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How To Plan An Exceptional Wedding In New York City

Shop Wedding How To Plan An Exceptional Wedding In New York City

New York is also known as the city of dreams and many brides do dream about getting married here! So, take a look at how to plan an exceptional wedding in New York City!

Shop Wedding How To Plan An Exceptional Wedding In New York City

New York ranks fourth out of 51 states in its number of weddings, performing over 137,000 weddings in 2019. Today, we’ll give you some tips on how to plan an exceptional wedding in New York City.

It is a popular wedding destination for so many reasons, and being one of the greatest cities in the world is just one. New York City boasts so many places to hold a wedding ceremony, from sparse industrial spaces to lush outdoor parks, and it’s difficult to narrow down where you would like to exchange your vows.

One thing is sure though: each wedding that is performed in NYC is unique, and it’s not that difficult to plan one of the most unforgettable moments in your life.

Select A Unique Venue

NYC has loads of fantastic venues that you can choose from that will make your wedding unique. Fancy a wedding in Central Park, the New York Public Library or a cruise on the Hudson River?

If you’re a history buff, you can also arrange for your vows to be exchanged at the American Museum of National History. Note that if you’re choosing a venue that’s a public place, you might have to work your way around timings, since there are plenty of people in the area and you might not get a good photo op.

It’s also vital to include the pandemic regulations in selecting your wedding site. For example, mass gatherings might still be banned, and even if the ban is lifted, you must be flexible enough to plan or reduce the number of guests you can invite to comply with the rules.

Flexibility is vital in planning a wedding in NYC, from setting dates to changing reception venues.

Plan A Memorable Reception

If your wedding is held at an iconic venue, make sure that you offer a memorable menu at your reception.

A wedding at Central Park Zoo can feature vibrant colors and enticing entrée options. After a City Hall wedding, there is a plethora of restaurants that propose international menus if you have a diverse group of guests or if you have just flown in for your wedding.

It also goes without saying that you can transform your wedding venue to suit your personal style, even if it is held in a public space or a quintessential spot.

As long as it’s allowed by state or local ordinances, you can throw down an aisle rug and deck the assigned area with flowers for a wedding that is truly memorable. You can make any space work for you: the most important thing is that you’re getting married!

Getting hitched in NYC is a dreamy option for many couples and their guests. The city that never sleeps offers many possibilities for venues, not to mention the magical spirit of the metropolis that radiates from any event.

And lastly, if your dream wedding has always been in nature, don’t worry! The State of New York is amazing and won’t disappoint you.

Take a look at Stephanie Karvellas’ destination wedding at her Cedar Lakes Estate, a luxury custom NY wedding venue located in the heart of the Hudson Valley!

Wait! You prefer the beach!? Not a problem! You can take a look at this fantastic wedding that took place in one of the trendiest resorts in Montauk!

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Trung Nguyen

Cedar Lakes Estate: A Hudson Valley Luxury Estate

Day Trips and Travels Cedar Lakes Estate Cottages

Cedar Lakes Estate, located in the heart of the Hudson Valley, is the perfect upstate luxury estate to explore not only during the summer, but also during winter season!

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We are always looking for and exploring unique properties in upstate New York to share with you. Cedar Lakes Estate is certainly on the top of our list.

We also know that many people aren’t really sure where to go or what to do during the harsh New York winter, so we decided to help out!

This past weekend, we packed our bags and headed upstate to stay at a place called Cedar Lakes Estate. We’ve been following closely experiences they’ve been creating for guests and couldn’t wait anymore to go and explore!

Located in the heart of our gorgeous Hudson Valley, Cedar Lakes Estate’s story is quite special.

To start, the property is family owned. A few years back, the sisters Stephanie and Lisa Karvellas, that have countless unforgettable childhood memories at the Estate, decided to share the property not only with friends, but with outside guests.

They started working and organizing everything, building new rooms and cabins and renovating what needed a fresh look. In no time, they got so much organic press that not only people started reaching out, but also super young companies like Uber and Google decided to host team gatherings and activities during the year.

Below a short video of our experience:

The property is really something! You’ll be able to indulge in their 500 acres with 2 lakes, 2 pools, miles of hiking trails, boats, tennis, basketball courts, football fields, ziplines, and the BLOB.

Let’s talk about their accommodations!

They have rooms for every style, pocket and need!

The Bluebird Cottage and the Lakeside Cottage are great for a complete experience. These cottages boast with spacious formats, king-size beds and private patios. Plus, each one has its own cool amenities like full modern kitchen, heated stone floors, fireplace, living room and/or dining area.

In addition, the 10 Sleepy Pine Cottages are under a beautiful cluster of pine trees! It offers one queen or two full size beds, rain shower, Nespresso machine and mini bar. Perfect in size.

Furthermore, the Poolside Cabana is fully equipped with a fireplace, washer/dryer, with access to pool area, patio, outdoor wet bar and refrigerator, gazebo (extra bathroom in gazebo) and it’s also pet-friendly!

The Garden Suite is perfect for families, or for the more demanding couples. It has a fully equipped din-in kitchen, a fireplace with sitting area and a beautiful, large bathroom.

And, their option for Glamping (glamour camping), is called Campstyle. This communal house can host up to 43 people common room seating areas and a kitchen. Don’t worry, the bathrooms are just as nice as the other options above, and also offer complimentary toiletries (shampoo, conditioner and body wash).

Finally, the Rustic Cabins are for people that really have camp roots with bunk beds, ceiling fans and a communal bathhouse. But, they offer fresh linens and towels!

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Now, not many people know or can even imagine how many activities are available at properties upstate.

Cedar Lakes Estate is perfect not only in the summer time, but also during winter.

As they explain:

“Guests have full access to all that the grounds has to offer, including the use of the lakes, pools, hiking and biking trails, bonfire pits, tennis and basketball courts. With outdoor activities like The Blob, “drive in” movies under the stars, and guided yoga classes, we have everything needed for a memorable and refreshing getaway.”

Super cool right?

So if you’re the adventurer type, sporty-type or lets-chill-type, they have it all. Swimming, fishing, countless sports and games – basketball, tennis, volleyball, kickball, softball and football; plus, everyone’s favorite lawn games, like bocce, horseshoes, cornhole and ladder toss. Phiuf! What a list!

Close by the property, you can take some time to explore too. The region offers restaurants, breweries, farms, antiquing, markets, distilleries, artisan shops, ski mountains, and breathtaking hikes.

You might be asking…but what about the food and drinks!?

Where do we begin? We had a delicious, tasty experience and loved it all.

They have a garden where, not only they grow their own produce, but they also host summer outdoor dining experiences.

“Walk into our expansive Chef’s Garden and see where it all begins. The garden charms with its white picket fence and twinkling lights as we bring out the season’s best, harvested right beyond your feet. A 50-person farm table sits on a reclaimed brick patio in the center of the garden for a truly farm-to-table experience under the stars inside this expansive 4,000 square foot wonderland.”

“This Chef’s garden is a testament to our farm-to-table values, as we tailor our crops each season to grow produce specifically for the menus chosen by our clients. Whatever we cannot grow or make ourselves is sourced from our small-town farmer neighbors. We believe that cultivating a network of local purveyors ensures the most outstanding seasonal fare for your event.”

During winter, they put together a Après CLE Party and some really private Pop Up Dinners that gathers the coolest crowd from NYC and neighbor towns! The menu is to-die-for!

The Après CLE party is every Saturday, from 12pm – 6pm.

You can expect the grooviest tunes, a group of happy campers, old school toboggans, giant jenga, hot hot hot crackling fires paired with some yummy spiked hot cocoa!

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We all know how cold upstate New York can get, but this party will certainly keep you pretty warm! From entertaining conversations, gorgeous folks and a bonfire pit that will be roaring all day long, you won’t want to leave!

You can also hop inside the Canteen every now and then, for some melty grilled cheeses, fig and brie hot sandwiches and some boozy hot beverages!

If you enjoy it, and still want to hang around for more, don’t forget about their multi-course Pop Up Dinners that happens 1 Saturday every month!

Just so you can get an idea of what these dinners look like, see the menu from our dinner:

  • Amouse Bouche: Roasted breakfast radish, sorrel butter, crispy white anchovy
  • First Dish: Diver scallop carpaccio, cured olive labneh, preserved winter citrus, charred fennel and toasted red millet. For Vegetarians, they substituted the scallops for potatoes.
  • Second Dish: Handmade braised wild boar tortellini, tomato rosemary sugo and fontina fonduta. For Vegetarians, they substituted the wild boar for ricotta.
  • Third Dish: Citrus seared Hudson Valley duck breast salsify 2 ways, braised endives, blood orange and brown butter roasted hazelnuts. For Vegetarians, they substituted the duck for Japanese fingerling sweet potatoes.
  • Grand Finale: Cinnamon panna cotta cardamom roasted persimmon, dark chocolate espresso bean crumble and anise shortbread.
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How much better can this get, right? Super creative, innovative, entertaining, in a breathtaking place with the coolest crowd.

In addition, if you’re looking for a fantastic spot to organize your destination wedding, Cedar Lakes hosts luxury destination weddings and corporate retreats year round! Stephanie Karavellas actually organized her own wedding at the property, and it was nothing less than perfection.

So, after experiencing it all, we can only say that Stephanie and Lisa have really done an outstanding work. It’s surely all done from the heart and it reflects on every single detail around the property!

Contact us for any Corporate request for your team. They host throughout the year amazing getaways and company retreats!

Be sure to book your experience and have fun!

Location: 1 Team Usa Way, Port Jervis


Photo Credits: ©Behind the Scenes NYC
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Stephanie Karvellas and Derek Baynton’s Upstate NY Wedding

Shop Upstate NY Wedding Stephanie Karvellas and Derek

Stephanie Karvellas’ destination wedding at her Cedar Lakes Estate, a luxury custom NY wedding venue located in the heart of the Hudson Valley!

Shop Upstate NY Wedding Stephanie Karvellas Bridesmaids Groomsmen

Cedar Lakes Estate, a luxury custom wedding venue, was founded by entrepreneurial sisters Stephanie and Lisa Karvellas after recognizing the raw natural beauty of their parents’ 500-acre former summer camp in the heart of the Hudson Valley.

On a beautiful day in June, Stephanie herself got married at the Estate. As the owner and site coordinator, she was given carte blanche to host the most spectacular wedding imaginable. After building a team of the industry’s best, including Mindy Weiss as the planner, her vision came to life and the wedding was truly second to none.

About Stephanie, Derek and the Wedding:

Derek Baynton and Stephanie met Memorial Day Weekend 2012 in a share house in Montauk…not your typical love story. 25 singles in a beach house seemed like a recipe for disaster, but those who don’t believe in love at first sight, their housemates will tell you otherwise.

Since Stephanie spends all of her days planning other people’s weddings at her Estate, she wanted her wedding to feel different, and custom to what her and Derek care most about: extraordinary food, masterful cocktails, and creating an unforgettable experience for their beloved friends and family. Luckily she also had access to the industry’s best, who all couldn’t wait to make this wedding a showcase of their best work as well.

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They held her ceremony at the 85-year old deck overlooking the lake and nestled under a pine tree sky. Their first look was when she walked down the aisle and Derek couldn’t contain his genuine tears. It was romantic and intimate yet dramatic and breathtaking.

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Furthermore, she wore a backless Ghalia Lahav lace gown and looked ethereal against a 100-foot pine tree backdrop with thousands of candles flickering in the branches. The bridesmaids all wore floor length nude gowns of their choice. And, the groomsmen wore custom slim-fit midnight blue tuxes.

Stephanie and Derek offered three different cocktail hours in three locations.

The first one on the bluestone patio surrounding the infinity pool overlooking the lake, with a Montauk vibe. They offered lobster rolls, fresh sashimi cut to order, classic rum punches and live beachy music.

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Moreover, the second, on the mountain top with views that span for miles, a live doo wop band (the same one who was present at their proposal under the Washington Square Park Monument). Plus, a variety of specialty cocktails all made with fresh pressed juices, herbs from the on-site garden, homemade bitters, and local craft spirits – all shaken by professional mixologists from NYC.

In addition, the final cocktail hour was in the open air pavilion with a massive stone fire pit. Decorated with tufted leather couches, cigar bars, cow hyde rugs and antler chandeliers, the men (and ladies!) enjoyed dirty martinis and small-batch whiskey flights.

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Finally, the reception space was masterfully lit and draped with romantic, airy fabric and lace. Elaborate, wild green and white centerpieces hung from the ceiling. And, eucalyptus garland ran down the center of the barn wood tables. The tables had handmade lace runners and lace overlays draped on the chairs.

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In sum, every detail was perfect.

List of all suppliers:

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Trent Bailey Studio
*Last Update on March/2020.*

Garrison: A Peaceful Weekend Getaway In New York

Day Trips and Travels Garrison Hudson Valley By Jake Rajs

Garrison is located only 50 miles North of Manhattan and has some of the most spectacular sceneries close by. So, if you’re the adventurous type, this is the place to go for a peaceful weekend getaway in New York!

Day Trips and Travels Garrison Hudson Valley By Jake Rajs
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jake Rajs

Garrison has become one of the most popular hideaways of the super successful New Yorkers that look for peace and quiet. Why? Most of the houses are totally isolated from “civilization” giving them down time after a stressful week.

The city center is super tiny. There, you will find an art center that offers classes for kids and adults and a charming local library.

It’s a great place for canoeing in the Hudson River. Many adventurer enthusiasts head up there to explore New York’s nature and wildlife.

If you enjoy golf,  there are two golf courses to play around. One is the 9-hole Highland Country Club, and the 18-hole Garrison Golf Club.

A few other places to visit while you’re in town:

  • Manitoga / The Russel Wright Design Center – A home, studio, and woodland garden created by the industrial designer, Russel Wright, between 1942 and 1976.
  • Boscobel House & Gardens – They are one of the leading historic house museums in the Unites States. The mansion holds the finest collection of New York Neoclassical furniture and it’s location offers a breathtaking view of the Hudson Valley.
  • Garrison Art Center – They are focused on promoting the creation, exhibition and enjoyment of art!
  • Constitution Marsh Audubon Center & Sanctuary – Comprised of 270 acres of tidal marsh in the Hudson Highlands, Constitution Marsh serves as critical natural habitat for birds and other wildlife of the Hudson River Estuary.

*Places are in same order of appearance in gallery below.*

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There are beautiful houses around town and it’s a great place for weddings too!

Also, Garrison is just 10 minutes away is Cold Spring, where you can have a nice dinner with wine and buy groceries. We simply love this small and super charming village!

And still, only 15-20min car ride, you can check out the renowned contemporary art museum called Dia:Beacon.

Enjoy this a peaceful weekend getaway in New York!

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jake Rajs
*Last Update on March/2020.*

The Big Takeover Band Is Literally Taking Over New York City!

Insider Interviews The Big Takeover Band Show

Our Founder, Fê Paronetto, recently went to a Sofar Sounds event, hosted at a super cool spot in Bushwick, called Honey’s. There, she saw a fantastic show by The Big Takeover Band and understood “why” they are taking over New York City!

Insider Interviews The Big Takeover Band Show

If you’ve never heard of Sofar Sounds, they host the most exclusive, secret and intimate music gigs in over 300 cites all over the Globe!

“Bringing the magic back to live music. Amazing artists in intimate spaces, performing stripped-back sets to carefully curated audiences. Sit down, settle in and just listen. You’re gonna love it.”

This event is BYOB (bring.your.own.bottle), so you can bring your own Booze! So feel free to bring Wine, Beer, or whatever makes you happy!

During the night at Honey’s, three bands performed for around 25 minutes each. The place is amazing, with an additional space containing a tasting room with wine barrels by Enlightenment Wines. That’s where the event was hosted. Super cool!

At this last event that Fê went, the last band was The Big Takeover Band! She fell completely in love with their music, the style, the vibe and decided to interview them!

The Band:

Nee Nee Rushie – Vocals | Rob Kissner – Bass | Kerry Shaw – Guitar | Andy Vogt – Trombone | Chas Montrose – Sax | Batu Attila – Drums.

Insider Interviews The Big Takeover Band Sofar Sounds NYC
Sofar Sounds NYC event, hosted at Honey’s, in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

So, take a look below to see what they are all about:

1) Let’s start with how the band started. Being from the Hudson Valley, how did the band come about?

When I moved to New York from Jamaica to go to college, I met Rob Kissner (bass) and Sam Tritto  (original drummer) in New Paltz. We became friendly and realized we had a common love for Jamaican music.

We eventually formed a reggae band with the best guitar player in town (Jonny Monster) and Sam’s cousin, Andrew Vogt (trombone). Andrew soon brought Chas Montrose (sax) on board. They were old buddies who grew up together.

We started playing out and writing songs and people really enjoyed them. We have had some line-up changes along the way, but we have never stopped. That was back in 2007.

2) Was there any local inspiration when you guys started?

New Paltz, where we met and started playing gigs, has a very rich music scene. There is always something interesting music-wise happening there.

When we started out, there were many bands that played to very excited people. So we were inspired not only by our peers that were creating independent and good music, but by the people who were so open and excited to hear and see independent artists.

3) The music is very unique, mixing a quite a few different genres. Which bands are the ones you most enjoy and also gather inspiration from?

We gather inspiration from most styles of Jamaican music. We look up to bands and artists from the 60’s and 70’s. And some current artists with the old soul: The Skatalites, The Specials, The Slackers, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, Phyllis Dillon, Gregory Isaacs. Too many to mention, really.

4) Before writing a song, is there any ritual or maybe a place you go to be in silence? What are some things that people don’t really know about this creative process and how much work is put in it that you could share?

We always have something conceptualized before we meet and flush it out. It starts with a chord progression or a bass line. I put a vocal melody and lyrics on top of it and the rest of the band works their magic. No special place, no rituals. It comes to us and we play it.

5) You’ve played in over 700 show, throughout the past 10 years, which is simply amazing! I don’t believe that there is only 1 highlight in that timeline, so what were the most memorable moments or experiences that you guys had? Which show (or shows), would you love going back in time and experiencing again?

We love playing festivals in the summer time. That’s our favorite. This year we played Mountain Jam and we loved it. We enjoyed every festival that we have played!

Whenever we get the opportunity to open for a band that we look up to, we enjoy the hell out of it and always wish we can do it again.

We have shared the stage with many people we look up to like: Beres Hammond, Culture, The Wailers, The Skatalites, The Slackers, Eek-a-Mouse…

6) What’s the most exciting part of a show and of performing? The very beginning before going on stage? The middle when you see the crowd vibing with your song? The end, when you have massive applauses? Or another pivotal moment?

I personally don’t enjoy the time before going on stage. Anytime that is spent not on stage or waiting to be on stage, is not fun for me.

The best part is the entire experience of being on stage from beginning to end. I love to sing, so if I’m singing, I’m happy. When I look out and see happy people, it makes it even better.

7) You are going on a new tour now to promote the “Silly Girl” album! What is the itinerary? What are you most looking forward too and what are some cool things you want to take from this tour?

We are going to VA, NC, LA, TX, CO, CA and WA and we’re really look forward to it all! It will be amazing since we are going to get to see a lot of the country! We want to see the Grand Canyon, the desert and some wild horses.

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A few other fun questions regarding the Hudson Valley region:

8) What are your top 5 picks in the area of places to go and activities to do? In other words, here would you take your friends and family to explore away from the touristy scene?

We are so lucky to live in such a unique area of the country and love it here! We would recommend walking over the Hudson River (Walkway Over The Hudson), swimming in a water hole (so many all over!), hiking (countless hiking trails), visiting a farm for picking fruits or veggies, visiting a distillery, brewery or cidery.

9) Which are the best spots in New York (5 boroughs) to listen to the best music and upcoming bands?

We don’t get the time to listen to upcoming bands, unless we catch them before or after our set. Manhattan and Brooklyn never fails to have an eye catching act. We’ve seen some great bands at Rockwood Music Hall and The Shrine in Harlem.

Thank you Nee Nee (and band!) for participating in this interview! We are happy to show the world a bit of your story and fantastic work!

Here are 3 video clips of musics we love:

You can purchase their albums, if you enjoyed the videos!

And, if you want to check them out or go to a show, take a look at their website to follow where they’ll be live next! As we mentioned, they are literally taking over New York City.


Photo Credits: Courtesy of The Big Takeover Band, Matthew Conde and Arius Photography
*Last Update on March/2020.*


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