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

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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 Twin Lakes

It was so wonderful to work with Laurie and Tom from Platinum Party Events at Twin Lakes in Hurley NY this past October for Amanda & James’ wedding.

A special Thanks to Laurie for the wonderful write up on their blog! Head on over and see what she had to say.

Here are a few pictures we captured of the amazing fall theme and decor Amanda & James had.

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Hurley NY wedding

Twin Lakes Wedding

Country Wedding

Fall Wedding

Vendors

Venue: Twin Lakes
Coordinator: Hudson Valley Ceremonies (Sage)
DJ: Platinum Party Events
Officiant: Hudson Valley Ceremonies (Mike)
Photographer: Family Friend

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

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!

Meet Our Officiant Kevin Cook

For more than 30 years Kevin Cook has balanced two careers:  fundraising professional for several Westchester County not-for-profits and Lutheran worship leader and teacher.  He recently received ordination in order to serve couples seeking to create a personalized wedding ceremony that thoughtfully incorporates their spiritual beliefs.  He brings a warm sense of humor and calm to the frantic pace of the wedding day, helping couples concentrate on the ceremony and vows, the truly important portion of the big day.

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See what past clients are saying about Kevin:
From day one, Kevin Cook went above and beyond for us. He was supportive and counseled regarding both the flow of the ceremony and helped define what was important to my husband and to me, both separately and as a unit. While we are spiritual, we don’t identify with a specific religion. Kevin was able to inject what God meant to us in a lovely way that we and our guests enjoyed and understood, despite their own religions that varied from Jewish to Catholic to Muslim. We love and respect Kevin and feel that he is the ultimate officiant. We hope that you are blessed to have him marry you too!

Meet Our Officiant Lawrence McCauley

Lawrence is an ordained that respects all faiths. He has been officiating weddings, handfastings, and ceremonies of love for more than ten years. At these most important life events, he encourages each and every couple to add their personal touch to the ceremony.

Lawrence also performs clearing and blessing rituals for homes and businesses. This type of service may be utilized to rid a spaced of negative energy or to attract positive energy to the area.

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Meet Our Officiant Mike Lopez

The Rev. Mike Lopez is an Interfaith and Independent Catholic Minister with over fifteen years of active ministry experience. During your Pre-Wedding Consultation, Brother Mike will take the time to get to know you and will help you to create the perfect ceremony for your special day.

Brother Mike specializes in Ceremonial Liturgy and will insure that every aspect of your wedding ceremony from the Entrance to the “I Do”, are just perfect. Whether you wish to have a traditional ceremony or want to keep it short and sweet; Brother Mike is a great choice.

Brother Mike is fully Bi-Lingual and can perform your ceremony in English or Spanish or Both!

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See what past clients are saying about Mike:

Brother Mike, all we can say is Wow! You made our ceremony even more special than we could have ever imagined. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! PS – We owe you dinner!!
Luis and Michelle

Thank You Brother Mike for taking the time to meet with us and calm us down before the big day, from the rehearsal dinner to the final blessing, you made us feel extra special! Peace and Blessings and Keep up the Good Work!
Alex and Andrea

OMG Brother Mike, you saved our day! Thanks for stepping up at the last minute when the Minister we hired cancelled on us at the last minute. You where a blessing and so funny! Like you said, “God Knows What He Does!” Thanks again! PS – My Grandma wants to know where your Church is at, she thinks your great!”
Brittney and Jeff

The first communication I had with the company is the personnel in their office. Their associates are very responsive, caring, and friendly. They sent friendly reminders of upcoming bills, and sent holiday and congratulatory emails. After working with their office, I communicated very frequently with my wedding officiant, Brother Mike Lopez. He was by far the most qualified person to officiate our wedding. He was very flexible and always arrived half hour before our meeting times so we would never have to wait on him. He sent us routine text messages in the weeks before the wedding just to check up on us and reassure us that everything would turn out perfect. We custom built our ceremony with Mike so that it was everything that we could every dream of. Whenever I was feeling nervous about our big day, I could just shoot Mike a text and he would put those feelings at east. At the reception, he fit right in with my family, and everyone loved him.
I definitely would recommend Hudson Valley Ceremonies to any other bride to be, and especially Brother Mike Lopez.
Vianca and Jess Vargas

Bro. Mike Lopez was incredible at our wedding on Saturday. Everything was perfect and my brothers couldn’t stop raving. Thank you so much!
Jenn

Brother Mike was absolutely amazing! He gave us the most perfect ceremony , which was completely tailored to our requests. We still can’t get over how perfect it was. We have had so many compliments from our guest about his performance & personality.
Amanda

My entire experience in working Hudson Valley Ceremonies was extraordinary. Due to a few complications with our previous chaplain, I turned to a friend’s advice who had suggested to contact Barbara, an excellent officiant who serves the mid-Hudson valley area. Because I was getting married on Long Island, she referred me to local Chaplin/ wedding officiant , Bro. Micheal Lopez. He was amazing. In a very short amount of time, Bro. Micheal costume tailored a beautiful , and memorable wedding service. He was kind, took great pride in making every detail perfect for our wedding day, and made time to contact us every step of the way. Working with the staff, and Bro. Micheal made planning this important ceremony easy and fun.
Brittany

I had the pleasure of working with Rev. Mike Lopez. He was very professional, was down to earth, keeping just the right amount of light-heartedness, while still making sure everyone knew how serious a wedding is. He was extremely flexible with us and helped us with our bilingual service. For the rehearsal, he waited patiently for 30 minutes as most of my wedding party was stuck in unusual traffic on their way to the venue. Throughout the rehearsal and ceremony, he kept us smiling, but on point. He was truly a pleasure to work with and I would certainly recommend him!!
Jackie

Meet Our Officiant Melodie Molinare

Rev. Melodie was born, raised and still resides in Rhinebeck NY. She is the mother of a wonderful daughter, Katie. Melodie currently works for the USPS and loves her job because she is able to meet all kinds of people. Born and raised a Catholic, Melodie has a strong belief in God and all religions from around the world. At the same time she is open to all couples and the ceremony they want performed. She understands that their love needs to be focused on in a wedding ceremony. Rev. Melodie finds being a celebratory minister to be a very rewarding and enjoyable position. Melodie brings comfort and humor into the ceremonies she performs.

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See what past clients are saying about Melodie:

Very satisfied with the service provided. The officiant ” Melodie ” was awesome and i would gladly recommend this service to anyone interested.
Kristal and Patrick

One of the best decisions we ever made for the day of our wedding was hiring Melodie. She made helped make a crazy day, beautiful, funny and so meaningful. My whole family is still commenting on how great a ceremony we had that day. Thank you so much
Kerri and Jason

Meet Our Officiant Danella Abbey

Reverend Danella Abbey is an ordained, licensed spiritual minister who goes beyond traditional limitations to help you create the most unique, loving and personal ceremony.

Each person has their unique spiritual path. It is this understanding combined with pastoral experience, a keen awareness and respect for “Spirit” that has enabled Reverend Abbey to perform unique ceremonies and rituals. If you are looking for a wedding officiant or minister who demonstrates sensitivity, compassion, and open-mindedness, then Reverend Abbey is the one.

Registered in the five boroughs of New York City and the Hudson Valley/Catskills Region of New York, she honors all philosophies and therefore orchestrates spiritual, life partner, non-denominational, traditional, and civil weddings. In addition to these she also conducts, commitment ceremonies, vow renewals and is a wonderful singer who can vocally express your feelings through song.

The love between both of you and the people you choose to include in your celebration is of utmost importance. Rev. Abbey is honored to be your partner in creating a beautiful day to remember.

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Making Children Part of the Wedding Day

A wedding is always exciting. A lot of planning and preparation go into action so that the wedding will be memorable meaningful and as one-of-a-kind as the marrying couple. Yet, each couple has consideration unique to them.

  • There are couples where both partners marry for the first time.
  • There are couples where one or both partners have been married before but have no children.
  • There are couples where one or both partners have been married before and have children.
  • And there are couples who often have children and grandchildren.

This article is dedicated to couples that will have a “blended” family once they are married. That is, children will have a new parent and possibly new siblings.

Many, though not all marrying or re-marrying couples are looking for ways to integrate the children into the wedding ceremony and / or reception in such a way that it will become a Family Wedding. Some people wonder why should a wedding not be dedicated to the bride and groom alone. Why should it not be “Their Day”? There are two main reasons. One of the reason is that children need reassurance. They need to know that they are welcome and wanted by both parents and new siblings. The other, not less important, is that parents WANT their children to be an integral part of the wedding and celebration. We are often asked to suggest ways to involve the children in their parent(s) wedding. The following are ideas, implementation of which depends on the ages / abilities of the children and the degree of involvement the marrying couple wishes to dedicate to them. Children must always feel that they are IMPORTANT especially now, when their parent is marrying a new life partner.

LET’S BEGIN WITH PLANNING AND PREPARATION.

Children who are old enough should be asked to put on their thinking caps and help with the wedding planning and preparations. Their input should always be taken into consideration and if possible acted upon. Children can make recommendations ranging from wedding themes to color schemes. They can suggest favors and help make them. Some parents even let the children help address envelops and / or stuff them. It is also very important to make shopping for the wedding attire a family affair.

WE’LL CONTINUE WITH THE CEREMONY

First come the obvious. If the children or grandchildren are not grown ups, they should be given the duties of a Flower Girl and Ring Bearer. During the ceremony, after the bride and groom exchange vows, they may integrate vows dedicated especially to the children. Children who are old and responsible enough, should participate in the Unity Candle ceremony. Here there are a few options. If only one or two children are involved, they should be given their own tapers and join the bride and groom in lighting the pillar candle. However, if more than two children are involved, they should receive their own tapers but rather than light the pillar candle, light their tapers from it. The candle lighting ceremony is a perfect opportunity for children who are old enough to congratulate the bride and groom and acknowledge the new family union. A friend who recently got married told us about the Unity Candle ceremony at her wedding. She had ordered a personalized pillar candle and seven personalized tapers and gave each child a personalized taper. The ceremony was actually a Family Unity Ceremony. All five children (his two and her three), all above 10 years old, wrote a congratulation and thank you note to the bride and groom. Once the Unity Candle was lit, they took turns lighting their tapers from the pillar and in unison, recited the following: “As I light my candle from the Unity Candle, I feel the warmth, love and excitement of my new, larger family. Thank you Susan (BRIDE’S NAME or MOM or MOTHER) and Bill (GROOM’S NAME or DAD or FATHER) for having given me an extended family to love and be loved by. Congratulations! I love you! It was such a touching experience that there wasn’t a dry eye in the room! Right after the Family Unity Candle ceremony, Susan and Bill exchanged their first gifts as a husband and wife and gave each of the children a personalized Family Unity Ring, and a BIG welcome hug.
Susan and Bill engraved the 3 in 1 ring as follows:
Ring 1 To child’s name
Ring 2 With Love
Ring 3 Wedding Date.
Another way to bestow honor to a teenage or older child is to have a son walk the bride and / or a daughter walk the groom down the isle. The son can be either the bride’s or groom’s and so can the daughter be.

The reception offers as many opportunities for involving the children as there is imagination. There are also the obvious toasts, dances, special responsibilities and tasks.