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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

 

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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

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

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

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

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

RELATED: WHO SHOULD HELP YOU SAY ‘YES’ TO YOUR WEDDING DRESS?

 

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

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

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

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

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

 

RELATED: LEARN HOW TO SAVE HUNDREDS ON YOUR WEDDING DRESS

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

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

 

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

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

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

 

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

 

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Everything You Need To Know About Your Save The Dates

If you are getting married next summer, now is the time you should be sending out your Save the Dates (STD for short). Chances are, by now, you’ve been invited to a few weddings and received a STD in the mail, but for those who don’t know, a Save the Date is literally an invitation-type card, trinket or, in some cases, an e-mail or video, informing you that a wedding will be taking place on a certain day, that you are invited, and to expect a formal invitation in the mail closer to the time of the wedding.
 

RELATED: JUST ENGAGED? 3 IMPORTANT THINGS YOU SHOULD AND SHOULD NOT DO
 

Mailing your Save the Dates is a critical step in your planning process for many reasons. First, it forces you to create a guest list, which is the most important part of the whole planning process even bigger than choosing your date. You need to know who to send them to and your guest list and that number will help you determine the size and scope of your wedding, will help you determine the type of location you want, and the all-important budget. Second, STDs help you choose a date. You can’t send out a Save the Date without a date; that would be pointless.
 

However, while that does sound like a lot of work, it’s important to get the date and guest list done first. It will help you immensely with the rest of your planning as those are the two things every vendor you speak to will be asking you…when is your wedding and how many people are you inviting. They may ask you where you are having it too, but it’s not as important, yet.
 

RELATED: 12 WEDDING TRADITIONS YOU CAN SKIP, AND 5 YOU SHOULD KEEP (PART 2)
 

The good news is, that unlike invitations, STDs don’t need to have anything specific on it other than the date. You really just want your guests to book that date on their calendar. They don’t need to know specifics just yet because they unwritten rule is if you receive an STD, you will be getting a more detailed invitation at some point, at which time, guests can officially accept or decline.
 

To help you navigate through your Save the Dates, we asked Hudson Valley stationers and graphic designers for their advice:
 

When should you send out your Save the Dates?

 

Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

Frankie D’Elia, owner and creative director at Fitting Image Graphics, Inc. in Carmel, says, “There is not a universal timeframe for when to send out your Save the Dates,” but he always suggests that as soon as you know your date, let your guests know as soon as possible after that so they can secure that day. ”Keep in mind,” he says, “that you’ll want to give your guests as much notice as possible if your wedding falls around a holiday weekend. This is because people generally plan their vacations or days off from work around holidays and you’ll want to catch them before they make plans; your big day, of course, takes priority!”
 

Kristal Walden, owner Kristal Walden Graphic Design in Beacon, says, “Usually you send out your Save the Dates a year before your date.” However, she says, “If you don’t have a year out, send them out ASAP.”
 

“We say nine months to a year,” says Amy Eddy, co-owner of Graphic Nature, LLC in Fishkill. “Usually if it’s on a holiday weekend or if you have a lot of out-of-town guests, we say a year out.” Sometimes they have couples who come in six months before their wedding and want to send out Save the Dates. At that point, Eddy says, “We say don’t waste your money because in two months time you are going to work on the invitations.” However, she says, if you are in that situation and don’t send Save the Dates, she recommends sending out invitations a little earlier. More on that in the coming weeks.
 

RELATED: 8 EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY AS A WEDDING GUEST
 

What should be included on a Save the Date?

 

Photo Credit: Graphic Nature, LLC

Stephanie McHoul, also co-owner of Graphic Nature, LLC, says, “They’re usually pretty basic. If there’s no photo, first and last name (of the couple) are important, and then they (the couple) usually keep it very vague.” Sometimes they’ll put location in terms of city, usually never a venue name, but if the couple has a wedding website, they’ll include that. This way, guests can visit the website which the couple can update as they get more details or just list all their details at that time.”
 

Should the Save the Date match the invitation?

 

Because couples are coming in a year in advance of their wedding to do their Save the Dates, many details of the day are still unknown. Eddy says, ”Half the time they (couples) come here to do Save the Dates and it’s a year out from their wedding and they don’t really have their ‘vision’.” That’s OK. McHoul says, ”It’s nice if it’s complementary…I personally like it when things coordinate without being overly ‘matchy-matchy.’ ” Eddy says, “Most of the time it’s just a big photo with script font, save the date, and it’s very simple so it’s not so themed or specific.” That way it leaves room to design an invite the way you want that’s more specific to your theme or aesthetic once you know it.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

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12 Wedding Traditions You Can Skip…And 5 You Should Keep (part 2)

This is the second part of a 2-part series

 

If you’ve been to many weddings, you’ll know there’s a certain ebb and flow to them and certain main elements you can rely on, mainly being that weddings have some type of ceremony with some type of celebration after. What those end up looking like is totally up to you and your personal style and taste.

I mentioned I am a traditionalist, to an extent. I love the formality of weddings, but I also love it when couples change up tradition to match their personal preference, taste and personality. What’s great about weddings being full of traditions, is that, by definition, means that they aren’t rules. You can basically do whatever you want. While there are some traditions that can totally be skipped or changed up, there are 5 that, in my opinion need to stay:

RELATED: 12 WEDDING TRADITIONS YOU CAN SKIP…AND 5 YOU SHOULD KEEP

Wedding Tradition: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

What’s great about this tradition is that it’s vague enough that a bride can make it as obvious or as subtle as she wants. That’s why it’s a tradition I think should always be kept…more so than keeping a white dress. Why? Because fashion changes, times change, styles change. A dress is something that will be memorialized in photos and is one of the outwardly obvious indications of the bride’s personality so she should choose what she likes and what makes her comfortable and radiant.

This is such a time-honored tradition that I think any bride, no matter how traditional or off-beat will agree, is something she won’t be walking down the aisle without doing. The something new is almost always a wedding dress, so that can be ticked off a bride’s list right away. The something blue can be something subtle like blue shoes or blue stickers on the bottom of her shoes spelling out “I do” to something more obvious…maybe a blue dress or blue flowers or even blue hair!

Something borrowed can be absolutely anything and sometimes, can be combined with something old. For me, my old and borrowed item was a brooch my grandmother always wore which I had attached to my bouquet.

Wedding Tradition: Keeping the ceremony a ceremony

 

Back in the day, almost all wedding ceremonies took place in a house of worship. Now, more and more ceremonies are taking place outside or in non-secular locations. Either way, they are beautiful in their own right. However, every once in a while you hear about the couple that gets married under water, gets married while sky diving, or gets married doing some sort of non-traditional activity. While I do agree it’s your wedding and you can do what you want with it, it’s VERY, VERY important to not make light of the situation. A wedding is a sacred, special, meaningful day, and the ceremony itself is so life-changing that it needs the proper attention, formality, and dignity it (and your relationship) deserves. There are other times during the day you can express your love of diving, running or any other activity you enjoy, but the ceremony needs to be a ceremony…dignified and formal (however you define it).

Wedding Tradition: Mailing out paper invitations

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

I know couples are strapped for cash and sometimes, invitations can get expensive, so especially now, in this tech-based society, many couples are opting for paperless invitations. While I understand the financial aspect of it, and understand most people just throw them out afterward, it kind of goes back to my last point about keeping your ceremony formal and dignified. Now, does that mean you need to spend $10 a piece on invites? Heck no! You can print them yourself. What that does mean is seeing your wedding in the bigger picture. Are all your guests going to be able to navigate an e-vite? Are you going to want pictures of your invite? Are you going to want to keep some for framing?

Now, there are things you can do so save paper and money. Maybe send electronic Save the Dates, or have guests RSVP electronically to save money on postage, but sending a paper RSVP to grandma instead. You could even try sending post card invites and then include all pertinent information on your wedding website. Whatever you decide, sending an invitation sends a message to your guests that it is a special event.

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

Wedding Tradition: Hiring professional vendors

 

In this day in age, it’s very easy to say “I’m going to have a friend take our photos” or “I’m just going to play my iTunes playlist” or “I’m going to cook all my food,” and while that’s all well and good, you have to think about the end result, and what that all really means.

While it’s not really tradition, it is something you shouldn’t skimp out on. Is your Itunes play list going to give you the type of entertainment you want? Who’s going to announce you, or announce the speeches or announce the cake cutting or last dance? Are your friends’ photos going to capture every moment you want? Do you want your friend to work or have a good time? How long will it take to the photos back? Will they be edited? How are you going to get an album? Same with the food…are you going to cook or get married? You can’t really do both without having to work on your wedding day. Who’s going to set up?

So, that’s why the professionals are there, to help you enjoy your day and make it everything you dreamed of.

Wedding Tradition: Honoring those who have passed

 

At most weddings, there is either something said about those who couldn’t be there physically with you, something written about them, a candle symbolizing your loved ones or even a table with photos of your loved ones. However you want to recognize your loved ones is up to you, but it’s a tradition that needs to be kept. Remember, your wedding is about two families coming together, sharing love, and honoring your loved ones reminds everyone of their love for you and how their loved shaped you into who you are today.

What wedding traditions would you keep? Would you trade one of these for another tradition? What traditions are you keeping in your wedding? We’d love to know.

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

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Not Sure if You Want to Hire a Wedding Planner? 5 Things You Need to Know

When I was planning my wedding, I didn’t hire a wedding planner. I had preconceived notions of what a planner did and honestly, I was looking forward to the challenge of planning a wedding and didn’t want to spend any more money than I already had. I’m the type of person that loves to plan, loves to create, and my wedding was the perfect playground for me. We also had our reception at an all-inclusive venue, so I felt like everything was taken care of, and it was, perfectly.

 

There was, however, one part of my day that did not go as planned, that still bothers me to this day and still has me doubting my decision of not hiring a planner, at least a day of coordinator. Here’s what happened…

 

When we arrived at the church, my bridesmaids and I were led to a room off to the side of the vestibule in the church. Within a few seconds, my girls left the room to line up with the groomsmen and then I heard our processional music playing. I couldn’t see anything from where I was waiting, but in my head, I envisioned the bridal party walk down the aisle, like we rehearsed the day before, and knew we good to go.

 

However, it wasn’t until I saw my video that I realized the timing was totally off!! Our first couple to walk down the aisle did so before any music started playing, then the second and third couple walked to music, then our ring bearer started walking down to my music!

 

The thought never entered our mind that we needed to make sure someone was going to signal to the organist in the choir loft that we are ready to go. She couldn’t see us and needed guidance! We never thought to ask the question of how the timing was going to go. We just assumed, somehow, it would happen…but it didn’t. Once the ceremony started, the organist had vocal cues from the priest to know when to start playing music, but to start, she had nothing…co clues or signals to know when to start.

 

It’s such a tiny detail, but when you spend hours planning your perfect day, and something like that happens, it’s cringe-worthy!

 

I share this story with you, not to scare you, but to show how common misconceptions can sometimes lead to poor decision-making. So, I wanted to take this time to debunk some common myths about wedding planners to help you make a more informed decision when it comes to your wedding.

 

Myth #1 – Wedding planners are too expensive

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Weddings

Many couples think that hiring a wedding planner is a luxury, something that they will spend money on, IF they have money leftover in their budget. The result is many couples, at least those familiar with the Hudson Valley, forgo this “luxury” because they don’t think it’s worth it.

 

Truth –

 

As with all aspects of your wedding, you are investing in something much more. You are investing in memories. Joann Provanzano, owner and certified bridal consultant of What Dreams Are Made of in Kingston, says, “Yes there’s a price, but there are so many perks to it (hiring a wedding planner) that people don’t realize.” Perks include all the little items that some folks forget about such as cuing the music at your ceremony or making sure your gifts are packed and taken back to your hotel room.

 

Other perks of hiring a wedding planner is that they can act as a mediator and “therapist” of sorts. If families don’t get along, your wedding planner can step in and ease some of the tension by finding workarounds. They deal with the problems at hand so that you can relax and not be so stressed out. Jeanne Stark, of Hudson Valley Ceremonies in Rhinebeck, says with a wedding planner, “You have an advocate on your side, you have someone that you can always run questions by, etiquette, family issues.”

 

Another perk, which kind of sounds ironic, is that by investing money in hiring a wedding planner, you could actually be saving yourself money (and time and stress) in the long run. Stark also says that planners have vendors in their repertoire that you may not ever know about. Little hidden gems, as she likes to call them “We also have a lot of vendors that they’re (couples) not going to find on The Knot or Wedding Wire,” she says. “They just don’t advertise, they don’t feel they need to or want to and they’re going to be at a lower price because they’re not paying for advertising.”

 

Myth #2 – Wedding planners are too bossy!

Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo & Video

This misconception, I’m sure, comes from the portrayal of wedding planners in movies and TV, where they show up and start bossing people around. Think Martin Short’s character Franck from Father of the Bride. While it’s fun and entertaining, for the most part, wedding planners are not like that.

 

Truth –

 

Nellie Hill, Event Planner and Owner of Nellie Hill Events in Hurley, says the right planner actually keeps their relationship with other hired professionals cordial. “We all work together,” she says. “I’m not going to step on their toes…I will just step back and make sure that it’s happening from afar.” However, she says, as the second set of eyes, she makes sure everything happens the way it’s supposed to. She gives an example of a photographer. “They are a professional, they know what they are doing” but if she sees something happening that they may not be aware of, she will make sure to tell them.

 

Stark says a common misconception is that wedding planners go around yelling at everyone, telling vendors what to do and bringing them down the lowest level they can charge. “A good wedding planner,” she says, “is a team player, we’re all on the same page, so the misconception is that we are there to tell everyone what to do, and we’re not.” She continues to say that “it’s not our job to say ‘do this!’ It’s our job to say ‘let’s come up with a couple ideas,’ and then they (the couple) can choose what’s comfortable for them or what they feel is going to work best in that situation.”

 

However, if you are still unsure of this truth, talk with your vendors and your venue on planners they’ve worked with before. You want to make sure that the planner you hire works well with others and is not the type that lives up to this misconception.

 

RELATED: The One Thing That Will Ruin Your Wedding and 4 Ways to Prevent It

 

Myth #3 – I don’t need a wedding planner because my wedding is in a non-traditional venue

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Getting married at a non-traditional venue has its perks, but also has its setbacks. Remember, most non-traditional venues were built with another purpose in mind first, like a barn, an inn, or an old industrial space, not for weddings. That means that you need to turn that space into a wedding venue.

 

Truth –

 

Provenzano says, “Unique venues such as barns, backyards, wineries – it’s more complicated.” If you are turning a non-traditional space into a wedding venue, it’s all on you, unless you hire someone to help you. You need to provide everything from tables, china, napkins, silverware, to portable restrooms, heat, tents, etc. Even if you are a DIY bride, do you really want to be in charge of all of those details? Stark says, “Most of our clients are going to be ones that are in a venue where they pay a site fee and they have to do everything. EVERYTHING! So that’s a typical couple that would need a wedding planner, just because there’s so many moving parts, so many components to the wedding itself.”

 

RELATED: DIY Weddings: 5 Things You Need To Know Now

 

Myth #4 – I don’t need a wedding planner because I’m getting married at a full-service venue

 

A full-service wedding venue is one you would typically associate with a wedding. A catering hall at a venue or hotel where you choose your linens, your menu, etc. and have staff taking care of you throughout the night. Because of all the staff catering to you during the night, it’s easy to assume you don’t need a wedding planner.

 

Truth –

 

While most couples who have weddings at venues like this do not hire wedding planners, “Full-service wedding venues still need someone there”, says Provanzano. The venue is almost always your biggest ticket item. “If you have a problem with the venue,” she says, “and you don’t have a planner that you’ve hired, who are you going to turn to?” You need to go to someone who works at that venue instead of having an independent person to help you through the issue.

 

Hill says at full-service venues, “sometimes the maître d’ may not be there when a vendor is not showing up…the maître d’ is following the food and managing the staff.”

 

Myth #5 – A wedding planner will take control and not give me the wedding I really want

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Some people have this misconception that a wedding planner will take over all control and force their opinions onto a couple creating a wedding that is the planner’s vision and not the couple’s vision.

 

Truth –

 

When you hire a wedding planner, you are also hiring a third-party “voice of reason.” Sometimes couples get so caught up in the wedding day that their expectations are set way too high, and become unrealistic. The wedding planner comes in and brings them back to reality. Provanzano encourages couples to make smarter decisions. If a couple wants a flame thrower at the reception or wants to spend $2,000 on invitations, she will often times show them what else they could get for their money that would go a lot further instead. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but she gives alternative options to let the couple ultimately decide what’s really important to them and what they really want to do.

 

“The other part of being a wedding planner,” Stark says, “is making sure that clients are making good choices, in a timely manner, and unfortunately, sometimes, being the one that says ‘OK, I know you love the fact that you want to come in a hot air balloon, unfortunately, you have a $25,000 budget and that’s going to blow it out of the water.’ ” Because of that, Stark says planners “sometimes have to be the one that has to be the bearer of bad news. But from experience, what you do is you say ‘well, what about this idea instead? It’s going to be a third of the price, it’s something spectacular, and people are still going to think it’s really cool.”

 

The fact that this “voice of reasoning” may be where this myth comes from, the reality is, the couple actually ends up makes smarter decisions.

 

Are you hiring a wedding planner for your wedding? What made you decide to hire one? Why did you decide not to hire one? We’d love to know.

 

Featured Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

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Top Floral Trends and Your Wedding: What You Need to Know

When it comes to choosing flowers for your wedding day, there are so many options to choose from. Some brides go with their favorite flowers, some want traditional arrangements or pick flowers that hold special meaning to them, yet others want what’s new and trending.

However, it’s clear that one trend, in particular, is sweeping wedding by storm. The shabby-chic, country, vintage, “casual” look is in, and it goes far beyond having an outdoor wedding on a farm with a barn in the background. It’s safe to say that no matter your venue, many brides today want that organic outdoor feel.

With that in mind, we asked Hudson Valley florists how they’re seeing this trend incorporated into today’s weddings.

RELATED: 3 Valuable Tips for Choosing Your Perfect Wedding Florist

 

Bouquets

 

Photo Credit: Floral Fantasies by Sara

Sara Salazar, Owner of Floral Fantasies by Sara in Rhinebeck, says brides are going with bigger bouquets. “Brides are staying away from tiny bouquets or even tight compact bouquets,” she says. “Now they want a loose, airy feeling like they’re (the flowers) freshly picked out of the garden.” This is a trend that started late last year and this looser, more casual feel seems to be continuing into 2017 and beyond. Theresa Colucci, owner of Meadowscent in New Paltz, says, “In the past, there were a lot of mono-botanical arrangements, meaning bouquets and arrangements of all one type of flower. Now, there’s more texture, more use of foliage. The designs are airier and open.”

Steve Morgan, owner and designer of Morgan’s Florist in Poughkeepsie, says when choosing a bouquet, keep in mind that the bouquet needs to compliment the bride and her gown. “No one should say they love the bride’s flowers,” he says, “because the flowers shouldn’t overwhelm or overstate the bride. For example, if a bride’s gown is ornate and really has a lot going on, the arrangement should be simple.”

Textures

 

Colucci mentions textures, which are also playing a huge part in wedding floral trends. What do we mean by texture? The best way to describe this is by thinking of a forest. Forests have all sorts of lush greenery, from plants with smooth leaves, plants with fuller greenery, and lots of twigs and wood. Kathy Herzing, owner of Hyde Park Florist and Gifts, says that forest look is very appealing to couples these days. “Unusual foliage like thistle and succulents” gives bouquets and floral décor that sense of bringing the outdoors in. She says the textures are countered by the softer feel of wildflowers.

Sarah Faoro, owner of Floral Affairs by Sarah in Gardiner, says, “The succulent fad is exploding” and can be found in both bouquets and décor. “Succulents aren’t just a gorgeous addition amongst fresh flowers, but also double as a pretty keepsake.”

Colors

 

Faoro says that a very popular color palette is soft neutrals like blush pinks and blush peaches. “However,” she says, “now we’ll see the addition of deep, rich colors: wine, navy, moss and gray. Also mixed in will be some brighter pops of coral, orange and pink.”

RELATED: 3 Steps You Need to Follow for Choosing Beautiful Wedding Flowers

 

Photo Credit: Floral Fantasies by Sara

Décor

 

Because couples today want that feeling of being outdoors, even if they are inside, Salazar says in barns, industrial-looking venues, even tents, couples are bringing in actual trees to decorate the space to give it more of that outdoorsy feel!

Faoro says trees and large floral displays are seen throughout ceremony and reception spaces. “Couples are opting to invest in giant floral topiaries for either side of the sweetheart table or a lush floral wall to hang at the reception as a photo-op for themselves and guests. Arches and gazebos are being adorned with extravagant garlands and place card tables are greeting guests with show-stopping florals in an effort to ‘wow’ their guests.”

How much does this new trend cost?

 

Well, I have good news and bad news on this. In the past, and if you are a bride that still wants a more traditional look, adding greenery can sometimes save you some money because you are interspersing it throughout substituting the more expensive flowers.

However, because the current trend is to use so much more greenery, you really aren’t saving as much as you would think. Salazar says, “It’s not like we’re doing just a little greenery here and there. The garlands are expensive. People think that by using the greenery, they’re going to be saving money, but they’re not because there’s so much labor that goes into doing a garland.”

However, don’t lose hope yet. There is still a way to save if you want a lot of greenery in your wedding. Salazar says, “What we’ve been doing a lot of is just placing greenery on the table, so you don’t have so much labor and it gives you a similar look.”

Now that Hudson Valley florists have shared these trends with you, what do you think? Are you choosing any of these trends for your wedding or going with a more traditional, formal look? We’d love to know!

Featured Photo Credit: Floral Fantasies by Sara

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the one thing that will ruin your wedding and 4 ways to prevent it

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. It’s probably a day some of you have been dreaming of since you were a small child. It’s a day that will go down in the history books of your family’s legacy for generations to talk about. All eyes are going to be on you, and you have one chance to get it right; it has to be PERFECT! Mementos from your wedding day will be saved and passed down, and your photos will be cherished by generations after you.

 

Stressed out yet? If you hadn’t noticed, I was purposely setting the tone for this blog post. Did you read that and feel a little short of breath, perhaps your heartbeat rose a little? It was done to show you how this one thing can ruin your wedding day.

 

Have you figured it out yet? I’ll give you a clue: It’s completely manageable.

 

Still not sure what it is? It’s EXPECTATIONS

 

Let’s dissect this a bit, shall we?

 

We’d all be lying if we said we didn’t want a perfect wedding day. We all want the perfect day. You’ve been playing it out in your head forever, have a vision for what you want, and you expect perfection, because gosh darn it, you’re getting married! But, let’s face it: Nothing is perfect. So, expecting a perfect day is probably not going to happen and is somewhat unrealistic.

 

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

Admittedly, we (brides and grooms) are our own worst enemies. We’re putting this pressure on ourselves based on what we think our guests or family expects, or what the Internet, TV or movies tells us to expect in terms of perfection.

 

Nellie Hill, Event Planner and Owner of Nellie Hill Events in Hurley, explains why wanting the day to be perfect is understandable. “It’s hard because everyone is looking at you that day,” she says. “The spotlight is on you, but you have to try and remember that it’s about two people coming together, and it’s about love and as long as you guys are married at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. People aren’t going to remember those little things that happen…they’re going to remember the love and the family and coming together.”

 

Is it realistic to expect perfect weather on your wedding day? No.

 

Is it realistic to expect everything will run like clockwork to the minute? No.

 

Is it realistic to expect your wedding will be the most memorable wedding your guests will attend…EVER? No.

 

Is it realistic to expect guests will appreciate all the details as much as you? No.

 

Is it realistic to expect you are going to absolutely LOVE every single one of the hundreds of photos taken of you that day? No.

 

Is it realistic to expect everyone to dance to every song? No.

 

Is it realistic everyone is going to love your food or the cake? NO.

 

See where I’m going? You can’t please everyone. So, why are you putting so much pressure on yourself?

 

I know, it’s easy to tell you not to expect perfection. However, the good news is there are four easy ways you can control and manage expectations, and when expectations are controlled and met, that means less anxiety, worry, and stress for you. Sounds good, right?

 

Manage wedding day expectations with a budget

 

Have you ever heard of the phrase “Champagne taste on a beer budget?” That phrase rings especially true when it comes to weddings. That’s why it’s important to have a budget. You need to write down everything you’ve ever dreamed of for your wedding day and compare it to how much you have to spend. If what you want costs more than what you have to spend, then you need to take a step back and reconsider a few things.

 

“First thing I tell a couple is to make a list,” says Joanne Provanzano, owner and certified bridal consultant of What Dreams Are Made of in Kingston. “Start with the number one thing you want for your wedding and as you go down the list it’s what you want less and less.” Having a budget manages your expectations in terms of allowing you to realistically see what things cost and it also ensures that you get your top items (within reason, of course). You book what you want based off the list and as the money runs out and you don’t get what’s left at the end of the list, it’s OK because you didn’t put a lot of importance on them anyway. “You have XYZ amount of money to work with,” says Provanzano. “Get the important stuff first; then what’s left, those are the frills.”

 
RELATED: Three Essential Details You Need to Know Before Attending Your First Wedding Expo
 

Manage wedding day expectations through communication

 

Communication is so important when it comes to managing expectations. Disappointment and arguments start to happen because expectations were not met. And why were expectations not met? Because they were not communicated.

 

Planning a wedding means you are going to input from everybody and their uncle, with immediate family topping that list of opinions. “It’s hard to field out those opinions, but I think the main thing is to really focus on what is special for you and your spouse,” Hill says. “Everybody is going to have their opinions, and the best way to handle it, personally, is to just listen, take it in and then do what you feel is right.”

 

cake topper

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Think of when you give someone advice or an opinion. If they shut you down completely, you’d be pretty upset, right? However, if they listened to you and took what you said to heart, even if they didn’t follow through with it, you’d be OK, because they took the time to acknowledge what you said and heard you out.

 

You need to do the same. It’s incredibly frustrating at times to get opinions thrown at you from every direction, and you’ve probably said to yourself, “Who’s getting married — me or you?” but just take a deep breath and listen. It’s all coming from a good place, and if the other person feels heard, even if you don’t follow through, they’ll be OK with it.

 

You also need to communicate with your fiancé. Traditionally, it’s usually the bride that calls the shots, but your groom has a voice too and, even though he may not be as into the planning as you, he has ideas that need to be heard, and more importantly, represented. Remember, this is your wedding…plural. If he wants ice cream, or a certain type of beer, or lawn games, or a certain type of cake or food, don’t shut him down. Make sure you incorporate his likes and wishes too.

 

Lastly, you need to communicate with your vendors. You need to make sure you are communicating your vision to them throughout the entire planning process. What kind of music do you like? What style photography do you like? What specific food do you want? What traditions to you want to incorporate? If your vendor just showed up and you gave them full control over the day, chances are, you would never end up with the wedding you envisioned. Your vendors have your back and are waiting for you to tell them what direction to go. And as a red flag, if your vendors don’t ask you personal questions and don’t want your input…don’t hire them!

 
RELATED: Why Hiring an Experienced DJ For Your Wedding is a Bad Idea
 

Manage wedding day expectations with a ‘Plan B’ AND a ‘Plan C’

 

Three plans? Yes, three plans. Here’s why: Jeanne Stark, of Hudson Valley Ceremonies in Rhinebeck, says, “You have Plan A which is absolutely perfect, nothing is going wrong. Plan C is ‘We’re going to have a hurricane on your wedding.’ ” Basically, everything that can go wrong will go wrong and you need to plan for that. “Plan B”, Stark says, “is somewhere in the middle. We may have a pop-up thunderstorm. We may find out there’s some kind of huge festival in town and all these little things. What do we do with that?”

 

Having a plan for something that might happen last minute, and knowing what to do, lowers anxiety. “I always feel as though, if you have three concrete plans, that when those dilemmas do occur, they’re (the couple) not overwhelmed,” says Stark. Then, it’s almost like things aren’t going wrong, they’re just going correctly according to Plan A, B, or C.

 

Manage wedding day expectations by realizing your wedding is not a competition

 

When you think of competition, you think of being better at something than someone else to “win” or set you apart from everyone else to get a “prize.” Well, there are no prizes in the wedding world. No one gets a trophy for anything you do on your wedding day. So, why do you want your wedding to be the best anyone has ever gone to? Is it because you are trying to impress someone or worried about what they will think of you? Is it because you are trying to prove a point?

 

wedding guests

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

By thinking your wedding has to be bigger or better than someone else’s means you are not only putting added pressure on yourselves but are also setting expectations so high, that you, no doubt, will have regrets. A wedding isn’t a game. No one wins or loses. Each wedding is different and unique for its own reasons.

 

If you’ve been to a few weddings, you probably have a “favorite” and one that wasn’t. Stark says couples these days are attending more weddings than ever before, and that’s good and bad. “They do walk away with what they don’t want at their wedding and they walk away with what they want, but now they can’t have that (what they want) because somebody did it,” she says. “And I always remind them: You know what? If somebody else did it and you still want it, do it! Not every single person at that wedding is going to be at your wedding.” She says if you went to your friend and asked if you could copy an awesome idea they had at their wedding, they will more than likely say yes and tell you why it was so great…or why it wasn’t and steer you in a different direction.

 

“It’s not a competition. There’s only so many ideas that can go around,” says Stark. “Taking the good ones (ideas) and reproducing them is not a bad thing.” Even if you copied everything you saw at a wedding you loved, from the same vendors to the venue to the food and same playlist, it’s never going to be the same because the guests are different, and you are different. Stark says, “You’re not going to be exactly like your fiend’s weddings, it’s going to be different and more important you need to make it (your wedding) about yourselves. If you’re really simple people, make it a simple wedding; it doesn’t matter. People coming together and being able to enjoy themselves is not the most important thing, it SHOULD BE the thing. Everything else is just icing on the cake.”

 

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

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9 crucial things you need to do for your wedding vendors

Did you know that hiring a wedding professional, or even trying to figure out what professional you want, goes far beyond just signing a contract having them provide you with the goods or services you agreed on? You are responsible for a whole other part of that commitment, which is not always written in the contract.

 

There are 9 crucial things you need to do for your wedding vendors, which can be broken down into three areas: before booking, after booking to your wedding day, and your wedding day and beyond.

 

Before Booking

Never outright say you are on a budget

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

Guess what? 99% of all other couples at a wedding expo are on a budget. If you aren’t, you should be. If you’ve read my previous post on what you need to know before attending your first wedding expo, having a budget (or a roundabout idea of what you want to spend) helps flush out vendors who are totally outside your budget.

 

For example, if you determine that you want to spend $3,000 – $6,000 on wedding photography and videography and you see a photographer that charges $10,000, you know that professional is not for you. Why? Because you can’t expect a vendor who charges $10,000 for their goods and services to give you the same amount of value for a cheaper price.

 

On the other hand, if you see a photographer/videographer in the $7,000 range, don’t dismiss them. I’ll discuss why in a future post, but what you should do instead like I mentioned in my piece on how not to get overwhelmed at a wedding expo, is take that information home to think about it.

 

Always get back to vendors…whether you are interested in them or not

 

If you gave your information to any wedding vendor at an expo, if they are professional and on their game, they will reach out to you after the expo to follow-up. This is not to be annoying or sales-y, it’s because they have very busy schedules and if you expressed any interest at the show, they want to make sure you get on their schedule (get them booked) before it fills up.

 

If after you looked over their information and decide they are not the right professional for you, you must respond. Not responding or ignoring their email leaves them hanging, which makes it really stressful for them as they proceed to book their calendar. They may even keep contacting you because they are left in limbo. A simple, “Thanks for meeting with us at the show. After reviewing the information, we decided to explore other options” is all it takes. This way, at least you close that circle and both of you can move on.

 

They may come back and ask about motivators for choosing someone else, and again, respond. It’s not them being pushy at all, it’s because they are using the information you tell them to help them perfect their goods or services for future couples. They are just looking for honest feedback.

 

After Booking to Your Wedding Day

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Keep your wedding vendors informed

 

Make sure you keep an open dialogue with all your vendors and make sure you are telling them the same information. For example, make sure all vendors know your timeline, make sure they all know if you are going to be doing something fun or special during the ceremony or reception. Make sure they all have important contact information and phone numbers. This is so everyone is in the loop, so no one misses something important, and so all your vendors can give their best on your wedding day. If you’ve covered all your bases, that makes your day less stressful. Who doesn’t want a stress-free day?

 

Pay on time

 

When you sign a contract with any wedding professional, pay careful attention to when payments are due. More often than not, a deposit will be due right up front (or soon thereafter), another payment will be due sometime before the wedding, and the final payment will be due the day of the wedding. It’s crucial that you pay on time to make sure that your date is not compromised and it avoids any uncomfortable moments. Trust me, vendors don’t like to, nor do they want to, come chasing after payments, that’s not their job, so you want to make sure that you hold up your end of the bargain.

 

Wedding Day and Beyond

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Don’t be rude or abusive

 

This could quite possibly be THE MOST important piece of information in this entire article. Weddings are stressful. There’s no denying it. People express their stress in different ways, and sometimes, because you have so many expectations of the day and want everything to be “perfect,” it’s sometimes easy to snap at those around you. But remember, being stressed is never an excuse for being rude or abusive to anyone.

 

The professionals you hire are there to give you the best they can give you that day. Outside of you and your family, they are the ones that care the most about your day. Of course, they are going to do everything they can to make you happy and deliver what you deserve, but with that comes trust.

 

You need to trust who you hire. Yelling, cursing, demanding, throwing, and anything of the sort is something you should never, EVER do. Yes, in essence, they are working for you, but that is no excuse to treat them any differently than you would your family or friends.

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Feed your vendors

 

Yes, vendors do need to be fed! They are with you all day working, and just like it’s important for you to remember to eat throughout the day, they need to eat as well. Make sure you have snacks and water for them prior to the reception or ceremony in case they want or need a little sustenance. Professionals may bring their own, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry and not assume. Plus, it’s just nice. I mean, who doesn’t like a snack?

 

At the reception, make sure you give them a meal. Even if their contract says that they do not require a meal, make sure you ask them if they would like something to eat and see if your venue can make sure they get food.

 

When you give your final head count at the venue, your professionals (photographer, videographer, DJ or band), are in that number. Check with your venue to see what the details of vendor meals are. Sometimes it’s the same meal but at a discounted rate, sometimes it’s a boxed meal. You want to make sure that the venue offers to feed your vendors, and if they don’t, ask if it’s ok if you can bring in outside food for them or if the vendors can bring their own meals in with them.

 

Tip your vendors

 

Make sure you bring money with you the day of your wedding to tip your professionals like your limo driver, your maître d’ and anyone else providing you services that day. Make sure you double check all your contracts to see the details of those tipping details such as how much. For some vendors, it may be included in the price agreed upon in the contract.

 

thank you

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

Thank them

 

After you get back from your honeymoon, and while you are writing your thank you notes to your guests, make sure you also send your vendors thank you notes. It’s very easy to send them a thank you e-mail, but it means so much more to hand-write a note for their time and talent. By the time your wedding comes, chances are, you will have become very friendly with your vendors – I’m still friends will all of mine – and it really is a nice gesture to take the time to tell them how much you appreciate them and what they did for you that day.

 

Give reviews when asked

 

Lastly, and along the same lines as sending a thank you, many of your vendors are going to ask that you write reviews on many of the sites they use to market themselves such as top wedding planning websites like The Knot or Wedding Wire.

 

It is so important that you leave reviews for your vendors. You have to remember that vendors are self-employed, meaning that they don’t have a big corporation behind their work, and they don’t have big marketing budgets. For them, more often than not, word of mouth is their best marketing tool and the best word of mouth marketing is based on reviews.

 

By leaving a review, you are helping support their business and their livelihood. Living in the Hudson Valley it’s so important to support those in our local community and neighborhoods. Reviews also help other couples, just like couples before you helped you, find your vendors.

 

Vendors make this as easy for you as possible and will usually send you the links to their directory sites. You don’t have to rewrite a separate review for each website either, just simply copy and paste. It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to do, and your vendors will thank you immensely for your review.

 

What tips do you have for couples and what they should be doing for their vendors?

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wedding makeup

This is the one mistake that can ruin your wedding photos

Did you know having professional makeup done for your wedding has a direct effect on wedding photography? If you were thinking of doing your own makeup for your wedding, I strongly encourage you to reconsider.

 

You might be thinking makeup could be an area where you can save money by doing it yourself. While saving money is great, try to find other areas to make the cut. It’s crucial you don’t forgo the importance of professionally applied makeup.

 

Professional makeup vs. DIY makeup

 

wedding makeup

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

First, let’s start with the basics. We asked some of the Hudson Valley’s top hair and makeup professionals to break down the benefits of professionally applied makeup versus doing your own.

 

Ada Seymour, Owner and Salon Coordinator of Salon Lucere in Chester says professionally applied wedding makeup helps every aspect of your wedding day: “It helps your gown look better. It makes your photos come out better. It makes your day better because you’re not constantly touching up. Touch-ups are not necessary if it’s done professionally.”

 

wedding makeup

Photo Credit: Salon Lucere

To be specific, professionals go by that name because they are experts in that field. Just as with all the other professionals you hire for your wedding day, makeup artists are no different.

 

Rebecca Lee, Owner of Bella Luci Salon in Poughkeepsie, explains, “With doing makeup yourself, you tend to not have that eye for where the colors lay and how they mix well with your face to enhance your look.” She also says the untrained person may not necessarily know how to enhance her features or skin tone the way a professionally trained makeup artist will. “Even the small amount of makeup, with a trained eye of a makeup artist, it can create big changes that you don’t necessarily know how to do yourself,” Lee says.

 

Why professional makeup is best for wedding photos

 

wedding makeup

This is me giving a thumbs up on a great job at Bella Luci Salon! My MOH took this photo the morning of my wedding

Wedding makeup goes far being just making you look good; it serves a bigger purpose. Professional makeup balances you out. “When you’re doing wedding makeup,” Lee says, “you really need to take into account pictures, photography with lighting and flash, and things that reflect off your skin differently.”

 

You want your skin looking smooth and your complexion enhanced so you don’t look washed out. “Some things that we do with the contouring of the face are so minimal…but in a picture completely enhances your face,” says Lee.

 

I mentioned in my post earlier this week that, at least when it comes to DIY crafting, doing it yourself is not always cheaper. The same applies to wedding makeup. It might be cheaper that day, but in the long run will cost you in the form of regret. “Pictures last forever,” says Cheryl Conklin, Platinum Stylist and Bridal Coordinator also of Salon Lucere. “Of course you remember the day; but really, when you look back on that day, you look at the photos…and you want to look like what you think is perfect…that wouldn’t be the place where you should cut back.”

 

The photographers’ opinions

 

wedding makeup

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

Still not convinced hiring a professional is a good idea? We asked Hudson Valley photographers to share their thoughts on professional wedding makeup, and you may be surprised at what they have to say.

 

Myles Pinkney, Owner of Myles Studio Photography in Highland, says having professional makeup done serves many purposes. First, it makes the day run so much smoother. “Often times, when brides do their own makeup,” he says, “difficulties arise because they can’t find the right color, or lose track of their mascara, because they have so many other things to worry about.”

 

Secondly, he says not all makeup is created equal and may look different when photographed. “A true professional,” he says, “will have the appropriate makeup to look good in photos, and often will have makeup that will last longer. They also know what makeup looks best with certain skin tones.”

 

wedding makeup

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Wedding Photography

Christine Ashburn, of Christine Ashburn Wedding Photography in Cold Spring, says looking great in person and looking great on camera are equally important. “A professional makeup artist knows what looks good on camera, the importance of matching the right foundation to your skin tone and what colors and contouring to use that will make your features pop,” she said.

 

Beyond outward looks, there’s so much work that goes on behind the scenes, in editing, if makeup is not done properly and professionally. Ashburn says, “There is nothing worse than having to color correct every single photo of a bride because her foundation color was off and she looks orange in pictures. Worse is having to Photoshop a bride’s photos whose foundation is not blended well and reflects artificial light poorly resulting in a ghosting, washed out look, or a spotty look in the photos.”

 
Are you having your makeup professionally done? What made you decide to get it done professionally? We’d love to know.

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DIY Weddings: 5 things you need to know now

This is the first in a multi-part series about DIY weddings

 

For many, the term “DIY wedding” conjures up thoughts of saving money or maybe saving time. Maybe it makes you think of vast seas of burlap and mason jars. Maybe it’s the opposite. Perhaps you think DIY means “cheap.” Whatever you envision when you think of the term DIY wedding, I’m here to tell you, it’s probably not true.

 

Here’s why: I was a DIY bride. I made everything – from save-the-dates, to menus, invitations, programs, envelope box, decorations at the cocktail hour, place cards and even favors. You name it, I made it.

 

Did I do it to save money? A little.

Did I do it because I thought it would be easier and faster? No.

Did I do it because I wanted our wedding to be really personal? Kind of.

Did I think my wedding would be “cheapened” in a way by doing DIY? Not one bit.

 

The real reason I DIY-ed my wedding was because I love to craft and make things.

bubble tags

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

That, my friends, is the ONLY reason why you should consider DIY-ing your wedding. It’s the ONLY reason why I did it. I was working a very high-stress job at the time and knowing that I could come home and craft got me through the day. It was my way of destressing, decompressing, and just relaxing. Those of you who have any hobbies know when you really get into it, you kind of zone out, and that’s what I needed at the time.

 

Would I do it again? Heck, yeah! In a heartbeat. It was so much fun! But again, it was fun because it’s my hobby. If it’s not your hobby, if you don’t enjoy it on any level, don’t do it. You will be absolutely miserable throughout the whole process and will end up hating it. Just like with anything else, if you are assigned a project and end up hating it, it will show through your work.

 

If you have never DIY-ed anything before, I strongly discourage you from using your wedding as your first project. It is too large of an undertaking, and the pressure is too high so it will cause a lot of added stress that you don’t need.

 

If you have crafted before and are considering some DIY for your wedding, I’ve taken the most common DIY myths and broken them down for you:

 

DIY-ing my wedding will save me money

 

escort cards

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Yes and no. It really depends on what you are doing and how many people you have. For example, if you are making programs, menus, save-the-dates, invitations or any type of decorations, you are probably going to need really good cardstock (not the kind that’s prepackaged). Cardstock, when you buy it as single sheets for one project is relatively cheap. When you need to buy it in bulk for a massive project like a wedding, it adds up pretty quickly.

 

Same with paper cutting supplies. Remember, too, there might be supplies you need for a particular wedding project and then may not ever use it again. You need to weigh the pros and cons of that. If you are OK with spending money on a tool that you may never use again, then go for it. If you are hesitant about that, then DIY-ing may not be for you.

 

You also have to take into consideration ink. We all know ink isn’t cheap, and trust me, you will be do an awful lot of printing, and reprinting…if you make a mistake.

 

When it comes to favors, same thing. If you do want favors, keep the end in mind. What do you want your guests to do with them? I knew I didn’t want to spend money on a little tchotchke that would just sit on someone shelf collecting dust. I wanted something edible. Buying local edible treats was a strong contender, but everyone knows and loves our family recipe for fudge and so, that was my favor.

 

It actually costed more than just buying something, but my end result, giving my guests something edible that I know they would love and was personal, was worth it. In addition to the cost, it all had to be made, cut, wrapped and put in boxes (which were purchased and hand-assembled), and I also put a note in it which stated what flavors they were.

 

DIY-ing is easy and fast

 

fudge favors and menu

Photo Credit: Majestic Studio

This is a resounding NO. DIY-ing is not easy or fast by any stretch of the imagination. It’s much easier and faster to have someone do it for you or just purchase the items that you are DIY-ing. It took me hours and hours – I’m talking at least 5 hours a day, more like 8-10 each day on the weekend, to DIY my wedding. Weekends were spent sourcing craft supplies in local stores, scouring the Internet and Pinterest for design inspiration, making prototypes, trial-and-error, printing and cutting so that during the week, I had a finished prototype and the pieces for it so I could just assemble. I had a long running list of everything that I needed to do and, as the days and weeks passed by, I kept adding to it. Was it easy? No. Was it faster? No.

 

Let’s look back at my favors for a second. Fudge (good, real fudge) is highly perishable and melts very fast. Therefore, it could not be made too far in advance and always had to be kept cool. That meant it took up room in more than one fridge. Not only did it have to be made a week out, but I couldn’t pack and wrap it until two days before the wedding! It was a bit stressful, and very time consuming. But, was it worth it for me? Yes, and I have some great memories of family packing and wrapping fudge.

 

When you decide whether or not to DIY, you really need to take into account how much time you have and what you want to be doing with that time. Do you want to be knee deep in crafts, glue, ribbon, cutting or do you want to spend that time relaxing or maybe doing other fun wedding planning activities? If you don’t mind the thought of crafting for hours, then DIY is for you. If you don’t, don’t do it.

 

If I don’t have elements of DIY, my wedding will be cold and impersonal

 

cocktail hour decor

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Many couples feel they need elements of DIY in their wedding to make it personal. You can still add personal touches without doing any DIY. Think about what personal elements you want in your wedding. Do you want a unique guest book, or cake topper that resembles your hobbies? Do you want a memorial table with photos of passed loved ones or do you want a family tradition implemented into your ceremony? These are all things that add that personal touch without doing any DIY yourself.

 

Think about weddings you’ve attended and what you liked about them. Was any part of what you liked related to DIY crafts? If so, then that’s a good indicator that type of work means a lot to you and you should have some in your wedding. If not, what was it? Maybe it was a small affair, maybe they had special readings, maybe the music was nostalgic or they had really unique food or perhaps even a food truck. If so, then you don’t need to worry about DIY.

 

DIY weddings look ‘cheap’

 

guest book baseball bat

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Again, this is really subjective. The first thing you need to realize is no matter what you do at your wedding, no one is going to appreciate it as much as you, and everyone has different tastes. You are not going to make everyone happy. Your wedding could be gilded in gold, and someone would still complain.

 

I’ve seen DIY crafts that are so good you would think a professional made them, and I’ve seen others where it looked like it came from an art class for 5-year-olds. The results of each come with practice. If you are really worried about something looking “cheap,” I suggest doing a few things.

 

One, take a step back. If you’ve crafted anything in the past, you’ve probably gotten feedback from others on the work you’ve done. If it’s good, then don’t worry about it. If it’s not, you might want to reconsider…if you are worried about what others think.

 

Two, practice or ask a friend or family member for help if you know your skills aren’t where you would like them to be. If this is you, do not take on more than one or two projects and don’t make those projects ones that have a lot of focus on them.

 

With that being said, your wedding is your day. You have a vision and you owe it to yourself to make sure your day is one that you look back on with no regrets.

 

So, we want to know. Are you DIY-ing your wedding? What are you DIY-ing? Photo comments are best…let’s see your work!

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Engagement Photos: What Hudson Valley couples want you to know

Thank you for joining us in this last of our three-part series

 

The period of engagement is a really special time in a couple’s life, and it’s usually the shortest time in a couple’s life as well. We’ve already explained why the experts say engagement photos are important and explained how to prepare for your session and what to expect during your session.
 

Today, we wanted to give you two stories, from real Hudson Valley couples like you, explaining why they had engagement photos taken and what their experience was like. If you are still on the fence about engagement photos, these awesome stories might encourage you.

 

Kimberly & Andrew

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Let’s first start off with Kimberly and Andrew. While originally from the Hudson Valley, Kimberly being from Union Vale and Andrew from LaGrangeville, the couple is currently living in Virginia, where Andrew is stationed with the United States Navy. Andrew has been in the Navy for seven years and is currently waiting to hear on a deployment date; because of that uncertainty, they don’t have a wedding date yet but are thinking sometime in 2018 in the Hudson Valley.
 

Kimberly and Andrew had their engagement photos taken with Hannah Servidio, from Hannah Nicole Photography, and are the sweet couple featured in the behind-the-scenes video in Part 2. I asked them why they decided to have engagement photos taken, and Kimberly said they knew it was something everyone does; and since they have a bit of a wait before their wedding day, it was something special they wanted to do sooner rather than later.

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography


 

They got engaged on December 23, 2016, and just a few weeks after, they had their photos taken – not only to capture the moment, but also because they wanted to get them done before Andrew was deployed.”It’s possible Andrew may be deployed before we can have our dream wedding, so it was really important to me to have professional pictures taken before then,” she said. “I wanted memories I can look at in my home and for him to take when he’s abroad. I’ve tried to print photos from my phone before but it’s always a major disappointment; they never print well! That’s why I really wanted a professional shoot.”
 

Their photos were taken in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), part of Brooklyn. So, remember the experts said couples like to take photos in spots that have meaning to them? In this case, DUMBO was the second choice. They originally wanted snowy pictures in the Hudson Valley, but the only snow on the ground at the time was the crusty brown snow found along the edge of roads – not very pretty. So, since Kimberly went to NYU and DUMBO was a location that offered different views of Manhattan, that’s where they went.

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Andrew, admittedly, wasn’t quite sure what to expect at first, but found the whole ‘being photographed’ process very simple, self-explanatory, and he said they were coached very well. “Hannah was great at coaching us through different poses that we hadn’t thought of before and was great at communicating the small things that can make or break a photo: where we were supposed to look, placement of hands, how to do the close embrace, and more,” he said. “She was so professional and put us at ease. I also feel like we now have training for when we take our own photos from here on out.”

 

Their Tips

 

Some tips they have for couples is to make sure that your photographer is a people person, because that characteristic is really what is going to put the couple at ease. Again, this goes back to what the experts say about being able to mesh well with your vendors. Another tip, especially if you are doing a winter shoot: Be prepared for a lot of wind and dress warm!
 

They also realize some couples decide not to get engagement photos done because they are too nervous or because it costs too much money. They say it’s nice to be coached on how to be photographed and what poses look good. It’s also nice to have the moment of engagement captured, so you can look back on that feeling and always have a glimpse of how you felt at that time.
 

Nora & Dan

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Our next couple is Nora and Dan from Cold Spring. Their story is a little different than that of Kimberly and Andrew. Nora and Dan are getting married in September 2017 and had photos taken with Erica Leman of Sweet Alice Photography. Unlike Kimberly and Andrew, they were skeptical, at first, about getting photos done and went back and forth for a while. They really wanted to have them done, but weren’t sure if they could afford it, originally thinking they would have family members take their photos. Ultimately, they decided to have them done professionally because being engaged is a real special moment in time, and they wanted to make sure they captured the magic of being engaged. Plus, with Erica, they realized it was more affordable than they thought.

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

“I think that cost was the number one deterrent at first, but after researching photographers and finding one who offered it within her package, we jumped on the opportunity,” Nora said. “When you’re engaged, you are spending so much time thinking about the wedding day itself, but these photos capture a moment in time that still celebrates your relationship in a really fun and meaningful way. Plus, they are so useful for practical reasons including save-the-dates, invitations and wedding websites.”
 

They, like most, were nervous and awkward at first, because like they said, “How often do people get photos taken?” However, once they began to loosen up, interact with each other and with their photographer, cracking jokes with each other, they began to loosen up and feel more comfortable.
 

They see the photos as being really practical because you can use them for so many purposes: to celebrate the fact that they are engaged; for a wedding website, save-the-dates, or to print out and hang up.

 

Their Tips

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Nora and Dan have some great tips when it comes to choosing a photographer. They suggest getting recommendations from people you know about photographers they’ve used and what their experiences were like. They say don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations and, just like what our experts said, don’t be afraid to reach out to lots of photographers (and vendors) to see what you get for your money.
 

They also say having the same photographer do both your engagement and wedding photos will help because you because you will have already met the photographer, gotten to know them and how they operate, which will put you at ease the day of your wedding.
 

In terms of what to wear, they suggest wearing colors that work well with your surroundings. They got engagement photos taken in the fall, so Nora wore red to pop with the green in the trees and the very slightly changing colors in the foliage. “We were doing our photos outside so I knew there was going to be a lot of greenery, and I wanted to pick something that I knew would play off those colors in a nice way,” she said. “Second, wear something you are comfortable in and feel good in! We all have colors and even specific pieces in our closets that make us feel confident. You don’t necessarily have to buy a new outfit for the photos because you likely own something that is perfect.”
 
Did hearing from these couples help you make decide on engagement photos? Did their tips help you? What tips do you have for couples?

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3 steps you need to follow for choosing beautiful Wedding Flowers

This is the last of a two-part series

 

I love flowers! Let me just get that out right away. In fact, one of my favorite times of the year in the Hudson Valley is when the flowers start to peep through the frozen ground. It can still be chilly; but as long as I see the flowers start to bloom, it immediately wipes the winter doldrums away. To me, flowers are nature’s perfect package, and they just put a smile on my face. Between their colors, shapes and smells, there’s nothing more beautiful.

 

Photo Credit: Meadowscent

That being said, I couldn’t wait to book my floral appointment for my wedding. Knowing it was the one day where I could surround myself with such beauty made me incredibly happy. Now, here’s the thing: I know what I like, but the names of flowers – outside of the popular roses, calla lilies and carnations – leave me clueless.

 

I didn’t know what flowers I needed to achieve the look I wanted, so I was thrilled to have an expert florist walk me through the process, show me examples of flowers, and tell me the pros and cons of each, including what would be in season (and therefore be cheaper). However, your floral consultation goes far beyond just showing up and talking to the florist. It takes some time to make sure you get the perfect look. We spoke to some of the most experienced florists in the Hudson Valley, and broke the process down into three easy steps.

 

Step 1 – Know your colors

 

Photo Credit: Lucille’s Floral of Fishkill

One of the most important pieces of information you can bring to the consultation is your color scheme. I remember even bringing swatches of fabric of both my gown and my bridesmaids’ gowns with me. Steve Morgan, owner and designer of Morgan’s Florist in Poughkeepsie says the bride’s flowers need to complement her, he says that you also need to know what colors the bridal party will be wearing to ensure all flowers will be cohesive. Theresa Colucci, owner of Meadowscent in New Paltz says because the bulk of her appointment revolves around color, if you don’t have that information at your first visit, then you will need to book a second appointment. She says while it’s very normal for couples to want to start planning right away because they are excited, it’s best to wait until you know what everyone is wearing.

 

Step 2 – Do research and come in with ideas

 

Photo Credit: Lucille’s Floral of Fishkill

Lucille Conforti, owner of Lucille’s Floral of Fishkill, says looking at flowers on websites such as Pinterest, and sharing your board with her, is a great tool to help her get to know the aesthetic and feel you are going for. Morgan wants to see your Pinterest board, too, to work with the ideas you have. He suggests going a step further and doing research on what flowers are in season. Colucci asks, in a pre-appointment questionnaire that she sends out, all photos and Pinterest boards be e-mailed to her so she can prepare and get to know the aesthetic of the couple so the end result is a streamlined floral appointment.

 

Step 3 – Set and share your budget

 

The third, most important piece of information you can bring is your budget, and be honest with it. We’ve mentioned how important a budget is in previous posts, and you might be wondering why we put budget last when it comes to choosing the right flowers. That’s because until you know your colors and do research on what type of flowers you like and see what’s in season, you can’t figure out how much it’s going to cost. If what you like ends up being too expensive for you, you may need an alternate plan. But, don’t worry.

 

Photo Credit: Morgan’s Florist

Like Morgan stated, doing research on what flowers are in season will help save you money. If you want to purchase flowers that are in their “off” season, they can be much pricier than if you buy them in season. All florists are willing to work within your budget, but they need to know what that budget is. If you like a particular flower and it’s not in your budget, Morgan will show you how he can use similar ones to create the same look but aren’t as expensive. By getting your photos and ideas, Colucci will know if your style matches your budget and if not can discuss alternatives to keep you within your desired price point. Conforti will let you bring in your own containers and put arrangements in there, which often times helps couples keep their cost down. A good question to ask florists you interview is to see if you can do the same.

 

What tips do you have in choosing the perfect flowers for your wedding day?

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3 Essential Details You Need to Know Before Attending Your First Wedding Expo

Join us in this first part of a three-part series

 

The start of the new year means one thing in the Hudson Valley: It’s wedding expo season! If you are recently engaged, you might have started to notice ads for invitations popping up for shows almost every weekend at different venues across the area. If you are thinking about going to one, which I highly suggest you do, there are three essential details you need to know before you attend your first expo.

 

But first, as Julie Andrews says in a song from one of my favorite movies, The Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.” So, what exactly is a wedding expo, and what can you expect?

 

I like to think of wedding expos as trade shows for the wedding industry. If you’ve attended any sort of trade show, whether for work or for fun, you know it’s an opportunity for businesses in a particular industry to come together and showcase their products and services to potential consumers. In this case, the business are owned by wedding experts, and the consumers are you, the engaged couple. It’s an opportunity for you to get an idea of the types of businesses, services and products that are out there to help you create your dream day.

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

“If you’re looking for a DJ, if you’re looking for a band, if you’re looking for invitations, you’re looking for everything that goes along with your services for your wedding,” says Paul Porco, one of the managers at Villa Borghese Caterers, a venue that’s been hosting wedding expos for almost 30 years, and who, himself has been in the business for 25 years. “It’s an opportunity, then, to interview them (the vendors), to find out what particular products they offer, and also get an idea of about a budget and to get more educated on what to anticipate and what to look for.” Porco says an expo is really one of the key tools in helping couples book particular vendors for their wedding day.

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

Each show is different, and it’s recommended you go to as many as you can. Wanda Mendillo, Banquet and Sales Manager for Anthony’s Pier 9, says, “The more shows you go to, the more experience you get.” Why is experiencing more shows beneficial? Because it gives you an opportunity to meet new vendors, see new locations, and learn more about how to create the wedding of your dreams.

 

However, no matter what show you go to, there are three essential details you need to know before going because these are the questions every vendor you speak to is going to ask. Knowing these three things will help streamline the process for you and help you to more effectively narrow down your “A” team.

 

Date

 

Typically, couples start attending wedding expos soon after they get engaged, which means, they usually have about a year or longer to plan. That being said, It’s OK if you don’t have the exact date pinned down – it helps but isn’t necessary yet if it’s your first show. What you do need, however, is at least a timeframe. The year, the season, the month – something to give the person you are speaking to an idea of what you are thinking as it helps them see if they are going to be available that day.

 

Photo Credit: Grandview Events

You also do not want to wait too long to attend a show. Here’s why. Margaret Brower, Director of Sales at The Grandview, explains that some vendors, such as photographers and DJs, may have a team of staff that go out and cover weddings; that way, they can do more than one wedding a day. However, some vendors might just be a single person with an assistant, so if that vendor is already booked on that day, you will need to find someone else.

 

Budget

 

Similar to date, you may not have an exact budget in mind. In fact, if this is your first wedding expo, you may just be going to get an idea of how much services cost. However, having an idea of a budget does two things: It helps you quickly streamline the vendors who fall way outside your budget, and it also lets you see what you are getting for what you want to spend. We’ll discuss value versus cost in a future post.

 

Here’s a true story: When I attended my first show, I admittedly didn’t do any research before I went. That was not smart. I had a budget in mind, but honestly, it was just a random number I pulled out of thin air based on what I thought services would cost. Here’s what happened because of my unpreparedness: When I got to my first show, I immediately felt a sense of panic and sticker shock. We were on a tight budget, as we were also buying a house at the same time, but my little number was unrealistic in every stretch of the imagination. That’s why you need to have some idea in mind, or at least use the show as a research project, with an open mind, to get a realistic idea for how much services cost.

 

Guest List

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

The third thing you need to know is a rough estimate of how big your wedding will be. Again, this is where it behooves you to do a bit of planning before you go. Vendors ask you this question because knowing how big your wedding will be gives them an idea of what type of an event you want to have. Are you planning a quiet, intimate affair for just family, or a big blow-out party? It also helps you when you are talking to venue. The venue host will always have table at the expo, and so, if you are interested in the venue, you want to know how many people you expect because it will determine if that venue is the best fit for you. Your number of guests can ultimately decide where you have your wedding.

 

Another true story: We originally thought we would have 75 people, just guess-timating. Once we wrote down names, we ended up with nearly double that. What would have happened if we booked a venue that could only hold 80 people (because we thought we would have only 75) and then ended up with nearly 150 people? We would have either had to make some serious guest list cuts, or lose money because we would have to break the contract and book a different venue.

 

So, we want to know from you, have you gone to any wedding expos yet? Did you prepare? If so, how?

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