Pre Wedding Party – Wedding Music

Monday, July 25th, 2011 | Filed under: wedding music, wedding planning, wedding songs | author: By Keith Sly,    

Your wedding entertainment isn’t just a focus for your wedding reception alone. At the many pre-wedding parties hosted for you, music is an important mood-setter, giving your guests lovely sounds to enjoy during your rehearsal dinner, engagement party, bridal shower, even during your wedding morning breakfast or bridal brunch.

At the Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange, we’ve hosted some of the top NJ wedding entertainers, including wedding bands and DJs, and our wedding ballroom has been filled with romantic slow songs, club dance music, and cultural wedding music from the tarantella to the hora. Our network of preferred vendors includes entertainment companies that also offer talented solo and small-group musical acts that you can book for your pre-wedding parties.

Some of the most popular solo artists, duos and other musicians you’ll find through professional wedding entertainment agencies include pianists, guitarists, harpists, cellists, flutists and singers. And our New Jersey wedding couples have also found fabulous, multi-talented musical performers through our many nearby universities such as Rutgers in New Brunswick, Drew University in Madison, and other colleges that have music departments. Our couples called the university and were soon auditioning talented  performers and groups that they booked for their pre-wedding parties. Some couples tell us they fell in love with the pianists they saw at local jazz clubs and guitarists in performance at local bookstores. These gifted musicians are happy to book engagement parties and rehearsal dinners as well as rehearsal dinners and garden weddings, so they may be ideal for your own star-search as you arrange your wedding entertainment for all of your celebrations.

For your at-home, informal parties such as casual engagement parties with friends or friend and family gatherings when you return from your honeymoon, of course you might arrange your own music using your iPod playlist, as a free option that allows you to personalize your song selections. As a fun wedding gift idea from a teen or budget-crunched friend, it’s a new trend for that loved one to custom-mix a playlist just for you, both as the party entertainment and as a treasured gift that’s actually quite priceless.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Wedding Rehearsal Planning

Monday, July 18th, 2011 | Filed under: dream wedding, Party Planning, reception planning, Rehearsal Dinner | author: By Keith Sly,    

Your wedding rehearsal brings the focus to the most important part of your wedding day: your wedding ceremony. You and each of your ceremony participants will embark upon a detailed run-through of your ceremony elements, led with experience and efficiency by your wedding planner, your wedding officiant, or our banquet manager for your garden wedding or ballroom wedding here at our West Orange, New Jersey wedding venue.

I say efficiency because it’s a hallmark of today’s wedding rehearsal — especially for our time-conscious New Jersey, New York City and Long Island wedding couples – for the rehearsal to run smoothly and quickly, instructing all and putting everyone at ease about the elements of the wedding ceremony. So to that end, and to help you plan a quick, efficient, and enjoyable wedding rehearsal, here is your primer on what should be practiced at your rehearsal, and what may be skipped for time, and also for that all-important surprise factor on the wedding day:

What’s Practiced:

  • Where the ladies and the men will each gather and await the start of the ceremony.
  • Ushers escorting guests to their seats, including a familiarization with the path of our wedding gardens and the layout of our wedding ceremony room.
  • The lineups for the bridesmaids and the groomsmen, including how they will walk, stand and pair up in duos or trios for the recessional.
  • The processional walking spacing and walking speed for all.
  • Special instructions for child attendants, teaching them how and where to walk.
  • The wedding ceremony elements:
  • The officiant will confirm how the bride wishes for her parent or parents to give their consent, if she wishes to include the ‘giving away’ portion of the wedding ceremony. We’ve found moments like these to be enlightening ones for the bride and groom, places where the wedding rehearsal allows them to tailor the nuances of their ceremony wording.
  • The steps of the religious, spiritual or secular wedding ceremony, including the bride’s and groom’s moving to another location for a ritual, plus the maid of honor’s necessary arranging of the bride’s train.
  • The readings, giving participants the chance to run through the wording, and also learn from the banquet manager or officiant which podium or microphone to approach.
  • The presentation of religious, spiritual or cultural elements.
  • The wedding vows (optional – some couples wish to run through classic or traditional vows, and some wish to keep them a surprise until the wedding day.)
  • The exchange of rings, acted out, without the actual rings.
  • The kiss.
  • The presentation of the bride and groom to all in attendance as a married couple.
  • The recessional, including how the bride and groom will walk back down the aisle together, bridal party members’ walking in the processional, and the process by which groomsmen will return to the front row to indicate parents’ turn in the recessional.
  • The receiving line order, if the couple wishes to have a receiving line at this point.

What’s Not Practiced:

Again, at their wedding rehearsal, many of our local brides and grooms appreciate speeding things along, so that no one gets restless, and so that they can get to the fine restaurant dining experience of their rehearsal dinner on time. So these are the elements that are most often not practiced at the rehearsal:

  • The officiant performing the entirety of readings to be used in the ceremony.
  • The entirety of wedding vows. A trend we’re seeing in wedding rehearsals here at our West Orange, New Jersey wedding venue is couples practicing the traditional beginning of their wedding vows – “to have and to hold, etc.” – but keeping their personalized ending sections private for now, as a surprise to their intended, as well as to all present.
  • Religious elements, such as the receiving of Mass.
  • Musical performances, or cultural performances.
  • The bride and groom’s departure to the wedding limousine.

Trust in the experience of our banquet manager or your special events expert as your group enacts the steps at your wedding rehearsal and you’ll find that you have a greater sense of comfort about your wedding day, fewer nerves distracting you, and a wonderful ability to take in all of the beautiful details and meaningful elements of your New Jersey wedding.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Choosing A Honeymoon Destination

Monday, July 11th, 2011 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, Cost Savings Ideas, Honeymoon ideas | author: By Keith Sly,    

As you discuss your dream honeymoon locations as you begin to think about your getaway of a lifetime, it can be quite overwhelming once you see all of the beautiful island resorts throughout the world and as you hear about your friends’ amazing honeymoon experiences. As I write this, the world is buzzing about the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, speculating that the royal wedding couple may go on safari for part of their honeymoon.

With so many inspirations out there — so many Top 10 Travel Locale website articles and specials on travel channels, not to mention bridal websites’ honeymoon articles and their annual Top 10 picks for the perfect honeymoon location – it’s best to begin your honeymoon discussions by assessing what both of you wish for in your dream honeymoon experience.

Here are some style-setting considerations:

  1. Tropical environment. It may be your dream to go to a 5-star tropical resort, sip pina coladas on the beach, swim with dolphins and sea turtles and listen to steel drum music by the pool
  1. Overseas city environment. A growing number of our New Jersey wedding couples are headed to Italy for several weeks of touring the famous, historic cities and historic landmarks, not to mention enjoying the Italian cuisine and upscale shopping. A flight overseas may take you to a dream destination on any continent, perhaps even to visit with family and friends overseas.
  1. Big-city environment. In this era of careful spending, more wedding couples are choosing honeymoon locations within the continental United States, planning their getaways for big cities such as New York City – with the couple staying in the finest hotel, enjoying fine dining, theater, shopping, the VIP experience. Many New Jersey wedding couples say they’re always bringing friends to visit the hotspots of New York City, but they have never checked into the finest city hotel or experienced celebrity-style luxury there before. Other big-city destinations for our local wedding couples include Los Angeles, Chicago, and especially New Orleans.
  1. Celebrity-style casino environment. Our wedding couples from Morris County, Somerset County, Hudson County, Passaic County all the way down to Cape May County are now booking their honeymoons at the top Atlantic City casino hotels, bumping into celebrities at nightclubs, dining in fine restaurants, shopping, taking in concerts and shows, experiencing the VIP honeymoon treatment just a short ride away…eliminating the need for pricy airline tickets.
  1. Adventure sports environments. Some honeymoon locations provide adrenaline-pumping adventures such as ziplining, mountain biking down a volcano, white water rafting, scuba diving and other activities that may play into your dream honeymoon experience.
  1. Heritage environments. What better time to explore the homeland of your ancestors, and share the illuminating trip with your new spouse? This trend ties into my earlier mention of local wedding couples heading to Italy, as both an international city destination and a connection to heritage, and heritage-connection honeymoon locations may be anywhere across the globe. You might wish to visit all of your heritage hotspots during a several-stop trek or during a cruise through the Mediterranean or Caribbean.

Today’s lengthier honeymoons see wedding couples visiting several locales, perhaps visiting a big-city locale for a few days, then heading to an oceanfront resort for a beach-style honeymoon – giving both of you the chance to make your wedding location wishes come true.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

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