Wedding Bells!

Well, we did it! After all those months of planning, prepping, and anticipation, Tim and I got married on May 24th — and I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. Tip: Over But Not Over: Pay attention to a few after-the-wedding details…
Advanced Planning: Thank Yous should be mailed as soon as possible. Make the process easier by having envelopes addressed in advance.
Double Duty Envelopes: Have your return address printed on the envelope. If you are moving to a new home, envelopes will also serve as ‘change of address’ notification.
Tell the World: Send a black & white photo to your local newspapers and to out-of-town newspapers where close family or friends reside, or where you lived previously, or grew up.
Photo Return: Most newspapers will not return a photo, unless a stamped-self-addressed envelope is included.

The first thing that comes to my mind when people ask about the wedding is that it went by too fast! With all the dancing, laughing, talking, and picture-taking we hardly had a spare minute to check our watches and realize that the day had decided to give us the slip. All the details that went into everything kind of blurred into one giant, awesome, happy mess in my mind. It was surreal.

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One of my favorite parts of the wedding was being able to share it with so many people we love. The emotion I felt while looking around the room at all these familiar faces completely bowled me over. We really, really missed the friends and family who couldn’t make it (and I’d like to make a quick shout-out to everyone who had to stay at home for the wedding — we’re thinking about you!) but we had some guests come from as far as Texas and Canada and everywhere in between! Between getting married to this amazing guy and realizing once again how many great people we have in our lives, it was definitely the best day of my life… so far. Tip: Bringing the Far, Near: Consider putting together an “after-the-wedding” Web site. Add it to the one you already have, or create a new one, so those loved ones who could not attend your wedding will get to share the festivities.

When I was thinking about what I would write for the last blog, I kept going back and forth over what to do. Should I talk about the day? Should I be sappy and cheesy, writing about my feelings and emotions as the day went on? Or should I give advice to other Hudson Valley brides who may need some hints on what I would have done different if I did it all over again?

I decided to go with the latter — after all, this whole blog is for you! I did stick in a few tidbits from the first two categories, though, just because I can (and because I’m still excited about it!)  =D

The first thing I have to say before I get into the details of the wedding is this: KNOW YOUR VENDORS! We were lucky enough to have chosen the perfect people for us — one of the biggest successes being our photographer, Paul Stokes of Hudson Valley Photo Studio in Fishkill. You spend a huuuuge amount of time with your photographer; you need someone who’s going to make you feel comfortable and bring cool, fresh ideas to the table. Paul was friendly, open-minded, quick, and super-knowledgeable about what he does — and it showed! When we got our proof-book back after the honeymoon, we were stunned with the amount of amazing shots he captured. We highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend him to anyone getting married in the Hudson Valley (Tim’s mom actually mentioned that she liked him so much that she would hire him to take photos of her doing household chores, just so she could work with him again!)  =)

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The other vendors we used were great, too. How ‘bout a roundup? Tip: Get the Best Fit in a wedding professional by agreeing, in advance, on your personal preferences and the style of wedding you want. Your wedding pro can only fulfill your wishes, if he/she knows exactly what you want.

RECEPTION SITE AND CATERERS: The Garden Cathay Resort, Walkill; 845-564-3220Amazing! If you’re looking for a formal place that adds a vibe of casual flair to your event, this is the one to pick. The gardens are gorgeous for photos — the backgrounds of our pictures were so perfect that they looked fake — and the Asian water gardens in the back are really impressive during the cocktail hour. The manager, Jennifer, was down-to-earth, honest, friendly, and totally accommodating; even picky brides will be delighted with this venue. The food was delicious (we had filet of sole, chicken francaise, and melt-in-your-mouth sirloin tips) and the bartender was great! He even let Tim’s 9-year-old brother make his own (non-alcoholic!) drinks behind the bar.

FLORIST: Rood’s Florist, Wappingers Falls and Fishkill; 800-865-4404Everett Rood, the owner of the store, is one sharp guy. We weren’t too picky about the flowers and had very loose ideas of what we wanted, but he got right down to business and helped us to choose beautiful arrangements that fell within our budget. He’s a master at arranging those suckers too — I’d never be able to put together a bouquet the way he does. Plus, the roses were gorgeous; they lasted for days after the wedding and we got so many compliments on our bouquets!

PHOTOGRAPHER: Hudson Valley Photo Studio, Fishkill; 845-896-6565Like I said before, Paul was amazing — probably our best vendor choice for the entire wedding. He even gave my bridesmaids hints on things that we never would have thought of before it happened, like how to fluff the train of my dress on the altar and how to walk down the aisle so that he’d get good shots of us. He had a solid presence, but had that magic “invisible photographer” touch that is so perfect for all those candid photos — we hardly noticed him sneaking onto the scene to catch a shot now and then! We couldn’t have been happier, and that’s no exaggeration. 

- Advertisement - Tip: Photo Togetherness: Continue the celebration and save time with an informal get-together for members of your wedding party and family to see, and, where appropriate, to select wedding photos for their albums.  

WEDDING GOWN/VEIL: Mary H. Abdoo & You, Poughkeepsie; 845-452-2246So wonderful! The prices here are better than any other small, privately owned boutique in the Hudson Valley, and the owner Jeanne is attentive and knowledgeable. She has exquisite taste, and really makes you feel like a princess! She’ll also actually give you an honest opinion, which is rare in these places. And, of course, my dress was beautiful…  =)

SEAMSTRESS: Sew Heavenly, Hyde Park
Cathy Stanton, who works out of her home, was referred to us by Jeanne from Mary Abdoo. She was such a great find! She is incredibly efficient and very experienced, so we knew we were in good hands. She was also creative with finding solutions to problems (like weird material!) and was totally flexible with our schedule. Her prices were also super-reasonable — some of the best in the area. My sisters and mom went to her for their alterations as well!  Best of all, she has an incredibly warm and friendly personality (which is a good thing, considering she’s holding a needle less than an inch from your butt while you’re getting fitted!). 

BRIDESMAID DRESSES/TUXES: David’s Bridal, Middletown: 845-344-1200; Men’s Wearhouse, Poughkeepsie; 845-298-2036
If you’re looking for a quick and easy shopping experience, these were great. I have no complaints, except that salespeople in David’s Bridal were a little pushy and false (I’m sure they make some kind of commission) for my taste. Alterations were also overpriced, but they allow you to go elsewhere if you choose. Tip: You Have a Right to Know: Ask for full disclosure of the up-front prices, as well any additional charges (e.g., bustling a train, ironing, a delivery fee, garment bag fee or hanger fee, storage fees, etc.)

CAKE: Adam’s Fairacre Farms, Newburgh; 845-569-0303We didn’t deal much with the bakers at Adam’s, but the cake was beautiful and delicious so we had no complaints. If you want a tasting, though, let them know in advance — they were unprepared for a tasting when we came to choose a cake, and we left with nary an inkling of what we were to expect at the wedding! (Luckily I know my cakes, so we had it all under control — we went with butter cream icing and a strawberry and French pastry crème filling.)

I know it sounds like I’m just plugging all of these places, but only because I was so happy with all of them. If you do your research right, you can really find some great people to work with! We were very lucky. Tip: You Have a Friend at the Better Business Bureau: Most wedding professionals are honest and trustworthy, but is still doesn’t hurt to make a call before you hire.

So, I’ve reached the end of my wedding-planning road — and I’m glad you readers out there were with me along the way. I hope you got a few good pieces of information to use for your own wedding (or at least a good laugh or two!). For all you HV brides out there, this is my last piece of “wisdom” for you: Be happy — you’re living in the Hudson Valley! There are innumerable resources to use around you, and some really great people to work with. All you have to do is look for them (and sometimes you don’t even have to look that hard!).    =) Tip: Reuse, Recycle: Sell your wedding gown, left over wedding items (candles, party favors, accessories, etc.) on “green” sites like You’ll be environmentally conscientious and maybe make a little money too.
Help Another Bride by advising her to use all the planning resources available to her, including, and referrals from friends.

Best of luck to all of you all — and thanks for giving my blog a read!



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