Follow Us

Categories

Archives

Search Tags

Hudson Valley wedding at The Grandview Poughkeepsie photo by J. Ferrara Photography

Featured Couple: Julia & Steven

Their Love Story…

 

“We met at a bar in Brooklyn,” says Julia. “We were both out with friends, and both asked our friends to facilitate us meeting each other. A few weeks later, Steven moved to San Francisco, and a few months after that, I followed. We lived in the Bay area for three years, but knew we wanted to end up back in the same Brooklyn neighborhood we met in, Fort Greene. We now live a few blocks from that bar, over 10 years later!”
 

The Proposal…

 

Hudson Valley wedding at The Grandview Poughkeepsie photo by J. Ferrara Photography

Photo Credit: J. Ferrara Photography

It was quite the romantic setting, a picnic in the park. Prospect Park in Brooklyn to be exact. Julia says they were “…Laying down looking up at the trees and the sky holding hands. It was a beautiful spring day, very private, casual and a total surprise.” Steven even used Julia’s great grandmother’s ring!
 

Why the Hudson Valley…?

 

“Steven has a big family, most of whom live in the Hudson Valley,” says Julia. “So it made sense to do it somewhere near a lot of people, but also accessible from NYC where most of our friends are. The fact that the area is absolutely gorgeous doesn’t hurt, either.”
 

Wedding Theme…

 

“We didn’t have a theme,” says Julia. “We both love parties and bringing people together, and didn’t worry about that stuff (themes). We put pieces together that we liked – music, decorations, clothes, etc. – and just figured that out organically.”
 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

Hudson Valley wedding at The Grandview Poughkeepsie photo by J. Ferrara Photography

Photo Credit: J. Ferrara Photography

Julia says, “We were incredibly lucky to get the most amazing fireworks show right on the Hudson outside the venue! We were all dancing and having fun, when we were ushered outside. All of a sudden fireworks started going off, and everyone got to go outside and watch them right from our wedding space! It was truly magical, a moment to remember for sure.”
 

Hudson Valley Wedding Vendors

 

Venue: The Grandview (Poughkeepsie)

Photographer: J. Ferrara Photography (Cornwall)

Centerpieces: Keep Furniture (Steven’s woodworking business) Julia says “That was the most beautiful personal touch to us. Each one is a unique, steam-bent hardwood sculpture with flowers – handmade by the groom!”
 

Photo credit to all: J. Ferrara Photography

 

 

Read More

What It’s Really Like To Have Your Dog In Your Wedding

“She came right up to us and leaned on my leg, and right then and there, I knew she was the one!” Everyone who has a pet likely has a story similar to this of when their pet stole their heart. Janel Solanki, who got married last year at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie, shared this love story she and her husband Nick have with their dog Sadie, the adorable 9-year-old German Shepherd/Collie rescue in the image above. “Even though we’ve only had her for two years,” Solanki says, “I feel like she’s been with us forever…She is wholeheartedly a member of our family!”
 

“We wanted him to be at our wedding because he is always by our side during our daily lives and why would we want our wedding day to be any different?” says Natalie Feist about her dog Brego, who’s been a part of her and her husband Mike’s lives since he was eight weeks old and played an important role in their wedding at Crested Hen Farms last year.
 

There’s no denying pets bring a special kind of love into our lives, and of course, it’s natural to want them to be part of the biggest day of our lives, but we learned that having your pet in your wedding is not always as easy as it sounds. There are many variables that play into you being able to have your “best friend” by your side. From the venue, to the sights and sounds, to your pet’s personality, there are many things to consider.
 

RELATED: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE INCLUDING YOUR DOG IN YOUR WEDDING

 

We spoke to Janel and Natalie to learn more about the roles Sadie and Brego played on their special day and tips and advice they have for any couple who wants their dog in their wedding.
 

What role should your dog have in your wedding?

 

Photo Credit: Arius Photography

There are hundreds of wedding venues in the Hudson Valley, but the majority are not pet-friendly. That doesn’t mean that venue owners don’t love pets, it just means that the venue may not be the safest or most comfortable for a dog to hang out in for hours at a time (except, of course, if it’s a service animal). If having your dog in your wedding is a deal-breaker for choosing the venue, the first thing you need to do is to check with the venue first to see if it’s pet-friendly.
 

“I loved the idea of having her in our wedding, either carrying our rings or standing up with us while exchanging our vows,” says Solanki, who ended up not having Sadie in her wedding. Many things came into play for them to decide to keep Sadie home that night. What the venue allowed, the 200-plus guest list, and the formal evening affair made them reconsider. However, not all was lost as they made Sadie a prominent fixture in many of their photos which were taken at home prior to the ceremony.
 

Brego, on the other hand, was living it up at Feist’s wedding, since Crested Hen Farms is a pet-friendly location partly because it has a lot of acreage for a dog to run around on. “Brego walked Mike down the aisle. While we were getting ready he ran around exploring Crested Hen Farms, and occasionally would run back to the bridal suite to check in with us,” says Feist.
 

What do you do with your dog during the reception?

 

Photo Credit: Arius Photography

The ceremony is just one part of your wedding. If you want your dog in your wedding, you need to have a plan for the dog during the ceremony, which can last another five to six hours after the ceremony and can make for a very long day for a dog to be away from their familiar surroundings.
 

“Our dog is accustomed to large crowds and loud music, so he handled it fairly well,” said Feist. However, as the night went on, things changed. Feist says, “We noticed later in the evening, as the party got more raucous, he started to become stressed, so we had a friend take him home.”
 

For Solanki, who kept Sadie home that day, they asked their neighbors to watch her. “Sadie is so well house-trained that we left her at my parents’ house where we were staying and had a neighbor check in on her throughout the night.”
 

Do you have a plan for your dog? Do you have a neighbor willing to pet-sit for the night? Do you have a friend willing to leave the party to take your dog home? If any of these questions make you worry about creating an “escape route” for your dog, you might want to reconsider their role in your wedding.
 

Tips for having your dog in your wedding

 

Both Solanki and Feist, who had very different experiences with their dogs, have some great, practical advice for any couple thinking of having their dog in their wedding.
 

Personality

 

Photo Credit: Arius Photography

Every dog is different, so it’s never a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to “rules” for having a dog in your wedding. Personality is huge! Solanki says some questions to consider are: “Is he well socialized? Does he get nervous and skittish around crowds of people, kids, loud music?  Is he well trained in basic obedience or does he jump on everyone he sees?…Is he a constant barker? A counter surfer?  Imagine your dog trying to take a bite out of your wedding cake!” If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to be safe than sorry and leave your dog home, and have them in pictures only.
 

Pet-sitters

 

Feist says pet-sitters are a must! Remember, you don’t want to be in charge of your dog that night; you want to have fun. She says, “Ask multiple people if they are willing to take turns as leash-holders, that way one person doesn’t get stuck with the job all night!” She also says to make sure the leash-holders are also familiar with the dog and willing to leave the premises if necessary to take the dog somewhere more comfortable. “We asked people who were familiar with our dog and how he signals his needs. Also, make sure that there is someone available to take your pet to a safe and quiet space if necessary,” says Feist.
 

RELATED: AVOID THESE 3 MISTAKES WHEN CHOOSING MUSIC FOR YOUR WEDDING

 

Your guests

 

“While you may love dogs, your guests may not,” says Solanki. That’s a very valid point. Just like with music…just because you love heavy metal, that doesn’t mean your guests will and so you need to play music everyone will like. Just because you love dogs, and many people do, not everyone does. What if you have a young child at your wedding petrified of big dogs, or someone who sneezes at just the thought of a dog. These are things you may not think of, but need to take into consideration.
 

The “formality” of your wedding

 

Solanki also says to take a look at the “formality” of your wedding. “A formal indoor evening event won’t be appropriate for a dog, no matter how quiet and well behaved he may be,” she said. “But an outdoor, casual afternoon celebration might!   Ultimately, the venue, type of wedding, and personality of your dog will determine if he should be part of your day.”
 

So, we want to know if you are having your dog in your wedding. What made you decide to have him/her be part of your day or what made you decide to keep him/her home? What role is your dog going to play in your wedding?
 

Featured Photo Credit: Red Pepper Shots

Read More

Featured Couple: Lynne & Kyle

Their Love Story…

 

Lynne and Kyle met through mutual friends that were dating each other at the time. “Kyle and I met at my house, and technically on my backyard trampoline when I was 14 and he was 16,” says Lynne. “We went to different high schools. He went to Tuckahoe and I went to Somers… We were both in relationships at that time, but that was our first meeting – the Summer of 2002. Two years later, our good friend Ricky convinced me to give Kyle a shot and the rest is most certainly history.”
 

The Proposal…

 

Photo Credit: Jeremiah Shaffer

When pets are involved, you know the proposal is going to be a good one. “It was our 10 year anniversary which was October 22nd 2014,” Lynne says, “and we had plans to go out to dinner in Katonah. We were on our way up since at that time we were living together in Valhalla, and my sister asked us to stop at my Mom’s house to let out the dog.” Frustrated by this request because she just wanted to go out to celebrate and not have to make any stops, she obliged since her sister said she couldn’t do it, and Lynne was the last resort…or so she thought. Once they got to her mom’s house, it was raining and Kyle had to convince her to get out of the car and help him with the dog. When she entered the house “The whole entry and first floor of the house was covered with red roses, lit candles, balloons and a hanging decoration that said ‘Marry me’. I barely saw all that until afterward, because as soon as I walked in, he was right down on one knee. He had been throwing me off for months, so it truly was the most surreal and exciting moment.” As for the dog, he was wearing a cute sweater with the ring tied around his neck.
 

Why the Hudson Valley?…

 

Photo Credit: Jeremiah Shaffer

Lynne and Kyle grew up in Westchester and always loved the Hudson Valley. “We’re always outdoors and exploring new hiking trails, kayaking in Cold Spring and doing anything that gets us out and in nature,” Lynne says. “We came across the Chalet on the Hudson and knew it was the best fit for us. It had Breakneck mountains behind it and the Hudson River in front of it. It was perfect!”

 

Wedding Theme…

 

“I’d say our theme was somewhat garden-romantic-chic”

 

Photo Credit: Jeremiah Shaffer

 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

Lynne says “The most memorable moment was probably before the actual wedding when we did our first look. We were under a beautiful willow tree and it was the most special and romantic moment of my life. Seeing each other for the first time and actually being able to hug and kiss and get excited for all that was to come couldn’t have been any more perfect.”
 

Hudson Valley Vendors…

 

Venue: The Chalet On The Hudson (Cold Spring)

Photographer: Jeremiah Shaffer Hudson Valley Wedding Photographer (Poughkeepsie)

Flowers: Flowers by Reni (Fishkill)

Cake: Homestyle Desserts Bakery (Peekskill)

DJ: Much Music DJ (Port Jervis)

Officiant: Harris Bloom Weddings (New York City)

Invitations: Fine Lines of Katonah (Katonah)
 

Photo Credit To All: Jeremiah Shaffer

 

Read More

The Right Wedding Planning Help For Your Needs

When it comes to planning a wedding, each couple has their own set of unique needs. Some couples want to handle it all on their own, which is perfectly fine. Others really struggle with trying to get the vision they have in their head into something real and tangible.
 

Maybe you fall somewhere in the middle. You can handle most of the planning but just need an extra set of hands to help with the details the day of the wedding or the week leading up to your wedding.
 

Jeanne Stark, owner of Hudson Valley Ceremonies in Rhinebeck, says, “Any couple who feels that they need a little bit of assistance to an enormous amount of assistance should hire a wedding planner.” Though, she says it’s not for every couple or for every wedding. “If you’re having primarily an all-inclusive venue that does pretty much everything,” she says, “that’s usually the person who won’t hire a wedding planner,” However, she says there are exceptions, especially if the couple is doing a lot of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) details, or is having the ceremony at a different venue and moving the party to an all-inclusive afterwards.
 
RELATED: NOT SURE IF YOU WANT TO HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER? 5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
 

Whatever your needs are, a wedding planner can help you fully enjoy your day without an ounce of worry or stress. Doesn’t that sound nice?
 

We spoke to Hudson Valley wedding planners to break down the different types of planning and coordination usually offered, so that you can make an informed decision to choose what type of assistance you need for your wedding…if any.
 

Full Coordination:

 

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

Full coordination is just that. Wedding planners coordinate almost every aspect with you and are there to hold your hand every step of the way, from venue scouting, to invitations, to favors, and day-of coordination with vendors and staff.
 

Angela Christoforo, owner, wedding planner and designer at Elite Wedding & Event Planning in Saugerties, says full planning and design is a growing trend in the Hudson Valley. She says couples are having a hard time seeing their whole vision and how things are going to come together the day of the wedding. “They have all these Pinterest boards and all these things they love, but coming up with a cohesive design plan for the wedding is a big challenge for them,” she says.
 

Full coordination, for Joann Provanzano, owner and certified bridal consultant at What Dreams Are Made Of in Kingston, means “I am available to them (the couple) to do everything with them. I actually hold their hand. We go to appointments together, I am with them as much as they need be to be with them.”
 

Stark says, “Full planning is where someone walks through the door, and says, ‘I want to get married.’ So we narrow everything down, we figure out date, location, and then continue on with all the other vendors.”
 

Nellie Hill, event planner and owner of Nellie Hill Events is Hurley, says most couples who book full planning with her usually have the venue booked, but some do not. For those that don’t have a venue picked out, “I help them with a budget to make sure that they are kind of aware of what everything costs, because people usually have no idea,” she says.
 
RELATED: THE ONE THING THAT WILL RUIN YOUR WEDDING AND 4 WAYS TO PREVENT IT
 

Partial Coordination/Planning:

 

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photograhy

Partial coordination is really what it sounds like: The couple has their venue and maybe some of their vendors, but needs help tying together all the loose ends. Stark says, “Partial planning is when a couple has already found their venue, they already have their wedding date and now they pretty much need everything else. So that can be a very small partial planning or it can be very extensive partial planning, depending upon the location and how many services they need. But that basically is more sight visits, more visits with vendors, contract negotiation, a little bit more extensive hand holding, basically”
 

Provanzano says, “Maybe they (the couples) need their décor decided on or they haven’t actually put together their invitations yet; maybe they’re looking for ceremony musicians, transportation, things like that.”
 

Month Of/Week Of/Day Of Coordination:

 

These are kind of all clumped together because each planner has their own version and calls it something different. It’s important for you to know, that if you book day-of, week-of, or month-of coordination, you should really have an ongoing relationship with your planner before that week, month or day in order for you and them to form a relationship, for your planner to get a good feel for you, your personality, your vision, and for you to have an open line of communication so that if a problem should arise somewhere along the planning process, they can step in and help.
 

Stark says, “We like to build a relationship; we like to foresee if there’s any problems that way we kind of steer them in the right direction instead of finding out a month before (the wedding) when it’s too late.”
 

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

Provanzano says, “A week or two before the wedding, I get together with my couple, we try to do a walk through with the venue, we do a timeline of the day, I share that will all of the other vendors, tweak it wherever it’s needed.” She also takes this time to review all vendor contracts so that the day of the wedding, there are no hiccups or issues.
 

Bianca Hendricks, owner and founder of RSVP By B in Poughkeepsie, says every couple should have a day-of coordinator. She says, “Your wedding isn’t just 8 hours long. It isn’t just the ceremony or just the reception. It’s important to us that each couple, their family, and their friends are all able to relax and enjoy the entire day from the beginning to end!”
 

Other Planning Services

 

If you live outside the Hudson Valley and are having a Hudson Valley wedding, you want to make sure that you hire a planner from the Hudson Valley who is familiar with the area, familiar with your venue space, familiar with your vendors, and most importantly is in the area should you need assistance with anything.
 

If you are a couple planning all aspects of your wedding but just needs someone to check in with to make sure you are on the right track, a virtual wedding planner may be just right for you. Stark says virtual wedding planning “…is for someone who really doesn’t need a lot of hands-on (help), but they want someone to be virtually there – phone, email, Skype, to just be able to organize them, make sure they’re going in the right direction, and be there to answer any kind of questions to relieve their anxiety.”
 

Are you hiring a wedding planner? If so, what type of coordination are you using? What is the right fit for you?

Read More