Posted on Thursday, January 31, 2013 by Cindy Williams
Posted Under: Wedding Dresses

What’s the hottest wedding dress trend for 2013?? Appliqué dresses!! Never again will a bride have to decide between lace and beading! The more bling, the better! These dresses are intricately designed to incorporate various design elements giving your wedding gown depth, texture, and personality! Celebrity brides hopped on the appliqué train right away! Pictured below is Mario Lopez’ beau, Courtney Mazza, in her stunning Ines DiSanto wedding gown this past December featuring lace off-the-shoulder sleeves and intricate silver beading. So, Westwood Brides, when you’re out shopping for your dream wedding gown, don’t be afraid to mix and match design elements! Lace is a timelessly romantic addition to any gown, and a little bit of beading or bedazzling will be sure to wow your guests and most of all, your hubby to be!!


Posted on Monday, January 28, 2013 by Cindy Williams
Posted Under: Weddings

Congratulations! You’re engaged! Now the planning begins! The bride and groom of course should plan pretty much most of the Wedding, but what does the maid of honor need to do? Plan the bridal shower! Leave the planning to your right hand woman, because this is a rare opportunity for the bride to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends.


Traditionally, a bridal shower is an all female event, but it can be co-ed as well depending on the bride’s preferences (siblings, close friends, etc). Not only an opportunity for family and friends to get together to celebrate this special event in the bride’s life, the shower serves as an opportunity for the bride to receive gifts that will help her and the groom start their married life together. The bride and groom would register themselves at certain stores and put together a collective wish list for invited guests of the shower and wedding to shop at. This ensures that the bride and groom receive essential items for starting their new life together (and makes it easier to shop for them! What color or thread count sheets do they need anyway??!)


Once you know where the engaged couple is registered, it’s time to plan a date and compile a guest list. A surprise shower would be ideal, but this is difficult to do without asking the bride-to-be what her specific availability is. Try to recruit help for this if you can. Perhaps even the fiancé can assist you in this task, as he might be able to think of better reasons or excuses to want to know certain dates and times in which his or her partner would be free. As previously mentioned, showers are typically a social gathering among women, but again, this decision can be made at the couple’s discretion. It is common for the fiancé to at least make an appearance, as he will be the recipient of these shower gifts as well. It is courteous for the fiancé to be present at least towards the end of the shower to thank the guests for their gifts and to show his appreciation. When compiling a guest list, try to narrow down the bride and groom’s guest list for the wedding to the most important or closest family members and friends (someone’s cousin twice removed does not necessarily need to be invited to the shower just because he or she has been invited to the reception). A guest list is critical to planning your budget, so try to keep the numbers relatively small. When deciding on the budget, the maid of honor should consider asking the brides maids to chip in. Sometimes the parents of the engaged couple may offer to cover certain costs as well, so don’t be afraid to ask when you begin the planning process. They also may have preferences in terms of location, venue, and dates, so it is important to take their input into consideration. Once the venue is picked and the date is set, the invitations should be sent out 4 – 6 weeks prior to the date of the shower. This will allow you enough time to receive a response from your guests and plan accordingly with your numbers.


Some venues you may want to consider are restaurants that offer private dining rooms that can be rented for special occasions or larger parties. Typically the most common set-up for showers is buffet style, which allows a wider selection of food for your guests and a larger window of time for them to pick at food since it is left out for up to two hours at most venues. Many showers are scheduled in the early afternoon, so brunch seems to be the most common when selecting menus or packages. Combinations of waffles, hash browns, omelet stations, and chicken and pasta dishes are typical. Another common feature is mimosa fountains or pitchers of sangria at the guests’ tables. Some venues include a sheet cake with their shower packages (be sure to ask!!) but many parties prefer custom cakes for bridal and even baby showers to personalize the event just a little bit more!


Showers can range anywhere from 2 to 4 hours long. Remember, if the shower is a surprise, you need adequate time for your guests to arrive before the bride-to-be! Even the late ones! If the shower is scheduled from 12 noon to four o’clock in the afternoon, invite your guests for 12:00, but don’t arrange for the bride to arrive until at least one o’clock. An hour should be enough time for all your guests to arrive and not compromise the element of surprise for your bride-to-be! The maid of honor along with the bridal party should also make sure that the venue is nicely decorated, that place settings are done, and that there is a good amount of games and entertainment for the guests. Consider the number of people attending and try to anticipate how long it may take the bride-to-be to open her gifts. Do you want her opening them all at once (towards the end of the shower) or do you want to break it up with a game or two in between gift-opening sessions? These decisions can be made by the bridal party and maid of honor once you have a better idea of how many guests you are expecting. When discussing what games to include in the shower festivities, try to make sure they are appropriate for all those in attendance. You don’t want to frighten poor grandma with any risqué jokes or humor! Reflect on any past showers you’ve attended and ask fellow bridesmaids or family members for input as well. The internet is also a great source of ideas for everything from invitations, favors, decorations, and games!


This is a very special time for the bride to take just one day out of her Wedding planning and relax with her loved ones in a very happy environment, stress-free!

Posted on Monday, January 28, 2013 by Cindy Williams
Posted Under: Weddings


Spring WeddingsWith spring just around the corner, wedding season is quickly approaching! A spring theme is perfect for this time of year with so many options for color schemes, reception décor, favor ideas, and floral arrangements!


Pastel colors are absolutely perfect for this time of year from blue, purple, and pinks, to shades of white and yellow. These colors are perfect to recreate a happy outdoor garden setting, even if your wedding is indoors!

When planning your wedding, consider what flowers are in season. During the spring, amaryllis, anemones, lilies, cherry blossoms, dahlias, forsythias, gardenias, orchids and tulips are just a few of the most popular seasonal blossoms for floral décor. Daises are also a great addition to bouquets or floral arrangements and can provide a great spring accent for table settings, place cards, centerpieces, and even on the wedding cake itself!

To bring out the Easter spirit in a Spring Wedding, cute centerpieces can be made incorporating Easter elements such as brightly colored eggs, baskets, bright green grass-like décor, and bright wild flowers as well. Brightly colored eggs would look beautiful and elegant if stacked in a tall, clear vase on the center of each table, and perhaps flower petals around the base of each one for an added spring feel.

No matter what the bride and groom decide to do, any of these ideas can bring out the joy of the spring season with beautiful color schemes, endless floral décor possibilities, and springtime decorations in the atmosphere!


Posted on Monday, January 28, 2013 by Cindy Williams
Posted Under: Weddings

Wedding Pictures and Videos

Capturing your Wedding Day with photography and videography is the perfect way to remember every detail of the bride and groom's special day! Choosing the right photographer may seem cumbersome and overwhelming, but here are some suggestions for finding the best one to expertly capture your special day.


Start searching immediately.
The best photographers book their schedules roughly one year in advance. A good starting point would be to ask your coordinator at the venue where your reception is booked if they have a suggested or preferred vendors list. Friends and family can also provide some great recommendations based on their experiences with photographers and videographers as well, or may be able to suggest friends or family members experienced in photography and videography who would be able to cover your special wedding day.

Look at wedding photo samples to get a feel of the photographer's work.
Once you have a list of potentials companies to hire for your wedding, consider meeting with them in person to discuss their rates and review their portfolios. Remember, you are not just getting pictures that will be posted online; you may be interested in prints or albums, so it is important to see the quality of the products you will be getting for the price you’ll be paying. Also bear in mind that it is a good idea to look at a completed photo album from start to finish in order to get a sense of the photographer's time sequence and quality.

Prioritize your package needs and consider your budget.
Photography and videography can be a big ticket item on your budget if it’s a priority for the wedding couple. Packages can be expensive, but be sure to consider what items you definitely want included in remembering your day, and what parts of the day you definitely want covered. Consider the length of your ceremony and reception, and whether or not you want photos or video from the pre-wedding fun and excitement. The average wedding package is 4 – 6 hours for the reception alone, plus the length of the ceremony adds at least another hour. Already you’re looking at a 7-8 hour length of time to book the photographer for. It is common for couples to get at least one wedding album of photographs outlining the day from getting ready with the bridal parties to the married couple leaving the reception together. In the digital era we’re currently in, many couples prefer CDs with all the pictures on it to post online or email to friends and family. The benefit of asking for a disk to be included with the package is that you can also order reprints of certain pictures upon reviewing them with your partner, friends, and family, and receiving feedback about what pictures (if any) they would like to have from your special day. Videography can also be an expensive add-on to your photography package, so if you can, try to bundle the packages together with your photographer. For the videography, still consider the length of time you may need to book the professional for, and whether or not you want video taken of the bridal party getting ready prior to the ceremony. Also consider what items you would like included in our videography package and what matters most to you (i.e. do you want a full length, unedited video or do you prefer a feature –length collection of highlights throughout the day?).

Photography is vital in capturing and preserving the essence of your wedding day. It is a great way to capture all the fun and excitement of your special day and to preserve the happiest memories for every bride and groom to savor by looking back at beautiful photos!


Posted on Monday, January 07, 2013 by Cindy Williams
Posted Under: Weddings


Your special day is bound to be a whirlwind of excitement and by the end of the night you’ll feel like the past few hours took place in mere minutes! Put your photographer to work to make sure you preserve the very best memories of your wedding day! Here are some absolute must have pictures to capture your special day from start to finish!! (Be sure to pass this along to your photographer!)

Every girl loves getting ready for a big night, especially when it’s her wedding!! Have some fun with your bridal party and capture some great photo keepsakes while you’re getting your hair and make-up done. Above are some samples that we absolutely love!


Here is a super-cute idea to keep in mind the day of your wedding. Have someone take this picture of your bridesmaids on their phone to send to the groom minutes before the ceremony starts. It’s a fun way to heighten the anticipation, not to mention a cute memory to preserve of your wedding day!


This next image tops our list for a must-have wedding picture. It is a moment sometimes overlooked by the guests, but one of the most important to the bride. You’ll need multiple photographers to capture this extra special memory. Have one focused on the bride to capture a shot of her and her father as they enter the ceremony and begin her walk down the aisle. Have another photographer focused on the groom to capture the expression on his face and the emotion the very first time he sees his bride. You’ll be glad you did.



The most widely anticipated moment of the night is the first kiss between the new husband and wife. Here is a fresh new perspective to capture this important milestone.


Have your photographers stand behind the altar in order to get your guests in the picture. It’s a great angle to capture the memory and remember who was there to share this very special moment of your wedding day. The perfect first kiss picture!


When you get a chance to sneak away with the bridal party for pictures, consider this idea. Have each member of the bridal party hold up one letter to spell out a message to your guests. This is a great idea for thank you cards that are personalized and will help preserve the memory of your special day weeks after it has already taken place. Refresh your guests’ memories and let them relive the festivities by sending out a thank you card with a photo like this one!


These are just a few fun suggestions for pictures to try and get on your special day. Looking through your wedding album days, months, even years down the line will bring a smile to your face, especially if you see these extra special memories captured on paper.


Posted on Monday, January 07, 2013 by Cindy Williams
Posted Under: Weddings

Everyone knows the wedding day is all about the bride, but what about the maid of honor? As your right hand woman, your maid of honor will be responsible for a good amount of the planning for your big day. Traditionally, she would be the organizer of your bridal shower, the planner of your and bachelorette party, and one of the first to toast to you and your husband as a married couple. She is the closest female to the bride, therefore investing a lot of trust and responsibility in her to make your special wedding day everything you could dream of. Over the past 50 years, The Westwood has witnessed many beautiful maid of honor toasts, as well as personal touches such as cakes, favors, and even centerpieces created by maids of honor for their best friend, the bride. While it is a gratifying title to be given, being a maid of honor comes with a lot of responsibility! The Westwood offers the following tips for our Westwood maids of honor and brides to be.

First, we start at the beginning with save the dates and invitations. The maid of honor can assist in building and maintaining the guest list for the newly engaged couple while the bride tends to bigger necessities such as reception sites, entertainment options, and themes or color schemes. Managing the guest list is a simple way to take a lot of stress off the bride to be, while freeing up some of her time and effort. 
Another way your maid of honor can assist you is by attending appointments with vendors. It is very common for new couples to both be full time workers, which can make it difficult to arrange meetings with vendors. Who better to tag along for an appointment your hubby to be can’t make it to then your maid of honor? It could actually be more productive! Have you ever tried asking a man his opinion on anything design oriented??? Girls could have a lot more fun with the creative aspect of the weddings while the hubby is off at work. It’s also a great opportunity for some girl time, which is key to relieving any bridal stress!
The maid of honor is often the unsung hero of many weddings, but she plays a crucial role in the planning, organizing, and day of production of the entire wedding day! Here at The Westwood, we love seeing the dynamic between our Westwood brides and their bridal party, particularly the main of honor. It is very touching and certainly speaks volumes about the importance of having girlfriends you can count on!
Posted on Wednesday, January 02, 2013 by Cindy Williams
Posted Under: Weddings

What comes to mind when you think of a “classic” wedding? The white wedding dress? Pastel color schemes? The tiered wedding cake? Vintage pearls? Floral centerpieces? A classic wedding style can be simple and elegant! Whatever your idea of a classic wedding is, The Westwood is the perfect reception site to tailor your wedding day to meet all your dreams and expectations! Tradition is deep-rooted here at the family owned and operated banquet facility as it has been for 50 years now.  With our full service catering and in-house floral department, we can customize your Westwood Wedding from the menu to the room set up and over-all aesthetics!

If your idea of classic is vintage, key pieces for your reception could be ornate accessories adorned with broaches or pearls, rustic wooden centerpieces, birdcage centerpieces or cardholders, vintage lamp centerpieces, China tea cups, and ornate cakes stands or silver dishes. A classic wedding theme could also incorporate a black and white color scheme. Black and white is a clean, sophisticated color scheme that stays true to tradition. Your classic wedding reception could also incorporate a lot of lace or burlap pieces, a combination that is trending as well such as table runners or centerpiece materials. Tiered wedding cakes are a common image conjured up by brides to be, but why not add a modern twist to this classic wedding staple by including a tier of cupcakes or mini-cakes? It offers your guests a variety and shows off your creativity and trendiness while maintaining a sense of tradition.

No matter what your idea of classic is, our team at The Westwood is full of creative ideas to bring your dream wedding vision to life!

The Westwood - 438 North Avenue, Garwood, NJ 07027 | Telephone: (908) 789-0808 | Fax: (908) 789-0730

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Images courtesy of: Absolute Entertainment, Black Lab Studio, Cheuk Tang Photographer, Patty�s Video & Photography, PM Studios of Edison NJ and Sharon�s Wedding Art.