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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?

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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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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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Not Sure if You Want to Hire a Wedding Planner? 5 Things You Need to Know

When I was planning my wedding, I didn’t hire a wedding planner. I had preconceived notions of what a planner did and honestly, I was looking forward to the challenge of planning a wedding and didn’t want to spend any more money than I already had. I’m the type of person that loves to plan, loves to create, and my wedding was the perfect playground for me. We also had our reception at an all-inclusive venue, so I felt like everything was taken care of, and it was, perfectly.

 

There was, however, one part of my day that did not go as planned, that still bothers me to this day and still has me doubting my decision of not hiring a planner, at least a day of coordinator. Here’s what happened…

 

When we arrived at the church, my bridesmaids and I were led to a room off to the side of the vestibule in the church. Within a few seconds, my girls left the room to line up with the groomsmen and then I heard our processional music playing. I couldn’t see anything from where I was waiting, but in my head, I envisioned the bridal party walk down the aisle, like we rehearsed the day before, and knew we good to go.

 

However, it wasn’t until I saw my video that I realized the timing was totally off!! Our first couple to walk down the aisle did so before any music started playing, then the second and third couple walked to music, then our ring bearer started walking down to my music!

 

The thought never entered our mind that we needed to make sure someone was going to signal to the organist in the choir loft that we are ready to go. She couldn’t see us and needed guidance! We never thought to ask the question of how the timing was going to go. We just assumed, somehow, it would happen…but it didn’t. Once the ceremony started, the organist had vocal cues from the priest to know when to start playing music, but to start, she had nothing…co clues or signals to know when to start.

 

It’s such a tiny detail, but when you spend hours planning your perfect day, and something like that happens, it’s cringe-worthy!

 

I share this story with you, not to scare you, but to show how common misconceptions can sometimes lead to poor decision-making. So, I wanted to take this time to debunk some common myths about wedding planners to help you make a more informed decision when it comes to your wedding.

 

Myth #1 – Wedding planners are too expensive

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Weddings

Many couples think that hiring a wedding planner is a luxury, something that they will spend money on, IF they have money leftover in their budget. The result is many couples, at least those familiar with the Hudson Valley, forgo this “luxury” because they don’t think it’s worth it.

 

Truth –

 

As with all aspects of your wedding, you are investing in something much more. You are investing in memories. Joann Provanzano, owner and certified bridal consultant of What Dreams Are Made of in Kingston, says, “Yes there’s a price, but there are so many perks to it (hiring a wedding planner) that people don’t realize.” Perks include all the little items that some folks forget about such as cuing the music at your ceremony or making sure your gifts are packed and taken back to your hotel room.

 

Other perks of hiring a wedding planner is that they can act as a mediator and “therapist” of sorts. If families don’t get along, your wedding planner can step in and ease some of the tension by finding workarounds. They deal with the problems at hand so that you can relax and not be so stressed out. Jeanne Stark, of Hudson Valley Ceremonies in Rhinebeck, says with a wedding planner, “You have an advocate on your side, you have someone that you can always run questions by, etiquette, family issues.”

 

Another perk, which kind of sounds ironic, is that by investing money in hiring a wedding planner, you could actually be saving yourself money (and time and stress) in the long run. Stark also says that planners have vendors in their repertoire that you may not ever know about. Little hidden gems, as she likes to call them “We also have a lot of vendors that they’re (couples) not going to find on The Knot or Wedding Wire,” she says. “They just don’t advertise, they don’t feel they need to or want to and they’re going to be at a lower price because they’re not paying for advertising.”

 

Myth #2 – Wedding planners are too bossy!

Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo & Video

This misconception, I’m sure, comes from the portrayal of wedding planners in movies and TV, where they show up and start bossing people around. Think Martin Short’s character Franck from Father of the Bride. While it’s fun and entertaining, for the most part, wedding planners are not like that.

 

Truth –

 

Nellie Hill, Event Planner and Owner of Nellie Hill Events in Hurley, says the right planner actually keeps their relationship with other hired professionals cordial. “We all work together,” she says. “I’m not going to step on their toes…I will just step back and make sure that it’s happening from afar.” However, she says, as the second set of eyes, she makes sure everything happens the way it’s supposed to. She gives an example of a photographer. “They are a professional, they know what they are doing” but if she sees something happening that they may not be aware of, she will make sure to tell them.

 

Stark says a common misconception is that wedding planners go around yelling at everyone, telling vendors what to do and bringing them down the lowest level they can charge. “A good wedding planner,” she says, “is a team player, we’re all on the same page, so the misconception is that we are there to tell everyone what to do, and we’re not.” She continues to say that “it’s not our job to say ‘do this!’ It’s our job to say ‘let’s come up with a couple ideas,’ and then they (the couple) can choose what’s comfortable for them or what they feel is going to work best in that situation.”

 

However, if you are still unsure of this truth, talk with your vendors and your venue on planners they’ve worked with before. You want to make sure that the planner you hire works well with others and is not the type that lives up to this misconception.

 

RELATED: The One Thing That Will Ruin Your Wedding and 4 Ways to Prevent It

 

Myth #3 – I don’t need a wedding planner because my wedding is in a non-traditional venue

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Getting married at a non-traditional venue has its perks, but also has its setbacks. Remember, most non-traditional venues were built with another purpose in mind first, like a barn, an inn, or an old industrial space, not for weddings. That means that you need to turn that space into a wedding venue.

 

Truth –

 

Provenzano says, “Unique venues such as barns, backyards, wineries – it’s more complicated.” If you are turning a non-traditional space into a wedding venue, it’s all on you, unless you hire someone to help you. You need to provide everything from tables, china, napkins, silverware, to portable restrooms, heat, tents, etc. Even if you are a DIY bride, do you really want to be in charge of all of those details? Stark says, “Most of our clients are going to be ones that are in a venue where they pay a site fee and they have to do everything. EVERYTHING! So that’s a typical couple that would need a wedding planner, just because there’s so many moving parts, so many components to the wedding itself.”

 

RELATED: DIY Weddings: 5 Things You Need To Know Now

 

Myth #4 – I don’t need a wedding planner because I’m getting married at a full-service venue

 

A full-service wedding venue is one you would typically associate with a wedding. A catering hall at a venue or hotel where you choose your linens, your menu, etc. and have staff taking care of you throughout the night. Because of all the staff catering to you during the night, it’s easy to assume you don’t need a wedding planner.

 

Truth –

 

While most couples who have weddings at venues like this do not hire wedding planners, “Full-service wedding venues still need someone there”, says Provanzano. The venue is almost always your biggest ticket item. “If you have a problem with the venue,” she says, “and you don’t have a planner that you’ve hired, who are you going to turn to?” You need to go to someone who works at that venue instead of having an independent person to help you through the issue.

 

Hill says at full-service venues, “sometimes the maître d’ may not be there when a vendor is not showing up…the maître d’ is following the food and managing the staff.”

 

Myth #5 – A wedding planner will take control and not give me the wedding I really want

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Some people have this misconception that a wedding planner will take over all control and force their opinions onto a couple creating a wedding that is the planner’s vision and not the couple’s vision.

 

Truth –

 

When you hire a wedding planner, you are also hiring a third-party “voice of reason.” Sometimes couples get so caught up in the wedding day that their expectations are set way too high, and become unrealistic. The wedding planner comes in and brings them back to reality. Provanzano encourages couples to make smarter decisions. If a couple wants a flame thrower at the reception or wants to spend $2,000 on invitations, she will often times show them what else they could get for their money that would go a lot further instead. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but she gives alternative options to let the couple ultimately decide what’s really important to them and what they really want to do.

 

“The other part of being a wedding planner,” Stark says, “is making sure that clients are making good choices, in a timely manner, and unfortunately, sometimes, being the one that says ‘OK, I know you love the fact that you want to come in a hot air balloon, unfortunately, you have a $25,000 budget and that’s going to blow it out of the water.’ ” Because of that, Stark says planners “sometimes have to be the one that has to be the bearer of bad news. But from experience, what you do is you say ‘well, what about this idea instead? It’s going to be a third of the price, it’s something spectacular, and people are still going to think it’s really cool.”

 

The fact that this “voice of reasoning” may be where this myth comes from, the reality is, the couple actually ends up makes smarter decisions.

 

Are you hiring a wedding planner for your wedding? What made you decide to hire one? Why did you decide not to hire one? We’d love to know.

 

Featured Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

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Top Floral Trends and Your Wedding: What You Need to Know

When it comes to choosing flowers for your wedding day, there are so many options to choose from. Some brides go with their favorite flowers, some want traditional arrangements or pick flowers that hold special meaning to them, yet others want what’s new and trending.

However, it’s clear that one trend, in particular, is sweeping wedding by storm. The shabby-chic, country, vintage, “casual” look is in, and it goes far beyond having an outdoor wedding on a farm with a barn in the background. It’s safe to say that no matter your venue, many brides today want that organic outdoor feel.

With that in mind, we asked Hudson Valley florists how they’re seeing this trend incorporated into today’s weddings.

RELATED: 3 Valuable Tips for Choosing Your Perfect Wedding Florist

 

Bouquets

 

Photo Credit: Floral Fantasies by Sara

Sara Salazar, Owner of Floral Fantasies by Sara in Rhinebeck, says brides are going with bigger bouquets. “Brides are staying away from tiny bouquets or even tight compact bouquets,” she says. “Now they want a loose, airy feeling like they’re (the flowers) freshly picked out of the garden.” This is a trend that started late last year and this looser, more casual feel seems to be continuing into 2017 and beyond. Theresa Colucci, owner of Meadowscent in New Paltz, says, “In the past, there were a lot of mono-botanical arrangements, meaning bouquets and arrangements of all one type of flower. Now, there’s more texture, more use of foliage. The designs are airier and open.”

Steve Morgan, owner and designer of Morgan’s Florist in Poughkeepsie, says when choosing a bouquet, keep in mind that the bouquet needs to compliment the bride and her gown. “No one should say they love the bride’s flowers,” he says, “because the flowers shouldn’t overwhelm or overstate the bride. For example, if a bride’s gown is ornate and really has a lot going on, the arrangement should be simple.”

Textures

 

Colucci mentions textures, which are also playing a huge part in wedding floral trends. What do we mean by texture? The best way to describe this is by thinking of a forest. Forests have all sorts of lush greenery, from plants with smooth leaves, plants with fuller greenery, and lots of twigs and wood. Kathy Herzing, owner of Hyde Park Florist and Gifts, says that forest look is very appealing to couples these days. “Unusual foliage like thistle and succulents” gives bouquets and floral décor that sense of bringing the outdoors in. She says the textures are countered by the softer feel of wildflowers.

Sarah Faoro, owner of Floral Affairs by Sarah in Gardiner, says, “The succulent fad is exploding” and can be found in both bouquets and décor. “Succulents aren’t just a gorgeous addition amongst fresh flowers, but also double as a pretty keepsake.”

Colors

 

Faoro says that a very popular color palette is soft neutrals like blush pinks and blush peaches. “However,” she says, “now we’ll see the addition of deep, rich colors: wine, navy, moss and gray. Also mixed in will be some brighter pops of coral, orange and pink.”

RELATED: 3 Steps You Need to Follow for Choosing Beautiful Wedding Flowers

 

Photo Credit: Floral Fantasies by Sara

Décor

 

Because couples today want that feeling of being outdoors, even if they are inside, Salazar says in barns, industrial-looking venues, even tents, couples are bringing in actual trees to decorate the space to give it more of that outdoorsy feel!

Faoro says trees and large floral displays are seen throughout ceremony and reception spaces. “Couples are opting to invest in giant floral topiaries for either side of the sweetheart table or a lush floral wall to hang at the reception as a photo-op for themselves and guests. Arches and gazebos are being adorned with extravagant garlands and place card tables are greeting guests with show-stopping florals in an effort to ‘wow’ their guests.”

How much does this new trend cost?

 

Well, I have good news and bad news on this. In the past, and if you are a bride that still wants a more traditional look, adding greenery can sometimes save you some money because you are interspersing it throughout substituting the more expensive flowers.

However, because the current trend is to use so much more greenery, you really aren’t saving as much as you would think. Salazar says, “It’s not like we’re doing just a little greenery here and there. The garlands are expensive. People think that by using the greenery, they’re going to be saving money, but they’re not because there’s so much labor that goes into doing a garland.”

However, don’t lose hope yet. There is still a way to save if you want a lot of greenery in your wedding. Salazar says, “What we’ve been doing a lot of is just placing greenery on the table, so you don’t have so much labor and it gives you a similar look.”

Now that Hudson Valley florists have shared these trends with you, what do you think? Are you choosing any of these trends for your wedding or going with a more traditional, formal look? We’d love to know!

Featured Photo Credit: Floral Fantasies by Sara

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the one mistake couples make when hiring their DJ

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 
dj quote
 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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thank you

9 crucial things you need to do for your wedding vendors

Did you know that hiring a wedding professional, or even trying to figure out what professional you want, goes far beyond just signing a contract having them provide you with the goods or services you agreed on? You are responsible for a whole other part of that commitment, which is not always written in the contract.

 

There are 9 crucial things you need to do for your wedding vendors, which can be broken down into three areas: before booking, after booking to your wedding day, and your wedding day and beyond.

 

Before Booking

Never outright say you are on a budget

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

Guess what? 99% of all other couples at a wedding expo are on a budget. If you aren’t, you should be. If you’ve read my previous post on what you need to know before attending your first wedding expo, having a budget (or a roundabout idea of what you want to spend) helps flush out vendors who are totally outside your budget.

 

For example, if you determine that you want to spend $3,000 – $6,000 on wedding photography and videography and you see a photographer that charges $10,000, you know that professional is not for you. Why? Because you can’t expect a vendor who charges $10,000 for their goods and services to give you the same amount of value for a cheaper price.

 

On the other hand, if you see a photographer/videographer in the $7,000 range, don’t dismiss them. I’ll discuss why in a future post, but what you should do instead like I mentioned in my piece on how not to get overwhelmed at a wedding expo, is take that information home to think about it.

 

Always get back to vendors…whether you are interested in them or not

 

If you gave your information to any wedding vendor at an expo, if they are professional and on their game, they will reach out to you after the expo to follow-up. This is not to be annoying or sales-y, it’s because they have very busy schedules and if you expressed any interest at the show, they want to make sure you get on their schedule (get them booked) before it fills up.

 

If after you looked over their information and decide they are not the right professional for you, you must respond. Not responding or ignoring their email leaves them hanging, which makes it really stressful for them as they proceed to book their calendar. They may even keep contacting you because they are left in limbo. A simple, “Thanks for meeting with us at the show. After reviewing the information, we decided to explore other options” is all it takes. This way, at least you close that circle and both of you can move on.

 

They may come back and ask about motivators for choosing someone else, and again, respond. It’s not them being pushy at all, it’s because they are using the information you tell them to help them perfect their goods or services for future couples. They are just looking for honest feedback.

 

After Booking to Your Wedding Day

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Keep your wedding vendors informed

 

Make sure you keep an open dialogue with all your vendors and make sure you are telling them the same information. For example, make sure all vendors know your timeline, make sure they all know if you are going to be doing something fun or special during the ceremony or reception. Make sure they all have important contact information and phone numbers. This is so everyone is in the loop, so no one misses something important, and so all your vendors can give their best on your wedding day. If you’ve covered all your bases, that makes your day less stressful. Who doesn’t want a stress-free day?

 

Pay on time

 

When you sign a contract with any wedding professional, pay careful attention to when payments are due. More often than not, a deposit will be due right up front (or soon thereafter), another payment will be due sometime before the wedding, and the final payment will be due the day of the wedding. It’s crucial that you pay on time to make sure that your date is not compromised and it avoids any uncomfortable moments. Trust me, vendors don’t like to, nor do they want to, come chasing after payments, that’s not their job, so you want to make sure that you hold up your end of the bargain.

 

Wedding Day and Beyond

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Don’t be rude or abusive

 

This could quite possibly be THE MOST important piece of information in this entire article. Weddings are stressful. There’s no denying it. People express their stress in different ways, and sometimes, because you have so many expectations of the day and want everything to be “perfect,” it’s sometimes easy to snap at those around you. But remember, being stressed is never an excuse for being rude or abusive to anyone.

 

The professionals you hire are there to give you the best they can give you that day. Outside of you and your family, they are the ones that care the most about your day. Of course, they are going to do everything they can to make you happy and deliver what you deserve, but with that comes trust.

 

You need to trust who you hire. Yelling, cursing, demanding, throwing, and anything of the sort is something you should never, EVER do. Yes, in essence, they are working for you, but that is no excuse to treat them any differently than you would your family or friends.

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Feed your vendors

 

Yes, vendors do need to be fed! They are with you all day working, and just like it’s important for you to remember to eat throughout the day, they need to eat as well. Make sure you have snacks and water for them prior to the reception or ceremony in case they want or need a little sustenance. Professionals may bring their own, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry and not assume. Plus, it’s just nice. I mean, who doesn’t like a snack?

 

At the reception, make sure you give them a meal. Even if their contract says that they do not require a meal, make sure you ask them if they would like something to eat and see if your venue can make sure they get food.

 

When you give your final head count at the venue, your professionals (photographer, videographer, DJ or band), are in that number. Check with your venue to see what the details of vendor meals are. Sometimes it’s the same meal but at a discounted rate, sometimes it’s a boxed meal. You want to make sure that the venue offers to feed your vendors, and if they don’t, ask if it’s ok if you can bring in outside food for them or if the vendors can bring their own meals in with them.

 

Tip your vendors

 

Make sure you bring money with you the day of your wedding to tip your professionals like your limo driver, your maître d’ and anyone else providing you services that day. Make sure you double check all your contracts to see the details of those tipping details such as how much. For some vendors, it may be included in the price agreed upon in the contract.

 

thank you

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

Thank them

 

After you get back from your honeymoon, and while you are writing your thank you notes to your guests, make sure you also send your vendors thank you notes. It’s very easy to send them a thank you e-mail, but it means so much more to hand-write a note for their time and talent. By the time your wedding comes, chances are, you will have become very friendly with your vendors – I’m still friends will all of mine – and it really is a nice gesture to take the time to tell them how much you appreciate them and what they did for you that day.

 

Give reviews when asked

 

Lastly, and along the same lines as sending a thank you, many of your vendors are going to ask that you write reviews on many of the sites they use to market themselves such as top wedding planning websites like The Knot or Wedding Wire.

 

It is so important that you leave reviews for your vendors. You have to remember that vendors are self-employed, meaning that they don’t have a big corporation behind their work, and they don’t have big marketing budgets. For them, more often than not, word of mouth is their best marketing tool and the best word of mouth marketing is based on reviews.

 

By leaving a review, you are helping support their business and their livelihood. Living in the Hudson Valley it’s so important to support those in our local community and neighborhoods. Reviews also help other couples, just like couples before you helped you, find your vendors.

 

Vendors make this as easy for you as possible and will usually send you the links to their directory sites. You don’t have to rewrite a separate review for each website either, just simply copy and paste. It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to do, and your vendors will thank you immensely for your review.

 

What tips do you have for couples and what they should be doing for their vendors?

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Wedding DJ

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

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

 

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

 

Let’s break this down a bit:

 

Wedding DJs manage the timeline of the night

 

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

 

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

 

Wedding DJs manage details

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Wedding DJs know wedding trends

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

 

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

 

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

 

Photo Credit: Jade DJ Entertainment

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wedding makeup

This is the one mistake that can ruin your wedding photos

Did you know having professional makeup done for your wedding has a direct effect on wedding photography? If you were thinking of doing your own makeup for your wedding, I strongly encourage you to reconsider.

 

You might be thinking makeup could be an area where you can save money by doing it yourself. While saving money is great, try to find other areas to make the cut. It’s crucial you don’t forgo the importance of professionally applied makeup.

 

Professional makeup vs. DIY makeup

 

wedding makeup

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

First, let’s start with the basics. We asked some of the Hudson Valley’s top hair and makeup professionals to break down the benefits of professionally applied makeup versus doing your own.

 

Ada Seymour, Owner and Salon Coordinator of Salon Lucere in Chester says professionally applied wedding makeup helps every aspect of your wedding day: “It helps your gown look better. It makes your photos come out better. It makes your day better because you’re not constantly touching up. Touch-ups are not necessary if it’s done professionally.”

 

wedding makeup

Photo Credit: Salon Lucere

To be specific, professionals go by that name because they are experts in that field. Just as with all the other professionals you hire for your wedding day, makeup artists are no different.

 

Rebecca Lee, Owner of Bella Luci Salon in Poughkeepsie, explains, “With doing makeup yourself, you tend to not have that eye for where the colors lay and how they mix well with your face to enhance your look.” She also says the untrained person may not necessarily know how to enhance her features or skin tone the way a professionally trained makeup artist will. “Even the small amount of makeup, with a trained eye of a makeup artist, it can create big changes that you don’t necessarily know how to do yourself,” Lee says.

 

Why professional makeup is best for wedding photos

 

wedding makeup

This is me giving a thumbs up on a great job at Bella Luci Salon! My MOH took this photo the morning of my wedding

Wedding makeup goes far being just making you look good; it serves a bigger purpose. Professional makeup balances you out. “When you’re doing wedding makeup,” Lee says, “you really need to take into account pictures, photography with lighting and flash, and things that reflect off your skin differently.”

 

You want your skin looking smooth and your complexion enhanced so you don’t look washed out. “Some things that we do with the contouring of the face are so minimal…but in a picture completely enhances your face,” says Lee.

 

I mentioned in my post earlier this week that, at least when it comes to DIY crafting, doing it yourself is not always cheaper. The same applies to wedding makeup. It might be cheaper that day, but in the long run will cost you in the form of regret. “Pictures last forever,” says Cheryl Conklin, Platinum Stylist and Bridal Coordinator also of Salon Lucere. “Of course you remember the day; but really, when you look back on that day, you look at the photos…and you want to look like what you think is perfect…that wouldn’t be the place where you should cut back.”

 

The photographers’ opinions

 

wedding makeup

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

Still not convinced hiring a professional is a good idea? We asked Hudson Valley photographers to share their thoughts on professional wedding makeup, and you may be surprised at what they have to say.

 

Myles Pinkney, Owner of Myles Studio Photography in Highland, says having professional makeup done serves many purposes. First, it makes the day run so much smoother. “Often times, when brides do their own makeup,” he says, “difficulties arise because they can’t find the right color, or lose track of their mascara, because they have so many other things to worry about.”

 

Secondly, he says not all makeup is created equal and may look different when photographed. “A true professional,” he says, “will have the appropriate makeup to look good in photos, and often will have makeup that will last longer. They also know what makeup looks best with certain skin tones.”

 

wedding makeup

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Wedding Photography

Christine Ashburn, of Christine Ashburn Wedding Photography in Cold Spring, says looking great in person and looking great on camera are equally important. “A professional makeup artist knows what looks good on camera, the importance of matching the right foundation to your skin tone and what colors and contouring to use that will make your features pop,” she said.

 

Beyond outward looks, there’s so much work that goes on behind the scenes, in editing, if makeup is not done properly and professionally. Ashburn says, “There is nothing worse than having to color correct every single photo of a bride because her foundation color was off and she looks orange in pictures. Worse is having to Photoshop a bride’s photos whose foundation is not blended well and reflects artificial light poorly resulting in a ghosting, washed out look, or a spotty look in the photos.”

 
Are you having your makeup professionally done? What made you decide to get it done professionally? We’d love to know.

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6 easy ways to prevent feeling overwhelmed at a wedding expo

Thank you for joining us in this last of a three-part series

 

What do stickers have to do with not feeling overwhelmed at a wedding expo? You’ll have to read on to find out. But first, let’s take a look back.

 

If you’ve been following this series, you’ll remember I shared with you I felt very overwhelmed at the first Wedding Expo I attended. It was nobody’s fault but my own because I didn’t do research or come with a plan. I was very unprepared.

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

I also mentioned Wedding Expos in the Hudson Valley come fast and furious. Starting at the beginning of January, and for the next few months after, there seems to be one or more every weekend. That’s a good thing, but having so many to choose from can be overwhelming in its own right. How do you choose which ones to go? When should you start going to shows?

 

There really is no simple answer, and there is no right or wrong answer. It’s really up to you. Margaret Brower, Director of Sales at The Grandview explains, “Some (couples) feel really comfortable getting things out of the way and check off a list, some feel like they want to enjoy engagement and then look for vendor.” Paul Porco, manager at Villa Borghese Caterers, says he’s even seen couples go that aren’t even engaged yet!

 

So, regardless of when you go or how many shows you go to, there are six things you can do to make sure you have an awesome experience that leaves you wanting to go back for more:

 

COME PREPARED WITH A PLAN

 

“It is really important to come with a plan,” Brower says. “What do you want to get from the show? Are you going to … start your wedding planning with something that is exciting? … Or maybe you’re going for information and making that particular show just a source of gathering different vendors booklets and cards. … Sometimes you go to a show and it’s like, ‘OK, we have three months until the wedding; we have to find a florist.’ ” Knowing your plan and what you expect to get out of the show is going to elevate a lot of stress. Wanda Mendillo, Banquet and Sales Manager for Anthony’s Pier 9, says, “Your first show is probably going to be gathering the experience of the show itself and taking information, as well as packages and pamphlets. Then when you go home, you’ll be able to sort through a little bit of the information.” You need to set your plan and expectation and know why you are going first. What do you want to gain from it?

 

Photo Credit: The Villa Borghese

I had the opportunity to speak to two lovely couples a few weeks back at the Villa Borghese show, each were there for a different reason. Kim and Andrew from Mahopac are getting married in the summer of 2018, and this was their first show. While Kim had been to other shows in her role as bridesmaid, this was her first as a bride-to-be. They didn’t really have any details planned and were just going to see what’s out there and to get a feel for locations; if you haven’t had a chance to read my posting on using a wedding expo to look at venues, you can check it out here.

 

Mary and Chris from Hyde Park, on the other hand, were at the show for a very specific reason: They have been engaged for a year-and-a-half and are really at the end of their wedding planning process as they are getting married in June of this year. They were there specifically to look for a transportation company and tuxedos. Chris’s advice for couples is to try to get as much done early on and stick with your budget. He says it can get overwhelming at times, but you need to go with an open mind, and just get information the first time going. He says it’s important for grooms to go, too, as it helps to ease the stress of just one person going.

 

DON’T RUSH

 

Porco says one of the best ways not to get overwhelmed is by not rushing. “Try not to rush into things,” he says. “View your options as far as your different vendors, different DJs, photographers, you know, go with a company that has been established for a while.” We’ll discuss this more in a future post. Remember, your wedding is not tomorrow (hopefully), so you do have some time to make an educated decision of who you want to hire. Also, take your time at the show, relax, grab a bite to eat, have a drink. Enjoy the show for what it is and take your time with each vendor so you can really express what your vision is to them. Don’t just make it a “How much do you charge?” conversation. More on that to come, too.

 

BRING STICKERS

 

Photo Credit: HCHV

I told you stickers played a major role! When you go to a show, you are given a bag at registration to hold all your loot during the day. It quickly gets filled with cards and brochures from all the professionals you speak to. Then you go home and are left with a bag of paper, and you need to remember who you spoke to, who you want to follow-up with; it can get pretty complicated if you don’t have a system. Brower says, “I always tell my couples to bring stickers, walk into the show, and if you like a vendor after talking to them, put a sticker on the back of their card…because once you put it (the card) in your bag, it gets jumbled with everyone else…so just simply putting a sticker on the back of their business card or on their pamphlet denotes this is someone we want to revisit, so you can automatically sort the people you are interested in and the people that you aren’t.”

 

She also suggests you bring another type of sticker, this time with your contact information on it “If any of the booths have raffles, it’s a time saver. You can just put your label on any of the raffle items and keep moving throughout the show.”

 

CREATE AN EMAIL

 

Have you ever overlooked an important email because your inbox is full of junk and spam, and it got lost in the shuffle? Brower says, “The first piece of advice I give wedding couples when they come into the office is to make a wedding email address.” You are going to need to give it at registration, and it allows you to keep all wedding-related emails together in one place throughout your planning process. Plus, both of you will have the address and password, so you each can check it throughout the day, keeping in the loop.

 

 

KEEP AN OPEN MIND

 

Photo Credit: The Villa Borghese

Wedding expos can have anywhere from a few professionals to upwards of 100 or more, so you need to keep an open mind. Know that the Hudson Valley is full of wedding professionals, and they don’t all necessarily attend shows. Also, if you’ve done your research already and absolutely fell in love with an expert’s services and then see them at a show to discover one of two things: Either your date is booked or you are not meshing well with them, you’ll need to keep looking; or if you are on a super-tight budget, see when vendors have a slow period. Booking in their off season may save you money in the long run.

 

 

HAVE FUN

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

This could quite possibly be the most important thing to remember. Porco says overall, the goal of wedding shows is to provide you with resources to make your wedding go off without a hitch. But who says you can’t have fun in the process? Many shows will have food, drinks, contests, seminars, games, DJs playing great music and a wedding fashion show with models showcasing dresses and tuxedos. At the Villa Borghese, the staff gets in on the fun as they are the models for the show!

 

Brower urges couples to keep it light when they go to show because it is very easy to have an anxiety-ridden experience. “Keep it light when you go to them,” she says. “This is part of the engagement and planning process, so make sure that it’s fun, because if you leave and you feel stressed, you missed it. It should be something wonderful to help you. These shows should be a tool for you and not to make you feel stressed out.” Mendillo agrees, as she tells every couple she knows who’s going to a show, “I want them to have fun.”

 

At the end of the day, all the vendors and all the host venues are there to help you. Porco sums it up nicely by saying, “Our fortune is that you came to our bridal show, we made your life that much easier, and that much special for that particular day. That’s the most important thing.”

 

What tips do you have for couples going to wedding expos? What piece of advice would you share?

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3 steps you need to follow for choosing beautiful Wedding Flowers

This is the last of a two-part series

 

I love flowers! Let me just get that out right away. In fact, one of my favorite times of the year in the Hudson Valley is when the flowers start to peep through the frozen ground. It can still be chilly; but as long as I see the flowers start to bloom, it immediately wipes the winter doldrums away. To me, flowers are nature’s perfect package, and they just put a smile on my face. Between their colors, shapes and smells, there’s nothing more beautiful.

 

Photo Credit: Meadowscent

That being said, I couldn’t wait to book my floral appointment for my wedding. Knowing it was the one day where I could surround myself with such beauty made me incredibly happy. Now, here’s the thing: I know what I like, but the names of flowers – outside of the popular roses, calla lilies and carnations – leave me clueless.

 

I didn’t know what flowers I needed to achieve the look I wanted, so I was thrilled to have an expert florist walk me through the process, show me examples of flowers, and tell me the pros and cons of each, including what would be in season (and therefore be cheaper). However, your floral consultation goes far beyond just showing up and talking to the florist. It takes some time to make sure you get the perfect look. We spoke to some of the most experienced florists in the Hudson Valley, and broke the process down into three easy steps.

 

Step 1 – Know your colors

 

Photo Credit: Lucille’s Floral of Fishkill

One of the most important pieces of information you can bring to the consultation is your color scheme. I remember even bringing swatches of fabric of both my gown and my bridesmaids’ gowns with me. Steve Morgan, owner and designer of Morgan’s Florist in Poughkeepsie says the bride’s flowers need to complement her, he says that you also need to know what colors the bridal party will be wearing to ensure all flowers will be cohesive. Theresa Colucci, owner of Meadowscent in New Paltz says because the bulk of her appointment revolves around color, if you don’t have that information at your first visit, then you will need to book a second appointment. She says while it’s very normal for couples to want to start planning right away because they are excited, it’s best to wait until you know what everyone is wearing.

 

Step 2 – Do research and come in with ideas

 

Photo Credit: Lucille’s Floral of Fishkill

Lucille Conforti, owner of Lucille’s Floral of Fishkill, says looking at flowers on websites such as Pinterest, and sharing your board with her, is a great tool to help her get to know the aesthetic and feel you are going for. Morgan wants to see your Pinterest board, too, to work with the ideas you have. He suggests going a step further and doing research on what flowers are in season. Colucci asks, in a pre-appointment questionnaire that she sends out, all photos and Pinterest boards be e-mailed to her so she can prepare and get to know the aesthetic of the couple so the end result is a streamlined floral appointment.

 

Step 3 – Set and share your budget

 

The third, most important piece of information you can bring is your budget, and be honest with it. We’ve mentioned how important a budget is in previous posts, and you might be wondering why we put budget last when it comes to choosing the right flowers. That’s because until you know your colors and do research on what type of flowers you like and see what’s in season, you can’t figure out how much it’s going to cost. If what you like ends up being too expensive for you, you may need an alternate plan. But, don’t worry.

 

Photo Credit: Morgan’s Florist

Like Morgan stated, doing research on what flowers are in season will help save you money. If you want to purchase flowers that are in their “off” season, they can be much pricier than if you buy them in season. All florists are willing to work within your budget, but they need to know what that budget is. If you like a particular flower and it’s not in your budget, Morgan will show you how he can use similar ones to create the same look but aren’t as expensive. By getting your photos and ideas, Colucci will know if your style matches your budget and if not can discuss alternatives to keep you within your desired price point. Conforti will let you bring in your own containers and put arrangements in there, which often times helps couples keep their cost down. A good question to ask florists you interview is to see if you can do the same.

 

What tips do you have in choosing the perfect flowers for your wedding day?

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

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

 

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

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

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

 

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

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

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

 

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

 

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

 

ROOM LAYOUT

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

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

 

FOOD, DRINKS, AND TABLE SETTINGS

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

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

 

CLEANLINESS

 

Photo Credit: Grandview Events

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

 

STAFF

 

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

 

Photo Credit: Grandview Events

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

 

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

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3 Essential Details You Need to Know Before Attending Your First Wedding Expo

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

 

The start of the new year means one thing in the Hudson Valley: It’s wedding expo season! If you are recently engaged, you might have started to notice ads for invitations popping up for shows almost every weekend at different venues across the area. If you are thinking about going to one, which I highly suggest you do, there are three essential details you need to know before you attend your first expo.

 

But first, as Julie Andrews says in a song from one of my favorite movies, The Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.” So, what exactly is a wedding expo, and what can you expect?

 

I like to think of wedding expos as trade shows for the wedding industry. If you’ve attended any sort of trade show, whether for work or for fun, you know it’s an opportunity for businesses in a particular industry to come together and showcase their products and services to potential consumers. In this case, the business are owned by wedding experts, and the consumers are you, the engaged couple. It’s an opportunity for you to get an idea of the types of businesses, services and products that are out there to help you create your dream day.

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

“If you’re looking for a DJ, if you’re looking for a band, if you’re looking for invitations, you’re looking for everything that goes along with your services for your wedding,” says Paul Porco, one of the managers at Villa Borghese Caterers, a venue that’s been hosting wedding expos for almost 30 years, and who, himself has been in the business for 25 years. “It’s an opportunity, then, to interview them (the vendors), to find out what particular products they offer, and also get an idea of about a budget and to get more educated on what to anticipate and what to look for.” Porco says an expo is really one of the key tools in helping couples book particular vendors for their wedding day.

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

Each show is different, and it’s recommended you go to as many as you can. Wanda Mendillo, Banquet and Sales Manager for Anthony’s Pier 9, says, “The more shows you go to, the more experience you get.” Why is experiencing more shows beneficial? Because it gives you an opportunity to meet new vendors, see new locations, and learn more about how to create the wedding of your dreams.

 

However, no matter what show you go to, there are three essential details you need to know before going because these are the questions every vendor you speak to is going to ask. Knowing these three things will help streamline the process for you and help you to more effectively narrow down your “A” team.

 

Date

 

Typically, couples start attending wedding expos soon after they get engaged, which means, they usually have about a year or longer to plan. That being said, It’s OK if you don’t have the exact date pinned down – it helps but isn’t necessary yet if it’s your first show. What you do need, however, is at least a timeframe. The year, the season, the month – something to give the person you are speaking to an idea of what you are thinking as it helps them see if they are going to be available that day.

 

Photo Credit: Grandview Events

You also do not want to wait too long to attend a show. Here’s why. Margaret Brower, Director of Sales at The Grandview, explains that some vendors, such as photographers and DJs, may have a team of staff that go out and cover weddings; that way, they can do more than one wedding a day. However, some vendors might just be a single person with an assistant, so if that vendor is already booked on that day, you will need to find someone else.

 

Budget

 

Similar to date, you may not have an exact budget in mind. In fact, if this is your first wedding expo, you may just be going to get an idea of how much services cost. However, having an idea of a budget does two things: It helps you quickly streamline the vendors who fall way outside your budget, and it also lets you see what you are getting for what you want to spend. We’ll discuss value versus cost in a future post.

 

Here’s a true story: When I attended my first show, I admittedly didn’t do any research before I went. That was not smart. I had a budget in mind, but honestly, it was just a random number I pulled out of thin air based on what I thought services would cost. Here’s what happened because of my unpreparedness: When I got to my first show, I immediately felt a sense of panic and sticker shock. We were on a tight budget, as we were also buying a house at the same time, but my little number was unrealistic in every stretch of the imagination. That’s why you need to have some idea in mind, or at least use the show as a research project, with an open mind, to get a realistic idea for how much services cost.

 

Guest List

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

The third thing you need to know is a rough estimate of how big your wedding will be. Again, this is where it behooves you to do a bit of planning before you go. Vendors ask you this question because knowing how big your wedding will be gives them an idea of what type of an event you want to have. Are you planning a quiet, intimate affair for just family, or a big blow-out party? It also helps you when you are talking to venue. The venue host will always have table at the expo, and so, if you are interested in the venue, you want to know how many people you expect because it will determine if that venue is the best fit for you. Your number of guests can ultimately decide where you have your wedding.

 

Another true story: We originally thought we would have 75 people, just guess-timating. Once we wrote down names, we ended up with nearly double that. What would have happened if we booked a venue that could only hold 80 people (because we thought we would have only 75) and then ended up with nearly 150 people? We would have either had to make some serious guest list cuts, or lose money because we would have to break the contract and book a different venue.

 

So, we want to know from you, have you gone to any wedding expos yet? Did you prepare? If so, how?

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