reception planning

To Have an Open Bar or Cash Bar For Your Wedding

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018 | Filed under: Wedding Drinks, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By Keith Sly,    

Open vs Cash BarIts time to raise a glass to bride and groom’s happiness! But wait, how are the guests going to end up with that drink? This is one of the many questions that lead to the inevitable discussion between you and your betrothed: open bar or cash bar? While your guests will love the open bar, you will likely be looking for a place to make budget cuts, and that’s where the cash bar comes in. Read on further for the merits of both a cash bar and an open bar, so you can decide which is right for your wedding.
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How To Spot A Wedding Crasher

Thursday, October 5th, 2017 | Filed under: wedding crashers, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By Keith Sly,    

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to get dressed up and spend the night dancing eating and drinking with complete strangers-posing as just another wedding guest? The idea of showing up to a wedding uninvited became popular after the movie “Wedding Crashers”. Wedding crashing is the act of attending a wedding celebration without an invitation.

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Carving Station Trends

Thursday, November 15th, 2012 | Filed under: Party Planning, reception planning, Rehearsal Dinner, Wedding Cocktail Party, wedding dinner party, wedding menu, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By Keith Sly,    
Carving Station Trends

Carving Station

Your wedding cocktail party menu is one part of your Big Day that guests look forward to the most, and they have great expectations that the food will be excellent, the presentation elaborate, and the choices plentiful. Since guests travel so far to attend weddings, it’s smart to talk with your wedding caterer about creating a cocktail party menu that will surprise and delight your friend and family. Read more…

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

Edible Wedding Favors

Thursday, April 14th, 2011 | Filed under: wedding ideas, wedding planning, 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

Songs for the Mother Son Dance

Thursday, February 10th, 2011 | Filed under: wedding ideas, wedding music, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By Keith Sly,    

A highlight of any wedding reception is the Mother-Son First Dance, and we’ve seen some truly wonderful moments between mothers and sons at the start of the couple’s big day. It’s such a special moment when the groom and his mother take to the dance floor, smiling as ‘their song’ plays, and tears of joy often flow for both of them. This is a moment when both mother and son thank each other for being so special, so loving and supportive, and for the mother-son dance, a very special song is played.

Here are some of the most popular mother-son dance songs, reported by some of the top New Jersey wedding entertainment experts that we’ve had the great fortune to host here:

What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” by James Taylor
“Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion
“She’s Got a Way” by Billy Joel
“Through the Years” by Kenny Rogers
“Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole
“You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban
“Thank You For Loving Me” by Bon Jovi
“Kind and Generous” by Natalie Merchant

One trend that we’re seeing for Mother-Son dances is the groom choosing a song as a surprise for his mother, sometimes playing a song that his mother has always loved, one they’ve held close as a special tune between them for years. Dancing to that wedding song now, in front of all of their family and friends at such a special celebration is a wonderful tribute to the mother’s special place in the groom’s heart, and he in hers.

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

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