01 Feb 2017

When Not To DIY

No Comments Barn Weddings, Catskill Weddings, Catskills, events, Rustic Weddings, weddings


Share on facebook

When not to DIY! So you’re getting married in the country! You want a wedding that is unique to you and utterly personalized, with all the details reflecting you and your fiance’s style and passions.
With the increasing popularity of Pinterest, more and more couples are opting for DIY, embracing their creativity and hoping to save some money. Thousands of ideas and projects are at your fingertips, how to’s and dozens of wedding apps and blogs are just a click away. But beware, it is easy to get carried away and take on too much. Soon the excitement and joy you should be experiencing turns into anxiety and stress. There are many things that you can do yourself, but several, I strongly suggest, should be left to the pros!

So you know exactly what you want, you’re organized, you found a great check list online, you’ve found your venue and maybe even your caterer, you have a preferred vendor list, you’ve got it under control, right?
Hiring a planner can be the best investment you make for your big day. Whether your time is at a premium and you need someone to hold your hand throughout the process or you hire a “month of” coordinator just to tie up all the loose ends, a planner can make the difference between a cohesive, well executed event or one that feels disjointed and disorganized. A planner’s loyalty will be to you first and will have your back. They are dedicated to coordinating your day exactly as you envision it as well as being able to turn on a dime with a backup plan if necessary. I know many DIY couples are on a tight budget and think of this as an added unneccesary expense but a good planner can help you create a budget and stick to it. They can help you find the best vendors within your budget. And the great thing is that you will be able to enjoy the best time of you lives without sweating the details.

With the amazing amount of music available on line and the availability of DJ apps, iPods and portable sound systems, why not DIY a playlist for your wedding?
A professional DJ or band can make or break your party. They have a presence and will interact with you and your guests. They will read the energy in the room and react accordingly. After your planner, they are the key to making the night an event to remember.

Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, everyone has a camera and knows how to use it! So why hire a professional photographer? Your wedding is one of the biggest events of your life. And one of the biggest investments you will make, with all the special moments that entails. A professional photographer will focus (no pun intended) on capturing every important element of your day. A contracted pro knows the drill, they can deal with family photos without any drama, they understand lighting and know what details you expect to be captured. You invested a lot of time and money into your wedding, make sure you get photos that capture all those special moments. You will treasure them forever. Hire a pro!
Bridal bouquet in shades of red
Some of my clients dream that they want to DIY at least some part of their wedding flowers not only to save money but to bond with family and friends during the creative process. Be careful what you wish for! I love that brides want to be hands on and express their creativity but there are many other projects you can undertake. Flowers are living things, they are perishable. They require careful preparation and conditioning before they are even “party ready”. Flowers can not be done well in advance. So, unless you want to spend the precious day before yourwedding working, and, it is work, I suggest you let your florist do their thing!

So you just have to DIY.
Favors. There are so many great local options to choose from. Just add your own DIY touches. Local jams and jellies, honey or maple syrup- just add a customized label or tag. There are great templates available on line, or create your own.
Welcome Bags. This is a great way to greet your overnight guests and thank them for traveling to celebrate your big day. Be sure to include a personalized note, a map, a list of off beat things to do in the area and of course a snack- how about some local chocolates.
Signage. A key element to a rustic country wedding is the personalized, quirky signage. Blackboards denoting your signature cocktails, signs to greet guests at the ceremony site or pointing to the photo booth are all fun DIY projects.IMG_0722FullSizeRender

Get creative, have fun, just don’t overdo it. And let the pro’s do what they do best!

Share on facebook
31 Jan 2017

A Successful Catskill Wedding Weekend

No Comments Barn Weddings, Catskills, events, Rustic Weddings, Uncategorized, weddings


Share on facebook

Most couples planning a Catskill Mountain wedding will be from out of town. But whether you are a local bride or making this your destination, consider extending your celebration to a weekend of festivities. Since most of your guests will be traveling a distance, a wedding weekend allows them to experience all that you love about the Catskills and lets you spend more quality time with your friends and family. From the welcome party to the goodbye brunch you will have plenty of opportunities to create memory making moments.
The key to a successful Catskill wedding weekend is to communicate the itinerary. Give your guests plenty of time to prepare for all the events of the weekend by listing the schedule on your website. A wedding website is a snap to create and there are some great apps available that will walk you through every step. Don’t forget to suggest specific attire for each activity. Your guests may not be aware of the variable terrain and weather in the mountains! Include suggestions for guests to explore and enjoy on their own. Local distilleries, breweries, farmer’s markets, galleries and shopping are great options as well as favorite hot spots for lunch when out and about.
Welcome bags are a great way to remind guests of what they can expect over the weekend. Keeping your guests informed will help them relax and fully enjoy what is to come. Have the bags waiting for your guests at their accommodations or pass them out at the welcome party. Include the itinerary for all the weekends festivities as well as the times for the ceremony and reception. If you are supplying a shuttle for the welcome party or reception, include a schedule of pick up and departure times. I also like to add a simple map showing the venue location and other points of interest, just in case they miss the shuttle. Remember that many local areas have limited or no cell service so navigation apps are often unreliable.
Pre wedding festivities.
The day before your wedding, your planner will typically arrange for a rehearsal at the venue with you, your immediate family and your wedding party. If this is pre-organized it should take no more that 30 minutes. You will then be free to enjoy your rehearsal dinner or welcome party with your guests knowing that everyone knows the drill for the ceremony the following day.

Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner was an intimate affair for members of the wedding party and parents but with the growing popularity of destination weddings, the welcome dinner has expanded to include all your out of town guests. I recommend that this event be a casual buffet or BBQ.
IMG_4985A pizza or food truck will offer some flexibility for late arriving guests. After all, you want this to be a unique experience for your guests, a time to meet and greet everyone, but not to stress out your budget or compete with your reception the following day.

Your wedding day.
Start your day with friends and a sunrise yoga class, a guided hike or a leisurely bike ride. You can create a fun, sign up sheet and display it at your welcome dinner. This will help keep these activities a bit more organized. But don’t obsess, put someone else in charge so you don’t stress! Limit your activities to the morning to give your guests enough time to get ready for your big day.
After the ceremony and reception and as the evening winds down and comes to a close you can invite guests to enjoy a bonfire with s”mores or a late night snack or if you can’t bear for the evening to come to an end, head out to a local pub for an after party with a few of your closest friends.

The day after.
A post wedding brunch is a great way to say goodbye and thank those who traveled a distance to share your special day. Some guests will want to head home and some may even opt to sleep in, so, keep it simple.

Timing is everything so don’t overschedule. Allow your guests enough down time to relax and enjoy some time alone to enjoy all the Catskills have to offer. I guarantee they will leave with lasting memories of your unforgettable wedding weekend!

Photo credits
Amanda Popp Photography
Douglas Benedict Photography

Share on facebook
02 May 2016


1 Comment Uncategorized


Share on facebook

MellisaHi all, Mellisa here!

It’s been a while since I introduced myself or touched on any sort of solid topic. It’s not for lack of interest or trying; When we decided to start blogging, I was (very foolishly) trying to do everything from my iPad. What I have to say to that is… UGH! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my tablet, however trying to work and edit from it was getting to be a nightmare. So I FINALLY, after three years, got myself a new laptop so that I can work from wherever I wind up. So I’m officially back again.

We at Catskill Weddings have been very fortunate to have an extended 2016 wedding season. Our first wedding was this past weekend, April 30th, and we go steady right to the end of October. It’s already been a busy season and it promises to get busier and more exciting. We get to take on amazing new adventures this year; new venues, new catering, new vendors, and new people.

This last week also marked my official one year with the company! Its so crazy and amazing to me how fast it went and how much i have truly absorbed, how much I’ve learned, and how much I’ve grown. So to commemorate this last year, I want to talk about my big firsts in the wedding biz.

I actually wasn’t a photographer when I started working weddings. While I was in college, I worked at a resort, and the main clientele was wedding guests. I was hired to basically clean up after the bride and groom and their entourage throughout the course of the day. I have a vivd memory of cleaning a ravaged cheese table after cocktail hour, watching two photographers (who I oddly enough would befriend many years later) and thinking… this is NOT my destiny. I shouldn’t be here scraping half eaten cheese from a table top… I should be out there with THEM! My wheels were in motion from then on.

The first look at my first wedding - True Love!

The first look at my first wedding – True Love!

My first wedding which I photographed was probably about a year after I quit working at the resort. It was a super hot July day, I had my first camera, and I took about a million photos. Shortly after this I did my first paid wedding gig. Oddly enough, it was supposed to be at the resort I previously worked at, but a hurricane ripped through the area the weekend before and completely demolished our community and there was no way to even get to the resort as the roads were just gone. Through much determination, the couple were able to still have their dream wedding, just in a different location.

A lot has changed since those days.

Ben and Jo-Ann moments before eloping on the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls

Ben and Jo-Ann moments before eloping on the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls

On my first day working with Catskill Weddings, I walked in extremely exhausted; I had just gotten back from Canada, Having photographed my best friend’s wedding the night before. I walked into the shop and the task of the day was to learn to clean and prep flowers and… make lunch boxes. What? Yes. We do a little of everything on any given day. So we spent that day, and every day after, prepping for our first 2015 wedding. From Lunch boxes, to favors, to menus, I quickly learned that we are very hands on.

I started to learn the ins and outs of the shop. I quickly fell in love with all the different kinds of work we got to do and all the different people I got to meet. I bonded so instantly with my workmates, too. I can’t even imagine life without them at this point!

I think the most important first for me, though, came a few months later, in the heat of late August, when Lydia had entrusted me with my first solo wedding ceremony. I was filled with nerves, of course, but I truly had no reason to be.

Kaitlin and Eric exchanging vows

Kaitlin and Eric exchanging vows

Kaitlyn and Eric were two of the kindest people I’ve ever met and I instantly connected with them. The morning we first met, both Kaitlin and Eric greeted me with big hugs, like we’ve known one another for years. Immediately, I knew these were my kind of people. They were the first couple I worked side by side with, and truly were the first clients I had a genuine connection with. They helped me feel a sense of excitement about my job, because I finally knew I was capable of doing this!

My big year of firsts has proven to be an amazing journey. I’m so profoundly grateful that I get the honor of not only working with Lydia and the rest of the staff, but also with the amazing venues, caterers, photographers, and everyone in between. It has been a wonderful year of learning from the masters, and I look forward to learning more and more, and sharing with you all of the firsts that this season will bring.

Click here to see images from our 2016 weddings

Click here to see images from our 2016 weddings

Share on facebook
20 Mar 2016

Say yes to the dress…trending wedding dress styles for 2016

No Comments Barn Weddings, Catskills, weddings


Share on facebook

In my quest for the perfect wedding dress, I had the opportunity to spend some time at Melissa Patrick’s adorable bridal boutique, Isabella’s Wedding Co. in Vero Beach, Florida. The shop is warm and inviting and filled with a carefully curated collection of bridal fashion and kitchy decorative accessories. It is located in the hip, trendy downtown section of town, surrounded by great galleries, good food and stylish boutiques.

While chatting about our couples and our wedding adventures, it became clear just how similar our clients are. Whether tying the knot at the shore with the wave and wind in their hair or in the wood with moss at their feet and pine in the air, our couples are more unconventional than most. And our brides tend to gravitate to a less formal and less traditional aesthetic.

Melissa selected a few of her client’s favorite wedding dress silhouettes that are trending this season. It is easy to see how they would be just at home in a barn or at the beach!
Etherial ball gowns take on a lighter approach when made with soft, breezy fabrics and a more relaxed silhouette.
Color is a popular choice this season. Blush gowns are feminine and flattering. But don’t stop there. Take a peak at styles available in the seasons favorite colors of Rose Quartz and Serenty Blue.
Bohemian chic is taking a turn with two piece separates and crop top styles. It’s a look that works as well in the mountains or at the shore. Afraid to commit, try this tempting option for after the ceremony. Then, dance the night away.
Minimalist sheaths offer clean lines and an elegant simplicity that are still on trend. This stunning aesthetic is cool, chic and comfortable.
Lace, lace and more lace…need I say more.


What a treat to trade tales with my southern counterpart. Melissa is smart, charming and talented, a true professional. A great day and I learned something in the process!

Etherial blush gown: Karen Willis Holmes-Bespoke Collection
Ivory, silk satin sheath: Sarah Janks
Ivory lace mermaid silhouette with almond lining: Wtoo
Photos: Catskill Weddings. www.catskillweddings.com
Isabella’s Wedding Company, Vero Beach.

Share on facebook
18 Mar 2016

Come rain or come shine…have a weather plan

No Comments Uncategorized


Share on facebook

As a wedding planner, I can control many things, unfortunately, the weather is not one of them. Rain is the nemisis of many a couple but it doesn’t have to be. As long as you are flexible and prepared your day can be as beautiful and often more memorable than planned.


Tip 1- Start at the beginning. Have a rain plan from day one. When looking at outdoor venues, ask about their plan B. If you are not happy with it, move on. If you have your heart set on an outside ceremony, make sure your venue and vendors can be flexible with the start time. It is great to be able to adjust the schedule to allow for a passing shower! If you are hoping for alfresco dining, please, please have a indoor option available or order a tent as back up. I know it is an added expense but it will ultimately insure the comfort of you and your guests.


Tip 2- Be prepared. Have cute wellies or cowboy boots for you and your wedding party. Ask if your venue provides umbrellas, if not, get some. There are many inexpensive options on line. I always try to bring 2 dozen of my “lucky” white umbrellas to every wedding. Somehow they keep raindrops at bay!


Tip 3- Be Decisive. Do not agonize over the weather on your wedding day. If inclement weather is in the forecast, commit to the plan and move on. Believe me, once you make the decision, you will be relieved!

Tip 4- Don’t kill the messenger. Yes, you are disappointed, but getting upset will not change the outcome. Make light of the cloudy skies and you will weather the storm. If you are smiling and happy, your partner, family and friends will be too.

Tip 5- Trust your event planner. They will steer you in the right direction while looking out for your best interest. They see the big picture and will work to make everything fall into place.

Roxbury Barn

Roxbury Barn

Tip 6- Dance in the rain. Beautiful and special things happen in the rain. Any photographer will tell you that you have better color saturation on a cloudy day. Have your photographer take a few moments to find a few cozy nooks and crannies. The entire tone of your day will become more intimate and relaxed and guests will develop a sense of camaraderie that I love.

Remember, you are marrying the person of your dreams. Cherish every fleeting moment, come rain or come shine!rainbow

Photo Credits: Catskill Weddings, Aisle Walk Photography, Weddings by Two

Share on facebook
22 Feb 2016

Hello from Mellisa!

1 Comment Uncategorized


Share on facebook


Hi everyone!

I’m Mellisa and I am the newest addition to Catskill Weddings!

A little back story on me; my introduction to weddings was back in 2011 when I was approached by two of my friends to photograph their wedding. I had been photographing anything and everything my entire life, so I decided to take the plunge and just go for it, and I wound up really enjoying myself. This started not only my career in weddings, but as a photographer of many different genres.


So fast forward four years. I was still working a full time job at a bank, trying to book weddings on the side, and make them bigger and better than the years prior. I realized this just ISNT working for me. As much as I love photography, wedding photography just wasn’t the right fit for me. And that was a little heartbreaking because I just wanted that to work! I love weddings, I love the hustle and excitement and the joy each wedding brings… But trying to fit the actual dates into my schedule, edit the photos, keep wedding clients happy, keep other photo clients happy, AND work a separate full time job (and countless part time jobs)… To say it was stressful is putting it mildly.

So I decided that it was time to regroup. And around that same time my hairdresser came to me and said “Lydia needs a new assistant! Here’s her number, CALL HER!” So I did! We met a couple times and ultimately decided that yes, this is going to work out nicely!

So I’ve been with Catskill Weddings for about a year now! It’s been a crazy year full of fun, flowers, learning, and all around excitement. It was initially a challenge, but I think anything worth doing should be a little challenging. I love coming to work and learning new things, helping people out, and laughing… We really do have SO much fun here!


I’m excited to start blogging my many ideas to share with everyone willing to listen. You’ll come to find that I have as very definite, and sometimes different point of view on a wide range of things related to weddings. You can expect to hear plenty of advice, lots of laughs, and some insight into what I find to be interesting not only in the world of weddings, but where pop culture meets weddings, as well.

Have a fabulous weekend, and next week we’ll talk about trending colors!

Share on facebook
21 Feb 2016

Blue skies and rosie days ahead! Pantone’s trending color duo.

No Comments Barn Weddings, Catskills, decor, events, ideas, inspiration, Rustic Weddings, weddings


Share on facebook

When Pantone announced their selection for the top trending color palette for 2016- my first reaction was oh no, pink and blue!!

But on reflection I became inspired by the warm calming pink, Pantone is calling Rose Quartz and the relaxing, weightless periwinkle, Serenity Blue. This harmonious pairing embodies tranquility and inner peace.
P10001162008 vacation 040
I love colors that are evident in nature, in a cool, Catskill Mountain sunset or warm Outer Banks sunrise. It warms my soul and fills my heart with joy!

IMG_3196 In this bouquet the beauty of Pink O’Hara garden roses is offset by the delicate blue tweedia. Tons of texture from astilbe, Queen Anne’s lace and silvery dusty miller. Beautifuly balanced with ivory and blush.
Intoxicating scents from gardenia, stock and of course the garden roses!
Stunning. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.


It’s all in the details. And Christy, my bride, wanted to use her grandmother’s cameo in her bouquet. This vintage piece of jewelry has a sentimental meaning for her, so, I pinned it on a piece of antique rosey ribbon and finished the wrap with tiny pearl pins. Perfection.

You can have fun with your color palette without over doing it. What could be better than a retro candy bar or a tray of cool signature cocktails?

… Wedding wishes tied to a cherry blossom tree!

Remember, when selecting a color palette for your wedding, make sure that it reflects who you are and what you love and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Even pink and blue can be be translated into something spectacular!!


Photo credit: Catskill Sunset: Catskill Images
All Other photos: Catskill Weddings

Share on facebook
18 Feb 2016

A New Year

No Comments Uncategorized


Share on facebook


The start of a new lunar year and the upcoming wedding season has me reflecting on our little growing company of creative visionaries. We are a quirky lot, each with our own talent and area of expertise.

Over the course of the upcoming months you will meet each of us and hopefully as we get more comfortable with this blogging thing, a unique yet unified voice will emerge.

We love what we do. We love our families. We love our pets. We love our friends and we love our clients!

We spend our days in the company of my 2 crazy Standard Poodles, Bingo and Buster, and a beautiful and comical toddler named Rory.




Despite the welcome distractions, we are a focused bunch. Inspired by the beauty that surrounds us in these Catskill Mountains, you can find us foraging for the unexpected and the seasonal. Anything to make what we create awe inspiring.

Weddings are our thing, but excuse us if once in a while we stray off topic. After all it’s all part of the creative process and hopefully along the way you will be informed and entertained.


Ciao from a Monkey in a Monkey Year,

Share on facebook
29 Jan 2012

Luxurious Illuminations

No Comments decor, ideas, weddings


Share on facebook

Luxurious Illuminations
Hurricanes and chunky pillars are so yesterday! Today’s brides are looking for towering candleabras- the taller the better- with elegant tapered candles. And although candleabras will put the finishing touch on the most elegant venue- I love the juxposition of using this polished look in a rustic barn. Mixing the old with the new is what it is all about. The candelabra at this wedding at The Hanah Resort warms the table on a cold January evening.
Candelabras at a romantic Catskills wedding
Continuing the theme- chandeliers. I use them everywhere. In tent installations, barns and of course outside! A large chandelier makes an important statement, but several smaller pieces, clustered together is sublime. Several candlelit chandeliers suspended from a huge branch make the entrance at The Roxbury Barn even more enchanting!
Chandeliers at a Catskills wedding at the Roxbury Barn
Chandeliers at a Catskills wedding at the Roxbury Barn

Share on facebook
20 Dec 2011

Seeing Red

No Comments inspiration, weddings


Share on facebook

Bridal bouquets in wide color palette
Color. I’m a sucker for it-always have been. As a florist and wedding planner, I think it is the first step in creating a wedding that reflects your style and personality.
For Molly and Phen’s wedding, the palette ranged from the softest blush to the deepest, richest burgundy. These hues set the tone for a romantic and ethereal wedding.
Bridal bouquet in shades of red
Molly’s lush bouquet features dinner plate dahlias in the palest shade of pink. I grow them along with several other varieties in the gardens behind the shop. I used crab apple branches, also from the property, to create the shape and garden roses, zinnias and peegee hydrangeas complete the look.
Bridal head piece of red flowers
Molly’s bohemian style is reflected in her headpiece. It was very important to her that it was perfect, and I think it was! It was so important that I made two. One for the ceremony and another, brighter one for dancing the night away!
Red bridal flowers: head piece

Share on facebook