Groom's Holiday Gift Guide

Check out my featured article on  The Quintessential Gentleman for the full gift guide!

So you’ve crossed off the major to-do’s. You got the ring, popped the question and she said yes! You narrowed down your list and you’ve chosen the men that will stand up at the altar with you and hold you down as you enter the next stage of your life. But you’re not quite done yet- you’ve got a little more work to do, my friend.

Gifting your groomsmen for participating in your special day is not a requirement but definitely a great way to thank them for being a part of the journey.

Not sure what to get or where to start? The Quintessential Gentleman has you covered!

Here’s Why: Wedding Guest Attire doesn’t have to be stressful

Let’s face it- figuring out what to wear to a wedding isn’t rocket science but there is definitely a method to figure out precisely what to wear so that you’re not under or over-dressed. Selecting the perfect-outfit-to-stand-out-and-strut-your-stuff but also in-line with what everyone else is wearing so you don’t-stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb-can be tricky. With a little help from my friends at The Black Tux, here are some surefire ways to make sure you’re a mainstay at the photobooth and have plenty of selfie options to choose from. They even created a quick reference guide to for us to use.. see below ;)

1.     Start with the invite.

This is the best way to figure out if the formality of the celebration.  But how on earth do you figure that out if they don’t explicitly name it on the invite? Couples will match their invites to the themes of their wedding so observing the design and other content of the invite is your next best way to decide.  Here are some good ways to decipher:

a.     Wow-factor when you open the invite.. is it in a lot of special envelopes or boxes, heavy cardstock, was it specially delivered?

b.     Font. Is it clean and precise or fancy script?

c.      Design. Does it look beachy, earthy or super elegant?

d.     Location. Is the wedding at a farm, beach, traditional wedding banquet hall or at a swanky hotel or venue? (doesn’t hurt to let Google help you with this one) Also, note that this one isn’t the definitive answer- I have planned Black Tie weddings on farms in the past.

Note: Most couples will denote on the invite when the wedding is Black Tie optional or above.

2.     Once you’ve figured out all the formality stuff you’ll want to consider where to shop and colors.

My top recommendations are Rent the Runway and The Black Tux. If you’ve been following my blog, you might remember I wrote about how amazing Rent the Runway is for ladies – everyone from the bride to the bridesmaids and guests. It is the answer to the age-old problem- “I’m probably not gonna wear this outfit again after I’ve been photographed in it.” Why not rent it a- avoid paying an arm and a leg to then store in your closet, all the while lying to yourself about finding somewhere else to wear it to! Ladies- I’ve done my girl code due diligence. 

Now for the fellas- The Black Tux, is the answer for you as well.. I’m sure you have had to take time out of your busy schedule in the past to go and get fitted for a suit, then had to pick it up and then had to take almost the same amount of time after wearing it to drop it back off at the rental store. With The Black Tux, you don’t have to do any of that. Measure yourself at home, have your very own Fit Specialist check your measurements, try it on a week before the event date and mail back when you’re done. Voila! Not only was it easy but you will be the dapperest wedding date of all.. Yes, dapperest is a new word.. Feel free to use ;)

Now, on to color. Although I tend to go dark, don’t be afraid of color. This is one of the best ways to play up your personality.  Coordinating with the season is a great way to stay on trend and make sure you don’t become that sore thumb I mentioned earlier.

Patterns are another great way to show off your style and coordinate with your date.  Just keep the formality in mind when choosing so that you make sure to stand out in a good way!

3.     Coordinating with your date.

Please do not go crazy matching with your date. By this I mean- avoid reminiscing prom at all costs! Pick 1 color that you can both incorporate in your outfits in subtle ways. If that color is the main color of the lady for example- it can be a complimentary color for the guy with subtle pops in his outfit. A good alternative is to use shades of the same color- but again don’t go crazy.

4.     Comfort is key. Do’s and Don’ts

a.     Don’t wear an outfit you can’t dance in let alone breathe in!

b.     Do bring spare shoes to change into.

c.      Don’t forget a pashmina, bolero or jacket for early spring and late fall affairs.

d.     Do find the perfect pocketbook to hold all the necessities.

That’s all I got for now guys! Hope this helps you be the perfectly dressed wedding guest of your dreams. Let me know if you have any tips you’d like to share! Sharing is caring. <3

4 Non-Traditional Wedding Venues in New York

Wanting a non-traditional wedding in New York?

Looking to stray from the typical banquet halls? Not to worry, this wedding planner has got you covered! Join me for a weekly blog series where I will share a bunch of offbeat, contemporary and even secret venues where you can host your perfect wedding.

The possibilities are endless with a non-traditional venue! Everything from the schedule of events to the style and themes, you can design a wedding that is true to you and your love. Flexibility is key when you want to avoid the run of the mill and host a unique wedding. These venues allow you to imagine and create with little restraint- besides your budge that is. 

All Photography on this post is from the uber talented husband and wife duo J & R Photography!

The Hill | Hudson, NY

The Hill on Hudson is one of my absolute favorite wedding venues. The property itself is beautiful and the views of the Catskills and Berkshire Mountains are stunning. This is the epitome of non-traditional wedding venues. Ceremonies on “The Hill” with picturesque views followed by a cocktails and reception in the Palladian barn. The Palladian barn is multi-leveled with stalls on the 1st floor and vast event space on the 2nd floor. It was built in 1801 so it has all the charm you could ever want and is extremely functional for a wedding. Fully prepared for a bride and groom The Hill has two beautiful dressing rooms for both the bride and groom.

Liberty Warehouse | Brooklyn, NY

Located on Pier 41 in Red Hook, Brooklyn this is a space you have to see in person! This pre-Civil War building has been beautifully renovated to suit all types of events. It boasts beautiful views of the New York Harbor and has a one-of-a-kind view of the Statue of Liberty.

This venue is ideal for offbeat couples who love the idea of straying from the run of the mill wedding venues but are tired of the barns!

Full Moon Resort | Big Indian, NY

Full Moon Resort offers so many options for couples that it’s a wedding planner’s dream! This resort includes flower fields, hillsides, tent options, a rustic barn and a completely separate after party space.  This full service facility can do it all from hosting your dream wedding to housing your guests on location, helping you to drastically cut down on costs like transportation.  Unlike many non-traditional venues, Full Moon Resort can accommodate winter weddings and actually offers discounts to couples who don’t mind the cold.  According to their website, you get a free 7 day stay at their St. John’s Honeymoon Cottage when you guarantee 70 guests lodging at the resort for your big day- ummm that’s a STEAL!

Falkirk Estate | Central Valley, NY

The Falkirk Estate sits on 150 acres of lush grassy fields. I love that it is snuggled up to the Ramapo Mountains. Making it an ideal place for the couple who wants a stunning view for their outdoor ceremony. Falkirk Estate boasts ballrooms that can host small or large weddings. At this venue you get the best of both worlds.

3 Ways Wedding Planners Help Your Budget

Whether your wedding budget is funded by Daddy Warbucks or not- a wedding planner is the number one way to stay within any given budget. Not only does the expertise come in handy for everything from etiquette to décor- you also get a no-holds bar advocate who will make sure that you get the best pricing and highest quality vendors. Staying on budget doesn't have to mean you're pinching pennies. It's more about making sure you get all the important elements at prices you won't later regret! Check out these 3 ways a good wedding planner can keep you on budget.

Vendor Connections

As soon as you hire a wedding planner you gain instant access to a virtual Rolodex of wedding industry professionals of equal or higher caliber.  All the time spent researching vendors is now freed up and you get the peace of mind that your wedding will look and feel exactly how you want it to. The caveat to all of this is obviously that you do the upfront research on your wedding planner to make sure he or she has great reviews and reputation.

Negotiate contracts and pricing

A wedding planner will negotiate pricing on your behalf ensuring the best “bang for your buck” so to speak. The vendor connections come in to play again because the relationships your wedding planner has with other vendors will impact their pricing on items and services. Other than reducing the number of people you invite, this is hands down the best way to stay within budget.

Do it right the first time

How many times have you taken on a seemingly simple project and have inevitably been forced to quit or start over? A wedding planner can either take these projects on herself and complete efficiently based on her expertise or source the appropriate vendor to do it right the first time.  Alternatively, let’s say you hired a photographer but were not impressed with the engagement shoot and you no longer want them for your wedding.  A wedding planner would have saved you the time, energy and money by helping you secure the perfect photographer at the perfect price. 

4 Unique + Off the Beaten Path Wedding Venues in New Jersey

Planning a non-traditional wedding in New Jersey?

Looking to stray from the typical banquet halls? Not to worry, this wedding planner has got you covered! Join me for a weekly blog series where I will share a bunch of offbeat, contemporary and even secret venues where you can host your perfect wedding.

The possibilities are endless with a non-traditional venue! Everything from the schedule of events to the style and themes, you can design a wedding that is true to you and your love. Flexibility is key when you want to avoid the run of the mill and host a unique wedding. These venues allow you to imagine and create with little restraint- besides your budge that is. 

Sterlingbrook Farm | Pittstown, NJ

This renovated barn venue is perfect for the horse-loving bride and groom. It was established in 1979 as an equine veterinary clinic. Horses still roam the property in fenced sections as you drive down the picturesque dirt road entrance. The barn features a huge window and rafters for string lights making it perfect for a small wedding at any time of the day.  

Photography by Cinnamon Wolfe Photography

Laurita Winery | New Egypt, NJ

A vineyard in New Jersey?! Set the perfect ambiance for your wedding at Laurita Winery whether you choose to have it in the winery or smack dab in the middle of the vineyard! Your photos will be nothing short of amazing in this idyllic yet offbeat New Jersey venue.

Photography by Lin Pernille Photography

Photography by Mekina Saylor Weddings 

Willowwood Arboretum | Far Hills NJ

Willowwood Arboretum is perfect for the couple looking for venue where you can create different areas for entertaining while keeping tons of green space. The Stone Barn is too small to host a full wedding inside of it- even a small one. However, a combo of barn and tent provide sufficient coverage from the elements and keeps the open air option on the other side of the barn. The grounds surrounding The Stone Barn make for charming photo ops for you and your guests.

Willowwood is also great for food truck wedding with a paved drive in front of The Stone Barn, multiple food trucks can drive up and serve all of your guests seated under the tent.

Photography by Monika De Myer Photography

Fernbrook Farms | Columbus NJ

The Inn at Fernbrook Farms is a beautiful all-inclusive venue that sits on 200+ acres which you get full access to on your wedding day. The property can host your special day on the open air or tents on their expansive lawns and the Georgian Manor House built in 1750.

Photography by Love & Luck Photo

Top 6 Lessons from a Wedding Planner

As a wedding planner I have seen the good, the bad, the ugly.  The world of weddings is one that knows no limits to emotional up and down rollercoaster rides.  So, I am taking this opportunity to share some important lessons for brides- especially those who will not have a wedding planner or coordinator.  

1.    Hire Wedding Industry Professionals

I know that it may sound very appealing to have a family friend who “does photography” or “plays good music” fulfill these duties at your wedding but take it from me- this is usually a plan for disaster. There are few worse feelings than excitedly opening your wedding photo gallery and having to pick up your jaw from utter disappointment.


2.    Always have a back up plan.

I learned this one early on. Whether it’s needed because of unpredictable weather or unruly guests- back up plans are a must. It’s good to think of the -what if’s and have a solution worked out – even if it’s just in your head. This will make trouble-shooting so much easier.

3.    Purchase a little extra of everything.

This goes for flowers, food, paper goods etc. Giving yourself a little wiggle room for errors or loss will save you a headache in the long run. This is especially true for DIY brides.

4.    Confirm vendors, and then re-confirm.

I expect all vendors in this business to offer exceptional service and honor their word but confirming is still a MUST. Make sure to confirm arrival times, set up times and services prior to the wedding.  Ensuring everyone is on the same page with the timeline will help you enjoy your day.

5.    Create a day of timeline

This is the key to a seamless event. For some this will be super comprehensive packed with details for every person or high-level with only the important items.  Either way, having a timeline will help everyone to run on time.  An added bonus is a timeline will allow each bride to “brain dump” while creating it which in turn helps reduce anxiety and stress levels leading up to the big day.

6.    Learn to let go- enjoy your day.

You can plan every single detail down to the last song the DJ will spin, yet some things are bound to go wrong.  The sooner you embrace this the better you can enjoy that momentous day.