Follow Us

Categories

Archives

Search Tags

Hudson Valley Wedding Photography Alicia King Photography

4 Extra Benefits Of Hiring A Professional Wedding Photographer

When you book your wedding vendors you assume you’re hiring them to do a specific job. For example, you hire a DJ to play music, you hire a videographer to take video, you hire a planner to plan and keep things running smoothly, and you hire a photographer to take photos.

 

What actually happens is that your vendors do MUCH more than what their ‘title’ tells you they should be doing. Professional and experienced wedding vendors actually become part of your inner circle and part of your family for the months leading up to your wedding and even longer. They all play peacekeeper, therapist, planner, and friend.

 

Your photographer, specifically, when you hire an experienced one, really goes far above and beyond what they ‘should’ be doing.
 
Alicia King of Alicia King Photography says when you are looking at the investment you make for photography, you need to consider your photographer will be doing these things as well:
 

 

They will help you with your wedding-day timeline

 

Hudson Valley 

<p Wedding Photography Alicia King Photography

An experienced photographer will know how long it takes for pictures. For example, they’ll know how long to take for family photos or first look photos. If you are going to different locations, they’ll know travel time and time to spend at each location. They’ll know what time to arrive at your house and what time everyone should be getting ready based on the time your ceremony starts. If you are stressing over your timeline, ask your photographer for help.

 

RELATED: WHY DOES WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY COST SO MUCH (AND WHAT DO YOU GET FOR YOUR MONEY)

 

They will suggest other vendors

 

Experienced Hudson Valley wedding photographers have been in the industry for a long time, and have been to many weddings. Having worked so many weddings, your photographer has seen a lot and gets to know the other vendors at all these weddings. If you’re stuck finding a specific vendor or would like to know more about a specific vendor, your photographer will be able to help you with suggestions based on what they’ve seen and who they know.

 

They will be your creative partner

 

Experienced wedding photographers will know how to properly and professionally handle any situation that may come up with regards to the final outcome of your photos. Just like you don’t want to give your DJ your full playlist because you need to trust them to do their job, the same goes for photographers. Give them your MUST have shot list, but then let their creative juices flow. They’ll also know, based on location, time of day or lighting, what may or may not work in terms of getting the perfect shot. They’ll also be able to handle any last minute weather-related issues such as rain or snow and come up with shot ideas perfectly suited for any weather

RELATED: HIRING A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER? 6 RED FLAGS YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF

 

They become your personal assistant

 

Hudson Valley Wedding Photography Alicia King Photography

Your photographer is the one vendor that will be with you from morning to night. They will be attached at your hip all day, so a professional photographer will end up being your personal assistant as well. Throughout the day, they’ll be fixing your veil, maybe helping you put on your veil, helping fluff or bustle your train, fixing any stray or flyaway hairs, pinning boutonnieres, and most importantly, they’ll be making sure you have time to eat and have something to drink.

 

In addition, they’ll be the ones to coordinate key points of the day and will be the ones to wrangle your family and friends for portraits, your first look, and any other photos that require more than just the two of you

 

Lastly, an experienced photographer will ensure you stay calm, happy, and stress-free. They’ll be like your therapist for the day. They know taking pictures doesn’t come naturally for some, so they’ll be putting you at ease and making you comfortable all day.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Alicia King Photography

 

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.
 

 

Read More

Creative Ways To Make A Wedding Guest Book You’ll Love For Years To Come

For the longest time, I never really got the point of a wedding guest book.

 

I mean, you know who you’re inviting to your wedding, you know who’s coming to your wedding, and between your shower and wedding, every guest gives you a card with a nice sentiment written in it, so why do you need a guest book? Right?

 

Well, in the last 7-10 years, guest books have really taken on a life of their own. This once minute and somewhat boring detail of a wedding has now really grown into something really special and personal. No longer are they a formality, but a very personal creative keepsake of your wedding day. From thumbprint trees to puzzles and everything in between, guest books are rarely ever books anymore.

 

Because this detail is often something that’s very personal, many couples tend to DIY it, or at least purchase one on Etsy, made by someone else. Since it’s a very crafty and creative element of your day, we decided to reach out the largest DIY wedding resource to get their insights into what you can do for your guest book at your wedding.

 

RELATED: DIY WEDDINGS: 5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW

 

Do you need a guest book?

 

wedding guest book

Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo and Video

The short answer is no. You can have whatever you want at your wedding, and you can also eliminate whatever you want at your wedding. Actually, most of the weddings I’ve gone to haven’t had a guest book at all! Remember, like I always say, there are no ‘rules’ when it comes to weddings.

 

Why have a guest book?

 

“Guest Books are a staple piece for the bride and groom so they can remember who came to their wedding or wedding shower,” says Debbie Louis, owner of the DIY Bride website and chief wedding planner and designer of A La Mode Events .“It also allows the guest the opportunity to share a memorable message (congratulatory or well wishes) to the couple… It can also be creative to represent the theme of the wedding.”

 

Just like your photos, your guest book is a tangible memento from your day. It’s really cool to look back years later at something people sign or create on the day of your wedding. Imagine your little flower girl or ring bearer signing their name the way little kids do, and then looking back at it 10 years later when that little guy or girl is now a teenager. Imagine seeing a message in your grandparent’s own handwriting and having that sentiment to keep forever.

 

RELATED: WHAT IS IT REALLY LIKE TO BE A DIY BRIDE?

 

What kind of guest book should you have?

 

If you are going to do a guest book, I’m a big proponent of not having anything at your wedding that you can’t reuse again. So, I’m always in favor of having a guest book that you can actually use or display in your home. My first thought is to make this something fun. Look at your style, your passions, interest or decorating style to give you an inspirational starting point. Louis says “I Love pictures that tell a story, colors or a theme. You can get über creative with these simple three things. But you should dig deep and figure out what you love in order to properly personalize.”

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

For example, my husband loves baseball, especially the New York Yankees. Knowing that I didn’t want just a plain old book, I thought about something that was a bit of a novelty, something that was different, and something that we could hang in our new home. After doing a bit of research, we decided that our guest book would be a baseball bat with our names and date etched into it that everyone could sign. It was a HUGE hit!! People loved it and were talking about it for weeks after. In fact, one guest wrote on the knob (the bottom part of the bat) “Best guest book ever!” It’s now hanging in our home office. I guess we knocked that one ‘out of the park!’ Sorry, more bad puns…I can’t help myself.

 

Anyway…take a look at your overall theme, what makes you happy and choose something that really depicts your personality and something that will be fun for your guests as well.

 

What are some unique, easy and personal types of guest books?

 

“Some really cool guest book ideas are puzzle pieces,” says Louis. She also suggests if you love to travel, you can have people sign decorated globes, or another idea is to have guests sign a photo mat surrounding an engagement photo which you can then frame and hang in your home. You can make a photo book and have everyone sign it. “Also the photo strips from a photo booth are usually easy and classic,” Louis says.

 

So, we want to know if you are having a guest book, and, if so, what type of ‘book’ is it going to be?

 

Featured Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo and Video

Read More

Why Does Wedding Photography Cost So Much (And What Do I Get For My Money)?

Today’s article is written by Doug Madden, Duetimage Photography – Hudson Valley Wedding Photographers

 

Here’s a question we get all the time:  “Why is wedding photography so expensive?”  Once, a groom actually put the question to us like this: “Why does taking some blank wedding pictures cost so blankety-blank much — my blankety-blank 9-year-old niece can press a button too!”
 

It’s a good question, but one not easily answered because of the way that the general public perceives photography. Photographers are asked to justify their prices more than any other contractor because to most people, the equipment and the skills needed to produce images are deemed to be widely available.
 

If your car breaks down, you’re not likely to ask a mechanic why his labor charges are the way they are.  Or if your sink won’t drain, you don’t ask the plumber to justify the amount he’ll charge to clear it.  The mechanic will disappear into the garage with your car and your plumber will disappear under the sink, and you’ll never know exactly what tools or knowledge they will use to get the job done.  And you won’t care either because you need your stuff operational and you can’t do it yourself.
 

 

Professional Experience

 

Since wedding photography — like other forms of art — is not exactly a need, the mind is more willing to question what it is you’ll be paying for.  If you’re in the market for an oil painting of your family, or a marble bust of yourself, you know it’s going to be expensive because these kinds of artists usually come with years of experience and special training.  Photographers though … anybody can walk into a Target and purchase a DSLR, and smartphones can take pretty good pictures too.  So in your mind you’re pretty much paying someone to press a button, otherwise, you’ll look strange carrying a selfie-stick during your first dance.
 

Not quite.  Especially not if you’re dreaming about the sort of wedding photography that you see featured on many blogs, or if you have your heart set on an heirloom album.  This work figures into the prices photographers charge and, depending on their business models, not all photographers offer the same services.
 

Types of Photographers

 

duetimage-hudson-valley-wedding-photographers

Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography

Wedding photographers generally fall into one of two categories:  Shoot-and-Burn or Full-Service.

 

Shoot-and-Burners get their name from the practice of burning their wedding coverage to a DVD and delivering just that.  Although photos are more and more delivered via download or by USB keys these days, the term still sticks. Usually, these photographers are viewed as more affordable because they charge less upfront, but couples are responsible for their own image editing and processing.
 

The Full-Service Studio Photographer is one who will handle all aspects of your photography, including curation, album and artwork production, and digital file delivery.  As the name implies, there are more services provided and generally, the cost is higher.
 

While we at Duetimage Photography are a full-service studio, we always stress that there is no “correct” business model.  Each has its pros and cons, and ultimately couples must choose the photographer with the business model that is right for them.
 

Shoot-and-Burn

 

Within the shoot-and-burn model, there are varying levels of service which will affect your pricing.
 

Some shoot-and-burners will come home from your wedding and transfer all of your photos directly to disk without even looking at them.  You’ll get everything fast, including lens caps and shots of your photographer’s shoes.  There will be no color correction or tweaking of exposure: the images are yours to sort out and manipulate as you wish, and the photographer’s job is done.
 

Other shoot-and-burners will lightly curate the coverage selecting only the best shots, and maybe even adjust for basic exposure. These photographers will charge more for the time it takes to do this.
 

Before choosing the rock bottom shoot-and-burn photographer who returns images straight out of the camera, ask yourself if you have the time and the talent to edit your own images.  If not, then spending a little more on a photographer who will provide a light edit is worth its weight in gold.
 

The Full-Service Studio

 

duetimage-hudson-valley-wedding-photographers

Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography

Photographers functioning on the full-service model will not only provide a basic proofing of your images.  They will also curate your coverage, engage in artistic editing that reflects their unique style, and produce your wedding albums, canvases, metal prints, and other forms of artwork.

 

In addition to their image capturing skills, full-service photographers are also graphic designers and digital technicians.  They understand how shapes, colors, and tones interact harmoniously on an album spread.  They also know how to process an image for optimum print output.  Full-service photographers know their labs and have good working relationships with the people there to ensure that your artwork is produced to the highest standard.
 

Post-production work can require many hours of the photographer’s time long after your wedding, which leads us to a paradox: the full-service photographer who charges more can actually earn less per hour than the shoot-and-burn photographer who provides fewer services.
 

Now you might be asking, why is this important to me as someone about to get married?  The answer is passion.  Many full-service photographers are exclusively photographers.  They live to create imagery and they fuss over every detail in ways that can sometimes be comical (it’s no surprise that the fictional photographer Felix Unger on the sitcom The Odd Couple was a fussbudget).  I once asked a colleague why he chose to shoot and burn instead of providing full-service, and his response was: “I need to preserve my sanity”.  If you’re curious about the backend value of a full-service photographer, there you have it.
 

Added Value On Your Wedding Day

 

Finally, speaking of sanity, another hidden value of your photographer is his or her ability to play psychologist on your wedding day.
 

As we’re all aware when we’re planning an event, things can and will go wrong.  With so much money being spent, there’s a lot of stress on the part of couples and their families.  All too often, stress can manifest itself in unforeseen ways.  The bride might have an argument with her mother-in-law.  The groom might be vexed over tying his bowtie.  Dad could have an argument with a vendor.  At one of our weddings, the groomsmen were involved in a fender bender at the entrance to the venue.
 

All this can show in your wedding photos if the photographer doesn’t have his finger on the pulse of the moment. A good photographer/psychologist knows how to calm things down.  Even when the bride wants to clonk her new husband over the head because he’s disappeared right before family formals, the photographer/psychologist can get everyone laughing again.
 

The photographer who knows how to make you laugh and feel comfortable is bringing a skill to the table that cannot be valued on a price sheet because it is truly priceless.  So consider your photographer’s personality along with his or her business model when choosing who gets to shoot your big day.
 

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 – Hudson Valley Wedding Photographers

 

Read More

Featured Couple: Chen and Ethan

Their Love Story…

 

“Ethan and I met through mutual friends,” says Chen Rosenberg. “My roommate of four years all through medical school was dating (and is now married to) one of Ethan’s close friends from college. We hit it off celebrating Match Day, which is a day, a few months prior to graduation from medical school, when medical students find out where they match for residency training.”

 

The Proposal…

 

Chen had a super romantic Eurpoean proposal. “Ethan and I were dating for two years when we took a trip to Paris,” she says. “We had left at night from New York and got into Paris early. I think he planned to propose later that night at dinner (he had booked a dinner cruise), but he said the ring was burning a hole in his pocket, so he proposed while we were taking a stroll along the Seine.”

 

Why the Hudson Valley…?

 

Hudson Valley Wedding Red Maple Vineyard Sarah Tew Photography

Photo Credit: Sarah Tew Photography

It was love at first sight for both Chen and Ethan. Chen says “Both of us were living in New York City at the time, and for one Valentine’s Day, we had spent a weekend away at a bed and breakfast in the Hudson Valley and fell in love with the area. We wanted to get married in New York in a natural and beautiful setting that wasn’t too hard for our family and friends to get to. We entertained the idea of looking at venues in New York City, but they were quite expensive and not exactly what we envisioned. The Hudson Valley area was the only place we wanted to look.”

 

Wedding Theme…

 

While Chen and Ethan’s wedding didn’t have a ‘formal’ theme, Chen says “…I think as wedding planning got underway, we ended up having a wedding that was natural, intimate, relaxed, and fun.”

 

Advice for Engaged Couples…

 

Hudson Valley Wedding Red Maple Vineyard Sarah Tew Photography

Photo Credit: Sarah Tew Photography

“Plan the day as a celebration of the two of you,” says Chen. “Don’t feel like you have to follow a specific set of traditions. Set your own traditions. When the married couple is at ease and having fun, the entire wedding atmosphere will reflect that. For example, I don’t like cake and thus, for dessert, we served several varieties of pie.” (You can find ways to make your day special and unique here)

 

Chen also received some really great advice. “…during the cocktail hour and the reception, don’t leave each other’s side. Greet and thank all your guests together so you can spend more time together.”

 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

Chen says her most memorable moment was “Our first dance as husband and wife.”

 

Vendors…

 

Venue:  Red Maple Vineyard

Wedding Day-of Coordinator:  Michelle Marmo (with Red Maple Vineyard)

Hair:  StylesOnB

Makeup: Makeup and Hair by Celia Aurora

Music: Bud Maltin Metropolitan Music

Officiant:  Jeddah Vailakis

Floral Design:  Floresta

Catering & PIE:  Red Maple Vineyard

Transportation:  Mahogany Ridge Transportation

 

Photo Credit to All: Sarah Tew Photography

Read More

make this mistake and you’ll ruin your fall wedding

 

Fall is FINALLY here! If you are a Hudson Valley couple dreaming of getting married in the fall and are in the midst of planning your wedding, you probably realized very quickly that just because summer is over, it doesn’t mean wedding ‘season’ is over.

 

In fact, it’s far from over. If you think about it, fall is the perfect time to get married in the Hudson Valley. The heat and humidity are both usually all gone by now (which is good, because we learned that you most-likely will be running hot all day), Mother Nature gives you beautiful fall foliage as the perfect backdrop to your photos, the ‘rush’ of the summer with everyone going on vacation has come to an end, and pumpkin and apple spice is in!

 

I was a fall bride, October to be exact, and for me, getting married in the fall was a no-brainer! My husband and I both have birthdays in October (in fact, in just October alone, half the month is full of birthdays…15 birthdays in one month!), so it was only fitting that we add to the festivities with a wedding.

 

Thankfully, we had a somewhat long engagement, which to us, seemed perfectly reasonable. We wanted to take our time and not be stressed, but the other part of that reasoning was because we wanted a fall wedding. But not just any fall wedding, a Hudson Valley fall wedding and we quickly found out what that meant!

 

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

 

I’m going to tell you what that means in a second, but first, the biggest mistake you can make when planning your Hudson Valley fall wedding is NOT GIVING YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME AND NOT PLANNING AHEAD! If you don’t follow this simple rule, you will be setting yourself up for a ton of stress and possible heartache.

 

Here’s why…

 

Fall is the new summer

 

September is the busiest month for weddings, followed by June and October which are tied as the second busiest months. Yes, October is the new June. Just check out these stats:

 

In 2016, just in Dutchess, Ulster, Orange and Putnam Counties alone, 728 weddings took place in September, and 623 weddings took place in BOTH June AND October (Source: The Wedding Report)

 

That means competition! Competition for fall dates with other Hudson Valley couples, and competition with other couples NOT from the Hudson Valley who want to get married here at the same time you do.

 

If you truly want a fall wedding, you need to give yourself the appropriate time to plan.

 

Vendors book fast

 

Because of this competition and this wedding version of supply and demand, the ratio of weddings to weekends to vendors is disproportionate. That means, your vendors will book FAST for fall weddings!

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

This was a great shock to me when I attended my first wedding expo to hear vendors, in January, saying they were booked for October of the same year. Hence our extended engagement. We wanted October, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it, so we had to wait. However, if the time of year doesn’t really matter to you, you have a lot more flexibility.

 

Now, if you’re vendor has multiple people working for them, otherwise known as a multi-op, such as DJs or photographers, you may have a little better luck simply because they have more people who can service more weddings on the same day. However, if your vendor is like most, it is one person, who can only be at one place at one time.

 

Before you choose your fall date, I highly recommend you call or visit a few vendors to get a feel for what their calendar looks like to see what dates are available. The last thing you want is to get your heart set on a date, and then find out all your dream vendors and venue are booked.

 

It is a bit of a dance at first, but it’s totally and completely worth it if you want a fall wedding in the Hudson Valley.

 

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

 

Hotels can sell out

 

Remember, your wedding is not the only event in town, and fall in the Hudson Valley means an influx of tourism. People travel from all over to view the beautiful fall foliage, and that means they are likely staying for more than one day, which means they are lodging in area hotels, B&B’s, inns, etc., the same ones where your guests will need to stay.

 

“Everyone wants to visit Dutchess County in the Fall, and who can blame them?” said Melaine Rottkamp, vice president of Dutchess Tourism, Inc. “The same beautiful foliage and weather that attract couples wanting to get married here, also attract other visitors and as a result, hotels fill up very quickly.”

 

You also have all the several dozen colleges in the area who are hosting parent weekends, alumni and homecoming weekends, football games and the like. Those parents and alumni also need a place to stay.

 

This is where planning ahead to beat the ‘competition’ comes in handy. The first thing you should do once you secure your date and your venue is to call local lodging venues to secure a room block. By securing your room block, it ensures that those rooms are saved for your guests, so, no matter how full the lodging venue gets, your guests will still have a place to stay. In many cases, your venue will already work with an affiliated hotel and will set this up for you. If they don’t you need to act right away.

 

Each lodging area will have its own rules when it comes to room blocks, but it’s always better to book more rooms than you think you will need. For example, if you book at a hotel, most of the time they will book 10 rooms at a time and then give you another 10 once the original 10 are full. However, If they book 10 rooms and you know you’ll only need five, keep the 10 just in case. You can always get rid of rooms closer to your date, but it’s harder to add. Also, you will be given a code specific to your room block that you can give your guests so that when they book, they get one of those reserved rooms, which may or may not be discounted based on the facility.

 

Are you having a fall wedding? What tips do you have for couples who want a fall wedding? What has been challenging or easy for you in terms of planning your fall wedding?

Featured Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Wedding

Read More

Hiring A Wedding Videographer? 5 Red Flags You Need To Be Aware Of

Today’s contributing author is Lynette Romero of Pioneer Media

 

Your photographer and videographer are the only two vendors that will provide you with tangible memories of your wedding that you can watch and look at for years to come. They are the only ones that will provide the keepsakes you can share with your kids and grandkids. Long after your flowers have died, your photos of them remain. Long after the dance floor empties, the video of your family and friends remains. Your vows and the special moments of your ceremony will always be brought back to life each time you look at your photos or video.

 

Video is often a last-minute addition, mainly because couples aren’t sure if they can afford it, but I URGE you to budget for it right from the beginning. Not having a proper video of your wedding is the number one regret many brides/couples have. I can vouch for that because I am one of those brides.

 

Long gone are the days of videos being simply video of what is going on with the videographer going around to each table with a microphone getting all your guests to send their wishes. Today, wedding videos are mini cinematic masterpieces. Something you will treasure forever.

 

Now while video is important, your wedding is not the time to hire an amateur or an inexperienced professional. You only get one chance and one day, there are no do-overs.

 

We spoke a few weeks ago about red flags to look out for when hiring a wedding photographer, and today, Lynette Romero of Pioneer Media shares red flags you need to watch out for when hiring a videographer.

 

Lack of wedding experience

 

Pioneer Media Hudson Valley Weddings

Photo Credit: Pioneer Media

“As is true with any wedding professional you hire, you want to ask about your videographers wedding experience,” says Romero. “An experienced videographer anticipates the key moments of a wedding day, has backups in place, is able to see potential challenges before they happen and finds solutions when the unexpected comes up. How many weddings has your videographer shot? Ask to see videos, and not only short “teaser” videos or highlight reels, but a full wedding video.”
 

Single shooter or unknown shooter?

 

Romero says, “There are so many moving parts when capturing video and high-quality audio on a wedding day. It is extremely difficult to deliver a quality wedding video as a ‘one-man (or one-woman) show’. Will your videographer bring along an assistant or second shooter, or will they try to do it all on their own? And for that matter, do you know who the videographer will be on your wedding day? Will it be the person you met with or any one of the company’s many contracted videographers that happens to be available on your date?
 

 

They promise a specific length

 

“The length of a wedding video should depend on variables like hours of coverage, length of the ceremony, number and length of toasts at the reception, etc., etc.,” says Romero. “Without knowing these factors, we can’t guarantee how long a video will be. Sure — we could set a camera to record in a corner of the room for four hours to deliver a four-hour video, but how many times would you watch it? Our goal is to make every wedding video only as long as it is entertaining.”
 

On-camera video light

 

Pioneer Media Hudson Valley Weddings

Photo Credit: Pioneer Media

This is very indicative of ‘old school’ videos. Romero says, “On-camera video lights can be very distracting and obtrusive. They produce harsh, unflattering and inferior image quality. Does your videographer plan on using on-camera light during the ceremony, reception or otherwise?”
 

Aerial footage without license

 

Pioneer Media specializes in drone footage, and so, if you are hiring a company that offers that, you need to take note of certain laws to avoid being slapped with fines. Ignorance is not an excuse. “Many video companies have started to offer aerial “drone” footage to their wedding clients,” says Romero. “A couple should be concerned when a company offers aerial footage without a licensed UAS (unmanned aerial system) pilot. The video company that flies a drone commercially without meeting certain requirements can face huge fines for flying illegally. Surprisingly, even the unknowing couple who hires them can be fined. Does your videography company fly legally? Ask to see the UAS license.”

 

Are you hiring a videographer for your wedding? What made you decide to invest in video?

 

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.

 

Read More

3 Unique Ways To Say ‘This is Us’ At Your Wedding

One thing for sure about weddings is that they are very systematic. There’s an ebb and flow to them, there are certain steps that need to be followed and certain elements that are found in pretty much every wedding.
 

It can be hard sometimes, for couples to feel like they can express their individuality, to say “this is us”, or if they do, they then feel like they might be doing something “wrong”.
 

There’s an image that I love, and maybe you’ve seen it…it’s the saying is “Because we’ve always done it that way” with a big red “X” over it, as if to say change is good.
 

Weddings are a blank slate. Just because weddings have always been done a certain way, that doesn’t mean you can’t change it up. Yes, there are certain things you need to do like book your vendors, apply for your marriage license (which is time specific), send out invites, but outside of the “moving parts”, everything else is really up to you to create.
 

There are three elements to a wedding that are perfect for showcasing your unique personality and there are Hudson Valley professionals who can help you design your unique vision.

 

RELATED: 3 VALUABLE TIPS FOR CHOOSING YOUR PERFECT WEDDING FLORIST

 

Flowers

 

Forever Brooch Bouquets

Photo Credit: Forever Brooch Bouquets

When you think of a wedding, flowers are usually one of the first things you picture because the bride carries a bouquet with her. It’s usually always part of the look. However, what if you are allergic? What if you want something that lasts a little longer? What if you just don’t like flowers? Well, there’s an alternative!
 

How about brooch bouquets? What is a brooch bouquet, you ask? It’s a completely handmade bouquet usually made with fabric flowers and brooches, or all brooches and no flowers. Michelle Levy-Phelan (who you may remember from this article), creator and owner of Forever Brooch Bouquets in Suffern, NY says “These brooch bouquets are a great alternative to flowers because they last forever. They do not wilt, nor do they fall apart. No need to hang them upside down and dry them, because they will stay vibrant for years to come! You can eventually use the same bouquet that you walked down the aisle with as the centerpiece for your future dinner parties that you hold in your home. They will always sparkle.”
 

Levy-Phelan says brooch bouquets also become a keepsake. “The thought process behind them is that the great-grandchildren of the bride or groom can walk down the aisle at their own wedding with the bouquet in hand. They become a family heirloom.”
 

In addition, brooch bouquets are great ways to honor family, friends and loved ones too. “You can include anything in them,” says Levy-Phelan. “For example, brooches/jewelry from loved ones and friends, fabric and clothing from loved ones who have passed could be made into flowers or into the handle of the bouquet itself, picture frames with photos in them, as well as cremation jewelry to hold a loved one’s ashes while the bride walks down the aisle.” You can also use the bouquet as a way to honor those who mean the most to you by asking for a brooch or a piece of jewelry from every member of your family and friends and combine their brooches into a bouquet really making your bouquet extra special.
 

Jewelry

 

Hudson Valley engagement ring De's Jewelers Poughkeepsie

Photo Credit: De’s Jewelers

Your wedding rings, including your engagement ring, are another great place to showcase your personality. They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but it’s not the case for everyone. Diamonds are traditional, but if you want something different, it doesn’t mean you are doing anything ‘wrong’.
 

Dennis Fouhy, Vice President of De’s Jewelers in Poughkeepsie says gemstones are a very popular alternative to the traditional diamond. “There are a number of beautiful gemstones that can be used in place of a center diamond either for a price point or a custom look. Other popular choices are sapphires (a Princess Diana choice), deep green emeralds, the sky’s the limit,” says Fouhy.
 

Opened in 1964, De’s Jewelers, A family owned and operated, second generation jewelry store, has been around long enough to see almost everything when it comes to wedding jewelry, so they can help you make your ring as personal as you want. Fouhy recalls “A young lady wanted her diamond engagement ring to be ‘pretty in pink.’ Her one-of-a-kind design incorporated a magnificent Morganite set in rose gold.”
 

For the guys, the same rules apply. What if you don’t want a traditional gold (white or yellow) wedding ring? Fouhy says “There are a variety of contemporary metal wedding band choices. If your guy works with his hands or feels uncomfortable wearing a shiny gold ring, popular choices are the indestructible titanium, tungsten or cobalt chrome in simple or more elaborate designs.”
 

Now here’s a question…what if you have a metal allergy? Some people do, and if you are one, you don’t have to forgo a ring. There are great alternatives for you as well. “Platinum and palladium are great alternative metals for those with metal allergies,” says Fouhy.

 

RELATED: WEDDING BANDS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU’VE NEVER WORN JEWELRY

 

Cake

 

donuts Glazed Over Beacon NY

Photo Credit: Peter Oberc

Wedding cakes have been a staple in weddings since the pre-18th century and stems from many different cultural traditions dating back to Ancient Roman times. However, while you may have a sweet tooth, traditional cake may not ‘cut it’ (haha..sorry, had to add that pun!)
 

If cake isn’t your thing, have no fear! Couples these days are doing all sorts of things in place of traditional cake. Everything from pizza, to pie, to ice cream and anything else you can think of can be used instead. Even donuts!
 

Lisa and Ron Tompkins, owners of Glazed Over Donuts in Beacon is a boutique gourmet donut shop giving customers warm, totally customizable donuts with a variety of toppings to suit their every taste. “I think donuts are a great alternative because you can give a variety of flavors,” says Lisa. She says guests can enjoy “Something as simple as a spiced cinnamon-sugar to something as elaborate as maple glazed with walnuts and a maple syrup & cinnamon drizzle or lemon glaze with coconut and a raspberry drizzle.  And people can eat them right then and there or save them for a sweet treat after the event.”
 

Lisa says couples have done a variety of different set-ups with donuts. She says, “We had one couple do a donut tower, but most have had them in nice little boxes with cute personalized labels to send home with their guests as favors.  Several have had them as their dessert table as well.  They had them placed on platters of varying shapes, sizes and heights.”
 

So, I hope this has given some ideas of ways you can incorporate your own style into your day. What are some unique elements you are adding into your wedding?

 

Featured Photo Credit: Forever Brooch Bouquets

Read More
father daughter dance Hannah Nicole Photography

Stressed Out Over Parent Dances? Here’s What You Need To Know

Choosing to do a parent dance can be a challenge.  Why? Well, unlike your first dance focused on the happy, in-love couple, your parent dance(s) focuses on a relationship that can be complex, dynamic, good or bad.

 

We’ve all seen videos or photos of brides dancing with their dads, and groom’s dancing with their moms. We’ve even heard stories of brides dreaming their whole lives of dancing with their dad. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact, it’s fantastic and great!

 

However, if your family dynamic is one where you know that’s not going to happen, parent dances can cause a lot of stress for the couple.

 

If you are in that situation, know two things:

 

1)    There are no rules to weddings. There is no “wrong” or “right” way to do a parent dance, so you can do whatever makes you feel comfortable, even if it means not doing one at all

 

2)    There is always an alternative, and that’s where hiring a professional WEDDING DJ will make all the difference and make your parent dance a pleasant, not stressful, situation.

 

RELATED: WHY HIRING A PROFESSIONAL DJ FOR YOUR WEDDING IS A BAD IDEA

 

We spoke with some of the top Hudson Valley wedding DJ’s, who’ve seen it all, to give you some pointers for when you’re stressing over your parent dances.

 

Who will you dance with?

 

“With parent dances a lot depends on the relationship,” says David Fischer, DJ and president of M. C. Fish Entertainment, Inc. in Fishkill. He says that there are many ways to work around parent relationships and gives some suggestions:
 

1)    Some brides want two father dances, one with their biological father and the other with their step-dad.
 

2)    Sometimes, the bride’s father or mother might have passed away, so the couple might choose an aunt or an uncle or a person who has been like a “mother” or “father” to dance with.

 

Joey Garcia (DJ Joey G.), owner of Jade DJ Entertainment in New Paltz has these suggestions based on what he’s done with couples at weddings he’s DJ’d:

 

1)    Both the bride and groom and their parents dance to one song (that’s what my husband and I did).
 

2)    A biological father might start a dance and the step-father will step in during the second half of the song
 

3)    Brides dancing with mothers only

 

You and your wedding DJ need to have a conversation about your parent dynamic and discuss an option that’s right for you. DJ Bri Swatek, owner of Spinning with Style in Wappingers Falls says knowing the family dynamic helps a DJ figure out what songs to play in situations that might be determined “awkward” for the couple. He says knowing that is essential to taking your wedding up a notch.

 

RELATED: 5 EASY WAYS TO HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR FIRST DANCE SONG

 

Finding the song

 

Once you figure out who you are going to dance with, if you are even going to do a parent dance, you need to choose a song. The one thing to remember with songs is that when you are listening to lyrics, keep an open mind. Don’t always assume a song is a love song for a couple. Richie Schneider (DJ Richie Styles), DJ and manager of Music Speaks Volumes in Wappingers Falls says “some people have that perception that it’s a love song for a couple, not for my dad, not for my mom.” He says if you really interpret it the right way, it means love for anyone.

 

For example, our parent dance was to “Through the Years” by Kenny Rogers. Here are some of the lyrics:
 

“I can’t remember when you weren’t there,

When I didn’t care for anyone but you

I swear we’ve been through everything there is…”
 

“Through the years

You’ve never let me down

You turned my life around…”
 

“I swear you’ve taught me everything I know

Can’t imagine needing someone so

But through the years it seems to me

I need you more and more…”
 

‘Through the years

Through all the good and bad

I knew how much we had

I’ve always been so glad

To be with you

 

Through the years

It’s better every day

You’ve kissed my tears away

As long as it’s okay

I’ll stay with you

Through the years…”
 

It could be taken as a “traditional” love song or a love song to your parents.

 

Now, if you unfortunately have a parent who has passed, Swatek says there are other ways to honor that parent if you don’t want to do a dance. You can always play their favorite song during the night, and at that point, it’ll be up to the DJ to suggest how to incorporate it. An experienced DJ will know what to do if the song is fast or slow. He says if it’s a faster song, you can play it during the night and have everyone get up and dance to it for a fun moment. If it’s on the slower side, the song can be played during dinner or during a slower point in the night, maybe a slow dance during the reception. Either way, speaking with your DJ will help you make what could be a stressful situation into one that will create memorable lasting moment.
 

We want to know…Are you doing a parent dance? Who are you dancing with? What song are you choosing?

 

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Read More

Why You Will Never See All Your Wedding Photos

Today’s contributing author is Hannah Servidio from Hannah Nicole Photography

 

On your wedding day, your photographer will be capturing every magical moment, even moments you may not have even realized happened. You know they are probably taking hundreds and hundreds (if not thousands) of photos, so why then are you seeing much fewer photos when your proofs come back?

 

Hudson Valley wedding photography Culinary Institute of America Hannah Nicole Photography

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

We spoke a few weeks ago about how many photos are usually taken and how many you get to choose for your album, but there are many reasons why you don’t see all the photos your photographer takes.

 

RELATED: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WEDDING PHOTOS TAKEN AND IMAGES CHOSEN

 

Before we get into that, Servidio wants you to know one thing. “Before you think that we are holding precious memories hostage please be aware we are not,” she says.

 

Second, you need to know that photographers will rarely if ever, give you back unedited photos. Servidio says “Sometimes a photo looks absolutely awful before we edit it and who wants to see that.”

 

In fact, she has a great analogy. “Let’s say you go to a really nice restaurant and order the chicken,” she says. It comes, it’s beautiful and it tastes great but then you ask the chef if he can just give you the raw chicken. Doesn’t make sense right? That’s exactly how photographers feel when you ask the see “the other” photos from your wedding/session, and truthfully you’re not missing much.”

 

 

While Servidio understands FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a real concern for some couples, she says this is what you are actually missing out in the photos you don’t get back, otherwise known as “throwaway photos”. “Blinking, unflattering poses, photo repeats and my personal favorite, sneezing. Not only that but truthfully, some photographers do mess up. It’s totally normal and it happens. Whether we miss focus, the lighting is bad, or it’s just really not an interesting photo, there’s plenty of reasons we never give you a photo.”

 

Hudson Valley wedding photography Culinary Institute of America Hannah Nicole Photography

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

So if you’re wondering why you’re only getting back a few hundred of the many hundred photos you know were taken and freaking out over that, don’t.

 

Why? Servidio says, at the end of the day, you need to know your photographer is giving you photos that not only meet their expert approval, but will also meet your approval, and are of the highest and best standards. She says “We sit down at our computers and meticulously go through your photos. Every photo is looked at closely and edited to the styling you are accustomed to.” At the end of the day, she says “The job of a photographer is to give you all of the images that tell a cohesive story. Trust your photographer.”

 

RELATED: 6 IMPORTANT THINGS YOU NEED TO TELL YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

 

That being said, she says “If you distinctly remember taking a particular photo it doesn’t hurt to ask about it.” There’s probably a good reason why your photographer didn’t include it in your proofs, but if it’s one you really want to see, it never hurts to ask. What you have to remember is that it might not have come out well, so be prepared and know that not all photos taken are going to be absolutely perfect!

 

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. 

 
Hannah Nicole Photography

Read More
Hudson Valley Balloon Festival Barton Orchards Poughquag Engagement Photos by Jeremiah Shaffer

Featured Engagement: Stephanie & Jay

Their love story…

 

“There are usually two things to remember at the workplace,” says Stephanie, “One, don’t put anything in the refrigerator and two, never, ever, date your boss.Unfortunately, nobody ever mentioned the protocol for falling in love with him.”
 

Well, Stephanie and Jay might have followed rule number one, but rule number two was a different story. “I didn’t believe in office romance but Jay quickly became my mentor, my rock, and most importantly my best friend. Of course, we proceeded with caution seeing we were in the corporate world and all, but it’s hard to resist your boss’s charm! Not to mention, office romances are frowned upon in most places.”
 

We all know what happens when people find out. “People at work love a bit of gossip,” says Stephanie, “Because there’s not much going on in a workplace other than work and any interesting news is definitely worth talking about. We even had to go as far as signing a ‘love contract’!”
 

Stephanie says, “Forming a relationship with a coworker is the ultimate mix of business with pleasure. At times, the recipe results in a toxic mess between two Type A personalities (like ourselves). But other times, things work out. You briefly become the power couple of the company and your desk-mate might just turn out to be your soulmate. I can’t wait to sign an official love contract with him this coming October.”
 

The proposal…

 

Hudson Valley Balloon Festival Barton Orchards Poughquag Engagement Photos by Jeremiah Shaffer

Photo Credit: Jeremiah Shaffer

The Holidays are such a magical time, as we’ve seen time and time again. “Jay proposed to me on November 26th of 2016,” says Stephanie. “It was one of those cold wintery nights where all you want to do is snuggle in, so we decided to decorate our apartment and put up our Christmas tree. Jay specifically wanted to save a certain ornament for last that had a picture of us in it. He was acting very strange, might I add, so I had a feeling something was up! By the time I turned around after placing that ornament near the top of our tree, he was down on one knee. So many emotions ran through me at that moment the tears started flowing. Not to mention, I was wearing baggy sweatpants with no makeup on so he heard about that later! Our proposal was intimate and perfect because it was just us. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”
 

What are they most excited about?…

 

Stephanie says, “I am most excited about marrying my best friend and beginning this exciting new chapter in our lives, but if I have to pick a certain moment that I am looking forward to, it would be our “First Look”. Similar to our proposal, it will be a moment that is going to just be intimate. Our venue has an unbelievable space that was designed just for this. Gilbertsville Farmhouse will also have a ‘glamping site’ set up for us and our bridal party. Rather than one day of celebrations, we will have the entire weekend with our favorite people ‘glamorously camping’.
 

Advice for engaged couples?…

 

“The biggest piece of advice I have for engaged couples is to enjoy the moment and this period in your lives,” says Stephanie. “Jay and I personally took the route of a long engagement, because we did not want the stressors of planning a wedding to get in the way of the excitement. For example, the joys of creating more Pinterest boards than any bride truly needs. At the end of the day, it is about a marriage and building a life together. We have had the luxury of time in searching for the right venue, caterer, vendors, dress, and all of the other details that can normally cause minor headaches make us happy. Stay in the present.”
 

Photo Credit to All: Jeremiah Shaffer

 

 

Read More
wedding invitation

How To Manage Your Wedding Invitations Like A Pro (Part 2)

Managing your wedding invitations like a pro can be somewhat tricky if you are not sure where to start, how to start, and how much to budget. There is so much to know that we needed to break this up into two posts.

 

Yesterday, we discussed when you should order and send out your invites and how much should you budget for them. We also went over the fact that postage is a separate cost outside of the actual invitation itself, so we went over how much you should budget for postage and what elements of your invitation can cause postage to increase.

 

Today is Part 2 of our guide to wedding invitations. We’re going to talk about the type of wording you should have on your invitations, what enclosures go in your invitation, how you should address them, why you should be ordering your invitations locally rather than through online shops, and the perceived difference your guests might have about your wedding if they receive an electronic invite rather than a traditional paper one.

 

RELATED: How To Manage Your Wedding Invitations Like A Pro (part 1)

 

Now, if you read down to the bottom of yesterday’s post, you would have seen that we’re going to be offering you a very special gift. Stephanie McHoul and Amy Eddy, co-owners of Graphic Nature LLC. in Fishkill, graciously provided us with an awesome invitation cheat sheet. Their infographic, “An Unofficial Guide to Wedding Stationery: The What, How, When and Other Tips,” is a great resource for you to easily see what trends are, common invitations terms are, what proper invite etiquette is and an ordering/mailing timeline that we spoke about in yesterday’s post.

 

Click the photos for a larger, printable view, then keep scrolling for Part 2.


 

What’s usually included in a wedding invitation (wording and enclosures)?

 

Frankie D’Elia, owner and creative director at Fitting Image Graphics, Inc. in Carmel, says, “Whether you are going for a more traditional or modern style, your wording should reflect your motif.  It should include the names of who is getting married, who’s hosting, and when, where and what time the ceremony will take place.”

 

In terms of enclosures, D’Elia says, “You will also want to include enclosure cards for your hotel accommodations (with your group name), reception, and RSVP.  Although not necessary, some couples want to give their guests notice of transportation times to and from the reception and a card highlighting things to do in the area, after party information, or breakfast details.”

 

We mentioned in Part 1 that RSVP cards need to be weighed separately because you will need postage for them as well. D’Elia says, “Providing your guests with a self-addressed and stamped envelope for the RSVP card is customary.”

 

How do you address your invitations?

 

wedding invitation

Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

There are so many ways you can address your invitations. Every couple is different, every style is different, and every wedding has a different vibe. My advice is to go with what is comfortable to you so it doesn’t sound like you’re trying too hard. I opted for handwritten, not super formal, not super casual addresses (Mr. & Mrs. for couples, dropped the title for friends, not in a ‘couple’). Kristal Walden, owner of Kristal Walden Graphic Design in Beacon says it all really depends on the type of wedding you want. Is it casual and laid back, or is it formal?

 

McHoul says, “If you want an ultra-formal wedding, do ultra-formal invites and addresses, otherwise no one is really going to notice.” However, Eddy says the names on the address label is really what’s most important. “The envelope does indicate who is coming to the wedding, if they can bring a guest or not, and if kids are invited.” McHoul says that when you order invitations, the couple provides the addresses. ”We give them (the couple) an Excel spreadsheet template to follow and we ask them to follow that and then we always ask them to please spell out everything they want to be spelled out.” For example, if you put “St.” but want the word “Street” spelled out, you need to submit it spelled out not just the abbreviation.

 

D’Elia agrees that the way you address your invites it totally up to you. “Some couples hire calligraphers while most of our clients ask us to print their guests’ addresses directly onto the envelope saving time, effort and money,” he said. “The formality of addressing the outer envelope is typically more traditional with the appropriate corresponding title of your guest followed by his/her full name. Using colloquial names or nicknames are uncommon, but of course, it’s your wedding so you can be as creative and individualistic as you want.” He does note that with growing families and blended families, the wording can get a bit tricky, so he suggests always reaching out to your stationer for help with whatever questions you have.

 

RELATED: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TONE OF YOUR INVITES

 

Why is it best to order local rather than from an online shop?

 

You know I’m all about supporting Hudson Valley businesses, and that being said, nothing beats speaking to someone face-to-face rather than someone from a different part of the country through email. It makes all the difference.

 

The first benefit is that you all can work together face-to-face and have a real-time conversation. McHoul says, “We always want to see their Pinterest board because they normally have one, and they will often times bring a swatch from their bridesmaid’s dresses, and we literally just talk.” You can’t really do that over the phone.

 

Second, Walden says doing your own invites is a lot of work, especially if something goes wrong (I can vouch for that). Having someone local take over that part of planning for you is priceless. You don’t have to worry about running out of ink, formatting issues, misspelled words or needing to order more of your invite only to find out that the store or online shop discontinued that design.

 

wedding invtiation

Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

Third, D’Elia, says a local stationer, through your conversations and getting to know you, can really customize something personalized and true to your vision. He also says you could actually end up spending more money ordering online. “If you notice a price online that’s too good to be true, it probably is,” he said. “There are also usually hidden costs that you won’t recognize until after your order is ready to be processed. Also, the quality of paper and ink used are usually not optimal for representing a high-quality wedding invitation.”

 

He even says sometimes the online companies will put their logo on the back of the invite and has even had several of his couples come to him after having done the online route first and being disappointed with the product they received. They come in angry and frustrated that they are now spending money twice and doing double work.

 

Lastly, D’Elia says, “There is an added value of working with a small company which is they can give you time and attention to detail and that can create pretty much anything you can think of.  We want our clients to actually see our invitation samples and interact with it.  It makes a difference knowing exactly what the end result will look like.”

 

What are the perceived differences guests have between paper and electronic invitations?

 

Many couples may want to save money and the environment by sending electronic wedding invitations. Not that there’s anything wrong with that at all; but if that’s the decision you want to make, there are things you need to know.

 

D’Elia says, “Besides the fact that your invitation will lack the traditional feel, you run the risk that not all your guests will respond to you.  Not everyone has email, access to the Internet, or reads all their email.  Your evite might even end up in spam mail.” He says that while you might start off thinking it’s going to be very efficient, you may actually spend more time tracking RSVPs.

 

Another risk D’Elia says to watch out for in online wedding invitations is the perceived value guest have about your wedding. “You want your guests to think your wedding is the wedding of the year, not an afterthought. If you want to have your wedding details online, we suggest creating a wedding website instead. A wedding invitation is meant to not only inform, but also to get your guests excited and pumped for your wedding, and there’s no better way than receiving an exquisite invitation in the mail.”

 

 

We want to know how your wedding invitation process is going. Share with us your struggles or, if you’ve already sent out your invites, any tips you may have for those currently in the process.

 

Featured Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

Read More
wedding invitations

How To Manage Your Wedding Invitations Like A Pro (Part 1)

I made a mistake — a costly, stressful, bitter mistake. I wish I managed my wedding invitations like a pro, but I didn’t. I, like many of you, imagined I would save time and money by printing my own wedding invitations, and so that’s what I did.

 

I got to the store and couldn’t find any boxed DIY invitation kits that really matched our wedding, so I settled for something that was close enough. They had four boxes left, but I got two because that was more than enough for what we needed.

 

I spent hours searching for examples of wording to put on the invitation, finally mixing a sentence from here and a sentence from there to come up with something we liked. I then got on the computer and typed it all out, spent about an hour figuring out what font to use, formatted it, printed samples to make sure it printed correctly and then held my breath as I hit “PRINT” to print the final invites.

 

Halfway through printing, I ran out of ink, so I had to run to the store to get more cartridges, then came home and resumed printing. I finally had my stack of beautifully printed invitations and was ready to stuff and assemble them.

 

We stuffed almost all of them before realizing the name of the church was spelled incorrectly! WHAT???  I was panicked!!! About two weeks had passed since I had originally purchased the invitations, so I immediately ran back to the store in hopes that the last two packages of invitations were there (which they were), and I had to start all over again. Only this time, I also bought another package of ink cartridges just in case I ran out.

 

The intention was good, but the reality was something different. I didn’t save time or money, and it certainly made the whole process more stressful than it needed to be. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked the final product but didn’t necessarily love it, and I wish I had just hired someone to do them for us, in a style we liked that perfectly set the tone for our wedding and showcased our personality.

 

RELATED: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE TONE OF YOUR INVITES

 

To help you avoid what I went through, local wedding invitation experts are sharing their advice so you can handle your wedding invites like a pro, without the added stress that I put myself through. Here are seven steps that will help you manage this part of your planning. There’s a lot to cover so today is part 1, and tomorrow will be part 2

 

When do you order your invitations and send them out?

 

wedding invitations

Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

When sending out your wedding invitations, you need to work backward. First, you need to establish an RSVP date. Frankie D’Elia, owner and creative director at Fitting Image Graphics, Inc. in Carmel, says, “Establishing a set RSVP four to eight weeks before the wedding is suggested so that you’ll have an idea of how many of your guests will be attending.” We set our RSVP date a month before our wedding and sent the invites a month before that date.

 

Jeanne Stark, owner of Hudson Valley Ceremonies in Rhinebeck, says, “They (couples) want to mail them (invitations) out anywhere between two to three months prior to the wedding.” Of course it all depends on when your wedding is and what’s going on. If you are getting married on a busy weekend in the Hudson Valley, say during college homecomings or graduations, you might want to give a little more time because it will allow your guests to book hotel rooms in time before they sell out from others who are in the area for other events. Stark says, “I don’t recommend sending them (invitations) out more than four months before (the wedding) because the RSVP just gets thrown on the counter, and nobody sends it back.”

 

Ordering too far in advance is not good for another reason. “I’ve had some couples order a year out, which makes me a little nervous,” says Stark, “because times could change, locations could change. If you spend $500 on invitations, and three months later you’re almost ready to send them out and the venue calls and says you have to change the time, you’re stuck. So I usually will say around the six- to eight-month mark.”

 

How much should you budget for invites?

 

The first and MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember is that the cost of your invitations DOES NOT include the cost of postage. That’s a separate cost altogether, as no one knows what that exact price will be when designing the invitation. We’ll talk about that next.

 

Another thing to remember is that you are not sending an invitation to every person, but rather to every household. Amy Eddy and Stephanie McHoul, owners of Graphic Nature, LLC, in Fishkill, say they see this mistake happen all the time when they ask couples how many invitations they’ll need. McHoul says, “’How many’ is not based on the guest list; it’s based on household address.” So, if you are inviting 300 people you’ll probably need about 150 (plus a few extra for keepsakes and photos) invites. It’s a common mistake because couples are always asked by everyone how many people they are inviting, so by the slip of the tongue, the number of guests comes out when asked how many invites they need.

 

wedding invitations

Photo Credit: Graphic Nature, LLC

That being said, there are many variables that determine the cost of the invitation. Paper, stamping, embellishments like foil or embossing, bellybands, pockets or shape of the invitation, laser cut paper, any inserts, etc. — it all adds up.

 

Kristal Walden, owner of Kristal Walden Graphic Design in Beacon, says there tends to be a misconception couples have when it comes to wedding invitations. “They definitely think that custom invites are going to be completely too expensive, when realistically, they’re not.” Walden says if the couple wants something very elaborate, they are going to pay more per invite, but she says, “Generally, couples usually spend $400-$500,” and if you ordered invitations online, it’s usually the same price, around $1-$1.25 per invitation (for a good base, knowing that you will add on to that).

 

D’Elia also says some couples want all their stationery to match. “There are a number of different wedding stationery necessities you will need,” she says, “from the engagement party, bridesmaids invites, save-the-dates, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, wedding program, menu, and extras, such as gift tags, thank-you cards, etc.” If that’s something you are considering, speak to your stationer to see if they can put together a package for you.

 

RELATED: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR SAVE THE DATES

 

How much is postage?

 

NEVER mail out an invitation without weighing it first. Just take a finished sample, in the envelope, to the post office. Have them weigh the completed invitation, in the envelope, with RSVP card in it first, then take out the RSVP card and have them weigh that separately, too. You are going to need postage for both the invite and RSVP card. D’Elia says, “You don’t want to end up in a situation where you assume a standard postage stamp will suffice, and then your entire bundle of invites ends up back at your house all marked up with postal marks and stamps. The investment to ensure that your invitation has adequate postage will be worth it in the long run.”

 

Just as invitation costs fluctuate with embellishments, so does postage. If your invitation has a pocket, that adds weight. Bellybands, 3-D embellishments, etc. all add weight. If your invitation is square, that also costs more to send.

 

You also want to consider hand stamping your invitations. Hand stamping means that instead of your invitations going through a machine, a person goes through and manually does that. It’s great for delicate mailings like wedding invitations, but that also means more money. If your final envelope is lumpy or poofy in any way, if the envelope has a hard time sealing or has a wax seal, you want to consider hand stamping. Eddy says she always recommends hand stamping. “When an envelope goes through the machine,” she says, “it gets an ugly red barcode, and they get ripped sometimes before they even leave the post office.” Hand stamping ensures that your invitation arrives as unmarked and pristine as possible to your guests.”

 

Join us tomorrow, when we’ll not only discuss the next four steps to mastering your wedding invites like a pro, but also give you a very special gift from Stephanie and Amy over at Graphic Nature LLC. To help with all your wedding invitation needs.

Featured Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

Read More

Hiring a Wedding Photographer? 6 Red Flags You Need To Be Aware Of

Today’s author is Kathryn Cooper of Kathryn Cooper Weddings

 

When planning your wedding, many couples spend quite a bit of time researching venues, tasting foods, and listening to bands. But given that the photos from your day (and video, for a percentage of couples) are the only real keepsake from your wedding, it’s vital that you research and find the right photographer for you two.
 

I’ve worked for years as a professional photographer, and have shot well over 100 weddings all around the country and the world. I absolutely love what I do, and when I’m not working for myself, I’m working with and for other photographers in New York and beyond. In my time working with dozens of other normal and, shall we say, quirky photographers, I’ve seen the good, the bad, the lovely, and the downright rude! I’ve seen photographers throw temper tantrums, yell at couples, and get drunk. There is a vast range of styles, personalities, prices, delivery options, and more to be on the lookout for when hiring a photographer for any event, and when it comes to your wedding, it’s more important than anything that you get it right.
 

 

Now then, here are some red flags you should be on the lookout for when hiring your photographer for the day:
 

Personality:

 

Photographers can sometimes be pushy, rude, or just plain bored and uncreative. See how open the photographer is to your ideas, and how friendly he or she seems to be on the phone. Meet in person or even on Skype if possible, and make sure your personalities match. Remember: This person will be with you all day long during one of the most important—and often most stressful—days of your lives, so it’s important to go with your gut.
 

Is the person responsive to what you want and is he/she lending promising ideas? Would the person get along well with guests? I’ve worked with photographers who have actually yelled at crowds or gotten angry at people, and quite frankly, that’s unprofessional. We’re there to provide amazing shots and experiences for you, not instigate your guests! I’ve also seen shooters bring their significant others to weddings, start fighting, and really make everyone uncomfortable.
 

Similarly, you want to make sure your photographer captures YOU. A bored photographer will shoot each wedding in the same way. You’ll get good images, but they’ll sometimes seem average. A good photographer will manage to capture you: Your smiles, your reactions, and your interactions with the people you love around you. Take a look at a full wedding gallery or recent wedding on each photography site (almost all have these) and make sure you see the kinds of images you desire. I always make sure I’m listening carefully to my clients so I can guarantee they’re having a wonderful time! It’s extremely gratifying to have grooms come up to me and say, “I was stressed out and thought the photos were going to be an awful experience, but you made it all so fun!”
 

RELATED: 3 WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY PITFALLS TO AVOID

 

Equipment:

 

Hudson Valley wedding photographer Kathryn Cooper Weddings

Photo Credit: Kathryn Cooper Weddings

Even if you know nothing about photography equipment, it’s important to know a few factors. And don’t get me wrong—you definitely don’t want to question every lens and piece of equipment your photographer has. But one point that is quite important is that your photographer have TWO sets of equipment. Like all gear, things can break, stall, or just suddenly stop working at the most inopportune times. Imagine you’re about to walk down the aisle and your photographer runs up to you saying his camera is broken and he can’t capture anything. What would you do? Make sure the person you choose to work with has a backup camera or a second shooter because it’s too easy for equipment to just go on the fritz.
 

Price:

 

Make sure you know the final price before signing any contract. Many photographers add a tax on top of the packages offered or try to upsell you with prints, second shooters, or albums. If you’re interested in an engagement session and album or have a large wedding that’s great, but if you’re not, make sure you choose a photographer who isn’t pushy and can provide a package that matches what you desire. Is your photographer going to make you pay for every photo you want on top of paying for time? Know what you’re getting into before you commit.
 

Shooting Style:

 

Though many people know a bit about what they’re looking for, the majority of people don’t know just how different photography styles can be. Look thoroughly at each person’s portfolio, and make sure you know how your photographer describes him or herself. I’m a creative photojournalist, for example, but there are many types out there. Examples of photography styles include photojournalist/documentary, fine art, film, film/digital hybrid, artistic, traditional, and more. Just make sure you know if you want your day documented with lots of reaction shots, posed with a lot of lights, or something else entirely.
 

Red flags to watch out for can be seen in many portfolios, and they’re styles that are, well, never really in style. Too many tilted or skewed photos can look amateurish, and colorized photos—for example, a rose that’s red while the rest of the photo is black and white—look very amateurish. Do the photos have a lot of weird shadows (indicative of a poorly used flash)? You want your photos to look classy decades down the road, so make sure you’re not hiring an amateur, a student, or that random hobbyist your Aunt Betsy used to work with back in the ‘60s.
 

RELATED: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WEDDING PHOTOS TAKEN AND IMAGES CHOSEN

 

Editing Style:

 

Hudson Valley wedding photographer Kathryn Cooper Weddings

Photo Credit: Kathryn Cooper Weddings

In terms of editing styles, there are so many different ones: Dark and moody, film-like, natural, light, and more. I edit minimally and with a very natural editing style, but some photographers Photoshop your face to look like a porcelain doll, so to me, that’s a red flag. If you’re looking for a high-fashion model-like wedding experience, then maybe that’s up your alley, but hey, that’s just me.
 

Almost every photographer has a unique editing style. There are even many people who edit using colorization similar to Instagram filters, so if you’re into that, great—but make sure you truly love the photographer’s final style! If you’re having a ceremony in a castle and are hiring a fine art photographer to take fancy portraits, that person will probably also edit you and your face to look quite different. Verify that you desire that, and that you’re not hiring someone who is going to make you look and feel like someone you’re not!
 

Image Delivery:

 

It’s hard to trust reviews since many review sites can be doctored these days. I also know plenty of great photographers who have almost no reviews or testimonials—there’s very little correlation! What is important, however, is that customers are happy. One thing customers often get unhappy about, however, is late delivery. I know photographers who still haven’t delivered images 9 months or a year down the road, and I’ve heard in forums of clients having photographers disappear on them. This is of course quite rare, but make sure you have a contract that states when the images will be delivered, and approximately how many images you’ll receive.
 

There’s really no excuse to wait for images for 6 or 8 months. 1-3 months is average because all of the organizing and editing from a 10-hour wedding day takes quite a long time. Still, no one wants to wait a year to see wedding photos! You might speak with a former customer first, look at the contract, or ask how long it will take to get your final images.
 

In general, having your wedding photos taken should be fun, not stressful. I don’t love having photos taken myself, so when I have clients who feel the same, I empathize and make them as comfortable as possible. I try to be upfront and myself with all my clients throughout the process. If you feel your photographer is moody, bossy, uninterested, irresponsible, or bored, your photos will likely reflect that. Choose a photographer who will capture incredible photos for you two to treasure for the rest of your lives!
 

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. 

Read More

How to find your bridesmaids

Everything You Need To Know To Have A Drama-Free Bridal Party

A few weeks ago, we got some great advice from bridal party experts about how to choose your bridal party. We learned how to narrow down your bridal party and choose those who really mean the most to you. We learned about how many people you should choose and the worry that many brides have about sides being equal in number. We also learned that the bride’s side doesn’t always have to be all women, and the groom’s side doesn’t have to be all men.

 

When I was getting married, I actually had two maids of honor. A little non-traditional, but remember, you can make weddings anything you want them to be. There are no “rules,” really, and you can do whatever you like to make your wedding as personal as you want.

 

My husband and I are both only children and so our closest friends are really like the siblings we never had. So of course, the people we chose to be Maid of Honor and Best Man were our oldest and dearest friends. Our Best Man and my husband have been best friends since 1st grade, so that was a no-brainer. I knew my Maids of Honor since I was in 6th grade.

 

So, why did I choose two? Simple. Because I could. But really, it was because I met them both on the same day and the three of us did everything together. I felt like I had to choose a favorite by picking one, and it was something I couldn’t do.
 

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

 

Today, we’re reaching back out to our bridal party experts, Angela Napoletano and Beth Palmisano, friends and co-owners of Dear Bridesmaid based in Virginia, and Jen Glatz, a professional bridesmaid, based in New York City, and the founder of the website Bridesmaid for Hire and author of “Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire).”

 

We’re going to discuss what happens after you choose your bridal party and what you need to know if you are chosen to be in a bridal party as a Bridesmaid or Maid of Honor to keep it all stress-free and drama-free.

 

Bridesmaid for Hire Jen Glantz

Photo Credit, Jen Glantz

Duties

 

Regardless of your “role,” the Bridesmaids, Maid of Honor, Best Man and Groomsmen all have to do this one thing above everything else. That is, be a good friend! Glatz says, “Simply put – be a good friend. Really, that’s it. Everything else are requests the bride (or groom) asks you to do and those requests should be fair and not over the top.”

 

“After that, responsibilities will vary based on family traditions, budget, location etc.,” says Palmisano. “The best thing to do when you accept this role is to ask questions and really understand the bride’s expectations. Pro-tip: if your life and schedule don’t fit their description, talk it over with the bride (or groom) right away.”

 

So what can you expect…?

 

If you’re a bridesmaid, Palmisano says, “Sometimes responsibilities are exactly what you think when you hear bridesmaid – hosting and/or attending parties, sitting through band auditions, dress shopping and – if you’re lucky – tasting cake.” Other times, says Palmisano, your responsibilities may include “being there for a vent session, airport pickups, setting and maintaining budgets and so much more.”

 

If you’re the Maid of Honor (MOH), your duties may be similar plus more and are more public. “MOHs publicly hold the flowers, puff the train and sweetly toast the couple,” says Palmisano. “Behind the scenes, MOH acts as the ring leader and delegator. If the MOH can only take on the public duties it’s important for her to find someone else on ‘Team Bride’ to handle logistics – especially if the bridal party volunteers to hold a trip or party.”

 

That brings up a good point…whose duty is it to throw the shower, bachelorette party or any other trip or party that happens during the engagement? “Technically hosting is not a required duty of any bridesmaid, including the MOH,” says Palmisano. “That being said, any member of the bridal party can host or help host parties if she’d like, but shouldn’t feel obligated.”

 

For example, my aunt threw my shower and my maids of honor threw my bachelorette party. However, my maids of honor communicated with me all the time and asked me if I wanted a surprise bachelorette party if I wanted a big one, a small one, and what I wanted to do.

 

RELATED: 30 TRUTHS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR WEDDING DAY (PART 1)

 

What happens if you invite a person to be in your bridal party and they can’t afford to be in it?

 

Bridesmaid for Hire Jen Glantz

Photo Credit: Susan Shek

Budgets are tight for everyone, the bridal party included. By the time the members of your party pay for their dress, hair and makeup, manicures, pedicures, travel, gifts, or parties, costs can add up pretty fast! If you find yourself in a bridal party and are on a tight budget, Glatz says, “Speak with the bride. Let her know that you don’t have the cash and that you’d like to still be a bridesmaid but on a budget.” Palmisano agrees. She says, “If you know it’s too much for your personal budget, transparency from the beginning is the way to go. The bride will understand and in the end, you’ll both be less stressed.”

 

If you are a bride and someone in your party says they can’t afford it, the number one thing you must do is NOT judge. Facts are facts and if they can’t afford to be in your bridal party, accept their decision to decline the invite to be in your party, or try to work on some budget friendly aspects. For example, try to choose a dress that’s affordable for everyone, try to limit travel, maybe chip in for their hair or makeup (they are your besties after all).

 

What about bridal party drama?

 

Now, here’s the most important thing you need to know about bridal parties…DRAMA IS NOT ALLOWED! I mean it!

 

Brides, you have every right to dismiss a person in your bridal party if they bring the drama. Glatz says, “If someone is bringing more stress into your life, don’t hang on to them. Just because you asked them to be a bridesmaid does not mean you can’t later say never mind because they are making your wedding adventure miserable.”

 

So If you are asked to be in a bridal party, know that the privilege can be taken away at any moment if you bring on the drama. It’s NOT your wedding and you need to respect the bride and groom’s vision, within reason of course.

 

But here’s the good news. Just as the bride has the right to dismiss a dramatic member of the bridal party, you have the right to excuse yourself from the bridal party as well. If you are dealing with a downright evil “Bridezilla” or “Groomzilla,” or if either one isn’t respecting your budget or your concerns, you have the right to leave as well. Now, the few weeks leading up to the wedding may be extra stressful, so you can expect nerves to be on edge and people to be a bit snippy, but if this behavior is happening right from the beginning, it’s just going to get worse and you don’t want to be a part of that.

 

We want to know…who is in your bridal party? What concerns have come up for you, if any?

 

Featured Photo Credit: Man in the Moon Studios Photography

Read More

How Much Time Should You Allow In Your Day For Your Wedding Photos?

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.

 

Today’s contributing author is Rose Schaller of Rose Schaller Photo

 

 

If you don’t have a planner for your wedding, your wedding photographer is your next best resource for helping you plan a wedding day timeline. Why? Because they are the only other wedding vendor that will be with you all day. They know how long photos take and based on the timing and location of your ceremony and reception, can help you work backwards to figure out how much time you need to build in for photos, when you should start to get ready, how long you need for family and styled photos and how many places you can go for photos based on the time you have.

 

For example, I had a three-hour break between my ceremony and reception. I had 5 places on my list for photos, and our photographer was educated enough to tell us that even though three hours may seem like a lot of time, it actually goes by much faster than you think. Those three hours included time for posed shots with family and our bridal party, included travel, and included time to pose everyone, which, depending on how large your bridal party is, could eat up some time. He also wanted us to make sure we were at our venue in time to enjoy cocktail hour.

 

RELATED: 6 IMPORTANT THINGS YOU NEED TO TELL YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER

 

Hudson Valley wedding photography Rose Schaller Photography

Photo Credit: Rose Schaller Photo

His insight was invaluable as he helped us narrow down our choices of locations to those closest to our venue instead of locations further away. The end result was that we weren’t rushed, we had plenty of time to take photos and a few fun ones, and made it back in time for cocktail hour.

 

Today, we’re speaking to Rose Schaller of Rose Schaller Photography to help you plan how much time you should include into your wedding day timeline for posed and styled photos. Each couple and each wedding will have a different timeline, so this is merely a starting point to give you an idea of what to expect. It’s very important that you speak to your photography to set up the perfect timeline for you.

 

Despite the fact that each wedding is different, they are similar in that they all have the same “parts” or “stages”. Schaller says “Images are captured all throughout your wedding day so time should be allowed during each part to take photos. Not all photos will be staged and posed but still, having time in your timeline for them will allow the photographer to capture those little moments that you may forget.”

 

RELATED: AVOID THESE 3 WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY PITFALLS

 

So, what are these stages? Well, outside of the obvious ceremony and reception, there are three areas that are usually designated for posed and candid shots. These are:

 

Getting ready:

 

Hudson Valley wedding photography Rose Schaller Photography

Photo Credit: Rose Schaller Photo

“I would add 30 mins to your getting ready time schedule to allow your photographer time to take photos of you getting ready, as well as your bridal party getting ready and celebrating, and maybe even seeing you for the first time with your veil on and ready to walk down the aisle,” says Schaller. “Having that extra time in your getting ready section of your day allows the ability for these moments to take place.”

 

First look:

 

“The next block of time that I ask for is the First look,” Schaller says. “Again, a half hour is more than enough time and we will probably not use all that time but the longer you have, the more time the two of you will have alone prior to the wedding.”

 

Formal portraits (which can happen before or after the ceremony):

 

Hudson Valley wedding photography Rose Schaller Photography

Photo Credit: Rose Schaller Photo

Formal portraits can be broken down into four categories: Couples photos, wedding party, family, and maybe some friends. Schaller says “I usually recommend to set aside an hour to an hour and a half. If you see each other beforehand for a first look, you (couple, wedding party, family) will want to all be back in your suite 30 mins prior to your service. That is when guests start to arrive.” What if you don’t want a First Look? “If you decide not to see each other ahead of time,” says Schaller, “then the cocktail hour would be when these (formal) photos would be happening.”

 

But here’s the most important piece of advice. ALWAYS PLAN EXTRA TIME! Schaller says, “If you plan an extra 15 –20 mins throughout your day you will have plenty of time to relax and

enjoy your family and guests and that is where the true moments are captured.” She says it’s impossible to plan every second of your day because, if you do, she says “You won’t have a second to stop and enjoy your day. It will go by fast enough without every minute being planned. Free time at your wedding is a wonderful thing!”

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.

Read More