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An event planner plans

his ow n wedding By James Angelo Campistrous

It’s been 15 years since we met. I don’t remember who asked who, but somehow we agreed last spring that we should get married. After 15 years, our friends and family asked: “Why now?” The answer was simple—because we can now. We were married in Westport, CT on March 25, 2011. The ceremony was simple, just four of our closest friends. We planned on a ceremony in the judge’s chamber and then dinner at a fancy restaurant with an overnight stay and some sightseeing the next day. My friend Patty surprised us with a cake, flowers and champagne after the ceremony. It was lovely. When we got home and told everyone we had gotten married, we were not prepared for the responses we got. They were angry that we would run off and get married and not have a wedding. As my mom said, “You’re an event planner. If anyone should have a wedding, you should.” So that’s how it started. We talked about it and agreed that we would have a small wedding for about 100 of our family and friends.

Planning the event

Contributed photos

We chose an early fall wedding, when the scenery in Milford, PA, where we live, is breath-taking. We chose the Black Walnut Inn, a gorgeous lakeside bed and breakfast owned by Robin JaraSchneider. This exclusive spot with its resident ducks and acres of woods and meadows was perfect for the feel and look we were after; and the scenery, bathed in gorgeous fall colors, was amazing. With autumn in mind, the color scheme was simple: primary colors of orange, red and gold, with black, white and cream as the neutral colors to tie everything together. Continued on page 4


Continued from page 3

We planned our wedding to take place in a clear top tent, lakeside, with a black and white parquet floor and a perimeter of bamboo tiling. Joelee Motichka of Rent Event in Honesdale, PA was instrumental in helping create our dream. Everyone asked, “What will your wedding be like, since you’ve been to so many? I answered, “My wedding will be simple, comfortable and colorful, with maybe one or two over-the-top touches.” It took hours and hours over months and months to prepare. I knew what I wanted and I had access to a sundry of great fellow vendors. However, I wanted to create and construct everything myself, which involved sewing, wiring leaves, gluing and assembling. Luckily I had help with from my life partner and my 87-year-old mom. We laughed about things that went wrong, and sometimes cried when things went so-so right. As luck would have it, it rained for almost two weeks before my wedding. The ground was soaked and getting things ready was somewhat difficult at times. The morning of the wedding was drizzly, but by 10 a.m. the sun was out, the temperature was an Indian summer 67 degrees, the ground was just a tad wet, and the scent of fall was truly everywhere.

The big day Guests arrived onto the property and either walked across the lawn or were driven by an electric cart to a covered walkway with walls and orange sheer fabric. From here they passed into the entrance tent where they could get their beverage of choice: beer, wine, soda or a special latte, courtesy of Port Java of Port Jervis, NY. Just beyond the entrance tent, the flooring led guests through 4 • GATHERINGS 2012

more orange sheer fabric to the main tent. As guests parted the fabric, their eyes widened and their mouths opened. All you heard was, “Wow.” Atop every table were centerpieces eight feet tall of curly willow branches affixed with yellow fabric leaves tipped with bright red edges, surrounded by fluffy white hydrangeas and orange orchids created by Sue Smith of Floral Cottage, Glen Spey, NY. Overhead, billowing satin orange draping stretched across the peaked clear roof with brass chandeliers, complete with billowing fall leaves. The tabletops were cream lace of swirling embroidery over black tablecloths, with black plate chargers and gold Damask napkins tied with napkin rings of leaves. Surrounding the tables were round-back chairs draped with vibrant gold satin secured with a wide orange stretch band at seat level. This look completed the fall pallet from ceiling to floor, merging the inside with the outside. We wanted a relaxed, non-rushed day, so we had our cocktail hour first. Guests were able to unwind from their long drives and choose their seats, enjoying delectable hor d’ourves passed on trays with orchids and roses— enhancing the elegant, relaxed country atmosphere we desired. Guests took their seats and we readied ourselves to enter our ceremony to our favorite song, “Paridiscio” played by Yo-yo Ma. Our vows were conducted by Reverend Steve Huston. We were both nervous, holding on tight, growing teary-eyed as we gazed into each other’s eyes. We were married! It felt so good. Everyone cheered and clapped and cried. Finally we had our first dance, “On My Way to You,” by Barbara Streisand, followed by prayers and toasts by our best man, maid of honor and others.

Unexpectedly, my cousins shared their feelings of joy and reminded us how much we were loved. We held hands, feeling extraordinarily lucky to be surrounded by such strong, sensitive, caring people. A highlight for me was dancing with my mother to “Baby Mine,” sung by Bette Midler. Seeing her rise from her wheelchair and hug me as we moved from side to side was a moment that I will cherish forever. My husband’s mother, who is no longer with us, was remembered with a CD with her picture and Frank Sinatra songs. We had also created a Memorial Table for others who had passed on, with photos of them on their wedding day. As dinner started, we were entertained by a live acoustic rock trio, In Spite Of Ourselves, from Westfall, PA, showcasing an eclectic mix of cabaret-style music. After dinner, the party got rocking to ‘70s-inspired disco music by DJ Flow/Hot Traxx of Milford. Tiaras, boas, sailor hats, American Indian headwear, yellow construction hats and cowboy hats all appeared throughout the hours of dancing. During a pause, we enjoyed a vast array of desserts created by master baker and passitiere Ellie Wolf of Ellligant Cake of Shohola, PA. Two superlative photographers, Thomas Duncan of Milford and Breanne Frost of My Frost Photography, preserved the day for us.

‘Spectacular’ All in all, I’d say that my wedding was spectacular. It didn’t cost a lot. It wasn’t overdone. It wasn’t stuffy or pretentious. It was a day that reflected us—James and Bob, who got married because—we can. James Angelo Campistrous can be reached at

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Gatherings, a special publication of The River Reporter, is published by Stuart Communications, Inc. Entire contents ©2012 by Stuart Communications, Inc. The River Reporter ofce is at 93 Erie Ave., Narrowsburg, NY. Its mailing address is P.O. Box 150, Narrowsburg, NY 12764. Phone 845-252-7414. E-mail The River Reporter is online at

The Wedding Planner


Green Initiative


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Subscription to The River Reporter is $60.00 for two years, $35.00 for 1 year or $25.00 for six months. USPS 354-810. Periodical postage paid at Narrowsburg, NY 12764, and additional mailing ofces.

Publication date: March 8, 2012 Publisher: Laurie Stuart

Sales Manager: Emily Grillo

Creative Director: Lori Malone

Section Editor: Mary Greene

Advertising/Marketing Consultant: Barbara Wineld

Production Manager: Connie Kern

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Go Green, Go L ocal


By Emily Grillo


For your floral needs, choosing flowers and plants that are in season not only creates a fresh and organic quality to your design, but also reduces your carbon footprint because flowers are not shipped in from far off places like Indonesia, they are grown close by in regional greenhouses. Using seasonal flowers and greens in bouquets and centerpieces can save you some real money—some florists even partner with local flower growers to create their bouquets and centerpieces. Your choices will be broader in the warmer months, but autumn and winter greens can be spectacular as well.

your local farmers markets may be able to produce in bulk for you.) Those of you with a flair in the kitchen can even make preserves yourself from berries in season. Decorated with a bit of cloth, ribbon and dried or fresh flowers, these attractive favors make good use of the idea of going local. Do you have a favorite bakery? Many bakeries offer single-serve items that can be wrapped in parchment paper and given to guests as a favor or part of a larger centerpiece. A double potted flower from a local greenhouse makes a fantastic take-home gift for a couple attending a wedding. Simply plant two in-season flowers in a terracotta planter with some soil (and don’t forget to water). Attach a small label or paint on the planter “Love Blooms” or “Love Grows Together.” If you really want to make an impact on the local scene, make a donation in honor of your wedding guests as a favor. Several hundred dollars to a local charity—one that has special meaning for you—can be a welcome assist to the work of that charity. Place small recycled notes of paper, wrapped in a scroll and tied with ribbon, letting your guests know that their favor was a donation to a local charity in need. You could become an inspiration and example to others as you celebrate your special day.

Fabulous favors

Something old

Hand-crafted favors from candy to candles are items that your guest will take home and keep (or at least eat). Single-serve bottles of jam, jellies or honey in little glass pots marked with “Spread the Love” or “Love is Sweet” make great favor ideas that you can make yourself for as little as a dollar per favor. Start by finding some attractive small glass jars and then buy large containers of local jams, jellies and honey. (Crafters at

What better way to honor your mother than by incorporating or wearing her wedding garments at your own ceremony? A local seamstress will be able to make alterations and additions to your garb. If this does not appeal to you or is not possible, you still can go green by shopping for a second-hand dress. Some high end vintage shops have gowns, and they are also sometimes available from wedding planners. Many of these gowns were very expensive originally, and so you are dealing

es, going green is all the rage this wedding season, but so is the theme of local. Brides and grooms are choosing favors, flowers and decorations that showcase a regional flair. One advantage of choosing local goods and vendors is you won’t have to pay shipping and handling fees. And remember, for every dollar you spend locally, $45 is reinvested locally. It’s your wedding, so you’ll want to personalize it to your tastes. When you think about it, this can be simpler when you are able to meet personally with local vendors to discuss your ideas and design needs. Many shop keepers will work with you if you need large numbers of items.

Say it with flowers

with good fabric and design. Plan to dry clean your dress, have it tailored and add some special touches to make it your own. Feeling really earthy? Let your bridesmaids and your maid of honor choose their own dresses, letting them know the color scheme you have in mind. This way they can wear something they already own, or they can shop locally for just the right attire.

Let’s have a toast Local vineyards increasingly offer a wide range of excellent vintages and wines. What better way to showcase local goods then by serving a local wine for the reception? Buy the wines in bulk for better pricing on each bottle. Some wineries also sell and bottle smaller versions of their wines that can double as favors and center pieces. Wineries can even personalize each wine bottle label to commemorate your special day. To make a centerpiece of these bottles, turn the labels out and tie each with a bow or recycled raffia. Let your guests know that they can each take a bottle home with them at the end of the reception.

Come to the table Having a catered affair? Let your caterer know that you want to showcase local seasonal products. Menus can include farm fresh salads, locally raised and butchered meats, artisanal and local cheeses and breads. Using what is in season will insure that your costs stay down. Your cake baker can use seasonal berries in the filling or decorate the cake with seasonal flowers. Apples, pumpkins and gourds, in season, also make wonderful decorations and unique items for guests to take home. As you plan your wedding, the choices you make reflect in a very personal way the kind of person that you are, and the lifestyle that you as a couple embrace. Have fun, go green, and go local! A RIVER REPORTER MAGAZINE • 7



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Using a Party Rental Company Convenience and peace of mind By Dawn Johns

Photo by Amanda Meyer

Most of us have no doubt been faced with the task of planning and hosting a party or celebration of some sort. Whether it is a birthday, anniversary, shower, wedding, or such, the fact remains that there can be seemingly endless options, depending on your budget. Planning and hosting a party can be quite a major chore, but it can also provide a high level of personal satisfaction and fulfillment. Whether you choose to rent a hall or go for an outdoor event with or without a tent, a party rental company can provide you with all the essentials. Party rental companies offer a wide array of equipment, products and services that allow people to have any kind of party—from lavish to formal to simple to elegant—for a fraction of the cost of actually owning any of the supplies. Party rental companies are usually all inclusive in that they will assist with planning and coordinating, and have lots of experience, so there is no need to spend money on a private party planner or company. The money you save can be added into your rental budget, so that you can add more rental equipment to spruce up the party. Rental companies will offer all facets of the party, from tents, tables and chairs to linens, dinnerware and dance floors to the buffet and bar service, including special touches like champagne or chocolate fountains. For a fun celebration, some will also offer carnival concession equipment and amusements, such as inflatable rides, dunk tanks and carnival games. In most cases, if they don’t have things you may be looking for, they should also have the means or connections to get what you want. The first thing you should do before you consult a party rental company is to grab a piece of paper and sketch a plan of your dream party or event. This will help you gather your thoughts and ideas prior to meeting with the rental company. This will also help the

party consultant at the rental company get a good picture of what you are looking for and how to achieve it within your budget. Then, get the items on your “wish list” by reserving them early, at least 90 days before your event. If planning a party or event during the very busy times of the year (think June graduations and weddings,) book your rental items as much as six months in advance if you can. Choosing a rental company may seem overwhelming. Limit the field by starting with a company close to you or your event location; this will make it easier during planning and implementation, should there ever be a problem or need for something last minute. The seemingly largest and/or cheapest company is not necessarily the best; be sure to compare any quotes “apples to apples,” as the old adage goes—and remember, you get what you pay for. It is fine to have questions ready for your rental company in terms of services they can offer and options they can provide. Don’t be shy about being direct—a good rental company will appreciate knowing what it is you are looking for. A good rule of thumb to follow is to consider a company that is a member of the American Rental Association, and that has a reputation for quality, service, reliability and capability. The company should be professional, offer delivery and set-up and be fully insured. When all is said and done, everyone wants a memorable event—one that has limited stress in planning, and one that came the closest to the vision and “wish list” you started with. Formulate a plan, reserve your party equipment....and get ready to make the memories. Your party rental company can help with all the rest.

Dawn Johns is the owner of Community Rental Centers Inc. and CRC Party Super Store, Milford, PA. A RIVER REPORTER MAGAZINE • 9

c i g a M t n e T

Contributed photos

10 • GATHERINGS 2012

As you plan your special day, where to have your wedding is a basic consideration. The location of your wedding will do much to create a mood and will, by necessity, influence other decisions that follow. Once you make the decision to use a party rental facility, be sure to consider the option of hosting your wedding in a tent.

A blank canvas Renting a tent means a blank canvas—no having to deal with the permanent décor of a facility (picture nautical blue carpet, outdated bronze sconces, mauve floral curtains and maroon chrome chairs.) Alternatively, you could rent a white tent, cover the ground with your choice of carpet or other flooring, choose your favorite lighting, choose your drapery, and then choose your tables, tablecloths and any color and style of chair. It’s your day. “Special event rentals are our specialty,” said Joelee Motichka of Rent-E-Vent, by Rent-E-Quip, Inc. in Honesdale, PA. “We’re constantly learning and updating. We pride ourselves on having a very expansive inventory, allowing us to help our clients create any vision, whether it be country elegant, natural and rustic, shabby chic, classic black-and-white, or flashy and embellished. And not only can we create all of that, but we can do almost any style on any budget.” This well-known Honesdale business woman is often asked if she will become a full fledged event planner. Her answer? “No. I love handling just the rentals—they’re such a large part of the overall scope of any wedding. “In a rural region like the Upper Delaware River valley and the Poconos,” said Joelee, “sometimes there isn’t enough call for a particular item. But, I always know where to find it.” A good party rental company should have various contacts with different companies that allow their

clients to personalize and customize their wedding in the way that they wish. Vision, budget considerations and a rural setting often make the choice of a tent rental a good idea. Tents are available in any size, and are able to seat anywhere between ten and thousands of guests, at just the right size. This avoids any awkwardness of having too much space, or being too crowded into a banquet hall.

Linens and tableware Whether renting a tent, or just utilizing other rentals (i.e. table linens, chair covers, and place settings) to fill your hall, nondisposable wedding décor is a green and earth-conscious decision— despite the fact that there are many very stylish and disposable options of tabletop décor and place settings. (For example, the “Reflections” utensil collection looks so real, you won’t believe it is plastic until you have bent your knife like a horseshoe.) A real porcelain china plate can cost about half a dollar to rent. The only disposable item that costs less is paper or styrofoam—two of the least functional (read: too flimsy) and least eco-conscious options out there. Disposables are seldom the best option—using real china adds dignity and beauty and implies the lasting nature of your affair. If you decide on disposables, some companies have a line of biodegradable bamboo settings, but they cost four times the cost of renting a real glass plate. Rentals aren’t only for the bride and groom—a deejay can rent extra sound and lighting equipment, the caterer can rent extra kitchen equipment and service pieces; banquet halls frequently rent extra furniture to supplement their in-house stock. Rentals are intended to make everyone’s lives easier, all the while maintaining that one-of-a-kind special feel every bride and groom deserve on their big day.


he Red



At the intersection of Routes 670 & 247 (10 minutes north of Honesdale)

We Have The SELECTION of Party Rentals and Party Supplies in the Tri-State Area! NEW RENTAL ITEMS FOR 2012! OPEN 7 DAYS Delivery & Set-up Service Available Now Taking Reservations for 2012 Wedding Packages...

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You Make the Memories...We’ll Do the Rest!


Community Rental Centers & CRC Party Super Store

284-296 Rt. 6 & 209, Milford, PA • 570-491-2721 •

A beautifully restored craftsman lodge

A The Settlers Inn wedding is a cherished memory created with thoughtful attention to detail. Our professional and courteous staff will assist you with every aspect of your special day. The Inn offers comfor table lodging in twenty guest rooms, all with private bath, air conditioning and modern amenities individually appointed in the craftsman style with eco-friendly flair. Many feature cozy fireplaces and luxurious whirlpool tubs.

4 Main Avenue, Hawley, PA

The cor ner stone of the Inn is our authentic regional cuisine. Each menu highlights fresh and healthy produce from local organic far mer s and pur veyor s. Our wine list has been recognized by Wine Spectator for the past seven year s with an Award of Excellence.

A stone entr yway leads to our gardens for outside enter taining. Cher r y woodwor k, ar t glass and ar royo wall sconces provide a sense of war mth, serenity and comfor t for your reception

The Inn’s 25-year tradition of fresh farm-totable cuisine and fine service will allow you to breathe easy and enjoy time with family, friends and your special someone in our Ar ts and Crafts-inspired gathering areas.

| 570-226-2993 • 800-833 8527 | | A RIVER REPORTER MAGAZINE • 11

THE CEREMONY Intimate indoor & outdoor setting Professionally landscaped gardens, terraces, fountain & gazebo

THE RECEPTION Newly redesigned reception room with vast windows & exquisite views Personalized & customized menus for every budget Catering to only one reception at a time

THE PARTY CONTINUES Luxurious hotel rooms and complimentary bridal suite Spa, hair studio and makeup artist on property Lounge & entertainment areas available

FALL DATES STILL AVAILABLE You provide the vision and we’ll worry about the details…

12 • GATHERINGS 2012

Gatherings 2012  

Event planning resource for the Upper Delaware River Valley. Weddings, Events, Parties, Ten Rentals, Wedding Planners, Cakes, Decorating ser...

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