Vineyards are unique and special wedding venues that make the Hudson Valley so appealing for any couple looking for that rustic, country charm. Today, we’re featuring Katrina and Alex’s wedding at Red Maple Vineyard with photos by Casey Fatchett Photography. Their wedding, complete with tractors and a milk and cookie bar, beautifully infuses bucolic country living with fun and elegance. However, as Fatchett explains, the day did come with one perfectly timed hitch!
According to Fatchett, “Katrina and Alex had an elegant but relaxed winery wedding, and, despite the bad weather, everyone had an amazing time. We were able to get their outdoor portraits done before a massive rain storm rolled in. Guests just moved the ‘corn hole’ bean bag toss inside. It rained so hard that the dance floor had to be closed (inside the tent), but only just as the reception was ending. Perfect timing!”
Are you having a vineyard wedding? Let these photos inspire all your country dreams.
When you get to follow a couple from their engagement through to their wedding, it’s a magical thing. Nora and Dan’s engagement session was featured on the blog a few months ago (check the link below to check it out) and today, we’re featuring their Hudson Valley wedding at Highlands Country Club.
Their photographer, Erica Leman, owner of Sweet Alice Photography, had so many great things to say about their wedding day. “I am not exaggerating when I say that Nora and Dan are my ideal clients. Kind, compassionate, funny, giving, and easy to be around – they feel like your best friends from the moment you interact with them,” she says. “Their love for each other (and cats, haha) makes them stand out above others. Their love is almost tangible, almost like you can touch it if you reach hard enough, and was the perfect theme for their wedding day.”
She says, “Nora and Dan got married on the most beautiful September day at Highlands Country Club. Not too hot, not too cold. Their friends and family gathered in excited groups around them throughout the day, and added to their happiness. Nora was the giggliest I’ve ever seen her; Dan was the best sport about their photos, and fell into an ease beside her.”
As for the details, Leman says, “Their wedding colors were gorgeous and incredibly complimentary. I mean, blush and blue – can it get any prettier? Their arbor was made by a family friend, and Nora’s jewelry was graciously borrowed from Jaymark Jewelers. As always with Nicole Brooke salon, hair and makeup was incredibly fun, and a total breeze. Nora and Dan had the type of wedding I could relive over and over and over.”
Ashley and Tristian had a perfect day for their bohemian Hudson Valley wedding at Locust Grove Estate in Poughkeepsie. There were so many unique and fun details throughout this wedding starting with Ashley’s stunning blush wedding dress accentuated perfectly with the rhinestone belt she found on Etsy.
One of the most meaningful personal touches was a vintage VW bus Ashley rented for the reception. Tristian loves those old busses and this one happened to be converted into a photo booth which guests enjoyed throughout the night.
The ceremony was emotional and touching, as well and was beautifully led by Reverend Lisa Zaro.
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.
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.”
“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.
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…”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
“Rita and Alex’s wedding at The (Poughkeepsie) Grandview was nothing short of one amazing day,” says James Ferrara of J. Ferrara Photography. “The bride’s dress was beautiful, and all day she was one big smile. She was relaxed, had fun, couldn’t care less about the rain that threw us for a loop,” he says. Summer weddings in the Hudson Valley can be unpredictable, and unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about the weather. “It goes to show you how much the attitude of the bride sets the tone of the day,” says Ferrara.
“We went to the church (St. Martin De Porres Roman Catholic Church in Poughkeepsie) for the ceremony, and afterward, we headed up north for photos, with looming storm clouds on the horizon,” he says. “Just as we pulled up to Franklin D. Roosevelt Estate for photos, the rain started. We were only there several minutes, then headed to the Poughkeepsie train station and waited out the storm. Once the torrential rain and wind died down, we did bridal party photos there. From there, we headed to The (Poughkeepsie) Grandview ballroom, where the rest of the night was great with a live band that kept everyone on their feet.”
How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal?
Rita says “We met as Freshman in college at The University of Scranton Chapman Lake Retreat Center. We worked together, attended a few classes together, and were friends for nearly all of college before we started dating. There was always something special about Alex. We shared fun times throughout college and when Alex and I finally realized we really liked each other more than just friends we started dating a few months before graduation. he and I were long distance for 3 years before we no longer had a 2+ hour drive between us.”
“The day of the proposal was also my dad’s birthday,” says Rita. “Before going to dinner with my dad, Alex took me back to the place we met. He got me there because he and mom cooked up a story… Since she works for the University, she told me that she thought she lost her wedding ring at a meeting there the day before. What an actress! On the way there, I asked Alex, “Do you think we’ll find the ring?” He said, “If there’s a ring there, we’ll find it.” When we got to campus, he proposed in the same exact place where we met…There are no videos or pictures from the proposal but I remember every single part of it…oF course, we go to the “birthday party for my dad” to find that he and mom knew all along. Dad says that 65 was the best birthday he’s ever had.”
What was the inspirationfor your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?
“I had many inspirations during the planning process… but, in reality, the inspiration was quite simple: we wanted to throw a party to celebrate our families, who made us who we are (ultimately the best partners for one another!),” says Rita “With every single detail and decision, Alex reminded me “we have to keep it fun” and we certainly did…The band was key to a fabulous party. Before we knew any details, we knew we were going to have a band. In terms of colors… I focused on romantic ivories, pinks, and peaches with lots of fresh green accents. Our religious ceremony was very traditional with both sides of the family having key parts in the mass. It was important to bring the family together from the very beginning. The Groom’s Mom sang during Communion and the Bride’s Mom was Maid of Honor. It meant a lot for me to have my father walk me down the aisle…Our priest, Father Scott Pilarz S.J., was someone we both met while attending The University of Scranton. He drove in from Maryland.
Let’s talk wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
Rita says, “The wedding theme was an elegant, fun party that would ultimately bring everyone together on the dance floor. The venue was perfect with guests entering through a tunnel walkway to a windowed room that overlooked the Hudson River. Guests had the option to go outside on the deck or stay inside to enjoy the view from a room resembling a winery. We had a memory table with picture displays we created that sparked great stories about family not with us. When it was time for the reception the curtains that created the tunnel were raised allowing the guests to enter a room filled with summer flowers, candlelight and lots of love. We were blessed in that our venue was so stunning in itself. the view of the Hudson River was perfect (luckily, no rain for the cocktail hour) and our flowers were perfect for our space.”
What were the florals like? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
“The flowers were magnificent and brought the elegance, beauty, and color we wanted,” says Rita. “We wanted there to be a romantic garden feeling that was soft and yet bright. The centerpieces and tablescapes were alternated on the tables allowing the eye to capture the beauty of the room with sparkling candlelight. My bridal bouquet incorporated flowers from my Communion veil. My Aunt Am, who was also my Godmother, made the veil. She passed away from cancer six years ago. Our florist was able to take these flowers and seamlessly weave them into my bouquet so part of her was with me throughout the day.”
Did you personalize the day in any way? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
Rita says “The question is: What wasn’t personalized? Our signature drink at the cocktail hour was named “The Chapman Cooler” after Chapman Lake where we met and also where Alex proposed. Every single food choice was chosen based on our individual family favorites. Making sure there was pasta for my family and pigs in a blanket for Alex’s. We had a saxophone playing during cocktail hour. Alex worked on recommended songs to give the band for a year leading up to the wedding. Capping the night off, a Venetian hour and pretzels to-go kept the guests engaged and partying until the end. The University of Scranton has been a key part of our lives. As mentioned, not only were we married by our friend, a Jesuit priest, Fr. Scott Pilarz but we also had so many of our college friends in attendance…”
Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look?
“I tried on dozens of dresses,” says Rita…”I truly did not know what look I wanted. but, I did know that it needed to match our theme: It needed to be fun! However, much like everything else, it also needed to be elegant and timeless. I wanted something that had a wow factor and that no one had seen before. I truly believe I found that in my Tara Keely dress…I felt like such a bride rocking that train down the aisle. As for Alex, he wanted classic black which is always something that I’ve loved. in fact, it is what my bridesmaids also wear. At first, I thought the bridesmaids would wear blush and the men navy. but, like many things when planning a wedding, visions evolve and at the end of the day, I loved how Alex’s shawl-collared tux stood out from the groomsmen.”
What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
“It’s tough to say what was the most anticipated or special moment of the day,” says Rita. “When you are so involved in the planning, you are excited about every element… but, for me, the most anticipated moment of our day was our first dance. Alex and I struggled with the choice for our first dance for months (maybe a year). we went back and forth. Alex is very well versed in music so he was picky and I was less picky on the song but, having some dance experience, I knew the kind of dance we wanted…We danced to “Because the Night” by 10,000 Maniacs. We received so many compliments on our dance because it was a song that no one expected and truly kicked off the night as a party.”
Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice?
Rita says, “For a few weeks after the wedding/honeymoon were over, I went through something referred to as “The Princess Crisis.” It sounds a little dramatic but I truly loved every single part of the planning that when it was over, I missed it. It just went by as quickly as everyone says it does. We danced all night and WITH EACH OTHER. I know that sounds funny but it is easy to get separated when there are so many people pulling you in different directions. Our friends gave us the advice to stay together during the day and we did. I would also say to process everything as “this is part of my story; it’s ok”… on the day of the wedding, my blusher was missing, it was raining during our pictures and we had to choose a new location, my bouquet was left at the first photo location and I didn’t have it for the second. Well, let me tell you what happened from all of those seemingly “imperfections” — my lovely friends saved the day and came through for me, we ended up getting beautiful pictures at the second location and beautifully romantic ones of Alex and I with an umbrella…and my flowers were safely recovered and there for my entrance. Every single thing is part of your story and no one’s story will be alike. If it was, weddings would not be as fun! Overall, my advice is from the moment you are engaged to enjoy the journey. Make the planning a partnership with your fiance. Take opinions as “just opinions” and make decisions based on what is most important to you – and on the day of, have the time of your life because that party is for you!”
Falkirk Estate & Country Club in Central Valley, NY was the perfect setting for Amanda and Chris’s wedding. Having met in high school, they weren’t high school sweethearts…just friends. Little did they know, they would turn out to be each others soul mates!
After hanging out in the same circle of friends, they realized they had a lot in common and became close as time went on. They even did the baby project for health class together! Once high school was over they kept in touch and one day, they realized that their friendship was turning into something more.
During their first year of dating, Chris, who at the time was working a part-time job with not much extra money, decided to make Amanda’s birthday gift. He went out and bought construction paper, stick-on googly eyes and a couple of other art supplies to hand make a picture frame of himself. When Amanda opened her gift, she thought it was the sweetest and most thoughtful gift anyone has ever given her!
Seven years later, Chris, as an ode to their first year of dating, wanted to show Amanda how far they have come. He proposed to her the same way!
On a random Thursday, November 5, 2015, Chris picked up Amanda from work. As soon as she walked into their apartment, she saw a beautiful display of red roses, along with a handmade picture frame of Chris with the words “Will You Marry Me?” going across it. After she said yes, they celebrated by popping a bottle of champagne and calling all of their loved ones to share the news!
Christina and Mike celebrated their late fall Hudson Valley wedding at Hollow Brook Golf Club. According to their photographer, James Ferrara of J. Ferrara Photography, “Christina and Mike are SUCH a fun couple. When we arrived, the girls were all just hanging out, putting on custom temporary tattoos with the couples hashtag. Christina’s dress was gorgeous and fit her perfectly.” Once “getting ready” shots were taken, Ferrara says, “We did a first look on the porch, and then walked and drove around the grounds on a golf cart to do their portraits. It was a chilly day for sure, but these two were troopers and the cold doesn’t show through the images.” However, the cold temps did mean an inside ceremony. “With it being so cold, we had the ceremony inside, which is a first for us, but it worked out just fine. Anthony from Platinum Entertainment DJs kept the party rocking all night, even getting the bride and groom to crowd surf!! It was a terrific day, filled with love and laughter and lots and lots of fun.” Check out this amazing gallery of this amazingly fun wedding to get inspiration for your own special day.
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.”