Snowed In? Here’s a Fun Snow Day Wedding Planning Guide for Your Upcoming Hudson Valley Wedding

Snowed in today?  Today’s the perfect day to catch up on your wedding planning for your upcoming Hudson Valley wedding.

. . . and I think I know which Hudson Valley DJ has to plow the driveway out of them today too.

Whose woods these are I think I know . . . and I think I know which Hudson Valley DJ has to plow the driveway out of them today too.

In addition to the wedding planning articles located here on Your Unique Hudson Valley Wedding, I, DJ Bri Swatek from Spinning with Style invite you to read the latest ideas about how to share your unique style with your friends and family on your wedding day on these great Hudson Valley wedding blogs:

The Best Wedding Reception Ever!™

If you’re looking for a good wedding planning book to read, head over to Amazon.Com to order a copy of Peter Merry’s book, The Best Wedding Reception Ever!™  If you want to be both creative and realistic in planning your wedding, I highly recommend you read this guide to planning your entire event, from setting a date to hiring vendors, to the big day itself.  Peter Merry’s example weddings and lists of pros and cons provide brides and grooms with a number of realistic examples of how their planning might turn out given different choices you might make. His years of experience as a “Wedding Entertainment Director” allow him to address a variety of options, such as the daytime wedding vs. the evening wedding, scheduling a wedding at different times throughout the year, when and how to schedule photos, and what type of entertainment to hire.  Peter also maintains a wedding planning blog, Merry Weddings.

The Knot and Wedding Wire

You can find wedding ideas, wedding planning tools, bridal community forums, and local wedding vendors and their reviews at both The Knot and Wedding Wire.

The Knot’s Hudson Valley Forum is located at
http://forums.theknot.com/categories/local-wedding-boards_new-york-hudson-valley

and their Westchester / Hudson Valley Wedding Resources can be found at
http://wedding.theknot.com/local-wedding-vendors/hudson-valley-weddings.aspx

Wedding Wire offers planning tools to get started at
https://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-planning.html

and their resources are located at
https://www.weddingwire.com/vendor-reviews

Wedding Vendors of the Hudson Valley

Lisa Zaro’s blog for the local professional wedding vendor association offers couples “inspiration, ideas, and contact information for local vendors” and much, much more.

Borrowed & Blue — Hudson Valley

Borrowed & Blue offers “Real Wedding” stories, an inspiration and advice Wedding Blog, and a guide to Local Vendors.

Best Hudson Valley Wedding Ever

In addition to a wide variety of recommended wedding services and reviews of local wedding vendors, Stephanie and Jeff Padovani’s website Best Hudson Valley Wedding Ever also offers new articles and interviews on a regular basis about the latest wedding trends, ideas, and resources.

Hudson Valley Wedding Vendor Blogs on Your Unique Hudson Valley Wedding

If you scroll down to the “Blogroll” located further down on this page to the right, you will find a number of great Hudson Valley wedding blogs brought to you by some of the best venues, locations, photographers, videographers, florists, and other wedding vendors in this region of New York.  Get great ideas on how to make your wedding day unique from a gathering of true wedding professionals!

Finally, don’t forget to check out this blog, Your Unique Hudson Valley Wedding, on Facebook as well for additional ideas, articles, and resources for your big day:  http://www.facebook.com/youruniquehudsonvalleywedding

Let’s Keep the (Snow) Ball Rolling

Do you know of any other great Hudson Valley wedding planning blogs?  If so, please email me at briswatek@gmail.com or leave a comment below to share links to other great wedding planning resources that you’ve found helpful in creating a unique wedding day.

Enjoy planning your once-in-a-lifetime event, and Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding,

Bri

________________________________________________________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your DJ for Your Unique Style
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email:   briswatek@gmail.com
Phone:   845.235.0080
Online:   www.djbriswatek.com

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How to Hire Vendors for Your Unique Hudson Valley Wedding

While all couples should have a firm budget in mind for their wedding that they are comfortable with and that they can work within effectively, it’s also important to consider this question when planning your wedding: Who are my wedding vendors?

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Villa Borghese with DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Owl's Eye Studios

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Villa Borghese with DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Owl’s Eye Studios

It sounds like a simple question, but the truth–as always–can be a bit more complicated. In fact, this question actually answers a second question which all couples do consider at some point: Why are all of these wedding vendors’ prices so different?

Here’s the truth: full-time, professional wedding vendors set prices that are a reflection of the time, effort, quality, and service that they will provide for your once-in-a-lifetime event.

First, are your wedding vendors full-time wedding professionals? If they are, chances are you’re going to have a vendor who is responsive to your emails and calls, and treats your wedding as the most important event on their calendar that day. If your vendor is not a full-time wedding professional, it’s good to find out if a) they’re a wedding vendor first with a related sideline second to bring in a little extra income outside of the wedding season, or b) it’s the opposite: being a wedding vendor is really a part-time job for them and they have another career that takes up the majority of their time and energy. Imagine doing your own job as a part-time, weekend sideline–would you be able to do it effectively?

Second, who is actually coming to work at your wedding? If you signed a contract with a company that has several staff members, who is the actual person who will be working at your wedding? Make certain you know *who* your vendor is going to be on your big day.

Hudson Valley Wedding Cake Cutting at Patriot Hills Set to Music and Uplighting by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Custom by Nicole

Hudson Valley Wedding Cake Cutting at Patriot Hills Set to Music and Uplighting by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Custom by Nicole

There are many great companies in the Hudson Valley that offer multiple DJs, photographers, etc. for you to choose from for your event. They offer the opportunity for you to see samples of their work and meet with your personal vendor before the big day. However, there are also a number of services in the tri-state area that offer “too good to be true” prices for “someone” to come work at your wedding.

I’ve said this many times in my career as a DJ, MC, and event host: the words “surprise” and “wedding” rarely go together well. You should know exactly who your wedding vendors are and you should have the opportunity to be totally comfortable with them well in advance of the big day. Anything less than that feeling of complete confidence is not worth it.

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at the Villa Borghese Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Majestic Studios

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at the Villa Borghese Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Majestic Studios

Here’s an example from a bride named Lauren who confesses that she “made a mistake” and “took the cheap photographer route,” only to regret it after her wedding:

Lauren’s Wedding Story: “I Took the Cheap Photographer Route”
You can hear it in Lauren’s voice as she tells her story: she regrets her decision to not hire a wedding professional.

In addition, consider what professional Hudson Valley wedding photographer Autumn Thomes has to say on why

“Hiring Professional Hudson Valley and CT Wedding Vendors Matters!”
Clearly, Autumn has had the privilege of working with some great Hudson Valley wedding vendors, but she has also seen some vendor horror stories that could really ruin your big day.

Madison, Wisconsin photographers Primavera Studios further highlight the importance of paying for the time and effort that goes into quality wedding photography when they answer the question,

Why Does Good Wedding Photography Cost What It Does?
Most of this article could really apply to any of the Hudson Valley wedding vendors you are considering for your big day.

At I Found The Place, Stacie Tamaki asks the question

How Much Should Your Wedding DJ Cost?
and encourages couples to raise their expectations when it comes to a wedding DJ’s level of professional service at your once-in-a-lifetime event.

Taking her own personal “horror stories and success stories” as a bride “into account,” Jill Tooley at Best Hudson Valley Wedding Ever offers “seven red flags to watch for when you’re interviewing/researching wedding vendors”:

7 Signs It May Be Time to Find a New Wedding Vendor

Moral of the story: “It’s your wedding, not anyone else’s.”

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek at Christo's Courtesy of Cheryl Bolton-Reuter Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek at Christo’s Courtesy of Cheryl Bolton-Reuter Photography

Don’t ever be afraid to ask your wedding vendors any of the following questions:

– Are you a full-time wedding professional?
– How many years of experience do you have in the wedding business?
– Why did you decide to become a wedding vendor?
– What do you enjoy most about being a wedding professional?
– How many weddings do you work per year?
– How many weddings do you (or does your company) work in one day?
– Do you ever “subcontract” your work out to other wedding vendors?
– If we hire your company, who will be working at our wedding?
– Are you registered as a legitimate business? (DBA, Inc., or LLC)
– Are you a member of a professional association?
– Are you insured for liability?
– Do you use professional equipment?
– Do you provide backup equipment at my wedding?
– What’s *your* backup plan?
– What happens if I cancel the wedding or need to change the date of the wedding?
– When will you arrive on my wedding day?
– Will you be suitably dressed for our wedding?
– Will you be willing listen to me, and follow my plans for my wedding?
– What are your pricing packages, options, and services offered?
– How much is your deposit, how do payments work, and what methods of payment do you accept?
– Do you provide a written contract?
– Can I have references and contact information from previous customers?
– Can I have references and contact information from other wedding professionals?

The American Disc Jockey Association provides questions like these, as well as things to look for in your vendors’ potential answers, online. While the ADJA article is mainly focused on hiring a DJ, these questions could easily be applied to most of the wedding vendors you are looking to hire for your big day.

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Le Chambord Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Elissa I Davidson Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Le Chambord Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Elissa I Davidson Photography

Once you begin looking at true professionals as vendors for your wedding, you will find that while there are always differences in packages, options, and approaches to your big day, the price range for quality service is actually fairly consistent in the Hudson Valley. As always, you get what you pay for!

Need help looking for professional wedding vendors to make your big day the best it can be? Start with the list of true wedding professionals located on this blog: Your Unique Hudson Valley Wedding, including recommended

– Venues and Locations,
– Caterers,
– Photographers,
– Videographers,
– Florists,
– Photo Booth vendors,
– and much, much more!

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

Bri

__________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your DJ for Your Unique Style
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email: briswatek@gmail.com
Phone: 845.235.0080
Online: www.djbriswatek.com

Wedding DJ Reviews

With the amount of time and money you’re putting into planning your upcoming wedding, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to hire professional wedding vendors that come highly recommended by other brides and grooms.  This is especially true for your wedding DJ.  From the First Dance to the Last Dance, you want to make sure that your DJ handles all your most important moments correctly and has your dance floor packed all night long, with your friends and family celebrating to all your favorite songs.

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Bethel Woods Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Kevin Ferguson

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Bethel Woods Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Kevin Ferguson

If you’ve attended a lot of weddings over the past few years, you have a number of first-hand experiences to draw upon when searching for a wedding DJ – you’ve seen different DJs and different couples’ ideas of fun at a wedding.  You have a lot of friends and family to ask “who was your wedding DJ?” and “were they good?”

However, if you haven’t attended a lot of weddings recently (or if you have, and still haven’t found the type of DJ you’re looking for!) there are a number of outstanding review sites online for brides and grooms searching for vendor recommendations.

WeddingWire and The Knot are two excellent resources for brides and grooms looking for reviews posted by other couples after their big day.  While vendors can advertise on these sites as well, the reviews are written and posted by previous customers, not the businesses themselves.  This ensures that you get honest opinions and the information you need to make the best decision you can when hiring your wedding DJ.

Hudson Valley wedding DJ’s business pages on Facebook and Google+ are also excellent places to read reviews and hear from previous customers.

(For reviews of my DJ business, please visit http://www.DJBriSwatek.com, where you will find direct links to my company’s page on each of these online review sites.)

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Bethel Woods Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Kevin Ferguson

Hudson Valley Wedding Dance Party at Bethel Woods Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Kevin Ferguson

For most couples, hiring wedding vendors—especially their wedding DJ—is a new, once-in-a-lifetime experience.  In addition to first-hand experiences, personal recommendations, and referrals by other wedding vendors, don’t hesitate to search out reviews of the DJ you’re looking to invite to MC and entertain your closest friends and family on your big day.

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

Bri

__________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your DJ for Your Unique Style
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email: briswatek@gmail.com
Phone: 845.235.0080
Online: www.djbriswatek.com

Joni and Nick’s Best Hudson Valley Wedding Ever! at The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel

I was honored to be a part of Joni and Nick’s unique Hudson Valley wedding at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel earlier this year.  DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style provided event planning, wedding uplighting in an Autumn amber, and kept the dance floor going all night long!

Check out Joni’s vendor reviews and interview with Best Hudson Valley Wedding Ever! about all the planning that went into this amazing night:

http://www.besthudsonvalleyweddingever.com/best-weddings/real-wedding-wednesday-a-fall-inspired-celebration-at-the-poughkeepsie-grand-hotel

Special thanks to Cheryl at Bolton-Reuter Photography for the fantastic images from the wedding.

Congratulations!

Bri

________________________________________________________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your Professional Disc Jockey and MC Service
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email:   briswatek@aol.com
Phone:   845.235.0080
Online:   www.djbriswatek.com

Natasha and Matthew’s Best Hudson Valley Wedding Ever! at The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel

I was honored to be a part of Natasha and Matthew’s unique Hudson Valley wedding at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel earlier this year.  DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style provided event planning, Signature Gobo Lighting of their monogram on the dancefloor, wedding uplighting in pink and gold, a Photo Slide Show / Memory Montage during dinner, and kept the dance floor going all night long!

DJ Bri Swatek Spinning with Style Uplighting and Signature Gobo Light at a Hudson Valley Wedding at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel Courtesy of Surprise Photography

Check out Natasha’s interview with Best Hudson Valley Wedding Ever! about all the planning that went into this amazing night:

http://www.besthudsonvalleyweddingever.com/best-weddings/vintage-glam-at-the-poughkeepsie-grand-hotel

Special thanks to Melissa Surprise at Surprise Photography for the fantastic images from the wedding.

Hudson Valley Wedding at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel First Dance Music and Signature Gobo Light by DJ Bri Swatek Image Courtesy of Surprise Photography

Congratulations!

Bri

________________________________________________________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your Professional Disc Jockey and MC Service
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email:   briswatek@aol.com
Phone:   845.235.0080
Online:   www.djbriswatek.com

Checklists and Timelines to Make Your Hudson Valley Wedding Unique

The ring.  The proposal.  The engagement.

The checklist?

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Crabtree's Kittle House Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Tripp Street Studio

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at Crabtree’s Kittle House Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Tripp Street Studio

Planning your wedding can seem overwhelming to even the most organized brides and grooms.  Fortunately, there are a number of resources online to help you make sure you have every last detail taken care of before your big day.  As the owner of Spinning with Style, a wedding DJ service in the Hudson Valley of New York, I, DJ Bri Swatek, recommend some of the following checklists and timelines to ensure that you have nothing to do except enjoy, eat, drink, dance, and celebrate with your family and friends on your wedding day!

At Wedding Wire, you will find interactive Wedding Checklists, as well as other great resources for your big day.

The Wedding Channel’s Perfect Planning Checklist is a great print-and-go resource.  The Wedding Channel also features a link to their interactive checklist through their partner site, The Knot.

The Knot’s Wedding Checklist is an interactive and customizable online tool.  The Knot also features many other great resources for your wedding day.

Google Weddings features a variety of tools and documents to help you organize your wedding day.

OneWed’s Wedding Checklist & Timeline is another interactive tool with helpful ideas.

Real Simple’s Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist is another great print-and-go resource.

The Bridal Association of America offers both their famous Wedding Day Planning Reception Time Line as well as their My Wedding Companion software.

Best Wedding Plan features Wedding Checklists for each aspect of your big day.

Hudson Valley Wedding Last Dance Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek at the Villa Borghese Courtesy of Kristine Palmer Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding Last Dance Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek at the Villa Borghese Courtesy of Kristine Palmer Photography

When and how will I get all of this done?

Your wedding is a celebration of your marriage and who you are as a couple–it should express your unique style.  No two weddings are the same, and the same goes for the planning process.  Focus on the items, vendors, and services that are most important to you early on, and never be afraid to ask your key vendors for their advice, input, and help–true wedding professionals want to make sure you have the very best wedding and will be more than happy to do anything they can to help you realize your dreams on your big day.

Congratulations,

Bri

__________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your DJ for Your Unique Style
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email:   briswatek@gmail.com
Phone:   845.235.0080
Online:   www.djbriswatek.com

Making the Most of Wedding Shows and Expos in the Hudson Valley

Whether you are recently engaged and just starting your wedding planning, or you have set a date and are looking for professional vendors to make your Hudson Valley wedding truly unique, a high quality wedding show can be an important–and fun–part of the wedding planning process.

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Surprise Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Surprise Photography

As the owner of Spinning with Style, your professional wedding DJ service in the Hudson Valley, I, DJ Bri Swatek, have participated in a number of wedding expos over the years.  I would offer the following tips to brides and grooms planning to spend a few hours taking it all in at their next local wedding show:

Bring Your Wedding Team!

Wedding shows can be very overwhelming, as you will meet a variety of vendors offering many different services in different ways.  Bring along friends and / or family members who you know will enjoy the experience with you and be helpful to you throughout the show.

Take Notes.

Assign one of your Wedding Team members to take notes for you, especially if you are already keeping a wedding journal or notebook of some kind.  Spend your time as a bride or groom talking with vendors directly, and ask your family and friends to write down responses that you found interesting, so that you can review these notes later when visiting vendors’ websites or setting up meetings.

Hudson Valley Wedding Cake Cutting at the Links at Union Vale Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Owl's Eye Studios

Hudson Valley Wedding Cake Cutting at the Links at Union Vale Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Owl’s Eye Studios

Protect Your Privacy.

Most wedding shows will ask you to register in order to win a prize.  In addition, many of the vendors at the wedding expo will also ask you to register at their booths for their individual prizes.  Decide in advance what phone number, address, and / or email address you want to provide, as vendors will be contacting you after the show to discuss your wedding plans further.  Many brides and grooms set up a unique email address just for their wedding planning process, to keep emails with vendors separate from their work-related or personal messages.

Stickers Save Time.

Bring two types of stickers to wedding shows.  First, prepare labels in advance so that you do not have to fill out vendors’ cards for further information and / or prize giveaways.  Be sure to provide information on these labels that directs vendors as to how you want to be contacted.  If you prefer a certain email address or phone number be used, make sure to include it.  Second, bring along a fun or silly sticker (such as a gold star or smiley face) to note which vendors you felt you connected with when discussing your wedding.  After visiting with a vendor that you particularly liked, ask one of your Wedding Team members to place a sticker on the vendor’s brochure, business card, or other provided information.  This note to yourself about your first impressions will be invaluable in the weeks to come when you are deciding which vendors from the show you want to speak with further.

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at the Grandview Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of EID Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at the Grandview Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of EID Photography

Ask Questions.

Most wedding vendors are prepared at a wedding expo to answer your questions about pricing, packages or options, and the availability of their services for your wedding date.  However, one of the most important questions you can ask a vendor at a wedding show is “who will I be working with on my wedding day?”  If the sales representative at the booth is not the actual wedding professional you would be working with, find out how and when you would be able to meet that person prior to your wedding day.  As always, insist on the best for yourself—hire and work with full-time wedding professionals who will provide personal attention to you throughout the wedding process.

Buyer Beware.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  If a price is too low, find out what is (or isn’t) included.  Don’t feel rushed into making a decision simply due to a special offer or prize.  Don’t be afraid to ask if the vendor is a full-time wedding professional.  Don’t be afraid to ask for references from a vendor’s previous customers.

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Vivian Photography

Hudson Valley Wedding First Dance at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel Set to Music by DJ Bri Swatek Courtesy of Vivian Photography

Enjoy the Show!

Most wedding expos provide food samples and a fashion show.  Make sure to see and experience what you want that day, and make sure to have fun!

In the Hudson Valley, the many venues offer excellent wedding shows throughout the year.  Check out the following venues’ websites on a regular basis to get the latest on their upcoming wedding expos:

Anthony’s Pier 9

The Garrison and Highlands Country Club

The Grandview

The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel

The Links at Union Vale

West Hills Country Club

In addition, “DJ Bri’s Blog:  Your Unique Hudson Valley Wedding,” features links to highly recommended Hudson Valley wedding venues, caterers, photographers, videographers, florists, transportation, and more.  All of the vendors recommended on my blog are professionals that I have worked with closely over the years, who I know will provide the very best in service for your wedding day.

Congratulations,

Bri

__________

DJ Bri Swatek, Spinning with Style
Your DJ for Your Unique Style
in the Hudson Valley of New York

Email:   briswatek@gmail.com
Phone:  845.235.0080
Online:   www.djbriswatek.com