As you read in our recent post, wedding cocktail party catering begins with the selections of fine cuisine at stations, and now it’s time to look at the top trends in hot buffet stations:
Carving Station: Wedding menu trends offer twists on the usual wedding fare, and today’s carving stations go beyond the usual prime rib and glazed ham. Now, you’ll find mouthwatering selections such as tequila lime marinated flank steak, roasted leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary, pork tenderloin with mushroom duxelle, New York Style pastrami or corned beef, roast turkey breast with cranberry orange compote, peppercorn crusted sushi grade ahi tuna, orange and rosemary scented whole roasted suckling pig, boneless rib eye of bison, and more. Our wedding chefs perfect the art of adding a gourmet element to the carving station, making this a top reception catering trend once more, even for budget wedding couples who are pleased to find they don’t have to cut out the carving station if they don’t wish to.
Pasta Station: Again, wedding cocktail party menu trends have given the pasta station a makeover. While you could go with plain pomodoro sauce or vodka sauce on your penne, here are some of the top trends in cocktail party buffet menus for your pasta station: gemelli pasta with broccoli rabe, wild mushroom and shaved parmesan risotto, Louisiana crawfish risotto, spinach agnolotti with artichoke and marscapone cheese and garlic cream, campanelle with saffron cauliflower, crab meat and roasted yellow tomatoes and seafood nage. Read more…
When creating your wedding reception menu, you’ll often begin by choosing your cocktail party stations, selecting from a wide range of delectable, gourmet spreads that guests often look forward to the most. Your wedding cocktail party sets the stage for each of the upcoming reception menu features, and a top 2012 wedding trend is surprising wedding guests with unexpected cocktail party menu items.
Some of the top cocktail party menu trends include international foods, organic wedding menu items, gluten-free menu items, and unique twists on traditional wedding cocktail party foods.
Here are some of the biggest trends in cocktail party stations, focusing just on the Cold Stations. We’ll focus on hot buffet stations in an upcoming post:
Antipasto: Grilled marinated harvest vegetables, bocchini mozzarella, artichokes, and fire roasted peppers.
Olives: An array of colorful marinated and stuffed olives, with herb dressings. Read more…
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…
Creating your wedding reception hall seating chart can be a dizzying, stressful task. You want to be sure your guests are seated with people they know, to ensure they’ll have an enjoyable time during your celebration. Here are the top tips for taking the stress out of designing your seating chart:
· Mix up table sizes and shapes. There’s no rule saying you have to have all round tables identical in size. Today’s wedding reception room layout features some round tables, some lengthier rectangular tables, larger rounds and more options to allow you easier seating of natural groups.
- Allow more elbow room. Seat 8 guests at a table that is marked as seating 10, or 10 guests at a table for 12 to allow for roomier spacing and more enjoyable eating.
- Assess the His Side vs. Her Side divide. Again, there’s no rule saying the groom’s guests need to sit on one side of the room, the bride’s side on the other, with the dance floor in between. Many wedding guest lists aren’t even splits between the bride’s and groom’s guests, so feel free to seat guests according to their likely reception style and needs instead.
- Seat younger guests who are likely to dance closer to the dance floor. When a song they love begins, they won’t need to race past dozens of other guest tables to get to the dance floor.
- Seat children with their parents. Children tend to be better behaved when their parents are right next to them, cutting their food, keeping them entertained.
- Seat groups of friends in one sector. Those 8-seater, 10-seater or longer tables allow you to arrange for all of your friends to sit near one another for easier mingling and table-hopping during the post-dinner hours.
- Seat older guests far from the speakers. Older generation guests should never be seated right next to the bank of speakers, since loud noises are often annoying to them. Older guests say they enjoy being seated at a place that allows them easier access, and a shorter walk, to the restrooms.
- Seat guests with babies far from the speakers. Extremely young children brought to the wedding need to be protected from loud noises, so seat them far from the thumping bass and high volume of the party music.
- Seat warring guests far apart. If one cousin owes the other cousin money or has a long-standing beef, make it a priority to seat these people as many tables apart as possible.
- Seat divorced parents at their own tables. Provide comfort and calm for parents who are divorcing or recently divorced by giving them their own parents’ tables in your reception venue. If a parent is bringing a date, which might hurt the other parent, seat them in front-view areas but not at tables directly next to one another.
- Seat bridal party members with their own groups of friends or relatives. They don’t have to sit at a large main table with you. Bridal party members will wish to sit with their spouses or dates, or with their children.
- Give yourself plenty of tries. Use a free seating chart tool on a wedding website or wedding registry website to make adding and moving guests easier with the click of a mouse, or use sticky notepad sheets marked with each guest’s name on your master table layout provided by the reception hall to move guests into different positions until you find the perfect seating chart arrangements for all.
Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Chateau
Wedding cake trends change swiftly and beautifully….just like wedding dress trends. From elegant simplicity to wild and whimsical colors, today’s wedding cake captures the personalities of the bride and groom, suits the season, fits the formality and delights wedding guests as a centerpiece of the reception ballroom décorand eventually as a delectable highlight of the dessert hour.
Here are the top trends for wedding cakes in 2012:
Height: Wedding cakes are getting taller in 2012, not just with the number of tiers but rather with the height of each tier in the creation of an elevated cake.
Flavors: In 2011 weddings, red velvet cake was all the rage, and now that trend is fading out in 2012, in favor of exotic flavors such as pomegranate, blackberry blueberry, fig, orange chocolate, and blends of creamy textures with exotic fruits. One top flavor composition is a moist cake with a fruit filling, such as white chiffon with blackberry mousse or banana cake with crème brulee filling or chocolate wedding cake with white chocolate mousse and raspberry filling. In addition to fruit-filled cake, we’re also seeing carrot cake with cream cheese filling holding on as a favorite of our brides and grooms.
Invitation-Inspired: Wedding cakes of 2011 were very much designed to look like wedding couture, with layers and folds of fondant to look like wedding dress fabric, and sparkling accents to mimic the crystals or rhinestones on the bride’s dress. Now, cakes are taking their inspiration from the wedding invitation, namely the layers of textured paper, vellums, fabrics, pearlized borders and the colors the bride and groom have chosen in their wedding invitation design.
Colors: Wedding cakes are returning to all-white for a pristine, elegant simplicity that is hand-painted and hand-accented by top NJ cake designers with all-white designs, vibrant color cut-outs of fondant or sugar paste, or the new hot color combination for 2012 wedding cakes: black and white.
Going Royal: The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton put everything regal back on the map for wedding trends in 2012. Opulent designs with lots of piped white icing rosettes, ‘drapes,’ and painstaking lacy details give a sophisticated edge to a royal wedding cake look, whether it’s a modern-day royal wedding design or a lacey, finely-detailed wedding cake from Marie Antoinette’s era. The effect is refined, detailed and princess-like.
Simplicity. A wedding cake frosted in smooth layers, looking like wrapped boxes and very minimally accented with cut-out sugar paste or piped-on icing pearls is a very big wedding cake trend for 2012. Budget weddings often call for less ornate wedding details, but this style of wedding cake looks more expensive than it is. In a single, solid color, this cake wows wedding guests for being a stunningly simple work of art.
Artistic: A number of New Jersey and New York wedding couples choose a wedding cake design filled with colorful, vibrant accents, swirls, sugar paste cutouts, in a whimsical and artistic flair. These complex, geometric cakes are eye-catching and unforgettable, the perfect end to a fine dining experience.
Nature-inspired: As a stylistic evolution of the green wedding, or eco-friendly wedding with an emphasis on nature, it’s become a trend for wedding cakes to show off more flowers, even sugar-paste leaves and actual branches. The colors of nature-inspired cakes are most often white, off-white or a muted golden shade to show off the pastel florals, and we’ve also seen some robin’s egg blue cakes in the wedding reception dessert roundup.
Flower accents: Whether they’re real or fashioned from fondant, sugar paste or marzipan, flowers remain a popular wedding cake accent. In 2012, wedding cakes will be decorated with more magnolias, peonies, tulips, ranunculus and especially blue orchids, while last year’s roses and daisies fade back a bit.
Cake Stand Design: Many creative brides and grooms plan lovely presentations for their wedding cakes, displaying them in their wedding reception venue with elevated stands or colorful blocks, even wood platforms and ornate pedestals displaying their cakes.
Wedding Cake Bars: Why choose just one wedding cake? A big trend for 2012 is to select one main wedding cake design for your cake-cutting ritual at your wedding reception, and then place that cake on a buffet table filled with an array of different, smaller wedding cakes in coordinating colors, but different flavors and fillings. Also on the cake bar: chocolate truffles, chocolate dipped strawberries, and other delectable desserts. Our finest NJ pastry chefs offer an array of top-trend wedding desserts that put the perfect finishing touch on your spectacular wedding reception.
Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Chateau
We’re seeing a wonderful trend among our brides and their bridal parties – the brides have named two of their closest friends or sisters as their co-maids of honor. These lucky brides experienced the enviable dilemma of having two fabulous, supportive women close to them, and when it came time to decide which would be their maid of honor, they decided not to choose.
The role of maid of honor is a sizeable one, with many assisting tasks, shopping trips, online searches, and especially planning a bridal shower and perhaps a bachelorette party for the bride. It’s actually quite wise to hand this role to two maids of honor, dividing the time-consuming responsibilities among them. Each spends half the time, tackles half the To-Do list, spends half the money, and the bride experiences the relief of knowing her wedding tasks are in good hands.
If you’re fascinated by the idea of having two maids of honor, here are some of the ways that your closest ladies can divide the tasks associated with the role:
- By location. A best friend who lives in your hometown can easily accompany you on dress-shopping expeditions, as many of our brides have reported of their own gown searches in Short Hills, Princeton, and other top shopping meccas in New Jersey. The second maid of honor can take on the lion’s share of online research on trends, bouquet designs, cake designs, etiquette answers and more.
- By personal interest. A sister who loves fashion may be the perfect candidate to lead the bridesmaids in their dress search and selection, and a friend who has a talent and passion for graphic design may create your Save the Date cards, wedding invitations, shower invitations, wedding programs and more.
- By financial position. A maid of honor who is in a higher tax bracket than the other may volunteer to take on the pricier tasks, such as booking a limousine for the bachelorette party, while the co-maid of honor tackles more time-consuming yet inexpensive tasks such as tracking down shower guests’ current mailing addresses.
Two of the most important roles of the maid of honor are holding the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony and signing the marriage license, so divide these tasks among your two maids of honors so that one gets the bouquet to hold and the other gets the pen to sign with. Both maids of honor can walk in the processional side-by-side to show their equal ranking in the bridal party, and of course you’ll title your unmarried friend or sister a maid of honor while a married friend or sister would be given the title matron of honor, according to age-old wedding etiquette rules. Whatever their title, your two maids of honor — or honor attendants, as you may wish to call them – will be there for you every step of the way, to help you plan, support you emotionally, and wish you well in this new chapter of your life.
Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château
Attending a bridal show is a smart way for brides and grooms to explore the styles and trends of wedding décor, fashion, favors, photography and more, since nothing beats the in-person opportunities you’ll find at bridal expos like the elegant ones occurring in our local New Jersey area. Just like you can only fully appreciate our wedding gardens and wedding rooms by walking through them, seeing the details all throughout our wedding venues, you can best appreciate the beauty of a floral arrangement by standing right in front of it, inhaling its fragrance, seeing the breathtaking layers of delicate petals on each gardenia, rose and ranunculus. That’s far better than looking at even the most beautiful of photos on a website.
To help you get the most from your bridal show experiences, we’ve listed the Top Do’s and Don’ts for bridal expos:
- Plan to attend several different bridal shows and expos, to meet a wide range of local New Jersey wedding vendors and see a wide range of design ideas.
- Plan to attend your first bridal show with your groom, sharing your first-time excitement with him. Many of our New Jersey wedding couples are full planning partners, with the grooms just as interested in the catering, entertainment, photos and décor as the brides. They want to share this first bridal show event excitement with their brides as well.
- Bring your closest women with you to subsequent bridal shows. Moms now join the maid of honor and bridesmaids on a bride’s guest list, sharing the exciting scene and discovering fabulous wedding details and experts alongside the brides.
- Sign on to win prizes. The bridal show coordinators share your e-mail address with displaying vendors anyway, so sign onto their sheets and you may win valuable prizes.
- Talk to the wedding vendors. They welcome your planning questions, and they’re quite willing to share ideas or make suggestions about details you might not think about, such as providing a water source for hydrangeas to help them last longer through your wedding day.
- Don’t rush in, rush past vendor tables, grab some appetizers and a glass of champagne, take a glance around, and leave. Great bridal shows have fabulous events planned throughout the show, including band performances, fashion shows, seminars by local wedding experts, prize drawings, and games through which you might win a valuable prize for your wedding or honeymoon.
- Don’t assume that only beginning wedding vendors attend wedding shows. Top wedding professionals – including the most successful, busiest and most admired NJ wedding experts — make it a high priority to attend as many bridal shows as possible. They want to meet brides and grooms face-to-face, show their talents and offerings, and connect with wedding couples who are looking for their style of top-caliber wedding services.
- Don’t forget to take your camera with you. You’ll see hundreds of designs and details that will help you create your wedding details.
Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château