Wedding Redux – Ambiance, Memories and Gratitude

Today during wedding week, I’m going to share with you some of the details around how I made venue and vendor decisions, and how I thanked my guests for their presence and their generous gifts.

The Church

We were lucky in this aspect as our local Roman Catholic church is just spectacular. Its beauty makes it highly coveted though, so we had to book pretty early and a lot of the dates were unavailable. I’d originally wanted to have the wedding in late April or early May but May was completely booked and since Easter was late last year, late April was out for us too. So, we picked April 9th and thankfully the day of turned out to be unseasonably beautiful!

The Venue

The day I walked into the Lake Valhalla Club in Montvale, NJ, I heard angels sing. Seriously, it was like a RomCom movie moment – I just knew. I’d been visiting traditional wedding venues for weeks, and was always a little disappointed that they didn’t capture the essence of our slightly rough edges. The other places were grand, magnificent and refined but those who know us, know that doesn’t fit the bill. The LVC ballroom is rustic, with high ceilings and a breath taking view of Lake Valhalla. So, while I actually saw this when I walked in:

my mind saw this:

They could have served rocks for dinner and I wouldn’t have cared. Thankfully though, it wasn’t only a gorgeous venue, they ended up having wonderful food and impeccable service too. The maitre’d, Perry, was outstanding and SUPER flexible, which if you’re an indecisive, frazzled bride, is a lifesaver. For me, choosing this venue was a no-brainer, so if you’re a bride-to-be looking for a venue, I urge you to wait until you find ‘the one.’

The Vendors

The next thing on the list was the vendors – most importantly the photographer and the DJ. (There are many more — transportation, hotel, videographer — but I’ll focus on those two for the sake of brevity. If you’d like more info on any other vendors, just ask in the comments below.)

The Photographer

I don’t think she knows this but when we met with our photographer for the first time, we had already chosen another one. We only met with her because we had already set up the appointment and felt badly canceling. Well, it ended up being the best move we made because Tatiana Breslow blew us away. Technically she had everything we were looking for — she had a lot of experience under her belt, an amazing portfolio, reasonable prices and she gave us the rights to our photos. Beyond that it was very clear she was passionate about photography and was very skilled at her craft. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I place high value on expertise and Tatiana has it in spades. Finally though, it was her personality that clinched it – the three of us just really hit it off. And I knew that on the day of the wedding, that would be important. I got a little bridezilla-y during the portraits and she had the patience of a saint. I’ll never forget that. Overall I couldn’t have been happier with the experience and the final product. (Note: most of the photos in this week’s blog posts were taken by Tatiana.)

The DJ

During our DJ search there were several things we were looking for. We wanted someone who was passionate about music, had music tastes beyond traditional wedding songs, was able to infuse Latin music into the repertoire, and could think on his feet and be able to direct the flow of the party seamlessly. When we met with Gregg and Greg of Ambient DJ, that’s exactly what they projected. Throughout the process they were great as well — regularly sending emails about songs they thought we would like. Also, their planning tools were GREAT — with access to a MASSIVE database of music to help us pick some must have songs. Finally, and most importantly, they both had great attitudes and on the day of the wedding that was very evident. Our guests loved the music and danced all night long — they even let me play DJ for a bit which was pretty awesome!

The Thank You Cards

While I was stalking researching photographers and the venue, I came across this blog post by another local photographer of a couple who had also had their wedding at LVC. I made a habit of routinely googling “Lake Valhalla Club blog” to see what other couples had done at LVC to get some inspiration. I loved Erica and Dave’s wedding but the thing that really grabbed my attention were those thank you cards towards the end of the post. I had to have them but I couldn’t find any info on them and didn’t even have a clue what they were called. After many many google searches I finally deduced that they are called multi-fold accordion cards and that these particular ones were made over at Kodak Gallery. So, I replicated it with some of our favorite shots of the wedding.

So that does it for today’s wedding post. I hope you enjoyed it and if you’re a bride-to-be I hope this gives you some insight into planning.

Tomorrow, we’ll go over decorations — the centerpieces, table numbers, and some other DIY projects. Finally on Friday, we’ll conclude with everyone’s favorite — the ATTIRE.

Til then, happy reading.



Filed under we create

4 responses to “Wedding Redux – Ambiance, Memories and Gratitude

  1. This entire post blew me away! The venue is absolutely gorgeous and the photos do the wedding justice. Can’t wait to read more!

  2. Catalina,
    The Lake Valhalla Club has great character, and was a refreshing change from the bland banquet halls of New Jersey. Myself, Greg Nice, and Tommydrums are thrilled to have connected with you. It was my favorite wedding event of 2011 given the unique setting, Latin twist, distinctive upgrades, and heavy dance floor action. Thank you for these great words! We are very happy for you and Michael that you made smart choices for your special day and have these memories to cherish for a lifetime! Greg and I are returning to the Lake Valhalla Club this July 7th and can’t wait!

    Happy First Wedding Anniversary!

    Musically yours,
    DJ Gregg Ambient

    • Thanks Gregg. You guys were all fantastic and truly made the day unforgettable. I’m so glad it’s so high on your list! Have a great time on July 7th – the couple and the venue are lucky to have you 🙂

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