Wedding Registry Mistakes to Avoid

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, wedding ideas, wedding planning, wedding registry | 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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!)
  1. 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.
  1. 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

Top 5 Bridal Registry Trends

Saturday, November 19th, 2011 | Filed under: bridal registry, Bright Ideas for your wedding, Cost Savings Ideas, 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.

5. 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

Top Father-Daughter Dance Songs

Monday, November 14th, 2011 | Filed under: wedding planning, wedding receptions, wedding songs, wedding themes | author: By Keith Sly,    

After your traditional first dance as husband and wife, it’s customary for the bride and her father, or step-father, to take to the dance floor to perform their Father-Daughter Dance. During so many years as home to beautiful New Jersey weddings, we’ve seen thousands upon thousands of sentimental moments between fathers and daughters at the wedding reception, and some of their first dances took our breath away. The songs they chose were so lovely, such a heartfelt tribute to the special bond between father and daughter on the wedding day.

Since so many of our wedding couples have inspired us with their Father-Daughter dance songs, we thought we’d share some of the most memorable ones, as well as songs you may like to consider for your own father-daughter dance:

“My Girl”                                  The Temptations

“Unforgettable”                         Nat King Cole

“Wind Beneath My Wings”       Bette Midler

“My Dad”                                 Paul Petersen

“Because You Loved Me”        Celine Dion

“Isn’t She Lovely?”                    Stevie Wonder

“Have I Told You Lately”          Van Morrison

“What A Wonderful World”      Louis Armstrong

“Butterfly Kisses”                      Raybon Brothers

“And Then They Do”                Trace Adkins

“There You’ll Be”                      Faith Hill

“In My Daughter’s Eyes”           Martina McBride

“A Song For My Daughter”       Ray Allaire

“You Raise Me Up”                 Josh Groban

We’re seeing a wonderful trend in Father-Daughter dances – father and daughter are picking out Their Song together, using a song from the bride’s childhood. So in addition to the most popular songs listed above, we’re also seeing fathers and daughters dancing to unexpected songs with great memories attached, like You Are My Sunshine and My First, My Last, My Everything by Barry White – the song the father always danced with his little girl to at other weddings they’ve attended over the years.

Whatever your Father-Daughter song, consider the other new trend: brides and fathers are practicing their first dance ahead of time, perhaps even having a dance instructor choreograph it. It’s their moment in the spotlight, and they make it special.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Top First Dance Songs for the Bride and Groom

Saturday, November 12th, 2011 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, wedding music, wedding planning | 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                                                Lonestar

At Last                                                 Etta James

Beautiful In My Eyes                             Joshua Kadison

Because You Loved Me                       Celine Dion

Breathe                                                Faith Hill

Can You Feel the Love Tonight            Elton John

Can’t Help Falling In Love                    Elvis Presley

Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You           Frankie Valli

Come Away With Me                          Norah Jones

Embraceable You                                 Nat King Cole

Everything I Do (I Do It For You)         Bryan Adams

Faithfully                                               Journey

Fly Me To The Moon                           Frank Sinatra

From This Moment                               Shania Twain

Groovy Kind of Love                           Phil Collins

Have I Told You Lately                        Rod Stewart

Here And Now                                    Luther Vandross

I Can’t Help Falling In Love                  Elvis Presley

I Could Not Ask For More                  Sara Evans

I Cross My Heart                                 George Strait

I Only Have Eyes For You                   Flamingos

I Swear                                                John Michael Montgomery

I’ll Be There                                         Michael Jackson

It Had To Be You                                Harry Connick Jr

It’s Your Love                                      Faith Hill/Tim McGraw

Just The Way You Are             Billy Joel

Someone Like You                               Van Morrison

The Best Is Yet To Come                     Frank Sinatra

The Way You Look Tonight                 Frank Sinatra

To Make You Feel My Love                Garth Brooks

True Companion                                   Marc Cohn

Unforgettable                                        Nat King Cole

Wedding Song (There is Love) Petula Clark

What A Wonderful World                    Louis Armstrong

When A Man Loves A Woman            Percy Sledge

When I Fall In Love                              Celine Dion

When I Said I Do                                 Clint Black

Wonderful Tonight                                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

Pre-Honeymoon Get Away

Thursday, November 10th, 2011 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, Honeymoon ideas, wedding ideas, wedding planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

Smart brides and grooms avoid wedding stress and arguments by going away on a romantic pre-honeymoon. Planning a weekend getaway or just an overnight stay in a bed and breakfast allows you to step away from the whirlwind of wedding planning – particularly in those last hectic weeks before the wedding – and re-connect as a couple without spending a fortune.

You don’t have to fly away to Tahiti or St. Lucia or any other top honeymoon locale in order to take your pre-honeymoon trip. Not when our state offers so many exciting destinations at the shore points in Ocean and Cape May Counties, golf resorts and ski areas in Sussex County, and more. Our New Jersey brides and grooms say they plan their getaways for our state’s wealth of exciting and indulgent vacation spots, many of which they visit annually, or where they – or friends — might even have shore or ski houses. They’re booking weekend stays and overnighters at the following types of locales:

  • Upscale casino hotels like the Water Club or the Borgata in Atlantic City, where they can enjoy spa treatments, first-class service, the thrill of gambling, and perhaps taking in a concert or comedy show.
  • Quaint beach towns, such as Cape May in Ocean County or Spring Lake, where they can ride bikes, relax in the sun, go shopping, and eat at wonderful restaurants overlooking the ocean at sunset, watching the dolphins at play in the distance.
  • Lovely, Victorian bed and breakfasts. They’re not just in Cape May, although you’ll find some of New Jersey’s best B&Bs there. Visit to locate sweet and charming bed and breakfast establishments all over New Jersey, from the northernmost, mountainous points to shore points and in suburban areas in between. Friendly innkeepers see to your needs and make you a delectable breakfast in the morning. Some of our brides and grooms stay at B&Bs during weekdays to nab great discount prices.
  • Brand-name hotels. Your nearby Westin, Hilton or Ramada may offer romantic weekend packages that allow you to stay in a suite, welcomed with complimentary champagne and strawberries, and a lavish brunch the next morning. You can laze by the pool, order room service, enjoy a five-star dinner, and act like you’re on vacation even though you’re only a few miles from home.
  • Ski resort areas. You might choose your favorite New Jersey ski resort town, or pack for a road trip to a notable ski resort in a neighboring state. If you decide to stay off the slopes in protection of your ankles and knees before the big day, you can enjoy the ski lodge scene, go on tours, enjoy fine dining, and soak in an outdoor hot tub as a light snow falls.

  • New York City. A quick ride into the city delivers you to a cultural mecca, and you might surprise your partner with tickets to a Broadway show or a limousine ride to a notable hotspot. Stay in a fine hotel and go celebrity-spotting at the city’s best-known star hangouts, or just walk hand-in-hand through Central Park during the afternoon. The city is your pre-honeymoon playground.


Lars Johnson, General Manager, Pleasantdale Chateau

Wedding Favor Display Trends

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011 | Filed under: wedding ceremony, Wedding Décor, wedding ideas, wedding planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

Your wedding favors make the stylish ‘last impression’ on your wedding guests, so be sure to choose lovely favors, and create a wedding favor display that’s pleasing to the eye as well. When you take time to creatively display even the most modest of favors, your efforts create an effect that makes it seem like the favors are more expensive, more upscale and more of a treat. At our New Jersey wedding venue, we’ve seen some of the loveliest wedding favor display trends:

  • Place one wedding favor at each guests’ place setting, in front of their plates.
  • Create a wedding favors table by your gifts table, and set on it large, elegant silver platters that hold organized, even rows of your packaged favors. We use the same presentation style for our petit fours and other small desserts, so your favor treats will share the same elegant styling.
  • Accent your wedding favors table with a floral centerpiece matching those on the guest tables, or place an 8”x10” framed photo of the two of you, paired with a framed, printed thank –you note from the two of you, in the center of the table, surrounded by your favors.
  • Arrange your wedding favors on three-tier serving pedestals, just like our banquet managers and pastry chefs use with our dessert offerings, for an elegant look that matches the serving-style the guests have admired all throughout your reception and dessert hour.
  • You can also use these three-tier serving pedestals as favor presentations that our servers can bring to each of your guest tables, creating an upscale presentation at the end of your reception.
  • Our servers can also present each table’s favors on an elevated serving platter or on a small silver platter, with the platter garnished with additional chocolates, mints, or – a favorite at our New Jersey weddings – pastel-colored Jordan almonds.
  • If you’ll make a donation to charity in lieu of traditional favors, display a framed printed announcement of your charity choice, and place next to it a basket of packaged cookies, chocolates or mints for guests to enjoy as they depart.
  • Arrange one of the hottest current favor presentations – the favor bar. At this long table, guests use tongs or scoops to select their own choices of chocolates, truffles, brownie bites, colorful candies or other favor choices from glass bowls and platters. They package their own edible favor choices in either clear Lucite boxes or cellophane bags that they can tie with a ribbon. You can serve just truffles, or you can mix up your favor bar offerings to include bite-sized brownies, fudge squares, petit fours and an array of dessert indulgences.

Edible favors are the top choice at our Southern New Jersey wedding venue, but we’re also seeing single long-stemmed roses packaged in cellophane and ribbon, displayed in a tall, beautiful vase, ready for guests to choose their own take-home wedding flower.

All the best,

Caitlyn Bradley, Director of Private Dining, Ram’s Head Inn

Wedding Cameras – Guest Table Cameras are Back

Saturday, November 5th, 2011 | Filed under: wedding ideas, wedding photography, wedding planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

We’re so happy to see the return of one-time-use wedding cameras set on our wedding reception room guest tables here at the Ram’s Head Inn in Galloway, New Jersey. For a time, they disappeared as brides and grooms sought to shave expenses from their wedding budget, but now wedding couples welcome them back into their tabletop design, offering their guests the fun of using them.

Here are the top reasons why wedding cameras are back:

  • They’re prettier than ever. At, you’ll see pretty red floral, blue floral, and purple floral one-time-use cameras, in addition to traditional ‘bridal white’ cameras. And you’ll also see cameras in solid colors coordinating with the top wedding colors of the season: orange, yellow, blue, red, even black and white for themed weddings.
  • They’re now made with top film quality. With 800-speed film, photos taken with these cameras can capture a priceless wedding moment in quality resolution.
  • They keep kids occupied. Many of our New Jersey wedding couples say this is their top reason – that the one-time-use cameras on every table get the kids playing, happily occupied, laughing, taking photos on the dance floor, and –simply put – not prone to behavior problems they’d have if play wasn’t an element of your reception.
  • They capture the moments you miss. While you’re out in the wedding gardens having your portraits taken, guests use these cameras to capture wonderful moments between relatives, such as great-grandma meeting a guest’s baby for the first time, or the bride’s parents showing off their skills on the dance floor.
  • Guests are told they’ll get to see and perhaps buy the photos. When you place a printed note with each one-time-use wedding camera, you let guests know that the photos they take will be included on a photo-share website for them to view and purchase. Guests then tend to take greater care with the pictures they take, and it works out wonderfully for everyone.
  • Extra wedding cameras let you capture the after-party. When all of the cameras are gathered up at the end of the reception, you can take the ones that still have shots left on them to your after-party to capture memorable moments with your friends long after your wedding photographer has left.
  • Panoramic one-time-use cameras let you snap your own wide-angle photos of our beautiful wedding gardens and grounds, as well as all of your friends and family celebrating your special day.

All the best,

Caitlyn Bradley, Director of Private Dining, Ram’s Head Inn

Wedding Rehearsals: Who’s in Charge?

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 | Filed under: reception planning, wedding planning, Wedding Rehearsals | author: By Keith Sly,    

During your wedding rehearsal, you and everyone involved in your wedding ceremony will learn all of the important details central to the beauty and perfection of this most important part of your wedding day. You’ll arrange your bridal party members’ lineup, practice the processional, practice your vows and the symbolic or cultural elements of your ceremony, and make any last-minute changes you desire.

In years past, the wedding rehearsal was in the hands of the officiant who was in charge at the house of worship, or a wedding coordinator stepped in to run the practice session. Now, we’re seeing a fresh, new trend of a team effort encompassing the guidance of several authorities at the rehearsal. Our New Jersey wedding couples enjoy the input from specialists in each portion and style element of the ceremony.

The wedding coordinator handles the bridal party lineup and partner pairings, helps the child attendants learn how to walk down the aisle and where to stand, and instructs any musicians, readers, cultural performers and other players in the wedding ceremony. With a practiced hand and a level of authority that the excited circle of friends and family members listen to with great respect, the wedding coordinator also keeps you on an efficient schedule, so that you can get to your rehearsal dinner on time, with all crucial instructions received.

If you do not have a wedding coordinator working on your wedding, our banquet managers can happily step in to guide your group through every step of your ceremony held on our wedding garden grounds or in one of our ballrooms, and we too will keep you on schedule.

The officiant is another important member of your wedding rehearsal team, leading you through the spoken elements of your ceremony, providing calming guidance and often a sense of humor that puts everyone at ease.

And of course, you are also a member of the rehearsal dinner team, as the highest authority in the creation of your wedding ceremony. You can ask questions, request modifications, and let the officiant know if you have something already printed in your wedding program – such as a particular reading — that needs to be added into the ceremony.

Our wedding couples from Passaic County, Morris County, Somerset County and all other state-wide regions, plus our growing number of New York City and Long Island brides and grooms, actively co-create their wedding ceremonies, finalizing their plans during their all-important wedding rehearsal, and they can then enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that all of the plans are set, and all of the participants know what to do. All that’s left to do is relax, enjoy the evening, and know that your wedding planning team, especially including our dedicated banquet directors, will protect your plans and run everything wonderfully on your wedding day.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

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