Cost Savings Ideas

Wedding Budget Tips: Your Wedding Drinks

Monday, March 23rd, 2015 | Filed under: Cost Savings Ideas, Wedding Cocktail Party, Wedding Drinks | author: By Keith Sly,    

Your Wedding DrinksThankfully, we’re long past the days of questionable if not completely unrealistic wedding budget tips for drinks. In years past, wedding couples were told to offer just two or three types of cocktails, close their bar an hour before the end of the reception, and even offer ‘drink tickets’ that wedding guests would hand to the bartender to get each of their two allotted drinks. Read more…

Wedding Photo Sharing Tips

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 | Filed under: Cost Saving Ideas, Cost Savings Ideas, wedding photography | author: By Keith Sly,    
Sharing Wedding Photos and practical tips

Wedding Photos

After your wedding, you’ll want to share both the gorgeous collection of photos taken by your wedding photographer during your Big Day, and the photos you took at your pre-wedding parties, your after-party, the morning-after breakfast and all of the moments in between. Your guests will be eager to see your wedding portraits, and guests too will want to share the photos they took.

With so many photos to share, you’ll find there are two different sharing plans to establish. The first is the traditional photo-sharing method enacted by your professional wedding photographer. He or she will create an online gallery of all of your photos, categorized into pre-wedding, ceremony, reception and portraits, and post it with an access code so that only you and your guests can view the photos from your event.
Read more…

Designing Your Own Wedding Logo

Thursday, April 25th, 2013 | Filed under: Cost Saving Ideas, Cost Savings Ideas, wedding dinner party, wedding ideas, wedding menu, wedding planning, wedding themes | author: By Keith Sly,    
Designing wedding logo

Wedding Logo Design

Put your personalized stamp on your wedding, in so many ways, with your own wedding logo. It’s a top wedding trend to create your own logo or monogram, featuring your first initials and last initial – or just your married last initial — in an artistic insignia. Artists have taken the traditional monogram logo and given it a beautiful, decorative twist for more visual effect, such as with delicate flourishes above and below the logo, rather than the monogram being in a circle. Or, the logo might be a square, a rectangle with ornate borders, or an oval. Read more…

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Small Wedding

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 | Filed under: Cost Savings Ideas, wedding ideas, wedding planning, wedding themes | author: By Keith Sly,    

Some of the couples we meet with at our northern New Jersey wedding venues say their dream wedding is a small one, a more intimate event that’s more their style. As you begin planning your wedding, you may be trying to decide if you want a large or a small wedding, and we can help you make that very important decision that factors into so many of your biggest and smallest wedding planning details. Read more…

Wedding Photography Trend: Taking Photos Together Before the Ceremony

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 | Filed under: Cost Savings Ideas, dream wedding, wedding ideas, wedding photography, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By Keith Sly,    

It’s now one of the top wedding trends of 2012 to have the bride and groom see each other before the wedding ceremony so that they may take their wedding photos.

Taking Photos

Taking Photos

If you choose this timing for your pre-wedding photos, there are several advantages:

  • You look your very best, having just had your hair and makeup done, and everyone else looks their best as well…you’re not taking photos five hours after your wedding beauty services, so you look fresher and prettier, as does your wedding gown.
  • Your pre-wedding photos will not be rushed. Set at least an hour and a half for this relaxed photo session, so that you can get wonderful couple portraits and group photos. Read more…

Top 10 Green Wedding Trends

Thursday, June 28th, 2012 | Filed under: Bright Ideas, Cost Saving Ideas, Cost Savings Ideas, dream wedding, earth friendly weddings, Eco weddings, Going Green, Green weddings | author: By Keith Sly,    

More brides and grooms are incorporating green wedding decisions into their big day, so that their big day is kind to the environment, and reflects the couple’s values. Many of our green wedding couples have planned garden wedding ceremonies and celebrations, choosing to marry outdoors in garden splendor, which is a top wedding trend for 2012.

Green Wedding Trends

Green Wedding Trends

 In addition to eco-responsibility, some green wedding trends actually save on your wedding budget, which you’ll see in our list of the Top 10 Green Wedding Trends:

  1. Ordering locally-grown flowers. A recent survey by showed that flowers were the #1 area of interest of green-minded brides and grooms, at 62%, since locally-grown flowers most often cost less than imported wedding flowers. A lower carbon footprint is another benefit of choosing local flowers.
  2. Choosing a local wedding venue. When guests and vendors don’t have to fly or drive long distances to your wedding location, a tremendous amount of energy is saved, not to mention money saved by a shorter trip to attend your day. Included in this is the trend of one-location weddings, marrying at the same venue where your wedding reception will take place. You’ll only have one locale to decorate, and you may not need to spend a lot on additional décor when the site’s natural garden wedding décor or ballroom setting are so beautiful. Green wedding couples love to choose already-gorgeous wedding locations to create the setting for their dream wedding. Read more…

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

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

Fantastic Wedding Favors

Thursday, November 11th, 2010 | Filed under: Cost Savings Ideas, Party Planning, wedding planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

Your wedding favors create that all-important final detail and last impression made on your guests. They’ve enjoyed your fabulous wedding menu, they’ve toasted you with amazing wines and champagne, they’ve danced all evening, and as they depart, you have one last opportunity to impress them even further.

A great wedding is made from many stunning small details, and your choice of wedding favor can be the stunning, smile-inducing last touch of the perfect wedding. When you do it right, guests are impressed with your genius, your creativity and often, your generosity and class. If you were to skip the wedding favors, as an ill-advised method of budget-saving, guests will walk away with a negative impression. Yes, they do want a little something to take home from your wedding celebration. Wedding experts say it’s not okay to skip the favors.

That said, here are some of the most-appreciated, still budget-friendly wedding favors to consider:

• Chocolate truffles, in unique flavors such as key lime, cappuccino, espresso, and banana liqueur

• Individually-packaged cupcakes, one of the hottest new trends, especially when topped with an elegant champagne-infused frosting

• Individually-packaged brownies in unique flavor blends such as triple chocolate fudge, macadamia nut and coconut.

• Individually-packaged cookies in theme shapes and icing designs

• Wine bottle stoppers, in simple elegance styles such as a silver heart

• Photo coasters, in clear or frosted glass, allowing the guest to slip in photos or a printout of their monogram for their own entertaining use

A living favor, such as a tiny potted primrose plant or a tiny potted rose plant, which is a highly popular trend at New Jersey weddings, with our local brides and grooms sharing the style of our Garden State with guests from near and far.

One very popular trend right now is giving guests the chance to select their own favor tastes, such as a favor bar featuring five or six different flavors of chocolate truffles, jelly beans, cookies, brownies, petit fours or other treats. Guests use silver scoops or tongs to select their choice of take-home favors, place them in colorful, decorated or Lucite favor boxes, and they’ll depart delighted and impressed that you offered such a wonderful wedding favors feature.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Welcome to The Art of Reception

Monday, April 5th, 2010 | Filed under: Bright Ideas, Cost Savings Ideas, Going Green, Party Planning, Style Alert | author: By Keith Sly,    

Welcome to The Art of Reception, a blog about everything to do with weddings. The Knowles properties (The Manor, Highlawn Pavilion, Pleasantdale Chateau and Ram’s Head Inn) have been hosting wedding of every size, style, nationality and budget since 1953. That’s more than five decades of experience, something few others can claim.

As a result, we have some of the finest, most capable bridal experts both in-house and as preferred vendors. This blog will feature the expertise and helpful hints from our in-house bridal experts and occasionally we’ll hear from our preferred vendors too, on trends specific to their line of work. Here’s a Who’s Who of our blogging wedding experts… Read more…

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