Wedding After Party
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…
A wedding’s cocktail party stations allow the bride and groom to showcase a generous variety of their favorite gourmet cuisines, from European cuisine to Asian cuisine, Italian gourmet cuisine, new American cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisine, and more. As our culture grows more interested in the culinary arts, and as our New Jersey wedding clients come to us with truly thrilling ideas and requests for eclectic, elegant dining paired with fine wines and elite vintage champagnes, we at the Pleasantdale Chateau – as well as at our sister wedding venues The The Manor, The Highlawn Pavilion and theRam’s Head Inn – relish the chance to co-create a stunning lineup of the top trends in cocktail party station fare.
Our chef Robert Albers has created an extensive menu of delicious dishes within the new trends in station themes, and our brides and grooms choose from among them to customize their event’s culinary experience. Here are the top trends in cocktail party stations to consider for your wedding menu:
- The Fresh Garden Crudités Station – During the past few years, wedding guests have grown increasingly fond of the fresh, crisp vegetable platter, opting for organic, healthier treats within the collection of cocktail party menu options. A crudités station offers elaborately-presented pieces of broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, red and yellow bell pepper, carrot sticks, celery stalks, zucchini sticks, sun-dried tomatoes and a creamy Parmesan dipping sauce.
- Fresh Fruits and Berries Station – Also a popular choice among wedding guests, as well as brides and grooms planning green weddings here in New Jersey, this station features an array of fresh, sliced seasonal fruits and berries such as golden pineapple, watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, seedless red grapes and strawberries. Guests who must eat in a healthy manner now find themselves delighted at a wedding, not frustrated by an array of fried options.
- Imported and Domestic Cheese Station – In the world of wedding cuisine – as well as gourmet dining influenced by European cuisine as well as the tastes of our domestic heartland and New Jersey farms’ fresh offerings – cheeses are the new It food on wedding menus. If a couple doesn’t have a cheese station planned, they ask for a cheese course within their reception menu. Some of the most popular cheeses featured on our cheese station include aged Gouda, Coupole goat cheese, herbed Swiss, Vermont white cheddar, Brie, Camembert, Farme D’Ambert and Gourmandises, served with seeded flatbreads and chutney.
- Normandy Display Station – A Normandy display station brings a variety of international cuisine to a wedding menu, offering hummus, baba ghanoush and cucumber yogurt dip, charcuterie platter of sliced ham and dried sausages, pencil asparagus with hearts of palm, toasted Israeli couscous with golden raisins and pine nuts, and more. Our wedding couples from Morris County, Passaic County, Somerset County, Hudson County and surrounding regions of New Jersey and Metropolitan New York City have dined in some of the finest restaurants in the world, and they’re quite particular about offering some of the finest cuisines from around the world.
- In a cocktail party menu trend that surprises some wedding couples, fondue is back as a hot trend, with the fondue style being a cheese and ale-based fondue, served with vegetables and apples, spicy sausages and assorted breads.
- Even with a meat-based entrée planned for the reception menu, our brides and grooms often wish to include a carving station. The top trends in carving stations right now include unique types of meats, looking beyond the classic prime rib or pork loin to sushi grade ahi tuna, apple and ancho braised brisket of beef and more. When guests are treated to a unique cocktail party station menu item, they’re all the more impressed with your lavish gourmet wedding celebration.
- Seafood stations remain at the top of brides’ and grooms’ wishlists, with chilled oysters on the half shell, jumbo Gulf shrimp, snow crab claws and other iced seafoods presented to guests.
- Chafing dish menu items give wedding couples their choice of several gourmet cuisine items such as mussels, clams and shrimp in garlic and white wine over orzo, Osso Bucco, eggplant stuffed with ricotta, plum tomatoes and garlic sauce, country escargot with garlic and leeks, and an array of regional specialties, exotic dishes, cocktail party menu items chosen to please kosher menu requirements as well as vegan and other dietary requirements.
- The pasta station’s newest trend in the gourmet sauce our chefs prepare to make it stand out. Our New Jersey home to weddings specializes in Italian gourmet cuisine, and as such our chef’s pasta station sauces include classics like vodka sauce and pomodoro sauce, plus gourmet twists such as Italian sausage and pesto sauce, marscapone cheese and garlic cream, brandy mushroom sauce, seafood sauces, and the creamy, cheese top trend of wild mushroom and sage risotto, or Louisiana crawfish risotto, and more.
- A favorite station among our foodie wedding couples is the Asian station, including a sushi bar where attendants make hand rolls to order, or where guests can feast on chicken teriyaki dumplings or moo shoo duck hand rolls – again, unique dishes that guests may not order for their own dinners on the average visit to a local Asian restaurant.
- Additional cocktail party stations include: smoked fish displays including smoked salmon, gravlox, pastrami cured salmon and smoked trout and more; and a caviar station with several different top-grade caviars, blini, toast points and garnishes.
The cocktail party menu begins the celebration in fine style and with gourmet taste, delivering a new trend seen at weddings – people taking pictures of the cocktail party stations and hitting send to share the beauty and sumptuousness with their networks of friends and family far away. In our digital age, that’s quite a high compliment, among the many you’ll receive for your cocktail party menu collection.
Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château
Bridal party members are selected for their best-friend status, their closeness as sisters and cousins, their value to the bride and groom, and their enthusiasm for assisting in wedding plans. In today’s weddings, the bride’s lineup and the groom’s lineup are more personalized than ever, sometimes comprised of unexpected participants.
Here are some ways in which our New Jersey and New York City-region brides and grooms have invited very special people into their bridal parties:
On the Bride’s Side:
• The bride may invite close male friends to serve as ‘bride’s attendants.’
• The bride may select her closest male friend or brother to be her ‘Man of Honor,’ in place of the traditional maid of honor.
• The bride may ask her mother to be her Matron of Honor.
• The bride may have more than one maid or matron of honor, perhaps one of each, perhaps three if she’d like to honor multiple friends or sisters.
• The bride may invite her groom’s sisters to be bridal party members.
• The bride may choose instead to have only a circle of flowergirls, including her nieces, friends’ children and perhaps her own daughters, instead of adult bridesmaids.
• The bride may invite tweens and teens to be ‘junior bridesmaids.’
• The bride no longer feels any compulsion to leave out a friend who will be pregnant at the time of the wedding. Today’s bridal gown designers now offer so many beautiful maternity bridesmaid dresses that it’s quite common to see many radiant, pregnant bridesmaids standing up for the bride.
On the Groom’s Side:
• The groom may invite close female friends to stand on his side, serving as a ‘groom’s attendant’ or ‘grooms woman.’
• The groom may select his closest female friend to stand up as his ‘Best Woman,’ although some of our New Jersey brides prefer to think of themselves as the Best Woman of the day, choosing instead the title of ‘Groom’s Honored Attendant’ for this female bridal party participant.
• The groom may ask his father to be his best man.
• The groom may have more than one best man.
• The groom may invite the bride’s brothers to be groomsmen.
• The groom may include more than one ring-bearer, as we see often with our local wedding couples who have several boys in their family circle.
Since New Jersey is home to so many different cultures and faiths, our couples often subscribe to the practices of their heritages and religions, which may present unique opportunities within the bridal party. For instance, in a heritage that embraces a wedding ritual of having a married couple named as the bride and groom’s ‘mentor married couple,’ they too may be included in the wedding party.
Bridal parties are getting larger right now, with over eight members on the average. Many of our local wedding couples tell us that they wish for larger wedding couples so that there are more bridesmaids to share the planning and payment responsibilities for a bridal shower or bridal lunch, not just three to bear the role. Another factor is an inclusive mindset, with couples wishing to include more friends, not leave anyone out. Some couples create their bridal party size from the traditional formula of one groomsman for every fifty guests, so they formulate their wedding party size from there. And some couples say that a larger bridal party allows for their desired effect at a large, formal wedding.
Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château