For those who want to bravely go to the Final Frontier of wedding planning and do it yourselves, here are some Hudson Valley-based resources:
For food: I spoke with Mary Anne Erickson, the General Manager at Blue Mountain Bistro. She offered some guidelines: Saturday weddings, especially during June and September (the most popular months for tying the knot) are less negotiable, price-wise.
Winter weddings—January, February, and March—and days of the week other than even more so. When I asked Erickson if a cocktail party was less expensive than a sitdown dinner, her response both educated and surprised me.
“Cocktail hors doeuvres that are passed are often more labor-intensive for the kitchen and depending on the ingredients, a simple dinner can be less expensive.” Erickson went on to say that Blue Mountain Bistro will soon be opening a gourmet takeaway store on Route 28, and once that happens, customers could order platters they could come in and pick up. www.bluemountainbistro.com 845-679-3823.
Speaking of platters, I would certainly try Adams Fairacre Farms, with three locations: Newburgh, Poughkeepsie and Lake Katrine. Adams has a variety of prepared foods to fit all tastes and budgets, as well as superlative cheese and chocolate departments.
www.adamsfarms.com (Adams/Kingston 1560 Ulster Avenue Lake Katrine, NY 12449
(845)336-6300; Adams/Poughkeepsie/765 Dutchess Turnpike (845) 454-4330 and Adams/Newburgh 1240 Route 300 Newburgh, NY 12550 (845)569-0303.
Another alternative would be having an Afternoon Tea, or a Ploughman’s Tea catered from The Village Tearoom in New Paltz. The in-house food costs for Afternoon Tea per person is $20.00 – this includes a choice of scones, either Apricot Almond or Lemon Scented Golden Raisin, Clotted Cream and Raspberry Jam, Tea Sandwiches, Cookies and a choice of teas, or, the heartier Ploughman’s Tea ($14.00 per person in-house) which is seven-grain bread, raw cheddar, a Hudson Valley apple and a lamb pot pie.
Another alternative, is Hickory BBQ Smokehouse. They have two locations—743 Route 28 in Kingston (845) 338-2424 and Hickory Uptown at 305 Wall Street in Kingston, 845-338-8315. www.hickoryrestaurant.com.
Ensell Hoenshell-Watson baker/owner of The Alternative Baker, in Kingston, suggests alternatives to labor-intensive wedding cakes, such as cupcakes, cupcake trees and lemon bundt cakes. He says he is a “mad romantic” and will work with any couple, no matter how small their budget may be. The bundt cakes are $16 apiece, and you can feed from 16-20 people. 35 Broadway, Kingston.
Judy Lewis, of hudsonvalleyweddings.com, has been advising people on their weddings in the Hudson Valley for a decade, and is definitely the “go-to gal”. Lewis suggests researching “open bar” packages, which have a fixed per person rate, regardless of how much (or how little, depending upon your friends) alcohol is consumed.
For cutting your floral costs without sacrificing a stem,. Lewis suggested Stems International at 54 Elizabeth St. in Red Hook. (845) 758-8080 or www.stemsinternational.com. Stems has a “DIY” division where a floral designer will show you how to design table arrangements and bouquets—at a fraction of the cost.
Would they had had a Stems in Brooklyn when I married.
And finally, but certainly not least, bridal gowns. The Bridal Cottage, recently relocated to Kingston from Port Ewen, (1200 Ulster Avenue, King’s Mall) 845/331-6596 www.thebridalcottage.com and run by Gladys Portalatin, is one-stop shopping for bridal gown bargains. Portalatin also deals in full-figured sizes, bridesmaid and mother-of-the-bride gowns, as well as tuxedo rentals.
One final word of advice: If you’re having your wedding at home, please, pay for somebody else to clean it. You’ll thank me.