Margaret Sneddon, Harpist

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Wedding tips from Hudson Valley Harpist, Margaret Sneddon


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Cause for Celebration!

Posted by Margaret Sneddon on November 26, 2014 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Cause for Celebration!
Creating the perfect wedding ceremony.


http://www.revzaro.com/hudson-valley-wedding-officiant/


Your wedding ceremony is much more than an excuse for a great party. It’s the reason for the celebration as you commit yourself to the one you love. It deserves just as much careful planning and consideration as the reception.

Luckily, there are a wealth of professionals that can assist you in planning a meaningful ceremony that you will remember for a life-time. It’s never too early to start thinking about this important rite.

If you are a member of a church or synagogue, your house of worship will offer lots of guidance for the wedding ceremony. You will want to discuss the service itself, readings, music and logistics. Your Minister, Priest or Rabbi will be able to familiarize you with the order of the service and offer suggestions about appropriate readings and music. The music director will also have suggestions and be sure to consult with the church secretary if you plan to have a program. If you wish to bring in outside music, it is a courtesy to notify the music director and get their okay. Communication is the key to a beautifully coordinated wedding ceremony.

A ceremony at the reception site, in a park or garden, on the beach, or in some other non-traditional location, offers the opportunity to personalize the service even further. When this is your choice, one of the most important professionals you will choose it the officiant. This is the person who will guide you in creatinga ceremony that reflects your personalities and beliefs. It’s a good idea to research a few in order to find someone with whom you have a good rapport.



Celia Milton – NJ Minister and Wedding Officiant

www.celiamilton.com



Rev Annie Lawrence


photo by Steven Rosen Photography

www.stevenrosenphotography.com


You can find a number of my favorite officiants on my page of recommended professionals at: http/hudsonvalleyharpist.webs.com/weddingprofessionals.htm I have worked with each of these professionals and they can each offer a uniquely personalized ceremony. I highly recommend any of them.

As you think about your ceremony, you may find any number of readings and rituals, such as hand-fasting, a sand ceremony, jumping the broom, or candle-lighting, that attract you. As many good ones as there are, I advise you to pick just one or two that truly reflect your thoughts and feelings for the occasion. These ceremonial rites can be very effective individually but they lose their impact (and you may lose the attention of your guests) if they go on and on. Your officiant will help you select the readings, rites and rituals that are most expressive of your beliefs and wishes.


New York City Reverend Will Mercer


Another very important part of your ceremony is the music. Just like the soundtrack of your favorite movie, the music creates a mood for the entire event. It is a wonderful way to greet your guests as they gather and find their seats and, of course, it ushers in the bridal party. Music can also be incorporated into the body of your wedding ceremony. It can make a beautiful interlude or create emphasis for significant moments. You may want it as background to some of the rituals you use or you may want to have a brief solo at some point. You can read a detailed discussion of ceremony music at:

http/hudsonvalleyharpist.webs.com/ceremonysuggestions.htm




Music is an essential part of any wedding ceremony!

It is very important that the musicians and the officiant be aware of each other and in communication about the music and how it fits into the service. Be sure to let all parties involved know about the others.

Finally, the logistics and cues. Without some advance planning, participants will be unsure of what’s happening and the ceremony can appear disorganized. If you are working with a wedding planner, they will be a tremendous help in creating a smooth flow. The coordinator at your venue can also be very helpful. Proper cuing of the musicians, for instance, can assure that the processional and the processional music start at the same time. As a musician, I have sometimes looked up during the prelude music to see that the bride’s maids have already started down the aisle. Taking a few minutes to consider and discuss the cuing will be well worth it. If you take the time to plan and communicate with everyone, you are much more likely to have a smooth and well-coordinated ceremony that goes off without a hitch.


 


Wedding Planner, Jessica Wilkins-Anavitate of

The New York Wedding Company

sees to the final details of the processional.

photo by Mark Lennihan


10 Important Questions for your Ceremony Musicians

Posted by Margaret Sneddon on November 25, 2014 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

10 Important Questions for your Ceremony Musicians

Once you’ve gotten past the availability, location and price questions, there are still some important things you need to discuss with your ceremony musicians.


1 - What is the start time? You will usually want your musicians to start in advance of the ceremony so that they can be playing as your guests arrive and find their seats. This may or may not be the time that is on the invitation so be very clear with your musicians about when the prelude begins and when the ceremony is expected to start and end. For more on this, check out What Time to Put on the Wedding Invitation



2 - What if things run late? Many musicians are booked by the hour and will charge for the time if you run over. To avoid surprises, be realistic about the actual amount of time required and, if you tend to be “fashionably late” take this into account.


3 - Do you bring your own amplification? If you have more than 50 guests, or if your ceremony takes place either out of doors, or in a cavernous location like a huge cathedral, your musicians will need to be amplified. Be sure that this equipment is provided by your musicians. For more on this' check out To Mic or Not to Mic ....



4 - What do we need to provide? Chairs? Access to electricity? Shade? A flat surface?


5 - What time do you plan to arrive? Most musicians will need a minimum of half an hour to set up. It's important that they have access to the venue early enough to be ready on time.  (There should also be space for them in the room)
Stating the Obvious - Room for the Musicians!


6 = What will you play? It’s important for you to discuss the program with your musicians well in advance of your ceremony. Ceremony Suggestions



7 - What kind of cues will you need? It’s important for your musicians to understand when to begin the processional, when to change the music for the bride, when to play any incidental music and when to begin the recessional. The clues can be as obvious as the rolling down of the runner, the benediction, the breaking of the glass, the kiss. However, it’s important that the musicians know what they will be. Your officiant can help with this.


8 - What will you wear? Most musicians will wear “concert black” unless you specify otherwise. If you have a particular color scheme or theme, you might want to discuss this with your musicians.


9 - When and how do you expect to be paid? Credit card? Cash? Check? How should checks be made out?



10 - What happens if you can’t make it? Most musicians will get there come Hell or High Water but you should also know what will happen if they can’t. If that happens do they provide a substitute? What is their track record?

Of course, you should always remember that your officiant, musicians and the venue function best as a team. Be sure to let your venue and officiant know that there will be live music and provide them all with contact information so that they can coordinate with each other.


Ask these questions and the music will be a wonderful part of your wedding ceremony.

 

                                   


    

Stating the Obvious - Room for the musicians!

Posted by Margaret Sneddon on November 25, 2014 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Stating the Obvious
Leave Room for the Musicians



It would seem to go without saying but be sure to plan a location for the musicians in the room where the cocktail hour is being held. Caterers and restauranteurs are wondeful at using all the available space to best advantage. They need to know that you will be having musicians in order to integrate them into the plan. All too often, I have arrived to find every corner occupied by stations, bars, and tables. It's a shame to tuck a beautiful instrument into some crowded corner and not great for anyone when the furniture has to be rearranged at the last minute. 


It's important for musicians to be visible but out of the line of traffic. Although it might seem to make sense to place them in the center of the room, as soon as a crowd arrives, they will be surrounded and completely invisible (and probably inaudible as well) Directly behind the buffet or bar line is also less than ideal.  It is far better for them to be somewhere on the perimeter of the room. If available, a slightly elevated location is wonderful. A stage is perfect!

For maximum audibility, they should be in the center of a wall if possible. If they are on the end of a long room, the sound may not be heard very well on the other end. 

Be careful with balconies, too. If they are too high, the musicians can't be seen. High balconies are ideal for herald trumpeters who can stand at the edge where their banners and costumes create a marvelous effect. However, they are bad for seated musicians who cannot be seen over the balustrade. Attractive as the name may seem, the musician's gallery is really not a great location for musicians! 


Trumpeters are perfect for balconies


Access to outlets is also an important consideration.

It's wonderful that you have engaged live music for your wedding cocktail hour. Beautiful instruments create an impressive visual effect that can enhance the appearance and decor of your reception as well. With a little bit of planning, a perfect location for your musicians can surely be arranged. Be sure to discuss this detail with your venue, decorator, or wedding coordinator. 


A slightly elevated stage like this at the Waldorf Astoria Starlight Roof is ideal 



To mic or not to mic...

Posted by Margaret Sneddon on November 24, 2014 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (3)

To Mic or Not to Mic...


http://www.ottawaweddingmagazine.com/3-tips-using-microphone-weddings/


To mic or not to mic... That is often the question when it come to the ceremony.

Purists may believe that a singer, musician or officiant should be able to project enough for everyone to hear. However - trust me on this - if the ceremony is outside or if there are more than a dozen or so guests, not matter how strong the voices, they won't be heard  beyond the first couple of rows.

I've sat in the back of too many ceremonies, observing fidgety guests, uable to hear any anything that's being said or, more importantly for me, any of my cues.

The ceremony is a solemn commitment. The readings, the words of the officiant and the vows that are being spoken have been selected with care. Friends and family are gathered to witness and share in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Everyone wants to hear as well as see you. Using a mic will assure that this can happen without your having to strain your voices. 


Arranging for a microphone and speakers should not be left to the very last minute. Your DJ or band may be able to provide one but they need to know in advance and there may be some cost involved. It's important not to assume that they will be prepared at the last minute.

The venue also may be able to provide one but, again, this is something you need to ask in advance.

As a musician, I always provide my own sound system as do many officiants. In my experience, it's best not to rely on a third party.

So... be sure to think about the sound system and microphones for all the participants and have a memorable ceremony that eveyone can hear. 

For some great tips about using a microphone please visit http://www.ottawaweddingmagazine.com/3-tips-using-microphone-weddings/








Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow - History on the Hudson

Posted by Margaret Sneddon on November 24, 2014 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow - History on the Hudson


The Hudson River Valley has long been admired for its beauty. During the gilded age, the American Aristocracy made it a summer time play ground. The likes of the Goulds and the Vanderbilts built their elaborate "Summer Cottages" along it's banks. The Hudson River School painters glorified its scenic vistas in their works. Today, many of these magnigicent edifaces remain and are available to be used as wedding venues.

Made legendary by the writings of Washington Irving, the beautiful Hudson River Valley village of Tarrytown offers many wonderful wedding locations. Some of my favorites include the Castle on the Hudson, Tappan Hill, Lyndhurst Mansion, Tarrytown House, James House, and any of the Historic Hudson Valley sites, not to mention Hotels such as the Marriott, Sheraton and Doubletree.

No matter which location you choose, don't forget the ceremony music. The elegant harp is a wonderful match for a beautiful venue.


The Castle on the Hudson www.castleonthehudson.com


This photo of the Castle on the Hudson from DJNew York.com

The Castle on the Hudson is dear to my heart because Bill and I had our wedding cerebration there. It was a fairy tale wedding for us and will be for you if you select this gorgeous location for your wedding. High on a hill top, the Castle is a familiar landmark that can be seen from many of the highways approaching Tarrytown. It commands magnificent views of the Hudson River and environs. The sumpteously furnished Norman style Castle invokes the romance of a bygone era. It was the perfect setting for our Scottish Style wedding.


The Medieval Great Room is perfect for ceremony or reception

Depending on the size of your party, you may use the beautiful tapestry room, the intimate library, the elegant Caramai Ballroom or the Baronial style great room with its heraldic motifs, stained glass windows, cathedral ceiling and musician's gallery. Wedding ceremonies may also take place in the beautifully manicured gardens with their expansive views of the Hudson River. No matter which room or garden you choose, the harp is a wonderful match for your ceremony of cocktail hour music.

Margaret in the Castle Library The harp fits perfectly in this beautiful setting

The helpful and attentive staff at the Casle will see to your every need and make your wedding a dream come true at the Castle.



TAPPAN HILL MANSION - www.abigailkirsch.com


Photo courtesy Ananda Lima Photography www.anandalima.com/

Not far from the Castle is Tappan Hill, once the estate of American author Mark Twain and now catered by the inimitable Abigail Kirsch.This beautiful mansion sits atop another hill and commands panoramic views of the Hudson from its manicured lawns and landscaped gardens. There are two garden locations for ceremonies, an expansive glassed in porch and many rooms within the mansion in which to have your ceremony and reception. The intimate Hudson room is perfect for your cocktail hour, rehearsal dinner, or small reception. The elegantly appointed Pavilion room hosts larger parties.... and don't forget the music! The romantic and elegant harp is a perfect match for any of the beautiful rooms or gardens. 


Photo courtesy Ananda Lima Photography www.anandalima.com/

Tappan Hill reflects an era of elegance, and refinement. Its gracious rooms transport your guests to a time of gentility and leisure. It’s wonderful staff will see to your every need.



LYNDHURST MANSION - http//:lyndhurst.wordpress.com/

As you travel south on Broadway, you will arrive at Lyndhurst Castle, another fairy tale setting. The winding drive through the beautifully landscaped English style gardens will suddenly reveal a mansion that might very well have been the inspiration for Disney’s Princess Castle. The towers and turrets of this gothic revival style mansion create a fanciful confection. A National Trust and Historic Hudson valley property, Lyndhurst is considered by many to be the finest example of Gothic Revival architecture in America.


If the weather permits, your ceremony may well take place inthe rose garden followed by cocktails on the veranda overlooking the Hudson. Receptions may be tented or take place in the gorgeously adapted carriage house. In any of these locations, the harp can create an elegant atmosphere. On a beautiful day, it's perfect for your Rose Garden ceremony. 

Contact Lyndhurst for information about catering andentertainment.

http://lyndhurst.wordpress.com/private-events/



HISTORIC HUDSON VALLEY SITES http/www.hudsonvalley.org/

Lyndhurst is one of several sites that fall under the blanket of Historic HudsonValley. This wonderful organization includes a number of Tarrytown and nearby landmark locations, several of which are available for weddings and special events. In addition to Lyndhurst, they include Sunnyside,the home of Washington Irving, Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, a working pre-Revolutionary Farm, The Union Church in Pocantico Hills, with its famed Chagall windows and Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton. Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate, is also a Historic Hudson Valley Property as is Montegomery Place a bit further north.

Washington Irving's Sunnyside - www.hudsonvalley.org

Inquire about weddings in any of these Historic Hudson Valley locations at: http/www.hudsonvalley.org/about/site-rentals/weddings-parties



TARRYTOWN HOUSE - http/www.tarrytownhouseestate.com/

Images of Tarrytown House Estate on the Hudson, Tarrytown
This photo of the Biddle House at Tarrytown House Estate on the Hudson is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The Tarrytown Conference Center is a complex of garden locations and beautiful buildings perfect for a storybook wedding. For a large party you may choose the stone fronted Biddle House with its gracious library, elegant parlor and expansive ball room. A smaller wedding may take place in the pillared King Mansion, an example of refined Classical Revival Elegance that recalls the Antebellum South

Pictures of Tarrytown House Estate on the Hudson, Tarrytown
This photo of Tarrytown House Estate on the Hudson King Mansion is courtesy of TripAdvisor

If the weather is fine, you will probably choose the natural beauty of the statue garden for your ceremony. In cooler or inclement weather,the library is a romantic alternative.


THE JAMES HOUSE - http://jameshousemansion.com/about/


The James House Mansion on the property of Phelps Memorial Hospital

http://jameshousemansion.com/about/

North of Tarrytown in Sleepy Hollow, the enchanting, Victorian James house is on the property of Phelps Memorial Hospital overlooking the Kendal Rretirement Community. This elegant Italianate mansion with it's wrap around porch, classical marble hall and gracious interior rooms is the perfect setting for a small wedding steeped in Old World charm.


The James House entry way 

In addition to these Historic Sites, Tarrytown is at a crossroads and offers many modern hotels with state of the art amenities for your Hudson Valley Wedding.

And don't forget the music as you plan your wedding in Historic Tarrytown. The elegant harp is a perfect match for any of these locations. The harp makes any event extra special!

Margaret at Sunnyside.

Piper Paul, McCue welcomes guests to the Castle

http://PaulVMcCue.webs.com


What Time to put on the Wedding Invitation????

Posted by Margaret Sneddon on November 24, 2014 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)

What Time to put on the Wedding Invitation???

Photo courtesy Maximilian B. Nucci photography - www.mbnphoto.com/

What time do we put on the wedding invitation? There used to be a clear cut answer to this question but these days, with more and more alternatives to the traditional wedding, it can be a tricky question.

Part of the answer lies in the location of the wedding ceremony.

If your wedding ceremony is taking place in a church, the time on the invitation is the time the ceremony is scheduled to start. Guests are expected to arrive prior to this time in order to be seated. Traditionally, no guests are seated after the seating of the mothers.

If the ceremony takes place at the catering hall, the time on the invitation is usually the time that guests are expected to arrive. Many catering halls have the guests congregate is a separate room where they may be served sparkling water or champagne before they are escorted into the area where the ceremony is to take place.

As a ceremony musician, I am always careful to be very clear on this point and on the start time for the music. In my experience, there are often at least a few guests that arrive late to the church or early to the catering hall. In consultation with the bride and groom, I try to be prepared for any eventuality.

If you are to be married at the catering hall, the best way to make this decision is to ask your coordinator for advice. It is then important to communicate with you musicians, officiant, and all other service providers that may be affected.

As a musician, I usually come prepared with about a half hour of prelude music and am set up and ready to play at least that much time before the ceremony is expected to begin. It is important for the caterer to know that I will be there. They may decide to escort the guests into the area a little earlier in order for them to enjoy the prelude music. This is an especially nice thing to do if the ceremony is to take place in a garden.

In any case, carefully deciding this issue and communicating with everyone concerned will avoid confusion and add to everyone's enjoyment of the wedding.

 

Tips for a Great Garden Wedding

Posted by Margaret Sneddon on February 20, 2013 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Tips for a Great Garden Wedding

As wedding season approaches and the first signs of spring arrive, thoughts of a beautiful garden wedding can be very enticing. There is nothing more lovely if all goes well. After playing for many beautiful out-door wedding ceremonies and a few disasters, here are some tips to make your outdoor or garden wedding a success.



The Garden path at Highlands Country Club

1.  Choose an accessible location. You may have fond memories of getting engaged in a pine grove but your guests will not appreciate a tramp through the woods in high heels and fancy dress... not to mention your wedding vendors. I still have nightmares about dragging my harp over a quarter mile of rough ground!!

2 Choose a shaded location. Even on a cool, breezy day, it can be uncomfortable for guests to sit in the sun for any length of time. If you have the option, choose a shady location. I remeber one wedding where we were all broiling in the sun in full sight of a lovely shaded area just a few yards away.

The fully shaded Linden Terrace in Fort Tryon Park has lovely views of the Hudson


A tent protects from both sun and rain


3 If you can't choose a shady location, provide for the comfort of your guests:  If shade is not available, think about providing fans of even paper parasols for your guests. They will thank you!!!

Pretty Paper Parasols can protect guests from the sun


4 Make the Pre-Ceremony a pleasurable time.  The gathering time can be a lovely part of your wedding festivities. Consider serving sparkling water or other refreshment as guests are gathering . Music during this time can create a lovely ambiance.

Don't forget the music!
The harp creates a welcoming ambiance at the Bronx Botanical Garden


5 Don't forget the music!!  Not only does music set the stage for the ceremony, it creates a festive atmosphere as your guests assemble and find their seats. Be sure to think about the kind music that can be brought to your location and the selections you would like for processional, recessional, and incidental music. The harp is ideal because it plays both melody and accompaniment and can be transported to most locations. 

6 Amplify - Even if you and your officiant have very strong voices, you won't be heard beyond the first few rows. Your words and vows are important and your guests will want to hear them. Most officiants provide a sound system but don't just assume, Be sure to ask. If the officiant does not provide sound, perhaps your musicians, a DJ, or even the venue can help at a modest additional cost. 

7 HAVE A PLAN B!!!  Last but not least, in fact, this may be the most important tip of all, have a plan B for inclement weather and don't hesitate to use it. Much as you would love to have your ceremony in the garden, PLEASE don't risk a disaster for yourselves, your guests, and your wedding service providers. A sudden downpour that soaks everyone doesn't just ruin the ceremony, it will spoil the entire wedding. Don't take the chance. If there is even a remote chance of rain, you must be willing to make the decision in plenty of time for things to be relocated. It takes a while to pack up and move all the accoutrements. Allow at least half an hour.


It may be under a colonnade or pavillion, on a porch, or in a completely separate location but you MUST have an alternative location in case of rain.

With all these tips in mind, by all means plan for and enjoy a beautiful garden wedding.

Don't trust your wedding to less than the best!

Posted by Margaret Sneddon on January 26, 2012 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Don't Trust Your Wedding to Less Than the Best!

Don't trust your special day to an amateur. Why it's important to hire a professional.

Sometimes, after hearing my quote, couples have asked me if I have a student or someone just starting out that I can recommend. Of course, I do have some very accomplished students, and I have on occasion recommended them. However, I usually try to point out that playing is one skill and performing is another.

 
An experienced professional will know exactly where to set up and when to play!

There are lots of competent players out there. However, not every good player has the experience, knowledge and poise to handle any situation that may come up. A thorough understanding of various church services is critical for musicians who play for ceremonies that are conducted in a place of worship. For instance, in a Christian ceremony, the mothers are usually seated last. However, in a Jewish ceremony, the mothers are part of the processional. The offertory in a Catholic church is something entirely different from the offertory in a Protestant Church. A Catholic mass is full of ritual and response that is completely unfamiliar to most non-Catholics. I have, on occasion, played with wonderful artists who haven’t had a clue about what was going on. A working knowledge of various rites assures that the musician will play the right thing at the right time.

 

Many new performers assume that there will be someone at the venue to help them with their equipment and instruct them about when and where they should play. However, in my experience, this is rarely the case. I need to know exactly where to go and what to do in order to be ready to play at the right time. A familiarity with various locations is a real help. Knowing and having worked with the staff is extremely helpful. 

 

Many amateurs prepare one piece to play but there are many times when the unexpected happens and time has to be filled. Does your amateur artist have the repertoire to instantly and seamlessly fill the hole with appropriate selections? What will they do if for some reason the service doesn’t go as planned? Are they used to watching what is happening and able to make the changes and adjustments that may be required? All of these things require experience and skill.

 

At the cocktail hour, too, it takes more than an ability to play. An hour requires much more music than many amateurs expect and guests may have requests for various selections… not to mention sound equipment. It is not the responsibility of the venue or the DJ to provide amplification for the harpist or other musician. This equipment requires an investment that a hobbyist probably can’t afford.

 

Your wedding is a very special day that deserves the very best.

 

http://ww.youtube.com/watch?v=-1the48OJ7o

Just click this link for a funny example of what can happen!!


Davenport Avenue - New Rochelle's "Wedding Row"

Posted by Margaret Sneddon on October 22, 2011 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (1)

Davenport Avenue - New Rochelle's "Wedding Row"



The view from Beckwith Pointe http://www.beckwithpointe.com

New Rochelle has been called the "Queen City of the Sound" and the spectacular views of Long Island Sound from along the waterfront are certainly fit for Royalty. New Rochelle's Davenport Avenue has a row of lovely locations a bit reminiscent of Newport RI and the elaborate "Summer Cottages" of the 19th century American Aristocracy.

Church Street leads from the mainland section of New Rochelle, onto a peninsula that juts out into Long Island Sound. This section of the city includes a recreational area called Davenport Park and has the feel of a resort community. This impression is enhanced by the row of handsome clubs along the waterfront.

All of these beautiful locations host weddings and I have enjoyed playing the harp for ceremonies and cocktail hours in each of them over the years. They are all well worth your consideration. However, each of them has a unique character. Here are some of my impressions. Be sure to visit each web-site or, better yet, take a ride down Davenport Avenue and visit each location.


The Surf Club

Church Street dead ends at Davenport Avenue and, directly in front of you is the impressive Surf Club.


http://surfclub.nycweddings.biz/

The word opulent perfectly describes this magnificent location. The grand staircase in the lobby, crystal chandeliers, lavish ballroom and expansive terrace all create a luxurious setting. The food is exquisite and the service superb. There are several venues for ceremonies both indoors and out. The Surf Club is the perfect choice for the couple who appreciates luxury.

The Davenport Club

As you turn right and continue down Davenport Avenue, the next location, at number 400, is the Davenport Club.

http://www.davenportclub.com/

If old World charm and traditional elegance are your style, The Davenport Club is the place for you. This beautiful 1888 Mansion feels like a private home as your guests enter the foyer and enjoy cocktails in the library. Your ceremony can take place in front of the wood-burning fireplace or in the gazebo overlooking the sound. Graciousness abounds as your hosts, the Rossi family see to your every need.


Greentree Country Club

Another mansion designed by the renowned architect, Stanford White in the early 1900s, is next as you continue on Davenport Avenue. At number 538, Greetree Country Club with its classical high ceilings, glistening chandeliers, shimmering marble floors and an abundance of floor to ceiling windows offers luxury and refinement for the discerning bride and groom.

http://www.greentreeclub.com/greentree/

At Greentree, the staff focuses on "providing an unparalleled level of hospitality and seamless experience". They pride themselves on exceeding your expectations.


The V.I.P. Club

If you love sleek style and an atmosphere in which the likes of Frank Sinatra or Harry Connick Jr would feel right at home, the Swanky V.I.P. Club is for you.


http://www.vipcountryclub.com/

From it's elegant entry to its stylish interiours the V.I.P. is the epitomy of urbane sophistication. Your entire event will be handled with savoir faire and finesse.


Beckwith Pointe

Last but definitely not least,  At the very end of the peninsula is Beautiful Beckwith Point.

 

http://www.beckwithpointe.com/

I love to enter the lobby at Beckwith Pointe where a painting of a harp graces the wall. Every room in this stylishly decorated facility is situated to take full advantage of the spectacular views of the Sound. Floor to ceiling windows allow your guests to enjoy them to the fullest. The attentive staff will see to your every need.

A wedding ceremony on the roof top terrace at Beckwith Pointe is the ultimate in romance. 


Plus Two - Two more great New Rochelle Locations

Glen Island Harbour Club

Near by Glen Island is the site of the Glen Island Harbour Club. Famed as the Glen Island Casino during the Big Band era, the Glen Island Harbour Club is a perfect spot for a glamorous wedding. 

 http://glenisland-harbourclub.com/

Your guests are ushered to the top tier where a circular chapel made almost entirely sparkling glass can be the setting for your ceremony. The expansive views are the only decoration really needed. Alternately, your ceremony can take place in the tent outside where your guests can enjoy the open air without having to worry about too much sun or a passing shower. The opulent decor of all the rooms will make your wedding reception an event to remember. 

The Fountainhead

http://www.thefountainhead-ny.com/

At  55 Quaker Ridge Road, the Fountainhead is regarded as one of Westchester's premier wedding facilities. At its dazzling entry, your guests are welcomed by uniformed doormen who usher them into the elegant interior with its marble and granite floors, sparkling chandeliers and gold leaf decoration. 

In addition to ceremonies in the upstairs wedding chapel, it is a particular pleasure for me to  play for cocktail hours in the soaring glass atrium where I am situated in a balcony overlooking the glamourous festivities. 

Here the food is rightfully called cuisine and the white glove service continental. 

Gorgeous Garrison!!

Posted by Margaret Sneddon on September 25, 2011 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Gorgeous Garrison!!

With the arrival of Autumn, the Hudson River Valley is especially beautiful. Foliage is already starting to change color and the temperature is cooler and comfortable. There is no prettier place for a wedding ceremony in September or October.


Fall foliage in the Hudson River Valley


It has been a great pleasure for me to have played for a number of weddings in Garrison recently. My enjoyment starts with an easy drive up either the Palisades Parkway on the west side of the River or the Saw Mill River, Taconic or Route 9A on the east side. Either way, it is about an hour drive from New York City.

The Garrison

There are a number of wonderful wedding venues in Garrison. Two of my favorites are The Garrison and Highlands Country Club, both connected with the Garrison Golf Club and both with gorgeous views of the Hudson River Valley. http://www.thegarrison.com/ and http://www.highlandscountryclub.net/privateevents.html

View of the Hudson River from the Garrison

The recently remodeled Garrison is the picture of modern sophistication while the Highlands Country Club has an elegant traditional feel. Both have fabulous views and wonderful staff. It was my pleasure to work with Tod Smith at the Garrison and Adrienne Madama at HIghlands recently.


The Garden Path at Highlands Country Club



The covered porch at the Highlands Country Club 


Osborne Castle
Another Beautiful location is Osborn Castle http://www.osborncastle.com/index2.php . As I followed my driving directions, I wondered if they were accurate as I turned up a primitive looking dirt road. But yes, this was the way. The picturesque, narrow!! drive brought me to my stunning destination, Osborn Castle at Cat Rock.


Osborn Castle - the Perfect Setting for a Fairy Tale Wedding

You and your guests will feel like royalty in this "Castle on the hilltop" that remains in the family of the original owners. The expansive lawn overlooking the Hudson is a perfect setting for your ceremony as are any of the beautiful interior rooms.



View of the Hudson from the lawn of Osborn Castle


Boscobel

Another wonderful wedding location is Boscobel, a Fedreal Style Mansion and Historic Hudson Valley property. http://www.boscobel.org/main.html. The lushly landscaped gardens face the majestic views of the Hudson that were immortalized by the Hudson River School painers.


Historic Hudson Valley's Boscobel Mansion

Working with a Wedding Planner

Posted by Margaret Sneddon on July 20, 2011 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Working with a Wedding Planner

It was my pleasure to play the harp for the New York chapter of the Association of Bridal Consultants at their gala recently. It was a real priviledge to play for this illustrioius group of professionals. My job is always much easier when there is a planner and everything always goes more smoothly. 

It's hard to get experience as a do-it-yourself wedding planner since, with any luck, most of us will only have one wedding of our own. ;o) Would you trust your car repair or medical procedure to an amateur? Why would you trust your wedding to anyone but a seasoned professional.  

The best way, by far, to have input and make your wedding a true reflection of your vision is to work closely with a wedding planner. They have spent years developing resources and can use their knowledge, experience, and expertise to help you realize your dream. The saving in $$$s and stress is well worth the cost involved. 

Your wedding day - make your dream come true with the help of a fabulous wedding planner. 


Melissa Paulo-Fife of Events by Missy & Company organizing the ceremony site.


Jacqueline Vazquez of Lifetime Events by Jacqueline puts the finishing touches on a table setting. 


http://www.bridalassn.com/default.aspx



A Fort Tryon Park Park Wedding

Posted by Margaret Sneddon on April 16, 2011 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Fort Tryon Park, Manhattan's best kept secret!!

There's nothing like a beautiful park for a romantic wedding setting. In Manhattan, Central Park may be the first to come to mind but why not consider coming uptown to Fort Tryon Park, Manhattan's best kept secret.. With sweeping views of the Hudson River, the George Washington Bridge and the New Jersey Palisades, the park has lovely gardens, secluded trails, expansive lawns, a  magnificent  museum and a charming restaurant suitable for a wedding reception. 


Perfect for an intimate park wedding, some of the popular locations for ceremonies include the Linden Terrace, Billings Lawn and Abby's Lawn all of which have views of the Hudson.

... and don't forget the music for the ceremony!  The harp can create a festive mood as guests assemble. It is romantic and elegant as you make your entrance and throughout the ceremony. The harp is an acoustic instrument which is permitted in the park. The Linden Terrace is accessible for pedal harp. A smaller Celtic harp can be used in other locations. 



Billings Lawn - a wide expanse overlooking the River


The Linden Terrace with views of the River and the Cloisters



Abby's Lawn an intimate space below the Linden Terrace

Just a short stroll from any of these locations is the delightful, New Leaf Cafe, one of the original park buildings designed to resemble a rustic country Inn. The New Leaf Cafe is now a renowned fine dining establishment available for wedding receptions.                                                                http://www.newleafrestaurant.com/

The New Leaf Cafe

They can also provide chairs for your Linden Terrace ceremony. For more information about a wedding at the New Leaf Restaurant, please visit:

 

The first thing you need for your New York City Park wedding is a $25.00 permit which you can obtain on line at: https/nyceventpermits.nyc.gov/Parks/

There are also some restrictions which apply. For instance, unless you are having your reception at the New Leaf Cafe there are no chairs, tents, or amplified music permitted. For more information about rules and regulations please visit: http/www.forttryonparktrust.org/events/wedding_guidelines.html

Since amplified music is not permitted, what can you do for your ceremony music? The harp or a duo of harp and flute can be the perfect solution! Romantic and elegant, the music can create a festive ambiance as your guests assemble and provide wonderful processional music as you enter the area. The Linden Terrace is accessible to a pedal harp. A Celtic harp is suitable for either of the lawn areas. Please visit other pages of this web-site for more information about the harp, suggested repertoire, and rates. Of course, you will want to have alternative arrangements for bad weather. If you are planning your reception at the New Leaf Cafe, they can also provide a Plan B location in case of rain.


What time to put on the wedding invitation???

Posted by Margaret Sneddon on January 25, 2011 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)


Photo courtesy Maximilian B. Nucci photography http://www.mbnphoto.com/

What  time do we put on the wedding invitation? There used to be a clear cut answer to this question but these days, with more and more alternatives to the traditional wedding, it can be a tricky question.

Part of the answer lies in the location of the wedding ceremony.

If your wedding ceremony is taking place in a church, the time on the invitation is the time the ceremony is scheduled to start. Guests are expected to arrive prior to this time in order to be seated. Traditionally, no guests are seated after the seating of the mothers.

If the ceremony takes place at the catering hall, the time on the invitation is usually the time that guests are expected to arrive. Many catering halls have the guests congregate is a separate room where they may be served sparkling water or champagne before they are escorted into the area where the ceremony is to take place.

As a ceremony musician, I am always careful to be very clear on this point and on the start time for the music. In my experience, there are often at least a few guests that arrive late to the church or early to the catering hall. In consultation with the bride and groom, I try to be prepared for any eventuality.

If you are to be married at the catering hall, the best way to make this decision is to ask your coordinator for advice. It is then important to communicate with you musicians, officiant, and all other service providers that may be affected.

As a musician, I usually come prepared with about a half hour of prelude music and am set up and ready to play at least that much time before the ceremony is expected to begin. It is important for the caterer to know that I will be there. They may decide to escort the guests into the area a little earlier in order for them to enjoy the prelude music. This is an especially nice thing to do if the ceremony is to take place in a garden.

In any case, carefully deciding this issue and communicating with everyone concerned will avoid confusion and add to everyone's enjoyment of the wedding.

Alternatives to a Big Expensive Wedding

Posted by hudsonvalleyharpist on February 21, 2009 at 9:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Alternatives to a Big Expensive Wedding

In these days of tough economy, cost control is a concern for everyone including the bride and groom to be. It is entirely possible to have a wonderful wedding without a huge expenditure.

During more affluent times, many weddings have included large wedding parties, elaborate cocktail hours and sit down dinners with a full orchestra and dancing.  This kind of event can run into tens of thousands of dollars if not hundreds of thousands for an exotic destination wedding.

However, a very special and meaningful wedding needn't be such an elaborate affair.

One of the most elegant weddings I have ever experienced took place in a tent at the home of the bride. I played the harp for both the ceremony and the reception which consisted of hors d'oeuvres  followed by cake and champagne.

Another possibility is an English style afternoon tea. The Royal Tea Company in Fairfield, CT can cater a very elegant affair in your chosen location. www.royalteacompany.net



Speaking of location, a wonderful setting may not be out of reach. Even the most exclusive catering halls may be less expensive during the week and for lunch instead of dinner.

Live music can also help to make the event extra special. Even if you can't afford an entire orchestra, a string quartet, a harpist, or a pianist can provide wonderful ambient music.  Although somewhat more expensive than other individual instruments, the harp can still be an economical choice because it does not require accompaniment. Like the piano, it plays all the parts, melody, harmony and rhythm and can stand alone. It is also visually beautiful and can add an elegant and unusual touch to your decor as well. 

Our own wedding was a dream come true. I had long thought that the Castle in Tarrytown would be the wedding site of my fantasies. Little did I imagine that the fantasy would become a reality.   

 Since my husband is a Broadway musician, we decided to have our celebration on a Monday afternoon when the theaters are closed and his friends could come. We also decided to have a luncheon instead of a dinner.  The off-peak day and time were both important factors in the final price.

 When we approached a florist and a photographer, we told them our budget and asked what they could do for us within that framework. 

Live music was very important to us so we hired a piper to greet our guests and one of my advanced harp students played our ceremony music. The rest of the music was provided by our musician friends. We had let them know that the best wedding gift they could give us was the gift of music.

 With a little creativity, you can have a dream wedding without breaking thebank!

 

                                   

 

 

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