Choosing The Right Officiant for your Wedding

Choosing the Right Officiant for your Wedding

Many couples choose a venue, caterer, photographer, dj, hair and make up artist, and transportation before they even think about their ceremony.  That’s ok.  But when you do start to look for your wedding officiant there is a little bit of unknown anxiety.  They become nervous about finding someone to connect with when it comes to a very personal moment.  Here are some tips on choosing your wedding officiant.

1.  Research the rule’s for wedding officiants in your state.  Some states do not allow out of state officiants and some will only allow clergy that are active and good in standing with their religious organization.

2.  What type of ceremony do you want?  Religious, civil, or interfaith.  This will determine the type of officiant you can look to hire.

3.  Ask some of your friends that recently were married about their officiant.  Ask if they like him or her and what they liked about their service.

4.  Read the reviews on popular websites like Wedding Wire, Yelp and The Knot.  Don’t just look at the first few, scroll to page 2 or 3 and read them.

5.  Set up a meeting to speak with them and discuss your wedding.  A great wedding officiant will ask you many questions, not just talk about themselves.

6.  Ask him or her if they have a video of a ceremony they did or better yet, if they can see you perform live at a wedding.

For information about our officiants you can view their biographies here:

or contact our office at 845-244-1482 and

A Hudson Valley Ceremonies Wedding at Blueberry Inn on Kiernan Farm

Keegan and Tim

Wedding Location – Blueberry Inn on Kiernan Farm
Ceremony Officiant – Richard King (family friend)
Caterer – Hickory BBQ
Dessert – Cake it Up
Photographer – Tami Ling Photography
PhotoBooth – iFlickPhotoBooth
Videographer – Bakwoods Productions
DJ/Band/Musicians – DJ Jimmy Lutz
Florist – Petals Ink along with Jeannie Bishop (mother of the groom)
Coordinator/Planner – Jeanne Stark
Bridal Attire –
Bridal Gown by Sincerity
Bridesmaid Dresses by Bill Levkoff
Shoes by Toms
Men’s Attire –
Groom’s Suit by Mantoni
Groom’s Tie by Tommy Hilfiger
Groomsmen pants by Calvin Klein
Groomsmen ties from The Tie Bar
Shoes by Clarks
Rings –
SuzyB (bride), Boone (groom)
Jewelry –
Colorway Jewelry
Alex and Ani
Hair/Makeup – Signature Braids
Invitations – Anns Paperie
Favors – Mason Jars with DIY tags

Advice from the happy couple:

Have family and friends help wherever they can because then you can have some weight lifted off of your shoulders!
Take in each moment, because it flies by!
Right after you get married, have 5 minutes alone, just the 2 of you to take it in and enjoy the moment by yourselves!

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A Hudson Valley Wedding at Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa

Lara & Chris Miller

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Wedding Location: Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa in Milton, NY
Ceremony Officiant: Reverend Stuart
Photographer: Betsi Ewing Studio
Videographer: Betsi Ewing Studio
Limos/Buses: Mahogany Ridge
Florist: Kamilla’s Florist in Millerton NY
Coordinator/Planner: Jeanne Stark
Bridal Attire: Reem Acra
Men’s Attire: Calvin Klein suit, Brooks Brothers shirt and tie
Rings/Jewelry: Ultimate Jewelers in NYC
Hair/Makeup: La Tua Bella
Invitations: Papyrus
Favors: ASPCA donation
Save the Dates and Rehearsal dinner: Minted
Bridesmaids dresses: Jenny Yoo

Advice from the happy couple:

Not only did I hire my vendors based on their incredible work, I hired them because of the feeling I got after speaking to them. They all had this calming energy about them and after each conversation, I felt more and more at ease with the crazy idea of planning a wedding. I felt confident that they understood my vision and that they would execute it beautifully (which they did). Let your vendors do their job, don’t micromanage them! Show them some ideas so they get your vibe but after that, let them be creative and do their thing!

Also, I’m sure you’ve heard this before but live in the moment. Enjoy the late nights stuffing envelopes and the excited texts of your friends receiving the save the dates. It goes by so quickly, especially your wedding night!! Take a second to look around and really appreciate how many people are there, supporting and loving you as a new couple – its pretty amazing!

View More: View More: View More: View More: View More: View More:

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 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.


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.


Consider a Pre-Owned Dress

Think about putting superstition aside and consider buying a used wedding dress. Sites like eBay and 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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.


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.

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; 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.

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.

Your Winter Wedding

The plus side for brides is that we are now in the off-season and things get a lot cheaper. So if you are planning your wedding on a strict budget and don’t mind that your favorite flower won’t be in bloom or that the trees are bare, look to book your wedding between November and March.

The downside is that most events have to move indoors.

So what do you do if you are caught in between?  If an outdoor wedding was something you have always dreamed about, but aren’t sure if you can pull off during those cold winter months.

Well, the outdoor winter wedding can be done! The first step, as a bride, is to remain flexible and realistic about it. Don’t plan to do your whole event outdoors and make sure you develop a back-up plan. Remember dark comes fast in the winter so an afternoon wedding outdoors and reception inside might be an ideal situation for you. That will also give you enough daylight after the ceremony to finish up all formal photography.

I am a firm believer that as a bride, the day is about you and your groom; but once you invite guests to come, the day also becomes about them and their participation. Put yourself in a guest’s place; make sure their comfort is a top priority. You don’t want your wedding to be a miserable memory in their mind. Here are a few tips to help make your outdoor event a success.

How Cold is Too Cold:
Know your weather limit. You already know it is going to be chilly, but how far are you willing to go? If it’s snowing gently, that’s not bad at all. But if it’s an ice storm, you might want to execute that back-up plan. You might be picturing a snow covered wonderland, but you just never know. Look out for and try to avoid strong wind. Also, know how far your wedding vendors are willing to go. Especially check with those who use electronic equipment (i.e. Photographer, Videographer & DJ) to make sure you meet all their requirements on outdoor ceremonies.

Bundle Up:
Make sure on the wedding invitation, you clearly and purposefully let guests know that your ceremony is outdoors and to dress appropriately. Also, if you do a wedding website (which you should), keep guests updated on the forecast and what the day is planning to look like.

You can also give your guests the option to change clothes from the wedding ceremony to reception if they would like. Many people won’t think about taking an extra outfit, so giving them that option might really ease their minds.

Bridesmaids clothing- Put careful consideration into what your girls will wear. Maybe let them pick out their own dresses and coordinate cute outer ware for them.  For example, have them all wear a similar colored dress and pick out Pea coats, Stockings, Boots, Hats, and/or Mittens you would like them to wear. You can even turn some of these items into the special gift you give your girls.

Warm Favors:
Let your guests know you appreciate their effort to make your winter wedding come true. Offer warm drinks by the guestbook table for them to take to their seat. You could hire an espresso bar or even just set out a carafe of coffee and hot water for tea and cocoa. Personalized coffee cup sleeves add a great touch to complete the look. You could also use travel mugs that would double as a favor your guests can take home.

Blankets are another nice touch to a cold outdoor wedding. Ladies especially appreciate this as dresses don’t tend to cover the legs very well. There’s no need to go out and buy a bunch of blankets, just borrow afghans and quilts from family and friends and pin their name on their blankets. Put someone in charge of making sure all the right blankets get back to the right people that night so you don’t have to worry about it after the wedding.

Have an emergency “basket of warmth”. While the love you share this day may warm everyone’s insides, it won’t do much to warm someone’s numb fingers who forgot gloves.  Offer mittens, caps, ear muffs, scarves, even leg warmers to those who might not have come prepared.

Reception Sweat Lodge:
Make sure you discuss the temperature settings with your reception venue. You don’t want everyone to dress extra warm for the ceremony and at reception have guests dying of heat before dinner is even served (let alone the dancing). Just inquire if the temp can be turned down if needed (or even have them turn it down beforehand) or make sure you have access to windows/doors that open to let cool air in. Again let guests know that they are welcome to change into indoor reception dress if they would like.

Last Resort- Bring the Outdoors In:
If you have tried and nothing seems to be coming together for your outdoor nuptials, consider bringing the outdoors in. You can turn a ceremony hall into a beautiful room with the feel of winter by using trees, twinkle lights, candles, pine cones, silvers, golds, or blues. Maybe find a hall with a fireplace. You can even go the more Holiday themed route by using berries, ornaments, Poinsettias, Christmas trees & lights. And just because your event got moved indoors doesn’t mean you have to stay in there all day/night. You can still step out for some photos, make a getaway in a horse drawn carriage, or have a bon fire (if your venue will allow it).