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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

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

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

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

A simple, yet weighted question.
 

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

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

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

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

RELATED: FEATURED COUPLE: JENNY AND JANINE

 

What is the Gay Wedding Institute Certification Program?

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Featured photo credit: J. Ferrara Photography

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Wedding at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills

Stunning Country Glam Wedding at Blue Hill at Stone Barns

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

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

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

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

Vendors

 

Florals: Verde Flowers

Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

Dress: Yolan Cris

Band: Cafe Wha? House Band

Venue: Blue Hill at Stone Barns
 

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

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Cassady K Photography United States Military Academy West Point Wedding

United States Military Academy Wedding at West Point

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

How did you and Hanson meet?

 

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

Describe your overall theme or style of your wedding?

 

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

How did you choose West Point?

 

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

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

 

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

Do you have any wedding advice for our readers?

 

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

WEDDING VENDORS

 

CEREMONY | Cadet Chapel at West Point
 

RECEPTION | West Point Club
 

THE DRESS | Maggie Sottero from Irini’s Originals
 

BRIDAL SHOES | Badgley Mischka
 

BRIDAL ACCESSORIES | Givenchy & Cartier
 

BRIDESMAID DRESS | Azazie
 

GROOMSMEN ATTIRE | Army Class A Uniforms & Macy’s
 

HAIR STYLIST & MAKEUP ARTIST | Celeste von Damon
 

FLORIST | Secret Garden Florist
 

RECEPTION CENTERPIECES | Bride’s Mother – Helene Yen
 

INVITATIONS | Minted
 

FAVORS | DIY and Etsy
 

CAKEWest Point Club
 

PHOTOGRAPHER | Cassady K Photography
 

BAND | These Guys
 

2ND PHOTOGRAPHER | Rosemary Green Photography
 

Photo Credit to All: Cassady K. Photography

 

 

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ill nobles smile peace love boscobel house hudson valley wedding

Breathtaking Boscobel Wedding from Smile Peace Love Photography

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

Tell us about your wedding and overall theme?

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Jill Nobles Smile Peace Love Boscobel House Hudson Valley wedding

wedding day look captured by Smile Peace Love Photography

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Photo Credit to all: Smile Peace Love Photography

 

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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

 

 

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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

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Wedding Bands: What You Need To Know If You’ve Never Worn Jewelry

When it comes to wedding jewelry, the engagement ring gets top prize. The minute an engagement is announced, everyone wants to see “the ring!” However, once guys choose the engagement ring, they also have another important decision to make about jewelry…their own ring.

 

Believe it or not, men have just as many, if not more, choices when it comes to choosing their wedding band than they do choosing an engagement ring. However, unlike women who are used to frequently wearing jewelry, men don’t usually wear any jewelry. In fact, their wedding band may be the first (and only) piece of jewelry they ever wear.

Because of this, some men may feel uncomfortable wearing a ring, not because they aren’t proud to be married, but because it physically feels uncomfortable having a piece of metal on your finger. It does feel different and takes some getting used to.

 

It’s very normal, for men and women, who now have such an important piece of jewelry on their finger all the time to freak out at times and touch their finger to make sure it’s still there. I still do it sometimes, especially in the winter when it’s cold and you’re wearing and taking off gloves all the time.

 

There are several things to take into consideration when buying a wedding band, and so we asked Hudson Valley jewelers to help guide you through the process:

 

RELATED: ENGAGEMENT RINGS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEYOND THE 4 ‘C’s

 

Should I even wear a wedding band?

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

James Matero, co-owner of Jaymark Jewelers in Cold Spring says “wearing a wedding band is the tradition: ‘With this ring, I thee wed,’ so you want to exchange the rings if you are doing any form of a remotely traditional ceremony.”

 

If you don’t want to wear a band, make sure that you have that conversation with your spouse-to-be. It can be a very emotional subject to bring up, so make sure that both parties leave the conversation feeling happy about the final choice. Maybe you wear your ring out, but leave it off at home. Maybe you both forgo rings and get tattoo rings. Maybe you just don’t wear a ring at all. Whatever the case, make sure it’s discussed.

 

“If you’re going to buy a wedding band,” Matero says, “think about it because guys generally don’t wear a lot of rings. This is potentially the first one they’ve worn. Unless they wore a high school ring or a college ring, this is usually the first one. So, they don’t think about what they want in a ring.”

 

How do I start narrowing down my choices?

 

Jocelyn Z. Klastow, vice president of Zimmer Brothers Jewelers in Poughkeepsie, says a good way to start is with a budget. Trying on a few different rings is also a good start. “I encourage guys to try every different kind on, kind of like a wedding dress,” she says. “You may have this thing in mind, and when you try it on, you don’t like it. A lot of times they (men) end up with something totally different than what they thought they would choose.
 

Do you want something classic or trendy? “We are finding that coppery rose-gold accents, along with heavy textured finishes in gold and Damascus Steel are very popular,” says Mateo.
 

That leads to the next point, which is getting a good feel for the types of metal and design choices available for men’s wedding bands. You can get rings made out of old gun barrels, samurai swords, wood and everything in between. Matero says, “There’s everything from rings that look like a baseball, the stitching, to real tree and mossy oak patterns, there’s alternative metal bands that will hold up to anything, and then there are gold and diamond bands.” He says one of the things you should think about is how and when you are going to wear your ring. “A lot of times you can’t wear it to work: An electrician wearing a metal band on his finger, isn’t exactly safe.”

 

Is this ring right for me?

 

First, and foremost, Klastow says it needs to be comfortable. “This is the first piece of jewelry a lot of men will purchase that they are going to wear all the time.” Like I mentioned earlier, it does take a little getting used to, but you want to make sure that it feels good on your finger. Is it heavy? Thick? is it too thin? Does it chafe your finger? You need to have it on for a little while to get a good feel for it. Put your hand in your pocket like you are taking out your phone or your wallet. Does the ring catch on your pocket or does it slip right into the pocket?

 

Another thing to consider is if you want it to match your spouse-to-be’s ring. Remember, rings are going to be photographed as well. Do you want both rings to be white gold, or are you OK with one being white gold and one being yellow gold or a different color metal?

 

Lastly, Michael J. Halpy, owner of Hannoush Jewelers in Wappingers Falls, relates back to what Matero says about usage and how you are going to wear it. Halpy recommends taking a look at your lifestyle and finding a metal that matches. “I’m a big proponent of gold or platinum bands and the reason is because it’s a malleable metal that you can work with, so it can be sized, it can be adjusted, soldered if it cracks…it can be fixed without even knowing.” Other metals can’t be sized or altered as easily. Halpy says, “It takes special machinery to make these other rings that are forged in tungsten carbide or titanium or steel and all sorts of other different alternative metals.” If damage happens in a stronger metal, you need to get an entirely new ring, which, presents many issues, one of which being that the sentimentality is gone. Your ring will no longer be your original ring.

 

Are you going to wear a wedding band? Is there a special metal you’ve had your eye on? If you’ve gotten your wedding band, we’d love to see it to give other guys inspiration.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Jaymark Jewelers

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Everything You Need To Know About Your Save The Dates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When should you send out your Save the Dates?

 

Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

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

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

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

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

What should be included on a Save the Date?

 

Photo Credit: Graphic Nature, LLC

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

Should the Save the Date match the invitation?

 

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

Featured Photo Credit: Fitting Image Graphics

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

This is the second part of a 2-part series

 

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

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

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

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

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

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

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

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

Wedding Tradition: Keeping the ceremony a ceremony

 

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

Wedding Tradition: Mailing out paper invitations

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

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

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

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

Wedding Tradition: Hiring professional vendors

 

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

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

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

Wedding Tradition: Honoring those who have passed

 

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

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

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

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Summer Weddings: What You Need to Know to Stay Cool and Stylish

While summer may not officially be here yet, we’d be kidding ourselves if we said we weren’t already in summer mode. That means vacations, beach days, barbecuing by the pool, and weddings … lots and lots of weddings. If you are getting married in the summer or are attending a summer wedding, here are some tips for you to stay cool and stylish.

 


 

Summer has always been a popular season to get married, as you might have discovered when you were doing your planning. Who wouldn’t want to get married in the summer — fresh air, bright sunshine, longer days (though my husband would say the day isn’t longer, there are just more hours of daylight)? You also have more options of where you can get married: inside, outside, maybe even on a beach. However, summer also means heat, so here are some ideas to help you with your wardrobe decisions to keep you cool.

 

Brides

 

Think about the location of where you are getting married. If you are getting married outside, you might want to opt for a looser, more free-flowing gown made of silk organza chiffon or tulle (though, too much tulle can make you hot) to keep you cool. If most of your day will be spent inside with just photos outside, you could opt for something a little more formal and structured. Just make sure you use a makeup setter to keep your makeup from dripping, keep tissues on you to blot the sweat, and carry a fan to keep cool between shots.

 

While sleeves are a big trend, opt for something sleeveless or strapless, but don’t forget your sunblock. You don’t want to burn up in the summer sun. If you like the look of sleeves, but are afraid of getting too hot, see if your dress can be ordered with removable sleeves or a removable bolero that hides a sleeveless gown underneath

 

Grooms

 

Well, guys, unless you and your fiancé are having an informal dress code, you will be in a suit or a tux. Tux material, which is usually polyester, is very hot and heavy, so you may want to opt for a nice suit instead, which gives you more options in terms of fabric and colors. Again, it goes back to location of your wedding. If it’s outside, a suite may be best. Try to stick to lighter, softer colors like grey or beige. You might also want to consider a linen suite which is very breathable. The downside to linen, though, is it wrinkles … a lot! So, if you are doing your photos before the ceremony, that would be OK. Otherwise, prepare to have a steamer handy. If the wedding is indoors except for photos, then you could get away with wearing a tux. Again, just like for the brides, make sure you have tissues to blot the sweat and a fan to stay cool.

 

Also keep in mind the same rules apply to your bridal party. They’re going to be in the same environment as you so the same tips need to be applied to their outfits as well.

 

 

Before I get into the tips for what you should wear to a summer wedding, there are three things you must remember, no matter the time of year or location…

 

RELATED: 5 SECRETS TO BEING AN AWESOME WEDDING GUEST

 

Always adhere to the dress code

 

If the dress code is Black Tie, that means you need an evening gown or a tux. If it’s a casual outdoor wedding and the dress code is jeans and country boots, you need be there in jeans and country boots. If there is no dress code, that means you need to dress like you would for a work event or business event. A nice dress that you wouldn’t mind your boss seeing you in and for guys, that means a suit. Why do I keep talking about work attire? See my next point…

 

You are attending a wedding, not a club

 

You know what I’m talking about: no club clothes! That means nothing too revealing, nothing too tight…like suck-it-in-tight-and-hope-the-zipper-doesn’t-break tight, and nothing shiny (like leather). Even if the affair is a very casual one, it is still a wedding and a sacred event. There will be clergy in attendance, there will be elders in attendance, there will be kids in attendance, and, you never know, your boss might be in attendance too if the couple invited coworkers. Why am I making such a fuss over club clothes? See my next point…

 

You NEVER, I mean EVER want to upstage the bride!

 

First and foremost, that means no all white dress (unless specified in the dress code). The bride is in white for many reasons, one of which is to make sure she stands out. Evening wear is usually on the darker side, and even when the lights dim in the reception venue and the dancing starts, you can still spot the bride in a large crowd because she’s in all white. If your outfit has some white in it, that’s fine, but all white is a big no-no. It also means no sequence (even if it’s black tie). All eyes should be on the bride, not you. The bride should be easy to find and the one person at the event that stands out the most.

 

RELATED: 30 TRUTHS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR WEDDING DAY

 

Other tips to consider:

 

Garment fabric

 

Ladies, take a cue from the bride. Guys, take a cue from the groom. The same fabrics that keep them cool will also keep you cool.

 

Layer what you wear

 

I know that sounds odd to say for summer, but temperatures are a funny thing. The bride and or the groom will be hot most of the day (no matter the season) because of all the activities they need to be a part of, but as a guest, you aren’t doing as much running around as they are. Bring a sweater if you will be in air conditioning. Sometimes the thermostat doesn’t want to cooperate, and if you’re like me and get cold easily, you want to cover up until you start dancing. Being too cold is just as uncomfortable as being too hot. Also, if you’re outside, it might get chilly at night, so the sleeves will keep the chill off. Plus, sleeves also help with mosquito bites and keeping those nasty bugs off your skin!

 

Miscellaneous essentials for summer weddings

 

Last but not least, don’t forget your sunblock, a fan, sunglasses, water, bug repellent, an umbrella if it’s going to rain, and high heel protectors so your heels don’t sink into the grass.
 

What advice do you have for staying cool and stylish at a summer wedding?

 

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

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Traditions and ceremonies of a Hindu wedding

I’ve attended many gorgeous weddings over the years, and no matter the location or the type of ceremony (non-denominational or not), what I love most about weddings is how each couple makes it their own and how you become part of such a sacred event. Whether it’s a simple ceremony or one full of cultural or religious traditions, no two weddings are ever the same.
 

I have to admit weddings full of religious or cultural traditions hold a special place in my heart. The symbolism is so beautiful and you get to see, first-hand, centuries-old traditions come to life. It also gives you a chance to learn more about what makes the bride and groom so special. These traditions helped make them who they are, and it takes you into their world, if only for a brief moment.
 

That’s why I was so excited when my best friend got married. Besides the fact I love her like a sister and was so happy she was going to be spending her life with the one who makes her truly happy, she was having a wedding unlike any I had ever been to before. Her wedding incorporated two ceremonies, one Hindu and one Christian. This was my first Hindu wedding, and I was thrilled to witness first-hand, the rich traditions of her culture.
 

Photo Credit: Red Pepper Shots

The only things I knew of Hindu ceremonies prior to the wedding was that they usually last a few days and are very ornate, colorful and full of blessings, traditions, and rituals that signify the sacredness of the marriage. I knew the groom usually enters the ceremony on a white horse, and I also knew as part of the ceremonial rituals take place prior to the wedding, the women received tattoos made from the Henna plant, called Mehndi, and the bride’s Mehndi takes hours of precise designing covering her arms and feet.

 

While my friend’s wedding ceremony was an abbreviated version lasting only about 45 minutes, it contained 9 beautifully symbolic ceremonies I want to share with you, so you can see the differences, as well as the similarities in weddings that you might be familiar with and with those celebrated in other parts of the world.
 

Jaimala

 

The bride and groom exchange flower garlands which signify their acceptance of each other in marriage.
 

Ganesh Puja

 

This is an offering of prayer to the Lord Ganesh, who blesses the bride and groom. Ganesh is the Lord of beginnings and removes both material and spiritual obstacles.
 

Kanyadan

 

In this ceremony, the parents of the bride join the hands of the bride and groom, signifying the handing over of their daughter to the care, love, fidelity and security of the groom. This is similar to what you might be familiar with of the father of the bride (or significant family member if the father is not able to be there) giving the bride away.
 

Gathbandhan

 

A corner of the bride and groom’s garments are tied together symbolizing the bond of marriage.
 

Photo Credit: Vijay Solanki

Agni Pujan and Havan

 

The ceremonial fire is set up by the priest, or Pundit. The fire is set up in a copper bowl called the Havan Kund and the fire symbolizes the illumination of the mind, knowledge, and happiness.
 

Mangal Phera/Saptapadi

 

Once the fire is lit, the bride and groom circle it seven times, with the priest bestowing blessings. The blessings are for eternal happiness and a healthy marriage, and as they circle the fire, the couple seeks four basic goals of life: Righteousness (Dharma), prosperity (Artha), pleasure (Kama), and salvation (Moksha). Each of the seven circles around the fire represents the vows the bride and groom make to one another. They are:

 

  • Promising to nourish each other physically, mentally, and spiritually
  • Promising to grow together in strength
  • Promising to preserve their wealth
  • Promising to share in their joys and sorrows
  • Promising to care for their future children
  • Promising to be together forever
  • Promising to be lifelong best friends

 

Sindoor

 

The groom places red powder (Sindoor) on the forehead of the bride signifying she is now a married woman.
 

Mithai

 

Mithai are sweets. In this ceremony, the bride and groom feed each other Mithai as a symbol of sharing whatever they have together in life.
 

Ashirvad

 

The ceremony has come to an end and the bride and groom bow to the Lord, the Pundit, their parents, and all the elders who offer blessings to the newly married couple.
 

Can you see how, while different, many of the ceremonies are very similar to what you might be familiar with?
 

We’d love to know what kind of cultural or religious wedding ceremonies you’ve attended. What similarities or difference did see? What were they like?
 

Featured Photo: the Mandap, or canopy, where the ceremony takes place. Photo credit WCHV

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Featured Couple: Kristen & AJ

Their Love Story…

 

“We found love in a hopeless place … and, yes, that was the song that we walked into as we were introduced,” says Kristen. “That has been our ‘theme song’ since we started dating.  We used to work together at a bank … dating someone you were working with was frowned upon!  So needless to say we kept it a secret for a long time … to the point when people ask us how long we have been together we really don’t have a solid answer.” Hiding their relationship was no easy feat because even out in public, Kristen was afraid someone from work would see them.

 

“AJ eventually switched locations and we were no longer at the same branch … so one night when we were out, we texted our boss and came clean! Felt so much better!” Soon after they came clean to their boss, AJ surprised Kristen with Broadway tickets to see Mary Poppins, which was Kristen’s favorite movie as a kid. “That’s when he made it official that we were dating, so if we need a date that we started dating we use January 28, 2012!  We were honestly friends first … and the rest is history! We wouldn’t change a thing!”

 

The Proposal…

 

Photo from bride’s personal collection

“His proposal was perfect!” says Kristen. “It was our official 3-year dating anniversary.  AJ got up in the morning before me and had breakfast on the table with flowers by the time I got up. We ate breakfast, got ready and both headed to work.  It was a normal day.” The day progressed as usual — a trip home during lunch to grab her food and walk their dog, Tex. Toward the end of the day, AJ started texting Kristen wanting to know when she was coming home. She texted him and when she got home and was in for quite a surprise.

 

“I opened the screen door to the house to a Post-It above the lock, with the following: ‘Hey, baby! Welcome home … may want to have your camera out … card first … Tex is fine (upstairs) … Happy Anniversary!!!’ ” When Kristen opened the door, she found flowers on the table, presents next to the flowers, rose petals and candles everywhere, and ‘We Found Love’ playing in the background.”

 

“There were more instructions in the card in regards to the presents.  I decided to skip the presents and go find him. … Our bedroom door was closed with rose petals leading to it, the word ‘Love’ spelled out on the door, and I finally picked up on what was happening!” says Kristen. “I opened our bedroom door to more candles and petals, and there he was.  He started to talk to me. … I started to cry but held it together!  He got down on one knee, opened the box, I lost my breath, and he said those four words every girl wants to hear.  And bam, we were engaged.”

 

Wedding Theme…

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

“Our theme was all about us!” says Kristen. “I love the bling, but it was a simple, elegant bling.  Everything that we had that night in the Grandview had a meaning behind it!” For example, each table centerpiece had three vases on them which has significant meaning. “The most important part of that is that there were three on every table, three for love!  It was always something my grandparents and parents always said to each other and to us, and it was something we wanted to incorporate into our special day.”

 

Why the Hudson Valley?

 

Kristen says “Hudson Valley is home … and we simply fell in love with the Grandview. Couples panic about their venue; I panicked because we only looked at one! They had and offered everything we wanted — perfect venue, Shadows next door for the after party, hotel rooms for all of our 246 guests with transportation … it was honestly perfect for us!”

 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

“Honestly, if you asked us separately, at different times, we would both say the same thing: the first time we saw each other!” says Kristen. “He (AJ) was up at the altar, and I was walking down the aisle with my parents. …  I swore I wouldn’t cry, and I didn’t, I was just smiling from ear to ear.  My smile couldn’t get any bigger when I looked at him, and then I saw his lip quiver.  I looked away from him for a second to kind of regroup and the next person I made eye contact with was my Aunt Pat, who by the way was hysterically crying! I remember laughing in my head!  Everyone tells me that they were all looking at AJ when I walked down the isle and that makes me happy because his reaction was by far the best ever.  I’m proud of him for not crying but he will always tell me ‘You cut me deep, babe!'”

 

Hudson Valley Vendors…

 

Venue – The Grandview (Poughkeepsie)

Photographer – Majestic Studios (Hopewell Junction)

Florist – Annex Florist (Pawling)

DJ – Jimmy Dee Music Productions (Briarcliff Manor)
 

Photo credit to all: Majestic Studios (click photo for larger view)

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What Is It Really Like To Be a DIY Bride?

When it comes to weddings, the “Do It Yourself” trend is here to stay. With more and more couples wanting to incorporate personalized aspects into every part of their day, DIY weddings seems to be the way to go. In addition to making their wedding personalized, many couples are planning weddings with limited budgets or at non-traditional wedding venues, and so, DIYing elements is a perfect fit.
 

Let’s not forget, too, that for the bride or groom who just have a knack for crafting or making things, a wedding in the perfect playground to let your creative juices flow. It was for me.
 

However, DIYing your wedding is not always as easy or as “perfect” as you think it’s going to be. While, what we see in magazines or on sites like Pinterest are beautiful and are great for inspiration, when it comes to actually recreating what you see and doing it yourself, it’s not always that easy. We asked two Hudson Valley DIY brides – Michelle from Suffern, and Lauren from Poughkeepsie – to give their real, first-hand experience on what it was like making their wedding come to life.
 

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

Why did you DIY?

Photo Credit: Susan Pleiman

Michelle – “DIY has always been in my blood. I am a crafter at heart, and absolutely love to create things and be able to put my own personal spin on it. If I can make it, why buy it? It means so much more when you can personalize things. Plus, it gives a sense of empowerment and gratification. Creativity is so important to me; it keeps my sanity! After finishing a project, what’s better than admiring it and saying ‘WOW!!! I did that!’ ”
 

Lauren – “The biggest thing that inspired me to go DIY with our wedding was seeing all of the amazing ideas on Pinterest and thinking, ‘Why spend all that money when we can do most of this ourselves?’ I knew finding a stylist for the ideas I liked would cost an arm and a leg and I figured, I’m great at copying ideas, why not do it myself?”
 

What did you DIY?

Photo Credit: Susan Pleiman

Michelle – “I wanted to carry a unique bouquet that would last forever. That’s when I came up with my brooch bouquet idea. I had asked my friends, family, and patients to donate their favorite pieces just to make it THAT much more special. Another thing that I made were my invitations.
 

“The theme of the wedding was ‘rustic-vintage,’ so there was a lot of lace, doilies, burlap, wood, and chalkboard that was used. I made all the menus, the fans, the place cards, the ‘table numbers,’ the takeaways and had my centerpieces bought from Bed Bath & Beyond with Shoprite flowers in the vases.’
 

“I decided to have each table with ‘Love’ in different languages in the center. The ‘Love’ phrase took place of the table numbers. For the place cards, I had small honey jars with squares of lace on top, complete with twine wrapped around. They held little tags with my guests’ names and the ‘Love’ phrase in whichever language their table had on it.
 

“We had a ‘photo area,’ in front of the fireplace mantle where the reception was held. I had made all sorts of props on long dowels complete with eyeglasses, old-fashioned mustaches, chalkboards, and large picture frames for people to hold up in front of them…I wanted to have a cute takeaway for the end of the night, so we went with milk and cookies.”
 

Lauren – “Personally, I made the bridesmaids’ bouquets, I did my own makeup, I made all the signs and decorations, set the tables and their settings up myself, I made all the decorations for the centerpieces. We had my husband’s aunt make all the desserts and the cakes and his friend make all the food (taco bar). We set up the ceremony area and decorated an arbor with a lot of things we found around my sister in law’s house (we had the ceremony and reception there).”
 

What does DIY really mean in terms of saving money or invested time?

 

Photo Credit: Susan Pleiman

Lauren – “While we didn’t spend nearly as much on a wedding as most people do (in the end we spent about $9,000-$10,000 total including attire on a 100 person event), it was still a lot when all was said and done. Every time you turned around you’d be spending money on more things. When you hire someone to do something, like the centerpieces, you just pay money and it’s there looking beautiful. But when you’re doing it yourself, every little piece you envision has to be purchased or found on some crazy scavenger hunt. So it takes a lot more time than you would think.
 

“In addition, I think because we were doing it all ourselves and didn’t really have “deadlines” other than the day of the wedding, procrastination ran high and we spent a lot of the morning of the wedding running around trying to set everything up, finish decorations, run out for last minute items, and just worried about the little things (like not having a tap for the keg!).”
 

RELATED: 3 EASY WAYS TO DIY YOUR WEDDING WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE THE TIME OR CRAFTY GENES
 

What advice do you have for those interested in DIYing their wedding?

Photo Credit: Susan Pleiman

Michelle – “Although being a DIY bride was stressful, and tough, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. As long as you prioritize, and plan things out, you’ll be fine! Lists were my best friend. And get friends to help put things together! Not only does it save you money, but it really puts a sense of self into your wedding. And people will notice. Do not have a cookie-cutter wedding…get your creative juices going!”
 

Lauren – “Don’t be discouraged if things don’t turn out exactly how you envisioned them. Some of the items you see in pictures are nowhere to be found, or crazy expensive! So improvisation can be key in this regard. Just go with the flow. Also, don’t procrastinate! Things will go wrong or not turn out right, but you can eliminate a lot of that if you set a deadline to get everything done, like a week before the big day so you can just relax until the ‘I do!’ ”
 

What advice do you have for those who love the DIY look but don’t have the time or know they don’t have crafty genes?

 

Lauren – “Employ your crafty friends and family! Show them the picture of what you want and ask them to help or bring any creative ideas to the table (even though everyone will already be throwing ideas at you). In terms of making things from Pinterest, don’t expect it to look exactly the same. Go into your crafting knowing it won’t, but that you’re also making things for your own, unique wedding. If you’re determined to have everything looks the same to a T, expect even more money or investing in the help of a professional.”
 

Featured Photo Credit: Susan Pleiman

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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

 

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