Songs for the First Dance

Thursday, January 27th, 2011 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, Party Planning, reception planning, wedding ideas, wedding music, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By Keith Sly,    

When the bride and groom step onto the dance floor for their first dance, the song they choose to dance to is more than just a pretty tune. It’s ‘Their Song,’ a deeply-meaningful first dance song that reflects their relationship, their joy, their new life together. First dance songs are now being chosen from a list of songs that have played a big part in the bride and groom’s love story, perhaps the first song they ever slow-danced to.

Wedding deejays and wedding bands in our North Jersey region say there is a trend toward perennial favorite first dance songs, and that many wedding couples say they’re choosing their first dance song together as a team. They’re also reporting that the couple is now choosing two special songs for their wedding reception’s spotlight dance moments: one for the First Dance and another for the bride and groom’s last spotlight wedding dance of the reception.

Here are the top First Dance Songs that you may wish to consider for your own big moment:

Amazed by Lonestar
At Last by Etta James
Beautiful In My Eyes by Joshua Kadison
Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion
Breathe by Faith Hill
Can You Feel the Love Tonight by Elton John
Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley
Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You by Frankie Valli
Come Away With Me by Norah Jones
Embraceable You by Nat King Cole
Everything I Do (I Do It For You) by Bryan Adams
Faithfully by Journey
Fly Me To The Moon by Frank Sinatra
From This Moment by Shania Twain
Groovy Kind of Love by Phil Collins
Have I Told You Lately by Rod Stewart
Here And Now by Luther Vandross
I Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley
I Could Not Ask For More by Sara Evans
I Cross My Heart by George Strait
I Only Have Eyes For You by Flamingos
I Swear John by Michael Montgomery
I’ll Be There by Michael Jackson
It Had To Be You by Harry Connick Jr
It’s Your Love by Faith Hill/Tim McGraw
Just The Way You Are by Billy Joel
Someone Like You by Van Morrison
The Best Is Yet To Come by Frank Sinatra
The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra
To Make You Feel My Love by Garth Brooks
True Companion by Marc Cohn
Unforgettable by Nat King Cole
Wedding Song (There is Love) by Petula Clark
What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
When A Man Loves A Woman by Percy Sledge
When I Fall In Love by Celine Dion
When I Said I Do by Clint Black
Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton

Some songs are contemporary, some are classic, some country, but all – and so many more — are open to your consideration as the soundtrack for your lovely first dance as husband and wife.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

The Top Rehearsal Dinner Trends for 2011

Thursday, January 20th, 2011 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, Party Planning, Style Alert, wedding planning | author: By Keith Sly,    
Rehearsal Dinner Trends

Rehearsal Dinner Trends

The first big celebration of the wedding weekend is the rehearsal dinner, and today’s brides and grooms are fully involved in creating a culinary experience for their VIP guests, the perfect complement to the evening’s relaxed and festive mood. This dinner party is their welcome break from the hectic, last-minute planning tasks and all the stress that goes hand-in-hand with creating the most important day of their lives. The rehearsal dinner, then, is a treat for all, a chance to mingle and glow, sharing gifts and toasts and an unforgettable meal served in style.

Rehearsal Dinners

Rehearsal Dinners

The new rehearsal dinner has evolved into a foodie’s dream, with hosts putting as much effort and care into choosing a locale and building a menu as is often seen with the wedding plans. This event, then, is meant to impress.

Here are the top trends in rehearsal dinners for the coming year:

• Most frequently, the parents of the groom are the official hosts of the rehearsal dinner, even if both sets of parents have been fully involved in planning the wedding. (The parents of the bride get to plan the morning-after breakfast.)

Guest lists are smaller. It’s no longer a Must to invite all of the out-of-town guests to this elegant dinner party. Plan a separate, casual cocktail party for them at their hotel, and you’ll join them later. The rehearsal dinner is solely for immediate family, the bridal party and their guests, the officiant and his or her guest, and other ceremony participants.

• Couples choose a beautiful restaurant with fabulous design, perhaps outdoor dining, and other high-style ambiance as the setting for this dinner. Here at the Highlawn Pavilion, brides and grooms say they choose our establishment for the catering and the spectacular views of New York City from our position at the top of Eagle Rock Reservation. Indoor and outdoor ambiance creates a wonderful rehearsal dinner experience.

• The meal trend is now a sit-down dinner, at least three courses, with coffee and a fabulous dessert.

The rehearsal dinner menu items differ from the reception menu, giving the wedding couple the chance to offer those pricier entrees (lobster, filet mignon, etc.) that they perhaps couldn’t afford to serve as entrees to their 150+ guests at the wedding.

• The menu often includes cultural and traditional dishes that are important to the couple and their families.

• More couples request eco-friendly menu items and locally-grown foods.

• The champagne toast is back, and additional drinks are top-shelf and unlimited for this VIP crowd.

• The rehearsal dinner hosts give the first toast of the evening, with the bride and groom proposing a toast immediately afterward to thank the hosts and guests for sharing their day. Gifts are then given to parents and bridal party members.

Paul Keenan, Banquet Manager, Highlawn Pavilion

Bridal Registry Trends

Monday, January 17th, 2011 | Filed under: wedding ideas, wedding planning, wedding registry | author: By Keith Sly,    

When you’re looking forward to your wedding day, one of the most enjoyable first tasks that bride and groom share is creating a bridal registry, and in today’s wedding world it’s become quite common to establish multiple gift lists for guests to look at as they decide what to get you for your engagement party, bridal shower, or wedding gift.

Creating a bridal registry is, according to wedding etiquette experts, a service to the wedding guests as much as it is a treat for you. After all, wedding guests want to get you the things you need and want for your home and lifestyle. They enjoy clicking onto your bridal registry, seeing the items you’ve selected, learning your style, and purchasing from your list.

Here are the top new bridal registry trends as reported by so many of our New Jersey brides and grooms:

1. Create two to three different registries. Start with the traditional home décor and kitchen registry, and continue on to set up a list at a home improvement store (such as Home Depot or Lowes) to help you redecorate or remodel your home, or create a beautiful garden and backyard. You might create a honeymoon registry, or a charitable registry where guests can get you an exotic treat for your getaway, or donate to your favorite cause.

2. Upgrade your housewares. Couples want the good chef’s saucepans and carving knives, or high thread-count sheets, so they’re registering for the newest and best items on the market.

3. Register for all seasons. When you’re adding sheets and bedding sets to your wedding registry list, be sure to register for lightweight fabrics that will be most comfortable during the spring and summer, as well as for heavier fabrics, blankets and throws for the cooler fall and winter months.

4. Register for electronics. Now, bride and groom registry picks include Energy-Star™ kitchen appliances, GPS systems, security systems and other electronic gadgets that make their homes comfortable and energy-efficient, and add to an exciting lifestyle in the future.

Register for entertaining. Our New Jersey wedding couples love to entertain, and they envision a future married life in which they’ll host holiday dinners and throw dinner parties, showing off their gourmet cuisine. If you dream of entertaining, add plenty of serving platters, barware, glassware, wine decanters, sangria pitchers and other entertaining musts to your bridal registry gift lists.

Don’t forget to keep adding items to your bridal registry gifts lists all throughout your engagement season, so that guests have plenty of affordable options, and so that you get plenty of chances to enjoy the fun of registering for wedding gifts together. Many official registries also have ‘completion programs,’ offering you 10% or 15% discounts on the gifts that remain on your list after the wedding, so when you add additional wedding gift items to your list, you can get them more affordably later on.

Christopher Gellings, Banquet Manager, Highlawn Pavilion

The Hot Wedding Colors of 2011

Thursday, January 13th, 2011 | Filed under: Bright Ideas, Bright Ideas for your wedding, Style Alert, wedding planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

What will be the hottest wedding colors of spring and summer 2011? We checked out the fashion runways and the bridal industry’s latest color trend reports, and we see a bright future for you. Also, an earthtoned one. The hot wedding colors of the upcoming wedding seasons may be in one or the other color family – bold and vibrant, or calm and sunwashed neutrals – or a stylish blend of hues from each palette.

Wedding Colors

Wedding Colors

To inspire you, here are some of the trends in wedding colors that you can build into your bridesmaid dress choices, wedding flowers, décor, linens, invitations, and all other details of your big day:


Tangerine, hot pink, apple green, celadon, coral, cherry red, vibrant violet, daisy yellow, fuchsia, and especially vivid aquamarine (the #1 wedding color of 2010, according to the Pantone® color report for the bridal industry)


In a range of hues, the hot earthy neutrals of spring and summer are: slate gray, taupe, light brown, chocolate brown, sage to medium green, and metallic silver, bronze, copper and gold. Chocolate brown was a popular wedding trend a few years ago and is now making a big comeback, especially when paired with a vibrant color such as aquamarine.

Jewel tones:

In spring and summer, rich, deep jewel tones are smart wedding color accents, and in fall and winter they become the larger part of the color motif, with lights, brights or metallics as their accents. For spring and summer 2011 overall, the hot jewel-tones are: sapphire blue, emerald green, royal blue, peacock blue, teal, currant and ruby red.

What about pastels? A soft rose pink has made the list of top wedding color choices for this spring and summer, but it’s quite alone in the trends as last season’s lavenders and baby blues fade back, awaiting next year’s trend possibilities.

Do you have to abide by this color trends list? No, you can design your wedding to feature your favorite colors in any combination you wish, and our event specialists can help you create perfectly color-coordinated décor all around our establishment.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

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