Professional DVD Slideshow Giveaway & Free Guest Photo Upload Account

Planning for a wedding can be a lot of work. It is really easy to stress out when it comes to deciding how you are going to capture the memories from the biggest day of your life. There are things to consider beyond the obvious questions of hiring (or not) pro photographers and videographers.

How are we going to get all of the photo and video files from our guests (grandma isn’t on Facebook)? Are we going to miss out on many of the behind the scene moments? What are we going to do with my uncle’s video footage? Wouldn’t it be nice to combine our photos with the video of our first dance we spent months rehearsing?

Well we at Hudson Valley Ceremonies and Events are here to help! Our friends at Storymix Media provide services that help take away the stress and worry of those very questions. We are also going to do something a bit different and fun – a free giveaway!

Here’s how it works. Storymix will produce a 100 photo slideshow for the lucky winner to use at their rehearsal, reception, as a gift, or whatever creative use you have in mind. All you need to do is add a comment with where you intend to use it and your email address. We’ll randomly select the winner and provide the coupon code to use on the Storymix site.

Entries must be made by September 30th. Make sure you tell your friends who are getting married!

In addition our friends at Storymix Media are looking to learn what issues, concerns, and challenges that brides-to-be like you are experiencing when it comes to capturing their wedding memories with photos and video. As thanks for taking their quick 3 minute survey you’ll receive their Guest Uploads product for FREE! You don’t even need to leave an email address.

We think Storymix has come up with the easiest way to capture, share, and enjoy all photos and videos your guests take. Just provide the link to your guests, guests upload, and you get to choose which files get included in the full resolution online gallery where everything can be downloaded for free.

Click here to get started

Learn more about Storymix Media here.

Your Wedding Rehearsal

This list of tips and advice should help you make the most of your rehearsal time. They are based on real-life experiences from having performed wedding ceremonies and coordinated rehearsals. You are sure to find it useful.

The purpose of the wedding rehearsal This gives you the opportunity to figure out all the tiny logistical details of entering, exiting, which way to face, handling the rings, handling the bouquet, etc. Having all these minute details rehearsed in advance will make your wedding ceremony run smoothly so you and your parents can be proud. When we coordinate a wedding rehearsal, we always go through the entire ceremony two times to be sure everyone is comfortable with what they are supposed to be doing. The first time is always a mess – don’t worry about that. It gets better each time.

Who should attend the wedding rehearsal – All members of the wedding party including bride, groom, best man, maid of honor, bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, flower girl, ring bearer, readers, mothers and fathers. Everyone should arrive on time because we will start on time.

10 Tips

#1 – Know in advance of the rehearsal where any large decorative structures (wedding arch, ferns, pedestals, etc.) are going to be so we can avoid the area.

#2 – Have a few chairs set up to represent the front row, so we can judge the amount of space needed and also because we will practice seating the mothers.

#3 – Many brides and bridesmaids bring mock bouquets made of paper plates and ribbon to the rehearsal. This is an excellent idea so everyone can get used to holding them. The bride may also want to have a mock veil or train if you are going to wear them in the ceremony.

#4 – If there is going to be an aisle runner, decide ahead of time who will pull it out and at what point in the procession it will be done. Traditionally, it was done just prior to the bride’s entrance but recently it changed so that the entire wedding party walks on the runner. It’s your choice.

#5 – Decide if you want the groomsmen to come in all together in the beginning or paired up with bridesmaids. If they are to enter in pairs, decide in advance who will walk with whom.

#6 – If you are going to have a unity candle, we will practice that with the actual candles that will be used in the ceremony. Each unity candle and their holders are configured slightly different, so it will be important to rehearse with the same one that will be used at your wedding. Notice, a unity candle is NOT recommended for outdoor weddings.

#7 – If you are having a rose presentation during your ceremony, we will rehearse that as well. Since this part of the ceremony may be a surprise for the recipients of the roses, plan on just the Bride and Groom remaining a few minutes after everyone else has left and we will rehearse that part separately.

#8 – Bring your marriage license to the officiant at the rehearsal. Traditionally, it is the Best Man that is responsible for remembering this detail.

#9 – Be prepared on the evening of the rehearsal to pay any vendors that are supposed to be paid prior to the wedding.

#10 – It may be convenient to meet with other wedding professionals such as caterers, photographers, decorators, florists, etc on the evening of the rehearsal. Arrange time to meet with each of them separately from the rehearsal time. The rehearsal time should be dedicated to rehearsing.

Tips For Choosing Bridesmaids Dresses

The bridesmaids dresses are a crucial part of the wedding ceremony. Not only do the bridesmaid adorn the bride, but they are standing at the front during the ceremony for every guest to see. Here are the BEST 5 tips for ensuring your bridesmaids look dazzling.

#1 Never wait! Bridesmaids need to know your vision early so they can get fitted early. Alterations during peak wedding seasons can take up to six weeks or longer which means ordering the dresses at least two months in advance.

#2 Shop before buying. It is NOT a great idea to step foot into the first bridal shop you find and choose the first dresses you see. Shopping around in both physical stores and online can give you an idea of the styles available for your bridesmaid dresses. Taking pictures of physical dresses and ordering these custom made to the measurements of your maids is the optimal choice.

#3 Be professional. Before ordering the bridesmaids dresses, all attendants should be professionally measured. This will ensure the measurements are correct and the dresses fit the first time around.

#4 Shop together. Not every body shape is the same, so shopping together is a GREAT idea. The maids can try on different styles of dress before the final selection is made. Again, just because a bridal store offers a style does not mean you have to pay their high prices. Custom dresses can be ordered at a fraction of the retail price.

#5 One order – one shipment. All bridesmaids dresses should be ordered at the same time. If the dresses are ordered separately, the fabric dye lots could be slightly different colors. They may look the same from afar, but when the maids are standing next to each other the color difference will be noticeable.

Making Your Wedding Day Timeline

Your wedding day itinerary – sometimes called a wedding day timeline or a wedding day schedule – is a non-negotiable, must do wedding planning task.

The itinerary is a comprehensive plan for who is going to do what, where, and when on your wedding day.

Even the smallest or most casual wedding is still a production – a lot is happening at the same time on your wedding day that must be managed.

If you have a Day of Coordinator or Wedding Planner they will handle the complicated task of creating the timeline for you. If you do not have a coordinator or planner you will need to make a wedding day itinerary, even if you’re convinced you won’t need it. Save yourself the potential grief down the road.

In order to make the schedule, you need some basic information:

  • Find out when your venue will be available to your vendors for set up. Sometimes party rental companies need to deliver tables and chairs the day before the wedding, so make sure this works for your venue. Tents may also need to be set up the day before.

  • Contact each individual vendor – caterer, baker, florist, DJ or musicians, limo, party rentals — anybody providing a service or a product on your wedding day — and work out their arrival times, set up times and any additional needs they may have.

  • Contact your photographer and determine how many photos on your shot list you will take before the ceremony, how many you will take after the ceremony and before the reception, and what photos you need at your reception. Work out with the photographer when he or she needs to arrive (and where) in order to get the shots important to you.

  • Work out when attendants and any family members need to be available for pre-ceremony photos, the logistics of how many different places your photographer will be taking photos, and how the photographer will get photos of both you and your fiancé getting ready, if you want this.

  • If you’ve contracted or borrowed transportation, make sure it’s available when you need it for photos.

If you do not want to miss any time with your guests, plan to have most if not all of your pictures taken prior to the event. This has become much more commonplace.

Put all the above info into a timeline formatted itinerary of the day.

Next:

  • Add info on any personal appointments for you and your attendants, like hair or makeup.

  • Include your ceremony and reception outlines in the schedule if you like, or just your reception outline.

  • Add any additional volunteer help for your wedding to the schedule, like friends picking up out of town guests at the hotel, decorating the reception venue, or delivering furniture or other borrowed items.

Once your wedding day itinerary is done, make a contact list of all the names and numbers (including emergency numbers) for every business and individual involved in your wedding day.

Before the wedding be sure each vendor or volunteer contributor has the numbers for anyone they may need to contact.

Make your preliminary wedding day schedule around a month out from your wedding date.

Expect your itinerary/schedule to be several pages long.

A week before your wedding, use your schedule to send out emails to everyone involved to confirm times, actions, and any relevant contact info.

Copies of the wedding day itinerary (with vendor info pulled out) can be handed out to the wedding party and family at the rehearsal dinner if you like, but always back it up with an electronic copy via email.

Your day of coordinator or wedding planner will always carry extra copies of the itinerary and the contact list on your wedding day. If you do not have a day of coordinator or wedding planner designate someone to carry a spare copy or two.

Here’s a sample wedding wedding day timeline– for you to use as a template when you make your own itinerary. This wedding day itinerary is for a 3pm wedding. Adjust your own wedding day schedule accordingly.

Sample Wedding Itinerary:

07:00 AM Wake up & light breakfast
08:00 AM Hair and Make-up begins for bridesmaids (7 ladies 1 every ½ hour)
10:00 AM Florist Arrives at Brides home
11:30 AM Hair and Make-up begins for bride
11:30 AM Photographer & Videographer Arrive at Brides Parents Home
11:30 AM Coordinator Arrives at Brides home
12:00 PM Light Snack/Lunch
12:00 PM Photographer Arrives at Best Mans Home
12:45 PM Bride’s hair and make-up complete – Get Dressed
01:00 PM Formal Dress Shots begin at Brides Parents Home
01:00 PM Coordinator goes to the church
01:30 PM Limo Arrives at Best Mans House to pick up Groom & Groomsmen
01:45 PM Limo Arrives at Brides Parents House to pick up Bridesmaids and Flowergirl
01:55 PM Limo Leaves for church
02:00 PM Bride and Parents leave for church in Rolls Royce
02:30 PM Limo arrives at church
02:45 PM Bride arrives at church
03:00 PM Ceremony begins
03:40 PM Ceremony Ends
03:45 PM Receiving Line
04:20 PM Bubble Exit
04:30 PM Rolls Royce Pictures
04:40 PM Formal Family Portraits In The church Begin
05:00 PM Leave for pictures
05:00 PM DJ and Florist arrive at venue to set up
05:30 PM Head to Venue for pictures
06:00 PM Cocktail hour begins
06:00 PM Bride and Groom arrive at venue and take extended family Pictures
06:30 PM Bride and Groom Retreat to Bridal Suite
07:00 PM Guests seated for reception
07:05 PM Dinner Order Taken
07:10 PM Introductions
07:15 PM First Dance
07:20 PM Parent Dances
07:30 PM Dancing
07:45 PM Dinner Music Starts
07:45 PM 1st Course Served
07:45 PM Uncle gives the blessing
07:55 PM Maid Of Honor / Best Man Toast
08:00 PM Father Of the Bride speech
08:15 PM Dinner Served
08:30 PM SURPRISE – Aunt will sing a song for the Bride and Groom
08:45 PM Dancing Music Resumes
09:45 PM Cake Cutting
09:50 PM Bouquet Toss
09:55 PM Garter Toss
10:00 PM Dessert Bar Opens
10:05 PM Dancing
11:00 PM End of Reception

Make sure you put arrival and departure times for everyone, including vendors, and time how long it takes to get from one location to another in your wedding day itinerary. Pad the time it takes to travel and to finish tasks like hair, photos and decorating.

Your wedding day itinerary will not look like anyone else’s, or have the exact same timing.

Work with your vendor on the timing for dinner (especially sit down dinners, which take more time), dancing, and traditional events like the cutting of the cake.

No two bride’s will have the same wedding day schedule.

Don’t forget to communicate your wedding day itinerary to all your vendors and wedding day participants!

10:00 AM Hair and Make-up begins
12:00 PM Sage Arrives
12:00 PM Eat Lunch!!!
01:00 PM Photographers arrive at the house
01:30 PM Sage goes to the church
02:15 PM Limo arrives at the house to pick up girls
03:00 PM Ceremony begins
03:45 PM Ceremony Ends
03:50 PM Receiving Line
04:30 PM Formal Portraits In The church Begin
04:45 PM Bubble Exit
04:50 PM Leave for pictures – Location TBD
05:00 PM DJ arrives at GV to set up
05:45 PM Formal Pictures End – Head to Grandview
06:00 PM Cocktail hour begins
06:30 PM Kristin & Jeremy Retreat to Bridal Suite
07:00 PM Guests seated for reception
07:15 PM Introductions
07:20 PM First Dance
07:25 PM Parent Dance (F/D, M/S, SM/S)
07:40 PM Dinner Order Taken
07:50 PM 1st Course Served
08:00 PM FOB speech
08:05 PM MOH / BM Toast
08:15 PM 2nd Course Served
09:00 PM Dinner Served
09:45 PM Cake Cutting
09:50 PM Bouquet Toss
09:55 PM Garter Toss
10:00 PM Dancing
11:00 PM End of Reception

10 Big Mistakes Brides Make On Their Wedding Day

1.  Timeline – so many brides either don’t make a timeline for the day of their wedding or they create one that doesn’t work.  the number one thing to remember is to put time buffers in your timeline.  For example, if it takes 15 minutes to drive to the church give your self 25 minutes.  If you really think it is going to take 1 hour for photos and you have 16 people in the wedding party, give yourself 1 1/2 hours.  This way when you are over on time, you can say, “it’s ok!”

2.  Shoes – wear them, wear them, wear them.  Make sure you start one month before the wedding wearing your shoes for 20 minutes at a time 2-3 times per week.  Walk outside, inside, on wood floors, carpeting, stairs, etc.  Your feet will love you at the end of the night.

3.  DIY – Please do some DIY projects, it is what makes a wedding yours and not cookie cutter.  But, don’t do each and every DIY project you see online, in a magazine or on tv.  Limit yourself, create a list, sit down with some of your girls and figure out, with their opinions, which ones are realistic.

4.  Wedding Party – So you have five really close friends, but you have two sisters and your fiance has two sisters.  Do you really need to have 9 bridesmaids in your wedding?  I big trend these days is to either choose 1 maid of honor or siblings.  Keep it simple and keep the costs down, for you and your wedding party.  Your five friends will still be at your wedding.

5.  Wedding Dresses – Your dress is going to be on your body for about 10 hours, yes 10 hours.  For your dress, consider how you are walking in the dress, sitting in the dress and most important dancing in the dress.  There needs to be comfort on your wedding day.  What about a knee length or tea length dress and shoes that match your attendants color dresses?

6.  Attendants Dresses – choose a color that is flattering.  But let them choose a dress that is comfortable.  So many designers now have created a line of dresses that are very similiar but yet can be suitable for different body types.

7.  Guest List – The days of 300 guest weddings is just about over.  Chelsea Clinton said it perfectly, “if I don’t know them, they don’t get invited.”  There is nothing worse than trying to create a seating chart for people you don’t know.  Meeting people for the first time on your wedding day is just not fun.  Tone it down and don’t be afraid to tell your parents that this is no longer the 60’s and that the budget just doesn’t have room for the 4th cousins 7 times removed.

8.  Hiring Professionals – Please, please take this one to heart.  Never, ever hire a friend or family member to work at your wedding.  There is a very clear line between a friend or relative and a professional.  Do you have a comfort level in telling a friend to get back to work, don’t drink, stop eating?  No, well then hire a professional.  Let the friends and relatives help with the wedding, but never have them do what a professional can do.

9.  Dinner – One important item with dinner is the amount of food and courses.  The more courses you include in your dinner the less time you have dancing.  Now for some this is fine and is a desirable choice.  But if you are spending over $7000 on your band and they only play waltzes or big band because there is another course coming to the table, don’t complain to the band.  having more than three courses for the reception is just a waste of food and time.  Tone it down, your guests will not starve.

10.  Honeymoon – So many couples just can’t wait to go on their honeymoon.  I don’t blame you.  Crystal clear water, sugar beaches, tropical drinks.  But, the last thing you want to do is get up at 4am the morning after your wedding and drive to the airport and fly to 2-8 hours.  Take 1-2 days off after the wedding to decompress.  Don’t pack before the wedding, do it the next night after the wedding.  Sleep in the day after your wedding, relax, hang out with friends and make it a weekend.  You will enjoy your honeymoon and your wedding so much more if you just take your time.

For more advice and information about how to make your wedding stress free contact Hudson Valley Ceremonies, 845-266-6076, www.HudsonValleyCeremonies.com