Winter Bridal Party Gift Ideas


Winter weddings have a certain fairy-tale charm to them. But what to get the happy couple for their special day that’s fitting for the occasion and the season? Today, we give you a few ideas to warm up the winter event with sparkling, snow-themed winter wedding favors. The newlyweds will adore the favors that add an extra special touch to their winter wonderland.

Hot Chocolate in a Jar

Winter is a time to cuddle around a lit fireplace with a warm cup of cider or hot chocolate. And what’s even better than the taste of the chocolate-ty treat is the way it looks when you decompose it into its ingredients and neatly stacked in beautiful jars as a delicious winter treat. A bonus can be a label with the date of the wedding and the couple’s names with warm seasonal greetings – surely, something that will bring a smile or two to their faces when they’re sipping hot chocolate and reminiscing about their wedding.



Hand-made goodies

Nothing says you care like a hand-made present. Even if you don’t know how to knit or sow – there are plenty of options, so don’t worry! Platforms like Etsy offer many hand-crafted blankets, mittens, scarves and other delightful winter paraphernalia. You can even have them personalized with patterns or messages you know will mean something to the couple for a truly snugly gift.

Pinecone Fire Starters


These are easy to make and very effective as well! By simply dipping a pinecone in beeswax, which helps get the flames rolling in the fireplace on a cold winter night. They look adorable and are very practical too. For a festive flare, you can add a colorful surprise with the right kind of salt (Epsom = white flame; table salt = yellow flame; salt substitute = violet flame).

Winter Warmth for Adults

A bit of brandy, small bottles of champagne or vodka infused with flavors of the season make for a very suitable gift for a bridal party. Opt for an assortment of mini bottles that the bride-to-be can enjoy with her groom later and personalize them with labels and glitter.

Snowy Treats

Show up to the bridal shower with a tray of home-baked gingerbread cookies shaped like brides and grooms or some other wedding-themed items. It doesn’t have to be gingerbread; there are plenty of other sweet treats to choose from – cake pops are popular DIY favors and you can winterize them by using white chocolate and rolling each ball in sugar crystals before the chocolate dries – they’ll look like mini snowballs!

Eco-friendly favors

If you want to give the bride something genuinely memorable that is also good for the environment – you’re in luck! You can opt for some eco-friendly favors shaped like snowflakes that the couple can sprinkle later. The seed-embedded snowflakes will then give birth to beautiful flowers. A small potted bean that sprouts and grows into a plant whose leaves carry a personalized message is another thoughtful gift idea.







Decor Ideas to Create Charm and Romance

Every bride wants her special day to be memorable – not only for her and her husband-to-be, but for everyone attending as well. And what better way than to leave your personal touch throughout the presentation of the wedding? From the invitations to the table arrangements, flower compositions, venue decorations, music selection, menu and souvenirs for the guests – there are so many things to think about that can be fully customized to meet all tastes and wants.

Some couples decide to go with the ‘oldies but goodies’ like lots of flowers and lights throughout the venue they have hired alongside classic arrangements and elegant designs. And you can never go wrong with the classics. But if you’re looking for wedding décor ideas to create charm and romance differently, we have a few suggestions for you. At the Links at Union Vale, we have planned and helped put together hundreds of weddings – big and small, casual and elegant, classic and modern – and would love to help you find the style that fits your taste and vision for this important day.

Candy Buffet

A growing trend in modern weddings is a sweet buffet laid out in a central place so that guests can indulge their sweet tooth throughout the event. Seems fitting, doesn’t it? After all, what’s sweeter than love? A whimsical candy bar display with colorful options will be a real treat for everyone.

Personalized Souvenirs 

Everyone wants to share their feelings of happiness and love with the rest of the world. So what better way than small but significant keepsakes that let guests think fondly of your special day after it’s over? There are so many options to choose from – small pots with growing plants that display a personalized message on their leaves (adorable, right?), jars with honey or candy, elegant figurines and many more.

Light decorations

Turn all lighting in the venue into something truly special by bringing in extra sparkle to your wedding. Arrange candle displays on the tables for a more intimate setting or hang light curtains on the windows to create an ambiance straight out of a fairy tale.


Custom logo

Leave your mark literally on everything – from the guest book to the wedding invitations, table seating cards, thank you notes, cake, and decorations. This is a perfect choice for couples who are not afraid to be a bit different and do things outside of the ‘traditional.’ And it will give your wedding a lot of personality!

If you have more ideas and want to see them realized, our team at the Links at Union Vale would love to discuss all possibilities to put together the wedding of your dreams!

Photos credit https://www.majesticstudios.info/


Plan your warm cozy winter wedding at The Links!

Winter is approaching quickly, and most couples get caught in the daze of planning the holidays instead of a wedding. But what if we told you – there was a way to celebrate a cozy Christmas and have a magical wedding all in one month? Yes, it’s doable if you turn for help from a professional event planner and find a venue that can squeeze you in between the numerous office and Holiday parties, as well as New Year celebrations.

Whether you DIY your entire wedding without a planner or are just making a few things yourself — the most important thing is to not put anything off until the last minute at home or for a destination wedding. Still, there’s nothing quite like the helping hand of a person who’s hired to do one job and one job alone – take the hassle out of planning your wedding down to the smallest detail.

What many couples fail to realize is that they can still DIY some things even if they hire an event planner. They won’t object to you hand-picking your wedding decorations or hand-making a bunch of sentimental goodie bags for your guests. They will, however, gently remind you if you’re overstretching your means, time, and budget. The most significant risk of a DIY wedding is having the events executed smoothly during the wedding weekend and getting a chance to enjoy your wedding at the same time. It’s a tricky balance, but it can be achieved. Here are several things you’re better off leaving (at least partly) in the hands of your event planning professional for an exceptional winter wedding:

Don’t try to do your flowers and decorations unless you are a florist or know one. Pinterest is full of lovely ideas that are oh-so-tempting to make, but the Internet is even more full of DIY disasters of people trying to recreate them. Your wedding is not the time and place to experiment with your artistic side. You’ll be stressed, pressed for time, and the stakes are just too high. It’s just not worth it.

Don’t DJ your wedding and only accept the help of friends and family who are professional musicians. It’s not enough to set up playlists and stick a phone into an iPod dock. There’s a great deal of synchronization that goes in the back-end – music has to be stopped and started and cued correctly for your entrances and other significant activities at the wedding. A poorly selected playlist can be a real buzzkill, so this is not the service to cheap out on.
Don’t compromise with your venue as it sets the tone for your entire wedding. Meet in advance with the team in charge of event planning and see if they are agreeable and willing to accommodate your requests. Of course, it’s not reasonable to expect impossible things, but a good venue will treat their clients with respect and courtesy, making it clear what they can and cannot do. Don’t settle for less.

Part of a DIY wedding is being actively involved in the preparation and venue selection. Different things are important to different couples, and your event planner is there to provide advice and assistance on the elements you can save on and the ones that are crucial for the day. Of course, you have the last say in everything, so don’t be afraid to speak your mind and sign off on every decision.
If you have your heart set on a romantic winter wedding, The Links at Union Vale can serve as the perfect backdrop for your special day. A newly-renovated elegant ballroom and private cocktail lounge with an over-sized dance floor with windows overlooking the golf course provide the ideal setting for hours of fun and entertainment. A private bridal suite with bathroom is available for your use throughout the day and a maitre d’ is assigned to ensure your wedding is coordinated seamlessly.

The Links does have 2018 winter dates still available. Call us today to check winter availability and off-season packages.

Photos credited to Majestic Studios


Benefits of Hiring a Wedding Planner

Most women have been dreaming about their wedding ever since they were little girls. But now that it’s all happening, it can feel a bit overwhelming at times.  We all know that planning a wedding isn’t all fun and games — there’s a lot to do to prepare for your big day! But if you’re struggling with all the preparations, you should consider hiring a wedding planner.

A wedding planner is a professional consultant who helps you with most (if not all) of the tasks related to planning a wedding. From dealing with vendors, shopping for accessories, etiquette and even the smallest of details, this expert has the skills and contacts to make your day come together seamlessly. Not to mention that hiring a wedding planner will free your time to enjoy the planning process instead of stressing over all the preparations.

Since wedding planners are professionals, they know the industry inside out and have many valuable contacts with vendors and venues that are perfect for weddings. They can make recommendations on locations that will suit your preferred wedding type (e.g., outdoor, evening, etc.) and coordinate everything to the last detail.

Hiring a wedding planner is especially handy if you have an out-of-town wedding. Whether it’s a different city or state, if you have travel arrangements and transport for decorations, catering and everything else – it’ll be helpful to hire someone who’s familiar with the area as well as local vendors and venues.

Not only can a wedding planner help you get more bang for your buck, but they can also represent you at meetings with your vendors before the big day. A planner who knows the area will help organize all of the details you’ll need to cover for your guests, such as hotel accommodations, welcome baskets, maps, and directions. Their experience and knowledge of the industry and sector will even let them come up with a list of fun suggestions for guests to do during their downtime.

If you have budget limitations, a wedding planner can help you get the most value for your money. They will work with you to understand your limits and then help you stick to a reasonable budget, stretching your dollar as far as it will go. It’s easy for couples to overspend on items that are not essential and forget to factor in others that are if they’re doing things themselves. A wedding planner takes the time to understand what’s important to you but also helps you determine what items can be cut from the budget so you can afford to get what you want. Because most wedding planners have established business relationships with vendors, they won’t just get you the best deal in town — they’ll also help you rest easy knowing you’re working with reliable companies.

A wedding is, after all, a fun and exciting event that you’re supposed to enjoy to the fullest. Sadly, many couples stress over planning and preparation, missing out on one of the happiest times of their lives. Hiring a wedding planner buys you one thing it’s hard to put a price on – freedom. Freedom to have fun while organizing your wedding, because someone else is taking care of all the tedious little tasks that tie the whole event together. And buying peace of mind can be the difference between a having a good and a great wedding.


Getting Married Out of Town

Planning a wedding out of town is a dream of many brides-to-be.  Naturally, the first thought is of logistics, planning and endless scheduling with relatives, but if you pick the right venue – not too close and not too far away – you can just make it work! More and more couples are opting for venues like The Links at Union Vale, where they have the option and creative freedom to have the premises decorated based on a theme and have custom-made menus that don’t break the bank.

To make sure your out-of-town wedding goes as smoothly as possible, here are a few tips and suggestions:

  • Hire a planner who is familiar with the area. Or better yet – work directly with the venue you’ve selected. They will know all the local vendors and offer much better package deals than the ones you will be getting if you’re shopping around yourself. Working with a planner who knows the area will help you way more than you could ever imagine. They will be able to give you reputable vendor recommendations, as well as help you set up meetings for your visits.
  • If you have to travel out of town, it’s wise to schedule your vendor meetings ahead of time and on the same day. That way, when you get to your wedding’s location, you can meet with all of them at the same time. Take into consideration your own travel, as well as vendors’ schedules, so expect to schedule your days of meetings at least 3 weeks ahead of time. If you’re meeting with floral designers, schedule all the meetings on the same day. The same applies to cake tasting and everything else.
  • As you’re not local to the area, it’s important to search and compare prices to know what’s acceptable and what’s over the top. If you’re relying on your wedding venue to make the vendor arrangements, you are given a financial safety net as they probably have established business relationships that guarantee them preferential rates. But if you’re working with your own planner, you will want to double-check everything they run by you. Check vendor reviews on sites like Every Last Vendor, ask questions and make smart choices.
  • Plan ahead. Having a wedding out of town means your guests will also face travel and accommodation. Some may very well be flying from across the country. Be mindful of how much you’re asking of your family and friends. We understand it’s Your Big Day and you want to be surrounded by your favorite people, but the truth is not everyone can afford the travelling and accommodation expenses that come with an out-of-town wedding. Look for ways to ease the financial burden and ask the venue if they offer discounts for group packages or look for affordable hotels nearby that won’t break the bank for your guests. Make them feel welcome and important by showing that you want them to be there on your day.

Planning an out of town wedding takes a bit more coordination and multitasking compared to living close to your wedding venue. But if you stay organized, plan ahead, and make financially smart choices – you can have the celebration you’ve always dreamed of!


Top-Five New York State Outdoor Wedding Venues

Best New York State Outdoor Wedding Venues 

Find historic venues, wineries, golf clubs, hotels and more – New York and New Jersey are full of venues that are perfect for your wedding ceremony location. New York State has hundreds of beautiful places to get married, but narrowing them down to find the most idyllic spot for your wedding reception or ceremony isn’t easy. Here’s a little help with a top 5 list of places that are known to be popular with couples from around the state.


With spectacular views of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Dyker Beach Golf Course is an oasis of lush tranquility and a unique place to host your event in New York. Originally opened in the 1890’s, it has recently undergone an extensive renovation to better accommodate both small parties and large groups of up to 350.

This venue offers both indoor and outdoor options, taking advantage of its spectacular golf course views, convenient amenities, and world-class cuisine. Custom packages are available to help you create an event that is truly remarkable.


Breathtaking panoramic views, gentle rolling landscapes, and spectacular sunsets make The Links at Union Vale a picturesque setting for your perfect Hudson Valley wedding.

The venue has mastered the art of great weddings, along with all the service and details that go into making a memorable day. Their attractively priced, custom-tailored menus prepared by an in-house award-winning executive chef fit all budgets. Smaller weddings and large parties alike will find the venue to be surprisingly versatile and accommodating. The elegant ballroom and private cocktail lounge feature an over-sized dance floor with windows overlooking the golf course, which can also house a marquee.


Long Island’s exclusive beachfront destination provides the perfect backdrop for a fairy-tale wedding. The Crescent Beach Club has direct access to a beautiful white sand beach, where breathtaking views and the sound of the crashing waves will create an atmosphere of the most beautiful place imaginable to exchange your wedding vows. This paradise on the water is less than one hour from New York City and perfect for any wedding – big or small.


The Boathouse at Mercer Lake reveals sweeping views of the lush park greenery and a tranquil lake. Its modern and minimalistic design make it sleek and elegant with 19-foot vaulted ceilings, custom lighting, and dropdown LED projection system. Lakeview Hall is perfect for larger events of up to 250 guests for a night of dinner and dancing. For intimate weddings, The Boardroom holds up to 40 guests and is ideal for your guests to meet and mingle.


The Grand Oaks Country Club is an exquisite venue that goes above and beyond when it comes to making a wedding day all that it can be. The elegance of the facility will make each and every event a memorable one. The Grand Oaks Country Club boasts award-winning chefs who are dedicated to providing customized menus for the most selective tastes. Their goal is to entice the senses and to please the appetite of all.

There is nothing quite like walking down the aisle to the sight and sounds of picturesque scenery with lush golf courses, romantic meadows, and tranquil lakes. Perfect for spring, summer and fall weddings – New York’s best outdoor locations can bring an extra something to your Big Day for a romantic happily ever after.





The Benefits of Having Your Wedding Away from the City

As brides look at their options for a wedding ceremony and reception venues around New York City, they quickly notice one thing: it’s not easy.  Venues are booked out years in advance, and costs can be much higher.  So, here is how to plan a beautiful wedding day outside the city in the beautiful Hudson Valley.  A memorable day just the way you want it and your guests will love it too.

Wedding planning is a time-consuming task, and couples are always looking for ways to make sure the day goes smoothly without costs piling up. A practical and fun idea is to plan the ceremony and the reception wedding outside NYC at a single location.  The Links at Union Vale is just that place with its picture-perfect setting, exquisite ballroom and its easy accessibility to NYC.

Simplify the Planning

If you are planning a wedding out of town, consider a venue that can host both the ceremony and reception. There are so many benefits to staying at one location. First of all, this will make your wedding planning so much easier. If you have your entire wedding ceremony, pictures, and reception at one location, you only have to deal with one venue.   Having your wedding in one place also means one coordinator will be responsible everything goes the way you want it.   There will only be one location for decorations, drinks, and food and last-minute adjustments for the ceremony or the reception are quick and easy.  There are so many things to think about when planning a wedding, and anything that makes it simpler gives you more time and freedom to enjoy your big day.

Save Money

A single-venue wedding most often saves you money, and it’s much nicer for guests your guests too. No need to pay for transportation between locations for yourself or your bridal party.  Other things that can add up when there are two places include travel for the photographer, and decorations and rental costs for two sites. You can see how all of these things start to add up.

Make Things More Comfortable for Guests

A lot of couples get caught up in elaborate plans about exotic and expensive wedding destinations, but what about your guests? Not everyone can afford the travel fares as well as taking time off work. Having your wedding ceremony and reception at the same site eliminates all of the ‘in between’ travel that happens with multiple locations.

Guests will be more relaxed and able to enjoy the beautiful surroundings that you’ve chosen for your wedding.   Not to mention, they’ll be no rushing off after the ceremony to get to the reception.   A single site offers the chance for you to mingle more with your guests.  How many times after a wedding have you heard a bride say, “I wish I had more time to get to talk with everyone!”





Planning an Outdoor Fall Wedding

Fall is a magical time and can make your wedding all the more special if you decide to have it outdoors. Mother Nature is in full bloom – alight with nuances that you don’t get to see in any other season. It’s no wonder that so many New Yorkers head out of the city just for a chance to catch a glimpse of the foliage changing colors upstate. So why not make this once-in-a-year event part of your special day theme? You might think the weather is too unpredictable to plan an outdoor fall wedding, but with a little planning and preparation – the natural beauty of warm red, orange, and red leaves can become the perfect backdrop for your special day.

If you want to have the perfect outdoor sunshine-filled wedding, here are a few tips to ensure everything goes as planned.

Think of the Weather

Nature’s colors are not the only thing changing in the fall – sometimes, it seems like the weather has a mind of its own. A slight drizzle may not be a big deal but no bride wants to get soaked in her beautiful bridal gown as she’s saying her vows in front of friends and family.

Luckily, there are several options to turn a fall wedding into a reality while still enjoying the charm of the outdoors. Hiring a marquee or a tent is one of them. Many venues will let you place one on their grounds and help with decorations. This can provide a magical intimate setting that shelters you from the elements. Another option is to look for venues that have glass terraces or large glass halls that still let you enjoy the colorful scenery but without any of the worry about wind, rain or cold.

Keep it Simple


Like we said, fall is beautiful and vibrant enough with its fiery nuances on its own. There’s no need for over-the-top decorations and elaborate themes for your wedding as they will only clash with the natural beauty that is all around. Outdoor fall weddings work best when a certain degree of minimalism is involved. Making fall a part of your wedding theme is not only a smart decision money-wise, but it will give your special day a down-to-earth, casual vibe that can make guests feel relaxed and welcome. Not that there’s anything wrong with an elegant, fairytale-like wedding, but there is a time and place for everything and fall calls for a more natural approach.

Centerpieces and other decorations can use season appropriate flowers, such as mums, sun flowers, eucalyptus, garden roses, thistle and privet berry. Scattering flavorful fall fruits, such as apples, pears, and cranberries on the tables will set the mood.

Make it Seasonal

Fall can be an inspiration not just for the decorations for your wedding day. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of the seasonal ingredients when preparing the menu too! Hearty fall vegetables, turkey, yams, and cornbread are all great and tasty examples. Spiced cider, cheeses, and fall wines have a certain charm to them as well. Desserts, such as apple and pumpkin pies, carrot cake and pumpkin spice cake are excellent ways of celebrating the season.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with the fall palette – there are so many ways to fill your canvas with as much of it as you like. Some brides prefer the simple elegance of being outdoors with a breathtaking autumn backdrop while others want elegant arrangements to complete the dramatic event that is their big day. And we can’t say either is wrong. An outdoor fall wedding gives you many choices to set the mood you’re looking for. With a trusted wedding planner by your side and a beautiful venue location – the wedding that you’ve always dreamt of is one step closer to being a beautiful reality.

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