earth friendly weddings

Guest Welcome Baskets

Thursday, August 9th, 2012 | Filed under: Bright Ideas, earth friendly weddings, Eco weddings, gifts, Green weddings, Party Planning, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By Keith Sly,    
Welcome Baskets

Welcome Baskets

When out-of-town guests arrive for your wedding weekend, welcome them with a wonderful basket of treats. Some of the top wedding trends for welcome baskets include:

  • Starting with a stylish gift bag, such as an eco-friendly tote with a print design, one that can be used again and again, instead of paper gift bags.
  • Provide several bottles of water, each encircled with your personalized wedding logo, as well as bottles of iced tea (one sweetened, one unsweetened,) or several sodas. A new wedding trend is choosing a retro soda, such as a root beer or ginger beer, orange soda or other unique taste.
  • Provide a bottle of wine, and have the hotel put wine glasses and a bottle opener in each guest’s room. 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…

2012 Wedding Trend: Top Choices in Wedding Rings

Sunday, June 24th, 2012 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, Cost Saving Ideas, earth friendly weddings, Eco weddings, Going Green, Green weddings, Wedding Décor, wedding planning | author: By Keith Sly,    

Your wedding ring will stay with you for the rest of your life, so it’s important to give plenty of thought to matching your ring style to your personality. With so many gorgeous wedding ring designs out there, you’ll need to explore a wide range of rings to find the one that suits your wish for a romantic ring, or a classic ring, a modern ring, or an artsy ring.

Here are the top trends in wedding rings to help you make your decision:

  • Choose a ring made of metals that have been ethically-sourced, not the metal equivalent of ‘blood diamonds.’ Many of the top jewelry companies, such as Tiffany and other luxury jewelers have signed onto a ‘No Dirty Gold’ campaign that advocates avoiding any jewelry mined in unsafe, inhumane locations and conditions. Ask your New Jersey jeweler about rings’ classification, to help you avoid ‘dirty gold’ rings.
  • Look into lightweight metals, such as tungsten, which is a top wedding trend for couples on a budget. Read more…

Wedding Favor Presentation

Saturday, June 16th, 2012 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, earth friendly weddings, Party Planning, reception planning, Wedding Décor, Wedding etiquette, wedding gifts, wedding ideas, wedding menu | author: By Keith Sly,    
Wedding Favors

Wedding Favors

Among the most popular wedding ideas, a category that many of our New Jersey wedding planners say is an important reception décor element is a beautiful presentation of the wedding favors. With today’s favor trends including edibles such as chocolate truffles, cake pops, and especially New Jersey shore salt water taffy, and with non-edible favors including wine bottle stoppers and other pretty-yet-inexpensive useful take-home gifts, our New Jersey and New York City wedding couples are designing creative, enticing wedding favor displays to complement their reception venue’s décor plan.

 Now, there’s a real sense of importance in how the wedding favors will be displayed, so we suggest the following top wedding trends for favor presentation:

Setting Up a Favor Table

  • A favor table creates an artistic opportunity for your display, with a top wedding trend of using a gorgeous tablecloth on the wedding favor table. Wedding planners now suggest favor table linens that coordinate with guest table linens for a uniform look, but may be a few shades lighter or darker than the wedding reception hall guest table linens. The tablecloth may be shimmery, embroidered, pearl-dotted or other wedding décor style-matching design, setting a lovely foundation on which the favors will be displayed. Read more…

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 Favors: Edibles

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 | Filed under: earth friendly weddings, Eco weddings, wedding ideas, wedding receptions | author: By Keith Sly,    

A great many of our New Jersey wedding couples have gone back to the tradition of offering wonderful wedding favors for their guests to take home as they leave our wedding reception venue. (In the past few years, some couples chose to skip the favors as a way to save money, but thoughtful take-home favors are now back on the Must list!) What the couples choose to give as wedding favors has evolved from those tiny photo frames and wine glasses embossed with the bride and groom’s name to a new trend that makes guests much happier – edible gourmet treats.

Your wedding reception lasts several hours, and the wedding cake and desserts may have been served an hour or two before the close of your celebration. So when guests find that their wedding favors are delicious frosted brownies or theme-decorated cupcakes, they very often treat themselves to these treats before they even leave your reception! That’s the mark of a great edible wedding favor. Guests can’t wait to enjoy them.

Here are some of the most popular edible wedding favors that we’ve seen, and made, for our New Jersey wedding couple’s take-home treats:
  • Frosted brownies
  • Frosted cookies, in heart-shapes or cut into wedding theme shapes like a bride’s dress or a wedding dove
  • Chocolate-chip cookies
  • White macadamia nut cookies
  • Gourmet truffles
  • Theme-shape chocolates, such as hearts or butterflies
  • Pastel sugar-covered Jordan almonds (a traditional, symbolic favorite of our New Jersey wedding couples!)
  • Gourmet flavored wedding cupcakes
  • Hazelnut cream-filled cookies
  • Personalized candies, such as M&Ms sporting the initials or names of the bride and groom
  • Wedding color-matched jelly beans
  • Chocolate bark
  • Fudge squares in a variety of flavors
  • Seasonal-matched wedding favor treats, such as maple brownies for a fall wedding
  • Baggies of gourmet-flavored popcorn or kettlecorn, the couple’s favorite snack
  • And more…

Presentation is key for wedding favors, so package each edible treat in its own ribbon-tied box or cellophane baggie, and affix a thank-you message label right to the package, expressing your gratitude that guests came to share your day with you.

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

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

Green wedding invitations

Thursday, August 5th, 2010 | Filed under: earth friendly weddings, Going Green, Green weddings | author: By Keith Sly,    

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

Wedding invitations printed on recycled paper are very popular today. It’s part of the eco-friendly, green concerns more and more couples are incorporating into their weddings, ceremonies and receptions. Invitations made from recycled paper are widely available with a number of patterns to choose from. The only drawback is that some people think it has the look and feel of a slightly less formal wedding. But that’s for you to decide – the choice is entirely the bride and groom’s to make. Another green option is the “plantable” invitation – an invite made of biodegradable material, often recycled paper, with seeds embedded in it. We’ve seen this done for save the date cards too. So if you’ve been eager to incorporate some eco-friendly element into your wedding ceremony, consider this your invitation.

All the best,


Going Green: Earth-Friendly Weddings

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 | Filed under: earth friendly weddings, Eco weddings, Green weddings | author: By Keith Sly,    

By Rolf Schick, Banquet Manager, The Manor

There’s a popular new color for weddings: Green. More couples are making their weddings eco-friendly. Just a few small changes to traditional nuptials can have a big impact on the green quotient of a wedding. And since many ingredients to a great wedding have green alternatives, couples can make their ceremony and reception whatever shade of green they want. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Flowers and centerpieces: Locally grown flowers don’t use as much energy to transport as those shipped from overseas. Talk to your florist about the availability of locally grown flowers. You’ll also be supporting local growers and plant nurseries.

2. Wedding invitations and stationery: Specifying recycled paper for your invitations is a great way to set the tone for an eco friendly wedding. Invitations can also be made from tree-free paper. Talk to whoever is handling your printing about your eco-options.

3. Donating Food: No one leaves a wedding hungry. There’s usually an abundance of leftover food that goes home with members of the wedding party. But you can donate the extra food to local food banks or other charities. Check with charities in your local area to learn about organizations you can help.

4. Wedding rings: Even wedding rings can be eco-friendly. Some jewelers now feature rings made from recycled stones and metals. And some couples are taking heirloom jewelry and having it restyled into a more contemporary design. Considering what it takes to mine metals and gems, this can be a giant eco step.

Another way to have a green wedding: get married outdoors, in a beautiful garden or other natural setting filled with greenery! The Manor has been hosting outdoor ceremonies in our formal gardens for years. And our other properties – the Ram’s Head Inn, the Pleasantdale Chateau and Highlawn Pavilion – also have beautiful outdoor areas for weddings and civil ceremonies. If we can help with your wedding, whatever shade of green you’re planning to make it, we look forward to hearing from you.



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