Wedding Favors: Edibles

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

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

10 Tips for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By BLG,    

Your wedding vows are the heart of your wedding, the most important and partnership-solidifying element of your wedding ceremony.  Here at our New Jersey wedding venue and at our garden weddings, we’ve heard some beautiful, sentimental wedding vows, and we’ve laughed along with the bride, groom and their guests at that little touch of humor that reflects the couple’s fun-loving partnership.

Great wedding vows capture your promises to one another, and tell all of your guests what you love about one another. Writing your own vows can be a daunting task, so use our top tips here to guide you:

1. Decide if you’ll write one set of wedding vows that you’ll both repeat to one another, or if you’ll each write your own vows privately, ‘surprising’ one another with your heartfelt words during the ceremony.

2. Take some time together to discuss what the core values of your relationship are — honesty, support, patience, kindness, loyalty, friendship – and use those keywords to create your promises to one another, as in “I promise to spend every day supporting your wishes, goals and dreams.”

3. Use your own voice in your wedding vows. How do you speak? Are you naturally humorous? If so, then add some of your personality to your vows. It’s not you if the words you choose sound like someone else wrote them, or are too formal, or too serious.

4. Is there a quote, scripture, poem or psalm that has always been central to your relationship? If so, build your vows around that theme and grow it from there.

5. See the future. Your relationship will take you places you cannot even imagine, and the point of professing wedding vows to one another is to face the future together, whatever it might bring. Your vows are promises to be faithful and to enrich each other’s lives not just now, but always.

6. Build from traditional wedding vow wording. If you love the traditional ‘love, honor and cherish’ vows, by all means include them. Many of our New Jersey brides and grooms start their vows with the traditional vows script, then add their own personalized ‘second half’ with their additional promises or a touch of humor.

7. Write a first draft, not censoring yourself. Just write and write, not worrying about length, and then you can edit your script down from there, keeping the ‘gold’ of your vow wording and cutting away what’s excess.

8. Read your vows out loud as you go. That’s the only way to tell if your vow wording sounds natural in your own voice.

9. Don’t be afraid of tears. Heartfelt, sentimental promises, plus the deep love you feel for your partner, are sure to get you misty-eyed, and that’s a very special part of a wedding ceremony. So don’t put pressure on yourself not to cry.

10. Write out your vows. You don’t have to memorize them. Print them out in full on an index card, and your officiant can lead you through them, or you can read them right off the page as so many other brides and grooms have done to get their wedding vows just right.

If there’s something you wish to express that’s not a natural fit for your wedding vows, include that private sentiment in a letter or card you send to your partner on the morning of the wedding.

Best,

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, pleasantdale Chsteau

Helping Kids at the Wedding Rehearsal

Sunday, December 18th, 2011 | Filed under: wedding planning, wedding receptions, Wedding Rehearsal, Wedding Rehearsals | author: By BLG,    

While some wedding websites advise choosing child attendants who are no younger than six years old, we know that your adored nieces and nephews may be younger than that, and you very much want them to be your flower girls and ringbearers. Here at our wedding banquet hall and wedding gardens, we’ve seen children as young as two perform quite well as child attendants, and the key is smart preparations for the little ones at the wedding rehearsal.

Our wedding staff, as well as the top wedding coordinators and special event experts in the New Jersey region, has helped many brides and grooms during their wedding rehearsals, offering our expertise in helping flower girls and ringbearers prepare for their big moment at the wedding. The key, we’ve found, is making sure kids are comfortable, know what to expect, and know what they might earn by behaving well.

Here are some top tips for helping kids at your wedding rehearsal, improving your odds of a tantrum-free day:

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  • Be sure that child attendants will be comfortable in their wedding day clothing. Itchy lace collars and shirt tags that poke, too-tight bow ties and other wardrobe issues are the #1 cause of kids’ acting badly at weddings. So be sure the kids’ dresses and tuxes have been checked and adjusted to allow for the little ones’ comfort.
  • Be sure that kids have eaten before the wedding, and that they’ve had plenty of water to drink. Hunger and thirst are also top causes of kids’ misbehavior. So practice the same Musts for the rehearsal.
  • Tell kids what they’ll see when they walk down the aisle. A practice walk down empty rows is very different than the people-filled rows, flashbulbs, flowers and other distractions. From the youngest kids to the teens, spell out the things they’re likely to see as they walk down the aisle.
  • For small children, have a treat waiting for them at the end of the aisle. A grandparent might be holding a big, colorful lollipop or a (silent) toy that they can have when they reach the end of the aisle.
  • Allow kids to sit down during the ceremony. This big trend provides for kids’ comfort, they can sit with parents who can shush them if needed, and kids won’t be tempted to wander around, fidget or panic in the face of so many people looking at them.
  • Let kids practice their walks down the aisle a few times, and test out who they’re most comfortable walking with. There’s no rule saying the flowergirl has to walk alone. If she’s happiest walking with the maid of honor, that adjustment may be made.
  • If children are frightened, talk with them privately to ask what they’re concerned about. A child is more likely to open up about her shoes being slippery on the aisle runner than she might be with a dozen strangers looking at her.
  • Prepare children for what happens after the ceremony, they’ll pose for photos, then be introduced into the room at the reception, dance and sit with the other kids. When children know what to expect, they don’t act out as much.

Keep these tips in mind, and your child attendants will have more fun, be happier and more comfortable and thus be a wonderful part of your wedding day.

Best,

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, pleasantdale Château

Guest Book Trends

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 | Filed under: dream wedding, Guest Books, wedding planning | author: By BLG,    

Wedding guest books have gotten so beautiful! Just a few years ago, it seemed like most brides and grooms bought standard, white or ivory, lined guest books from wedding websites – with or without the big, plumy pen – and now the same color and creativity that goes into modern wedding invitation design is going into the wedding guest book.

 When guests arrive at the ceremony or cocktail party venue, the first thing they see on display is the guest book they’re expected to sign as a record of their presence at the wedding celebration. Here are the new trends of the guest book awaiting their signatures, the guest book that becomes such a priceless keepsake to the bride and groom:

Guest Book Colors

 Wedding guest book covers may still be selected for their traditional colors of white, ivory, or ecru, with silver or gold trim or accents including the simple embossed wording of Guest Book on the cover. Many of our New Jersey brides and grooms say they like to keep the ‘something old’ of a traditional guest book design, since so much of their wedding is non-traditional, colorful and creative. And then we see many local wedding couples choosing, or making, guest books in beautiful colors that may match or coordinate with their wedding’s signature colors. The biggest wedding color trends reflected in guest books right now are pale pink, sage green, lavender, and the bright shades of turquoise, tangerine, sunshine yellow and lipstick red. The guest book welcomes guests with their first glimpse at the shades of the wedding venue décor.

 Guest Book Cards, Papers and Stickers

 Creative brides and grooms seek out easy, money-saving wedding DIY crafts, and the make-your-own wedding guest book trend has introduced this guest-pleasing option: the guest book table welcomes guests to sign individual, unlined index cards chosen for their coordination with the wedding décor colors, inscribing their messages on, say, lavender index cards with a deep purple pen, or with a shimmering silver pen. The cards are then dropped into a silver serving bowl or glass bowl, to be assembled into a scrapbook later.

Another trend is for guests to sign individual wedding theme-shaped cards or papers, such as heart-shaped paper stock, and wedding photo booth attendants now affix on guest book pages the self-stick strips of guests’ photo booth pictures, and finally the guests sign with silver pen or colorful Sharpie on ‘their page,’ alongside their sweet or silly photo booth pictures.

 What Guests Are Writing

 In years past, wedding guests simply signed their names on a line in a basic wedding guest book, and now we’re seeing wedding guests write heartfelt messages of “Congratulations!” and “We are so happy for you! What a beautiful, perfect day!” on a half- or whole page of the guest book. Brides and grooms love having the keepsake of personal messages written in their loved ones’ handwriting, which becomes all the more special over time.

 Best,

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, pleasantdale Château

Who Attends the Wedding Rehearsal?

Sunday, December 11th, 2011 | Filed under: wedding planning, Wedding Rehearsal, Wedding Rehearsals | author: By BLG,    

As New Jersey’s top wedding venues, the Pleasantdale Chateau, The Manor and the Ram’s Head Inn have been home to countless wedding rehearsals, and we’ve seen the glowing bride and groom prepare for the biggest day of their lives. Who’s invited to attend this very important practice run? We have the wedding etiquette-approved list of who needs to be there…and who isn’t.

First, obviously, the bride and groom need to be present, so that they can not just learn what will happen during each section of the wedding ceremony, but so that they can co-create the personalized ceremony of their dreams. Today’s bride and groom have a voice at their wedding rehearsal, sometimes switching the order of ceremony elements, re-pairing bridesmaids and groomsmen and otherwise designing the most important part of their wedding day.

Next, the bridal party members, and their guests, are invited to the rehearsal dinner. Bridesmaids and groomsmen need to learn where they’ll wait, how they’ll walk down the aisle, what they’ll do during special moments of the ceremony, and how they’ll participate in the recessional. The maid of honor will learn when she’ll need to adjust the bride’s train, hold her flowers, and otherwise be at her service. Why the bridal party guests? According to wedding etiquette, it’s proper to invite them to the rehearsal dinner, so it just works out conveniently to let them attend the wedding rehearsal itself.

Child bridal party attendants, flower girls and ringbearers, are also invited, along with their parents, so that the little ones can practice how they’ll walk and where they’ll stand, so that they’re comfortable and confident in what’s expected of them.

The wedding planner is invited, if you’ve hired one, and may be the person in charge of instructing everyone on each element of the ceremony. The officiant and his or her guest will obviously be there as well, to guide the proceedings and to work with the bride and groom in adjusting any wording, the vows, or other special portions of the ceremony.

Musical performers may also be invited to the wedding rehearsal, although that’s not a Must. Your musicians may require that they attend the rehearsal, so that they can learn the cues of when they’re playing during each portion of the ceremony, so ask your musical experts what their rehearsal policies are, and what you may have to pay them to attend.

Ceremony participants, such as those performing readings or cultural rites, are smartly invited to the wedding rehearsal, so that they too learn when they’ll be expected to stand up and walk to the microphone, and so that they can practice speaking their material on-site.

Parents and grandparents are also invited to the rehearsal, as a special event to witness, as are additional special family members. The smaller the circle of people at the wedding rehearsal, the more efficient the practice session will be, and the sooner you can all get to your lovely rehearsal dinner.

 

Thank you!

Rolf Shick, Banquet Manager, The Manor

To make an appointment with a banquet manager, please contact us at 973-325-2060.