Follow Us

Categories

Archives

Search Tags

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

 

Read More

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

Read More

What You Need To Know Before Scheduling Your Hair & Makeup Trial

Join us for part 1 of a 2-part series. Today we discuss general facts about your hair and makeup trial.

 

With so many aspects of wedding planning, there are some items that you might think you could skip in an effort to save money. However, skipping on a hair and makeup trial is not recommended. Why?

 

Well, picture yourself on the day of your wedding: You go to the salon, because we know that your hair and makeup should be done by professionals, and the stylist asks what you are doing. They do what you ask but then you suddenly realize that what you wanted looks totally different on you than what you expected it to. Well, because it’s your wedding day, you are on a tight schedule, so you don’t have time to redo anything. That leads to a very stressful situation and something you don’t want to be worrying about last minute, especially on your wedding day.

 

RELATED: THIS IS THE ONE MISTAKE THAT CAN RUIN YOUR WEDDING PHOTOS

 

So, what exactly is a hair and makeup trial?

 

Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo & Video

A hair and makeup trial is just that: a trial run. It’s a chance for you to try out different styles of makeup and different styles of hair that you think you might want for your wedding day. That way, the day of your wedding, you and your stylist know ahead of time what styles you are going to have, so the appointment is streamlined, organized, stress free, fun, and, most importantly, efficient.

 

Since your hair and makeup appointment is usually the first stop on your wedding day itinerary, if you run late at the salon, it has a chain reaction on the rest of your day, making you late throughout the day. Knowing what the plan is ahead of time helps to get you in and out in a timely manner.

 

How far in advance should I book a trial?

 

Unlike buying a wedding dress or booking your vendors, scheduling a hair and makeup trial doesn’t really have a set timeframe; however, you want to make sure you schedule one at least a few months out from your wedding. This way, you have time to see what you like, have time to think about the looks you tried, and have time to make another appointment, if you feel you need one. You also want to make sure that you leave yourself enough time to prep your skin and get it close to the way you want it for your wedding day.

 

RELATED: EXPERTS SHARE BEST ADVICE FOR FLAWLESS WEDDING DAY SKIN

 

How long does a hair and makeup trial appointment last?

 

Each salon is different, so that’s a question you want to make sure you ask when booking your appointment. “I block out an hour-and-a-half,” says Stephanie Jones, owner of The Blushery in Beacon, who primarily does makeup. Rebecca Lee, owner of Bella Luci Salon in Poughkeepsie, says a hair trial lasts about an hour, and for makeup, expect an additional 45 minutes to an hour.

 

What you need to know and what should you bring with you

 

First, you need to know that a trial really starts with a conversation. You may have an idea of what you are looking for, but you need to have an open discussion with your stylist about your day. Cheryl Conklin, Platinum Stylist and Bridal Coordinator of Salon Lucere in Chester, says it’s always good to know what kind of wedding you are planning to have “Is it a very glamorous evening wedding? Is it formal? Is it casual? Is it outdoors? Because that does effect what we suggest for them,” she says.

 

Photos

 

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

“Usually, I tell them that they can bring in any pictures that they like,” says Jones. Sometimes she finds that brides don’t necessarily have a specific style. “They (brides) could bring in 10 totally different looks; but at least I know what kind of colors they like, if they want more of a smoky eye, if they want more of a natural look.”

 

The thing to remember is that the photos you bring with you are really meant for inspiration, not meant to copy exactly. “The good thing about a trial is that we take the pictures and make them applicable to them and their hair,” Lee says, “because sometimes the picture has extensions and they aren’t taking that into consideration, or the whole hair texture is completely different than their hair texture, so we use that as inspiration to then create a look that fits their hair style and their hair type.”

 

You also want to bring in a photo of your dress. “If they don’t have a dress,” says Jones, “they tell me either what kind of dress style they like or what color their bridesmaids are going to be, and we just go from there.”

 

Headpiece

 

It’s always a good idea to bring in any headpiece or hair accessories you plan on wearing that day, including your veil. “If they have it (headpiece), we like them to bring it,” Conklin says, “because sometimes it will dictate a bit of the hairstyle.” She says it also gives the stylist an idea of the overall look you are going for.

 

“If they have a headpiece,” says Lee, “I always say bring it to the trial because sometimes the style (of hair) that they chose doesn’t look well when the veil is in or we need to make a few adjustments so that it does compliment the hairpiece. Are they going to wear the hairpiece throughout the day, or just the ceremony, are they taking it out? Who’s going to do that? We do try to train at least one person (in the bridal party) to be able to put it in and take it out.”

 

We hope this gives you an overview of how to prep for your trial and what you can expect. Join us next week when we go into specific detail about your makeup and hair trial and how to leave with the perfect look for your wedding day.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

 

Read More

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

Read More

the one mistake couples make when hiring their DJ

When you hire a DJ for your wedding, did you know that you are not hiring them based on the fact they play music? That sounds crazy, right? I mean, they are called disc jockeys for a reason!

 

I’ll be the first to admit that we hired a DJ for our wedding because we wanted people to dance, have a good time, and get their groove on for a couple of hours. But when I stopped to think about it, our DJ did so much more than play music. Actually, the music came second to what really made our guest have a good time.
 

Here’s what I mean. A few weeks ago I saw this on the website of Digital Musicians Entertainment: “In this new age of easy access to technology it seems like it’s possible for anyone with a laptop and some speakers to be a “wedding DJ.” The truth is, what we do encompasses so much more than pressing play. It’s so much more than playing other people’s music through some big speakers.”

 

I was floored! That really made a lot of sense, so I thought I would ask professional wedding DJs in the Hudson Valley their thoughts, and they all agreed that playing music is just a part of what makes your wedding hop.

 

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

 

David Fischer, DJ and president of M. C. Fish Entertainment, Inc. in Fishkill, says, “A lot of people think that a DJ is a human jukebox – that a DJ just plays music – and that is about the last thing we do.”

 
dj quote
 

In fact, Domenic Trocino, owner of DJ Domenic Entertainment in Poughkeepsie, says, “The DJ, more important than the music, guides and directs, becomes the master of ceremonies, makes sure things happen at the right time, they coordinate between the vendors, the caterer, and the other various vendors. … The DJ is the nucleus of the formalities.”

 

Those are some powerful words – the nucleus of formalities. So let’s break this down into what DJs really do, and that goes far beyond playing music.

 

 

Wedding DJs can sometimes act like your wedding planner, and guests look at them as the ones in charge

 

Think about weddings you’ve attended in the past. Did it seem like a choreographed dance? Dances, speeches, cake cutting, dinner, photos all seemed to be happening at the right time. That wasn’t by chance.

 

“There’s so much more to DJing a wedding than just playing music,” says Joey Garcia (DJ Joey G.), owner of Jade DJ Entertainment in New Paltz. “We’re involved in everything, and the whole flow of the evening is in our hands. We need to make sure that everything is happening according to the schedule. We need to make sure that it’s what you want it to be, and planning is the biggest part of that.” That includes working with all your vendors and making sure everyone is on the same page following the same schedule.

 

Andrew “Enriquez” Nikola, DJ and president of Enriquez Entertainment in Marlboro, says, “DJs aren’t just playing music. It is not an iPod. An entertainment company is a wedding planner, an MC, and a DJ. They are working closely together with all the other vendors, as well as the venue, to ensure the greatest success of the event for the couple.”

 

This is why Fischer says guests often look at the DJ like they are the ones in charge.

 

RELATED: 9 Crucial Things You Need to Do for Your Wedding Vendors

 

Wedding DJs are also the MCs (Master of Ceremonies) and entertainers

 

I spoke to Pat Mahan, owner and DJ at Digital Musicians Entertainment in New Windsor, who was the inspiration for this post, to explain what was written on his website. “The DJ is so much more than playing music,” he says. “If you take away the master of ceremonies or if you take away the DJ, yes, you have somebody playing music at your wedding … but the downfall to that is, all the little things add up and take away from the total music time.” Little things, such as not mixing songs properly, stalling when certain formalities are being done, essentially anything that a DJ with little experience does, that interrupts that natural flow of the night and takes away from dance time.

 

When you work with a single operation DJ, meaning the DJ is the company, they are the DJ and the MC. With multi-operation DJ companies, meaning the DJ business has several DJs working for them, you will often times get a DJ and an MC for your wedding. Richie Schneider (DJ Richie Styles), DJ and manager of Music Speaks Volumes in Wappingers Falls, says, “It’s really important to have a two-man show, like a team. You need a DJ to play the music all night long and an MC to be on the microphone and get in the crowd to make sure that everything is being hosted correctly.”

 

 

DJ Bri Swatek, owner of Spinning with Style in Wappingers Falls, says, “If certain things don’t come together … if the DJ isn’t doing a good job moving people through the day, people will remember that lack of flow, they’ll remember it wasn’t organic, it wasn’t natural.”

 

Wedding DJs are your own personal AV, backstage, and lighting crew

 

Swatek explains “a good MC, a good DJ will get their hands into every single part of the wedding day, even little things like ‘what are your wedding colors?’ Well, why are you asking that? Because I’m bringing lighting, and I want to make sure that it coordinates with what you’re doing.”

 

But you also need to look at your wedding day as a whole, not just the reception, in terms of what you are hiring your DJ to do. For example, are you having an outdoor ceremony? Then you need wireless mics. Are you having music at cocktail hour? Then you need a separate setup.

 

Fischer says, “They (couples) lean on me a lot for the ceremony. Two-thirds of all the weddings I do, I’m involved in the ceremony.” He says almost any ceremony outside of a place of worship is going to need something, whether its live music like a violinist or at the very minimum a PA system. “If they (the couple) are out in the middle of a field on a farm and there are 200 guests,” he says, “the people in the first three rows are going to hear it (the ceremony) but what about the other 175 guests? So at the minimum, you need PA.”

 

 

Mahan says music should really be the last thing you discuss with your DJ. “The music is a byproduct of the process,” he says, “and the process is what’s important.” A truly experienced and qualified wedding DJ will be able to answer questions like “What happens if the first song cuts out? What happens if I have a last minute request? How do you accommodate that?”

 

So, you can see, a wedding DJ does so much more than play music. In our next article, we’re going to teach you the best ways to hire a DJ, what you should be looking for and questions to ask.
 
If you already booked your DJ or had your wedding, what did your DJ do that surprised you in any way? What made you say “Oh, I didn’t know that?”

Read More
wedding makeup

Experts share best advice for flawless wedding day skin

On your wedding day, you will be a blushing bride. There’s something about the day that just makes you glow and beam. But there is a way to make that glow even better, and that is by skin treatments. No, I’m not talking expensive invasive treatments; I’m talking about treatments that can be done at a salon.

 

wedding makeup

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

You know the importance of having professional makeup done for your wedding, and you know why wedding makeup is slightly different than what you wear every day. Treating and prepping your skin prior to your wedding, though, not only helps your radiant glow, but, like makeup, it also makes the photos look better and most importantly, it helps your makeup last longer and look better.

 

RELATED: This is The One Mistake That Can Ruin Your Wedding Photos 

 

However, before you start any sort of skin treatment, there are things you need to know. First, what is mentioned here is just for informational purposes. If you have any reservation about skin treatments or have a skin condition, I encourage you to seek medical advice before trying any of the treatments listed below. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

 

That being said, we asked local experts for their advice, and here are some things they’d like you to know to get your skin beautified for your wedding day.

 

Make sure you nourish your skin year-round

 

A wedding is a great excuse to get motivated to get in shape, lose some extra pounds you’ve always been wanting to get rid of, or start a skin routine. However, taking care of your skin is something you should be doing every day, regardless of whether or not you have a wedding to plan.

 

Ada Seymore, Owner of Salon Lucere in Chester, says the best way to do this is “hydration, hydration, hydration.” We all know how important drinking water is on a daily basis, but it has a dramatic effect on your skin as well. Seymore says to “make sure your skin is clean, that you are eating well, and that you are drinking plenty of fluids (preferably water), and that you are generally just taking care of yourself.”

 

I’d also add, using a daily SPF lotion is good not just for your wedding day, but is a good health practice all together as it prevents sun damage or worse, melanoma.

 

Why should you take extra care of your skin before your wedding?

 

wedding makeup

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Wedding Photography

Skin treatments not only hydrate your skin and clean your pores, but they also reduce the appearance of fine lines and dark spots, giving you an all-around even tone.

 

Stephanie Jones, owner of The Blushery in Beacon, says, “You should always prep your skin, because, first of all, if your skin is dry or dehydrated, the makeup won’t look very nice. It’ll either look a little flaky, it could settle into some lines, and it may not wear as well or as long throughout the day.”

 

How far in advance should you start facial treatments?

 

All our experts agree: NEVER start a skin treatment you haven’t tried before anytime close to your wedding day. You need to give yourself time … sometimes a lot of time.

 

Seymore recommends “not anywhere before the two-week mark.” Rebecca Lee, owner of Bella Luci Salon in Poughkeepsie, says, “You don’t want to do too much with your skin for the first time close to your wedding…to do a series of facials three months before your wedding day, your skin will be prepped and smooth and healthy before the wedding.”

 

“I always say when you get engaged…it’s never too soon,” says Jones. “If you want to start coming in and treating your skin at that point, you’ll have beautiful skin for your wedding day. You don’t want to come in a week before your wedding and get a facial because you don’t know how your skin is going to react. So start early on – that could be a year, that could be six months – it doesn’t have to be so, so far in advance; but give it a few months, at least, and start doing monthly facials.”

 

What kind of treatment is best for you?

 

The list is endless and it really depends on your goal, your skin type, what the condition of your skin is now and the time you have to devote to treatments. You should speak with your aesthetician to see what is best for you. No matter what you do, know that treated skin allows skin care products to penetrate deeper so they work better because they don’t have a layer of dead skin to go through.

 

wedding makeup

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Wedding Photography

“You should always get rid of some of your dead skin,” says Jones, “and with that, a microderm abrasion is very good to do. If a bride has brown spots, oily skin or acne, we can try to control that for them. So if they come in a few months in advance, five to six months, they can do five to six facials.”

 

So what is a microderm abrasion? Jones says a “microderm abrasion is a mechanical exfoliation, so it uses a machine; it’s pretty much like a vacuum. It has a little tip that feels like sandpaper, and you move it back and forth across the skin, like an eraser. The wand has a long tube attached to the machine, and that sucks up all the dry skin and you’ll feel immediate results.”

 

Over time, microderm abrasions also help with fine lines. However, Jones says getting them done is not a one-and-done treatment. You need to get it done regularly to really reduce the appearance of fine lines or sun spots.

 

Other skin treatments include waxing and spray tans, which are very popular with brides (wedding season or not). “A spray tan will give you a natural glow,” says Lee, who suggests coming in 48 hours before your wedding so you can properly give the spray time to settle and have time to wash the residual spray off your skin so it doesn’t rub off on clothing.  She also suggests waxing first, otherwise, the spray will come off with the wax.

 

Waxing is a great temporary fix to remove hair; I’m sure many, if not all of you, have had it done before. However, if you want a more permanent solution to hair removal, you can do laser hair removal. “If you start six to eight months ahead of your wedding date. You could do laser hair removal and be hair-free by your honeymoon or have most of the hair significantly reduced,” says Jones.

 

So we’d like to know if you are doing any skin treatments, which ones, and how do you like it so far? What advice do you have for brides who want to start a skin treatment?
 

Featured Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Read More
thank you

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?

Read More
Wedding DJ

Why hiring an experienced DJ for your wedding is a bad idea

Say what? No, this is not a typo; you read that correctly. You do not want an experienced DJ for your wedding; you want an experienced wedding DJ for your wedding.  Yes, there is a difference. Let me explain…

 

Actually, I’m going to let the experts explain it. Recently, we sat down with a few of the Hudson Valley’s top wedding DJs to learn more. First, it’s important to not underestimate the value of a DJ to your wedding. Joey Garcia (DJ Joey G.), owner of Jade DJ Entertainment in New Paltz, says, “One thing I wish they (couples) definitely knew was how important the DJ is to the wedding. We are right in the middle of every part of the wedding – from the first song played to the last song played – and it’s huge who you pick to DJ your wedding. No single vendor will have more of an impact on the wedding – good or bad – than the DJ.”

 

Let’s break this down a bit:

 

Wedding DJs manage the timeline of the night

 

First, you need to remember that a wedding is not like any other event. There is a certain ebb and flow to weddings and a certain format weddings follow which differs from traditional business events or other parties. That is why experience DJing weddings is so important.

 

Pat Mahan, owner and DJ at Digital Musicians Entertainment in New Windsor, says, weddings have two main components. In addition to playing music, the other, and more important, is management of the event. He says DJs “…can be the best DJ ever, but it’s irrelevant if the person managing the function can’t manage it properly.” He explains certain songs are played at receptions at certain times, mainly because they are taking guests into consideration. Older songs (oldies and classic rock n’ roll) are played earlier in the reception and newer songs are played later. That’s why, if you’ve ever gone to a wedding and requested a song and maybe had to wait a while for it to be played, it’s because the timing for that song wasn’t right.

 

Wedding DJs manage details

 

One of the details that sets an experienced wedding DJ apart is knowledge of the venue. This is important because they will be already familiar with the layout, load-in areas and the staff at the venue, making the day seamless.

 

Richie Schneider (DJ Richie Styles), DJ and manager of Music Speaks Volumes in Wappingers Falls, says, he trains his staff to always have a watchful eye. He tells them “Be aware of what’s going on. If it concerns you or not, just be aware of what’s going on in a room.” He explains this is important because if he knows the couple is going to do something special, he can notify the photographer that something important is about to happen.

 

Garcia says, “With the photographers, we won’t do the cake cutting without checking with them first to make sure they are ready – same thing with the videographer.”

 

Garcia also explains, “If (wedding DJs) are doing their job, they are going over every detail from start to finish beforehand – sitting down with the couple, finding out what they want, what they are looking for and what they’re not looking for, and putting it all together in the timeline of events.”

 

David Fischer, DJ and president of M.C. Fish Entertainment, Inc. in Fishkill, says wedding guests often look to the DJ as the one in charge because they are orchestrating all those moving parts. “We have to get with the other vendors; we have to get with the caterer to find out the timing of the meals,” he says. “I want a 10-minute heads-up because I don’t want to be blowing the roof off the joint and having 150 people sweating five minutes before they sit down to eat dinner.”

 

Wedding DJs know wedding trends

It’s one thing to know and keep up with trends in the music industry and DJ industry; but an experienced wedding DJ will also know the latest trends in weddings so they can properly manage the couple’s expectations.

 

Andrew “Enriquez” Nikola, DJ and president of Enriquez Entertainment in Marlboro, says a DJ can be “experienced for 25 plus years. The key to experience is evolving and changing with the trends of weddings from the entertainment perspective. … Do they have experience? Absolutely. They have many years of experience. But that experience doesn’t necessarily transition to a good time. … To be a professional (wedding) DJ, you must adapt to complement what your couples desire.”

 

If you’ve already chosen your DJ, what advice do you have for others looking to choose theirs? If you are a wedding DJ, what parts of a wedding do you think are most overlooked by couples?

 

Photo Credit: Jade DJ Entertainment

Read More

Featured Couple: Sara & Mike

Their Love Story…

 

Michael and Sara grew up in the same town (Pompton Plains, NJ). They started going out in 2005 when they were in high school, and, as Sara said, they “have been loving life together since.”

 
 
 
 

The Proposal…

 

Photo Credit: From bride’s personal archive

“Mike always takes me on a little birthday trip,” Sara said. “In December 2015, we went to the Catskills for the weekend as a ‘birthday gift.’ ” At their hotel in Phoenicia, Mike “scoped out a nice spot around a fire pit, in Adirondack chairs with the mountains around on the grounds of our hotel. He gave me a birthday card and photobook of all of our vacations together with each page featuring photos from a different trip – until the last two pages,” Sara said. “One page of lots of photos of us together and a quote: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.’ Then the next page was just goofy photos of him and said, ‘Will you take that step with me?’ Then he got down on one knee in the mud, and I said, ‘Of course!’” They celebrated afterward with reservations at a farm-to-table restaurant in the area.

 
 

Wedding Theme…

 

“I don’t really think I had one,” said Sara, “but everything seemed to be influenced by our love of Hudson Valley and fall.”

 
 

Why the Hudson Valley…?

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

“Mike and I have always loved the many cute towns in the Hudson Valley,” Sara said. “I work for a non-profit trade association, so I always browse farmer’s markets. One day during lunch, I was browsing the Union Square Farmers Market and saw a new stand, Bad Seed Cider. I saw that they have a tasting room and thought it would be a fun adventure for a weekend. We went in October 2015 and had an awesome tour (and yummy flights of cider)! On the tour, they mentioned that they can host weddings, and Mike and I both knew then this was the place for us.” What really hooked Sara and Mike was that they were looking for a venue that was different and unique. “We loved the feel of the cidery and surrounding area,” said Sara. “It didn’t feel like a typical wedding venue but was actually a functioning cidery, making an amazing cider. We loved that the venue had two levels so non-dancers could still feel included and look on while hanging at the bar.”

 

 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

“So many. Both of us think the first look (in the apple orchard) was our favorite moment,” said Sara. “I also loved making the flower bouquets and boutonnieres with my mom, sister, brother, best friend and Michael. Seeing my grandparents wave to the crowd from the second level of the venue – so cute!”

 
 
 
 
 
 

Hudson Valley Professionals…

 

Venue: Bad Seed Hard Cider (Highland)

Caterer: Hudson Valley Sausage Company (Highland)

Photographer: Christine Ashburn (Cold Spring)

Wedding Painter: Janet Howard-Fatta (Warwick)

Rentals: Durants Party Rentals (Wappingers Falls)

Ceremony Music: Appassionata Players (Poughkeepsie)

Ice Cream Truck: Chilly Willy’s Ice Cream

 

Photo credit to all: Christine Ashburn Photography

Read More

5 tips you need to know for awesome engagement photos

Join us for part 2 of a 3-part series

 

By now we’ve hope you read our article on why engagement photos are so important and have decided to book your engagement session. If you are still on the fence, take a few moments to read why Hudson Valley photographers say they are a must-do.

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

If you’ve already booked your engagement session, congratulations! Now, you’re probably thinking, what’s next? If you are like me, you might have no idea what to expect. Sure, you’ve seen people get photos done before, but how many times have you actually been the subject of those photos? For me, whenever I thought of getting professional pictures taken, my mind conjured up a funny scenario a la Austin Powers with Beyoncé, fans blowing my hair and a photographer yelling “Yeah, baby” and “I’m spent.” Why I thought that, I have no idea, but it still makes me laugh to this day to know that’s what I thought they’d be like.

 

Let me tell you, engagement photos are NOT like that, though I’m sure if you asked, your photographer might be able to make it happen…just kidding, but who knows.

 

If you’ve booked your session and are wondering what it will be like, let’s take a moment to step back and think about the first time you did anything: the first time you rode a bike, your first kiss, the first time you left home, or your first job. For some, the thought of doing anything for the first time is extremely scary and nerve-wracking. That’s normal. Why? Because you don’t know what to expect. It’s all new.

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios


 

If someone told you what to expect prior to doing anything for the first time, it would probably make you feel better and give you more confidence because the anticipation of what would happen is already known, and you will know how to prepare for what is to come.

 

So, with that, we have expert advice on what to expect, to eliminate the “unknowns” and help you feel more confident, excited and ready to rock your engagement photo session.

 

What can I expect the atmosphere to be like, and how will it differ than my wedding day?

 

In a word…RELAXED. Unlike your wedding day, which is formal in nature, emotional and slightly rushed, engagement sessions are way more relaxed and calm. Hannah Servidio, Owner of Hannah Nicole photography in Poughkeepsie, says it’s a very jovial atmosphere. She likes to joke and have fun with her couples, mainly to put them at ease.

 

The video below, created by AW’STRUCK Studios for Hannah Nicole Photography, really gives you a good sense of how calm and easy an engagement session is.

 

 

Notice how Servidio shows the couple, Kimberly and Andrew (who you’ll hear more from later in this series) how to pose. Any photographer you choose will do the same. Rupert Rogers and Kellie Walsh of 4 Eyes Photography in Nyack and Manhattan says, “We’ll direct couples on what to do, so they’re having fun and relax. We like to shoot the engagement shoots with one photographer and an assistant, so that bags and equipment can be watched while the photographer works with the couple.”

 

How long does an engagement photo session last?

 

Engagement photo sessions typically don’t last too long, but the length varies per photographer. Of the photographers we spoke to, you’re looking at anywhere from one to three hours. You and your photographer can pick the day and the time, and most photographers tend to shoot in the late afternoon (depending on the season) because the sunlight exposure at that time is awesome.

 

Where do you get photos taken, and how do you choose your locale?

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Mark Greenstone, owner of Majestic Studios in Hopewell Junction, really likes to give his couples ownership and buy in as to where to have photos taken and encourages his couples to think about both the engagement photos and wedding photos as a whole. He explains couples need to think about whether they want to choose a site similar or different than where you plan to get wedding photos taken. For example, do you want the Hudson River in the background of both? He also encourages his couples to think about how the photos are going to be used. As mentioned in Part 1, think about if you want to use the photos as part of your wedding day (guest book, website, save the dates) or if you just want them to display around your home.

 

Erica Leman, owner and lead photographer at Sweet Alice Photography in Poughkeepsie, actually has a Pinterest board of Hudson Valley locations to choose from, if the couple is really stumped. “It’s really helpful to my couples,” she says. “About half (of couples) already have great ideas on locations outside of my help (usually, places that are meaningful to them and their story), and others like to peruse the board and choose from there.”

 

Once you get to a location, the possibilities are endless. Rogers and Welsh say once they get to a location, that spot usually ends up leading to more spots during the session. “We like to pick one area and then walk around, selecting lots of different spots for shots as we go.”

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

When do you get engagement photos done?

 

As we mentioned earlier, thinking about how you want to use the photos can determine when you get them done. If you want them for elements of your wedding, such as for save the dates or a wedding website, you should get them done months in advance. If that’s not something you plan on doing, then timing doesn’t really matter. Rogers and Walsh say, “It can really be anytime – a year in advance or a few weeks before the day. Sometimes it’s nice to be in a different season to your actual wedding, so you have a whole fresh ‘look.’ ”

 

What do you wear?

 

This is the age-old question. You can be staring at a closet full of clothes and still have nothing to wear, right? However, what you wear determines a lot. Greenstone says what you wear gives the photographer a better sense of who you are as a couple. He’s had couples come in everything from jeans and sneakers to dress-wear. But most importantly, he says to make sure you wear something that you are comfortable in.

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

“We always tell people to wear their favorite clothes – what they are comfortable in,” say Rogers and Welsh. “You’ll be moving around and posing in lots of positions, so you’ll want to be comfortable.” But they caution couples to stay away from white clothes, heavily patterned clothes, and anything that’s very tight.
 

Leman encourages couples to look at what each person is wearing and coordinate that way. “Couples should wear clothes that they feel comfortable and confident in, and err on the side of caution regarding patterns.” She says. “If one person is wearing a pattern (such as a plaid or floral), the other person should wear a solid. Corresponding colors are good, but totally matching can be a little cheesy. I just let couples know to bring their awesome self, and to wear clothes that they are comfortable and confident in. I recommend that women get hair and makeup done, but it is totally not absolutely necessary – just a nice added touch, if wanted.”

 

Servidio recommends couples bring two outfits: one that’s comfortable and casual, and one that’s a bit dressier, giving you a variety in the look and feel of the photos.

 

How are you preparing for your engagement session? What are you wearing? When and where are you getting them done? Have a question about engagement photos? Send them to Felicia@weddingconnectionshv.com.

 

Stay tuned for the last in our series of engagement photos when we interview two amazing couples about their engagement sessions and why they chose to get them done.

Read More

What is the most important thing couples overlook at wedding expos?

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

 

Did you see it? You know, the one thing most couples overlook at wedding expos? It was right there in front of you the whole time. Do you know what I’m talking about? The venue!

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

You’re probably thinking “Of course I saw the venue. I drove there and saw it when I walked in, duh!” But that’s not quite what I mean.

 

Did you really see it? Most couples attend shows because they are looking for a particular service or product for their wedding day, and I go into some detail on that on an earlier post. However, the one thing many couples don’t really spend the time to look at is the venue itself and how the space can be utilized for your wedding day. This is especially important for couples to do if they haven’t booked their venue yet.

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

I admit it: I had my blinders up, too. It’s very easy to be at a show and lose track of where you are. There are a lot of people, a lot of activities going on, lots of stuff to carry – and between talking to all the wedding professionals and grabbing a bite to eat, you sometimes forget you are at a wedding venue.

 

“If you’re looking for a venue, a wedding show is a wonderful way to see how the venue itself operates,” says Margaret Brower, Director of Sales at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie. “To be at the show, it’s easy to focus on the vendors themselves, if you open your eyes a little wider you can notice other things about a venue – how the tables are arranged, what the linens look like, how the staff is dressed, how they are moving about the space. Is it with calm and ease, and is the staff smiling, and is the registration organized?”

 

The key to remember is, the wedding expo is a big event, just like a wedding is a big event. By big, I don’t mean momentous; I mean big in terms of people. So, you want to make sure you pay close attention to how things are running, especially in these areas:

 

ROOM LAYOUT

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

While the rooms at a venue during a bridal show are pretty packed, do try to take a look at the overall style and layout of the rooms. For example, each room could be used for a different reception, or, if you are having a large wedding, each room could be used for a different part of your reception – one for cocktail hour and then another for the reception. Paul Porco, a manager at Villa Borghese Caterers in Wappingers Falls, says they have several different affordable rooms to choose from. “We can do multiple events and have options to do singular events,” he says. Wanda Mendillo, Banquet and Sales Manager for Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor, concurs. “When you are taking a look at the overall venue that’s hosting the wedding show, you can definitely take a look at the specific area or the layout of the building. … We can do two receptions at the same time, but they’re completely private.” So, just being aware of your surroundings is key.

 

FOOD, DRINKS, AND TABLE SETTINGS

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

All expos hosted at a wedding venue will, more often than not, have food and drinks served – sometimes in a separate room, sometimes with passed hors d’oeuvres. Food and drinks are great because, let’s face it, who doesn’t like free, delicious food? But while you’re taking a break and eating, remember that the food they have could also be the same food that will be served at your wedding, depending on the package. Take note of what you are eating, and if you like the food, so that if you decide to book that venue, you can make sure you have that served at your wedding. Also, remember they are cooking for a large group of people, just like they will be doing on your wedding day. Like I mentioned before, if food is served in a different room, pay close attention because that could be the room where cocktail hour will be.

 

CLEANLINESS

 

Photo Credit: Grandview Events

This is going to sound silly, but check out the bathrooms while you are at a wedding expo. How are they holding up with a steady stream of people going in and out all day? Are they clean? Dirty? Look at the floor and the overall tidiness of the facility while there is a large group of people there. Does it look very well kept or trashed? It’s another good indicator of how things will operate on your wedding day.

 

STAFF

 

As Brower stated earlier, pay attention to the staff – not just those at registration, but floor staff and those serving appetizers. Is the staff happy to be there? Are they smiling? Helpful? Courteous? Polite? Are they able to answer your questions? You want to make sure they are giving you the quality you are looking for because they may be the same hard-working folks who will be serving you and your guests on your wedding day.

 

Photo Credit: Grandview Events

However, when all is said and done, a wedding expo is vastly different than a wedding, so you want to make sure that if you liked the venue at the show, you should definitely follow up with a private tour. No one will be around so you can see, more clearly, see where the dance floor is, how walls or curtains can me moved to facilitate your needs. Mendillo sums it up nicely by saying, “Taking a look at the size of the rooms, the layout, the outside gardens for photos is also extremely important as well as the staffing, being friendly, considerate, and helpful. But follow up with a visit, one-on-one with a sales coordinator or event planner, because you can see layout of the room set wedding style to see full effect.”

 

So, was this something you missed? Did you book your venue based on what you saw at a wedding expo?

Read More

Hudson Valley Wedding Photographers Share 6 Reasons Why You Need Engagement Photos

Join us for part 1 of a 3-part series where professional Hudson Valley wedding photographers share their expertise on engagement photos.

 

From the moment you get engaged to the moment you say “I do,” wedding planning becomes the single most important aspect of your lives for however long you are engaged. That means that day in and day out, you are looking at a long list of to-do’s and trying to check as many off as you can before the big day.

 

A long list of to-do’s also means in between planning, you are trying to manage work, life and your bank account and may find yourself asking the question, “Is this something we really need?” time and time again.

 

Perhaps you are going back and forth about engagement photos. Are you struggling to find the value in them, or can’t figure out how you are going to make time to get them done? Don’t worry, you are not alone.

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

In fact, I was one of those brides that thought we didn’t need them. My husband and I got engaged at Walt Disney World, and if you have visited the parks within the last several years, you know they have photographers staged throughout the parks taking your photo at different scenic locations. Our photographer captured every step of the proposal, so I thought we already had our engagement photos taken care of. Wrong!

 

When we met with our photographer, he explained while those photos were awesome because they literally captured the exact moment we got engaged, traditional engagement photos were truly different. He educated us as to why we should reconsider, and I want to share the same knowledge with you.

 

So, we asked experienced Hudson Valley photographers to share their thoughts as to why engagement photos are really a necessity and should not be dismissed so easily:

 

Reason #1 – It’s an Investment

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

It’s very easy to get caught up in the mindset your wedding is a transaction. I get it: You are paying a person or company to provide you with a service or product. It’s Economics 101. However, your wedding is not a transaction. Every service you render for your big day is investing in lifelong memories and experiences.

 

Erica Leman, owner and lead photographer at Sweet Alice Photography in Poughkeepsie, says, “At the end of the wedding planning process, when the day is over, the biggest items that a couple has from their day, beside their precious memories, is their marriage license and their photography.”

 

Reason #2 – You get used to being photographed before your wedding day

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

How many of you get your photos professionally taken regularly? Probably not many. Hannah Servidio, owner of Hannah Nicole Photography in Poughkeepsie, says couples aren’t in front of the camera every single day, so your engagement session gives you time to get to know what you’re comfortable with, giving you and your photographer a sense of how you work with the camera.

 

Mark Greenstone, owner of Majestic Studios in Hopewell Junction, says an engagement session is usually the first time a couple has professional photos taken. It’s a good chance for the couple to see how the photographer works, how they are being posed, and gives couples the chance to feel more comfortable on their wedding day because they will know what to expect having worked with the photographer already.

 

In other words, engagement sessions are a great way to get comfortable with having your photo taken. “Most people need a little time to get used to the process, and we always try and make it a fun, relaxed way to ‘practice’ being photographed and prepare you for the hectic schedule of the actual wedding day.” Says Rupert Rogers and Kellie Walsh of 4 Eyes Photography in Nyack and Manhattan.

 

Reason #3 – It gives you and your photographer a chance to connect

 

We know how important it is to connect with your wedding professional before hiring them. Your photographer is one of the professionals you will be working with the most throughout your whole planning experience. Working with your photographer prior to your wedding day assists in the day-of wedding photography because, as Leman states, it “feels like less of a transactional act and more like a partnership.” Who doesn’t want a partner on their wedding day?  It’s “extremely important to get to know your photographer because you are going to be spending the most time with them during your day,” says Servidio.

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Greenstone agrees and adds engagement sessions give you the opportunity to see if you like the photographer and gives the photographer insight into what you are like, what personalities you have and what your comfort level is. He’s right, having a connection is key with not only your photographers but all your vendors. You are going to be working closely with them all throughout the planning process and being able to get along and like each other makes things much easier.

 

Reason #4 – Photographs have multiple purposes

 

“It’s great to have professional photos of the two of you in regular clothes, that you can use for announcements, save the dates or for a book or frames at the wedding,” says Rogers and Walsh. You really want to take a look at what you are going to be using the photos for. My husband and I, for example, just wanted really nice photos we could display around the house. We both hate getting our picture taken and would prefer to be behind the lens, so having really nice professional photos was important to us. We decided to go photo-free for our save the dates and our website focused that more on the event and not us since everyone knew us already.

 

Reason #5 – Give you an opportunity to make sure you like the work

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Think of the engagement session as your photography test drive. Greenstone encourages couples to really size up the photographer to make sure they like their engagement photos, as well as the photographer’s communication style. He encourages this because you want to eliminate surprises on your wedding day.

 

If you are not happy with the photographer once you see the finished engagement session photos, you need to reconsider your choice of photographer before signing a wedding contract. Aesthetic is not going to change for your wedding day, and you need to choose a photographer that matches your style.

 

Reason #6 – Captures magical moment in time

 

Being engaged is usually the shortest part of any relationship. I look back at our engagement photos and am instantly transported back to a time that really was such a special time in our lives. Engagement photos, as well as wedding photos, are so much more than a person snapping photos. It’s about capturing a moment in time, says Servidio.

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Leman says, “Being engaged is so unique and different and beautiful. This period in a couple’s journey together has a certain element of whimsy. The wait is what makes the wedding even more exciting. It is a special part of a couple’s journey. And this period of waiting deserves to be captured.”

 

We want to hear from you. Are you on the fence about getting engagement photos done? What are your concerns about them?

 

Join us for part 2 when our experts prepare you for your engagement photo day. Learn what actually goes on behind the scenes to help put you at ease and help rock your session. 

 

Read More