You've got the perfect location, like The Mansion at Natirar, in Peapack, NJ. It's stunning; a gorgeous vintage mansion with sweeping vistas, gracious inside spaces and insanely great food. You've picked an eclectic and creative menu, hird the best vendors (including a fabulous NJ Wedding Officiant...you knew that was coming, right?)
Your venue has gorgeous outside spaces; gardens, waterfalls, rolling fields, the ocean...and of course you want to use it as your backdrop. But it might rain. Or it might never get warm enough. Or cool enough. Or stay light enough for everyone, including you to be comfortable.
My lovely couple from last week decided to make their call early. They decided to be inside. The mid-spring weather was chilly, but we also had some serious wind happening (those breezes will make for some amazing photos, but honestly, no one wants to sit outside in it for what would usually end up being 45 minutes from the initial seating until the last guest leave the ceremony space.
It was a really smart decision; they had the best of all worlds. The view was still gorgeous (most of our venues have inside spaces that are just as pretty, as the outside spaces; in many cases, the view is the same), they had a chance to take their photos all over the grounds, everyone was comfortable and they didn't spend their entire wedding day looking at the weather on their phones.
It's hard to make the decision early, but it's even harder not to make the decision!
I have to admit that I ate my weight in jelly beans for Easter and slept it all off yesterday, so it's the Tuesday catchup!
Saturday, I had a lovely wedding at Madeline's Petite Paris in Northvale, for a lovely couple with an intimate group of long time friends and family. Although the day started out a little rainy (good luck, right?) but nothing could dampen the spirits of the couple and their friends and family. After their personalized ceremony, they welcomed their guests into the reception with Parisian themed cocktails! And there are a lot of them; French 75's, Champagne cocktails, The Black Rose (you can find more interesting suggestions at this website.)
I loved the way they used their venue's theme as their theme! Easy Peasy!
My beautiful couple got married at the Madison Hotel, in Morristown. on Sunday, and it was a gorgeous day for a NJ wedding! The sun was shining, their famous Conservatory was breathtaking and a great time was had by all! The centerpieces spoke of spring, the readings spoke of the couple and every detail was a perfect expression of my couple's journey. The group was intimate; about 75 guests, (close friends and family) and conversation flowed freely as they caught up!
Interesting notes; my couple decided to do all the photos ahead of time and to do all the photos inside. Now, the Madison is a great place to do that; even though the outside space is lovely, their beautiful fireplace and the soaring conservatory made for gorgeous backdrops without any extra worry about the weather. (And honestly, doing away with any stress on the wedding day is a really, really good idea!) Having seen each other, their nerves were calmed and they were ready to face the celebration together! Their amazing Maitre d', Carolina, orchestrated the morning with her usual grace (and her constant awareness of time!). As soon as the guests made their way to a sumptuous cocktail hour (complete with bloody marys!), the conservatory was set up for their reception. (They DO traffic in magic there! ) All of their attention to carrying out my couple's plans made for a Sunday morning wedding that was celebratory, relaxing and exciting, all at once!
If your wedding is on a Friday (or the ever more popular Friday ,also known as Thursday) night, you need lots of it as soon as the ceremony ends. Because your guests are going to be famished. And they will have arrived, been through a (fabulous) ceremony and listened to collective stomachs grumbling.
When they DO get to cocktail hour, there should be self serve stations, lots of passed hors d'oeuvres and drinks. Fast. Substantial ones. Hors d'oeuvres that everyone likes. I was at a lovely wedding at the gracious Basking Ridge Country Club last Friday, (with astounding, gorgeous spring weather I'd like to order for all of my couples, all year long!). They knew exactly what to do! Their stylish and abundant "Market Table" and a Champagne display greeted the guests as the entered the reception, then the staff zoomed out into the crowd with passed hors oeuvres; mini sliders, chicken sates and the ever popular, must have; pigs in a blanket.
That's just smart, but then I wouldn't expect anything else from the BRCC! But it's also a good tip for everyone planning a wedding on a Friday. Everyone, including YOU will be wanting a lot of delicious food, ASAP!
Words to live by as you're planning; "Pre-Wedding Hospitality".
Do you want your wedding to start on time? So you don't lose part of your cocktail hour, have to pay for overtime, or just become stressed because your wedding isn't.... starting on time?
Then here is your answer. Many of my fabulous NJ wedding venues do this (The Westmount, in Woodland Park and The Palace, in Somerset are two that come to mind).
What about Westchester wedding venues? Funny you should ask. I was at a lovely venue in New Rochelle this weekend and their pre-ceremony welcome was one of the best I've seen!
The VIP Country Club, which is nestled on picturesque Long Island Sound, really impressed me in a number of ways, (and you all know how picky I am...) The first was how they welcome the wedding guests. After the valets take care of your car and their staff greets you, your guests will find a mini cocktail hour as they gather for the ceremony. Beautiful platters of fruit, cheese, and hors d'oeuvres are displayed in their entry rooms and a dedicated bar with coffee, juices, and and wine is staffed for pre-ceremony refreshments. The guests have a pretty, airy space to mingle and relax before they're invited into the ceremony space. It's a gracious and relaxing way to start the celebration with everyone in a fabulous mood! (And as a little side note; our Maitre d' Mike added a completely unexpected personal touch to the official cocktail hour. The couple's love story included a trip to the Millenium Force gigacoaster! When the guests entered the room, they found photos of that very same gigacoaster on all the plasma TV's! )
The beginning, the middle, the end and all the serendipitous details make a wedding great; VIP (and Mike) certainly have that covered!
We talked last week about floral and decor; it's vital to a great party, but the expense can be daunting and the idea that everything gets thrown out afterward is a little depressing too. What if you could share your decor with another family? And share the costs too? Well, that is exactly what Bouquet for a Day can help you orchestrate! Their website really describes this solution in the best way!
"AT BOUQUET FOR A DAY WE THINK IT’S A SHAME THAT COUPLES SPEND HUNDREDS, IF NOT THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON FRESH WEDDING FLOWERS THAT ARE ONLY USED FOR A FEW HOURS. SO, OUR MISSION IS SIMPLE, WE CONNECT LOCAL EVENTS WITH ONE ANOTHER SO THEY CAN SHARE AND SAVE ON FRESH FLOWERS.
How we work...
We connect events in two ways:
1.) We find couples that would like to sell their fresh wedding flowers after their reception and introduce them to other local weddings or events that are interested in buying cost-effective flowers.
2.) We find two buyers and introduce them so they can jointly purchase flowers suitable for both their events.
ALL EVENTS THAT WE MATCH TAKE PLACE WITHIN ONE TO TWO DAYS OF EACH OTHER."
Is that just the best idea ever? I think so, and you will too. Reach out to Maria on her website. It'll give you a whole new way of looking at flowers!!
It's okay not to invite everyone you've ever known, everyone who is related, no matter how marginal they are. It's okay to not include co-workers (who you usually find in a group...), old college friends (who you usually find in a group...), kids, (except your own or those in the wedding party) plus ones for people who are not in relationships, and anyone who is more of an obligation than a friend.
I know that once you sit down to get your guest list together, there is a lot of, "Oh, well, we have to include them" statements, but honestly, that's not really true. And since being a guest can be very expensive (one recent article put that cost at about 700.00 per guest), they may be delighted NOT to be invited and cheer you from afar!
If you keep your list to your close friends and family, you'll end up with an intimate, joyful, celebration that everyone will remember forever! (And those not invited will surely understand when you say, "We're keeping it to a very small group of family and long time friends.) You can spend quality time with everyone, they can spend quality time with each other, and you'll be in the company of those who are truly invested in your partnership. And just as an accidental bonus, your budget will be treated gently!
And that's why 'Micro-weddings" were created!! (Well, maybe not created, but named!) Let's talk about the possibilities!