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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Should I even wear a wedding band?

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

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

 

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

 

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

 

How do I start narrowing down my choices?

 

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

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

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

 

Is this ring right for me?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Featured Image Photo Credit: Jaymark Jewelers

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Traditions and ceremonies of a Hindu wedding

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Red Pepper Shots

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

 

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

Jaimala

 

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

Ganesh Puja

 

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

Kanyadan

 

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

Gathbandhan

 

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

Photo Credit: Vijay Solanki

Agni Pujan and Havan

 

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

Mangal Phera/Saptapadi

 

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

 

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

 

Sindoor

 

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

Mithai

 

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

Ashirvad

 

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

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

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

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

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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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Featured Couple: Melissa & Kaveh

Their Love Story…

 

Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo & Video

Their story started out as a series of missed moments. Melissa says, “Kaveh and I spent years just missing each other, as a mutual friend kept trying to set us up, but the timing never quite worked for both of us. Then about 4 years ago we were invited to the same holiday party where we met for the first time and have been together ever since.”

 

The Proposal…

 

Their proposal didn’t go quite as planned but worked out perfectly in the end. “Kaveh had been working on planning a proposal for just before my 30th birthday,” Melissa says, “however I got sick and threw a bit of a wrench in his plans. I insisted on staying home to rest up and he switched gears and prepared to do it another time. We ordered sushi and had a picnic in our living room, surrounded by tissues and tea. It was there that he ended up proposing, saying it was those moments that made him want to spend our lives together so what better way to ask.”

 

Wedding Theme…

 

“We didn’t really have a theme,” Melissa says, “but I love rustic elements and pastels.”

Photo Credit: Emma Cleary Photo & Video


 

Why the Hudson Valley?…

 

Melissa says, “I have family that lives in the Hudson Valley and growing up it was always one of my favorite places to visit. With so many happy memories there it was a natural fit for our wedding.”

 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

Melissa says the most memorable moment for her was during their first dance. “It was when my nerves melted away,” she says, “and it was just me and Kaveh surround by our cheering friends and family.”

 

Hudson Valley Professionals…

 

Venue – The Garrison (Garrison)

Photography/VideographyEmma Cleary Photo and Video (New York City)

FloristFloral Fantasies By Sara (Rhinebeck)

HairAnnaliese & Co. (Fishkill)
Makeup
Bridal by Alexandria (Fishkill)

 

Photo Credit to all: Emma Cleary Photo and Video (Click images for larger view)

 

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engagement rings: what you need to know beyond the 4 “C”s

OK, guys, listen up, this blog post is just for you. We’re going to teach you everything you need to know when it comes to purchasing an engagement ring. From when to buy it, to how to buy it to what to do with after you buy it, we have you covered. We know this is a big moment for you and we have your back.

 

You may be nervous or excited, or maybe a little bit of both, but you’re not alone. Michael J. Halpy, owner of Hannoush Jewelers in Wappingers Falls, says, “There’s some guys that come in with their buddies for moral support, there’s some guys that come in and they take that deep breath when they walk through the doors, and there’s some that are just really confident and know exactly what they want.” So know, straight away, no matter what you are feeling when you go shopping, it’s totally normal!

 

But before we get into the details, you need to remember one thing: Buying a ring is “the beginning of the beginning,” says James Matero, co-owner of Jaymark Jewelers in Cold Spring. Because of that, “it’s important to keep a couple of things in mind,” he says. “Buying an engagement ring is an emotional purchase. Yes, you want to get her something she loves, but you’re also going to get something that really is a symbol, it’s a promise, you’re getting her an emotional item, not just a physical item. So getting something she loves is important but making sure it means what you want is also important.”

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

General rules to keep in mind outside of the 4 “C” s

 

Photo Credit: Jaymark Jewelers

By now, you should be very familiar with the four “C”s, but in case you don’t know, they are carat weight, color grade, clarity grade, and cut grade. However, choosing a diamond goes far beyond that.

 

Matero says, “Aside from the 4 ‘C’s the most important thing to remember is you aren’t buying a diamond based on paperwork, you’re buying a diamond based on how beautiful it is.” What does he mean? Well, diamonds may have great characteristics on paperwork that comes with each ring highlighting the 4 “C”s, but you may not like the way they look. “Sometimes the most highly graded diamonds may not look as pretty to you as something else,” he says. “So it’s always important that you look at the diamond and see them in person because what’s good on paper isn’t always the best.”

 

Another thing to remember is that no one “C” is better than the other, you want to go for an overall pleasing aesthetic to the entire ring.

 

How far in advance should you purchase the engagement ring?

 

Jocelyn Z. Klastow, Vice President of Zimmer Brother Jewelers in Poughkeepsie, recommends 4-6 weeks is good, but 6-8 weeks is better. You want to make sure you give yourself enough time to choose a great ring, size it, and have it ready for “popping the question” especially if you plan to propose on vacation. One tip she has is that if you are planning to propose on vacation, DO NOT under any circumstance put the ring in your suitcase. Keep it in your carry-on.

 
RELATED: 5 Tips You Need To Know For Awesome Engagement Photos
 

So, how do you figure out what she likes?

 

This can be tricky or not, depending on how open you are about getting engaged and if you want to keep it a surprise or have her be part of the process.

 

Get her involved

 

Photo Credit: Zimmer Brother’s Jewelers

“One of the trends I’ve seen over the last 7 years or so is having the women involved,” says Halpy. “It used to be traditional, the guy used to come in and pick out a ring and it went on her finger and that was that. But now, there’s so many different designs, there’s so many different styles, different types of metals, different shaped stones. Brides have their unique desire for their engagement ring. They might have a specific design in mind and at the end of the day, it’s a big investment for anybody. Whether you’re spending $500 or $20,000, it’s a lot of money for an engagement ring and you want to make sure that your bride is going to be happy with what you get.”

 

 

“I also think that it’s a great way to really start and cement that communication, on the relationship end, to find out what someone is really liking.

 

If you want to keep it secret

 

Matero says if your significant other has a Pinterest account, try to get onto that and see if there are any boards for engagement rings or wedding-type information. That’s a good source. Other options can include getting siblings or family involved, or asking friends.  A few years ago, my best friend’s boyfriend reached out to me and asked if I could help get some info on what kind of rings she likes because he was going to propose. I took my friend out that night for a girl’s shopping night and tried very hard to come up with a story that would get her to divulge what kind of ring she liked. It was tricky, but it worked. I felt an enormous amount of pressure to get it right, so now I know exactly what you guys go through.

 

Photo Credit: Zimmer Brothers Jewelers

Klastow says if you are keeping it a secret and doing it on your own without a “super sleuth” plan, here’s what you need to know. “We always say pay attention to the clues beforehand because she’ll be giving them, you just have to know to keep your ears open for them,” she says. “Most men that come in, I will say, have an idea of what she likes. Whether it’s been through a stealthy Pinterest hunt or whether she’s actually emailed him a picture, whether a friend’s ring was maybe something that she liked.”

 

However, if you don’t have any of that, “the number one thing it boils down to is what’s her style,” Klastow says. Then, “we start with what color metal does she like, and most brides are opting for white, so that would be white gold or platinum, but we are getting more requests for yellow gold and rose gold as well.” Then, she says the next question is halo or no halo “because halo style rings have become the most requested style over the past five years.”

 

The discovery process continues by figuring out what type of person she is. Klastow says if she is more sporty, you may want to go with a lower setting or maybe a half bezel, which is a metal edging around the diamond, that seals it in place instead of prongs. Basically, you want something that is in line with her lifestyle and will not get in the way of her normal day-to day activities. If she’s more girly and frilly, you may want something with a more dramatic high setting which gives the ring a very bold and romantic look.

 

Ring size

 

Photo Credit: Hannoush Jewelers

You might be thinking this is all well and good but how in the world do I find out what size she is? This is where your secret agent skills come in. Halpy says, “Finger size is an important thing and it’s a difficult something to find out without asking her directly or bringing her somewhere to find out.” He recommends paying close attention to the jewelry she wears on a daily basis. “Most girls have a ring, some type of ring, so just keep an eye out for what finger she wears it on…and then try to sneak that ring in (to the store).” It’s important to pay attention to the hand she wears it on because finger sizes vary by hand. This will give you the size or a close approximate size, so if it needs to be resized, it’s a small fix that won’t ruin the integrity of the ring.

 

Last but not least, you need insurance

 

You chose the ring, but there’s one more thing you need to do: insure it! “There’s a couple different things you can do for insurance,” says Halpy. “There’s some people who have renter’s insurance, so you can call whoever your renters agent is and get a quote from them. If you own a home, you can call your homeowner’s insurance and get a quote to get it added on there.” You can also go through the jeweler themselves to see what agencies they recommend, agencies that only insure jewelry. As with everything, it’s important to do your due diligence to make sure it is properly insured.

 

Photo Credit: Jaymark Jewelers

Klastow says most people like to insure the ring against theft of loss, but, she says this is very important: “You want to make sure that when you insure it, you’re not insuring it for a percentage of the replacement value but for the entire replacement value.” When you do this, you also want to make sure that your ring gets reappraised every seven years to make sure you are getting the correct value if anything should happen to it.

 

So, guys, what do you think? Are you feeling more prepared now to get the ball rolling? Matero has some final words before you venture out to the jewelry store. “It’s a big purchase,” he says, “so it’s smart to do you due diligence.” You don’t need to be an expert, he says, but “trust your professional, think about what she likes, and take a deep breath. Enjoy the shopping experience.”

 

We’d love to hear your proposal story? Did you both pick out a ring or was it a surprise? What super sleuth method was used to figure out what kind of ring to buy?

Featured Image Photo Credit: Jaymark Jewelers

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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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30 Truths You Need to Know About Your Wedding (Part 3)

One of the most special days of your life is here and you are bursting with excitement! You’ve waited for this day for so long and you’ve played it out in your head so many times, you know exactly how the day is going to go before the day even arrives. However, there are things that happen on your wedding day that may stray from the vision in your head. Good or bad, there are things that no one ever tells you about your wedding day, that they should. Today, we finish our massive list of 30 wedding day truths you need to know.

 

Wedding Truth #21 You may not get cash or gifts you registered for

 

Part of planning your wedding is registering for gifts. Most couples do this, but some, if they have been living together for a long period of time, opt out. And that’s totally fine. The main purpose of the wedding gift registry is to make sure you have most, if not all of the items you need to start your life together. Typical items may include china, bedding, kitchen appliances etc. Most of these gifts are given at the shower, but if there are still items left, some guests may give them to you at the wedding. Another popular wedding gift is cash. However, you may have a guest who, for whatever reason, strays from that registry and would prefer not to give cash either. Perhaps they are crafty and decide to craft you a wedding item. Maybe they are giving you an heirloom. Be prepared for guests to take liberty with your gift. Some of the best gifts we received were hand-made and now hold a special place in our home as a constant reminder of that day.

 

RELATED: 7 Practical Ways to Create Your Awesome Wedding Registry

 

Wedding Truth #22 Your wedding is not the time to change who you are

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Your wedding day will inevitably change who you are forever in terms of your marital status, but it’s not a day to change who you are as a person in terms of how you act and what you look like. What do I mean by that? Take me, for example: I wear glasses, always have since the age of 9. They are part of who I am. I wasn’t about to ditch my glasses (though I did go as far as trying contacts for the day and hated them) just because I am getting married. I realized that’s part of who I am. Why is today any different? If you wear natural makeup, your wedding day may not be the time to try cat eyes with mascara or a bold red lip. If your wardrobe is full of classic staples, you may not want to wear a blinged-out wedding dress. I know there is a lot of pressure to have a “perfect” day and I realize that in magazines, you hardly ever see brides with glasses on, but guess what? That’s not real life. You have to be you, after all, that’s who your fiancé wants to marry.

 

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

 

Wedding Truth #23 You will tire of kissing and smiling

 

Wedding days are full of love and romance, there’s no denying it. There’s also no denying that by the end of the night, you are going to be really sick of kissing and smiling…in a good way. From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, you will be posing for photos all day. Many of your wedding photos include kissing poses. You are going to get really tired of having to pose for kissing shots or pose with a smile. Sure, it makes for awesome photos, but soon, you are going to want it all to stop so you can actually smile and kiss organically and naturally. You are going to get so used to smiling and kissing that the day after, it’s going to feel weird not doing that.

 

Wedding Truth #24 You will be the most exhausted you have ever been in your life

 

I mentioned before that your wedding day will be the best day ever. It’s so much fun and so full of excitement that you will never want the day to end. And you don’t. However, no matter how much you want the night to go on forever, you will be exhausted! Trust me, when everything is said and done and you finally have a moment of quiet to yourself, exhaustion is going to hit you like a ton of bricks! You’re probably already working on little sleep from the night before (if you were too excited to sleep), then you were the center of attention all day, then you partied hard, then you had to maybe entertain guests for a few days and you have to pack and prepare for your honeymoon. It’s exhausting and you can only sustain that for so long before you crash. For me, I passed out on the plane on our way to our honeymoon and didn’t even realize I was asleep until we were in our descent. I never, ever sleep on planes, no matter how hard I try, so I knew I was spent! My loving hubby took some pretty funny selfie photos of me dead asleep, too!  I actually love them because they say so much.

 

Wedding Truth #25 Not everybody dances

 

DIY Wedding

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

Dancing is the part of the reception I think everyone looks forward too, however, it doesn’t matter how great your DJ is and how pumped he gets your guests, the truth is not everyone is going to dance. It doesn’t mean they are not having a good time, but some people are just not into dancing and won’t under any circumstance. And here’s a bit of advice if you notice some people not dancing at your wedding. Do not force them to dance! Ever! You could be making it very uncomfortable for them. Just let the non-dancers do their thing.

 

RELATED: The One Mistake Couples Make When Hiring Their DJ

 

Wedding Truth #26 Your wedding day is not just about you

 

In some instances, your wedding day may coincide with a special day one of your guests might be celebrating, like a birthday or anniversary. If that’s the case, make sure you acknowledge that. Yes, people are there to celebrate your marriage, but your guests are at your wedding when they could be celebrating their special day, so make sure you do something special for them, too. Perhaps ask the DJ to play a special song, or purchase a small cake or cupcakes and have everyone sing happy birthday. At our wedding, one of the kids we invited was celebrating his 6th birthday. We surprised him by purchasing a special cake, asked our maître d’ to put in a candle, told our photographer and DJ what we had planned and everyone sang happy birthday to him. It was truly a sweet and special occasion for everyone!

 

Wedding Truth #27 You are going to love the attention

 

One of the things that stressed me out the most about our wedding was knowing that we were going to be the center of attention. I hate being the center of attention and I was even shaking walking down the aisle because I knew everyone was looking at me. Even though two people are getting married, it’s always the bride that seems to get the most attention. Everyone wants to see the dress! No pressure! But, I have to say, that by the end of the night, I actually missed being the center of attention. Think about it. It’s the one day where you are put on a pedestal. Everyone wants to make you happy, and will do whatever it takes. You’re catered to all day, and without sounding arrogant, it’s kind of nice. It’s the only time in your life you are going to experience that, so enjoy it…but don’t let it get to your head.

 

RELATED: 30 Truths You Need to Know About Your Wedding (Part 1)

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

Wedding Truth #28 You are going to be congratulated by everyone…even strangers

 

It’s not every day you see people walking around in tuxes, evening gowns and big white dresses. Remember, for everyone not at your wedding, your wedding day is an average, normal day. People are out running errands, living their lives, so for them, seeing a wedding party out and about is an exciting coincidence. People you don’t know will be congratulating you everywhere you go. We had some photos taken at a park, so everyone who was walking or jogging by said congrats. Even people driving by honked their horns at us. It was really cool!

 

Wedding Truth #29 Your wedding day makes you a better person

 

I mentioned earlier that your wedding day is not a day to go changing who you are on the outside, but fundamentally, getting married changes you. The unromantic side is that it really boils down to you signing a piece of paper, but that signature represents so much. I remember being in a constant state of euphoria for months after our wedding. I felt like I was in a unique and elite club. There’s something so amazing about being officially married, saying “husband” or “wife” for the first time, knowing, that forever and ever, you have someone watching your back, a trusted partner. Even people I know who were in long-term relationships prior to getting married say nothing beats that feeling. You literally become a better person!

 

RELATED: 30 Truths You Need to Know About Your Wedding (Part 2)

 

Last but not least…Wedding Truth #30 Your wedding day goes by incredibly fast

 

You’ve all heard the expression that time flies when you are having fun. It goes even faster on your wedding day! Actually, there have been studies done on this phenomenon. No matter how much you want to stop time and savor the day forever and ever, your reception does have to come to an end. It really feels like in a blink of an eye, it’s all over. All the planning, all the prepping, all the coordinating, it’s over in a flash. That’s why it’s so important to hire a professional photographer and videographer to capture the day. The experience is one you can never really repeat and to have photos and videos to replay the day whenever you want is priceless.

 

Are you recently married? Is there something you discovered about your wedding day that no one told you would happen?

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30 Truths You Need to Know About Your Wedding (part 2)

I love being able to look back on our wedding day and seeing it not only as a the most incredible day of my life, but also taking things that I learned about myself and that day and sharing them with you, to help give you insights and prepare you for things that no one might not tell you about your wedding day. Today, we continue our list of 30 Wedding Day Truths…

 

RELATED: 30 Truths You Need To Know About Your Wedding Day (Part 1)

 

Wedding Truth #11 – You will watch your wedding video more than you think

 

Wedding photography is usually one of the first things couples book, but videography is sometimes the last and is often an afterthought. I know it was for me. We have great family videos but the one thing I did not realize was just how much I’d watch those videos after our wedding. I never thought I would watch them at all, so that’s why we opted out, which now I kind of regret. if you are on the fence about getting videos done, please invest in them. You’ll thank yourself later.

 

 

Wedding Truth #12 – Traditions don’t need to be kept

 

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

Nowhere is it written that you have to follow certain traditions for your wedding. You don’t have to do anything (except sign the marriage license) that you don’t want to do. For instance, the first look used to be a real no-no, partly due to superstition, and now, almost everyone does one. You can walk down the aisle with anyone or no one, you can have a bridal party or no bridal party, you can have a best man or best woman, you can have a maid of honor or man of honor. Dances, toasts, and reception traditions such as the bouquet and garter toss don’t have to be done at all. We didn’t do the bouquet and garter toss, and guess what? No one missed it. want pizza instead of cake, go for it. That’s what makes weddings so great. It is literally a blank slate. So, traditions are there really as a guideline and as a source to show you what can be done, but it’s your day and you can make it your own any way you like. Now, if you are getting married in a house of worship, there may be guidelines you need to follow, so make sure that you run any plans past the officiant first to make sure it’s ok.

 

Wedding Truth #13 – You will be late

 

When was the last time you went to a wedding, or any event for that matter, that started on time? Even if you have a wedding day timeline (which I highly suggest you have) you will run late. I always like to think of the time on the invite as the time when guests should all be there and to help ease the anxiety a bit, I would warn your fiancé now that you may be late. Now I’m not talking super later here, but five to 10 minutes, probably. Why? Well, by the time the limo arrives, by the time everyone gets situated, by the time the music starts to play, and the photographers are set up and the bridal party walks down the aisle, that takes a few minutes. I think I was about 10 minutes late by the time everyone piled into the limo and got to the church and the bridal party got lined up. But don’t stress, if you plan for that little bit of slack, you have nothing to worry about.

 

Wedding Truth #14 – You might have to pay for people who don’t show

 

When you book your venue, in the Hudson Valley especially, many venues have guest minimums. That means you need to guarantee that minimum amount of people will attend, and even if they don’t you still have to pay for them. Say, for example, your wedding venue has a guest minimum of 100 people and you invite 100 people, but, by the time you get your RSVP’s back, only 90 people can make it. You still need to pay for those 10 no-shows. However, don’t let this worry you. Speak with your venue or your caterer to see if they might be able to throw in an extra appetizer, or up lighting, or even give you those ten meals to take home. What are you going to do with ten take-home meals? Well, you can give them to guests like your parents or grandparents so they don’t have to cook the next day, or you can stock your freezer so when you get back from your honeymoon, you can relive your wedding meal and not have to cook either.

 

Wedding Truth #15 – People aren’t going to care about the details as much as you

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

I hate to sound like Debbie Downer here, but not everyone is going to remember the details as much as you. That was a hard one for me to swallow because, as a DIY bride, you take so much time to make all the details and to make sure everything looks perfect.  But, at the end of the day, people remember the food and the entertainment more than any other aspect of your wedding, even more than your vows or your ceremony…unless it’s something really different or unique. So, a way to destress is to know that, yes, you want a pretty and beautiful day, but you don’t have to go overboard on the details

 

Wedding Truth #16 – Personalizing your wedding is a great way to make it memorable

 

So, I just mentioned that the details may be overlooked by some, well, one way to make sure people remember your wedding is by personalizing it as much as possible. So, writing your own vows, perhaps a unique “tying the knot” ceremony, photos, memorials, dances, cake, etc. The more you can personalize your wedding, the less it makes it like every other wedding and the more it makes it your own.

 

Wedding Truth #17 –There is no such thing as a perfect wedding

 

No matter how hard you try to make your wedding perfect, there is no such thing as a perfect wedding. Something will not go as planned, it could be something as small as running five to 10 minutes late or something big, like your cake falling to the ground. Hopefully, the imperfections will be minute, but know that no matter what you do, something may not go as planned. But, here’s the best part. You know the details of your wedding inside and out, so if something doesn’t go as planned and you notice it, changes are, no one else will. That being said, however, the one factor no one has control of on their wedding day is the weather. It’s crucial to make sure you have a backup plan for the weather.

 

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

 

Wedding Truth #18 – Perfection is what you make it

 

So, now that you know that no wedding is perfect, perfection is what you make it. A while back, I read a blog post called “Don’t make these color mistakes”. Talk about pressure! Listen, if you like two colors and put them together, they are perfect for you, and that’s what matters. It doesn’t matter if someone behind a computer in an office says you are making a mistake. If you like it, go for it. Also, if you get caught up in the fact that something didn’t go as planned, then it’s going to ruin the rest of your day. Your wedding day is not the day to keep planning, your wedding day is for you to enjoy the moment, get married, and soak in the memories you are making. At some point you have to just give it up. You’ve done all that you could do, you rehearsed and planned as much as you can. You just have to trust the process. To be extra careful that your day runs as smoothly as possible, you may want to consider hiring a wedding planner for day or month of coordination.

 

Wedding Truth #19 – The emotion of the day may not hit you until after the fact

 

Weddings are an emotional day, no doubt about it, but sometimes, the emotion of the day may not hit you until after the fact. You may be so pumped on adrenaline that it may take you some time to decompress and absorb your wedding day. Being around so many people, being on the go constantly all day makes it hard to sometimes take in everything that’s going on. For me, it didn’t hit me until we were on our honeymoon and I had time away from all of it to realize that I am married, that we had a beautiful wedding and that I just experienced the greatest day of my life.

 

Wedding Truth #20 – You can eat at your wedding

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Often you hear of couples who miss their entire dinner because they were busy talking to guests or taking pictures. In my opinion, the only time missing dinner is OK is if the sun is setting during your dinner and you want sunset photos. Otherwise, if you want to be part of your cocktail hour and dinner and actually eat, you can. You need to make sure that you let your photographer know that you want to be back in time for cocktail hour. Traditionally, if you don’t do a receiving line at the end of the ceremony, couples will go around during cocktail hour or during dinner to say hello to each guest. If you are greeting your guests during dinner, my best suggestion is to visit each table during the first course. This way, the only food you’re missing is soup or salad (which your venue can pack up for you so you can have it later) and you grab your guests before they start digging into the main course. If you unfortunately need to miss dinner, make sure your venue packs up a meal for you to go, so that you can enjoy it later and has some snack foods available to you so you can nosh while you’re dancing to keep your energy up.
 

Featured Image Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

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30 truths you need to know about your wedding day (part 1)

One of the great things about having been a recent Hudson Valley bride is I can relate tidbits of information back to you, the engaged couple. They say hindsight is 20/20 and now that my wedding has been over for a few years, I can tell you there are at least 30 (maybe more) truths about your wedding that no one tells you…but really should.
 

Some of these may be a no-brainer, and some of these may come as a surprise – but either way, they are things you need to know. So, because this is such a long list, I’m going to give you 10 now, share another 10 with you next week, and the final 10 the week after that.
 

So, let’s begin, shall we…
 

Wedding Truth #1 – Your wedding day will be the BEST. DAY. EVER.

 

I know this sounds really cliché, but when I tell you it’s the best day ever, it really is. I thought I knew what walking on “Cloud 9” felt like before, but it wasn’t until our wedding day that I really knew what that meant. Why is it the best day ever? Because it’s the one day that encompasses every aspect of what makes something the best: excitement, love, family, friends, good food, good drinks, fun dancing, fairy tales, delicious dessert. Everyone that has ever meant anything to you is in one room together. The reality is, it’s probably the only time that will ever happen.
 

Wedding Truth # 2 – The most important part of your wedding is signing your marriage license

 

Ok, this is the unromantic truth. You can have the most gorgeous couture gown, have the most exquisite décor and flowers, have your meal prepare by a world-renowned chef, etc.; but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is signing your marriage license. Without that piece of paper, your marriage is not legal. It needs to be signed by both you and your spouse, and two witnesses, usually the maid of honor and best man.
 

 

Wedding Truth #3 – Always check your reception area

 

Photo Credit: Myles Studio Photography

No matter where you have your wedding, and even if you have a wedding planner setting up the space, always check the reception area prior to guests entering the room for the formal reception. You need to do this for three reasons. One, it is a great moment for you and your new spouse to break away, get a moment to yourself, and really absorb the atmosphere, alone. When you are being announced and walking in to the space, you won’t have time to really enjoy the space and see it. Two, it gives you the opportunity to give it a once-over to make sure everything is placed the way you like it and to make sure nothing is off. For example, I noticed the flowers on my cake were missing, and if I hadn’t had that moment to notice it and have it fixed, it would have made it very awkward later on. It also gives you a chance to speak with your DJ to go over the intros. And three, it’s a great photo op to be in the center of the dance floor, just the two of you.
 

Wedding Truth #4 – You will be very warm all day.

 

Even if it’s the dead of winter, between the endorphins and adrenaline, being the center of attention, the excitement of the day, running around, and your dress and tux, you are going to be warm all day. I remember being outside taking pictures and some of my bridal party notice it was chilly, and I was hot, to the point of almost sweating – and I’m usually the one’s that always cold. And, let’s face it, a wedding gown, as pretty as it is, is made out of material that is not very breathable, same with tuxes. So, it’s essential to bring with you that day, things that keep you cool or help you deal with the heat. You can download your free wedding day packing checklist here.
 

Wedding Truth #5 – Never give your rings to kid or dog ring bearers.

 

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

I will be the first one any day to say kids and dogs make the cutest additions to your bridal party. However, cute does not always equal responsible. Your rings are expensive, and, just after your marriage license, they play the second-biggest role in your ceremony. They don’t say “With this ring, I thee wed” for nothing. Therefore, if you are having a little kid, or your dog be your ring bearer, they can walk down the aisle with a pillow or a little box tied around the dog’s collar for pictures, but make sure an adult has the rings at all times. Again, this is usually the responsibility of the best man or maid of honor. Anything can happen and the last thing you want is for the dog to see a squirrel and run off with the rings, or try to pull the box off the collar and chew it. Little kids, depending on their age, might chicken out, and not even make it down the aisle, so, you want to make sure the rings are in good hands, near you at all times.
 

Wedding Truth #6 – You may probably never see the photos your guests take.

 

Your guests will be taking photos all day, and I explained how creating a wedding hashtag makes it easy for you to gather all the photos guest post on social media. I also give you tips on what to do if you don’t want guests sharing photos on social media. However, the reality is most likely, you will only see a fraction of all the photos taken. This is because either the guest doesn’t think they are good enough photos that you would be interested in, or they just don’t have the time to email them or send you hard copies. For whatever reason, don’t expect to see many of them.
 

Wedding Truth #7 – You are going to feel gutted when your wedding ends.

 

The first truth I mentioned was your wedding day is your best day ever. That’s why, when the final song is played, when the last guests leave, when the house lights go up and the staff is packing up your wedding day décor, it’s gutting to think it’s all over. Yes, you have a whole lifetime to look forward to, which will bring with it days that are just as good, if not better. However, when something you’ve spent countless hours, days, and months working on is now over and done with, a little part of you thinks “Now what?” It’s very bittersweet.
 

Wedding Truth #8 – The most relieved you will feel is during your recessional.

 

“We did it!” was the first thing that came to my mind when the ceremony was over and we were leaving the church. I literally felt like a ton of bricks was just lifted off my shoulders. The formalities of the day were over, the worry about getting to the church on time, the anxiety of planning and making sure everything ran on schedule was over and now the fun could begin. When I look at those pictures of my husband and I walking down the aisle, we have the biggest smiles on our faces – pure euphoria.
 

Wedding Truth #9 – Some guests may come to the ceremony even if they are not invited to the wedding.

 

If you have a wedding in a house of worship, you may have guests show up who weren’t invited to the wedding. Think about it: If your reception is at the same place as your reception, it’s obvious there is a closed private event going on. However, houses of worship are open to the public, regardless of what is going on. To explain what I mean, how many times have you been to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan and seen a wedding going on? It’s the same situation, just a different setting. Also, your wedding may appear in the house of worship’s bulletin or other announcements; so if a parishioner sees your listing – and maybe knows your parents – they may ask to come to the service only.
 

Wedding Truth #10 – Your bridal party relationships may change.

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

When you choose your bridal party, you choose the friends or family members who have always been there for you. Your bridal party could be as little as zero people – you don’t really need a bridal party – or upward of 10 or more. However, you need to realize that while those people have been important to you, and you plan on them being in your lives forever, relationships change. I don’t mean to end on a sad note, but friendships change with time. Things happen, through no fault of anyone. Also, just because you were in someone’s bridal party, does not mean you have to invite them to be in yours. Keep that in mind when choosing your party. If you have a lot of members who are there because you feel like you have to pay them back, rethink your choices. Do you want to look back at photos and think “Who was that?” or “Why did I ever invite them?”

 

Join us next week for part 2…
 

Featured Image Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

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DIY Wedding

3 easy ways to DIY your wedding when you don’t have the time or crafty genes

You love DIY. You have visions of your wedding day being full of crafty, hand-made goodness. However, it’s been years since you touched a glue gun, and the last time you crafted anything was back in high school art class.  Maybe the thought of a DIY wedding is tormenting you because, even though you love to craft, you just don’t have the time to do it.

 

If any of these circumstances sound like you, have no fear. The DIY fairy is here! Well, not really; I don’t have wings and a little tutu, flying around with glitter and ribbons … though that would make an awesome Halloween costume. What I do have is real, practical, advice that will help you.

 

DIY Wedding

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

DIY Option #1

 

First, let’s start with DIY for the those born without the craft gene. I mentioned in an earlier post that, by now, you should have a good idea of your crafting skills. If they are not where you would like them to be, don’t use your wedding as the time to practice.

 

Look to your family, friends, bridal party, and especially your maid of honor. If any of those people have a craft skill you are envious of, ask them for help. I can almost guarantee they would be more than happy to help. Now, this comes with a big BUT. You can ask for help, BUT do not micromanage! I can’t stress this enough, and trust me, whatever it is you are tweaking or fussing about to make just right, no one will notice. Some people you ask might be hesitant, and that’s because of that dreaded word “bridezilla.” They want to help you but are afraid of the repercussions.

 

DIY Wedding

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

Now, I know you aren’t like that, but to make things easier for all involved, start with some photo inspiration and sit and talk with that person about what exactly it is you like about a particular photo. Keep in mind that what you get may not look exactly like the photo, but will be inspired by it. Then, you can offer to pay for the supplies, or tell that person in exchange for doing the DIY, they don’t have to give you a gift. Before that person goes ahead and makes hundreds of anything, ask to see a sample, that way you both have a chance to see what it looks like and change anything. Once you give your OK, that’s it. Leave it be.

 

DIY Option #2

 

If you don’t know anyone who is crafty, another option is to look online for local crafters. Etsy is a great starting point, as is your local art society. Don’t forget to talk to your venue and florist for ideas as well. Remember, they’ve seen it all and could have some great suggestions for you. Who knows, there could be a DIY craft (such as mason jars filled with fairy lights to be placed down the aisle) that would be a cinch for you to make, even if you don’t have a crafty bone in your body or the time to day anything. That would be a really simple DIY project.

 

DIY Wedding

Photo Credit: JT Sander Photography

DIY Option #3

 

Speaking of time, if you really don’t have the time to deal with any DIY, hiring a wedding planner may be a great option for you for several reasons. First, similar to your florist or venue, they’ve done it all, AND they have all the supplies – or, at least, know where to get the supplies – so it’s out of your hands. You don’t have to worry about a thing.

Second, they have the time. They are hired to help you and to help make your vision a reality. For example, let’s say you want antique teapots on each table as centerpieces or to hold the table numbers. Well, without a wedding planner, you are stuck with sourcing the teapots, so that means taking the time to drive to antique shops, searching, buying, and then what do you do with all of them after your wedding? Unless you collect them, chances are you want to get rid of them.

 

DIY Wedding

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Vintage rental companies are another great option. If you don’t want to hire a planner, you can hire a vintage rental company to see if they can provide that vision for you. They would have the supplies, and best part, they take them back with them.

 

The last thing you want is to be stressing out over this. These are just a few options. If you have an idea or thoughts that you’d like to run past someone before you begin, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We love to craft and could suggest some great ideas for you.

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Social Media and Your Wedding: What You Need to Know

It’s hard to remember a time before social media was such a big part of daily life. It’s almost second nature now to go directly to your favorite social media outlet and share news, especially exciting news, like your wedding.

 

When you got engaged, the first thing that probably came to mind was to immediately change your status. Got a gorgeous ring? Then you need to show it off? Got your invites? Went for a tasting? Booked a venue? Got your dress? Got your tuxedo? Then people need to know, right? Wrong!

 

Getting engaged is an exciting and life-changing moment – there’s no doubt about that – and being able to share your wedding planning journey and eventual wedding day with others is a normal and natural response. Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not to say that social media is bad; but when it comes to your wedding day, there are some things to consider when it comes to social media, regardless how “social” you are in your normal everyday doings.

 

When it comes to your engagement…

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

It’s completely normal to want to share your good news with everyone, but think about the people connected to you on social media. How many of them are really good friends and how many are just really good acquaintances? How many do you see or speak to on a regular basis? Does everyone need to know that instant? Do you REALLY want all those people to know, or do you just like the feeling you get when you get acknowledgments and likes? I don’t mean to sound harsh here, but think about what your urgency is to want to post on social media right away.

 

If you do want to post the good news, make sure you set the privacy setting so only those you really want to know can see. If you only want certain people to know, you might just want to pick up the phone and call them. I, for one, would much rather find out through a phone call that my friend got engaged than to see it online first, then get a call. There’s something very distant and informal about sending such great news via the Internet instead of face-to-face (or via phone call or Skype or Facetime).

 

When it comes to wedding planning…

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Posting every detail about your wedding planning, while you mean it to be innocent, can have adverse effects. Some people may automatically assume since you are sharing all your planning details with them on Facebook they will be invited to your wedding. Then, what happens if they aren’t? Just try to put yourself in their shoes. While most may not care, some may. Think about the folks that you are ‘friends’ with and how many of them will actually be invited. Again, not to sound harsh here, but unless your friends or family are in the wedding or helping you plan it, most people don’t really care about every little detail. It may come across as annoying or gloating to folks, even though you don’t mean it to be.

 

When it comes to your wedding…

 

Posting pictures of your wedding day kind of goes along the same lines as proclaiming your engagement. For your online “friends” who thought they might be invited, but who weren’t – because, let’s face it, every wedding guest list has to be cut at some point – you may be causing a lot of hurt and resentment.

 

Also, if you are like me and value privacy, sharing wedding day photos to your friends online means you are really sharing them with the world. If someone you know shares one of your photos, do you know who they are sharing it with? Anyone can save that photo and do whatever they want with it. Do you really want complete strangers seeing photos of your private, personal day? If that may be a concern for you, don’t post. It’s best just to email people some photos, or invite them to view your album online from the photographer.

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Also, this is MAJOR, beware of copyrights. If you plan on sharing photos on social media, make sure you own the copyrights or have written permission from the photographer to do so. Most Photographers will put a watermark on photos and will say that if you want to use photos on social media to please keep the watermark on for that reason. If they say you can use the photos and they don’t have a watermark, make sure you give kudos to the photographer anyway. When you think about it, you are giving them free publicity, so pay it forward and make sure you tag them in the photo or post.

 

Lastly, you know your guests are going to take photos. However, if you do not want photos of your day shared online, you need to make it specifically clear to them either in the invitation or at the wedding (such as in your program or signage at the event). Otherwise, it will happen. If you don’t mind that guests share your photos, you can make it known to your guests that it’s ok by creating a hashtag and posting that hashtag in the same way.

 

What are your thoughts? Are you, or have you, shared photos or details of your wedding on social media? What was the feedback you received?

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Featured Couple: Sara & Mike

Their Love Story…

 

Michael and Sara grew up in the same town (Pompton Plains, NJ). They started going out in 2005 when they were in high school, and, as Sara said, they “have been loving life together since.”

 
 
 
 

The Proposal…

 

Photo Credit: From bride’s personal archive

“Mike always takes me on a little birthday trip,” Sara said. “In December 2015, we went to the Catskills for the weekend as a ‘birthday gift.’ ” At their hotel in Phoenicia, Mike “scoped out a nice spot around a fire pit, in Adirondack chairs with the mountains around on the grounds of our hotel. He gave me a birthday card and photobook of all of our vacations together with each page featuring photos from a different trip – until the last two pages,” Sara said. “One page of lots of photos of us together and a quote: ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.’ Then the next page was just goofy photos of him and said, ‘Will you take that step with me?’ Then he got down on one knee in the mud, and I said, ‘Of course!’” They celebrated afterward with reservations at a farm-to-table restaurant in the area.

 
 

Wedding Theme…

 

“I don’t really think I had one,” said Sara, “but everything seemed to be influenced by our love of Hudson Valley and fall.”

 
 

Why the Hudson Valley…?

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

“Mike and I have always loved the many cute towns in the Hudson Valley,” Sara said. “I work for a non-profit trade association, so I always browse farmer’s markets. One day during lunch, I was browsing the Union Square Farmers Market and saw a new stand, Bad Seed Cider. I saw that they have a tasting room and thought it would be a fun adventure for a weekend. We went in October 2015 and had an awesome tour (and yummy flights of cider)! On the tour, they mentioned that they can host weddings, and Mike and I both knew then this was the place for us.” What really hooked Sara and Mike was that they were looking for a venue that was different and unique. “We loved the feel of the cidery and surrounding area,” said Sara. “It didn’t feel like a typical wedding venue but was actually a functioning cidery, making an amazing cider. We loved that the venue had two levels so non-dancers could still feel included and look on while hanging at the bar.”

 

 

Most Memorable Moment…

 

Photo Credit: Christine Ashburn Photography

“So many. Both of us think the first look (in the apple orchard) was our favorite moment,” said Sara. “I also loved making the flower bouquets and boutonnieres with my mom, sister, brother, best friend and Michael. Seeing my grandparents wave to the crowd from the second level of the venue – so cute!”

 
 
 
 
 
 

Hudson Valley Professionals…

 

Venue: Bad Seed Hard Cider (Highland)

Caterer: Hudson Valley Sausage Company (Highland)

Photographer: Christine Ashburn (Cold Spring)

Wedding Painter: Janet Howard-Fatta (Warwick)

Rentals: Durants Party Rentals (Wappingers Falls)

Ceremony Music: Appassionata Players (Poughkeepsie)

Ice Cream Truck: Chilly Willy’s Ice Cream

 

Photo credit to all: Christine Ashburn Photography

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Engagement Photos: What Hudson Valley couples want you to know

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

 

The period of engagement is a really special time in a couple’s life, and it’s usually the shortest time in a couple’s life as well. We’ve already explained why the experts say engagement photos are important and explained how to prepare for your session and what to expect during your session.
 

Today, we wanted to give you two stories, from real Hudson Valley couples like you, explaining why they had engagement photos taken and what their experience was like. If you are still on the fence about engagement photos, these awesome stories might encourage you.

 

Kimberly & Andrew

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Let’s first start off with Kimberly and Andrew. While originally from the Hudson Valley, Kimberly being from Union Vale and Andrew from LaGrangeville, the couple is currently living in Virginia, where Andrew is stationed with the United States Navy. Andrew has been in the Navy for seven years and is currently waiting to hear on a deployment date; because of that uncertainty, they don’t have a wedding date yet but are thinking sometime in 2018 in the Hudson Valley.
 

Kimberly and Andrew had their engagement photos taken with Hannah Servidio, from Hannah Nicole Photography, and are the sweet couple featured in the behind-the-scenes video in Part 2. I asked them why they decided to have engagement photos taken, and Kimberly said they knew it was something everyone does; and since they have a bit of a wait before their wedding day, it was something special they wanted to do sooner rather than later.

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography


 

They got engaged on December 23, 2016, and just a few weeks after, they had their photos taken – not only to capture the moment, but also because they wanted to get them done before Andrew was deployed.”It’s possible Andrew may be deployed before we can have our dream wedding, so it was really important to me to have professional pictures taken before then,” she said. “I wanted memories I can look at in my home and for him to take when he’s abroad. I’ve tried to print photos from my phone before but it’s always a major disappointment; they never print well! That’s why I really wanted a professional shoot.”
 

Their photos were taken in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), part of Brooklyn. So, remember the experts said couples like to take photos in spots that have meaning to them? In this case, DUMBO was the second choice. They originally wanted snowy pictures in the Hudson Valley, but the only snow on the ground at the time was the crusty brown snow found along the edge of roads – not very pretty. So, since Kimberly went to NYU and DUMBO was a location that offered different views of Manhattan, that’s where they went.

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Andrew, admittedly, wasn’t quite sure what to expect at first, but found the whole ‘being photographed’ process very simple, self-explanatory, and he said they were coached very well. “Hannah was great at coaching us through different poses that we hadn’t thought of before and was great at communicating the small things that can make or break a photo: where we were supposed to look, placement of hands, how to do the close embrace, and more,” he said. “She was so professional and put us at ease. I also feel like we now have training for when we take our own photos from here on out.”

 

Their Tips

 

Some tips they have for couples is to make sure that your photographer is a people person, because that characteristic is really what is going to put the couple at ease. Again, this goes back to what the experts say about being able to mesh well with your vendors. Another tip, especially if you are doing a winter shoot: Be prepared for a lot of wind and dress warm!
 

They also realize some couples decide not to get engagement photos done because they are too nervous or because it costs too much money. They say it’s nice to be coached on how to be photographed and what poses look good. It’s also nice to have the moment of engagement captured, so you can look back on that feeling and always have a glimpse of how you felt at that time.
 

Nora & Dan

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Our next couple is Nora and Dan from Cold Spring. Their story is a little different than that of Kimberly and Andrew. Nora and Dan are getting married in September 2017 and had photos taken with Erica Leman of Sweet Alice Photography. Unlike Kimberly and Andrew, they were skeptical, at first, about getting photos done and went back and forth for a while. They really wanted to have them done, but weren’t sure if they could afford it, originally thinking they would have family members take their photos. Ultimately, they decided to have them done professionally because being engaged is a real special moment in time, and they wanted to make sure they captured the magic of being engaged. Plus, with Erica, they realized it was more affordable than they thought.

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

“I think that cost was the number one deterrent at first, but after researching photographers and finding one who offered it within her package, we jumped on the opportunity,” Nora said. “When you’re engaged, you are spending so much time thinking about the wedding day itself, but these photos capture a moment in time that still celebrates your relationship in a really fun and meaningful way. Plus, they are so useful for practical reasons including save-the-dates, invitations and wedding websites.”
 

They, like most, were nervous and awkward at first, because like they said, “How often do people get photos taken?” However, once they began to loosen up, interact with each other and with their photographer, cracking jokes with each other, they began to loosen up and feel more comfortable.
 

They see the photos as being really practical because you can use them for so many purposes: to celebrate the fact that they are engaged; for a wedding website, save-the-dates, or to print out and hang up.

 

Their Tips

 

Photo Credit: Sweet Alice Photography

Nora and Dan have some great tips when it comes to choosing a photographer. They suggest getting recommendations from people you know about photographers they’ve used and what their experiences were like. They say don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations and, just like what our experts said, don’t be afraid to reach out to lots of photographers (and vendors) to see what you get for your money.
 

They also say having the same photographer do both your engagement and wedding photos will help because you because you will have already met the photographer, gotten to know them and how they operate, which will put you at ease the day of your wedding.
 

In terms of what to wear, they suggest wearing colors that work well with your surroundings. They got engagement photos taken in the fall, so Nora wore red to pop with the green in the trees and the very slightly changing colors in the foliage. “We were doing our photos outside so I knew there was going to be a lot of greenery, and I wanted to pick something that I knew would play off those colors in a nice way,” she said. “Second, wear something you are comfortable in and feel good in! We all have colors and even specific pieces in our closets that make us feel confident. You don’t necessarily have to buy a new outfit for the photos because you likely own something that is perfect.”
 
Did hearing from these couples help you make decide on engagement photos? Did their tips help you? What tips do you have for couples?

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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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