Anil and Elsa’s Westminster Wedding Video

We’re so pleased to share with you Anil and Elsa’s wedding highlight video from their big day here at the Westminster Hotel. The entire Westminster Weddings staff looks back on this beautiful celebration with such joy for this wonderful couple, and we wish them every happiness in their future together!

Anil and Elsa at The Westminster Hotel :: NJ Wedding Videographer :: Creative Unlimited from Creative Unlimited on Vimeo.

Advertisements

Top Fall Wedding Trends for NJ Weddings 2016

Fall drinks at Westminster Hotel weddings

Fall weddings have grown in popularity for NJ wedding couples, since the weather is so comfortable in our region, the fall foliage so beautiful (especially at outdoor wedding spaces) and fall wedding trends including gorgeous décor and food inspirations.

According to the wedding industry survey site The Wedding Report, the most popular months for weddings in New Jersey include September at 14.0%, October at 13% and November at 8%. If that doesn’t sound overly impressive, keep in mind that April weddings in New Jersey are at 7%, May weddings are at 12% and June weddings are at 13% — which makes October weddings equal in popularity to June weddings, and September beats them all as the top month for weddings in New Jersey.

To help inspire your fall wedding plans, here are some of the top new trends for fall weddings in 2016:

  • Outdoor ceremonies and cocktail parties. With such gorgeous autumn color in the trees and landscaping all throughout your wedding venue and outdoor wedding gardens, you get gorgeous scenery, color and textures courtesy of Mother Nature (without adding a penny to your wedding budget for décor!) There’s something so special about gathering your loved ones in a scenic outdoor space for your ceremony and cocktail party, especially during peak fall foliage times in NJ.
  • Fall wedding colors. Color trend-setting specialists PANTONE® announce the top wedding colors for each season, and their fall wedding colors include the loveliest shades of cranberry, brick, dark green, gray-blue, and other shades that add depth and richness to wedding plans. You’ll see a number of PANTONE® wedding inspiration boards on Pinterest, sharing gorgeous fall wedding design inspirations by color, including which top wedding colors to combine for fall. One of the top neutrals for fall wedding colors is charcoal gray, which adds an elegance to wedding design, and lest you think fall wedding colors are only in the darker shades, pops of bright colors are a top trend for fall wedding color combinations. We’re seeing more and more bright colors reminiscent of summer (such as ice-pop style reds) mixed in with classic fall colors for a fresh and happy look.
  • Jewel- toned crystals. Clear crystals have long been wedding décor staples, and now a top trend for fall weddings that add sparkle and rich hues is jewel-toned crystals such as sapphire and burgundy shades, in addition to oranges and yellows.
  • Intimate lighting. Fall weddings get all the more intimate and magical with lots of pretty lighting, including table-set candles in varying heights and styles (candelabras, pillar candles, votives, etc.) lantern lights, suspended lights, chandeliers, and specialty lighting companies’ color washes, uplighting and custom lighting effects projected onto the dance floor, walls and even onto the driveway outside your wedding venue for an exciting welcome to your wedding celebration.
  • Fall flowers. And not the usual ones you’d expect for wedding flowers in the fall. New favorite fall wedding flowers includie Iris, Hyacinths, zinnia, snapdragon, freesia, and lily of the valley – all surprising choices, since these are commonly known as spring wedding flowers and summer wedding flowers. But in the world of flower creation, new hybrids are sprouting up spring and summer colors and delicate flowers in the fall season. New Jersey-grown flowers are also on the fall wedding décor trends list, such as popular blooms like sunflowers and roses.
  • Fabulous fabrics. Fall weddings call for heavier fabrics for your table linens, in rich, touchable textures that add elegance to your wedding décor.

Fall wedding menus at Westminster Weddings

  • Fall wedding menus include lots of meats with paired sauces, and stations offering both heavier and lighter, fresh, garden-inspired fare. In a top fall wedding trend, pair foods with NJ microbrew beers and ales, and bourbon-glazed meats. And side dishes include chef-elevated fall veggies with a gourmet twist, making side dishes as enticing as the main course. Soups, particularly creamy soups and bisques make the list for top wedding menu stations and courses.
  • For fall wedding drinks, include hot toddies like hot rum drinks and hot spiked ciders for that elevated autumn drinks menu, and include an array of flavored coffees for after dinner.
  • In desserts, add pies to your dessert hour list, since pies are a top trend for wedding desserts, in full-sized pies for slicing, and as mini pie tarts. Fall flavor macarons are also on the In list, and everyone’s favorite NJ pastries and mini pastries are always popular, no matter the season.

NJ wedding favorite mini pastries at Westminster Weddings

If you’re in our Westminster Weddings family of couples marrying here this fall, we hope our collection of fall wedding trends 2016 helps with your last-minute planning. We also remind you that the upcoming fall wedding season is also time for your rehearsal dinner and other wedding weekend events at which you can use these inspirations as well. Strip House at the Westminster Hotel has been named by New Jersey Bride magazine as one of the best rehearsal dinner spots in New Jersey, and we look forward to helping you plan a fabulous rehearsal dinner or special event to your specifications.

10 Ways to Make Your Wedding Cocktail Party Stand Out

west apps3

Wedding guests say they love a great cocktail party, and with a fabulous array of dishes in luscious flavors, it’s no wonder that many guests look forward most to this phenomenal first hour of a wedding celebration!

We’ve collected ten ways to make your cocktail party stand out, incorporating some of the top trends in wedding catering and wowing your guests with amazing choices and presentations:

  1. COLOR. From vivid greens to bright oranges, yellows and reds, to fall menu purples and persimmon, fresh and healthy cocktail party menu options add a burst of color to your stations. It’s a far cry from those brown, fried hors d’oeuvres that guests have seen a million times at other weddings, enticing and appetizing in a colorful rainbow of hues.

Westminster Wedding cocktail party

2. Salad small plates. Light, healthy, crunchy salad dishes are a welcome sight at a wedding cocktail party, for those guests who prefer to eat farm-fresh fare. Plus, our chefs work magic with greens, veggies, toppings and dressings for your guests’ enjoyment of salad plates offered here at the cocktail party, rather than as a course during your wedding dinner.

Cocktail party at Westminster Weddings

3. Unique hand-passed hors d’oeuvres PLUS the classics. Wedding guests look for approaching servers bearing platters of hors d’oeuvres, and they’re delighted when the offerings go beyond ‘the usuals’ found at every other wedding. Ceviches, mini empanadas, and forkfuls of flavorful noodles give guests unique bites…and they also know that the trays of crunchy coconut shrimp and pigs in a blanket 9one of our specialties!) will also be coming around.

4. Food and drink pairings. Our Westminster Wedding chefs perfect the art of pairing cocktail party foods with complement drinks, like our Asian noodles with a shot of green tea for a refreshing duo of flavors. Getting back to our pigs in a blanket, add a mini mug of beer for a flavor combo that wows the crowd.

Cocktail party at Westminster Weddings

5. Food and soup pairings. Mini grilled cheese adored by guests get a flavorful pairing with mini shots of tomato soup, and you can personalize your soup shooter and bite menu with our chefs. For instance, a mini crab cake offered with a shooter of lobster or crab bisque.

Grilled cheese bites at Westminster Hotel's weddings6. Crostinis. They’re a top trend for wedding menus, a toasty slice of crusty bread topped with creamy and tasty layers, like our beef and black truffle oil spinach combination.

Small plates at Westminste Weddings7. Gluten-free options. GF wedding menu options are so plentiful at Westminster Weddings. Talk to our chef, and try some at your wedding menu tasting, to offer a wide range of GF wedding menu options for your guests.

8. Chef attendants at stations. They put on a show while preparing dishes, and they’ll also customize your wedding guests’ orders.

9. Gorgeous station setups. Each table can have towers and tiers of food for the taking, and upscale plates and serving bowls set out with plated food looking like colorful and textured, tasty works of art.

10. Wedding signs. Cleverly-worded and personalized signs set at each cocktail party station tell guests their menu options and personalization ideas. Add some humor to yours, or share a story about why you chose that particular station, such as it being a nod to your culture, or a dish inspired by your grandparent’s recipe.

We’d like to add a #11: give some extra thought to the kids’ food station, treating them to something more exciting than a kids’ wedding menu of chicken fingers and fries. Talk to our chef about kid-pleasing gourmet mini pizzas, spring rolls, sushi, crudités cut into kids-friendly shapes, and other dishes that parents and kids will be happy to see.

Wedding Menu Cards

Westminster Weddings are known for their sumptuous wedding cuisine, as our chefs from Strip House at the Westminster Hotel perfect your customized wedding menu. Guests arrive eager to dig into your cocktail party fare, and when they take their seats at the guest tables, they’ll be treated to a stylish menu card announcing your delectable wedding menu soon to be plated before them.

We’ve seen some gorgeous wedding menu cards at our wedding couples’ celebrations, so we’ve collected some of our favorite designs to inspire you as you design your own. Visit our Wedding Menu Card Pinterest page to see our top picks.

Newly-Engaged? Here is the NEW List of the Top 10 Wedding Planning To-Dos to Tackle First

BNCushion Cut Halo Diamond Engagement Ring in Platinum

Congratulations on your Engagement!

We know you can’t stop looking at that gorgeous engagement ring on your finger, and you’re immersed in a happy swirl of congratulations messages from all of your friends and family on your Instagram and Facebook; someone might even be planning your engagement party already! Enjoy all of this excitement right now as much as you can, because this is the ‘good stuff’ at the center of all weddings – celebrating with your loved ones.

And soon, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, you’ll start on your first wedding planning To-Dos, as you both take your first steps into wedding world, discovering an overwhelming amount of beautiful wedding Pinterest pins and wedding design inspirations, wedding gowns by the top wedding designers, top designer shoes for your big day, wedding cakes decorated to perfection and more. But before that swirl turns into wedding stress, we encourage you to make a step-by-step wedding to-do plan that tackles the essentials first, and then you can more confidently dive into all of those ultra-pretty personalized wedding details.

west white2

Here are the top 10 First Wedding Tasks to work on:

1. Decide on Your Wedding Season and Date Range

 

When everyone hears you’re engaged, the first question they’ll ask is ‘When is your wedding date,’ and you can’t plan anything else for your wedding until you know approximately when your wedding date will be. Will you be engaged and planning for six months? A year? More? Will you marry in springtime, summer, fall or winter? Right now, you’re just deciding on your wedding season and narrowing down your potential wedding dates until you can book your dream wedding venue

2. Decide on your Wedding’s Style

Will you have a classic, timeless ballroom wedding? Or an outdoor wedding ceremony with your reception in an elegantly-decorated ballroom? Is your wedding style modern, vintage, classic, romantic, rustic, blinged-out glam, Great Gatsby­-inspired, etc.

westminster purple5

3. Set your Budget

Decide on how much you and your families plan to contribute to your wedding budget, which will affect every other wedding planning task coming up. To help keep you on track, use one of the top online wedding budgeting tools available through the top wedding magazine websites, or through your wedding gift registry site.

4. Choose Your Bridal Party Members

To avoid any wedding stress and drama with your friends, who will be eager to know if you’ve chosen them, make your selections earlier. This cuts down on any friends’ speculation or putting you in an awkward position when they ask if they’ll be a bridesmaid. And asking friends and relatives to be in your bridal party now gives them lots of time to start saving money for their roles, your bridal shower, and perhaps their travel and wedding hotel lodging.

njbblogbatch15 SuperstarBridesmaidMon Cheri

5. Begin Registering For Wedding Gifts

Some friends and family are going to look for your wedding gift registry the moment they hear you’re engaged. Loved ones will want to send engagement gifts, so they seek your gift wishlists. Begin setting up your 2 – 3 wedding gift registries now, and adding gifts in a range of prices for your guests’ budgets. You can always add more choices later.

6. Create Your Wedding Guest List

In order to choose your dream wedding venue, you’ll need to know the size of your guest list. Know your dream wedding venue’s capacity to safely and comfortably fit your wedding guests into the wedding ballroom or in the gardens, and also to configure your wedding budget.

7. Choose and Book Your Wedding Venue

 

To book the best wedding venue in your area, and get the best prices, tackle this task as soon as possible, always after you have your wedding guest list and budget set to help you fine-tune your wedding vision. Sit down with your wedding venue’s in-house wedding coordinator, or with your own independent wedding coordinator, to discuss your plans for your wedding venue décor, as well as other details of your wedding celebration here at this spectacular wedding location!

west white

8. Start Researching Top-Quality Wedding Vendors

You want the best wedding experts on your team, so start researching the top NJ wedding vendors now, check out the New Jersey Bride Love It list (that we are proud to be included on for the third year in a row!), ask your recently married friends if they would recommend the wedding professionals they hired for their weddings or special celebrations, and ask your already-hired wedding pros if they have any thoughts about experts you’re considering (the NJ wedding expert community is well-known to one another – many are good friends!) Start booking your wedding experts now.

9. Plan Your Wellness and De-Stress Regimen

You know that all of the details and decisions involved in wedding planning will cause you some stress, and if you have any drama with friends or family, you might expect your wedding stress to double or triple, so plan now to begin a de-stress routine that works for you. You might sign up for a massage membership for monthly massages, budget for relaxing facials, book a wedding bootcamp or personal trainer for brides, or just start a gratitude journal to help keep your mindset in a positive place.

Breeze, a free app on iTunes, to motivate your exercise goals

Breeze, a free app on iTunes, to motivate your exercise goals

10. Insure Your Engagement Ring

Talk to your insurance representative about adding your valuable engagement ring to your homeowner’s, renter’s or other insurance policies to help protect you in case your ring is stolen, or research independent insurance companies that handle jewelry insurance to carefully select a policy for your rings and other valuables.

 

With these essentials tackled, and without rushing through them, you’re now ready to explore so many beautiful images of wedding details, and sit down with your chef, wedding planner and pastry chef to design the most impressive parts of your wedding celebration.

 

2016 Wedding Menu Trends

 

170_IMG_0093rev

142_IMG_9723rev

Westminster Weddings are famous for their amazing menus and foodie-favorite dishes, from our Strip House filet mignon, strip steaks and seafood to our crowd-pleasing cocktail party stations (including our signature pigs in a blanket!) We’re happy to see so many of the menu items that we’re known for included in the 2016 wedding menu trends lists:

  1. Stylish Suppers. 2016 wedding menus will return to classic dinner entrees, including perfectly-prepared filet mignon and chicken dishes, fish and seafood – which guests love expertly-prepared by chefs in ways they might not regularly make for themselves at home.
  2. Multicultural Menus. Wedding couples wish to honor their heritages, and wow their guests, with a thoughtful chef-created blending of their cultures’ traditional dishes. So we will see more Mediterranean, authentic Italian, Persian, and other cultural dishes included in the cocktail party station offerings and in the sit-down dinner menus themselves.
  3. Lighter, Fresher Fare. While some fried hors d’oeuvres will still remain on wedding cocktail party menus, a greater percentage of cocktail party menu items will be lighter, fresher, healthier bites that please guests who prefer to enjoy a great variety of garden-fresh foods and salads.

west food8 west food7 west food14. A Larger Variety of Cocktail Party Menu Items. Wedding couples want their guests to have many, many choices among the cocktail party offerings, so menu picks get more plentiful. After all, you’ll spot many delicious-sounding dishes on our menu, and you’ll also want to make sure that your wedding guests on specialty diets (like gluten-free and vegan) have plenty of menu options to enjoy. Creamy goat cheese and hummus with gourmet toppings are served in crunchy cones, as a unique twist.

west event2

5. Food and drink pairings. We’ve long offered our pigs in a blanket with mini mugs of high-quality beer, and a top wedding menu trend for 2016 will expand this trend to pair cocktail eats with cocktails, especially gin and bourbon pairings, with tequila rounding out the top three foodie-liquor pairings.

westminsterpigs6. Comfort sides. Black Truffle Creamed Spinach is one of our most popular side dishes, an example of the kind of creamy comfort food sides – like risotto, garlic mashed potatoes, and Truffle Mac & Cheese – that guests enjoy as  dinner side dishes.

Truffled Spinach

Truffled Spinach

7. Elegant food presentations. From seafood served on tiers, to elegantly-plated menu items, more attention will be paid to the presentation of cocktail party menu items as well as plated dinners. The days of rustic food presentation are ending, with more formal serving styles trending up in 2016.

8. Bacon, bacon, bacon. Wedding trends of 2016 are dialing down cheeses and dialing up bacon-accented dishes of all kinds, like bacon-topped potato sides, bacon-wrapped vegetables, even strips of crispy bacon as a drink garnish, and bacon-flavored ice cream or gelato.

9. Late-night snacks. Guests have come to expect a new round of food offerings later in the reception hours, and 2016 wedding menu trends include donuts, mini waffles, sliders, a warm cookie with a shot of milk or espresso, or simply French fries with gourmet dipping sauces.

10. Food-based favors. Giving wedding guests something tasty to take home, macarons, iced cookies, brownies, bottled sauces, spices and other foodie-centric item are 2016’s top wedding favor trend.

 

 

What NJ Wedding Couples Are Spending on Their Invitations (And a Response Card Trick to Eliminate Unwanted +1s!)

Beautiful wedding invitations are in-demand again, as the top wedding invitation trends call for more custom-designed monograms, high-quality papers, calligraphy, and a return to elegance in design.

As you’ll see here, NJ wedding couples are spending a little bit more each year on their wedding invitations, saving their budget-saving strategies for other areas of their wedding plans. Those lovely invitations are just too important to DIY!

west invitations

And we love this smart response card trick: to help prevent guests from writing in +1’s you haven’t given them, and to eliminate any confusion about how to let guests know if they’re kids aren’t invited to the wedding, YOU can write in the number of guests on each response card!

west invitation trick