples, it’s important to look at some numbers. Between June 2013 – June 2016, 52% of LGBTQ couples were afraid of rejection based on sexual orientation/gender identity. Because of that, 86% found it very important that a vendor serves and supports LGBTQ weddings and 51% found it challenging to find themselves represented in wedding resources.* (Source: Gay Wedding Institute by 14 Stories)
 

For LGBTQ couples, working with a Gay Wedding Institute certified venue or vendor means that you get to work with venues and vendors where you are equally represented, that understand your unique vision for your wedding, and that can appropriately address your concerns.
 

Brower states that as a Gay Wedding Institute certified venue they changed a lot to better serve the LGBTQ community in the Hudson Valley. “With Bernadette’s guidance,” she says, “we made changes to our (marketing materials), making sure all of our packaging, websites, and brochures use inclusive language and represented all couples. … We also are making a conscious effort to work with vendors who are inclusive, themselves. You are only as strong as your associates.”
 

In addition, Brower says “At all of our facilities, we changed signage that once read ‘Bridal Suite’ to either ‘Suite’ or ‘Wedding Suite.’  Client info was changed from ‘Bride & Groom’ on our agreements to ‘Name & Name.’ We use the terms ‘Wedding Expo’ and ‘Wedding Show’ instead of ‘Bridal Show’.”
 

But being certified goes far beyond changing language. Brower says, “We are self-aware, and that doesn’t mean saying, ‘We do gay weddings.’  It’s actually far from that. It’s saying we love weddings, all weddings, no matter who you are marrying, and we will make that experience special for anyone who walks through our doors.”
 

RELATED: 9 CRUCIAL THINGS YOU NEED TO DO FOR YOUR WEDDING VENDORS

 

How can you get certified or find out what venues or vendors are certified?

 

14 Stories, the country’s first firm specializing in planning legal same-sex weddings, launched the Gay Wedding Institute in 2009, as a way to help wedding industry professionals become fully inclusive of all couples, including LGBTQ couples. If you are an engaged couple looking to find certified vendors or venues, or are a wedding industry professional and would like more information about the Gay Wedding Institute or information on how you can be certified, please visit Gay Wedding Institute by 14 Stories
 

Featured photo credit: J. Ferrara Photography

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Wedding at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills

Stunning Country Glam Wedding at Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Ashlea and Zach’s wedding at Blue Hill at Stone Barns was the perfect setting for their August wedding. “Blue Hill at Stone Barns is a gorgeous place with amazing food. Blue Hill is a working four-season farm and educational center 30 miles north of New York City. We had perfect weather for their wedding day,” says James Ferrara of J. Ferrara Photography
 

He says, “Ashlea was a beautiful bride, with an extremely unique and awesome dress by designer Yolan Cris. She did a first look with Zach, and they were so cute together- laughing away and just so in love. We walked around the grounds to do their portraits, and this place is just so beautiful, there are so many amazing spots for photos.”
 

The ceremony itself was just as special as she walked down the aisle with not one, but two special people. Ferrara says, “Ashlea was walked down the aisle by both her dad and her stepdad, and I thought it was very sweet.”
 

As for the reception…”The party was ridiculous with lots of dancing and music by the Cafe Wha? band who were just terrific! The room was gorgeous, with the split stone walls and the candles and amazing floral designs,” says Ferrara.
 

Vendors

 

Florals: Verde Flowers

Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

Dress: Yolan Cris

Band: Cafe Wha? House Band

Venue: Blue Hill at Stone Barns
 

Take a scroll through this gallery for some amazing wedding inspiration. Featured photo and gallery courtesy of J. Ferrara Photography
 

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Faraway Farm Alpacas Yorktown Heights engagement photos

Alpaca Farm Engagement Session in Yorktown Heights

There is no shortage of amazing spots in the Hudson Valley perfect for your engagement session. However, Julia and Theo really wanted a location that was unique and different, yet matched something that they were both passionate about. “While throwing around ideas for their engagement session”, says Kathleen, owner of Parenthesis Photography, “Julia mentioned that she and Theo really loved animals, especially alpacas. After doing a little research I came across Faraway Farm Alpacas in Yorktown Heights, which looked amazing.”
 

Anytime you can incorporate animals into your photos, it just takes them to a whole new level. You never know what they’re going to do and they just instantly make you feel comfortable and happy. Kathleen says, “The alpacas were a little shy at first, but eventually warmed up after we gave them some treats.” Food works every time!.
 

While the engagement session was great, sometimes the best parts are in the quiet moments. “The end of their shoot was my favorite part though,” says Kathleen. “We stood by the fence near the edge of the woods, and I asked Julia and Theo to tell me about how they’d met and got engaged. We spent about ten minutes just talking about their relationship and taking photos until the sun started to go down.”
 

How many of you would love to have these alpacas in your engagement photos? Are you thinking of doing engagement photos in a non-traditional location? Have you taken engagement photos at a unique location? We’d love to see!
 

Featured photo credit and credit to all below: Parenthesis Photography

 

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The Timing of Your Portrait Session and Why it’s so Important

By Madison Baltodano, owner, and photographer at Bella Luz Imagery
 

Many photographers refer to the “Golden Hour” when suggesting times for your photos. So what is this “Golden Hour” of natural light and why is it so important? How do you use it to your advantage? What happens if you take photos outside of the “Golden Hour?”
 

What is the “Golden Hour?”

 

The “Golden Hour” is the last hour of light as the sun is setting or the first hour of light as the sun is rising. During this time of day a beautiful, soft light is created which creates very flattering portraits. You can use this natural light to your benefit in many ways: posing with the sun behind you or with the sun in front of you. Each way will give you very dramatic and different images. Let’s take a look.
 

Sun behind the subject

 

Putting the sun behind the subject creates magical backlighting and artistic sun flares.
 

Sun behind the subject. Photo credit Bella Luz Imagery


 

Sun in front of the subject

 

Keeping the sun in front of the subject creates stronger contrasted images, yet still with soft, flattering light.
 

Sun in front of the subject. Photo credit: Bella Luz Imagery


 

What happens if you don’t take photos during the “Golden Hour?”

 

Sometimes couples want to do a first look, and take photos before the ceremony so that they can spend more time with their family and friends during the cocktail hour. This is a great idea and I highly suggest it, but a few things need to be considered for taking photos during the day.
 

Mid-day sun

 

An experienced photographer will work with mid-day sun to use it to their advantage in certain situations. Putting it behind your subject if at all possible will help, or taking wide sweeping landscape shots where the harsh shadows on the face aren’t as apparent also works well for high noon sun.
 

Mid-day sun. Photo credit: Bella Luz Imagery


 

Mid-day shade or clouds

 

Shade can be your best friend. Anytime you are taking photos in the shade, especially the shade of a large dense cloud, it is as if the sun has been put into a giant, soft box, again creating beautiful, soft, portrait quality light. So if you are taking photos mid-day or even early afternoon, look for a shaded area to do the first look and family photos.
 

Shaded photo, mid-day. Photo credit: Bella Luz Imagery


 

Cloud cover, mid-day. Photo credit: Bella Luz Photography


 

Overhead sun

 

If at all possible, avoid taking portraits with the sun directly overhead, which may create dark shadows on your eyes, or have you squinting as the sun hits your pupils.
 

Your photographer will know what lighting works best and what lighting they are most comfortable using and best suited for their style of photography. It is best to consult with them when planning your photography timeline for your wedding day.
 
What’s type of lighting is your favorite? What time will you be getting photos taken?
 

Featured photo shows the sun behind the subject. Photo credit: Bella Luz Imagery

 

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J Ferrara Photography Poughkeepsie Grandview Wedding

Summer Wedding at the Poughkeepsie Grandview

“Rita and Alex’s wedding at The (Poughkeepsie) Grandview was nothing short of one amazing day,” says James Ferrara of J. Ferrara Photography. “The bride’s dress was beautiful, and all day she was one big smile. She was relaxed, had fun, couldn’t care less about the rain that threw us for a loop,” he says. Summer weddings in the Hudson Valley can be unpredictable, and unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about the weather. “It goes to show you how much the attitude of the bride sets the tone of the day,” says Ferrara.
 

“We went to the church (St. Martin De Porres Roman Catholic Church in Poughkeepsie) for the ceremony, and afterward, we headed up north for photos, with looming storm clouds on the horizon,” he says. “Just as we pulled up to Franklin D. Roosevelt Estate for photos, the rain started. We were only there several minutes, then headed to the Poughkeepsie train station and waited out the storm. Once the torrential rain and wind died down, we did bridal party photos there.  From there, we headed to The (Poughkeepsie) Grandview ballroom, where the rest of the night was great with a live band that kept everyone on their feet.”
 

How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal?

 

Rita says “We met as Freshman in college at The University of Scranton Chapman Lake Retreat Center. We worked together, attended a few classes together, and were friends for nearly all of college before we started dating. There was always something special about Alex. We shared fun times throughout college and when Alex and I finally realized we really liked each other more than just friends we started dating a few months before graduation. he and I were long distance for 3 years before we no longer had a 2+ hour drive between us.”
 

“The day of the proposal was also my dad’s birthday,” says Rita. “Before going to dinner with my dad, Alex took me back to the place we met. He got me there because he and mom cooked up a story… Since she works for the University, she told me that she thought she lost her wedding ring at a meeting there the day before. What an actress! On the way there, I asked Alex, “Do you think we’ll find the ring?” He said, “If there’s a ring there, we’ll find it.” When we got to campus, he proposed in the same exact place where we met…There are no videos or pictures from the proposal but I remember every single part of it…oF course, we go to the “birthday party for my dad” to find that he and mom knew all along. Dad says that 65 was the best birthday he’s ever had.”
 

What was the inspiration for your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?

 

“I had many inspirations during the planning process… but, in reality, the inspiration was quite simple: we wanted to throw a party to celebrate our families, who made us who we are (ultimately the best partners for one another!),” says Rita “With every single detail and decision, Alex reminded me “we have to keep it fun” and we certainly did…The band was key to a fabulous party. Before we knew any details, we knew we were going to have a band. In terms of colors… I focused on romantic ivories, pinks, and peaches with lots of fresh green accents. Our religious ceremony was very traditional with both sides of the family having key parts in the mass. It was important to bring the family together from the very beginning. The Groom’s Mom sang during Communion and the Bride’s Mom was Maid of Honor. It meant a lot for me to have my father walk me down the aisle…Our priest, Father Scott Pilarz S.J., was someone we both met while attending The University of Scranton. He drove in from Maryland.
 

Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?

 

Rita says, “The wedding theme was an elegant, fun party that would ultimately bring everyone together on the dance floor. The venue was perfect with guests entering through a tunnel walkway to a windowed room that overlooked the Hudson River. Guests had the option to go outside on the deck or stay inside to enjoy the view from a room resembling a winery. We had a memory table with picture displays we created that sparked great stories about family not with us. When it was time for the reception the curtains that created the tunnel were raised allowing the guests to enter a room filled with summer flowers, candlelight and lots of love. We were blessed in that our venue was so stunning in itself. the view of the Hudson River was perfect (luckily, no rain for the cocktail hour) and our flowers were perfect for our space.”
 

What were the florals like? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?

 

“The flowers were magnificent and brought the elegance, beauty, and color we wanted,” says Rita. “We wanted there to be a romantic garden feeling that was soft and yet bright. The centerpieces and tablescapes were alternated on the tables allowing the eye to capture the beauty of the room with sparkling candlelight. My bridal bouquet incorporated flowers from my Communion veil. My Aunt Am, who was also my Godmother, made the veil. She passed away from cancer six years ago. Our florist was able to take these flowers and seamlessly weave them into my bouquet so part of her was with me throughout the day.”
 

Did you personalize the day in any way? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?

 

Rita says “The question is: What wasn’t personalized? Our signature drink at the cocktail hour was named “The Chapman Cooler” after Chapman Lake where we met and also where Alex proposed. Every single food choice was chosen based on our individual family favorites. Making sure there was pasta for my family and pigs in a blanket for Alex’s. We had a saxophone playing during cocktail hour. Alex worked on recommended songs to give the band for a year leading up to the wedding. Capping the night off, a Venetian hour and pretzels to-go kept the guests engaged and partying until the end. The University of Scranton has been a key part of our lives. As mentioned, not only were we married by our friend, a Jesuit priest, Fr. Scott Pilarz but we also had so many of our college friends in attendance…”
 

Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look?

 

“I tried on dozens of dresses,” says Rita…”I truly did not know what look I wanted. but, I did know that it needed to match our theme: It needed to be fun! However, much like everything else, it also needed to be elegant and timeless. I wanted something that had a wow factor and that no one had seen before. I truly believe I found that in my Tara Keely dress…I felt like such a bride rocking that train down the aisle. As for Alex, he wanted classic black which is always something that I’ve loved. in fact, it is what my bridesmaids also wear. At first, I thought the bridesmaids would wear blush and the men navy. but, like many things when planning a wedding, visions evolve and at the end of the day, I loved how Alex’s shawl-collared tux stood out from the groomsmen.”

 

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

 

“It’s tough to say what was the most anticipated or special moment of the day,” says Rita. “When you are so involved in the planning, you are excited about every element… but, for me, the most anticipated moment of our day was our first dance. Alex and I struggled with the choice for our first dance for months (maybe a year). we went back and forth. Alex is very well versed in music so he was picky and I was less picky on the song but, having some dance experience, I knew the kind of dance we wanted…We danced to “Because the Night” by 10,000 Maniacs. We received so many compliments on our dance because it was a song that no one expected and truly kicked off the night as a party.”

 

Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice?

 

Rita says, “For a few weeks after the wedding/honeymoon were over, I went through something referred to as “The Princess Crisis.” It sounds a little dramatic but I truly loved every single part of the planning that when it was over, I missed it. It just went by as quickly as everyone says it does. We danced all night and WITH EACH OTHER. I know that sounds funny but it is easy to get separated when there are so many people pulling you in different directions. Our friends gave us the advice to stay together during the day and we did. I would also say to process everything as “this is part of my story; it’s ok”… on the day of the wedding, my blusher was missing, it was raining during our pictures and we had to choose a new location, my bouquet was left at the first photo location and I didn’t have it for the second. Well, let me tell you what happened from all of those seemingly “imperfections” — my lovely friends saved the day and came through for me, we ended up getting beautiful pictures at the second location and beautifully romantic ones of Alex and I with an umbrella…and my flowers were safely recovered and there for my entrance. Every single thing is part of your story and no one’s story will be alike. If it was, weddings would not be as fun! Overall, my advice is from the moment you are engaged to enjoy the journey. Make the planning a partnership with your fiance. Take opinions as “just opinions” and make decisions based on what is most important to you – and on the day of, have the time of your life because that party is for you!”
 

Vendors:

 

Photographer: J. Ferrara Photography

Dress: Tara Keely

Florals: Flowers by David Anthony

Venue/Catering: The Poughkeepsie Grandview

Band: Sound Image Entertainment

Cinema and Video: Kevin Fonash Studios

 

 

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Charming Rose & Gold Wedding at Falkirk Estate & Country Club

Falkirk Estate & Country Club in Central Valley, NY was the perfect setting for Amanda and Chris’s wedding. Having met in high school, they weren’t high school sweethearts…just friends. Little did they know, they would turn out to be each others soul mates!
 

After hanging out in the same circle of friends, they realized they had a lot in common and became close as time went on. They even did the baby project for health class together! Once high school was over they kept in touch and one day, they realized that their friendship was turning into something more.
 

During their first year of dating, Chris, who at the time was working a part-time job with not much extra money, decided to make Amanda’s birthday gift. He went out and bought construction paper, stick-on googly eyes and a couple of other art supplies to hand make a picture frame of himself. When Amanda opened her gift, she thought it was the sweetest and most thoughtful gift anyone has ever given her!
 

Seven years later, Chris, as an ode to their first year of dating, wanted to show Amanda how far they have come. He proposed to her the same way!
 

On a random Thursday, November 5, 2015, Chris picked up Amanda from work. As soon as she walked into their apartment, she saw a beautiful display of red roses, along with a handmade picture frame of Chris with the words “Will You Marry Me?” going across it. After she said yes, they celebrated by popping a bottle of champagne and calling all of their loved ones to share the news!
 

Vendors:

 

Venue: Falkirk Estate and Country Club

Photographer: BOM Photography

Dress: Memories Bridal by Reem

Cake Designer: Palermo’s Bakery

Floral Designer: Yumila Wedding and Event Floral Design

 

Photo Credit to All: BOM Photography

 

 

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J Ferrara Photography Hudson Valley Wedding Hollowbrook Golf Club

Fall wedding at Hollow Brook Golf Club

Christina and Mike celebrated their late fall Hudson Valley wedding at Hollow Brook Golf Club. According to their photographer, James Ferrara of J. Ferrara Photography, “Christina and Mike are SUCH a fun couple. When we arrived, the girls were all just hanging out, putting on custom temporary tattoos with the couples hashtag. Christina’s dress was gorgeous and fit her perfectly.” Once “getting ready” shots were taken, Ferrara says, “We did a first look on the porch, and then walked and drove around the grounds on a golf cart to do their portraits. It was a chilly day for sure, but these two were troopers and the cold doesn’t show through the images.” However, the cold temps did mean an inside ceremony. “With it being so cold, we had the ceremony inside, which is a first for us, but it worked out just fine. Anthony from Platinum Entertainment DJs kept the party rocking all night, even getting the bride and groom to crowd surf!! It was a terrific day, filled with love and laughter and lots and lots of fun.” Check out this amazing gallery of this amazingly fun wedding to get inspiration for your own special day.
 

Vendors:

 

Photographer: J. Ferrara Photography
 

Photo Booth: iFlick Photo Booth
 

Transportation: Silver Star Limo
 

Bakery: Dream Cakes Bakery
 

Florals: Joseph Richards Florals
 

Officiant: Jeremy Ziegler
 

DJ/Entertainment: Platinum Entertainment DJ’s
 

Reception Venue: Hollow Brook Golf Club
 

Photo Credit to all: J. Ferrara Photography

 

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3 Easy Ways to Stay True to Yourself and Make Your Wedding Special

By guest blogger Amanda Hudes, owner of Smiling Through Chaos.

 

Weddings are best when they showcase YOU!

 

2018 is all about customization baby! Nobody wants to have their wedding look and feel just like every other wedding out there, but where do you begin? Well, begin with YOU. By doing so, you almost guarantee your wedding will be different because there’s no one else out there like you. No one else has your style, taste, or imagination.

 

Here are some tips to help you figure out…

 

1 – Who you are

 

2 – How to feel confident about who you now accept, love and cherish, and

 

3 – How you can stay true to who you are on your wedding day

 

Go deep

 

Many of us go through several stages in life, and often times each stage is represented by our style. Does anyone remember wearing “babydoll tee’s” as our bodies were changing in middle school? What about the phase of “Oh my gosh, I’m going to graduate so I have to go out and buy a few suits for interviews!” And what about the stage when you said, “Yes!” to a marriage proposal and started shopping for the dress you were “supposed to” love?

 

That’s where we say, “Hold up!” Underneath the makeup and your favorite current fashion trend, who are YOU? Do you love poetry or heavy metal? Do you love adventure, or are you someone who loves to be comfortable in jeans and a sweatshirt most days? If you’re someone who loves to wear sneakers and sweats, you might be very uncomfortable in high heels all day, which will show in your pictures and your face when speaking to your guests! I’m not saying wear sneakers and sweats, but I am suggesting keeping “comfort” in your mind and choosing a wedding dress or jumpsuit. When you feel good, you smile, you laugh, you enjoy, and that helps others to do the same.
 

Who are YOU?

 

That’s the first step before proceeding with any wedding planning. Once you figure that out, you will feel so much more comfortable with your decisions and with the style of the wedding because it will represent the two of you.

 

Care for and love yourself

 

Once you realize who you truly are, it’s time for self-care and self-love. You know the saying, you can’t love someone else until you love yourself first. Well, I say love yourself because you are SO worth it, and when you love yourself, you become so irresistible that your significant other will love you even more. If the two of you are practicing self-care, this is magic.

 

Self-care starts with taking time to laugh, to enjoy moments with friends and family, and providing yourself with moments of silence and reflection.

 

Self-love also involves accepting and cherishing the body and mind that makes you so special. What makes us different makes us special. There are no such things as imperfections. You are perfectly you!
 

Do what feels right

 

So now it’s the time to plan your look and your wedding!

 

What feels good to you? Do you adore the smell of fresh flowers, or would you prefer more greenery? Have you realized that you would absolutely love a regal gown so you can feel like a Queen that day, or would you prefer to wear a mini dress with sandals? What says YOU? What feels right, and good, to YOU?

 

Being absolutely clear on what you enjoy and what makes you happy is crucial to having the day of your dreams. Confidence in owning who you are sends a clear message to those around who might be trying to sway you in a different direction. The more confident you are in your decisions, the less likely someone will be in trying to make you change your mind.

 

What are things you discovered about yourself during the planning process? What are some things that are truly you that you are doing at your wedding? What are some ways you care for yourself?  
 

Featured Photo: Ricky Restiano Photography
 

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J Ferrara Photography Abigail Kirsch Tappan Hill Mansion wedding Tarrytown, NY

Elegant Tappan Hill Mansion Wedding in Tarrytown, New York

Emily and Matt had the perfect day for their Hudson Valley fall wedding. Taking place at the majestic Tappan Hill Mansion in Tarrytown, NY, both the bride and the groom were glowing as bright as the sun was for them that day. J. Ferrara Photography elegantly captured every moment. “This was a gorgeous fall wedding at Tappan Hill Mansion in Tarrytown NY,” says Ferrara. “Emily and Matt are both beautiful people that are so in love, it just shows through every image.  Emily’s Hayley Paige dress was stunning, and Matt looked sharp in his tux.” Ferrara recalls the timeline of the day…”We did a first look, followed by portraits, and then a beautiful ceremony outside with the perfect late day sun glow.  A reception followed in the ballroom with lots of dancing and laughs.” Check out the beautiful gallery below to get some inspiration for your wedding day.
 

Vendors

 

Caterer: Abigail Kirsch
 

Dress: Hayley Paige
 

DJ: Generation Events
 

Venue: Tappan Hill Mansion
 

Photographer: J. Ferrara Photography
 

Photo Credit to all: J. Ferrara Photography

 

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Cassady K Photography United States Military Academy West Point Wedding

United States Military Academy Wedding at West Point

What happens when you combine the regal patriotism of West Point, the majesty of the Hudson River, and beautiful pastels? Debbie and Hanson’s wedding, of course! Here’s their story along with a stunning photo gallery with photos by Cassady K Photography in Pleasantville, NY
 

How did you and Hanson meet?

 

“Hanson and I met in North Carolina while I was a resident and he was stationed at Fort Bragg.”
 

Describe your overall theme or style of your wedding?

 

“We were going for a classic and romantic style, so we used gold, soft pinks, and cream colored accents.”
 

How did you choose West Point?

 

“We chose West Point for its beautiful campus and Cadet Chapel, and because of the wonderful views of the Hudson River.”
 

Describe your wedding fashion. What look were you and Hanson going for?

 

“Hanson wore his dress uniform. I was looking for a classic dress that would be suitable for a chapel wedding service. One of my good friends lent me her veil, which completed the look with the long train of my dress.”
 

Do you have any wedding advice for our readers?

 

“For the wedding, no matter how stressful the planning process is, the day of is the most important and most memorable! Take time to sit back and enjoy your wedding day.”
 

WEDDING VENDORS

 

CEREMONY | Cadet Chapel at West Point
 

RECEPTION | West Point Club
 

THE DRESS | Maggie Sottero from Irini’s Originals
 

BRIDAL SHOES | Badgley Mischka
 

BRIDAL ACCESSORIES | Givenchy & Cartier
 

BRIDESMAID DRESS | Azazie
 

GROOMSMEN ATTIRE | Army Class A Uniforms & Macy’s
 

HAIR STYLIST & MAKEUP ARTIST | Celeste von Damon
 

FLORIST | Secret Garden Florist
 

RECEPTION CENTERPIECES | Bride’s Mother – Helene Yen
 

INVITATIONS | Minted
 

FAVORS | DIY and Etsy
 

CAKEWest Point Club
 

PHOTOGRAPHER | Cassady K Photography
 

BAND | These Guys
 

2ND PHOTOGRAPHER | Rosemary Green Photography
 

Photo Credit to All: Cassady K. Photography

 

 

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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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