Ceremony Decor

Do-it-yourself weddings do not have to stop at favors, bouquets and gifts. If you are planning a wedding in a non-traditional setting, think about the ceremony decor, including the ceremony backdrop or chuppah. It can create the stage and photo backdrop for the wedding, as well as making the space for the ceremony and reinforcing the theme.

The first thing someone may think of is a twig and flower chuppah or some other floral arrangement.

Glynwood Wedding Chuppah

Also consider using paper or silk flowers for the backdrop. Giant paper flowers would add whimsy and fun to a wedding.

Floral Backdrop

There are many other materials to use for the ceremony backdrop, besides flowers, though.

Reclaimed building materials, such as windows or doors

Window Backdrop

Picture frames

Picture Frame Backdrop

Curtains

Curtain Backdrop

Crepe paper or streamers

backdrop streamers

Paper Poms

Paper Pom Backdrop

Handwritten words displayed on butcher paper

written-paper-scroll-wedding-ceremony

Books

Book backdrop

Whatever you choose for your wedding ceremony decor, enjoy yourself. Blend it into the ceremony and the theme. Staying in a budget is easy for someone with creativity and cleverness. Think of what will go best in the wedding setting and be easy for set up and take down.

A Hudson Valley Ceremonies Wedding at Hunter Mountain

Congratulations to the new Mr & Mrs Nelson who were married at Hunter Mountain on March 8th!

Advice from the couple:

“Splurge on photography / videography and try to take in every moment of the day because it goes by so quickly.”
Hunter Mountain Wedding

Hunter Mountain Wedding

Casino Wedding

Casino Wedding

Custom Cake Topper

Custom Cake Topper

Hunter Mountain Wedding

Hunter Mountain Wedding

Hunter Mountain Wedding

Hunter Mountain Wedding

Hunter Mountain Wedding

Hunter Mountain Wedding

Wedding Location: Hunter Mountain
Ceremony Officiant: Hudson Valley Ceremonies (Jeanne Stark)
Photographer: Photographics Solution
Videographer: Photographics Solution
DJ/Band: Piano Man’s DJ Productions (Nate Miller)
Ceremony Musicians: Golden Scroll Soloists
Florist: Anthology Studio
Bridal Attire: Angela’s Bridal
Men’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse
Rings/Jewelry: Harold Finkle, Your Jeweler
Hair/Makeup: Krystal Rose Studio
Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas
Favors: DIY
Casino Tables: Big Eastern Casino Company

Wedding Vendor Referrals

I doesn’t matter if you have your Officiant or Coordinator booked with Hudson Valley Ceremonies we would love to provide you with referrals for any vendors you might still need for your big day. Here is just a sampling of vendor assistance we can provide:

Bakers
Bands & Musicians
Butterfly Release
Calligraphy
Caterers
Cigar Lounge
Dance Lessons
DJ’s
Entertainment
Florists
Flower Preservation
Hair & Make-Up
Ketubah
Lighting
Photobooth
Photographers
Rentals
Transportation
Venues
Videographers
Wine & Liquor

Wedding Planning on a Tight Budget

You shouldn’t have to sacrifice style to save money when planning your wedding day!

Planning your wedding can be really exciting at first – but once you start to tally up all your wants and needs for the the big day, it’s normal to start stressing about money. Most likely you don’t have an endless amount of cash to spend on your wedding, so you’ll need to create a budget. While it might seem tough to stick to your budget and still get what you want, there are a few tricks for planning the perfect wedding without going overboard on expenditures.

Avoid “Wedding” Items

Whether it’s napkins, cups, plates or guest favors, higher prices often accompany merchandise earmarked for weddings. Pay close attention when you’re shopping for anything wedding-related, and compare the prices of similar products. You might get sucked into thinking that you need monogrammed wedding napkins or cups customized to your wedding palette, but you can find similar items for much cheaper if you expand your search beyond party stores and wedding supply sites. Just because you are using an item in a wedding, doesn’t mean you can only buy it at a wedding supply store.

Wedding Store

Explore Catering Options

If your wedding will be held at a hotel, conference center or banquet hall, explore creative options for providing food and drink. Purchasing a select number of items at a supermarket or savings club will give you the option to use gift certificates, gift cards and coupons to defray costs. The cost of alcohol can be reduced if you streamline the selection instead of providing a full bar. You’ll save a ton by having a buffet for a big group instead of paying per-person for individual meals. If your reception after the ceremony will be on the short side, you can always just serve desserts instead of a full meal. The idea that you have to have a sit-down dinner after your ceremony is a popular tradition—not a rule.

wedding_catering

Eliminate a “Plus One”

Your wedding day is a time to celebrate with all your friends and family, but what about people you’ve never met before? A quick way to trim costs on your reception expenses is to eliminate the option of a “plus one” for guests who will bring someone you’ve never met. In addition to creating a guest list to keep track of your actual invited guests, consider filling out wedding budget (you can find plenty of printable budgets online) to effectively keep track of all your purchases and expenses. Including RSVP send-back card with your invitations can give you a good idea of how many people will attend will so you can better estimate how much you’ll be spending on food, space, etc.

rsvp-card

Consider a Pre-Owned Dress

Think about putting superstition aside and consider buying a used wedding dress. Sites like eBay and PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com offer a wide variety of styles, sizes and price points. Instead of paying thousands for a brand new dress, you can pay just a few hundred, including the cost of having the dress steamed or cleaned. Plenty of brides have kept their dresses in mint condition, and as newlyweds they are willing sell to another bride in order to recoup some of their wedding costs. If you can find someone in your area selling a used dress, you won’t have to pay for shipping. Offering to pay cash can net you an even deeper discount.

PreOwnedWeddingDresses_brides-say-yes-to-the-preowned-dress-791x1024

Choose a Venue Carefully

When choosing a venue, look for a space that gives you the option to choose your own vendors. Some venues require brides to purchase a catering or event-planning package, which bumps up the price. Look for affordable options like state or city parks, a friend’s home, a church or synagogue, or buildings in your community. Having an outdoor wedding can save tons on decorations, because the picturesque scenery will provide a naturally beautiful backdrop. This is where RSVPs will come in handy: If you know how many people will be coming, you can choose a venue that will fit the group instead of paying extra for a huge space that you don’t actually need.

backyard-wedding-reception

Planning a wedding on a strict budget takes time and effort. But getting creative with your choices – for instance, avoiding “wedding-only” stores, out-smarting the wedding dress industry, or considering less traditional venues – can free up extra money for the areas of your wedding you care about most. Perhaps having a highly-talented professional photographer is important to you, or maybe you want to save money for an epic honeymoon. Whatever you want to spend your money on, sticking to a budget can help you allocate enough funds to the parts of your wedding that truly matter to you.

New Trends in Wedding Invitations

Country Elegance within the Jean M Mixation Invitations

3214_MM1322831025zm

Grand Celebration

Endearing Romance

Endearing Romance

Celebrate Marriage

Celebrate Marriage

Floral Chalkboard - Invitation

Floral Chalkboard – Invitation

Rustic Charm - Invitation

Rustic Charm – Invitation

Country Daisies

Country Daisies

Visit our online store for thousands of great invitations.

www.hudsonvalleyceremonies.carlsoncraft.com

All couples receive a 20% discount on the invitations.

All couples that contract a service with Hudson Valley Ceremonies receive a 50% discount.

Contact Hudson Valley Ceremonies for additional details

hvceremonies@gmail.com

845-244-1482

The Value of Hiring a Wedding Coordinator

Now that the proposal has been accepted, what’s next? It’s time to create your signature wedding.
What exactly does that mean? It means that from this day forward, until the day of the wedding, you will spend 75% of your time thinking about how to create a wedding that will be like no other. You may not have given it much thought, but most couples have thought about this day for many years and envisioned their wedding in their minds a thousand times. Both of you are about to embark upon what could be a wonderful journey… or a nightmare! The choice is yours. Why leave it to chance that everything will go according to plan? Instead, implement a fail-proof plan. How? By hiring a wedding coordinator

Consider this idea as the first and one of the most important decisions you will make as a couple. Hiring a wedding coordinator will give both of you reassurance that you are making the right decisions about your choices; help bring your dream to fruition; and maintain a peaceful, loving, relationship in the process.

Although most couples enjoy the idea of designing a wedding, they often find that the planning is much more work than they imagined. It takes time and experience to address every detail. Let’s face it, some people just aren’t planners. Planning your wedding doesn’t have to be a frustrating and overwhelming experience. Organization and careful planning are the keys to a stress-free, fun-filled event. Hiring a wedding coordinator will ensure a much happier experience for you both!!

A wedding coordinator will not only help coordinate the details of the wedding but, more importantly, will help to make the process fun, reduce the stress and ensure that you have the wedding you desire. You will not have to worry or become stressed during the planning process. Instead, you both will enjoy planning the wedding.

Don’t misunderstand, you both will still make all the decisions, but consider leaving the details to the experts. Most couples truly enjoy the journey and, even if they don’t, the coordinator will be there to guide them. Trust me on this one, by hiring a wedding coordinator, your life will be happier, because everyone will be happier and less stressed.

Wedding coordinators are trained professionals who know the industry. Couples should understand that they are not just paying for a coordinator to manage the day for them; they are also paying for knowledge, expertise, skills, services and, ultimately, peace of mind.

Wedding coordinators provide a higher level of comfort for everyone. They are able to recommend the right professionals for you. Professionals enjoy working with other professionals. Are trained to handle difficult scenarios and unexpected occurrences at weddings; Are familiar with the latest trends and have the best resources; Know the best locations and services for each couple’s particular needs; Have access to exclusive locations that couples would otherwise never hear about; Can recommend the right wedding professionals for all aspects of the wedding; Are trained to help create a budget, keep expenses within that budget, and protect couples from making costly mistakes; Can save couples time in researching options. They already know what works best and why.

Now that you understand the various roles of a wedding coordinatoe, it’s time to start getting the important questions answered. Setting the budget first is the key! You and your fiancée should agree on the expenses before you begin the planning process. The budget must accommodate the size and style of the wedding. Write down your wishes and desires and compare notes. Distinguish your “wishes” from your “must haves”. Your coordinator can create a budget based on the most important elements of YOUR wedding. He/She can help prioritize which areas are most important to you.

Remember there is always room for compromise. Target more money towards the areas that are most important and reduce the areas that are less important. Your wedding coordinator will show you how to make changes without changing the feel of the wedding. Is it more important to have great food or a great band? Do you want an extravagant cake or beautiful flowers? You can have all of the above with proper planning. Whichever you choose, remember to stay on track with the expenses as you move forward. The budget is one of the most important areas where your coordinator can assist and it’s the start of making financial decisions together, a very important part of marriage. Open and honest communication is the key.

In a post-wedding survey, couples were asked, “If you had it to do over again, what would you have done differently?”
Number 1 Answer: “I would have hired a wedding coordinator – someone to ensure that all of the details were handled so that I could have enjoyed my day without worry.” Coordinators provide this reassurance on the wedding day! It is worth the investment to have peace of mind.

A wedding coordinator is able to provide: Peace of mind while planning the wedding; A great experience on the wedding day; and Wonderful wedding memories that will last forever!

Writing Your Wedding Vows

The vows are the most intimate part of the ceremony, and what is more intimate than your own thoughts and words? Here are some tips on writing your own vows.

Set the tone in advance
Talk to your fiance about whether you want serious vows or humorous. Do you want something poetic and romantic? Or nostalgic and touching? Make sure you are on the same page so the vows will complement each other. You don’t want the groom’s to be humorous, while the bride’s is poetic! You also need to decide if you will write the vows together or keep them a surprise for each other. ( I vote for surprise!! The emotions from saying your vows the first time is a truly beautiful moment!!)

Dedicate time for this
It doesn’t have to be in one sitting, in fact it will be better if it is not in one sitting. Have a sheet of paper in your wedding planning book that every time you open the book for something wedding (maybe flowers, or dress) take a moment to write a thought about you fiancé. Better yet, you can devote a “page” on the notepad on your phone and when something hits you (he surprised you by….) write that down. It could be the way that she cries at sappy old movies, or the face that he makes when he is concentrating. Regardless of what it is that you love, you need to write it down. This way you will have several thoughts spread out over time to help you write the vows. By taking plenty of time to plan your vows and consider your relationship, your vows will most certainly be special.

Talk to family and friends
Often, friends and family members will see things about your relationship that you do not notice yourself. Ask your friends and family members’ opinions about what they think is special about your relationship, and incorporate that into your wedding vows. This will not only make your vows more personal, but it will make your loved ones feel special that you included their opinions in your wedding.

Have a deadline
Not the day of the wedding!!! Although I have had several grooms show up on the day of the wedding with their vows written on hotel stationery!!! I have found most couples are worried about length. The bride has 50 lines, and the groom 20. This makes the groom feel like he should have said more, and the audience wondering when the bride’s will be over… Therefore, I tell the couple to have the vows to me 2 weeks prior to the wedding. This way, I can go over it, make any suggestions (if repeating the same thing over and over) and then inform both of the length issue if one exists. So have a third party help out. Your wedding officiant or minister should be the first choice, otherwise have a friend you both trust that will keep the vows secret!

Include a personal touch
Everyone has a place, movie, or other favorite thing that they love. Include a line of your partner’s favorite movie, or make a reference to their favorite place or sports team in your wedding vows. Depending on how you do this, it could not only make the vows more special, but it could deliver a laugh to lighten the mood as well.

Vow delivery
Do you want to do the repeat after me style, or read from an index card? I think the personal vows are more personal coming directly from the person than being repeated. Just make sure you separate out your lines so you can say a line, and look at your fiancé. Nothing like READING your vows to lower the significance of the moment.

Audience and timing
There will indeed be people watching you say these vows, so try not to get too personal! Also, timing is important. One to two minutes is a good range; I know you could go on and on about your love, but for the ceremonial vows, keep it short and sweet.

Practice out loud
Just because something looks good on paper does not mean it sounds good when spoken. Practicing out loud will allow you to change any sentence structures that sound awkward, as well as pointing out sentences that might be too long… after all, you don’t want to run out of breath when exchanging vows! Have your wedding officiant or minister review your vows, as they know timing best. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, at least read them out loud to your maid of honor or best man.

If absolutely stuck, you should be able to meet with your wedding officiant or minister and have them help you write the vows by asking questions, and re-wording the answers for beautiful vows!

Tips Every Bride Should Know

  • You are in control and deserve to receive the best anyone can offer.
  • Your contracts should have everything spelled out with no surprises or hidden costs.
  • You must feel comfortable and have a good relationship with the vendors your working with. You must like them and trust them.
  • You should never be shy about approaching the best venues as you will be surprised to find that most places will want your business and the better ones may be willing to negotiate.
  • You should think about transportation logistics. If you find a great place at a great price but your guests are staying elsewhere, the logistics of getting people there and back can be a nightmare. The best-planned events are ones in which it is easy to move people around. Think about location and convenience.
  • Be a savvy shopper. Call or email prospective vendors with a list of questions. Be prepared. Shop around.
  • Don’t pay the florist for votives. Check to see if you your venue gives them to you at no extra cost.
  • Passing drinks on trays looks nice but is not the best way to offer drinks. Wine becomes warm, mixed drinks diluted and Champagne flat plus guests take a few sips and then put the glasses down and order something else.
  • Champagne toasts are not necessary at rehearsal dinners. Save it for the wedding. Guests will be doing spontaneous toasts all evening long. Let them toast with what is in their glasses.
  • In the end, it usually comes down to who you trust to do the best job and take all the worries away from you and your family.

Out of Town Guest Bags

Wedding welcome gift bags should serve to delight and surprise your guests. They should also provide them with information about the wedding, directions, contact information, and recommendations (restaurants, things to do etc.). With that in mind, here is a list of things (Both personal, practical, and memorable) to include in your welcome gift bags. Mix and match from the ideas below and you’ll be on your way to something special. Just make sure to include things that reflect your personal taste and the location of the wedding.

Personal Items to Include In Your Wedding Gift Bags:

  • Personal note to thank out of town guests for making the trip
  • A picture of the bride and groom with a hand written message thanking them would be a super nice touch
  • Map and directions to the reception
  • A list of favorite restaurants or fun coffee shops
  • Map of the location where your significant other proposed
  • A postcard with a picture of the town
  • List of phone #’s for bride/groom, bride’s family
  • Custom CD with old home movies, pictures, slideshows
  • Local Travel Guide (sights, restaurants, history, facts) for out of town guests to enjoy the city. Consider contacting the local chamber of commerce to try and get free maps and discount coupons

Snacks to include in the wedding gift bags:

  • Bottled water with personalized labels
  • Special coffee (local coffee being the preference)
  • Bagged teas/honey
  • Pastries or cookies from a local bakery
  • Something local about the area, such as a food that’s produced there
  • Breath mints and/or gum
  • Microwave popcorn

For couples with kids:

  • Crayons & coloring book
  • For the bags of the older kids, consider including fun card games. Put different games in different bags so they can be swapped and played by others

Miscellaneous:

  • Tissue packs
  • Travel size toiletries such as aspirin, antacid, toothpaste/toothbrush
  • Local T-shirt
  • Mini lint rollers. Perfect for dark suits and dresses
  • Sewing kits
  • Hangover remedies
  • A Local magazine
  • A disposable camera
  • Coupons - Most hotels have discount coupons to local attractions at the front desk. If you have a block of rooms set aside for your guests, ask the front desk to provide these booklets. Or if you’re really bold, try going to some local restaurants and see if they can give you $5.00 off coupons for your gift baskets, or even a 2-for-1 appetizers coupons.

Before You Start, Decide On:

Theme
Do you want there to be a theme?  You may want to think local. Do you have any nearby candy companies that make great products? Candle makers? Breweries? Specialty stores? You could get samples or discounted products to put in the bags.

The Budget
How much can you spend per bag? While the cost should be around $10-12 per bag, you can adjust it to your liking based on what you choose to include and how much you choose to personalize.

Delivery
Hotels where you have blocked rooms for wedding guests will store and distribute wedding gift bags for you. Some charge for the service ($1-3 per bag) while others just include it as part of the service. If you are negotiating rates or amenities with a hotel, we suggest that you ask for this to be provided for free

When Picking Gift Bags For Your Out Of Town Wedding Guests:

  • Making the gift bag yourself. Buy the fabric of your choice and two seams later, you’ve got a personalized gift bag that you can customize any which way that you want.
  • Buying canvas tote bags at Branders or LL Bean
  • Ordering bags from a company like Chicobag.com to use as the OOT bag. They are super cute and reusable and the price, at $5.00 isn’t too bad either.
  • NOT using baskets or boxes as the guests will probably not have room in their luggage for this.
  • Going to the Dollar store for gift bags. You can find Hallmark quality bags that regularly retail for over five dollars for only a buck.

Gift bags for your out of town weddings guests are a great idea and the list above will get you started. If you have any additional ideas, please share them in the comments section.