Follow Us

Categories

Archives

Search Tags

Hudson Valley Wedding White Poppy Weddings New York Country Club New Hempstead New York

Rockefeller Center Proposal and a Hudson Valley Wedding at the New York Country Club

Shannon and Mier’s engagement at Rockefeller Center was like a scene out of your favorite romance movie, complete with a surprise engagement party, and capped off with a week-long cruise! If you thought that couldn’t get any better, wait until you see their photos from their Hudson Valley wedding at the New York Country Club in New Hempstead, NY. White Poppy Weddings captured every detail perfectly and you can see that Shannon and Mier’s day was full of love and laughter. But first, we got a chance to interview the lovely bride, Shannon, and she tells us more about their beautiful love story and shares some REALLY GREAT advice to engaged couples as well.

 

How did you meet?

 

We were introduced through our mutual friend, Nicole. Mier was friends with her in high school and she became my suite mate in college. Every summer I would go to her house on Long Island to celebrate her birthday and it was always a good mix of high school and college friends getting together. I would only see him once a year at her party and it wasn’t until the summer of 2013, which was right after college, that we decided to take a chance and go on our first date together. After that, I found myself traveling to Long Island quite often.

 

What was your proposal like?

 

We had booked a cruise to leave out of Miami on February 12th which also happened to be my birthday. We were flying out early the day before so on the 10th Mier had organized a dinner with our parents to celebrate my birthday. I’m a huge planner so I wanted to set up the whole thing but he insisted on making the location a surprise and the only reason I agreed was that he kept telling me that I shouldn’t be the one planning my birthday. How could I argue with that one?

 

We woke up that morning and he wanted to go into the City for the day which was super spur of the moment because I was under the assumption that he was going into work because it was a Friday. I had also tried convincing him earlier in the week to take the day off but he said he couldn’t, so you could imagine my excitement when he told me he wasn’t going in to work.

 

Rockefeller Center Proposal

Photo from Shannon’s personal collection

We got up and I was trying to find a nice outfit to wear because I am now assuming that my surprise birthday dinner is in the city. One thing leads to another and my getting ready process took a little longer than anticipated so we missed our first train. Oops! He had mentioned that he wanted to go to The Top of the Rock and ice skating at Rockefeller Center but since we missed our first train, we’d only go ice skating because we had tickets already for open skating for a specific time. I was extremely fine with that because ice skating in the City was one of my bucket list items that I’ve always wanted to do. We get into the city and check in at the rink. I remember getting on the ice and feeling so excited to finally be able to see a different perspective of Rockefeller Center.

About 5 minutes before the session ended, Mier says that he’d like to take a picture in front of the main statue. We’re the last people on the ice and he asks an employee if they would mind taking a photo. He hands her my phone and as we’re skating over to the statue I hear “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve start playing. Everyone that knows me knows that is my all-time favorite song so I don’t even see a ring yet but I know it’s coming because as I am listening to “Bittersweet Symphony.” I see the biggest smile on his face with tears in his eyes. Mier gets down on one knee and asks me to marry him in the most perfect way. Everyone from above was cheering for us and I remember being overwhelmed with such joy and happiness. It’s moment in time which I get to relive frequently because the girl that was supposed to take our picture captured that exact moment on video.

 

Afterwards, we sit down at the ice skating rinks bar and got treated to a glass of champagne. At this point, I completely forgot about my birthday dinner but Mier tells me that he actually booked a reservation closer to our house in Hastings. We finish our champagne and hop on the train to head back. I’m on cloud 9 and very excited to see our parents and show them my new shiny piece of jewelry. He said that we just needed to stop at the house really quick because he forgot a card that he wanted to bring to the restaurant.

 

We get inside and are greeted with a big “SURPRISEEEE!” Our family and friends came running towards us with open arms and already being an emotional wreck, I start crying once again.

 

The rest of the night was spent celebrating with all of our loved ones and the next morning we flew off to Miami to spend the week cruising tropical islands as a newly engaged couple. It could not have been more perfect.

 

Did you have a wedding theme or vibe you were going for?

 

When planning my wedding I always had the vibe of classy and elegant in the back of my mind. I didn’t want extremely bold colors but rather more neutrals with a pop of lighter blue hints. The blue was incorporated in the bridal party and with our floral arrangements. The first element that I knew we had to have were hydrangeas. They are my absolute favorite flower so I knew that blue needed to be the focus point. Pinterest did a great job at helping find ideas.

 

Why did you choose the Hudson Valley for your wedding?

 

We chose the Hudson Valley for our wedding because my family is from upstate and his family is from Long Island so we thought that it would be a good idea to pick an area that was close to being between our two homes.

 

What was the most memorable moment from your wedding day?

 

There was a moment in the middle of the reception when I sat down while everyone else was on the dance floor. I will never forget that moment because I was overcome with such happiness seeing all of our family and friends having the best time celebrating our marriage. I think it’s very important for couples to take in those moments on their wedding day because it allows you to step back and truly feel all of the love that is surrounding you on your wedding.

 

Do you have any advice for engaged couples about wedding planning?

 

Find your venue as soon as possible. Some people think it’s crazy to start looking right after you get engaged but I have to disagree. While it’s nice to enjoy the time being newly engaged, it’s also important to start looking for your dream location to get married. It could take some time to find that perfect place and if you have a specific day or month in mind, that’s even more of a reason to start the hunt early so you can get the date you want. Schedule those appointments!

 

Also, I cannot stress this enough….. make sure you love your vendors and know who you’re working with! These are the people that you will communicate with frequently which is why it’s super important to feel comfortable with your vendors. There’s a lot of trust that you will need to give them because these are the people who are supposed to make your dream wedding become a reality. Luckily, could not be happier with the vendors that we chose. Everyone was phenomenal and we will be forever grateful for them.

 

Vendors:

 

Venue: New York Country Club – New Hempstead, NY

 

Photography: White Poppy Weddings – Newburgh, NY

 

DJ and Videography: Music Speaks Volumes – Wappingers Falls, NY

 

Hair and Makeup: Bella Trucco – Marlboro, NY

 

Flowers: Bassett Flowers – New City, New York

 

Photo credit: White Poppy Weddings
Read More
Hudson Valley Wedding at Cedar Lakes Estate photos by With Love and Embers

Weekend-Long Hudson Valley Wedding at Cedar Lakes Estate

Taryn and Jason’s Hudson Valley wedding last month was magical in every sense of the word. It began with a proposal in Beacon, NY and ended with their family and friends camped out for an entire weekend at Cedar Lakes Estate in Port Jervis, NY. Check out their stunning photos by With Love & Embers and read all about their beautiful love story, their proposal and some really great advice for choosing vendors as well as cherishing the “engaged” phase of your relationship.
 


 

How did you two meet?

 

Taryn: Jason and I both went to Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania and met during the fall of 2007. I had just started my freshman year and he was a sophomore. We met fairly early on during my freshman year (his sophomore). F&M is a small school so everyone pretty much knew each other, and this was especially true of the athletes (I was playing on the lacrosse team and Jason played baseball). I’m not sure if either of us remembers the exact moment we met, I think it was more gradual…we had a lot of mutual friends, given that the athletes mostly hung out with each other. We started spending more time together in smaller groups, got to know each other a little better, and eventually realized that we had a connection that felt a little deeper than friendship.
 

Tell us all about the proposal!

 

Taryn: We got engaged on a Friday, October 30, 2015, about 8 years after we first met. I was in my 4th and final year of medical school and had just taken one of the biggest exams of my career. Jason wanted to go away for the weekend to celebrate but wanted to surprise me with the details. We started driving north, and within 2 hours, we turned off the highway onto an exit that I knew very well. We were going to Beacon, NY—a small town in the Hudson Valley we visited and fell in love with the year before. Within seconds, I realized that Jason had most likely booked a converted barn that we had found on Airbnb the year before, but it had been unavailable for months. When we got there, Jason said we were running late for our dinner reservation, and asked if I could quickly grab my bags and put them inside so we could head to town for dinner.
 

Still not suspecting a thing, mostly because Jason remained so calm, I opened the door to the barn to find a string-lit filled barn, with 2 horses quietly eating. (I grew up riding horses, so I was MUCH more intrigued by the two of them than the twinkling lights, candles, roses, and the bottle of champagne). It wasn’t until Jason walked over and asked “Can you put your bag down?” that I turned, saw his face, and instantly knew what was happening. I’m still not sure what he said to me, but all I could focus on was the look in his eyes. I actually don’t even think I looked at the ring for a good few minutes! It was the most magical moment, and for a guy who was not the best with romantic gestures and surprises, he pulled out all the stops for this one. We went to dinner after calling our families and made a deal to not tell anyone else until the end of the weekend. We really just wanted to enjoy each other without the distraction of a million phone calls and text messages…and social media, which was the best decision. For the last surprise of the weekend, Jason had set up a celebratory dinner with our families back in the city on Sunday night. The perfect end to the perfect weekend!
 

Describe the wedding planning process. Why did you choose the vendors you worked with?

 

Taryn: After taking some time to just be engaged, we slowly started looking at venues online. Cedar Lakes was the first place we visited and from the moment we stepped onto the property, we knew it was where we wanted to get married. Even in the dead of winter, it had a certain magic to it. And in the spring and summer, it’s really is an indescribable place. Jason and I wanted a venue that truly reflected our relationship and who we are as a couple. The outdoors are really important to both of us and play a pretty significant roll in our lives, and in our relationship. Living in the city, we rely on our trips to Vermont, weekends at his family’s lake house, or at my parent’s home near to ocean to ground us and give us a re-charge. We wanted a place that could bring together our love for the mountains, the forest, and water. Cedar Lakes just felt like us. Additionally, our family and friends are so important to us and we were really drawn by venues that allowed for weekend-long celebrations. As a former summer camp, CLE allowed us to host both of our extended family and our entire wedding party on-site, which allowed for a really special weekend.
 

Planning: We realized early on that we were going to need a lot of guidance, as work was crazy for both of us and, as mentioned, Cedar Lakes required a good deal of coordination. We knew we needed someone who was comfortable with the property, the staff, and all of Cedar Lakes Estate’s intricacies. We were introduced to our planner, Amanda of Bespoke Moments, by the CLE team. She has planned countless weddings there over the last few years and after our first conversation, I knew she was perfect for us. Handing the reins over to the Bespoke Moments team was the biggest sense of relief I felt throughout the whole planning process, and it truly allowed us to relax and enjoy. Amanda was integral in a number of vendor choices including the DJ (Generation Events), our rentals (Hudson Valley Vintage Rentals), and our stationary/signage. She also provided us with our “wedding bible”–a multi-page Excel document to keep us on track and organized throughout the planning phase–which truly became our bible.

 

Photography: We knew we didn’t want “traditional” wedding photos and hoped to capture the love, emotions, and candid moments from our day in an organic way. A friend of ours had chosen Jillian & Ryan McGrath of With Love & Embers photography for their wedding–we absolutely loved their photos and knew that their style would be perfect for us and our venue. When we first met Jill & Ryan, we felt an instant connection and as if we had known them for years. And more importantly, we felt so comfortable in front of their lenses during our engagement shoot and understood how important this would be on our wedding day.

 

Florals: Starting out, we didn’t realize how expensive florists and floral design teams can be, so it did take some searching around to find a florist that was within our budget. Kate Amato of Viridescent Floral Design from Beacon, NY came as a welcome recommendation from our Cedar Lakes team. From the moment I met Kate, I was confident that she would not only create something extraordinary but that her calm and friendly demeanor would make working together a breeze. She took my scattered thoughts from our first meeting and came up with a proposal that truly grasped our vision. Kate was also very comfortable with recycling the arrangements and design elements in different ways throughout the weekend events, which not only helped us save money but allowed our guests to enjoy those beauties a little bit longer!

 

Officiant: My husband and I come from different religious backgrounds–he was raised Jewish and I was raised Catholic, however, neither of us envisioned a religious wedding ceremony. We knew that having a non-denominational officiant would allow us to craft and personalize our ceremony, and to integrate the traditions that were most meaningful to us. The moment after we finished our first phone call with Alice, we knew that we had our celebrant and did not need to look any further. And once we met with her a few months before our wedding day, it felt like we had known each other forever. Beyond that, she was also extremely professional and organized and provided us with numerous resources for ceremony elements, readings, vows, and beyond. She also gave us a complete breakdown of the ceremony and a provided a timeline for our venue, which made the whole event run flawlessly.

 

Describe your wedding day.

 

Taryn: The wedding day itself turned out to be beyond anything we could have ever imagined. To this day, we still have trouble finding the words to describe it–it truly was the most magical, perfect day of our lives and an incredible way to begin our new life together. The weather was beyond perfect (something that doesn’t happen too often for big events in our lives!) and the whole day just went flawlessly (except for a minor bustle snag). To this day, our friends and family continue to tell us that it was one of the best weddings they’ve ever attended–we’re obviously biased but we couldn’t agree more!
 

One of the really beautiful things about Cedar Lakes Estate, beyond the physical beauty, is the fact that the wedding celebration becomes a weekend getaway, as all of our family and wedding party were able to stay on the estate. Each event is held on site, which allowed our family, wedding party and guests the chance to relax and enjoy the weekend without having to be transported to multiple different sites. Jason and I arrived early in the day on Friday and got the chance to unwind a bit before our guests started arriving. We had a short ceremony rehearsal before starting our rehearsal dinner on Friday evening. We included just our family and wedding party for the dinner hour, but invited any guests who were staying onsite or in the area to come for “Welcome Drinks” and to listen to a few speeches.
 

Our wedding day started on Saturday morning with breakfast for our on-site guests. Cedar Lakes Estate is a former summer camp, complete with a pool, twin lakes and blob launch, and acres of property, so we invited our wedding guests to join our families and wedding party on site for lunch and outdoor activities during the day on Saturday. Some of the best videos and photos of the day were from the blob!
 

Jason and I chose to do a first look. I thought it was going to be one of the most emotional moments of the day for me, but I was just so excited to finally see him (and show him my dress–so hard to keep that a secret for 9 months!) that we couldn’t stop smiling. I also decided to do a first look with my dad, which turned out to be the more emotional one. We finished up photos ahead of schedule and had this really awesome moment before our ceremony with the entire wedding party plus our parents. We had about 20-30 minutes to just relax, chat, and make a toast or two–nothing crazy but I felt like having just those final few minutes helped calm any remaining nerves and really set the tone for the rest of the evening.
 

Our ceremony was beyond anything we could have ever envisioned. It ended up being the most emotional part of the day for me–the setting was so intimate and you could just feel the warmth and love radiating from our guests. Definitely lots of unexpected tears from me! Our officiant created the most heartfelt and meaningful ceremony, focused on the two of us and how our relationship has grown together over the last decade. We also included a ring blessing–we had our parents come up under the arch with us and say a blessing over our wedding rings. It was unexpected (for them) but a really touching moment! My dad surprised us with a handmade birch arch (chuppah), with wood he gathered in Vermont. Standing under it with Jason during our first moments as husband and wife is a memory we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives.
 

The reception was the MOST fun we’ve ever had. The moment before entering the reception was one of my favorite memories from the day (see more below!). The decor in the barn was beyond anything we could have dreamed of. It was incredibly warm and welcoming, with lots of soft light from the candles. We chose to honor Jason’s culture and did the Hora right after the first dances, which got our guests out on the dance floor and the party started. We have a really incredible picture from that moment of everyone up and dancing, one of our favorites from the night. I’m fairly certain the dance floor was packed the entire night—everyone from my 90-year-old grandmother to my cousin’s new 2-week old baby (well, just for a short while)! We chose to serve dinner family style, as we felt it would really continue our hope to make the weekend feel as warm and welcoming as possible. Besides the food just being absolutely impeccable, I think our guests truly enjoyed sharing a meal together in that way. It really was the most perfect day we could have ever imagined!
 

Jason: From start to finish, our wedding day was incredible. We got lucky with the weather and ended up with a sunny 75-degree day, which lent itself to plenty of outdoor activities with my groomsmen and our on-site guests. Family and friends were able to enjoy the hiking trails, the pool, and even the blob launch on the lake. Being able to spend the first half of the day relaxing with everyone was really special and set the tone for a really relaxed celebration. It’s just a shame that bridal prep takes so many hours because I know Taryn and her bridesmaids would have loved to participate! We also (shockingly) were finished early with our photos, so we had about 20-30 minutes to spend privately with our family and wedding party before the ceremony. It was a happy accident and ended up being a really special pre-ceremony gathering.
 

The ceremony itself was magical. We stood surrounded by our closest friends and family, with the sun was shining on the lake behind us, shaded by the quiet of an evergreen tree grove. Taryn’s dad hand-built our wedding arch–made out of birch trees that he gathered from Vermont. It added a personal touch and it was very meaningful to Taryn and me. We know how hard he worked to put it together, and we can’t thank him enough for it! It’s something we’ll treasure forever
 

What was your favorite moment from your wedding day?

 

Taryn: can I say the entire weekend? Ha! It’s really hard to pick one.
 

1) Seeing Jason for the first time during our first look, we had one of those silent connections where we knew exactly what the other was thinking–and feeling so excited for that moment to have finally arrived!
 

2) walking down the aisle with my dad, and seeing the look on Jason’s face. Then when they hugged…ahh so many tears!
 

3) our officiant had us turn to our guests right at the beginning of the ceremony to say “hi!”. this was super cool, I think a lot of couples don’t get that moment to absorb the crowd and for us, being able to wave to everyone and feel their warmth was amazing.
 

4) right before Jason and I were announced at the reception, we had this brief moment together standing outside the barn without anyone else. The barn has huge glass windows so we could see everything inside. Looking into the windows, seeing all our favorite people in one room, and all the gorgeous decor—it was like we saw the entire two years of planning come together before our eyes. We just looked at each other with gigantic smiles on our faces–knowing that we were about to kick off our new life together in the most incredible fashion.
 

Jason: There were two big winners for me. First, our ceremony. I don’t love a lot of attention so I was expecting to feel just nerves and adrenaline. But we ended up having the most beautiful, peaceful ceremony surrounded by all of our friends and family members. There were a lot of truly special moments from the ceremony that we’ll remember forever. Second, Taryn and I first dance together as a married couple. It was a moment of quiet – we zoned out everything around us and it felt like we were the only two people in the world. And then the party started!
 

What is your advice for newly engaged couples?

 

Taryn: Unless you’re on a strict timeline, take some time to just enjoy being engaged before diving into wedding planning. It’s one of the most exciting periods of your relationship, and the happiness that surrounds you during that time is unparalleled. Celebrate with your friends, your family, and most important, each other. Try to make as many decisions together as possible. There will obviously be the inevitable disagreement here and there but try not to let the little things get between you. The day is about celebrating you as a couple and who you are as a couple, and we found that doing things as a team brought us closer throughout the process.
 

When you do start to plan, I think one of the biggest things to lay out first is the budget. Setting a budget and talking about the finances first will enable you to more easily decide on venues and vendors…and will prevent a lot of headaches down the road. Most importantly, remember that this day is about you and your partner. If there are opinionated voices, find out what is most important to them and maybe attempt to compromise, but ultimately it is your day. Lastly, wedding planning can be stressful–deadlines, budgets, decisions, opinions–turn to each other for support and remember what the day is really all about. And, if your budget allows for it, hire a wedding planner! Even if it’s for a few months, it was SO worth it.
 
Jason: Enjoy every moment, and please don’t worry about the color of the napkins.
 

Vendors:

 

Wedding Planner & Creative Direction: ASE – Amanda Savory Events

Cinema & Videos:  Joshua Brown Photography

Florals: Viridescent Floral Design

DJ & Entertainment: Generation Events

Rentals: Hudson Valley Vintage Rentals

Stationery & Signage: Shine Wedding Invitations 

Hair & Makeup: Face Time Beauty

 

Read More
White Poppy Weddings Hudson Valley Wedding Ashokan Center

Eclectic Hudson Valley Wedding Infused With a 1970s Folk Vibe at The Ashokan Center

What happens when you combine 1970s folk, with an officiant wearing angel wings, a band called “The Slimers”, and an afterparty with Karaoke that ended the next morning? You get Allison and Matthews wedding, of course! We had the chance to speak to the newlyweds about their eclectic Hudson Valley wedding at The Ashokan Center, and their story is just as fun as you would expect especially their proposal! All of it was beautifully captured by White Poppy Weddings
 

How did you meet?

 

Allison: “We met about seven years ago on OkCupid, or, as my friends and I used to call it at the time, “The Website.””
 

Matt: “I suggested the hotel bar at the La Quinta in Koreatown, Manhattan for our first date. Trust me, the view was incredible.”
 

Describe your proposal?

 

Allison: “We had been discussing our feelings about marriage for quite some time, and I knew I wanted to be the one to propose. I bought a ring for Matt and dutifully hid it in my drawer, and then promptly lost my nerve and couldn’t figure out the right time to do it. The ring stayed in my drawer for months until late one Thursday night after a friend’s wedding when we were again discussing our feelings about partnership and ritual. Matt mentioned that he was a little disappointed I hadn’t proposed when he expected me to (apparently it’s a British tradition for a woman to propose on February 29th of a leap year, who knew!) but he said he understood and that he didn’t want to pressure me and we didn’t have to get married, etc. It suddenly became clear that that very moment would be the best, most meaningful, most surprising time to whip out a ring, so I said “hold on one second, keep talking, I’m listening,” and I went upstairs to grab the box. I got down on one knee, and Matt said “Yes!” before I even had a chance to ask! Sure, we were both a little drunk in the kitchen at 1:30 on a weeknight and Matt was about to leave town for a month, but it felt right.”
 

Matt: “I’d consumed a few drinks for sure, and my sadness at feeling overlooked as a life partner by Allison gave way to a rant about the marriage industrial complex, specifically what I perceived as a weighting towards creating the perfect day versus whatever comes after, and the next thing I knew, Allison was on bended knee with a lovely ring she had picked out for me. I had a piece of toast in my mouth at the time.”
 


 

Did you have a wedding theme or certain vibe you were going for?

 

Allison: “We had a hard time articulating our vision, but fortunately we had a couple of genius friends who agreed to help us set the scene. We wanted the vibe to land somewhere between a garish full-color cookbook from 1971 and a traditional May Day celebration. Our friends constructed an incredible design incorporating giant plaster cakes, plenty of gold mylar, and some unbelievable dollar store finds. My mom and I had a fantastic bonding experience sourcing cheap, beautiful mid-century glassware for flowers, and Matt had fun choosing 1970’s folk-horror-inspired fonts and colors for our signage. We asked a group of friends to sing “Sumer is Icumen In” (an 800-year-old English anthem proclaiming the arrival of spring) for our ceremony recessional. My concern with design unity is pretty minimal; usually, I just want things to look nuts. My stepmother officiated and we were both very excited by the idea that she would wear a pair of feathered wings. No real thematic reason; it just seemed fun.”
 

Matt: “We succumbed to the mood board temptation and it turned out that Pinterest was really useful for helping to give substance to the ideas we were struggling to vocalise. It was when Allison added two pictures: one of the Source family hanging out next to a Rolls Royce and another of a sassy, disinterested looking woman hanging out in someone’s basement in the 70s, that I knew what we should be going for. I’m personally quite taken with the church/veteran’s hall-done-up-for-a-celebration atmosphere, so the mylar curtains were important to us. Plus we really like disco music and we were glad to be permitted to hang a disco ball in the center of the performance/ceremony space. The decorations in the dining hall were so well thought out by our friends that I’m still excited by the wonderful feat they accomplished; macrame runners, floating candles in punch bowls, gold rocks, etc.”
 

Why did you choose the Hudson Valley for your wedding?

 

Allison: “I’m from the Hudson Valley and I’m so passionate about it I have the Stone Ridge zip code tattooed on my leg. Matt’s from the UK and has friends scattered all over the world, so we were excited to bring many people to upstate New York for the first time, and provide them with a setting where they could have good food and good company provided for the entire weekend (while supporting small businesses in the community I love!) We currently live in New York City, and I spend a lot of time thinking about the urban/rural divide within my own heart, so I wanted to celebrate near the Ashokan Reservoir where we could reflect on the complex interwoven infrastructure that sustains us. The Ashokan Center was our dream venue from the start since you get the site for basically three days, you can party all night long, and everything’s provided. We’d also been to concerts there, so we had pre-existing positive associations and we knew it would work well for live music. Plus it’s a 15-minute drive from my mom’s house!”
 

Matt: “It made perfect sense to get married in the Hudson Valley. I also spent a large portion of my childhood growing up in the country and to that extent, Allison’s experience didn’t seem too different from mine. We have spent many pleasant weekends visiting family and friends in the area and it was important to me to share this with the UK contingent. A note on the Ashokan Center: we were really sold on the idea of there being no curfew and although we were passed out by around 3 am, some guests made it until sunrise on Sunday morning! And of course, it is in a wonderful location, which we felt would give our guests the ideal opportunity to explore the immediate locale.”
 


 

Do you have any tips for engaged couples?

 

Allison: “It really helped us to think of the wedding not as an obligation, but as a collaborative project where we could learn more about our communication styles and problem-solving skills. We felt less guilty about spending money to throw an elaborate party when we realized it was a serious relationship-building activity. Of course, that meant that when it was over we were depressed the way you might be when a show, tour, or job ends, so it’s important to make space to process those feelings afterward. On a more prosaic note – hire a day-of-coordinator if you can! It won’t make you any less punk to get some help, and it will make it a lot easier to actually eat during the event.”
 

Matt: “Make sure at least one of you can use spreadsheets. I will be forever indebted to Allison for this. In all seriousness though, I must echo Allison’s thoughts: you may think that the logistical task of organising a wedding is not necessarily the most romantic path towards a greater understanding of the other, however in our case it absolutely was, and although we had initially talked about this being a compelling reason for getting married, I was still surprised to find myself, a week out, feeling the first waves of depression about this brief stage of our relationship coming to an end. If your schedule permits, give yourself plenty of time to pull together the various elements of your wedding. We were engaged for two years and one thing that helps keep stress levels down is pacing yourself because things will definitely start to ramp up a couple of months before the ceremony. Yes, there were a couple moments of heightened tension, I think that’s unavoidable, but for the most part, Allison and I had really had a wonderful time working together on this project. As for budgeting, try to be honest and rigid about the absolute most you are willing and can afford to spend on your wedding. We tried to work with two projected budgets: one where we would cut as many corners as possible and the other the top end of what we were comfortable spending. This actually was very helpful because it made us focus on the areas where it would be most beneficial to allocate our budget. When you can quickly pull up a list of different cost options on a spreadsheet, it definitely helps streamline the decision-making process. And yes, definitely allow yourself the space to process the post-wedding depression afterward! It’s ok though, you got married for a reason, right?”
 

What was the most memorable moment of your wedding?

 

Allison: “This is a tough one to pin down! We have a lot of performers among our friends and family, and I LOVE toasts, so we had many uproarious speeches from our loved ones. Our friends also put together a supergroup covers band for us, and we were totally floored by how hard they worked and how they managed to put together an entire set of our favorite songs in a month. By the end of that I was just insane and screaming with joy, and we still had an awesome after party with two DJ’s (also our dear friends) and late-night karaoke to go. But let’s be honest, my favorite moment was immediately after our ceremony when we just held each other and wept with happiness.”
 

Matt: “Well, it seemed like Allison was just standing there waiting for me to reemerge from the crumpled up ball on the floor that I was, bawling my eyes out. But yes, that was very memorable. I also got a huge kick from the merry peals of laughter that emanated from the ceremony hall as Allison’s step-mother appeared from behind the mylar curtain in her wings. It helped shake me from my extremely nervous state and put me straight back in the moment. I loved the toasts far more than I expected. Allison was pulling hard to make this a key component of the wedding and during the moment itself, it totally dawned on me why asking these people, who we loved and admired, to do something they might not normally do was so important. You learn new things in these moments. Who knew my dad would be so adept at prop comedy? Who knew my mum would pull a boss power move by refusing to stand up for her toast? That said, I think the first look was my favourite moment. I knew Allison had put an awful lot of time and effort into sourcing and putting together her wedding ensemble but even then, I just couldn’t believe how calm and radiant and beautiful she looked when I saw her first. I’ll never forget the way she was that day.”
 


 

Vendors:

 

Venue: The Ashokan Center

Catering: The Ashokan Center, Chef Bill Warnes

Planner/Coordinator: Danielle DeFreest of Every Little Detail.

Dessert: We baked our own cake (it looked really goofy but we wanted to give our guests something we’d made together), but we got supplementary desserts from Lydia’s Cafe and the Alternative Baker

Flowers: We worked with Adam’s Fairacre Farms to come up with a hybrid plan that worked with our budget. They created two large professional arrangements for our welcome table, and then allowed us to buy additional flowers in bulk so that my mom and her friends could make the little table arrangements. I highly recommend this approach!

Photography: Alex Ligouri of White Poppy Weddings

Hair/Makeup: Madison Smith

Entertainments/design: As mentioned, we had a huge amount of help from friends who we asked well in advance, as well as friends who just decided to help as the weekend unfolded. We were – and still are – so, so grateful for their input, time and patience with us. The wedding would have looked very different without them.

Read More
Otterkill Golf Club wedding

Stunning September Hudson Valley Wedding at the Country Club at Otterkill

Gabby and Mike’s stunning September Hudson Valley wedding took place at the beautiful Country Club at Otterkill. Their photographer, Erica Leman of Sweet Alice Photography has known the bride for some time, and recalls why shooting their wedding meant so much.
 
RELATED: SEE GABBY AND MIKE’S ENGAGEMENT SESSION HERE
 

“I first met Gabby at a wedding – but not her own,” says Erica. “She works as one of the coordinators at Hollow Brook Golf Club and told me after that wedding that it only took working with her for that one time two years ago to know that she wanted me to photograph her wedding (what a kind compliment!).”
 

Erica says, “Gabby and Mike are the most dynamic duo. Their happiness is infectious, and makes others aspire to what they are. They are hilarious, and always have others laughing. Most of all, they are kind and compassionate and have a deep love for all of the individuals in their lives who have always supported them.”
 

The Country Club at Otterkill recently went through a renovation, and Gabby and Mike were one of the first couples to get married there after that reno. Their wedding was also full of so many details. “Their little touches were so evident – the signs laid against chairs lining the ceremony aisle, the Marvel-themed wedding cake, the hue of the bridesmaid gowns. Everything was attended to perfectly,” says Erica.
 

What was Erica’s favorite moment to capture? She says, “…my very favorite was when, after the ceremony, walking away for formal portraits, Mike looked at Gabby with the biggest smile I have ever seen, and had tears in his eyes, just SO excited to know they were married. Every day should have this sort of love in it. Every single day.”
 
Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography
 


 

Vendors:

 

Photographer: Sweet Alice Photography

Venue: The Country Club at Otterkill

Cake: Dream Cakes Bakery

DJ: Music Speaks Volumes

Florist: Flowers by Reni

Hair: Pineapple Day Spa

Makeup: Makeup by Dia

Read More
Summer Wedding ideas

6 Things to Consider When Having an Outdoor Summer Wedding in the Hudson Valley

It’s no secret that summer is prime wedding season and no matter where you are in the country, summer, especially June is, by far, the most popular season to get married. In fact, last summer, over 3,800 weddings took place in the Hudson Valley alone just between June and August*! So, if you are one of the couples who were lucky enough to book the few summer weekends available for your wedding, we want to share a few tips that you and your guests will appreciate.
 

But first, a small history lesson on why summer weddings, specifically June weddings, are so popular. First, the word “June” comes from the name “Juno” who was the Roman goddess of marriage. Second, back in Medieval times, when personal hygiene was almost non-existent, most people took yearly, yes yearly, baths, in May or June when the weather was warmer. This meant that people smelled better during those times, which, for such an important day, you want to be smelling your best. P.S. This is also where the tradition of carrying bouquets comes in. Women carried bouquets hoping that the smell of the flowers would disguise their body odor.
 

Today, it’s easy to see why Summer is so popular. after the long winter and rainy spring, couples, especially in the Hudson Valley, are eager to break their cabin fever and spend as much time outside as possible. And since summer doesn’t last too long, you want to take advantage of it as much as you can.
 

So if you are a summer bride or groom, here are 6 things you need to take into consideration…
 

The sun

 

I don’t need to tell you that while the sun is beautiful and warm, it’s also dangerous. But, so many people still forget to use protection. If you are having an outdoor wedding remember to apply sunscreen! Between the ceremony and pictures, you can be outside for quite a few hours. You don’t want to get sunburned on your wedding day. If you are red and burned in photos, your photographer can only do so much with editing. Even if you don’t burn and are one of the lucky ones that get gorgeously tan, SPF is your best friend. You don’t want those harmful rays damaging your skin in years to come.
 

Also, make sure there is shade too, your guests will thank you. If your guests are sitting out in the sun for your ceremony, they’re going to want shade. Whether it’s from trees, tents, shade from the building, or visors, make sure your guests are comfortable. Remind them to wear sun protection too.
 
RELATED: EXPERTS SHARE BEST ADVICE FOR FLAWLESS WEDDING DAY SKIN
 

The heat

 

Hudson Valley summers can get hot, even triple digits, and the last thing you want is to be sweating on your wedding day. Shade, as I mentioned before, can obviously help here too. However, if you can’t get shade, make sure you dress appropriately. Choose a gown that’s sleeveless and light, with loose construction. Beading and structure (boning, corsets) can make a dress VERY heavy, so you want to make sure that when you choose your dress it’s weather appropriate. Also, make sure your makeup is properly set, so that if you do start to sweat, it doesn’t start to drip off your face.
 

Again, think about your guests too, especially if they are older or very young. They are more susceptible to heat-prone illness. If your reception is outside, make sure that your venue has fans or ceiling fans that can keep you and your guests cool while you’re dancing. Tents, even with open sides, can get very warm, and remember, most barns weren’t built for events. If heat is a serious issue for you, skip an outdoor ceremony or reception altogether.
 

The rain

 

Summer can be rainy, even if it’s just a passing afternoon storm. Always have a plan “B”. If rain is predicted for your ceremony, can you move it indoors? If it rains overnight before your outdoor wedding or reception, are walkways going to be muddy? What about the parking lot? Are guests going to be parking in a mud puddle or is it a concrete parking lot? Is water going to seep into your reception area, especially if your reception is in a tent? These are all things you need to consider and knowing what your plan “B” will be is a very important conversation you need to have with your venue or wedding planner.
 
RELATED: 7 THINGS YOU NEED TO DO IF SEVERE WEATHER THREATENS YOUR WEDDING DAY
 

Bugs and mosquitos

 

Bugs come with summer, but after the rain, they seem to be more abundant. What is your plan to prevent summer bugs from bothering you and your guests? I went to an outdoor June wedding once, and by the time I left, my legs were covered in bites! Are you going to have bug lights around your perimeter? Are you going to leave little bottles of bug spray for your guests? This is a detail that you might not think about until you’re at your wedding smacking and swatting bugs all night.
 

Food & drinks

 

When you think of summer fare, you think light and fresh, maybe even BBQ. Have some fun with this. What are some of your favorite summer foods? For me, watermelon is right at the top. Maybe do watermelon slushies, or even have a cotton candy booth, reminiscent of county fairs. You can even do mini corn dogs or mini crab cakes as a passed appetizer. The possibilities are endless.
 

You want to make sure, though, that you stay away from really heavy foods. Think roasted potatoes over mashed, salad instead of soup. Heavy foods in the summer tend to make people feel even hotter. Also, check with your venue or caterer to make sure whatever food you have, especially if it has any sort of cream in it, is held at the right temperature to prevent illness.
 

Remember your drinks too. Because of the summer heat, you want a good mix of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks as you don’t want to consume too much alcohol if you’re really hot. Slushies or frozen drinks are always fun. Light spritzers are a good addition as well.
 

Think about adding cool desserts like shaved ice, ice cream or ice cream floats. Maybe even rent out an ice cream truck for the night.
 

Overnight accommodations

 

Summer is a popular time in the Hudson Valley. Between graduations, festivals, and yes, other weddings, hotels are at max capacity. Make sure you reserve your room blocks early. Since most hotels will only allow you to book 10 rooms at a time, and will not let you reserve more until the first 10 are reserved, you may want to get room blocks at a few different hotels. This is also helpful for your guests, too, because it gives them a choice in location and price point.
 

Are you having a summer wedding? What are you doing to beat the heat?
 

Featured photo credit: J. Ferrara Photography

 

*Source: The Wedding Report

Read More
Hudson Valley Wedding Sweet Alice Photography Highlands Country Club

Blush and Blue Hudson Valley Wedding at Highlands Country Club

When you get to follow a couple from their engagement through to their wedding, it’s a magical thing. Nora and Dan’s engagement session was featured on the blog a few months ago (check the link below to check it out) and today, we’re featuring their Hudson Valley wedding at Highlands Country Club.
 

RELATED: Engagement Photos: What Hudson Valley couples want you to know

 

Their photographer, Erica Leman, owner of Sweet Alice Photography, had so many great things to say about their wedding day. “I am not exaggerating when I say that Nora and Dan are my ideal clients. Kind, compassionate, funny, giving, and easy to be around – they feel like your best friends from the moment you interact with them,” she says. “Their love for each other (and cats, haha) makes them stand out above others. Their love is almost tangible, almost like you can touch it if you reach hard enough, and was the perfect theme for their wedding day.”
 

She says, “Nora and Dan got married on the most beautiful September day at Highlands Country Club. Not too hot, not too cold. Their friends and family gathered in excited groups around them throughout the day, and added to their happiness. Nora was the giggliest I’ve ever seen her; Dan was the best sport about their photos, and fell into an ease beside her.”
 

As for the details, Leman says, “Their wedding colors were gorgeous and incredibly complimentary. I mean, blush and blue – can it get any prettier? Their arbor was made by a family friend, and Nora’s jewelry was graciously borrowed from Jaymark Jewelers. As always with Nicole Brooke salon, hair and makeup was incredibly fun, and a total breeze. Nora and Dan had the type of wedding I could relive over and over and over.”
 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

 

 

Vendors:

 

Photographer: Sweet Alice Photography
Venue: Highlands Country Club
Jewelry: Jaymark Jewelers
Hair/Makeup: Nicole Brooke Salon

Read More
bohemian Hudson Valley Wedding at Locust Grove J Ferrara Photography

Bohemian Hudson Valley Wedding at Locust Grove Estate

Ashley and Tristian had a perfect day for their bohemian Hudson Valley wedding at Locust Grove Estate in Poughkeepsie. There were so many unique and fun details throughout this wedding starting with Ashley’s stunning blush wedding dress accentuated perfectly with the rhinestone belt she found on Etsy.
 

One of the most meaningful personal touches was a vintage VW bus Ashley rented for the reception. Tristian loves those old busses and this one happened to be converted into a photo booth which guests enjoyed throughout the night.
 

The ceremony was emotional and touching, as well and was beautifully led by Reverend Lisa Zaro.
 
Featured Photo Credit: J. Ferrara Photography
 

 

Vendors:

PhotographerJ. Ferrara Photography

VenueLocust Grove Estate

SignageEtsy

OfficiantPersonalized Ceremonies by Rev. Zarro

PhotoboothPhotobooth Planet

DJThe Digital Musicians

Read More
Hudson Valley Wedding Nidya LLoyd Photography Le Chateau

Royal Hudson Valley Wedding at Le Chateau

It’s no secret that a bride feels like a queen on her wedding day, and this Hudson Valley wedding is dripping in royal elegance. Lori and Rob married this past march at Le Chateau in South Salem, New York, and was perfectly captured by Nidya Lloyd Photography.
 

Nidya says, “It was last spring when I met up with Lori & Rob for their engagement session…Lori is of the sweetest kind…with a smile that is simply brilliant. She is a nurturer by nature (say that 10x fast) and Robert is the recipient of all of her affection. Robert has a true protector spirit…and when he sees his lady and he melts. This is the type of couple that I could photograph all day!”
 

Here’s a fun fact…Lori’s dress was SO HUGE that it actually broke the hook the venue installed IN THE WALL!!
 

Featured photo and credit to all below: Nidya Lloyd Photography
 


 

Vendors:

 

DressBridal Reflections

HairHair by Val K

MakeupBeauty Entourage

JewelryLa Gravinese Jewelers

CrownEden Luxe Bridal

InvitesLaura Damiano Designs

VenueLe Chateau

Read More

Dutchess Manor Wedding Majestic Studios Photography

Stunning Peach and Gray Wedding at Dutchess Manor

When wedding pros get married, this is what it looks like. What makes this wedding extra special is that it features wedding professionals we’ve worked with before. Frankie and Ava, owners of Elegant Invites by Fitting Image Graphics, had a stunning late summer wedding at Dutchess Manor, captured by Majestic Studios.
 

Both were gracious enough to share their engagement AND wedding photos with us.
 

Their Engagement:

 

How did you meet?

 

Ava says, “We were set up on a blind date. We had our first date at a fancy restaurant in White Plains on a cold winter night right before Christmas. We ordered so much food off the menu but barely ate any of it because we were captivated by each other and our conversation. After hours of talking, we both didn’t want it to end. However, when it was time to leave, Frankie was kind enough to drive me to my car. On the way there, I stopped by a Christmas tree stand to embrace the moment. It was there where I spotted mistletoe. Frankie didn’t get the hint, but when we got back to his car, he pulled out an enormous bouquet from his trunk. It was the largest amount of flowers I’d ever seen and knew this was going to be the start of something great.”
 

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

 

What was your proposal like?

 

“After talking about getting engaged, I thought he’d never pop the question,” says Ava. “However, on Memorial Day weekend in 2016, Frankie convinced me to go on a work trip with him to Providence, Rhode Island. One of the nights we were there, Frankie planned a romantic evening for the two of us. It started with a surprise gondola boat ride around the canals of Providence… It was incredibly romantic, but I still didn’t suspect a thing. Afterwards, Frankie and I walked around the city where he proposed in front of a beautiful panorama. I learned later on that Frankie planned to propose on the gondola but was afraid of tipping the boat and losing the ring. So he came up with an impromptu plan “B”. As a newly engaged couple, Frankie planned dinner at the Melting Pot, my favorite restaurant.”
 

Check out their beautiful engagement photos below, by Majestic Studios, and then keep reading to learn more about their amazing wedding and see the stunning photos from their day.
 

RELATED: HUDSON VALLEY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS SHARE 6 REASONS WHY YOU NEED ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS

 


 

RELATED: 5 TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR AWESOME ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS

 

Their Wedding:

 

According to Majestic Studios, “Ava and Frankie truly had a magical wedding day! From their engagement session to the end of their reception, all of their unique ideas and approaches to planning a wedding paid off, as you can see from the photos. Ava had a special moment with her father, where they saw each other for the first time the morning of her wedding. It was nearly impossible to hold back the tears!Photography was super important to these guys, so they planned to have enough time to visit two incredible locations, Boscobel and Stone Crop Gardens. Thankfully, weather was on our side for this early August day, and we took full advantage.Dutchess Manor provided the gorgeous sunset, one of many things this location is known for. It really was a storybook wedding for Ava and Frankie, and we’re so glad we were trusted to capture it for them!”
 

Why did you choose the Hudson Valley for your wedding?

 

Ava says, “I grew up in the Hudson Valley and loved the beauty and charm of the area. I envisioned having some kind of water in the background and so the Hudson River was the ideal choice. We visited some venues in the areas but had difficulty finding the right fit for us. After a long, tiring day, we decided to call it quits and have drinks at a local bar. We explained our long day to the bartender, and he suggested a place we hadn’t yet seen, Dutchess Manor. He gave us a glimmer of hope, and so we decided to check it out. When we saw it, we both knew instantly that we had found our place. It had everything we were looking for…”
 

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

 

What was your wedding theme?

 

“Our theme was classical elegance,” says Ava. “We highlighted this theme with light summery colors of coral and gray. Each table had tall, glass lanterns surrounded by a ring of different shades of coral roses and a candle that lit up the table. Next to each plate was a customized menu with rose gold foil accents placed delicately into a classic coral napkin. Each chair had an off-white bow to further represent the elegant style we strived for. While our theme was elegant in nature, many of our guests are fun-loving people so we added fun yard games to our venue during our extended cocktail hour and strategically placed signage reminding our family and friends of our wedding hashtag and our customized Snapchat filters they could use on site. All stationery and signage was designed by us at Elegant Invites.”
 

What was your most memorable moment?

 

Ava says, “A couple of months before the wedding, we decided to take dance lessons to learn choreography for our first dance, which was to the song “Stand by You” by Rachel Platten. We practiced for weeks and months trying to get our steps natural and fluid. The end of our dance was supposed to be a dramatic lift identical to the epic Dirty Dancing finale. During rehearsal, sometimes I would actually nail the lift and sometimes I would accidentally end up hitting Frankie. In the end, we modified the lift and created a fun, yet romantic dance routine that truly reflected the love we felt for each other. On the day of our wedding after a few cocktail hour drinks, we felt more confident and nailed the dance perfectly. Big shout out to Stu and Chun Levin for teaching us our dance moves.”
 

RELATED: HOW TO MANAGE YOUR WEDDING INVITATIONS LIKE A PRO (PART 1)

 

Do you have any advice for engaged couples?

 

“As a newly married couple,” says Ava, “we have a few pieces of advice:
 

1. Create a spreadsheet of all the vendors you’ll need. As you start to secure vendors, fill in your spreadsheet with contact information, deposits, and cost. This will help you organize your vendors as well as serve as a budgeting tool.
 

2. Plan in advance. To make your wedding as special as you’ve always hoped for, give yourself time to plan. When you rush, you won’t be able to put the time in that you want. By allowing yourself time, you won’t stress and you’ll get the task done.
 

3. Create a master checklist. There are so many details that need to come together for your big day. It can be helpful to create a master list and next to each item, indicate when you plan to work on it. This will help with time management and organization.
 

4. Delegate. It can be hard to do everything on your own, but if you give certain tasks to a family member, bridesmaid, friend, or parent, you’ll have more time to do other things you need to work on.
 

5. Don’t forget the big picture. The big picture is that you’re getting married to the love of your life and best friend. It’s important to spend time with your loved one even while planning. Your wedding can easily take over your life, but don’t forget to spend QUALITY time during the time leading up to your wedding. Also, it’s impossible to have everything go perfectly. The weather may not be warm and sunny, your limo might arrive late, your hair may not be what you hoped for, or one of your guests may cancel at the last minute. These things happen. Take a step back and remember the big picture – you’re getting married today! Focus on the love you share and the future you hope to have together. This will help you get through the blips on your big day.”
 

RELATED: HOW TO MANAGE YOUR WEDDING INVITATIONS LIKE A PRO (PART 2)

 

Vendors:

 

Wedding Reception: The Dutchess Manor

Wedding Ceremony: St. James the Apostle in Carmel

Wedding Invites & Stationery: Elegant Invites by Fitting Image Graphics

Bridal Dress: Blossom Brides

Bridesmaid Dresses: RK Bridal, NYC

Men’s Suits: Men’s Warehouse

Photographer: Majestic Studios

Florist: Hudson Valley Floral

DJ: Total DJ Entertainment

Cake: The Pastry Garden

Dance Studio: Stu & Chun Levin

Hair: Steven Amendola Salon & Spa

Makeup: Stacie Cervini

Hotel: Hyatt House, Fishkill

Limo: M & V Limo

Shuttle Service: Leprechaun Lines

Travel Agent: Down Under Endeavors

Floral Bouquet Preserver: Keepsake Floral

Rings: Jewelry by Johan and Daniel’s Jeweler

Photo credit to all: Majestic Studios

Read More

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

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

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

A simple, yet weighted question.
 

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

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

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

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

RELATED: FEATURED COUPLE: JENNY AND JANINE

 

What is the Gay Wedding Institute Certification Program?

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Featured photo credit: J. Ferrara Photography

Read More
Wedding at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills

Stunning Country Glam Wedding at Blue Hill at Stone Barns

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

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

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

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

Vendors

 

Florals: Verde Flowers

Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

Dress: Yolan Cris

Band: Cafe Wha? House Band

Venue: Blue Hill at Stone Barns
 

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

Read More
Cassady K Photography United States Military Academy West Point Wedding

United States Military Academy Wedding at West Point

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

How did you and Hanson meet?

 

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

Describe your overall theme or style of your wedding?

 

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

How did you choose West Point?

 

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

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

 

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

Do you have any wedding advice for our readers?

 

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

WEDDING VENDORS

 

CEREMONY | Cadet Chapel at West Point
 

RECEPTION | West Point Club
 

THE DRESS | Maggie Sottero from Irini’s Originals
 

BRIDAL SHOES | Badgley Mischka
 

BRIDAL ACCESSORIES | Givenchy & Cartier
 

BRIDESMAID DRESS | Azazie
 

GROOMSMEN ATTIRE | Army Class A Uniforms & Macy’s
 

HAIR STYLIST & MAKEUP ARTIST | Celeste von Damon
 

FLORIST | Secret Garden Florist
 

RECEPTION CENTERPIECES | Bride’s Mother – Helene Yen
 

INVITATIONS | Minted
 

FAVORS | DIY and Etsy
 

CAKEWest Point Club
 

PHOTOGRAPHER | Cassady K Photography
 

BAND | These Guys
 

2ND PHOTOGRAPHER | Rosemary Green Photography
 

Photo Credit to All: Cassady K. Photography

 

 

Read More
ill nobles smile peace love boscobel house hudson valley wedding

Breathtaking Boscobel Wedding from Smile Peace Love Photography

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

Tell us about your wedding and overall theme?

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Jill Nobles Smile Peace Love Boscobel House Hudson Valley wedding

wedding day look captured by Smile Peace Love Photography

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Photo Credit to all: Smile Peace Love Photography

 

Read More

Featured Couple: Jenny & Janine

Their Love Story…

 

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

Their Proposal…

 

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

Why the Hudson Valley…?

 

Photo Credit: J.Ferrara Photography

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

Wedding Theme…

 

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

Most Memorable Moment…

 

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

Advice for Engaged Couples…

 

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

Vendors…

 

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

Photography: J. Ferrara Photography, Cornwall, NY

Dessert: Jones Farm, Cornwall, NY

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

Centerpieces and Bouquets: hand-made by Jenny
 

Photo Credit to all J. Ferrara Photography

 

 

Read More

Patriotic Wedding Inspiration in the Hudson Valley

It’s hard to believe the 4th of July is already here! If you are planning a military or 4th of July wedding and are looking for patriotic-themed ideas and inspiration, you are in the right place. We wanted to give you some ideas on what you can do for décor, attire, or photos.

 

We reached out to Hudson Valley wedding photographers and wedding planners and asked them to share some of their favorite all-American wedding inspiration with you.

 

Patriotic Walls

 

You’ll find American pride on walls in several Hudson Valley locations. This styled shoot (1) was taken in the village of Wappingers Falls…

 

Photo Credit: The Ramsdens

Photo Credit: The Ramsdens

Photo Credit: The Ramsdens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and this styled shoot (2) was off Main Street in New Paltz.

 

Photo Credit: Duetimage Photography – Hudson Valley Wedding Photography

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Military weddings

 

for military weddings. you really can’t get more patriotic than a wedding at West Point Military Academy.

 

Photo Credit: Rose Schaller Photo

Photo Credit: Rose Schaller Photo

Photo Credit: Rose Schaller Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

JoAnn Provanzano, owner and certified bridal consultant at What Dreams Are Made Of in Kingston, has had the pleasure of planning many military weddings over the years, and shared two of her most recent weddings with us.  Captain Matthew & Mrs Nicole Talley who were married this past May. Their ceremony was at The Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity at the United States Military Academy at West Point with a reception at the West Point Club. “From when she was a little girl,” Provanzano says. “Her dream was to marry a military officer.  The couple’s religion is very important to them, as is the military tradition.” Today, Matt & Nicole now live in the state of Washington.

 

Photo Credit: What Dreams Are Made Of

Photo Credit: What Dreams Are Made Of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Lieutenants Charles & Regina Costanzo were married this past April also at The Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity at the United States Military Academy at West Point with a reception at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel. “Gina and Charlie are adorable and their love for each other is so beautiful,” says Provanzano. “They went through many obstacles before walking down the aisle.” Just four weeks before the wedding, Gina was told she would be deployed. Thankfully, she was allowed to remain home and have the wedding of her dreams.
 

Photo Credit: What Dreams Are Made Of

Photo Credit: What Dreams Are Made Of

Photo Credit: What Dreams Are Made Of

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Patriotic Details

 

Take some time to watch fireworks…

 

Photo Credit: Rose Schaller Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

or add some red flowers…

 

Photo Credit: Rose Shaller Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

or wear some festive attire…

 

Photo Credit: What Dreams Are Made of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

(1)Vendors featured in styled shoot (Wappingers Falls):

Photography – The Ramsdens (Poughkeepsie)

Planning – RSVP by B Wedding Coordination (Poughkeepsie)

Florals – Lucille’s Florals of Fishkill (Fishkill)

Wedding dress – Betsy Wise Bridal (Beacon)

Hair and makeup – La Tua Bella (Rhinebeck)

 

(2)Vendors featured in styled shoot (New Paltz):

Flowers – Flowers by Elissa (Gardiner)

Dress – Style des Reves Custom Dressmaking (Accord)

Hair – Hudson Valley Hair (New Paltz)

Makeup – LaV Beauty (Ulster Park)

Bridal Jewelry – Harriet Forman Barrett (New Paltz)

 

Featured Photo Credit: The Ramsdens

Read More