Wedding First Dance: Taking Dance Lessons

Monday, April 30th, 2012 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, reception planning, wedding ideas, wedding music, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By Keith Sly,    
First Dance

First Dance

Your first dance will be one of the most romantic and memorable moments of your wedding reception. To ensure that you both look natural, comfortable and impressive during your spin on the dance floor, it’s a smart idea to take dance lessons.

A great many of our New Jersey brides and grooms are so inspired by television shows like Dancing With The Stars and fun first dance wedding videos on YouTube that they’re hiring first dance choreographers to help them create their first dance. Why hire a dance pro? An expert dance instructor – we have many near our Northern New Jersey location — can assess your and your groom’s natural dancing ability and comfort level, and choose steps, spins and dips that suit your skills. And you get to say if you’re not confident in a move, which will lead your choreographer to make an adjustment. You can’t get that type of customization from a DVD or online dance video. You’ll often attend three to four dance lessons at a dance studio, either privately or in a group wedding dance class, in order to perfect your wedding’s first dance with grace and style.

A rising wedding first dance trend is foregoing the swaying slow dance in favor of a more exciting dance such as the rumba or the tango, the cha cha cha or a faster dance with club choreography. Wedding guests cheer when your music begins and you wow the crowd with your moves, and your beaming smile as you perform them. It’s far better than just swaying back and forth to a slow song, ‘like at the 7th grade dance,’ say many of our happy wedding couples.

Other First Dances

 One wedding trend we like very much is when brides and their fathers, and grooms and their mothers, take a dance lesson or two to choreograph the Father-Daughter dance and the Mother-Son dance. This way, when “Fly Me to the Moon” begins, you and your father can ‘show everyone how it’s done,’ says one of our recent wedding couples.

Avoid that ‘we didn’t prepare for this’ awkwardness that occurs when a groom and his mom chose a song to dance to, but never gave any thought to how they would dance to it. With a choreographed first dance, everyone feels more confident and comfortable, which makes the dance more fun to perform, and to watch….especially again and again, as captured on the wedding video.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Chateau

Wedding Reception: Seating Chart Tips and Trends

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 | Filed under: wedding ideas, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By Keith Sly,    
Wedding Receptions

Wedding Receptions

Creating your wedding reception hall seating chart can be a dizzying, stressful task. You want to be sure your guests are seated with people they know, to ensure they’ll have an enjoyable time during your celebration. Here are the top tips for taking the stress out of designing your seating chart:

·        Mix up table sizes and shapes. There’s no rule saying you have to have all round tables identical in size. Today’s wedding reception room layout features some round tables, some lengthier rectangular tables, larger rounds and more options to allow you easier seating of natural groups.

  • Allow more elbow room. Seat 8 guests at a table that is marked as seating 10, or 10 guests at a table for 12 to allow for roomier spacing and more enjoyable eating.
  • Assess the His Side vs. Her Side divide. Again, there’s no rule saying the groom’s guests need to sit on one side of the room, the bride’s side on the other, with the dance floor in between. Many wedding guest lists aren’t even splits between the bride’s and groom’s guests, so feel free to seat guests according to their likely reception style and needs instead.
  • Seat younger guests who are likely to dance closer to the dance floor. When a song they love begins, they won’t need to race past dozens of other guest tables to get to the dance floor.
  • Seat children with their parents. Children tend to be better behaved when their parents are right next to them, cutting their food, keeping them entertained.
  • Seat groups of friends in one sector. Those 8-seater, 10-seater or longer tables allow you to arrange for all of your friends to sit near one another for easier mingling and table-hopping during the post-dinner hours.
  • Seat older guests far from the speakers. Older generation guests should never be seated right next to the bank of speakers, since loud noises are often annoying to them. Older guests say they enjoy being seated at a place that allows them easier access, and a shorter walk, to the restrooms.
  • Seat guests with babies far from the speakers. Extremely young children brought to the wedding need to be protected from loud noises, so seat them far from the thumping bass and high volume of the party music.
  • Seat warring guests far apart. If one cousin owes the other cousin money or has a long-standing beef, make it a priority to seat these people as many tables apart as possible.
  • Seat divorced parents at their own tables. Provide comfort and calm for parents who are divorcing or recently divorced by giving them their own parents’ tables in your reception venue. If a parent is bringing a date, which might hurt the other parent, seat them in front-view areas but not at tables directly next to one another.
  • Seat bridal party members with their own groups of friends or relatives. They don’t have to sit at a large main table with you. Bridal party members will wish to sit with their spouses or dates, or with their children.
  • Give yourself plenty of tries. Use a free seating chart tool on a wedding website or wedding registry website to make adding and moving guests easier with the click of a mouse, or use sticky notepad sheets marked with each guest’s name on your master table layout provided by the reception hall to move guests into different positions until you find the perfect seating chart arrangements for all.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Chateau

Wedding Invitation Etiquette: Giving Guests a +1

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 | Filed under: dream wedding, Eco weddings, wedding dinner party, Wedding etiquette, wedding ideas, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By Keith Sly,    
Wedding etiquette

Wedding etiquette

When making your wedding guest list, you’ll have to decide if you’ll allow all of your single guests to bring a date – commonly known as a ‘+1.’ Wedding etiquette rules used to state that all single guests over the age of eighteen are to be given permission to bring a date, but today’s brides and grooms prefer to surround themselves with guests they know.

To eliminate wedding stress, make it a rule that you will give a +1 only to single guests whose boyfriends or girlfriends you know and have socialized with in the past. This creates a boundary that single guests cannot argue with when you explain it politely to them.

Of course, engaged couples and longtime couples must receive a +1, and it’s good form to give a single or widowed senior citizen a +1, so that he or she may bring a friend or a health aide.

You’ll find, as many of our recent wedding couples do, that your single friends accept your decision and look forward to attending the wedding solo, joining all of the other solo guests in unencumbered mingling, dancing, flirting, fine dining and perhaps meeting a future romantic interest. Not every single guest is going to be offended at the lack of an ‘And Guest’ on the invitation. Some are even relieved that they do not have to find a date, nor do they have to give a more generous wedding gift check from two guests.

If a guest calls to ask for a +1, simply explain that your wedding plans do not allow for additional invitations, and you wouldn’t want to offend any other guests who also requested to bring a date. If parents call to ask if their teenager can bring a friend, that too is best met with, “I’m sorry, but we can’t make any exceptions to our guest rule, since we don’t want to offend other guests who have asked to bring others.” It’s best to avoid the temptation to blame your budget or wedding venue space issues; simply place the reasoning on your boundaries and consideration of other guests.

Be firm and confident in your boundaries, since one exception made by you will quickly hit the grapevine, and other guests will start calling to request their own +1s.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Chateau

Keep Your Wedding Guest List Under Control

Thursday, April 19th, 2012 | Filed under: dream wedding, Party Planning, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By Keith Sly,    
Wedding planning

Wedding planning

Your wedding guest list determines your wedding’s size and thus the budget, but the larger issue is ensuring that you share your wedding day with those who are closest to you. Even if you’re on a moderate wedding budget, you can still arrange your wedding details to enable you to have a larger guest list. Some couples prefer a smaller guest list to allow for a more intimate wedding.

In order to create your dream wedding plans, you must first establish your guest list, and take careful steps to ensure that your guest list does not balloon out of control. In the excitement of wedding planning, parents may verbally invite large numbers of their friends and colleagues, which can inflate your head count. Guests may wish to bring dates or their children, and if you allow these additions, your guest list can increase to an unmanageable size. So keep these tips in mind to keep control of your guest list:

·        Ask parents to refrain from talking about the wedding with their friends until you have had a chance to work on your wedding plans, wedding budget and your initial guest list.

  • Give both sets of parents a generous amount of allowed numbers of extra guests, if you’re paying for the majority of your wedding.
  • Explain to parents that while you wish you could invite 3rd cousins and other extended family members, you wish to share your wedding day only with those you’re closest to. Extended family members understand when relatives cannot invite every branch of the family tree to a wedding.
  • Be clear on wedding invitations if a couple is invited without their children. Write Mr. and Mrs. Frank Smith on the outer envelope and Mr. and Mrs. Smith on the inner envelope. That conveys that the couple’s children are not invited.
  • Have wording ready for when guests ask to bring their children. “I’m sorry, but we have an extremely large family with many children, so we’ve had to make a non-breakable rule to keep this an adults-only reception.”
  • Make it a rule that you’ll allow a +1 only for guests whose significant other you have met and socialized with, and for engaged, close-to-engaged, and very longtime couples.
  • Don’t invite long-distance relatives and friends, thinking they will not attend. Many people wish to see family and friends, so they’re more often accepting wedding invitations and combining the trip with their vacation, to enjoy the celebration with loved ones at a wedding reception location known for its fine dining and spectacular views.


Set your RSVP date at least 8 weeks before the wedding, so that you can send out invitations to any additional friends or relatives after the first Regrets trickle in. If you have a minimum guest amount to meet, this is a proper way to control your guest list so that it fits your catering contract.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Chateau

Top New Wedding Bouquet Trends for 2012

Monday, April 16th, 2012 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, dream wedding, earth friendly weddings, Wedding Décor, wedding flowers, wedding ideas | author: By Keith Sly,    

Wedding bouquets have been brightly-colored for the past few wedding seasons, with more couples choosing vibrant shades rather than pastel shades for their bride’s bouquets and bridesmaid bouquets. We’re in an era of lively hues for both daytime and nighttime weddings, with combinations of 2012 wedding colors such as lilac and blue, orange and yellow, and red and orange, with seasonal weddingcombinations also abounding.

Wedding Bouquet

Wedding Bouquet

Pastels. When 2012 wedding couples choose pastel bouquet shades, it’s most often for a romantic, Victorian-style wedding, or one inspired by the royal wedding. Soft pinks and blush blue bouquet colors are still in-demand by today’s romantic-styled bride, and we’re also seeing pastel yellow and soft sage green in the pastel wedding bouquet trends list.

All white with sparkle. All-white wedding bouquets still stand out, with our New Jersey brides adding in lots of bling in the form of Swarovski crystals and rhinestones in the bouquet construction itself, often pressed into the centers of roses, or affixed to ribbons that wrap around the bouquet handle or cascade through the bouquet design itself.

Brooches with bling. Artsy brides are starting to create DIY wedding bouquets made entirely of rhinestone brooches for dazzling sparkle, carrying a piece of jewelry art rather than florals.

Fluffier flowers. The flowers used in 2012’s top wedding bouquet designs include roses, calla lilies, gardenias, imported tropical stephanotis, and softer, fluffier flowers such as peonies and ranunculus. Carnations are no longer looked at as a ‘cheap flower,’ since the new varieties of this bloom give brides an array of bright colors and fluffy, ridged petals, some striped and some lined with coordinating colors.

An array of flowers. Brides want visual interest in their bouquet flowers and are choosing a blend of traditional, unique and local flowers to keep their costs down while designing their dream wedding bouquets. What’s out is the single flower carried by each of the bridesmaids – it’s too obvious an attempt at wedding budget savings and doesn’t make enough of a design impact.

Handle design. Brides are paying special attention to the décor on their bouquet handles, often requesting that their floral stems be wrapped with lengths of stunning satin or silk, tied with a ribbon bow, and pinned with pearl or crystal accents in a line down the handle. The days of the arched plastic carrying handle are over, and now the handle gets its time to shine. The fabric on the handle may be an intricately-wrapped combination of white and pastel pink satin, with a crystal brooch affixing the ribbon wrap. Or a crystal brooch affixed to the bottom circle of the bouquet stems for a unique effect. Some of our Northern New Jersey brides say they attach saint medallions, goddess medallions and family heirloom pins or medallions to their bouquet handles to provide an extra dash of luck and protection for their marriage.

Personalized to your wedding look. Wedding bouquets invite our brides to partner with their local floral designers to create a dramatic bouquet coordinating with their dress and complementary to their height and frame, also personalized with their choices of flower colors, foliage styles, and added bouquet accents for the perfect, dream bridal bouquet, as well as subtler bridesmaid bouquets and the new trend: small bouquets for moms, grandmothers and flowergirls to carry.

Your bouquet will look lovely coordinated with the romantic wedding venue’s gardens in bloom, as well as with your wedding décor details.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Chateau

Wedding Décor – Gift Table Trends

Thursday, April 12th, 2012 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, dream wedding, Wedding Décor, wedding gifts, wedding ideas | author: By Keith Sly,    
Wedding Trends

Wedding Trends

Our Northern New Jersey wedding couples most often find that their families and friends give them wedding gifts in the form of a check in an envelope, but with weddings bringing friends, family and work associates together from all corners of the globe, we are seeing more wrapped wedding gifts at today’s wedding celebrations. That calls for a decorated wedding gift table in the reception ballroom, where guests may place and display their beautifully-wrapped wedding presents for the bride and groom.

Wedding décor methods apply to every detail in the wedding ballroom, large and small, so we and our New Jersey wedding coordinator contacts pay special attention to both the design and the functionality of the gift table. Here are the top trends for making your wedding gift table more attractive and fitting to your wedding theme and décor style:

1.      Your gift table linens can have a style of their own. They do not have to be the same color, fabric, texture and style as the wedding guest table linens. Many of our wedding couples choose an alternative color and style of linens for the gift table, guest book table and other wedding venue entrance display tables, and these might be accented, shimmery, crystal-sewn, even patterned linens that reach the floor on all sides for the most polished effect.

  1. Add a table runner. Just like the wedding guest table décor, add a length of décor fabric to extend along the table to create a colorful, decorative effect.
  2. Decorate the front edge of the table. An extra garland from your wedding floral décor can be strung along the front of your gift table. A fabric drape might have your monogram on it, in a color matching your guest table décor accents.
  3. Place your wedding gift box or wedding gift birdcage on this table, ideally in the center, for guests to use and wrapped-gifts to surround.
  4. Allow the gift display to take its own form as guests place their presents there. Don’t worry about arranging gifts on the table.
  5. Skip the votive candle holders. Even though these are pretty accents, you don’t want a gift ribbon to fall into the flame and create a disaster. If you like the look of candlelight on the gift table, a top wedding idea is to set up flameless candles or LED light cubes in glass vases for a budget-friendly wedding décor look.
  6. Provide room on either side of the gift table for guests to place extremely large wrapped gifts that cannot be placed on the table itself. When you allow room for these boxes, they will not pile up around the table, jutting into high traffic areas.
  7. When you bring your wedding reception supplies to us prior to your wedding, bring a few large, empty, plastic-lidded bins in which we can securely pack your wedding gifts for home transport. We’re happy to help bring your gifts to your car, but we recommend these bins for easy use on your big day and also for organizing systems in your home after the wedding.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Chateau

Wedding Cakes: Top New Trends for Weddings 2012

Monday, April 9th, 2012 | Filed under: reception planning, Wedding Décor, wedding ideas, wedding menu, wedding planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

Wedding cake trends change swiftly and beautifully….just like wedding dress trends. From elegant simplicity to wild and whimsical colors, today’s wedding cake captures the personalities of the bride and groom, suits the season, fits the formality and delights wedding guests as a centerpiece of the reception ballroom décorand eventually as a delectable highlight of the dessert hour.

Wedding Cakes

Wedding Cakes

Here are the top trends for wedding cakes in 2012:

Height: Wedding cakes are getting taller in 2012, not just with the number of tiers but rather with the height of each tier in the creation of an elevated cake.

Flavors: In 2011 weddings, red velvet cake was all the rage, and now that trend is fading out in 2012, in favor of exotic flavors such as pomegranate, blackberry blueberry, fig, orange chocolate, and blends of creamy textures with exotic fruits. One top flavor composition is a moist cake with a fruit filling, such as white chiffon with blackberry mousse or banana cake with crème brulee filling or chocolate wedding cake with white chocolate mousse and raspberry filling. In addition to fruit-filled cake, we’re also seeing carrot cake with cream cheese filling holding on as a favorite of our brides and grooms.

Invitation-Inspired: Wedding cakes of 2011 were very much designed to look like wedding couture, with layers and folds of fondant to look like wedding dress fabric, and sparkling accents to mimic the crystals or rhinestones on the bride’s dress. Now, cakes are taking their inspiration from the wedding invitation, namely the layers of textured paper, vellums, fabrics, pearlized borders and the colors the bride and groom have chosen in their wedding invitation design.

Colors: Wedding cakes are returning to all-white for a pristine, elegant simplicity that is hand-painted and hand-accented by top NJ cake designers with all-white designs, vibrant color cut-outs of fondant or sugar paste, or the new hot color combination for 2012 wedding cakes: black and white.

Going Royal: The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton put everything regal back on the map for wedding trends in 2012. Opulent designs with lots of piped white icing rosettes, ‘drapes,’ and painstaking lacy details give a sophisticated edge to a royal wedding cake look, whether it’s a modern-day royal wedding design or a lacey, finely-detailed wedding cake from Marie Antoinette’s era. The effect is refined, detailed and princess-like.

Simplicity. A wedding cake frosted in smooth layers, looking like wrapped boxes and very minimally accented with cut-out sugar paste or piped-on icing pearls is a very big wedding cake trend for 2012. Budget weddings often call for less ornate wedding details, but this style of wedding cake looks more expensive than it is. In a single, solid color, this cake wows wedding guests for being a stunningly simple work of art.

Artistic: A number of New Jersey and New York wedding couples choose a wedding cake design filled with colorful, vibrant accents, swirls, sugar paste cutouts, in a whimsical and artistic flair. These complex, geometric cakes are eye-catching and unforgettable, the perfect end to a fine dining experience.

Nature-inspired: As a stylistic evolution of the green wedding, or eco-friendly wedding with an emphasis on nature, it’s become a trend for wedding cakes to show off more flowers, even sugar-paste leaves and actual branches. The colors of nature-inspired cakes are most often white, off-white or a muted golden shade to show off the pastel florals, and we’ve also seen some robin’s egg blue cakes in the wedding reception dessert roundup.

Flower accents: Whether they’re real or fashioned from fondant, sugar paste or marzipan, flowers remain a popular wedding cake accent. In 2012, wedding cakes will be decorated with more magnolias, peonies, tulips, ranunculus and especially blue orchids, while last year’s roses and daisies fade back a bit.

Cake Stand Design: Many creative brides and grooms plan lovely presentations for their wedding cakes, displaying them in their wedding reception venue with elevated stands or colorful blocks, even wood platforms and ornate pedestals displaying their cakes.

Wedding Cake Bars: Why choose just one wedding cake? A big trend for 2012 is to select one main wedding cake design for your cake-cutting ritual at your wedding reception, and then place that cake on a buffet table filled with an array of different, smaller wedding cakes in coordinating colors, but different flavors and fillings. Also on the cake bar: chocolate truffles, chocolate dipped strawberries, and other delectable desserts. Our finest NJ pastry chefs offer an array of top-trend wedding desserts that put the perfect finishing touch on your spectacular wedding reception.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Chateau

Jewish Weddings and Interfaith Weddings – Top Trends in Chuppah Décor

Monday, April 2nd, 2012 | Filed under: chuppah, Wedding Décor, wedding ideas, wedding planning, wedding themes | author: By Keith Sly,    
Jewish Wedding Ceremony

Jewish Wedding Ceremony

Your chuppah is the centerpiece of your wedding ceremony, and our Jewish wedding couples have designed beautiful chuppahs under which they become husband and wife. In our beautiful wedding location, we’ve seen elegant chuppahs, bejeweled chuppahs, floral-covered chuppahs, and true artistry done by local New Jersey wedding coordinators and floral designers in their designs.

We thought we’d share with you some of the top wedding décor trends related to chuppahs for Jewish weddings and interfaith weddings:

·        Spectacular Sparkle. The expanse of a wedding chuppah, from the top tenting to the draping of the sides, is covered with thousands of hand-glued or hand-sewn Swarovski crystals in swirling designs, with some forming the wedding couple’s monogram. As an alternative to the all-over crystal décor design, we’ve also seen wide lines of crystals as a frame around the top and sides of the chuppah.

  • Dangling ‘Diamonds.’ Also in the sparkle category, chuppahs often drip with wire-suspended crystals. There may be a lineup of a dozen crystals per wire, or one larger crystal bauble at the end of each line.
  • Raining Orchids. A top wedding trend is suspending décor items. Clear wire is also used to suspend hundreds of fresh flowers, from all-white orchids, to colorful blends of white and blue orchids, gardenias and other elegant flowers. At informal garden weddings, the chuppah may be festooned with a raining wall of white and yellow daisies, which also outline the chuppah’s frame.
  • Gorgeous Garlands. Our favorite New Jersey floral designers have wowed us with thick, lush green garlands outlining the chuppah frame and hanging in draping arches as the roof of the chuppah. These garlands may be purely made of greenery in visually interesting textures, or they may be dotted with white or colorful flowers.
  • Elegant Simplicity. Hold the sparkle, hold the flowers, hold the garlands. A new trend in elegant wedding décor is a completely accent-free chuppah designed entirely of rich fabric, pleated and draped, providing an unadorned backdrop so that the bride’s wedding dress can sparkle and shine while she stands below it.
  • Aisle Runners. Coordinated to the colors of the chuppah, a big wedding trend is a wide, decorative aisle runner leading up to the structure, often leading up steps to where the bride and groom will stand. Today’s aisle runner designs are colorful and bold, or sparkling with thousands of hand-attached crystals, with floral motifs and metallic accents, and perhaps the couple’s favorite saying at the beginning of the runner. At the infamous Kim Kardashian wedding, the extra-long aisle runner featured black flourishes at several points along its length, and couples with dramatic flair are emulating that celebrity wedding style.
  • Fabulous Flooring. The bride and groom are setting down artistic flooring or a twist on the aisle runner to create a decorative carpet in color, shine and personalization.
  • Tied Accents. The front curtains of the chuppah may be tied back with tasseled lengths of fabric, or similarly sparkly crystal accents, even fresh floral nosegays in metallic cones or holders at the entrance. This is a top décor choice for couples on limited wedding budgets.
  • Pedestal Florals. On either side of the chuppah, large planters filled with tall, dramatic flowers and branches create a garden wonderland look that adds extra bridal beauty to the space around the chuppah, widening its decorative effect.
  • Using Heirloom Items: As a way to add dazzle without straining the wedding budget, our Jewish wedding couples are in increasing number accenting their chuppahs with crystal-accented ties and other décor items their parents used at their own weddings. This adds a dash of personalization and extra meaning to the wedding ceremony.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Chateau

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