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Ceremonies & Receptions


Quality Over Quantity

Fotolia | Rawpixel.com

Guest lists that include everyone from your dry-cleaner to the guy with whom you used to ride the Metro-North when you worked in Manhattan are definitely on the wane. So, too, are Royal Family-sized bridal parties. Several wedding planners we spoke to used the phrase “less is more” when asked about the latest trends. Yet, nearly half of couples getting married exceed their allotted budgets, and, according to some reports, it cost, on average, $55,000 (not including honeymoon) to get married in the Westchester/Hudson Valley area last year. So where does the “less” come in? In nearly every aspect of their weddings, couples are choosing quality over quantity, opting for “smaller guest lists with more opulent settings,” says wedding planner Melissa Fife of Events by Missy & Co in North White Plains. “So rather than 250 people in a hotel banquet hall, we’re now seeing 80 guests in a luxury, one-of-a-kind venue with fresh farm-to-table food and the best live bands playing.” Basically, it’s the same principle that guides the woman who’d rather have one Prada bag than 20 from Nine West.


Choreographed Dances & Entrances

Fotolia | nataliakabliuk

Today’s sophisticated, perfectionist brides are simply not willing to trip on their trains as they enter the ballroom, risk having Dad break into an impromptu Funky Chicken on the teak-wood dance floor in a historic mansion, or have their grooms crush their pretty chrome-manicured toes with one of their two left feet. 

Vasily Nikeshin, owner and dance director of DiVa Dance Studio in Goshen, says he’s seeing a “huge increase” in the number of couples requesting dance instruction prior to their weddings. Some are requesting simple instruction, while others are opting for more elaborate steps and choreography. Generally, though, “we show them the entrance onto the dance floor, a dip, some turns, a grand finale, and plenty of little tricks,” Nikeshin says. Sasha Bylim, studio owner of Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Tarrytown, also has seen a big increase in business, noting that the rumba, foxtrot, and tango are among the dances he most often teaches for the first dance. Barbara Antes, owner of Westchester Ballroom Dance Studio in Briarcliff Manor, says that choreographed dances, especially the first dance, are ultra-popular and “important because they’re shared on video, on social media, and on websites.”


Soft Hues, Bold Accents

Photo courtesy of David TuteraCraft Collection at Michaels

“Natural tones with bright accents” are hot, says Katy Pinto, PR coordinator at the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester. “We’re also seeing a lot of dreamy color palettes such as dusty blue, creams, and gold. Soft colors are moving in on the all-white wedding.”

“Couples are opting for more pops of color throughout their wedding spaces,” says celebrity wedding planner David Tutera. “When I design my events, I make it a point to utilize one great base color to pop and make a statement. I tell my couples to imagine white as the canvas and to paint their wedding with a bold pop through table accessories, like napkin treatments, flowers, and chair accents.


Dangling Décor

Fotolia | Olga

“Hanging accents create a romantic and whimsical setting, whether it’s flowers cascading off a candelabra centerpiece, greenery hung from the chandelier, or even strands of pearls dangling off chair backs,” says celebrity wedding planner David Tutera. Dangling string lights are very big, whether strung horizontally, vertically, or as an overhead canopy. Some say table garlands are getting a little stale, but dangling vertical flower chains and garlands are very much in, according to many florists and wedding planners. 


Pets & Other Animals 

Fotolia | andrii kobryn

Having your golden retriever as your flower “girl” and your Newfie as your ring bearer is adorable — but nothing new. Now, though, animal-loving couples are incorporating their own pets and other animals into their nuptials in all sorts of creative ways. Llamas, in particular, are having a big moment, with couples renting them like crazy. Think we’re kidding? Call Hudson Valley Llamas to find out more about these versatile, gentle, super-cute creatures. Before you think of having your bridesmaids carry puppies or kittens instead of bouquets, however, clear it with your venue, make sure nobody in your party (or on your guest list) is allergic, and please make sure the animals are safe and comfortable and not just being used as props.  

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