Aisle Runner Trends

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 | Filed under: wedding planning, wedding receptions, Wedding Rehearsal | author: By Keith Sly,    

Your path down the aisle can be a beautiful, personalized one with your custom-designed aisle runner leading you toward your groom. We’ve seen many stunning aisle runner designs here at the The Manor in West Orange, and we’re pleased to share with you the top trends in aisle runner design.

  • Today’s beautiful aisle runners are made from high-quality fabrics, having evolved beautifully from the early days of aisle runners that were very similar in feel to a heavy-duty paper towel roll that often bunched up and tripped up the bride and groom and their guests. The new world of aisle runner fabrics are heavier, often top-grade cottons, providing the all-important secure surface you’ll want beneath your feet.
  • Aisle runners are also being made from organic fabrics, such as natural organic cotton and even hemp, pleasing eco-conscious brides and grooms.
  • White designs are still very popular for brides and grooms who love the traditional bridal look, and we’re also seeing many aisle runners in beautiful pastel colors such as lavender and sage green. We’re also seeing bright colors such as dramatic reds, jewel-toned purples, and summery oranges and yellows.
  • Creative graphics such as a cluster of butterflies decorate the start of the new, modern aisle runner, so talk with your designer to choose the theme icon that best fits your formal or garden wedding wishes.
  • Today’s aisle runners feature the bride’s and groom’s first names, or monogram, printed in a beautiful font and in a gorgeous coordinating color at the start of the runner.
  • At our garden weddings, many of our New Jersey brides and grooms choose to skip the fabric aisle runner and instead mark their aisles with lineups of potted flowers or pretty piles of colorful flower petals on either side of the aisle. Or, they choose to create a ‘petal carpet’ of scattered flower petals in all-white or colors that creates their path.
  • Some of our recent brides and grooms have decided that they prefer to walk not on an aisle runner nor on flower petals, but on our flooring or garden grass to provide a lovely color contrast of the bride’s white gown against their hues.

We’ve encouraged our wedding couples to have their wedding photographers snap photos of their aisle runner design and details as a priceless keepsake, and we’ve seen our brides and grooms pose photos while standing in front of their runner logo. A popular trend is for the couple to either clean and store their aisle runner to use in the future for their milestone anniversaries or when they renew their wedding vows. At those celebrations, which they may choose to host here with us once again, they can use their wedding day aisle runner as a valuable and sentimental part of their décor. And of course, many of our New Jersey wedding couples choose instead to cut out their aisle runner logo and design, have it professionally framed, and display it in their homes as an everyday reminder of the best and most beautiful day of their lives.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Bridal Show Dos and Don’ts

Saturday, September 24th, 2011 | Filed under: Bachelorette Party ideas, Party Planning, reception planning, wedding planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

Attending a bridal show is a smart way for brides and grooms to explore the styles and trends of wedding décor, fashion, favors, photography and more, since nothing beats the in-person opportunities you’ll find at bridal expos like the elegant ones occurring in our local New Jersey area. Just like you can only fully appreciate our wedding gardens and wedding rooms by walking through them, seeing the details all throughout our wedding venues, you can best appreciate the beauty of a floral arrangement by standing right in front of it, inhaling its fragrance, seeing the breathtaking layers of delicate petals on each gardenia, rose and ranunculus. That’s far better than looking at even the most beautiful of photos on a website.

To help you get the most from your bridal show experiences, we’ve listed the Top Do’s and Don’ts for bridal expos:


  • Plan to attend several different bridal shows and expos, to meet a wide range of local New Jersey wedding vendors and see a wide range of design ideas.

  • Plan to attend your first bridal show with your groom, sharing your first-time excitement with him. Many of our New Jersey wedding couples are full planning partners, with the grooms just as interested in the catering, entertainment, photos and décor as the brides. They want to share this first bridal show event excitement with their brides as well.

  • Bring your closest women with you to subsequent bridal shows. Moms now join the maid of honor and bridesmaids on a bride’s guest list, sharing the exciting scene and discovering fabulous wedding details and experts alongside the brides.

  • Sign on to win prizes. The bridal show coordinators share your e-mail address with displaying vendors anyway, so sign onto their sheets and you may win valuable prizes.

  • Talk to the wedding vendors. They welcome your planning questions, and they’re quite willing to share ideas or make suggestions about details you might not think about, such as providing a water source for hydrangeas to help them last longer through your wedding day.


  • Don’t rush in, rush past vendor tables, grab some appetizers and a glass of champagne, take a glance around, and leave. Great bridal shows have fabulous events planned throughout the show, including band performances, fashion shows, seminars by local wedding experts, prize drawings, and games through which you might win a valuable prize for your wedding or honeymoon.
  • Don’t assume that only beginning wedding vendors attend wedding shows. Top wedding professionals – including the most successful, busiest and most admired NJ wedding experts — make it a high priority to attend as many bridal shows as possible. They want to meet brides and grooms face-to-face, show their talents and offerings, and connect with wedding couples who are looking for their style of top-caliber wedding services.
  • Don’t forget to take your camera with you. You’ll see hundreds of designs and details that will help you create your wedding details.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Unique Wedding Registries

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 | Filed under: dream wedding, earth friendly weddings, Style Alert, wedding planning, wedding receptions, wedding registry | author: By Keith Sly,    

Today’s brides and grooms start thinking about their wedding registries right away, and they’re very excited (and quite fortunate!) that current wedding registry trends and etiquette say they can have more than one registry. In fact, both nationwide and in our local New Jersey region, the average number of separate wedding registries set up by brides and grooms is two to three.

Many wedding couples choose to create registry gift lists at one or more housewares stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Macys, and Williams Sonoma, just to name a few, to stock up on kitchen and linen essentials, décor items, appliances such as top-tier coffee makers and Panini presses. They register at home essentials stores to upgrade to the good cookware and cutlery, and load up on high thread-count towels and sheets. For many couples, this type of registry is their wedding registry number one. They then create other, unique registries. Here are some of the top types of unique wedding registries that our Passaic County, Morris County, Essex County, Hudson County, Somerset County and other New Jersey wedding couples report as their top wedding gift list choices:

  • Honeymoon Registry: These popular wedding gift registry sites allow you to sign up for such romantic experiences as a private sunset dinner cruise or a couple’s massage on the beach, or an adventure such as swimming with dolphins or taking a zipline canopy tour above an exotic rainforest. Guests can purchase these experiences for you, or they might choose to give you a ‘share’ of your honeymoon suite booking, or your plane fare, to make your trip possible for you. They can also select gift cards to your honeymoon resort, giving you the ability to spend your gift money any way you wish.
  • Charitable Registry: If you’re a charitable-minded couple, you might set up a charitable gift registry on which you designate your favorite charity or charities, and guests select the amount they’d like to donate to your chosen cause as their wedding gift to you. A big trend among our New Jersey wedding couples is designating local donation recipients, such as animal shelters, libraries, schools and especially food pantries. Having a charitable registry among your two or three established wedding registries gives guests their choice of traditional or unique gift to give you.
  • Sporting Registry. Our local North Jersey brides and grooms have a penchant for outdoor sports, and living an active lifestyle. So they’re signing onto active and adventure lifestyle gift lists at such stores as, one of the most popular registries for couples who want mountain bikes, kayaks, camping gear, GPS systems and other supplies to enhance their active lifestyle that’s so popular here at New Jersey’s many hiking, biking, climbing, boating and other adventure sport areas.
  • Wine Registry. Our New Jersey brides and grooms have sophisticated tastes when it comes to wines, and one of the things we hear quite often from couples who come to our West Orange wedding venue is that they dream of having extensive wine collections and installing wine cellars. So creating a wine registry at a local wine merchant or wine connoisseur website is a top trend.
  • Experience Registry. Similar to the honeymoon registry, this type of registry offers experiences as gifts. The bride and groom log onto an experience wedding registry site, and they choose their dream adventures. It might be skydiving, horseback riding on the beach, taking a culinary course at a celebrity chef’s establishment, or other phenomenal experience that only a guest’s generous gift could provide.

Wedding registry information must not be included on your wedding invitation, but is instead shared as links in your personal wedding website. Wedding guests say they appreciate finding multiple types of registries that give them a wide range of options for your wedding gift, since they want to get you an unforgettable gift or experience that you’ll love.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Be My Bridesmaid

Monday, September 12th, 2011 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, dream wedding, wedding planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

Your sisters, friends and cousins will certainly be thrilled to hear you say, “Will you be my bridesmaid?” It’s a very big moment for the ladies who are asked, since being invited into a bridal party circle is a great honor, a sign of great admiration, one of the biggest thrills that you can share with each other.

In today’s world of wedding planning, especially in our northern New Jersey region and in the surrounding counties of our tri-state area, brides are taking extra steps to make this invitation even more special to their future bridesmaids. Here are some of the creative ways that brides are planning unique ways to ask, “Will you be my bridesmaid?”

  • Send your bridesmaids flowers at their homes or offices, with a hand-written note from you (if possible, since long-distance flower-sends will produce computer-printed notes) asking the big question.
  • Send your bridesmaids chocolate-covered strawberries or chocolates from one of our award-winning NJ chocolatiers, with a note inviting the bridesmaid to make the bridal party a sweeter circle of friends with her involvement.
  • Send a voice-recording greeting card, especially to a far-away friend, so that she can receive an indulgent gift and your voice-added greeting card inviting her to the bridal party circle…and serves as a keepsake of your relationship and this big moment.
  • Send your bridesmaid a stuffed bear, outfitted to look like a bridesmaid, with a hidden voice player that you’ve used to record your invitation message.
  • Schedule a Skype meeting with your friend so that you can ask her in a high-tech way.
  • Buy each of your ladies a bridesmaid guidebook or a New Jersey wedding magazine and send them to your bridesmaids with a personal note from you, inviting them into your bridal party group.
  • Invite your bridesmaids to a VIP dinner party, cocktail party, a fine dining restaurant or your favorite gourmet cuisine spot, or simply out for cocktails at your favorite cocktail bar or family restaurant as a celebratory get-together where you ask the big question, then clink cocktail glasses for the first time as bride and her bridesmaids.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Engagement Portrait Ideas

Monday, September 5th, 2011 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, wedding photography, wedding planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

Upon the occasion of your engagement – whether it happened yesterday or months ago – you’re likely planning to schedule an engagement portrait session with a professional photographer as the first of your many, exciting, upcoming wedding photography tasks.

In the past, engagement portraits looked very similar – with the bride standing behind the seated groom, her arms wrapped around his shoulders and chest, with her new and sparkling engagement ring prominently showing on her left hand. Now, this traditional pose is just one of a collection of new engagement portrait poses that lead the way in first-couple-photo trends. Think of the beautiful engagement photo recently released by royal wedding couple Kate Middleton and Prince William. Kate and William posed in a near embrace, showing their closeness and natural affection as a couple, and yes the engagement ring was prominently-featured.

As a leading New Jersey wedding venue and top garden wedding location in New Jersey, we can attest to the natural beauty of our surrounding region here in the northern part of the Garden State where we have so many scenic overlooks – including the Highlawn Pavilion’s view of New York City – and natural vistas such as springtime blooms and the fiery colors of the autumn leaves. With engagement portraits experiencing a wedding photo trend evolution into using more nature scenes as backgrounds for these couple photos, our local wedding couples are quite lucky to have access to beautiful botanical gardens, estate homes, and especially beaches on our many shore and lake destinations here in New Jersey.

Here are some of the top engagement portrait setting styles that New Jersey wedding couples and our many New York City wedding couples choose for their signature couple photo:

At the Beach

  • Sitting or lying directly on the sand
  • Sitting or lying on a colorful beach blanket
  • Splashing ankle-deep in the ocean’s edge water
  • Groom carrying bride into the water, or along the ocean’s edge into the sunset
  • Bride and groom sitting in a lifeguard stand
  • A favorite of our New Jersey wedding couples – photos located at the family shore house where they’ve spent many summers, and perhaps where they became engaged
  • At the precise spot on the beach where the couple became engaged.
  • A natural, just-walking-along shot of the couple by the water’s edge

On the Boardwalk

For playful couples, a beach-setting engagement portrait session may include a quick stop at the boardwalk, where they may pose:

  • On a carousel
  • In the seat of their favorite ride
  • Holding colorful cotton candy while overlooking the ocean
  • Holding enormous stuffed animals the groom and bride have won for each other.

In the Park

The park may be easier for you to reach, and many New Jersey couples choose their nearby park setting, or a favorite spot in a state park overlooking a waterfall or a brook, as their engagement portrait setting. When couples look for places to take NJ wedding photos, it’s often the park that provides the setting closest to a gorgeous garden wedding’s feel. Here are some of the top trends in park photos:

  • At a gazebo
  • On a park bench
  • By a fountain
  • On a wooden bridge crossing over a stream
  • On a playground’s swingset
  • Lying on the grass in the middle of a softball field where you’ve played or watched games together
  • Kissing in the end zone of a park football field, where you may have had childhood sports memories

The goal is to design an engagement portrait that will join your spectacular professionally-taken wedding photos in your home displays for all time. Your wedding photography expert will guide you in suggesting poses that make you both look your best, but it’s up to you to choose your stunning location, bring several different styles of outfits or dresses to your photo session, and speak up when a setting or pose is what you want.

Many of our New Jersey wedding couples say they fall in love with several of their engagement photos, framing those for home display and using those for their personal wedding website and wedding program designs.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

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