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

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.

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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.

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!

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.

Congratulations to All Our Couples Married This Past Spring!

Andrew & Leah 3/3 at HVC
Erin & Carly 3/9 at The Doubletree Hotel Chelsea
Brian & Angie 3/9 at The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel
Brett & SandiLynn 3/17 at The Round Hill House
George & Kelly 3/24 at The Fountains at Millbrook
Daniel & Kerianne 3/30 at Arbor Ridge Catering & Banquet
Chris & Danielle 3/31 at The Candlewood Inn
Cesar & Bruna 4/13 at The Villa Borghese
Gustavo & Diana 4/15 The Villa Borghese
Arya & Sapna 4/21 at The Hindu Samaj Temple and Locust Grove
Charles & Ashley 4/21 in New Paltz, NY
Mario & Paula 4/27 at Mesier Park
Joe & Marissa 4/27 at The VIP Country Club
Mark & Chelsea 4/28 at Shokan Weslyan Community Church
Shakia & Malcolm 4/28 at Atrium Caterers
Justin & Liz 5/4 at The Grandview
Chad & Kristen 5/5 at The Grandview
Jordan & Jordan 5/6 at The Full Moon Resort
Lisa & Terry 5/12 at The Skytop Steakhouse & Brewing Co
Earl & Rina 5/12 at Pamela’s on the Hudson
Dominick & Melissa 5/13 in Poughquag, NY
Christopher & Jessica 5/18 at The Grandview
James & Sharon 5/19 at The Rhinecliff
Krystal & Patrick 5/19 at Lake Minnewaska
Matt & Amanda 5/19 in North Salem, NY
Evangelos & Kimberly 5/19 The Ham House
Rosa & Austin 5/19 at The Gosling Pond B&B
Elaine & Davanh 5/19 at Beckwith Pointe
John & Sharon 5/20 at FEAST at Round Hill
Keith & Diandra 5/20 at Catlin Gardens
Jason & Regina 5/26 at The Wilderstein Historic Site
Laura & Shaun 5/26 at West Park Winery
Tom & Kelley 5/26 at Oceanbleu Beachfront Catering
Adam & Elizabeth 5/27 in Kingston, NY

Congratulations to All of Our Couples Married This Past Winter!

Antonio & Cheryl 11/4 at Overlook Lodge
Mike & Pamela 11/4 at The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel
Inna & Gregory 11/5 at The Stone House B&B
Glen & Sally 11/7 at The Rhinecliff
Brian & Ann Marie 11/11 in Hopewell Junction, NY
Matthew & Tiffany 11/12 in Stanfordville, NY
Justin & Jami 11/12 at Ceola Manor
Victor & Kristina 11/18 at The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel
Leah & Jonathan 11/19 in Hudson, NY
Vanessa & Mike 12/2 at HVC
Chris & Jennifer 12/3 in Yorktown Heights, NY
Kevin & Rosaria 12/17 at HVC
Evelyn & Claudia 12/23 at Minnewaska State Park
Mike & Willa 12/31 at Bear Mountain Inn
Nicholas & Carlina 12/31 at Patriot Hills
Jason & Jason 1/17 in Beacon, NY
Maria & Christopher 1/27 at HVC
Robert & Nena 1/28 at HVC
Melody & David 1/28 in Hopewell Junction, NY
Rudy & Nadine 2/11 at The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel
Rene & Dominique 2/17 at HVC
Kyle & Kayla 2/25 at HVC
Devon & Nicole 2/25 in Rhinebeck, NY
Angel & Ann Marie 2/26 at The Bykenhulle House

Your Outdoor Wedding

Outdoor weddings are romantic and scenic, but there’s a lot that can go wrong. Here’s your guide to planning a trouble-free, outdoor wedding.

Who will officiate?
Some officiants will only perform ceremonies within a house of worship, so you’ll need to check with yours in advance before planning your ceremony outside.

Inform your guests
Guests need to know they’re attending an outdoor wedding so they can dress appropriately. It’s also a good idea to send weather information to out-of-town guests who may not be familiar with the climate.

Be prepared
Combat potential outdoor issues by having the following items on hand:

Plenty of water
Umbrellas
Handheld paper or wood fans
Sunscreen
Bug spray
Tissues/paper towels

Securing your Outdoor Wedding Location
For an outdoor wedding, the draw is the setting, so finding the right spot and coordinating the event around it is the most important task on your to-do list. Your setting options are as limitless as the great outdoors itself. But before getting your heart set on a specific spot, these are some key questions you’ll need to ask.

Is There Privacy?
Keep in mind that if your location is a public space – or even near a public place (like a street or sidewalk), you may have to contend with onlookers. Try to reserve your space in a secluded spot to prevent unwanted guests or distractions.

What’s The Backup Plan?
Obviously you’ll need a plan in case of inclement weather. If your location doesn’t have indoor facilities to accommodate your event should the skies open, you’ll need to rent a tent. Many rental companies will reserve your tent for a deposit and that way, if the weather is nice and you don’t use it, you don’t lose the full payment.

Can You Hear?
Will guests have to compete with roaring waves, gusting winds, honking cars, or screaming children to hear your vows? You may need to rent a sound system and mics for the officiant and yourselves. Your band or DJ should be able to provide this for you.

Outdoor Décor Elements
Let the setting speak for itself – Don’t compete with Mother Nature; rather, subtly enhance your background (whether it’s a sandy beach, blooming garden, or thick forest) with a complementary color palette and décor elements.
Au Natural – Consider details like burlap table linens and vintage furniture to set your scene. It blends into the outdoor setting while also creating a statement. Get inspired by the vintage gems available from Found Vintage Rentals.
Lighting – Create ambiance in your outdoor space by getting creative with your lighting – there is nothing quite like bistro lights, twinkle lights, or lanterns set against a natural scene.

Outdoor Wedding Flowers
Blooms – An outdoor wedding calls for flowers that can brave all sorts of weather. Look for sturdier blooms like mums, orchids, carnations, alstroemeria, lisianthus, calla lilies, and sunflowers. Also, don’t overlook these hearty, simple floral embellishments that look fabulous by themselves: baby’s breath, bells of Ireland, hypernicum berry, bupleurum, and dusty miller.
Style – Keep your containers and arrangements natural-looking, as an intricately designed, elaborate pedestal centerpiece in a tall candelabra just doesn’t fit. Instead, use loose arrangements in mason jars, wooden boxes, vintage containers, crates, or pails.

Outdoor Wedding Menu
Keep it simple – Even an elegant outdoor wedding calls for simpler fare that can withstand varied temperatures, so avoid items like mayonnaise or dishes which must be served cold. If yours is a casual affair, consider a traditional outdoor barbeque.
Keep guests refreshed – Have plenty of ice and water, along with teas or lemonades, especially if your outdoor wedding will take place in a warm environment. Alcoholic beverages like sangria, mojitos, or mint juleps will also keep your guests refreshed.

Outdoor Wedding Cake Ideas
Make it last – Wedding cakes can melt outside. Opt for fondant icing over buttercream. Stay away from mousse and ice cream cakes. Many types of cupcakes hold up well in the heat.

Outdoor Wedding Attire
Bride – Dare to go casual. Outdoor settings allow for breezy fabrics and shorter hemlines. Knee and tea-length gowns are making a major comeback, while lace and/or organza are good outdoor fabric options. But if traditional elegance is what you prefer then you can still plan a formal dress code – just consider what’s best suited for sun, sand, or grass.
Bridesmaid – You may want to forgo the giant ball gown and instead, stick to a romantic empire or a-line dress in a flowing organza or light-catching taffeta.
Shoes – For both bride and bridesmaids, opt for a wide, flat heel, cute ballet flats, or strappy sandals, as a stiletto may sink right into the ground.
For the guys – Lose the tux and consider an unbuttoned affair. Dress the guys in khakis and sport jackets or crisp oxfords. If you’re heart is set on a tux, get a vest with a full back – which will look better when their coats are off.

Outdoor Wedding Favors

Keep ‘em cool – Personalized paper fans are both decorative and functional.
Keep love blooming – By giving packs of flower seeds.
Plant it – Gift them with miniature potted plants or herbs.
Give – Forgo the traditional favors and donate to your favorite “green” organization in your guests’ names.

Outdoor Wedding Getaway
Up and away – A hot air balloon makes a dramatic statement and affords some romantic alone time with your new spouse
Sail away – Make your exit on a sail boat, yacht, catamaran, or canoe (hint: you’ll need a body of water).
Horseback – Make sure you practice before you galloping into the sunset.
Vintage Flatbed Truck – ‘Cause you’re a down-home couple at heart.
Horse-drawn carriage– This romantic exit is the ultimate departure fit for a princess.

Outdoor Wedding Entertainment

Fun and games – In a natural outdoor setting, you’re not limited to a traditional band or deejay to entertain the crowd; outdoor games like horseshoes or croquet can be a fun and unexpected twist.



Advice for Forgoing the Traditional Wedding Venue

Many wedding venues have outdoor settings available, which makes planning an alfresco event a bit easier (they provide and handle the essentials). If you’re planning your outdoor wedding at a public park, beach or private home; however, you’ll have added details to attend to:

Permits
Public outdoor locations require numerous permits and fees. Be sure to find out about any restrictions on noise, alcohol consumption, number of guests, food preparation, tables, tents, and time limits.

Rental fees
Keep in mind that you’ll have to rent everything – from tables and chairs to bathrooms and sound systems – and these rental fees can up your bottom line.

Details
Attention to detail is key to the success of an outdoor wedding. Coordinating the permits, rentals, backup plans – not to mention the typical wedding details – can be taxing. Seriously consider enlisting the help of a professional coordinator to keep things together.

Accessibility
Is there convenient parking? If not, you’ll need to secure a nearby lot and provide a shuttle – especially if you’ll have elderly guests or others with limited mobility.

Wedding Insurance
Outdoor weddings are a prime candidate for insurance, which will to help recoup losses caused by extreme weather conditions or any other circumstances that prevent your wedding from taking place.