wedding photography

Wedding Budget Tips: Wedding Photography

Monday, April 27th, 2015 | Filed under: dream wedding, Wedding Budget, wedding photography | author: By BLG,    

Wedding Budget Tips Wedding PhotographyWedding photography is one of the most important aspects of your wedding plans, since you’ll want top-notch photos from your wedding day. This is not an area to skimp on, so hiring the cheapest wedding photographer in NJ is not in your best interest. Yes, quality wedding photography is expensive, but it’s well worth the investment to have a skilled and experienced wedding photographer capturing those golden moments of your big day in perfect lighting, and delivering expertly-edited wedding photos to you in a timely manner.

That said, there are ways to get wedding discounts on your photography, even from those top-tier wedding photographers in New Jersey: Read more…

Wedding Photo Trends: Your Locale

Saturday, September 1st, 2012 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, dream wedding, wedding ideas, wedding photography | author: By BLG,    
Perfect wedding photo

Perfect wedding photo

Add a sense of place to your wedding photography, capturing the beautiful wedding gardens, the stately mansion architecture, grand staircases and all of the other images that led you to book your New Jersey wedding location. You’ll want to remember your wedding garden in bloom, the flower petals sprinkled on the path leading to your ceremony, the beauty of your reception ballroom, the fireplaces and other details of your wedding site.

Many of our top New Jersey wedding photographers say that couples are asking for more ‘setting shots,’ wanting to capture the gorgeous locations of their ceremonies and receptions. They add these photos to their wedding albums, and they even frame beautiful architectural or floral images for display in their home, with this custom artwork reminding them every day of the beautiful wedding they enjoyed. Read more…

Wedding Photo Trends: Great Photos With Parents

Saturday, August 25th, 2012 | Filed under: wedding ideas, wedding photography, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By BLG,    


Great Photos With Parents

Great Photos With Parents

Wedding photos with parents used to be traditional photos of the bride flanked in either side by her mother and father, with the groom in the same pose with his parents, and then the couple with each set of parents and then with all parents. If you like the classic parent poses, by all means keep them on your Must Get wedding photography wishlist, but consider some of these new options, suggested by the top NJ wedding photographers, to get more natural-looking photos that you’ll be more likely to frame and display:

  • The bride kissing her mom or dad on the cheek
  • The bride’s dad taking her hand to help her up a stair
  • The groom taking his mom by the hand
  • The bride and groom with both sets of parents, including step-parents in a stylized shot with some people sitting and some standing
  • A photo from behind the wedding couple and their parents, as they look out over a scenic vista or their wedding gardens
  • The wedding couple and their parents walking together on the wedding grounds
  • A reflection shot from the wedding gardens pond or lake, showing the couple with their parents
  • The wedding couple and their parents raising champagne glasses in a toast
  • Everyone eating wedding cake together (or a cultural wedding food)
  • The bride hugging her seated parents from behind as the groom smiles from the side (and the same shot with the groom hugging his parents, with the bride looking on, smiling) Read more…

Wedding Photography Trend: Taking Photos Together Before the Ceremony

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 | Filed under: Cost Savings Ideas, dream wedding, wedding ideas, wedding photography, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By BLG,    

It’s now one of the top wedding trends of 2012 to have the bride and groom see each other before the wedding ceremony so that they may take their wedding photos.

Taking Photos

Taking Photos

If you choose this timing for your pre-wedding photos, there are several advantages:

  • You look your very best, having just had your hair and makeup done, and everyone else looks their best as well…you’re not taking photos five hours after your wedding beauty services, so you look fresher and prettier, as does your wedding gown.
  • Your pre-wedding photos will not be rushed. Set at least an hour and a half for this relaxed photo session, so that you can get wonderful couple portraits and group photos. Read more…

Wedding Photo Trends: Black-and-White

Monday, August 13th, 2012 | Filed under: wedding ideas, wedding photography, wedding planning, wedding receptions, Wedding Rehearsal | author: By BLG,    
Black and White photos

Black and White photos

A top wedding trend in wedding photography is getting  a number of your photos in black and white. According to, 60% of brides and grooms request black and white photos in their photography packages, since this style of photography provides an elegant, timeless effect for photo albums and framed portraits. Since Old Hollywood wedding trends are in right now, black and white photos capture this popular style.

Our top New Jersey photographers say that digital photography allows you to turn any wedding photo into black and white, as well as sepia and other effects, so it does not cost extra to have black and white photos created.

Here are the top ways that you can use black and white photos in your plans:

In albums and prints:

  • Begin your wedding album with a page of black and white images, or a full-page portrait of yourselves. The rest of the album can contain color prints.
  • Create an entirely black and white wedding album, a top wedding idea suggested by celebrity wedding planners
  • Order a number of black and white portraits for a themed area of framed pictures in your home
  • Order a large black and white portrait of your official couple wedding photo to hang in your home, to work with your home décor color scheme Read more…

Wedding Cameras – Guest Table Cameras are Back

Saturday, November 5th, 2011 | Filed under: wedding ideas, wedding photography, wedding planning | author: By BLG,    

We’re so happy to see the return of one-time-use wedding cameras set on our wedding reception room guest tables here at the Ram’s Head Inn in Galloway, New Jersey. For a time, they disappeared as brides and grooms sought to shave expenses from their wedding budget, but now wedding couples welcome them back into their tabletop design, offering their guests the fun of using them.

Here are the top reasons why wedding cameras are back:

  • They’re prettier than ever. At, you’ll see pretty red floral, blue floral, and purple floral one-time-use cameras, in addition to traditional ‘bridal white’ cameras. And you’ll also see cameras in solid colors coordinating with the top wedding colors of the season: orange, yellow, blue, red, even black and white for themed weddings.
  • They’re now made with top film quality. With 800-speed film, photos taken with these cameras can capture a priceless wedding moment in quality resolution.
  • They keep kids occupied. Many of our New Jersey wedding couples say this is their top reason – that the one-time-use cameras on every table get the kids playing, happily occupied, laughing, taking photos on the dance floor, and –simply put – not prone to behavior problems they’d have if play wasn’t an element of your reception.
  • They capture the moments you miss. While you’re out in the wedding gardens having your portraits taken, guests use these cameras to capture wonderful moments between relatives, such as great-grandma meeting a guest’s baby for the first time, or the bride’s parents showing off their skills on the dance floor.
  • Guests are told they’ll get to see and perhaps buy the photos. When you place a printed note with each one-time-use wedding camera, you let guests know that the photos they take will be included on a photo-share website for them to view and purchase. Guests then tend to take greater care with the pictures they take, and it works out wonderfully for everyone.
  • Extra wedding cameras let you capture the after-party. When all of the cameras are gathered up at the end of the reception, you can take the ones that still have shots left on them to your after-party to capture memorable moments with your friends long after your wedding photographer has left.
  • Panoramic one-time-use cameras let you snap your own wide-angle photos of our beautiful wedding gardens and grounds, as well as all of your friends and family celebrating your special day.

All the best,

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

Wedding Videography Don’t List

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011 | Filed under: wedding ideas, wedding photography, wedding planning, Wedding Videography | author: By BLG,    

Your wedding video is a priceless capturing of your dream wedding day, and you get to help create it. When you alert your wedding videographer to what you do and don’t want on your wedding day footage, you play a big part in the final version.

The top wedding videographers we know from our elite community of New Jersey wedding experts, including award-winning video experts from the entire Northern and Central  Jersey and New York City regions, among others, want to hear from you about the types of footage you love, and what you have no desire for. For instance, you might not want your wedding videography to include interviews of guests at their tables. Some guests are camera-shy and cringe when they see the videographer coming at them. You don’t want your guests to be uncomfortable, so you might add ‘no table interviews’ to the Don’t list you deliver to your videographer well before the wedding day.

Here are some of the top Don’ts that today’s brides and grooms have in mind when it comes to their wedding videography:

  • Too many special effects. Couples say they find it distracting when their ceremony footage keeps transforming from black-and-white to color, so ask your wedding videographer to use special effects minimally.

  • Too much focus on us. A great videographer knows to stick close to the bride and groom in order to capture those wonderful looks between them, interactions with close friends and with the flowergirls and other magical moments. But today’s wedding couples want lots of footage of their family and friends enjoying the celebration.

  • No line dances. Some brides and grooms agree to having line dances at their receptions, sometimes on request from their parents, but they often don’t need that footage shot, nor included in their final wedding video.

  • No table interviews. Again, guests who get surprised by a camera in front of them often don’t express themselves eloquently. It’s not something they want captured for posterity. And wedding couples wish to spare them the awkwardness.

  • No picking out music for us. Brides and grooms prefer to submit a list of songs they’d like used as the soundtrack for their wedding video, not to be surprised when the videographer adds songs they don’t like…or that remind them of previous relationships!

  • No baby photo montages. Some of our New Jersey wedding couples choose instead to display those adorable baby and childhood photos as an entertainment feature at the start of their wedding dinner, not including them on their wedding video.

A large portion of wedding videography cost is due to the time it takes for your video expert to edit your video, especially if you’ve purchased a video package providing you with just an hours’ worth of footage. So your Don’t requests may even save you money by eliminating some editing elements such as special effects. Cost aside, though, the goal is creating the wedding video you want, one you’ll watch again and again in the future.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Wedding Photography Don’t List

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011 | Filed under: wedding photography, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By BLG,    

Your wedding photographer wants you to be blissfully happy with your wedding day photos, so the new trend in arranging for wedding photography is one that local NJ photographers have actually requested: they want to know what you don’t want them to capture on your wedding day.

A great wedding photographer will adhere to your photo wish-list, while at the same time making sure that he or she is well-positioned to capture all of the most magical moments of your ceremony and reception. Top professional wedding photographers in the counties of Essex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Hudson and other nearby regions also know that the bride and groom want to enjoy their cocktail party and reception to the fullest, not spend an hour taking endless posed group photos. No reputable photographer wants to make you miss your cocktail hour, so join in the trend of delivering your Wedding Photography Don’t List to your photo pro in advance of your wedding day, letting him or her know which types of shots you don’t want, what not to waste time on. Wedding photographers we’ve known for years here at the Pleasantdale Chateau in West Orange have said they’re greatly relieved to know what the bride and groom are thinking. They appreciate getting a Don’t List. It’s not an encroachment on their expertise.

Here are the top types of photos to add to your own Wedding Photography Don’t List:

Boring Shots

  • Posed lineups of the bridal party, with the ladies on one side and the groomsmen on the other. Today’s wedding couples request a more modern ‘blend’ of interspersed bridesmaids and groomsmen.

  • Posed lineups of the bride and groom with sets of parents. More candid wedding photography shots are often preferred for these priceless shots.

  • The cliché shot of the bridal party jumping up in the air, or running down a hill holding hands. While some wedding couples love these ‘fun group scenes,’ others would rather skip the ‘scripted levity’ photos and just have the photographer capture more natural group interactions, such as everyone dancing or sharing a champagne toast.

  • Posed photos taken at each guest table. They have wedding cameras on their tables, so they can take their own at-table photos.

Uncomfortable Shots

  • Tell your photographer if you wish to skip that cliché shot of the groomsmen holding you sideways, awkwardly, with everyone forcing smiles.

  • If your photographer asks you to pose a photo of the groom dipping you backwards over a pool or pond and that makes you uncomfortable, just request to skip that shot and move onto the next. [A Don’t can be delivered in the moment, not on a pre-submitted Don’t List.]

  • Tell your photographer about any awkward family situations, such as your father bringing his new girlfriend to the wedding, and you not wanting her included in the family photos. You might find it easier to skip the posed family lineups to avoid this situation, and instead just get photos of yourself with your father. Our favorite wedding photographers here at our New Jersey wedding venue are masters at handing tricky family photo situations, so that you don’t have to worry about them.

Your Don’t List can also include instructions on how you’d like your wedding photographer to capture you, such as getting you from your ‘good side,’ or not taking photos of you from the back. They’re your photos from the most important day of your life, and you’ll want every frame, every proof, to make your wedding wishes come true.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Engagement Portrait Ideas

Monday, September 5th, 2011 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, wedding photography, wedding planning | author: By BLG,    

Upon the occasion of your engagement – whether it happened yesterday or months ago – you’re likely planning to schedule an engagement portrait session with a professional photographer as the first of your many, exciting, upcoming wedding photography tasks.

In the past, engagement portraits looked very similar – with the bride standing behind the seated groom, her arms wrapped around his shoulders and chest, with her new and sparkling engagement ring prominently showing on her left hand. Now, this traditional pose is just one of a collection of new engagement portrait poses that lead the way in first-couple-photo trends. Think of the beautiful engagement photo recently released by royal wedding couple Kate Middleton and Prince William. Kate and William posed in a near embrace, showing their closeness and natural affection as a couple, and yes the engagement ring was prominently-featured.

As a leading New Jersey wedding venue and top garden wedding location in New Jersey, we can attest to the natural beauty of our surrounding region here in the northern part of the Garden State where we have so many scenic overlooks – including the Highlawn Pavilion’s view of New York City – and natural vistas such as springtime blooms and the fiery colors of the autumn leaves. With engagement portraits experiencing a wedding photo trend evolution into using more nature scenes as backgrounds for these couple photos, our local wedding couples are quite lucky to have access to beautiful botanical gardens, estate homes, and especially beaches on our many shore and lake destinations here in New Jersey.

Here are some of the top engagement portrait setting styles that New Jersey wedding couples and our many New York City wedding couples choose for their signature couple photo:

At the Beach

  • Sitting or lying directly on the sand
  • Sitting or lying on a colorful beach blanket
  • Splashing ankle-deep in the ocean’s edge water
  • Groom carrying bride into the water, or along the ocean’s edge into the sunset
  • Bride and groom sitting in a lifeguard stand
  • A favorite of our New Jersey wedding couples – photos located at the family shore house where they’ve spent many summers, and perhaps where they became engaged
  • At the precise spot on the beach where the couple became engaged.
  • A natural, just-walking-along shot of the couple by the water’s edge

On the Boardwalk

For playful couples, a beach-setting engagement portrait session may include a quick stop at the boardwalk, where they may pose:

  • On a carousel
  • In the seat of their favorite ride
  • Holding colorful cotton candy while overlooking the ocean
  • Holding enormous stuffed animals the groom and bride have won for each other.

In the Park

The park may be easier for you to reach, and many New Jersey couples choose their nearby park setting, or a favorite spot in a state park overlooking a waterfall or a brook, as their engagement portrait setting. When couples look for places to take NJ wedding photos, it’s often the park that provides the setting closest to a gorgeous garden wedding’s feel. Here are some of the top trends in park photos:

  • At a gazebo
  • On a park bench
  • By a fountain
  • On a wooden bridge crossing over a stream
  • On a playground’s swingset
  • Lying on the grass in the middle of a softball field where you’ve played or watched games together
  • Kissing in the end zone of a park football field, where you may have had childhood sports memories

The goal is to design an engagement portrait that will join your spectacular professionally-taken wedding photos in your home displays for all time. Your wedding photography expert will guide you in suggesting poses that make you both look your best, but it’s up to you to choose your stunning location, bring several different styles of outfits or dresses to your photo session, and speak up when a setting or pose is what you want.

Many of our New Jersey wedding couples say they fall in love with several of their engagement photos, framing those for home display and using those for their personal wedding website and wedding program designs.


Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Wedding Photography: New Trends in Mess the Dress Photos

Thursday, June 16th, 2011 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, wedding ideas, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By BLG,    

When the Mess the Dress photo trend first started, many people were shocked that any bride would subject her wedding dress to destruction. But we’ve come a long way from the days of brides sliding down muddy hills or smashing chocolate wedding cake against their skirts. The trend now is to arrange for artistic mess the dress photos, with the bride posing for magazine fashion spread-inspired stylistic images in the ocean surf or in other natural settings. The resulting mess to the dress is purely exposure to natural elements like sand or a grassy field; it’s the bride relaxing and not worrying about getting anything on her dress. The mess the dress photo sessions that our New Jersey wedding couples are booking with our preferred wedding vendors and other New Jersey wedding photographers work very much just like high-fashion photo shoots, complete with stylists, makeup artists, and pro photo teams with light reflectors and other professional photography equipment.

Wedding Photography

Wedding Photography

Before you worry about your wedding gown, keep in mind that many brides purchase second, often inexpensive, wedding gowns to be used in their mess the dress photos. Local brides purchase these gowns at NJ wedding gown shops’ sample sales and trunk sales, or through online auctions, choosing pretty styles that suit their vision for elegant and artsy mess the dress photos.

Here are some of the most popular styles and settings of mess the dress photos:

  • On the beach, with the bride standing ankle-deep in the ocean surf, perhaps kicking some water, or holding her skirt up a bit and dancing in the surf. Since many of our New Jersey beaches have beautiful, fine sand as well as sparkling sandy beaches like Cape May’s, a popular beach photo is the bride simply walking barefoot along the water’s edge in the perfect sunlight to get those Cape May diamonds and sea glass pieces sparkling.
  • Underwater shots, with the bride looking like a mermaid fully submerged, her hair flowing, the dress flowing.
  • Field shots, with the bride walking, dancing or lying in a grassy field of flowers.
  • Farm shots, which are especially popular with our New Jersey wedding couples who enjoy the natural atmosphere of our many New Jersey family farms. These photos may be posed in an apple orchard – perhaps with the bride perched in an apple tree, with an apple in her hand – in a pumpkin patch, sitting on top of an enormous hay bale or on a hay bale pyramid, even on horseback.
  • In a tree, another favorite of our New Jersey wedding couples. They may invite their wedding photographer to their family home so that they may have photos taken of the bride and of themselves as a couple sitting in the same tree the bride may have climbed as a little girl.
  • Snowy shots, with the bride playing in a fresh snowfall, or making snow angels, or a playful shot of the bride sledding down a hill in her full wedding regalia.
  • Fall weather shots, with the bride playing among piles of colorful fall leaves, making the most of our beautiful New Jersey autumn foliage scenery and creating a colorful photo that may be displayed in the couple’s home.
  • Painting the dress, a new trend in mess the dress photos, inspired by high-fashion’s recent showing of hand-painted dresses. New York City bridal gown designers have even opened their fashion shows with artists painting bridal gowns with watercolors, so brides are quite inspired to do the same with watercolor flowers and designs painted onto their dress’s skirt.
  • Sitting on a vehicle. Some popular vehicles on which the bride may perch include classic cars and convertibles, perhaps the wedding-day limousine, and some brides ask permission to hop onto the back of a parked fire truck for a fun photo.

Mess the dress photos no longer raise eyebrows when they’re styled fashionably and when they reflect the bride’s love of the shore, or a farm setting, or when they capture the exuberance of her winter wedding. And many brides create flip photo books of their entire mess the dress photo sessions, finding these as pleasing and keepsake-worthy as their official wedding day photos.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

To make an appointment with a banquet manager, please contact us at 609-652-1700.