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.

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.

Valentine’s Day Wedding Theme

A Valentine’s Day theme wedding is sure to be a romantic event with careful planning and operation. Here are some ideas and tips for your big day.

* Invitations: There are plenty of romantic wedding invitation designs out there, choose one with doves, roses, hearts or other Valentine’s Day typical signs to set the mood for your wedding ceremony. Pick your favorite envelopes with red liners and don’t forget the double heart stamps.

* Color Scheme: Pink, purple, red and white are traditional Valentine’s Day colors. However, just choose your favorite shades and hues to decorate your wedding party.

* Wedding Dress: A romantic bridal gown is a must for a Valentine theme wedding. Fluffy skirts, off the shoulder collars, puffy sleeves, sweetheart neckline and appliqués are ideal incorporation for Valentine’s outfit. You may even add a little red or pink touch to your dress, or choose a pink wedding dress for a sweet princess look. Hot lace or light-colored pearl embellishments are also amazing.

* Attire: The groom and his best men should wear formal tuxedos to match the romantic atmosphere. They may even try red or pink shirts to match the color scheme. The bridal party gowns should be as romantic as the wedding theme, but not overpower the wedding dress.

* Flowers: Undoubtedly, roses are the favorite flowers for a Valentine wedding, and pink, purple, red or white blooms match the theme. Pink lilies or tulips are also great choices which add a unique touch.

* Decorations: Besides flowers, there are still other decorations such as candles, lace and ribbons. Scatter heart-shaped confetti on guest tables and hang heart-shaped balloons over the entrance arc for a whimsical touch.

* Menu: A romantic menu could include any foods you like, such as your first date dinner. Choose chocolate covered strawberries as your appetizers. Rich hot cocoa is warm and popular in the winter holiday. Pink champagne is a superb choice for a romantic wedding.

* Wedding Cake: White chocolate and red roses covered heart-shaped wedding cake would be a perfect match for your Valentine’s wedding.

* Wedding Favors: Heart shaped favors may offer your guests a touch of romance. Colorful candies, strawberry jams, sparkling spoons, double heart photo frames are perfect for Valentine favors.

* Wedding Music: Choose love songs for weddings to play during reception.

9 Key “Green” Planning Concepts

9 Key “Green” planning concepts that can be implemented to make your special day wonderful for you and even better for your environment.

The VENUE
Choose a natural setting like a botanical garden, beach or a beautiful park rather than a huge hall. You can exchange vows in a romantic setting under the stars, or by an amazing ocean scene.

The MENU
Explore booking top culinary chefs that will prepare a delightful, succulent variety of organic foods that will incorporate all aspects of fine green dining, from farm raised entrees, to bio-degradable dinning décor.

The DÉCOR
Speaking of décor not only can you find caterers that incorporate bio-degradable items in their service; you will find that there are also many companies that provide recycled event décor items.

The INVITATION
A great option for invitations for the perfect Green Themed wedding will consist of recycled paper and to take it one step further you can have them printed with biodegradable corn-based ink or an even better and more modern day option is to send a sophisticated and exquisitely designed Electronic Invitations (e-vites).

The GIFTS/FAVORS
Think outside of the box and get creative by giving your guest an Wedding Day Eco-Bag filled with a variety of eco-friendly gifts like luxury Eco-Spa items, Personalized Organic Tea bags, and Elegantly Engraved Mini-Pots with a packet of Plan Seeds to symbolize the seed of love planted on the day of your special union.


The TRANSPORTATION

Every bridal party wants to be transported in luxury and style. With today’s Automotive Companies taking a conscious approach to preserving our environment and producing a large number of fuel efficient Hybrid vehicles, they have made it a point to remember the most important vehicle for a bride and groom, the limousine. Believe it or not there are many companies that provide luxury hybrid limousines as well as luxury cars for the wedding party.

The RINGS
Of all the pieces of jewelry a woman will own in her life, her wedding ring is the most important and holds the most meaning. Consider a jeweler that sells diamonds that are certified conflict-free. You should also consider bands that are created with recycled metals. I suggest you visit Brilliant Earth at http://www.brilliantearth.com; they are the leading provider in conflict-free diamond jewelry. Brilliant Earth also donates dedicates 5% of their profits to local communities that are affected by the diamond industry.

The most important – The DRESS
Choosing that perfectwedding gown is one of the most emotional and most important purchases of woman’s life. Choose a wedding gown that is made from natural fibers as well as your wedding party.


My last recommendation is- The WEDDING COORDINATOR/PLANNER

In order to fully design and plan the perfect reality of your Wedding day Dreams and also incorporate the fundamentals of an environmentally safe wedding, I suggest that you enlist the services of a professional Wedding Coordinator to ensure that your wedding is not just eco-friendly but truly represents the fantasy that you have always dreamed of for your special day.

Your Holiday Season Elopement

From Christmas to New Years Eve, what better time for shopping, meeting family and friends, exchanging gifts, and . . . getting married. When you think about it, what better time during this “season of giving” than to share the most important gift of all — your marriage. And yes, the holiday season is an ideal time to elope.

The holiday season elope is popular for many reasons:

– Your marriage is one of the greatest gifts that you can give and share;
– Elopement destinations are specially decorated and offer more picture opportunities;
– The holiday festivities and goodwill of others add to the romance of your wedding; and
– Combine your elope wedding with a winter sport honeymoon — a ski vacation, for example.

Picking the Perfect Gift

Picking the perfect gift during the holidays is one of life’s most difficult chores. You want your gift to be: romantic; heart-felt; represent an important part of me; valuable; and most of all — forever. It is difficult to think of a more priceless gift than the gift of love and support of each other throughout time.

The Most Festive Season

During the holiday season, all the travel destinations are decorating their establishments with festive Christmas trees, garlands made of evergreens, wreaths with poinsettia, gift-wrapped packages, twinkling lights, ornamental holiday characters figurines, fancy red and gold ribbons, the crackle of wood in a burning fireplace, and much more. Imagine the wonderful wedding picture opportunities these festive holiday decorations will offer. And in addition to the decorations, many destinations will also be offering holiday feasts and menu specials to celebrate the holidays — and of course your wedding, also.

Beware though, the holiday season is also the most popular travel time and some destinations may be crowded. Always call ahead and speak to the manager about your ideas and plans. In most cases, early reservations will be the safest. On the other hand, brides tend to be lucky and your destination may be able to accommodate you on short notice. Either way, call ahead for details.

Romance in the snow

A holiday season elopement is also a great opportunity to travel to a wintry location and enjoy a winter sport honeymoon. There are a multitude of travel destinations that offer every kind of winter sport and activity imaginable: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, tubing and sledding, sleigh riding, ice skating and much more. Add a few extra days to your elopement and enjoy the outdoor winter activities. The most important thing is to remember to bring warm outdoor wear; you can easily rent sport equipment everywhere. And if you don’t know how to ski or snowboard — professional lessons will have you schussing and gliding like a pro in a few hours.

Questions to Ask your Wedding DJ

Having enough information about your choice for entertainment on your wedding day is very important. Just as important is knowing specifically the right questions to ask during your DJ’s first interview with you. Here are some steps to take to be prepared:

1. Be ready to talk about what’s important to YOU. No matter whether you are or a bride or a groom, your wedding DJ is an important part of your reception. He serves as the “bringer of the fun”. Your DJ should be mindful of your requests and the flow of the cocktail hour, dinner service, formalities, etc. Therefore, you should be fully prepared to discuss what the most important parts are of the reception and how they should be perceived by your guests.

2. Ask how he dresses for a wedding reception. If your DJ isn’t a seasoned pro, this will throw him for a loop. The only responses you should accept are, “I have some very nice suits” or “should I dress a certain way?”

3. Ask for references. I know you have heard this so many times with regard to so many types of businesses, but for this situation, it is extremely important. Your wedding DJ should be able to provide you with three RECENT references for you to contact. If, after your first meeting with your wedding DJ, you do not receive these references, you may want to move on to another DJ interview.

4. Ask if the DJ has a “style”.  There is no right answer to this question, but if you don’t have a warm and fuzzy feeling after you receive your answer, you’ll know what to do.

5. How many songs does your DJ have? The number should be so big, it should blow your mind. Any great DJ worth his salt is an avid collector of music of many genres and should have any and all of your requests on hand. If not, the DJ should be able and willing to purchase any additional music you need (important fact there).

6. Is your wedding DJ familiar with your venue of choice? You can really tell how seasoned your entertainer is by being familiar with most if not every venue in your city. Some newer DJs shouldn’t be counted out if this question gets answered with a “no”. They may come highly recommended by a friend of yours, or you may have seen them perform at another event.

These questions aren’t the only ones that should be asked, however. These are great questions to get the ball rolling and to ignite your imagination to ask more in-depth questions. The bottom line is this – you should feel comfortable with your choice of wedding DJ. If not, do yourself a favor and schedule another appointment with another DJ.

Picking a Wedding Venue

Before meeting with the first reception site manager, consider these important factors in determining the venue that is right for your wedding reception.

Your wedding reception site is undeniably the most important piece of the wedding planning puzzle, so you’ll want to put some careful thought into this essential decision.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Wedding Venue

Theme and Style of Your Wedding Reception

Beyond the basic banquet hall, an overwhelming array of reception site options exists. From country clubs to mansions to museums, each set the stage for a specific style of event. Before deciding, determine the type of wedding you would like to host.

We cannot overemphasize: Today’s wedding receptions are about personality and creativity. Your wedding is not your mother’s or your grandmother’s. It’s not your best friend’s wedding either. This is your once-in-a-lifetime event – and a costly one at that. Take advantage of your time in the spotlight to put together a wedding reception event that really shines. Consider your personal style. Do you want your wedding to be a reflection or a departure from that? Just because you tend to be more city-chic does not mean you can’t throw a country-style foot stomping hoe down of a wedding (it can be done in an equally fabulous manner – we promise!).

Put some thought into this, and envision your perfect wedding reception. The theme and style you wish to reflect will help dictate the type of reception site you choose. Remember that options abound beyond hotel ballrooms, banquet halls, and country clubs. Also consider mansions and historic sites, museums, or parks. The sky is the limit!

Geographic Location of Your Wedding

Where do you want to get married? In your hometown? In your fiance’s home town? In the town where you currently live? Or even on a Caribbean island? With today’s jet-set couples, the possibilities really are endless. Don’t be afraid to consider something different or unexpected. Perhaps the style or theme of your event will dictate the location – a tiki-style hut by the beach, a rustic farmhouse in the country, a posh ballroom overlooking a metropolitan cityscape. You get the idea.

Wedding Size

OK, so you have decided to get married in a historic mansion near your hometown. Great, you’re almost there! But before you get in your car and start touring reception sites, there is one major factor to consider: Capacity – one of the most important criteria in finding the perfect wedding venue. No matter how beautiful a place may be, if you anticipate a guest list of 300, cramming them into a facility that seats 150 will quickly turn an elegant affair into a mob of angry guests – we promise. Most reception sites make setting capacity information readily available. If not, give a quick call to the general phone number and find out. Make sure to differentiate the capacities for the type of reception you envision (seated dinner, buffet, cocktail reception etc.). There may also be different capacity based on the setting with or without a dance floor.

DIY Wedding Decorations

The reception represents a large chunk of your total expense. Make your own decorations and you’ll slash the reception costs. Here are a few ideas from around the Web:

For lighting:

Yarn ball string lights.
Homemade votives from Mason jars.
Billboard letter lighting.

Setting the scene:

10 different garland ideas.
Tin can vases.
Small and large crepe paper flowers.

Tabletops:

5 table runner ideas.
Table numbers from old books.
Napkin rings from toilet paper rolls.

Now, here are a few more ideas to help cut costs:

  • Pick DIY ideas that use what you already own like a large collection of old books, records, magazines or lace swatches.
  • Shop flea markets for odds and ends. Flea markets are a great source for buttons, bottle caps, twine and other odd bits.
  • Ask your local Freecycle community. For a friend’s wedding I needed a few hundred buttons to make place holders. I figured it was a long shot, but I posted an ad on Freecycle anyway. An hour later, I had my buttons.