Wedding jam

19th century Staffordshire figure of Romeo & Juliet.

19th century Staffordshire figure of Romeo & Juliet.

Off-the-shoulder gowns, third dresses, copper, outdoor chandeliers, glitter and food that hangs from walls — these are just some of the 2015 wedding trends. While I’m intrigued by the notion of increasing dance floor space by ridding your venue of footprint-demanding food tables, what makes The Most Fabulous Wedding in the World isn’t built around wall food. The Most Fabulous Wedding in the World is made like you make jam — one part sweet to three parts real stuff.


Part One of the Real Stuff:

Conflict. It might start between you and your intended. Or, it might be a little dust up between your divorced parents, or your mother and his mother, or your father and his uncle, or his flower girl and your dog. You never know exactly when it will happen, or where it will happen, but there will be conflict. One way to keep conflict at bay is keep your family busy.

Try giving your family a job that requires cooperation and is fun. For instance, save money and provide direction by doing your own flower arrangements. Or, go one step further (and keep them even busier). Brittany Hollow Farm in Rhinebeck is a U-pick flower farm. Your family can enjoy hummingbirds and butterflies as they walk amongst the zinnias, snapdragons, cosmos, celosia, and other colorful crops. Buy boxes of mason jars at a local hardware store — Ball’s Heritage Collection includes lovely green or purple jars.


If you are having a destination wedding here in the Catskills or Hudson Valley, involving your family in a ceremony-related task can also give them a better sense of place. Ostensibly you chose your wedding destination because it has meaning for you and your beloved. Share that with your family. In addition to fresh air and amazing vistas, the Woodstock area has a rich history of arts. Send them to Fiber Flame Studio, a crafting venue spacious enough to accommodate even a large wedding party, to make napkin rings, flags, table decorations or just about anything. Shea and Christina at Fiber Flame are endlessly creative when it comes to crafting party ideas. Your family could even use found objects from a hike.


Part Two of the Real Stuff:

Acts of God. It doesn’t have to be a hurricane watch for nature to totally upset your wedding plans. Forewarned is forearmed. The National Weather Service’s climate prediction center provides long-range forecasts that can guide you to likely good times to schedule your snow shoe/cliff rappelling/whitewater rafting ceremony. If you just want to know if you’ll need an umbrella between your wedding and reception venues, Dark Sky is my favorite weather app for down-to-the-minute precipitation predictions. For those without iPhones or other Apple devices Hudson Valley Weather is an outstanding resource for our region as well.

As the couple getting married, it’s important to keep in mind that you have the most power to keep your special day wonderful for all, regardless of high winds, flash floods, or unfortunate world events. The trick is, you have to embrace flexibility. I was a wedding singer for ten years and observed too many disastrous events and not enough joyful occasions. The good ones all had one thing in common: the couple getting married decided their day would be special no matter what happened. You can count on the unexpected. Your job is to deal with the unforeseen with grace. If you are having a wedding, as opposed to eloping, it is because you want the blessing and support of friends and family. Your loved ones get their cues from you.


Part Three of the Real Stuff:

Fear. Getting married signals the start of a new life — the kind of change that would give anyone the jitters. Stomach butterflies are particularly acute for first time marriages. Counseling with your wedding officiant or a wedding counselor can help get the most important questions answered. People are continuing to get married later in life, with remarriages accounting for the biggest segment of growth in the wedding industry. For seasoned couples who feel pretty relaxed about their pending union, nervousness might stem from fear of Real Stuff Parts One and Two. Fortunately for those getting married in this region, we specialize in relaxation.

It’s crucial to take especially good care of yourself the month before your wedding. LysaIngalsbe at Body & Soul can advise you on how to make reasonable dietary changes to help ready you. While I have one friend who would rather eat hot coals than do yoga, most (including me) find it a very centering activity. Shakti Yoga has all levels of classes, a huge variety of class times, and locations in Saugerties, Woodstock and Kingston.

Set a relaxed tone for your wedding week by booking a facial (not something you want to do too close to your wedding day) with Debbie Dougan at Glo. Debbie will go one soothing step further and come to your house to do your facial. Book a wedding-day massage with Vanessa Vera. Union Shave in the heart of Saugerties has old-world whimsy and sets a peaceful pace for wedding day too.


The Sweet Stuff:

The sweetest stuff is found where pleasure meets meaning.

After you have made time to talk about the people, places, and things that are meaningful to you as a couple, carve out time to talk about what fills you with awe and inspires you. An element of wonder that you might want to include in your ceremony might easily and organically come to you. I just went to a wedding down South. It was a dear friend I’ve had for over thirty years. I was “best man” at his first wedding. That marriage, while resulting in two terrific kids, ended badly and I was surprised that he included me in his second wedding. I even asked if he was sure that I wasn‘t bad luck?” They had their wedding in a butterfly house at a science museum. The butterflies were delightful, a great symbol of the possibility of change. This element of wonder and their trust in each other and their loved ones made me happier than the best strawberry jam would have.