Wedding Guest Book Trends

Thursday, March 24th, 2011 | Filed under: dream wedding, wedding ideas, wedding planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

Wedding guest books have gotten so beautiful! Just a few years ago, it seemed like most brides and grooms bought standard, white or ivory, lined guest books from wedding websites – with or without the big, plumy pen – and now the same color and creativity that goes into modern wedding invitation design is going into the wedding guest book.

When guests arrive at the ceremony or cocktail party venue, the first thing they see on display is the guest book they’re expected to sign as a record of their presence at the wedding celebration. Here are the new trends of the guest book awaiting their signatures, the guest book that becomes such a priceless keepsake to the bride and groom:

Guest Book Colors

Wedding guest book covers may still be selected for their traditional colors of white, ivory, or ecru, with silver or gold trim or accents including the simple embossed wording of Guest Book on the cover. Many of our New Jersey brides and grooms say they like to keep the ‘something old’ of a traditional guest book design, since so much of their wedding is non-traditional, colorful and creative. And then we see many local wedding couples choosing, or making, guest books in beautiful colors that may match or coordinate with their wedding’s signature colors. The biggest wedding color trends reflected in guest books right now are pale pink, sage green, lavender, and the bright shades of turquoise, tangerine, sunshine yellow and lipstick red. The guest book welcomes guests with their first glimpse at the shades of the wedding venue décor.

Guest Book Cards, Papers and Stickers

Creative brides and grooms seek out easy, money-saving wedding DIY crafts, and the make-your-own wedding guest book trend has introduced this guest-pleasing option: the guest book table welcomes guests to sign individual, unlined index cards chosen for their coordination with the wedding décor colors, inscribing their messages on, say, lavender index cards with a deep purple pen, or with a shimmering silver pen. The cards are then dropped into a silver serving bowl or glass bowl, to be assembled into a scrapbook later.

Another trend is for guests to sign individual wedding theme-shaped cards or papers, such as heart-shaped paper stock, and wedding photo booth attendants now affix on guest book pages the self-stick strips of guests’ photo booth pictures, and finally the guests sign with silver pen or colorful Sharpie on ‘their page’, alongside their sweet or silly photo booth pictures.

What Guests Are Writing

In years past, wedding guests simply signed their names on a line in a basic wedding guest book, and now we’re seeing wedding guests write heartfelt messages of “Congratulations!” and “We are so happy for you! What a beautiful, perfect day!” on a half- or whole page of the guest book. Brides and grooms love having the keepsake of personal messages written in their loved ones’ handwriting, which becomes all the more special over time.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Kids at the Wedding Rehearsal

Thursday, March 17th, 2011 | Filed under: wedding gifts, wedding planning, wedding receptions, Wedding Rehearsal | author: By Keith Sly,    

While some wedding websites advise choosing child attendants who are no younger than six years old, we know that your adored nieces and nephews may be younger than that, and you very much want them to be your flowergirls and ringbearers. Here at our wedding banquet hall and wedding gardens, we’ve seen children as young as two perform quite well as child attendants, and the key is smart preparations for the little ones at the wedding rehearsal.

Our wedding staff, as well as the top wedding coordinators and special event experts in the New Jersey region, has helped many brides and grooms during their wedding rehearsals, offering our expertise in helping flowergirls and ringbearers prepare for their big moment at the wedding. The key, we’ve found, is making sure kids are comfortable, know what to expect, and know what they might earn by behaving well.

Here are some top tips for helping kids at your wedding rehearsal, improving your odds of a tantrum-free day:

• Be sure that child attendants will be comfortable in their wedding day clothing. Itchy lace collars and shirt tags that poke, too-tight bow ties and other wardrobe issues are the #1 cause of kids’ acting badly at weddings. So be sure the kids’ dresses and tuxes have been checked and adjusted to allow for the little ones’ comfort.

• Be sure that kids have eaten before the wedding, and that they’ve had plenty of water to drink. Hunger and thirst are also top causes of kids’ misbehavior. So practice the same Musts for the rehearsal.

• Tell kids what they’ll see when they walk down the aisle. A practice walk down empty rows is very different than the people-filled rows, flashbulbs, flowers and other distractions. From the youngest kids to the teens, spell out the things they’re likely to see as they walk down the aisle.

• For small children, have a treat waiting for them at the end of the aisle. A grandparent might be holding a big, colorful lollipop or a (silent) toy that they can have when they reach the end of the aisle.

• Allow kids to sit down during the ceremony. This big trend provides for kids’ comfort, they can sit with parents who can shush them if needed, and kids won’t be tempted to wander around, fidget or panic in the face of so many people looking at them.

• Let kids practice their walks down the aisle a few times, and test out who they’re most comfortable walking with. There’s no rule saying the flowergirl has to walk alone. If she’s happiest walking with the maid of honor, that adjustment may be made.

• If children are frightened, talk with them privately to ask what they’re concerned about. A child is more likely to open up about her shoes being slippery on the aisle runner than she might be with a dozen strangers looking at her.

• Prepare children for what happens after the ceremony, that they’ll pose for photos, then be introduced into the room at the reception, dance and sit with the other kids. When children know what to expect, they don’t act out as much.

Keep these tips in mind, and your child attendants will have more fun, be happier and more comfortable and thus be a wonderful part of your wedding day.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Wedding Rehearsal Attendance

Thursday, March 10th, 2011 | Filed under: Rehearsal Dinner, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By Keith Sly,    

As New Jersey’s top wedding venues, the Pleasantdale Chateau, The Manor
and the Ram’s Head Inn have been home to countless wedding rehearsals, and we’ve seen the glowing bride and groom prepare for the biggest day of their lives. Who’s invited to attend this very important practice run? We have the wedding etiquette-approved list of who needs to be there…and who isn’t.

First, obviously, the bride and groom need to be present, so that they can not just learn what will happen during each section of the wedding ceremony, but so that they can co-create the personalized ceremony of their dreams. Today’s bride and groom have a voice at their wedding rehearsal, sometimes switching the order of ceremony elements, re-pairing bridesmaids and groomsmen and otherwise designing the most important part of their wedding day.

Next, the bridal party members, and their guests, are invited to the rehearsal dinner. Bridesmaids and groomsmen need to learn where they’ll wait, how they’ll walk down the aisle, what they’ll do during special moments of the ceremony, and how they’ll participate in the recessional. The maid of honor will learn when she’ll need to adjust the bride’s train, hold her flowers, and otherwise be at her service. Why the bridal party guests? According to wedding etiquette, it’s proper to invite them to the rehearsal dinner, so it just works out conveniently to let them attend the wedding rehearsal itself.

Child bridal party attendants, flowergirls and ringbearers, are also invited, along with their parents, so that the little ones can practice how they’ll walk and where they’ll stand, so that they’re comfortable and confident in what’s expected of them.

The wedding planner is invited, if you’ve hired one, and may be the person in charge of instructing everyone on each element of the ceremony. The officiant and his or her guest will obviously be there as well, to guide the proceedings and to work with the bride and groom in adjusting any wording, the vows, or other special portions of the ceremony.

Musical performers may also be invited to the wedding rehearsal, although that’s not a Must. Your musicians may require that they attend the rehearsal, so that they can learn the cues of when they’re playing during each portion of the ceremony, so ask your musical experts what their rehearsal policies are, and what you may have to pay them to attend.

Ceremony participants, such as those performing readings or cultural rites, are smartly invited to the wedding rehearsal, so that they too learn when they’ll be expected to stand up and walk to the microphone, and so that they can practice speaking their material on-site.

Parents and grandparents are also invited to the rehearsal, as a special event to witness, as are additional special family members. The smaller the circle of people at the wedding rehearsal, the more efficient the practice session will be, and the sooner you can all get to your lovely rehearsal dinner.

Thank you!
Rolf Shick, Banquet Manager, The Manor

Wedding Registry Mistakes

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 | Filed under: wedding gifts, wedding ideas, wedding planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

We’d like to help you avoid some of the most common wedding registry mistakes. During our decades of getting to know so many wedding couples, we’ve heard a number of them talk about their wedding gift lists, specifically the problems they’re having with them and what they’d do differently if they could register for gifts all over again.

Here are the wedding registry mistakes we hope you’ll keep at the forefront of your mind as you create your bridal registries and also as you maintain your lists now until your wedding day, and even afterward:

1. Registering for too few items. That’s right, wedding couples who don’t want to appear greedy to their friends and family limit their wedding registry lists to just a handful of items, which not only keeps them from receiving everything they’ll need to set up their home, but also leaves wedding guests without enough gift options in their budget to choose from. Don’t be shy. Sign on for lots of wedding gift possibilities, and guests will be more likely to be grateful than offended.

Only having one registry. With so many unique registries out there, don’t limit yourself to just one kind of wedding registry. Look into creating a honeymoon registry, charitable registry, a registry at a local sporting goods store if you like to enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle as so many of our New Jersey couples do, a wine registry, or other type of wedding gift list.

2. Registering in a single price range. Load up your list with lots of gifts in a very affordable price range, such as under $50, and then add items in the $50 to $100 price range, some in the $100 to $200 price range, and follow the new wedding registry trend of adding a few big-ticket items that can be given to you by groups, such as your bridal party (who are each saving money by splitting the cost of a pricy gift for you! That $400 coffee maker is just $40 apiece if there are 10 bridesmaids and groomsmen giving the gift together!)

3. Not signing on for gift cards. Again, it doesn’t make you look greedy to ask for 10 $50 gift cards, 10 $100 gift cards and so on. Guests know that you’ll need to buy some household essentials after the wedding, items you didn’t get for bridal shower gifts, and gift cards let you do so without guilt.

4. Choosing the wrong delivery address. If you live in an apartment, you don’t want these valuable gifts being delivered to your entryway with no doorman able to take them in for you. It may be smarter to have all of your wedding gifts delivered to your parents’ home, where they can take them in and protect them for you.

Christopher Gellings, Banquet Manager, Highlawn Pavilion


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