One of the top wedding trends is continuing the wedding celebration even after the reception is done, by planning a fun and festive after-party. In the past, the bride, groom and their friends would simply go to the hotel bar to keep the party going, and now there are new party plans that our New Jersey and New York City wedding couples are making to turn their after-party into unforgettable celebrations. Here are some after-party plans to inspire you:
Arrange for the hotel shuttle to take you and your friends to your favorite nearby nightclub or bar, then return everyone to the hotel safe and sound.
Invite your closest friends to your hotel suite for a small-group celebration.
Invite guests to join you in an outing to a great local New Jersey jazz club or other specialty spot.
Parents are inviting their friends and close relatives back to their homes or hotel suites for a champagne and dessert party. Read more…
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.
Some wedding couples feel that traditional line dances are too cliché for their wedding entertainment, that line dances don’t fit in with their elegant wedding setting, and they may request that their wedding entertainers eliminate all line dances from their reception playlist. However, the line dance is making a comeback in wedding reception entertainment here in the New Jersey region, as it is across the country.
• Here are the top trends in wedding reception line dances:
• Guests know the steps and moves to the most well-known line dances, and they may feel more confident on the dance floor doing these dances than they do dancing to club music or other ‘free-form’ music.
• Guests love to rush to the dance floor in groups, to do line dances together.
• Kids enjoy line dances tremendously, since they perform them at minor league ballparks such as our nearby popular ballparks in Newark, Bridgewater, Lakewood, Atlantic City, Montclair and also at professional baseball games. When the stadium deejay plays the “Cha Cha Slide” or “Cotton-Eyed Joe,” the kids rush to the aisles to perform the dances, and adults join in as well. The same group thrill can fill your dance floor and give your wedding videographer fabulous footage as guests have a fantastic time showing off their line dance expertise.
• Country line dances may be well-known to your group, especially if you enjoy line dancing nights at your favorite country-western bar in the tri-state area.
• A new trend in wedding entertainment is to include a number of retro line dances such as the Bus Stop and the Hustle…dances that your guests in their 50s and 60s know well, and are happy to perform as a fun-loving group on the dance floor.
A great line dance is a pleasing surprise in wedding entertainment, not a dance floor-clearing loss of your reception’s momentum. So be sure to think about recent friend and family weddings and how line dances were received by your same guests, and if your personal wedding website features a polling tool, ask your guests to cast their votes – line dances or no line dances – to help you decide if you’ll include the wedding reception trend or if you’ll give your wedding deejay or wedding band the ‘do not play’ directive for line dances at your reception.
One of the first opportunities you’ll get to impress your wedding guests is the design of your ceremony setting, whether it’s in a ballroom or outdoors in a garden wedding scene. At the forefront is the trellis, chuppah, or altar where you’ll take your vows, and the surrounding wedding décor that makes so much of a visual impact in person and in your wedding photos is your ceremony seating.
Here at the Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange, New Jersey, our wedding ceremony décor has always provided for attractive, elegant guest seating in straight or arched rows, with each seat getting special attention such as fine linen chair covers or a single rose placed on individual chair cushions. This first moment of your wedding celebration is sure to impress your guests when you follow one of the latest trends in special wedding décor for your ceremony seating:
• Have each chair fitted with a snug chair covering, in a comfortable fabric with a bit of stretch to it. Top-quality fabrics are essential so that guests are not sitting on itchy fabrics that may look nice but feel like burlap.
• Chair covers may be done all in white to create a sea of bridal-white seating, or you might choose to have the majority of guest chairs covered in white, with just the first two honored-guest rows featuring chair-covers in a pastel color to set them apart and add visual interest to your wedding décor.
• Another creative trend in chair covers is to have five rows covered in a dark hue of one color, then the next five rows covered in a lighter hue of that same color, then back to the five darker hues of chair covers, and so on, to create ‘waves’ of colored row blocks. Don’t alternate by row, since that can look too busy. New Jersey wedding coordinators and our banquet planners suggest wider blocks of color for a more sophisticated look.
• Tie each covered chair with a length of 2”-wide ribbon in the wedding’s colors, with each chair being tied in the same color of ribbon. And you might also alternate, tying those darker-hued chairs with light-colored ribbons, and those lighter-hued chairs with slightly darker-colored ribbons.
• Add some sparkle to chair ribbons and bows by fastening a few crystals to the ribbon’s ends or bows. Crystals will catch the light, indoors or outside in a garden wedding, providing a sparkling wedding ceremony scene.
• Insert a fresh flower bloom into chair ribbon-bows.
• Use a ribbon that’s been imprinted with your names or your married monogram as your seat cover décor tie.
• Place a single long-stemmed rose on all guest seats, or just on the seats intended for your parents.
• As a tribute to a departed relative or friend, place a single white long-stemmed rose on a chair to be kept unoccupied, the departed’s ‘place’ at the wedding.
• Allow plenty of room between rows of seats. Our experienced event professionals will create a seat layout that provides plenty of room for guests to move comfortably within their rows. When you provide for your guests’ comfort, such as room to cross their legs, your wedding begins with impressive attention to details and wedding décor that impresses as it sets the stage for your nuptials.
Today’s brides and grooms at our West Orange, New Jersey wedding venue are active participants in their wedding rehearsals. They know what they want, and they’re not afraid to speak up about any changes they wish to make in any element of their wedding celebration. So at the wedding rehearsal, you are perfectly within your rights to request changes on anything from the lineup order of your bridesmaids to the speed at which you wish to walk down the aisle.
Here are the top details that may be up for discussion and change at your wedding rehearsal:
• The order in which you’d like your bridesmaids to walk in the processional and thus stand during the ceremony. Some brides like the look of a tallest-to-shortest order, to avoid any presumption of favoritism or ranking among bridesmaids.
• The order in which you’d like the groomsmen to stand next to the groom, again arranging by height, or by what the groom feels would be a natural order.
• The positioning of your two maids of honor, or your groom’s two best men, according to the roles you’ve assigned them. One maid of honor, for instance, may be the one to hold your bouquet during the ring exchange, while the other may be the one to sign your NJ marriage license.
• The order and pairings in which your bridesmaids and groomsmen will walk in the recessional. When you have an uneven number of bridesmaids, one groomsman may escort two bridesmaids down the aisle, for instance.
• Child attendants’ walk down the aisle in the processional, including if they will each walk alone, in pairs, or holding the hand of a bridesmaid.
• Where child attendants will sit or stand during the ceremony. It often works best for child attendants to sit in the front row during the ceremony, to reduce distractions.
• The reading of vows. If you find that it’s too nerve-wracking to memorize your vows, you may ask the officiant to read them off line-by-line, for you to repeat more comfortably.
• How you will be introduced as husband and wife.
• The location and order of the receiving line, if you wish to have one.
Additional, non-ceremony elements such as where the guest book will be placed and where wedding programs will be located at the wedding ceremony venue.
Some elements cannot be changed if they are already printed in your wedding programs, such as the order of the readings or the musical performance, but much of the wedding ceremony is yours to fine-tune as you wish.
One of the first considerations in wedding décor is the style and beauty of wedding centerpieces. Our wedding couples follow the latest trends in floral wedding design to fill their wedding rooms with elaborate, elegant centerpieces that look beautiful on each guest table and also create a sweeping vista of floral beauty.
Here are the top trends in today’s floral centerpiece designs:
Glass vases serve as the centerpiece’s base, in such shapes as squares or circular columns, as well as tall rectangular glass vases.
• The glass vase’s base is often filled with natural river stones for a look that reflects a couple’s wish for a green wedding, and the vase is then filled with water for an elegant flower to float on.
• The base of a glass vase may also feature a wrapping of wide, green banana leaves or other green leaves that provide a natural effect and also obscure the flower stems within the vase.
• Glass vases are also filled with submerged rose heads, with the roses often in bridal white, bright red or any other color combination you wish.
• Glass vases may be filled with colorful rose petals as an elegantly simple wedding décor look.
Tall floral centerpieces reach high above the table’s surface, with multiple types of florals, visual branches and other stand-up floral wedding décor. This higher arrangement of elaborate florals serves to allow guests the ability to see across the table, and also adds a dramatic décor effect in a high-ceilinged wedding ballroom.
• Bright, vibrant colors of flowers are used as a current wedding décor trend, with their hues coordinated with the colors of tablecloths, table runners and chargers on the tabletop.
• Popular color-combinations for today’s centerpieces include red and orange, yellow and orange, blue and purple, deep purple and lighter purple, coral and orange, and hot pink and red.
• When traditional bridal-white flowers are desired, visual interest is created by using several different types of white flowers, each with pretty textures and the contrast of several different hues in their greenery.
• Centerpiece flowers are also chosen for wedding décor accents for their importance to the wedding couple, allowing them to include the same type of flower that the groom may have given the bride when he proposed, or the bride’s birthmonth flower or other types of tributes for personalized wedding décor. So you may wish to use such flowers from your own love story.
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.