Brooklyn Winery Wedding Blog

On Your Wedding Day, The Ceremony Is Your Show

Please enjoy this blog post written by one of Brooklyn Winery's preferred vendors, Chris Shelley! Chris Shelley has created and performed personal, moving and hilarious wedding ceremonies since 2011. He's a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant and the author of Best Ceremony Ever (WW Norton).   Wedding ceremonies are like unique bursts of theater. They are a play-within-a larger play that is the entire wedding evening. They have a set, music, dramatic entrances, costumes, props, a cast, a script, a narrator, romantic leads, and engaging dialogue.  During the wedding ceremony, couples enact a series of short scenes that guide them through the rite of passage we call getting married: a vow scene, a ring scene, a kiss scene. But couples often wonder how they can make sure their ceremony is personalized and unique to them. So why do we have wedding ceremonies? Ceremonies help tell the couples’ story, and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to share that story in front of friends and family. You might also say that the ceremony is the emotional rocket-launch of the entire evening! But the most important thing to remember is that a ceremony’s theatrical elements can, and should, be directed and designed to your personal taste: The Set Every wedding space has grand potential when it comes to decoration, but the true centerpiece should always be you - the couple! Some kind of central arch, doorway or focal point helps draw the eye toward the couple at center stage, and within that, decor can be as ornate or simple as you want – decide what decorative elements will help reflect your personalities, be it ornate florals or photographs of family members! The Music Music instantly dictates emotion, so choose something that honors your feelings about your special person. Do you have a favorite tune? A song that played when you first kissed? The music that played the night you got engaged? It could have meaningful lyrics, it could be instrumental, just give your wedding the soundscape you prefer! (Fun fact: You will be legally married even if you don’t choose Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Yes, other pieces of music exist!) Dramatic Entrances When your cast members enter, would you rather they stroll up the aisle in a bashful hush, or can they MAKE AN ENTRANCE, maybe set to the music? If bridesmaids and groomsmen are partnered up as they enter, have them work out some way to make their entrance unique, from the way they walk or dance up the aisle to a unique, celebratory high-five before they take their place. A fun entrance is a great way to grab your audience's attention. The Cast  The members of your bridal party could just stand up there and look pretty, or they could partake in the ceremony. Have them interact with the officiant (narrator) like a Greek chorus, have them sing a song, lead a cheer, do the wave or otherwise support the telling of your love story. Or, keep things simple and do away with the bridal party altogether! It's your day after all. Costumes Do you want a backdrop of penguins and prom queens or would you rather dress your bridal party in themed costumes, perhaps a roaring 20’s look, Zombies, a Royal Court or a chorus line of Harry Potter wizards. The visual stretch of bridal party, couple and officiant work together to create a tableau worth directing to your tastes. Props When your bridal party enters, are the bridesmaids carrying bouquets? Why not stuffed animals, or bubble-blowers, or Kleenex? When you exchange wedding rings, what do you say as you place the ring on your partner’s finger? Do the rings have their own story? Did you design them yourself, did they belong to your grandmother, are they inscribed with your favorite quote? Let your guests know. It will all help tell your story! Romantic Leads This is you, couple! Other than a different costume than your bridal party, how else will you set yourselves apart? By standing in a ring of roses or on a mini stage? In a spotlight? Held aloft by brawny groomsmen? Would you rather do the entire ceremony in the round? Don't be afraid to get creative with the set-up and find unique ways for you both to interact with your friends and family. The Dialogue Your lines are your vows: do you want to repeat famous phrases or create your own? Or why not do both? When couples write personal vows, and say them out loud to each other in the ceremony, it is the most touching, beautiful, personal and inclusive thing they can do; the whole day is about sharing your love for each other, and the vows resonate at its heart. Some couples have always wanted to say famous phrases they’ve heard at other weddings (“Until death do us part”, “to have and to hold”) but they can still personalize them: (“in sickness and in health, I'll never get sick of you!”).  The Narrator This is the big one, because the narrator, aka the officiant, sets the mood, energy and pace for the whole ceremony. Choose wisely. Hire a professional, ideally a trained Celebrant. Celebrants know how to write a good love story, command a room, keep things moving, spark joy and laughter, hold delicate moments and at all times make sure that everyone remembers why you’ve all gathered. Celebrants lend a director’s eye to the whole ceremony, harmonizing all of these theatrical elements. (P.S. I am heavily, personally and passionately biased in favor of using a professional.) Your wedding is your show, and your time to shine. So step up to the spotlight and show everyone why your love story is so special!   


Winery Wedding Invitations

Choosing the Perfect Invitations for a Winery Wedding

Winery weddings are classy: everyone knows that. It only makes sense that your wedding invitations should set the tone right from the outset and show all your guests that the celebration of your love will be an event to remember. But which style of invitation suits a winery wedding? Does it have to be something that reminds people of wine? It can, by all means, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be so. We’ve put together a shortlist of stunning styles for your ideal wedding invitation so that you can pick the option that feels right for you on your big day.


Winter Wedding Colors

Winter Wedding Color Palettes

There is something magical about a winter wedding. With the possibility of a light dusting of snow, the glimmer of candlelight in the romantic evening darkness, and a rich, supple color palette that suits the time of year perfectly, it’s slowly becoming one of our favorite wedding seasons. The color trends predicted by The Black Tux for the winter of 2018 are gorgeous, and we have already seen hints of them in past weddings at Brooklyn Winery. Their trend forecasts are full of unique and stunning color pairings that reflect the gorgeous look and cozy feel of a winter wedding.


Preferred Vendor Spotlight: Photographers

  ‘Tis the season for wedding planning! With the holidays around the corner and love in the air, countless lovers are mustering up the courage to propose every day. If you are newly affianced, this post is for you. This month, we are featuring the wedding photographers on our preferred vendors list; our very favorite local experts who regularly shoot gorgeous weddings here at Brooklyn Winery. We love working with these photographers, and our couples do too!


Wedding Shoes

Wedding Shoe Styles We Love

Real talk: everyone loves shoes. Men, women, brides, bridesmaids, groomsmen; shoes are always fun to shop for. Picking the perfect wedding shoe requires a bit of thought, and often the chosen shoe provides a window into the personality of the bride. Whether it’s with a little sparkle, a little shine, or a smooth and polished look, the shoe choice says something about wearer.


A Case For Friday and Sunday Weddings

  Saturdays are often thought of as king when it comes to wedding dates, but here at Brooklyn Winery, we book Friday and Sunday weddings almost as quickly. There are many advantages to looking beyond a Saturday for your celebration (Women Getting Married can back us up here)! Choosing your wedding date can seem like a huge decision, but the truth is that day of the week should fall pretty low on the priority list, especially if it means that you can get married during the season you prefer at the venue you love! 


FeatureImage_Traditions

Best Wedding Traditions to Keep, and Which to Skip

    Some of the harder wedding decisions often deal with the question of tradition. Which wedding traditions to incorporate and which to kick to the curb? Choosing only the ones that are important to you can involve diplomatically navigating family customs, expectations, and norms. The good news is, modern weddings have transformed old traditions into personal interpretations, so the conventions are constantly evolving, loosening, and expanding.


Wedding Menu Selections

Wedding Menu Selection Best Practices

    Table linens, glassware, minute-by-minute timelines…we admit that some wedding planning details can get tedious. The one detail that always provides a (tasty) respite is the menu selection! While you should choose food items that you find delicious, there are some best practices when it comes to crafting a winning menu. We picked our wedding sous chef’s brain to get some hot tips from the pros!


What Not to Forget

What Not to Forget: Wedding Reminders!

    You probably won't forget any of the big things on the days leading up to your wedding, so the little things can make a huge difference in making you feel in control for one of the biggest occasions of your life. There’s a lot you can do to ensure that every single detail is as flawless as you imagined, and being mindful of what tends to be forgotten is one way to keep everything together! As we host weddings at the winery every weekend, we have seen our fair share of forgetfulness, whether it be physical items, or essential to-dos. Therefore, here is our list of must-remembers for the days leading up to your best day ever!


Wedding Social Media

Wedding Social Media: Using Instagram & Snapchat

  Humans love to share, and social media is the perfect avenue for your family and friends to engage in your wedding, both leading up to the big day, in the moment, and years after. Social media is part of all of our lives, so it’s only natural to want to find fun ways to incorporate it into your wedding. Your guests and loved ones can share their favorite moments, selfies, and memories of your wedding celebration from your engagement through to your post-wedding brunch.


Wedding Wire Vendors

Booking Wedding Vendors: A Month by Month Guide

We are taking the stress out of wedding planning by giving you a step-by-step guide to booking your vendors—a month by month guide in collaboration with WeddingWire—along with many tips from our team of wedding experts to ensure that planning your wedding is smooth and easy. Trust us, we know that wedding planning is an enormous undertaking, but luckily, we also know the best ways to manage your list of decisions, to ensure that you can enjoy it every step of the way.


Stress-Free Wedding Planning: The Brooklyn Winery Guide

  Wedding planning requires, in our modest estimate, making about one million decisions in the months leading up to the big day. Ranging from tiny details like the color of ink on your invitations’ return address, to big decisions like venue, to the menu selection, seating chart, music, honeymoon, shoes—the list quickly piles up. A seemingly endless list can open the door to a whole lot of stress, but we are here to tell you that needn’t be the case!


FeatureImage_Wedding Dress Trends

2017 Brooklyn Brides: Wedding Dress Styles

  In the haze that is wedding planning, a beacon of joy often comes in the form of the wedding dress. With the wedding dress, you can choose exactly what you want, and make sure that it fully reflects your personality. Styles range infinitely, but we’ve noticed several recurring trends in wedding dresses over the last year, and want to show off some of our beautiful Brooklyn Winery couples and our brides’ wonderful, diverse gowns!


Wedding venue, beach, escort cards, barn

Wedding Venue Styles: Full Service Venues vs. Raw Spaces

  Planning a wedding opens the door (or Pandora’s Box!) to many, many, many questions. While each and every one of those questions must eventually be addressed, one of the first decisions that every couple needs to make is: wedding venue. When it comes to wedding venues, the options range dramatically. Want to get married on the beach, or in a castle? No problem! Always dreamed of saying “I Do” in a theme park? Totally possible!


Top 5 Wedding Trend Predictions for 2017

Top 5 Wedding Trend Predictions for 2017

  With our sales team on the phone with prospective wedding couples every day and our events team on site running weddings every weekend, the staff at Brooklyn Winery truly has an inside line on what wedding trends are coming in 2017. Some of these trends started picking up speed in 2016, and some will soon be making their first widespread debuts. In any case, this year, the trends will be everywhere. Here is a list of our Top 5 Wedding Trend Predictions for 2017!


Brooklyn Winery Photographers Blog

Finding a Wedding Photographer: Where to Start

  Every wedding detail is important, but finding a wedding photographer takes time and care, as the choice you make will matter for years to come! Finding your venue is always the first stop you should make on the road to planning your perfect wedding. Once you’ve booked the venue, you’ve got a date, a place, an open bar, and delicious food for your guests. Following that decision, it’s nice to enjoy some down time before jumping into the nitty gritty details. However, when looking at next steps, it’s important to prioritize by taking into account the availability of different types of vendors. For instance, florists can do more than one event per day, so you might worry less about that than a photographer, who is just one person, and therefore cannot double book.


Brooklyn Winery Winter Wedding Blog

Top 5 Reasons to Get Married in Winter

It can be difficult to sift through all of the winter wedding ideas out there. A lot of brides tend to steer clear of the winter for one of two reasons: they’re worried about the weather, or they don’t want a stereotypical winter wonderland. Planning your wedding can be a difficult task, especially when looking at wedding venues. Even if you find a location that you LOVE, it can be difficult to secure the date you want. Why not make more options available to yourself? By considering the “off-peak” months of December through February, you open up a huge, new variety of options—and there need not be a snowflake in sight.


Brooklyn Winery Magazine Blog

Bridal Guide Photo Shoot at Brooklyn Winery

Here at Brooklyn Winery, we always emphasize that the space, while filled with character, is well suited for a variety of different brides. Earlier this year, Bridal Guide stopped by to demonstrate just that with their July/August issue fashion shoot. Throughout the 6-page article, you'll see different parts of our space as the backdrop for several different designers, from the uniquely chic Temperley to the always classy and fabulous Vera Wang. Grab this issue, on stands now, for some incredible bridal inspiration and contact us to inquire about hosting your wedding or wedding-related event at Brooklyn Winery.


Brooklyn Winery Cake Toppers Blog

Inspiration: The Best [of the best] Wedding Cake Toppers

What you choose to to crown your wedding cake (or cupcake spread...or pie...or doughnuts) is an opportunity to showcase a bit of you and your beloved. You want to choose something that represents the two of you as a couple; perhaps it’s a classic monogram of your initials, an inside joke, or something whimsical that will elicit “ooh’s”, “aah’s,” and "oh that's perfect" from your guests. Your marriage and your relationship is unique, so have fun choosing your wedding cake toppers! A few things to keep in mind when selecting your perfect topper:


Brooklyn Winery Guest List Blog

Wedding Venues and Your Guest List

If you are engaged, you have already been or will be faced with the dilemma of trying to solidify your guest list while pleasing one or more of the following: you, your significant other, your parents, friends, family, and co-workers. Do you keep it small and intimate and just invite close friends and family? Do you believe the more the merrier? Do you give everyone a plus one? Thus goes the drama of the wedding day guest list, but so often, you’ll need to choose your venue before you can figure out those sometimes-messy details. We’re here to talk numbers and venues, and how to strategically make the two work together like good wine and cheese.


Wedding Cost

The Cost of the Matter: How Much Does a New York Wedding Cost?

    New York is many things: bustling metropolis; cultural pinnacle; financial-fashion-art-food-and-pretty-much-everything-else capital of the world (not to brag). It’s also home to many (many) people, which means it’s a top destination for weddings. And according to a recent Reuters article, New York is also the most expensive city in the United States to get married. The reported average cost of a wedding in the New York City metropolitan area is $65,824. But what does that price tag actually include? We know you have questions, and we have some answers to help you plan your Big Apple wedding.


Brooklyn Winery DJ or Band Blog

The Wedding Music Question: Band or DJ?

So you are finally planning your wedding and have come to this somewhat common roadblock: do you choose a DJ...or a live band? Do you prefer the classy exclusivity of a live band or would you rather hear “Hey Ya” in its original Outkast glory?


Seated Dinner

To Sit or Not to Sit: How to Choose the Best Dinner Service for Your Wedding

You’ve spent hours getting ready. You’ve just walked down the aisle and exchanged vows. You are officially married. And now you’re famished! Choosing your dinner service dictates the flow and vibe of your wedding and can sometimes be a daunting decision. Do you go with a seated, more traditional dinner? Or do you mix things up with a cocktail style, roaming service? Or do you even opt for the flexibility of the sometimes-dreaded buffet?


Wedding Splurge

Top 5 Areas to Splurge on a Wedding: Things You Shouldn’t Skimp On

It doesn’t matter what you choose to spend on your wedding—everyone works with some kind of budget. There are creative ways to save on different elements, and every couple has their priorities, but there are a few areas where you should avoid taking short cuts, and allow a splurge.


Brooklyn Winery Pinterest Blog

Top 5 Wedding Pinterest Boards

There is nothing more visually stunning and elegant than a perfect wedding. You may have just gotten engaged, so who can blame you for starting to think about every detail, every color, every potential flower and dessert? (Okay, maybe you were doing that long before your engagement...and there is no shame in that.)


Wedding Locations

Comparing Wedding Locations: Manhattan vs. Brooklyn

When it comes to planning the most important day of your life, the decisions are endless. Of the various choices you will need to make, one of the most important is the “where.” Comparing possible wedding locations thoroughly is a good place to start. Ten years ago, a New York City wedding meant a Manhattan wedding. But with the dramatic changes over the last decade, Brooklyn has grown tremendously as a viable—and some might argue (present company included!), highly desirable—wedding locale.


Wedding Venue Questions

Most Important Questions to Ask A Wedding Venue

Keep in mind that everyone you meet with knows you’re planning a wedding for the first time, and are likely to have a plethora or questions. You’re not expected to be an expert, but with varying levels of service throughout the industry, it can be extremely helpful to arm yourself with some important knowledge. These are some of the very important, but still fairly basic questions you want to make sure you’re asking your prospective venue.