|Posted on October 1, 2019 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Oh my word guys...I cannot believe we are finally on the other side of Alex and Dustin's wed-stravaganza! 4 days, thousands of miles traveled, hundreds of planning hours and it has come and gone in the blink of an eye.
If you told me a year and a half ago that I would be planning a 4 day wedding at a retreat center deep in the Redwoods of California this...I would have laughed in your face. I was originally brought on to help with coordinating a 2 day event, in New Hampshire with rustic flare and a distinctly New England vibe. This, I could do in my sleep and jumped on board without hesitation. Little did I know, several months into vetting and planningprocess I would get a call one day from the couple, who make their lives in California...telling me that all of this just didn't feel like they were being true to themselves and wanted to completely switch gears, shifting everything to their home state. I'm not sure if shock is a strong enough sentiment to describe what was going through my mind lol.
So, I did what I always do...I put my big girl pants on, pulled myself upself up by my bootstraps and dove in. Let me tell you, this was the learning experience of all learning experiences. Nothing...and I mean nothing could have prepared me for the types of personalities I would encounter along the way while researching and vetting pros...good gravy. I would just like to apologize for any time I have ever had a moment of frustration with any NY pros because some of these wackadoos...ugh but I digress.
Luckily, we worked together (the couple, the families and I) and ended up with a pretty spectacular team of pros that I for one, will always be grateful for. Over the last year and a half, so many of them have become like family to me and I miss hearing their voices already. So much talent and such truly incredible humans.
We began by planning a small family celebration at the Wolfeboro Inn in Wolfeboro, NH. The groom and his grandmother are extremely close (even sharing the same birthday) and knowing that she would not be able to make the trip across the country, we worked hand in hand with the venue and couple to create an intimate, chef-created wine dinner as the first step in this journey.
2 months later and we are finally ready! The wedding weekend's festivities included a unique opportunity for the guests to stay on-site at the venue in rustic, but fully equipped cabins as well as the option to stay at a gorgeous local hotel where we secured a block. Guests enjoyed meals, yoga, yard games, wine nights around the bonfire...and that's before we even got to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
We helped coordinate a beautiful accoustic performace by 2 of the bridal party members and a custom Mexican Style BBQ with rubs and sauces being shipped in from the couple's favorite Austin joint Salt Lick BBQ after the formal rehearsal. Our love Laura over at Fieldsketch Farms provided floral design for the weekend and she did not disappoint at this first formal event of the weekend.
Wedding day held another great custom Breakfast Taco Bar featuring the couple's favorite local sauces and salsas and a wonderful brunch delivery for the bridal party and their parents. The day continued with a Pre-Ceremony Greeting for early arrivals and guests joining us from the hotel via our incredible shuttle providers. Here they enjoyed a beautiful display of local and imported cheeses, fruits and berries as well as a non-alcoholic beverage greeting. Their ceremony was held down in the grotto of giant trees, better known as the Ampitheatre. Their officiate and long time family friend Jaimen McMillan conducted a truly beautiful ceremony, themed after what else...trees. Tashce and Alex from Vybe Society serenaded us all with their accoustic duo. The couple had a great escape in a beautiful classic car provided by our pal Harry.
After cocktails and an incredible abundance of local tastes on the deck over looking the giant Redwoods, having jammed out to Vybe Society's Jazz Trio...the guests were invited up to the gorgeous Pixie Garden surrounded by lush greenery underneath the dusk sky. Family Style Dining and cusom wine pairings were enjoyed by all at tables stunningly dressed in olive and merlot by our pals at Alexis Rentals and adorned by hand painted table markers by the mother of the groom. Fieldsketch (who also provided absolutely stunning florals for the ceremony and pre-ceremony and cocktail hour areas) created yet another show-stopping space that was honestly just drop dead gorgeous.
Dancing followed in the lodge provided by the full 10 piece wonder that is Vybe Society. What a band, what a crowd, what a night! Mom and Dad of the bride worked for days to create the elegant 3 tiered traditional English Wedding Cake that was cut and shared with all. After all of that, if you can believe anyone was still standing...a late night bonfire with camp blankets, wine and craft beers was the perfect end to a perfect day.
Sunday morning, we said good-bye to guests at the charming welcome gardens and Alba Grove with a Breakfast Burrito Bar and full assortment of breakfast breads, local jams, fruits and more.
This wedding had dozens of vendors and staff along the way that helped us finally end up with an incredible set of events that I personally, will always remember. The intricacy and complexity of this type of wedding are not at all possible without a full team of support and I want to thank them all for every moment.
Pre-Wedding Celebration: Wolfeboro Inn
Bride's Attire: Lily Saratog
Bride's Alterations and Customization/Mother of the Bride's Custom Weekend Attire: Kim Vanyo
Groom's Attire: Bonos
Groomsmen Attire: JCrew
Website Provider: Zola
Save the Dates, Invitations, Custom Signage, Thank You Cards: Vistaprint
Rubs & Sauces for Rehearsal Dinner: Salt Lick BBQ
Accoustic Performance Rehearsal Night: Chris & Samantha Li
Hair & Makeup: Meljaye Simie & Team
Photo: Jake & Necia Photography
Photobooth: Rebel Photobooth
Hotel Block: Hilton Scott's Valley
Venue: The Sequoia Retreat Center
Shuttles: The Santa Cruz Experience
Floral Design: Fieldsketch Farms
Rentals: Alexis Rentals
Accoustic Due (ceremony), Jazz Trio (cocktail hour), 10 Piece Band for Reception: Vybe Society
AND A HUGE, AND I MEAN HUGE THANK YOU TO MY ASSISTANT FOR THE WEEKEND, DYAN HOLT!!! I 100% could not have pulled this off without you and I am grateful everyday for your professionalism, laughter and support. You are so loved!!!
PHOTO CREDIT TO THE VERY TALENTED JAKE & NECIA PHOTOGRAPHY
|Posted on July 25, 2019 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
Love, love, love these two! After a year and a half of working with Jessica & Rob, they finally tied the knotlast weekend on the hottest day in 10 years! We had a great day though and I am so very grateful to have these two not only as clients, but now close friends. Congrats you crazy kids!
SEE JESSICA'S REVIEW AFTER THE PHOTO
CEREMONY/RECEPTION VENUE: A Wedding on the Hudson/Arts Center on the Hudson
OFFICIATE: Kirstin Knoblauch
PHOTO: Michael Forrest
DJ: Linda & Doug from Ecclectic Sound
CATERING: The Ugly Rooster
Jessica , married on 07/20/2019
5.0 View more
We cannot say enough about Mary! She was absolutely fantastic! From start to finish, she was there for us for everything. She helped us through literally every step, up to and including calming us after less than half the flowers arrived for the bouquets the day before the wedding to without blinking an eye being able to change seating and ceremony when key guests were unable to attend with short notice (one even as she was flipping the room for the reception) , AND to helping replace the caterer 28 HOURS before. Then, even the day of making dress alterations on not only a bridesmaid, but the BRIDE as well, and helping the groom with a defective necktie! All through the day of 107 degree heat, with a slipped disc, and on her own 10 year anniversary--you would have never known, she didn't miss a beat or any detail. Her professionalism and outright friendship has a very true and dear place in our hearts! No issue, no matter how big or small was ever an issue at all to her. Without her, our day not only would probably not have been as perfect, but we don't even know if it would have happened at all. PLUS, she has been a tremendous help to our photographer as he himself learns the business. From Day 1 Mary was an absolute joy to work with, and we would recommend her tenfold to anyone! We only wish there was a 10 star rating on here. We hope this review is at least a fraction of the amount of help that she gave us...WE LOVE MARY!!!
|Posted on July 25, 2019 at 10:00 AM||comments (0)|
What do you get when you combine 2 cultures, 2 religions, 2 Disney fans, 2 culinary backgrounds, 2 Harry Potter aficianados, a suit of armor made of tin foil, crazy musical talent and possibly the coolest bridal party of all time? Cathy & Kristin's big day!
I have to tell you their weekend was really challenging. We were dealing with an extremely disorganized and uncooperative venue who frankly failed on all counts to live up to their promises and I will be sure to avoid the location like the plague in the future. I was brought on for day-of coordination for this one, so the venue and most of the pros had already been hired.
We get to the rehearsal, which they wouldn't allow us to do until after 7:00 p.m. at night (there hadn't been events in there in weeks so why it had to be so late at night I have no idea) and immediately the shenanigans began. They refused to let the couple use the piano which had been promised to them (they did this the night before their wedding at 8 p.m.)-not really caring about the psalmist and pianist who were hired and paid for... They refused to remove the enormous sound system and speakers w/sound board on the alter where the couple would have their ceremony...which again, they had promised to do. Not to mention them deciding to add 12 additional tables, topped with teal linen (the couple's colors were plum, black and silver) because the owner decided she liked the way the room looked better with her own floor plan, not the couple's. Needless to say, myself and the catering team had to break them all down and start over all while being screamed at by this lady... I had to personally go through each and every chivari chair during the ceremony set up because the cushions were so disgustingly stained that we had to basically sift through to find the 80 that were the least gross.
Then right in the middle of their rehearsal, literally as I am about to send Cathy down the aisle with her father...this lady interupts and tells me that her dog has been found by the police department and she is leaving, telling me to "lock up" the building. Let me be clear...I have never ever met this lady as she lives in Florida and never showed up once until the rehearsal day and never responded to a single phone call or the 18 emails I sent...yelled at us and refused all promises...then asked me to lock up and close down HER BUILDING which I have never worked at and don't know in the slightest....wait, what????
Now here's me and the bridal party working out a plan to have the piano that Cathy has at her home (she is an incredible vocalist and musician) delivered to the venue in the morning. I contact my buddies from Sound Advice DJ who will be playing the next and get sound taken care of for the new additions. I reach out to Beth at Candidly Beth who will be shooting the wedding and talk about the way the shots will have to be cropped to deal with all the extra crap and about 100 other last minute adjustments at 11:00 p.m. All while reassuring the couple that no matter what, everything will be made right.
The next day everyone was let into the building by some staff person, who then disappeared. We were completely on our own in the venue, with no single person from their staff present at all for hours and hours. So this meant when all the toilets in the ladies room were clogged and over flowing...that's right, yours truly went in with my trusty plumbers wrench and fixed them all and emptied the trash cans and dusted... When it became clear they were not going to be helpful in any way with the items they promised, I removed all of the cords from their systems and draped everything. We moved mountains all day long, dealing with power that was surging and almost blew out the DJ's systems, homeless people trying to get into the catering tent which had to be set up outside because the venue refused to let them used the FULL COMMERCIAL KITCHEN downstairs...the list goes on and on.
This particular venue holds its own liquor license, so they catering team was not serving alcohol that day, just the venue's (2) bartenders. I have never met more aggressive, disorganized and frantic staff in my career. These two were fighting with everyone all day and at times flat out refusing to perform the services they were paid to do. Now as someone who spent 20+ years in catering, who is always the first to defend and work shoulder to shoulder with service staff...saying something like that quite literally breaks my heart.
I'm not even going to freak out about how they apparently didn't know how to use their own systems and were running the heat during the ceremony instead of AC and almost killed all of us...on one of the hottest days of the year. Thanks guys, now they building will be a furnace all day...awesome.
Or, how about the sign just outside the front doors (the old style one where you can change out the letters to say different messages) had appartently said "Happy Holidays" as some point...which no one ever bothered with again since December and now all the letters left read "Happy Ho"...I wish I was kidding...truly. These people even refused to take that down. Swear. To. Goodness.
So ultimately what happened??? Thank the good Lord we had an incredible team of Friendors that day and so when all of this started to go down, we got together, circled the wagons and decided that we were going to protect the couple and fight what ever fight needed to be fought to make their day incredible. And that my friends, is exactly what we did. These two magical pixie horses had an incredible day, enjoyed their friends and family and we even got a lot of great laughs out of all of the nonsense. Especially the moment where the venue owner asked me if I was interested in running her property after all of this lol. No thanks.
See Cathy & Kristin's Review after the photos!
- Ugly Rooster Catering
- Sound Advice DJ
- Candidly Beth Photography
- Lance Wheeler Photo
- Renaissance Hall (Schenectady)
Title or Position Bride (Cathy Kenny-Wilkerson)
I truly do not have the words to describe how amazing Mary is. You can tell she loves what she does because it shines through in her work. She is extremely detail oriented, leaving nothing overlooked, but she doesn't lose the big picture. She saved our wedding from one disaster after another, from making boutonnieres on the floor of the church the morning of the wedding because they didn't come in with the rest of our floral arrangements, to sewing my dress after the bustle broke, to arranging last minute table designs, running interference with a less than stellar venue, to so much more that I probably don't even know happened because she's just that good. She does all this with a smile on her face and a pep in her step even when we were all melting from the heat. She was such a blessing to have on our side. This anxious bride felt supported and calm despite unexpected challenges because Mary was right there whenever needed, usually before I even knew I needed her. Before the end of the night just about every member of our bridal party was asking for her business card so they could hire her for their weddings. I didn't know I needed a coordinator until I had one and I couldn't think of a better one than Mary. If you want a wedding planner that treats you like family and always has a hug and a kind word ready, then you need to have Mary on your team. A million thank you's to you Mary! We love you!
|Posted on June 29, 2019 at 12:50 AM||comments (0)|
When a couple loves Star Wars as much as I do...you know the wedding is going to be epic! Some wonderful details from this unique and soulful celebration that I really loved are the "smudging ceremony" performed by their maid of honor, a personalized slide show and story book from the bride to the groom and the completely non-traditional, but 100% Shana dress!
Venue: A Wedding on the Hudson/Arts Center on the Hudson-Mechanicville, NY
Caterer: Ugly Rooster Catering
Music: Art Fredette
Photo (not this one!): Dyan Holt Photography
|Posted on June 29, 2019 at 12:45 AM||comments (0)|
Madi & Jackson are married!
What an absolutely perfect day these two had! And let me tell you, there couldn't be a more wonderful, loving and gracious couple to work with...these two had me at hello. Check out the photo gallery for more sneak peaks of their big day!
Church: St. Mary's Ballston Spa, NY
Photo (and photo credit here): Paul Saunders Photography
Ceremony Dress & Reception Dress: Jocelyn's Bridal
Florist: B.Lennon Florist
DJ: DJ Jeff Richards of Conway Entertainment
Caterer: Ugly Rooster Catering
Reception Venue: Canfield Casino in beautiful downtown Saratoga Springs, NY
Maddi , married on 06/22/2019
I couldn’t have done it without you!
If I could give MJ and her team more than 5 stars, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it. From the moment we met to the very last minute of our big day Mary was there to answer questions, calm our nerves and do LITERALLY anything else we asked.
I don’t think there are enough words of thanks or praise to truly express what a blessing having MJ there for our big day was, so I’ll leave it at this...If you’re looking for someone who will go above and beyond for you AND your guests. If you’re looking for someone who will get on the floor and change your shoes for you and make you laugh while she’s doing it, someone who has an answer before you’ve even finished asking the question and someone who truly radiates how much she loves and cares about her brides(and grooms) then hire MJ and her team.
|Posted on January 31, 2019 at 2:00 PM||comments (1)|
OOOOKKKAAAYYYY folks...let's chat about making decisions.
I get it. You start by Googling, which leads to Wedding Wire, which leads to The Knot, which leads to you realizing it's 3:00 a.m. and you have clearly gone off the rails. There are about a bazillion wedding professionals out there Then, you go to a bridal show and your brain almost explodes because you get information from another 10 million people. You can't remember who was who, who you loved and who you hated. Everyday 37 peopole that you work with or know give you unending suggestions and recommendations because they played someone's wedding or holiday party...they are a friend of a friend who promises a "great deal". You sit at your kitchen table with stacks of information, with absolutely no idea how to decide even where to start.
What you need is someone who knows these people and businesses. You need honest answers to questions like "Is this guy a hot mess?" or "Who is actually in charge over there?". The things that are most important like...is this pro going to play well with others, show up on time, answer emails and phone calls, lie to us or make the event about themselves....nobody tells you. Guess what kids...I do. It took me years, as a young venue manager to realise that when I would ask questions like these from planners the responses I would get like "he's unique" or "she is very pleasant" really meant that they were going to make my life miserable and should be black listed forever.
But as a couple....how in the heck would you know that? And here's the thing...there are soooooo many amazing wedding professionals, here in Upstate NY and beyond, who just kick butt and will knock your wedding or event out of the park! But just like in every industry, there are some that are challenging. And most importantly, not every personality is going to work together just like in real life. There may be a DJ that one couple loves, that another couple absolutely hates...that is OKAY. What is important is that you have help in navigating those personalities so that you don't get burned or seriously annoyed on your big day.
|Posted on January 31, 2019 at 1:45 PM||comments (0)|
I see it all the time...a couple decides to do a tent wedding in an open field or a barn. Then they hire a catering company and pick a package without bringing the caterer to the venue or property first. After a while, a site visit happens and the reality sets in...you will now need $5,000 in rental equipment, tents and generators to accomplish the menu you have selected and accomodate all of the vendors you have hired. Or, worse...the caterer tells you that it is simply not possible to accomplish your dream with what you have provided them. and you don't have any more money in the budget to fix it...now what?
Well....if you don't know The Doctor or Marty McFly...some changes are going to have to be made and fast!
If you are dreaming of a barn or tent wedding and haven't gone down the rabbit hole yet....
1. INVOLVE YOUR CATERER FROM DAY 1! If you want a 5 course menu and delicately assembled platings, then make sure you have the budget and space to give them the tools they need.
2. ASK THESE QUESTIONS about rentals, kitchen space, power supply available, potable water., restrooms, noise ordinances, parking restrictions, rain plans, insurance riders..the list goes on and on...BEFORE you give a deposit anywhere.
OR......HIRE A PLANNER BEFORE YOU DO ANY OF THIS AND THE ISSUES WON'T ARISE. Trust me when I tell you that I have a list of about 200 items I check on every time I go see a venue. Someone needs to be able to help you establish how much and what kind of power is needed where. What tent sizes to use and which ones won't work. Do you know what size kitchen tent suits what kind of menu? Did you know that many venues are banning industrial coffee urns due to the amount of power they pull and how to deal with this? Soooooo many things to think about and soooo many catastrophes that can be avoid if all of the plans A, B, C-Z are put into place ahead of time.
|Posted on September 11, 2018 at 12:30 AM||comments (0)|
What an extraordinary wedding weekend! After over a year of planning and so much time and hard work from everyone involved, what a stunning success this was!!! Here is a little teaser to hold you over until the album is published next month. I want to personally thank all of the wonderful pros who work together to make this dream a reality.
Bride's /Bridesmaid Attire: Lily Saratoga
Bridal Alterations: Kim Vanyo
Groom/Groomsmen Attire: Tuxego Latham
Bachelorette Party: Harvey's Saratoga
Bridal Shower: URC Catering
Rehearsal Dinner: A Tavola (New Paltz, NY)
Venue: Cox Family Farm
Florist: Meadowscent in conjunction with the Mother of the Bride
Hair: Ciao Bella
Makeup: Angel's On Earth
DJ: Upbeat Occassions (DJ Caroline & DJ Mario)
Photo: Dyan Holt Photography
Catering: Ugly Rooster Catering
|Posted on September 11, 2018 at 12:25 AM||comments (0)|
Our beloved long time coordinator Dani and her husband Shawn's wedding is now on the photo gallery! Special thank to all of the amazing wedding professionals who made her day absolutely perfect!
Bride's Attire: Jocelyn's Bridal
Groom's Attire: Tuxego Latham
Rehearsal Dinner: The Factory (Ballston Spa, NY)
Venue: Anne's Washington Inn
Officiate: Reverand Joy Burke
DJ: Paul Malo
Caterer: Panza's Catering
Photo: Dyan Holt Photography
Hair and Makeup: Suriano's Salon
|Posted on July 9, 2018 at 4:45 PM||comments (0)|
Congratulations to Jacklynn and Ryan who were married this weekend at the beautiful Yaddo Gardens here, in Saratoga Springs! Big thank you to Longfellows for a gorgeous reception and for all your hard work! We are excited to see all of the stunning photos from David Firestine from Firestine Photography who the couple flew in all the way from Atlanta for the big day.