Wedding Song Dedications

Monday, August 29th, 2011 | Filed under: wedding music, wedding planning, wedding songs | author: By Keith Sly,    

In today’s world of personalized weddings, brides and grooms have arranged for their wedding entertainment to include specific songs from their much-loved playlists. Now, our New Jersey brides and grooms are following the top wedding entertainment trends and planning multiple song dedications for their receptions.

Here are some of the most sentimental and crowd-pleasing song dedication trends that you might wish to incorporate into your big day:

At the Start of the Reception

  • After the first spotlight dances of your reception — including your first dance as husband and wife, your bride-and-father dance, the groom-and-mother dance, if you choose to include these – many wedding entertainment experts invite all of the couples onto the dance floor to enjoy this first spotlight dance, then remain on the dance floor for additional slow dance songs to follow it.
  • If you’d prefer, you can instruct your wedding entertainment professional to read your song dedication made to your and your groom’s parents, inviting them to their own spotlight dance, as your thank-you for their help in planning your wedding. You choose a meaningful song for this dedication, and both or all sets of parents are invited to share it the moment, regardless of which parents paid more for the wedding. It’s fine etiquette and good family diplomacy to acknowledge all parents as equals.
  • End your song dedications here, so that guests can take their seats to enjoy the first course of their dinner, and so that your song dedications don’t become an endless string of songs where all guests stand and watch someone else having all the fun. Spread out your song dedications over the course of the evening.

At the Start of the Fast-Dance Wedding Entertainment

  • When the wedding entertainers, deejay or band, are ready to transition from slow-dance dinner music to dance music for the reception’s higher-energy portion, a great way to start the  action is to have the first fast-song announced as a dedication from the groom to the bride, or vice versa. It may be one of your favorite songs of all time, or the song you always play when getting ready for a big night out.
  • Dedicate fast-dance songs to others, including:
    • Your bridal party members
    • Your friends, in an all-inclusive song dedication announcement, not a naming-of-names in a small circle, making others feel left out or diminished
    • Your cousins, also a strong trend that we’re seeing here at family-centric New Jersey weddings
    • To your kids, if you’re blending families or have children as a couple

At the Big, Symbolic Moments

When the cake is wheeled out in the dramatic presentation for the bride and groom to cut their first slice as husband and wife, you may choose this moment as the perfect moment for a song you’ll dedicate to your guests, as a very special thank-you for the ‘sweet’ gift of their traveling to share this day with you.

When you present your bouquet to your mother, grandmother or other special female, or toss your bouquet to your awaiting single female guests, choose a special song dedication that pay tribute to all of your women friends and relatives.

When you have your wedding entertainers play special cultural songs, the inclusion of those important rituals becomes a tribute that adds so much to your wedding celebration. At our West Orange wedding venue, we’ve hosted a large variety of cultural wedding celebrations from Indian to Italian, Japanese to Jewish, Polish, Colombian, Irish, and all manner of heritage-based weddings. Wedding entertainment for these festive weddings often includes special song dedications.

At the End of the Reception

Your wedding entertainment comes to a close with the last dance of the evening, and as bride and groom you may choose to propose a song dedication for this last number. This may be another of ‘your songs’ or a song that’s special to your family. At this point, you might take the microphone to propose your song dedication directly to each other, to your families and friends, and we’ve even enjoyed the surprise of our brides and grooms thanking us for bringing their wedding dreams to life. That’s music to our ears.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Creative Wedding Menu – Late-Night Bites and Treats

Monday, August 22nd, 2011 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, reception planning, wedding ideas | author: By Keith Sly,    

When a wedding celebration lasts long into the late-night hours, our recent New Jersey brides and grooms love to serve their guests an unexpected additional wave of wedding menu items during the last hour of their reception. In the past year, the trend of ‘late-night bites’ has increased dramatically, as a growing number of New Jersey, New York Metropolitan and Long Island brides and grooms experience post-midnight food service at company parties, fundraising galas, and even university formals. Further inspired by shows like Top Chef and upscale wedding reality shows, local brides speak to our illustrious banquet managers and chefs about creating a gourmet, late-night menu that’s served in style.

Here are the top two categories of late-night wedding menu features, as well as some of the foods most often requested by our local tri-state area wedding couples:

Late-Night Snack Bites:

  • Hamburger and cheeseburger sliders, with gourmet toppings such as artisan cheeses or marinated onions and peppers
  • French fries and onion rings, dusted with gourmet spices and served in ceramic bowls or fair-inspired paper cones
  • Mini pizzas, again given the gourmet treatment such as spiced sausage topping and five types of cheeses on top
  • Empanadas filled with pork, beef or chicken
  • Tacos filled with pork, beef, chicken, beans, fish and rice or vegetables, with gourmet salsa
  • Soft pretzels, served with gourmet dipping mustards
  • Funnel cakes or zeppole, a New Jersey-favorite snack bite, especially when made with a flavored sugar sprinkling.

For brides and grooms who wish to end their receptions with sweets rather than snack bites, we offer you the top trends in surprise second dessert offerings:

Delectable Desserts

  • A second slice of wedding cake, which many of our New Jersey wedding guests say is their top wedding wish…one slice is just not enough.
  • The groom’s cake may be presented at this time, as a twist to the tradition presentation alongside the wedding cake, designed in a theme, shape and flavors of the groom’s choosing.
  • Chocolate-covered strawberries, bananas, raspberries, cantaloupe and pineapple half-moons, pound cake squares and other dessert tastes, already dipped in a variety of chocolate sauces and paired with fresh whipped cream and berry sauces.
  • Tiramisu squares, for a touch of alcohol-tinged sweetness and perhaps the bride and groom’s favorite dessert incorporated into their wedding menu.
  • A gelato bar, also a favorite of our New Jersey brides and grooms who wish for a different, richer taste at the end of their wedding reception, with their favorite flavors featured.
  • Cake pops and cupcakes are also top trends in wedding menu desserts that our pastry chefs have arranged for our wedding receptions, with a wide variety in classic, creative and even cocktail-inspired flavors.

The key to these late-night wedding menus is formal, detailed presentations, with each slider plated with great care, chocolate-covered berries arranged in artistic designs, dipping sauces presented in modern ceramic bowls, and more. Even with so-called ‘bar food’ bites, we elevate each wedding menu option to its most attractive and most impressive presentation, all to impress your guests and make your night unforgettable from the first to the very last bite.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Trends in Cocktail Party Stations

Monday, August 15th, 2011 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, reception planning, wedding planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

A wedding’s cocktail party stations allow the bride and groom to showcase a generous variety of their favorite gourmet cuisines, from European cuisine to Asian cuisine, Italian gourmet cuisine, new American cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisine, and more. As our culture grows more interested in the culinary arts, and as our New Jersey wedding clients come to us with truly thrilling ideas and requests for eclectic, elegant dining paired with fine wines and elite vintage champagnes, we at the Pleasantdale Chateau – as well as at our sister wedding venues The The Manor, The Highlawn Pavilion and theRam’s Head Inn – relish the chance to co-create a stunning lineup of the top trends in cocktail party station fare.

Our chef Robert Albers has created an extensive menu of delicious dishes within the new trends in station themes, and our brides and grooms choose from among them to customize their event’s culinary experience. Here are the top trends in cocktail party stations to consider for your wedding menu:

  • The Fresh Garden Crudités Station – During the past few years, wedding guests have grown increasingly fond of the fresh, crisp vegetable platter, opting for organic, healthier treats within the collection of cocktail party menu options. A crudités station offers elaborately-presented pieces of broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, red and yellow bell pepper, carrot sticks, celery stalks, zucchini sticks, sun-dried tomatoes and a creamy Parmesan dipping sauce.
  • Fresh Fruits and Berries Station – Also a popular choice among wedding guests, as well as brides and grooms planning green weddings here in New Jersey, this station features an array of fresh, sliced seasonal fruits and berries such as golden pineapple, watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, seedless red grapes and strawberries. Guests who must eat in a healthy manner now find themselves delighted at a wedding, not frustrated by an array of fried options.
  • Imported and Domestic Cheese Station – In the world of wedding cuisine — as well as gourmet dining influenced by European cuisine as well as the tastes of our domestic heartland and New Jersey farms’ fresh offerings – cheeses are the new It food on wedding menus. If a couple doesn’t have a cheese station planned, they ask for a cheese course within their reception menu. Some of the most popular cheeses featured on our cheese station include aged Gouda, Coupole goat cheese, herbed Swiss, Vermont white cheddar, Brie, Camembert, Farme D’Ambert and Gourmandises, served with seeded flatbreads and chutney.
  • Normandy Display Station – A Normandy display station brings a variety of international cuisine to a wedding menu, offering hummus, baba ghanoush and cucumber yogurt dip, charcuterie platter of sliced ham and dried sausages, pencil asparagus with hearts of palm, toasted Israeli couscous with golden raisins and pine nuts, and more. Our wedding couples from Morris County, Passaic County, Somerset County, Hudson County and surrounding regions of New Jersey and Metropolitan New York City have dined in some of the finest restaurants in the world, and they’re quite particular about offering some of the finest cuisines from around the world.
  • In a cocktail party menu trend that surprises some wedding couples, fondue is back as a hot trend, with the fondue style being a cheese and ale-based fondue, served with vegetables and apples, spicy sausages and assorted breads.
  • Even with a meat-based entrée planned for the reception menu, our brides and grooms often wish to include a carving station. The top trends in carving stations right now include unique types of meats, looking beyond the classic prime rib or pork loin to sushi grade ahi tuna, apple and ancho braised brisket of beef and more. When guests are treated to a unique cocktail party station menu item, they’re all the more impressed with your lavish gourmet wedding celebration.
  • Seafood stations remain at the top of brides’ and grooms’ wishlists, with chilled oysters on the half shell, jumbo Gulf shrimp, snow crab claws and other iced seafoods presented to guests.
  • Chafing dish menu items give wedding couples their choice of several gourmet cuisine items such as mussels, clams and shrimp in garlic and white wine over orzo, Osso Bucco, eggplant stuffed with ricotta, plum tomatoes and garlic sauce, country escargot with garlic and leeks, and an array of regional specialties, exotic dishes, cocktail party menu items chosen to please kosher menu requirements as well as vegan and other dietary requirements.
  • The pasta station’s newest trend in the gourmet sauce our chefs prepare to make it stand out. Our New Jersey home to weddings specializes in Italian gourmet cuisine, and as such our chef’s pasta station sauces include classics like vodka sauce and pomodoro sauce, plus gourmet twists such as Italian sausage and pesto sauce, marscapone cheese and garlic cream, brandy mushroom sauce, seafood sauces, and the creamy, cheese top trend of wild mushroom and sage risotto, or Louisiana crawfish risotto, and more.
  • A favorite station among our foodie wedding couples is the Asian station, including a sushi bar where attendants make hand rolls to order, or where guests can feast on chicken teriyaki dumplings or moo shoo duck hand rolls – again, unique dishes that guests may not order for their own dinners on the average visit to a local Asian restaurant.
  • Additional cocktail party stations include: smoked fish displays including smoked salmon, gravlox, pastrami cured salmon and smoked trout and more; and a caviar station with several different top-grade caviars, blini, toast points and garnishes.

The cocktail party menu begins the celebration in fine style and with gourmet taste, delivering a new trend seen at weddings – people taking pictures of the cocktail party stations and hitting send to share the beauty and sumptuousness with their networks of friends and family far away. In our digital age, that’s quite a high compliment, among the many you’ll receive for your cocktail party menu collection.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Trends in the Bridesmaids Bouquet

Monday, August 8th, 2011 | Filed under: reception planning, Wedding Décor, wedding flowers | author: By Keith Sly,    

When brides design their bridesmaids’ bouquets, they follow the latest trends in coordinating these pretty wedding flower pieces with their own spotlight bride’s bouquets. Of course, the bride’s bouquet stands out above all with its size and the lushness of its florals, the sparkle of rhinestones or the shimmer of crystals accenting the bouquet. Most of our New Jersey brides want their own bouquets to shine, but they also want their bridesmaids’ bouquets to be lovely both in person and in their wedding photos and wedding video. They want their bridesmaids to love the flowers they’re carrying.

Another trend that carries into bridesmaid bouquet design is the use of those bouquets as wedding décor accents, perhaps surrounding the wedding cake, or placed as decorations by the guest book, tribute photos, on the family photo table and at other spots throughout the wedding venue. With a décor spotlight on bridesmaid bouquets, great care is taken to design these beautiful bouquets.

Here are the top bridesmaid bouquet design trends that we have seen here at the Pleasantdale Chateau and that local New Jersey special event planners and floral designers have reported as being the most often-requested wedding floral design ideas:

  • The bridesmaids’ bouquets are a few inches smaller than the bride’s bouquet. Not dramatically smaller. Not half the size of the bride’s bouquet, but just a few inches smaller in diameter.
  • The bridesmaids’ bouquet colors coordinate with the bride’s bouquet flower colors, with the bridesmaids’ flower colors featured in more pastel shades than the bride’s vibrant bouquet hues, or the bridesmaids’ vibrant bouquets being comprised of two bright colors – such as red and orange – while the bride simply carries an all-red bouquet.
  • The maid of honor’s bouquet is most often designed to stand out from the bridesmaids’ flowers, often including a greater number of brightly-colored flowers.
  • The bridesmaids’ bouquets consist of mostly the same types of flowers that the bride has included in her own bouquet, but the bride gets a greater number of exotic or larger flowers in her bouquet.
  • Bridesmaids’ bouquets are made in the same style as the bride’s bouquet, with the vast majority of our New Jersey brides from Short Hills, Mendham, Morristown, Far Hills, Franklin Lanes, Basking Ridge and other local regions choosing hand-tied bouquets for their bridesmaids. This is a return to a true bouquet style for bridesmaids, a welcome change from the budget-saving trend of having bridesmaids carry a single rose or a single calla lily. Many brides feel that a single bloom doesn’t fit with a lavishly-planted, floral garden wedding venue or a wedding ballroom decorated with large, dramatic floral arrangements. So bridesmaids’ bouquets have returned to a chic, modern hand-tied style.
  • Bridesmaids’ bouquets are designed to include a touch of sparkle from crystal or rhinestone pin accents within the blooms or affixed to the handle.
  • Brides are using unique leaves and tiny flower filler in their bridesmaids’ bouquets to provide a visually interesting look and also keep their floral design costs lower, giving them more of their wedding flower budget to devote to their own bouquets, centerpieces and wedding cake flowers.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Bridal Bouquet Trends

Monday, August 1st, 2011 | Filed under: Green weddings, wedding flowers, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By Keith Sly,    

A bride may dream most often and most vocally about her wedding gown, but it’s the design of her bridal bouquet that puts that perfect finishing touch on her wedding day look. The trends in wedding flowers change often, with bouquets growing larger then shrinking again into tightly-packed masterpieces filled with roses and stephanotis, and our New Jersey brides’ bouquets are now especially accessorized with sparkle and glamour and diamond pins.

We’ve collected the latest trends in bride’s bouquet designs, to help you create your ideal wedding flowers look, and complete your dream wedding day ensemble:

Bouquet Styles: Ninety-five percent of today’s wedding bouquets are hand-tied designs, in which the flowers are gathered together by hand in a symmetrical, round design, then the stems are wrapped first with securing floral tape, then wrapped again with wide, satin ribbon. This style provides for both formal and informal wedding looks as the most modern and stylish of today’s brides’ bouquet selections.

Bouquet Colors: Vibrant colors are in, with our New Jersey brides looking to the recent Pantone Color Report for wedding hues to adhere to the current hot shades of coral, turquoise, yellow, bright red, fuchsia, and purple. Bright, vibrant wedding bouquets may be monochromatic – such as an all-red bouquet — or they may be mixes of bright colors and a lighter shade of that same color. Still popular among many of our brides is the all-white bridal bouquet, perhaps with subtle touches of light pink or sage green flowers to add just a bit of dimension in the bouquet.

Here are some of the top bouquet color combinations expected as the hot shades of spring and summer this year:

  • Red and orange
  • Coral and yellow
  • Yellow and sage green
  • Purple and lilac
  • Blue and purple

Bouquet Flowers: The top bride’s bouquet flowers include the top overall wedding flowers in the New Jersey wedding realm, with roses continuing to be the most popular at elegant weddings. Our brides love exotic wedding flowers in their wedding décor as well as in their bouquets, so we’re seeing more orchids and gardenias in floral pieces carried by our brides. And for both formal and informal garden weddings, the bride’s bouquet includes lilies, peonies, tulips, hydrangeas, and stephanotis.

Bouquet Accents: As mentioned, our local New Jersey brides bring their sense of sophisticated style into their bridal bouquets as well as to their wedding gowns, accenting their bouquets – within the blooms and on the wrapped handle — with crystal pins, jewel pins, rhinestone picks, pearl pins, and even true diamond brooches or pins that may be gifts from the groom or their parents, or may be an heirloom jewelry pieces handed down to her by a beloved relative or her new in-laws. Our brides are also incorporating into their wedding floral décor and bridal bouquets tiny accent touches that convey their wedding theme: seashells or butterflies or feathers are seen most often lately here at our West Orange wedding venue. And many of our brides add a touch of good luck to their bouquets by pinning on saint medallions or inserting a lucky penny into them.

With so much design thought and value placed on the bridal bouquet, it’s rarely this floral piece that is presented to a special female relative, or thrown to the awaiting single ladies. Most of our brides have at the ready a separate, small bouquet or nosegay featuring bright, fresh flowers that is used for this wedding celebration ritual.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

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