One Too Many

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 | Filed under: Party Planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

By James Levinsky, Banquet Manager, The Manor

A wedding reception is a wonderful occasion to eat, drink, and be merry. But often, with all the toasting and revelry, someone has a little too much to drink. So here are some practical tips to deal with over-imbibing:

If it’s you that has had too many, remember to drink water. Then drink some more. It won’t cure what ails you, but you’ll feel a little better come the morning. Listen and believe your friends, family or (gasp) your new husband or wife if they tell you, “It’s time to slow down on the drinks” or “Sit this next dance out.” (Then follow the advice above about drinking water.)

If it’s a family member that’s partying a little too heartily, remember that it often happens – no reason to be upset or embarrassed. Have an appropriate family member intercede. If you are the bride and your uncle has had too many, ask your dad or mom to intervene.

If it’s a friend, ask them if they’re having fun. They’ll likely respond with a “Heck yeah” or something even more emphatic. Your response of simply “I can see that” might be enough to send a strong message of moderation. It’s okay to use nonverbal clues like eye rolling to let a friend know if they’re getting a little too wild and crazy, too.

If it’s your boss, let him or her get totally crazy, and then they’ll owe you one. Just kidding! Handle him or her like a friend (just leave out the eye-rolling).

Whatever the relationship, don’t let tipsy guests drive. Have the telephone number of a local taxi company that can take guests home or to their hotel if needed. That’s an idea everyone can raise a glass to!

At your service,


Wedding Emergency – Vendor No Show

Monday, March 22nd, 2010 | Filed under: Party Planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

By Patti Carlin, Banquet Manager, Ram’s Head Inn

You’ve heard the old adage about the best laid plans going astray. Well, sometimes things don’t go according to plan on your wedding day. Maybe an important vendor doesn’t show up. Believe me, we’ve seen it happen. What to do? The first rule: Stay calm. Don’t panic. Turning into a Bridezilla certainly won’t help matters.
For example, let’s say the limo hired to take the bride to the ceremony doesn’t show up. First, have a friend who’s not in the wedding party call the limo company. Chances are they got stuck in traffic or got a flat tire, and are just a little delayed. If it’s a bigger problem, go to Plan B: Call any traditional car service. They’ll likely be able to send someone very quickly to pick you up. Don’t worry about appearances, either – few people actually ever see the bride arrive at the church or other wedding ceremony location.
Anticipate potential snafus beforehand and have a backup plan to deal with them. And rest assured that if your wedding is like the overwhelming majority of them, it will all come off without a hitch.

Have a great day!


Wedding music: DJ, Band, or iPod?

Sunday, March 21st, 2010 | Filed under: Cost Savings Ideas, Party Planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

By Paul Keenan, Banquet Manager, Highlawn Pavilion

A band, a DJ, or an iPod? You’ve got a lot of options in choosing the musical entertainment for your wedding reception. In terms of protocol or etiquette, there is no right or wrong choice. However, some rooms or locations are better suited acoustically or logistically for DJs, and some for Bands. There are other factors to consider as well in choosing the musical entertainment:

DJs, on the average, are slightly less expensive than bands simply because of the number of performing individuals in a band vs. the single DJ. Another plus: DJs are far more willing to customize your song selection than ever before. And they’ll honor your “do not play” list no matter how many times your Aunt Edna wants to request the Electric Slide.

Live music can add a real kick to your reception. Remember though, the more people in the band, the more money the band usually charges. And don’t forget – you pay for their meals. If possible, be sure to see the bands performing in person (either at a friend’s wedding or at a bridal expo) before hiring one, so you have a real sense of their sound and style.

The iPod is arguably the most contemporary and lowest cost option, but it is not a good one unless you have an incredible sound system to plug it into and someone willing to make sure it doesn’t run out of batteries. Anyone who has an iPod knows what I’m talking about!

With a little forethought, your musical entertainment choice will be one of the high notes of your reception.

All the best,


The Rehearsal dinner

Saturday, March 20th, 2010 | Filed under: Cost Savings Ideas, Party Planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

By Christopher Gellings, Banquet Manager, Highlawn Pavilion

The rehearsal dinner guest list is always a matter of discussion. Who should you invite? The answer depends mostly on your budget and the size of your wedding. Certainly all bridesmaids and groomsmen, as well as anyone who will be speaking or performing a reading during the ceremony should be invited. You might want to include close family members from out of town, giving you a chance to actually sit and visit and spend some quality time with them, which you probably won’t have on your wedding day.
But even with a large party, you can keep costs of your rehearsal dinner down. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a fancy, sit down affair. It can be as simple as a BBQ in your own backyard. The facility where you’re having your wedding reception may also be a good option for where to hold your rehearsal dinner. They may even offer packages that provide a discount for this meal, since they are also hosting your reception.
At the Manor and Highlawn Pavilion, two Knowles properties in West Orange, New Jersey, we offer private dining rooms for rehearsal dinners, or simply accommodate the wedding party in the Terrace Lounge at The Manor or the Main Dining Room at Highlawn Pavilion.
With a little thought put into your guest list and the location, your rehearsal dinner can be one of the most memorable events of your entire wedding.



Wedding cost savings tips – The Room Block

Thursday, March 18th, 2010 | Filed under: Bright Ideas, Cost Savings Ideas, Party Planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

By Rolf Shick, Banquet Manager, The Manor

As much as they love you, attending a wedding can be an expensive proposition for your guests: gift, transportation, maybe a new suit or dress. Saving them money might get some who are undecided about your invitation to come. Some guests might be traveling from great distances. They’re going to need a place to stay. One great way to save them money and also make the festivities more fun is by partnering with a hotel near the site of your ceremony. You can arrange for discounted rates by blocking a set of rooms. This also makes it easy for your guests to socialize before and after the ceremony as well. The facility where you’re having your reception may have an arrangement with area hotels. For example, a wedding at any of our three West Orange, New Jersey properties – the Manor, Pleasantdale Chateau or the Highlawn Pavilion – will get you top priority at our local Residence Inn.
You may also be able to arrange shuttle transportation with the hotel to and from the wedding, saving your guests wear and tear as well as money – and making it easy for them to celebrate safely. Remember, don’t drink and drive!
Here’s something else you can do when you designate a nearby hotel as “action central” and book a block of rooms: You can put together great welcome packages for guests with snacks, a bottle of wine and information for local things to do in the area. This is a great way for out of town guests to feel special and appreciated!

Thank you,


Party Planning: The Importance of the Guest Book

Thursday, March 4th, 2010 | Filed under: Party Planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

Barbra Streisand once said something that struck me as interesting, something I think brides-to-be can relate to. She said, “I’ve been called many names like perfectionist, difficult and obsessive. I think it takes obsession, takes searching for the details for any artist to be good”.

My point here is that the larger things associated with weddings (the limo, the photographer, the venue, the flowers, etc.) are, once you’ve hired the right people, in good hands. And once that’s been done, you can focus on the details of your wedding – the things that will truly make your wedding stand out from the others. Read more…

To make an appointment with a banquet manager, please contact us at 973-731-3100.