Wedding Décor: Ceremony Seating

Thursday, May 26th, 2011 | Filed under: Wedding Décor, wedding ideas, wedding planning, wedding receptions, Wedding Rehearsal | author: By Keith Sly,    

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.

Wedding Décor

Wedding Décor

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.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Presenting Cultural Ceremony Elements

Thursday, May 19th, 2011 | Filed under: Bright Ideas for your wedding, wedding ideas, wedding planning, wedding receptions | author: By Keith Sly,    

Many of today’s brides and grooms wish to include and honor their heritages in multiple ways, starting with their ceremonies, including deeply-meaningful, beautiful cultural ceremony elements. From readings to the exchange of symbolic items such as figs or certain types of flowers, to cultural songs or hymns to crowns of myrtle or olive leaves, these wedding rituals add a deeply important dimension to the wedding ceremony. Relatives appreciate their inclusion in modern weddings, and guests outside of the couple’s heritage find them fascinating.

Cultural Ceremony

Cultural Ceremony

It’s important to share with your guests the symbolic meanings of your cultural ceremony elements, so that they may understand them and appreciate them. Here are some ways for you to include explanations of your cultural ceremony elements:

• Ask your officiant to explain each ritual before it is performed, sharing an anecdote about what the ritual symbolizes. Many of the top NJ wedding officiants that we have hosted here at our West Orange wedding venue have explained cultural traditions in entertaining ways, even as they shared deep and solemn meanings for the rituals.

• Each ritual may be explained by an honored guest who you have invited to step to the microphone, as a ceremony reader sharing the story of a cultural ceremony element.
Describe the ritual and what it symbolizes on a dedicated page in your wedding program. Guests can then read about the ritual’s steps and meanings as they are enacted, and readings spoken in a cultural language may be translated in the program as well. Here at our New Jersey wedding venue, we have seen wedding programs translated into many different languages for guests’ understanding.

Design your wedding ceremony seating so that all guests can easily see and hear the cultural ceremony element being enacted. For an outdoor garden wedding, it’s wise to use a speaker system for guests’ ease of hearing the words of a reading or what your officiant is saying as you are crowned or as your hands are bound together with a symbolic scarf, cord or floral garland. And guests do wish to see that special moment of the groom stomping on the glass during a Jewish wedding, as well as the symbolic moment of your presenting traditional wedding items to each other’s parents.

You’re designing special cultural ceremony elements, and it adds even more to your ceremony when all in attendance can observe them well.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

Wedding Ceremonies: “Who Presents This Bride?”

Thursday, May 12th, 2011 | Filed under: wedding planning, wedding receptions, Wedding Rehearsal, wedding themes | author: By Keith Sly,    

In the traditional wedding ceremony, the bride is escorted to the altar by her father – or by both parents – who is then asked, “Who presents this woman in matrimony?” This element of the wedding ceremony is one that many of our New Jersey and tri-state area brides either adore for its traditionalism and long history in their family weddings, or wish to eliminate from the ceremony, as they don’t wish to be ‘given away’ to their grooms.

The Bride

The Bride

To help you decide on the ‘giving away’ portion of your processional, we offer some options:

• When you are escorted down the aisle by your father, by your parents, or by both father and step-father, your officiant can change his or her statement, asking, “Who brings this woman forward?” and then the parents may answer, “We do.” Many of our local wedding couples like this wording, since it is a true statement and doesn’t carry any implication of ‘giving away.’

• If you will be walked down the aisle by your children, the officiant may ask, “Who presents this bride to her groom?” to which the children answer, “We do.”

• If your father is deceased and your mother is walking you down the aisle, the answer to the officiant’s question may be, “I do, and in spirit, her father does,” which is a very touching moment in a wedding ceremony. Of course, if your mother is deceased and your father walking you down the aisle, your father may say, “I do, and in spirit, her mother does.”

• In many weddings we’ve seen here at our West Orange locations, brides choose to walk down the aisle on their own, unescorted, both for first-time and encore weddings. Thus, no one is asked to give her away. She simply approaches on her own.

• In some weddings, the bride and groom walk down the aisle together, not requiring the question as well.

• You may instruct your officiant not to ask any such question at all.

It is your wedding ceremony to create, according to the wording and symbolisms that work best for you.

Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château

New Trends in Bridal Party Selections

Thursday, May 5th, 2011 | Filed under: Bachelorette Party ideas, Bright Ideas for your wedding, wedding ideas, wedding planning | author: By Keith Sly,    
Bridal Party

Bridal Party

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

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