Pleasantdale Chateau wedding

Staging the Perfect New Jersey Wedding

When it comes to your wedding day, it goes without saying that you want everything to be perfect. But getting everything right for the big day entails lots of planning and smart decision-making ahead of time. You need to devote plenty of time to staging both the wedding itself and the reception afterwards. The last thing you want is chaos ensuing because you didn’t take care of the details. If you live in or are planning to be married in New Jersey, check out our suggestions for choosing everything from the most picturesque wedding venue to the right photographer to the best band and more to help you celebrate this day in the best way possible.

Finding the Best Wedding Venue

 Lots of details figure into choosing the best venue to celebrate your marriage in New Jersey. If you live in the Northeast, the seasons will play a big part in what kind of venue you want. Remember, your venue basically sets the tone for the entire day, so you want to be sure your choice reflects your needs and your wishes perfectly. For this reason, you need to consider details such as space for guests, parking, and the right setting for pictures you want to look back on for years to come.

Do You Prefer Indoors or Outdoors?

As winter gives way to spring many couples will look for an outside wedding venue where they can make the most of the location with lots of wonderful picture opportunities. The sheer size of your guest list may dictate whether you need to go outside, especially with the threat of Covid still lingering. In New Jersey, there are plenty of wedding venues with great scenery that suits a variety of tastes.

Should the Wedding and Reception Be at the Same Location or Different Places?

There’s no question that it will be more convenient to host both the ceremony and reception at the same venue. Nevertheless, many couples still choose to have the two events in different spaces. Usually, this occurs when a couple wants to have their ceremony performed in a house of worship. Sometimes, however, couples have their ceremony in a courthouse or a park with the celebration to follow at a wedding reception venue.

What’s Your Style?

This question refers to the kind of wedding you envision. Are you looking for a luxury location where guests can enjoy an elegant setting with sweeping views of the New York City skyline? Or would you prefer your guests to relax in a more rustic setting where they can take in the outdoors without feeling too formal? Or maybe you’re looking for an even more casual beach type setting where you and your guests can soak in ocean views during the reception.

Visit Venues Before Deciding

Most importantly, be sure to check out the locations that make it to your shortlist. By visiting your preferred wedding venues in person, you can inspect the entire space and find out if it’s right for your nuptials. Some venues appear one way in photos but seem entirely in person. You’ll want to know if the space has all the amenities you need whether it’s sufficient parking, a nice indoor space for photos in case of rain, or the views you’ve been dreaming about.

Finding the Right Photographer

All the time you’ve spent finding the venue with the best views will be wasted if you don’t get the right wedding photographer in New Jersey to capture it all. Luckily, New Jersey has plenty of wedding photographers to suit whatever style you want for your wedding album. Since a wedding is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event, you need to find a photographer who can give you the feeling you want whether you’re interested in candid, traditional, group photography or close-up images.  

Traditional Photography

Traditional wedding photography tends to be a bit more formal and posed than other kinds of photos. It’s the kind most people are familiar with in which everything is staged for a specific look. The advantage is that it permits the photographer to arrange things visually, so everyone is giving their most flattering pose.

Unlike candid photos which may capture the couple from different angles or positions, newlyweds will be front and center in traditional shots. Essentially, traditional photography captures a wedding in a way that most people expect to see it.

Candid Photography

With candid photos, the feel is much more spontaneous than with traditional photos. Usually, a wedding photographer snaps these photos without staging the scene. Often, he or she will move throughout the event space to be there when people are taking part in wedding rituals. The best photographers get moments when people’s emotions are on full display.

Candid wedding photography works best when it catches people’s natural reactions. The beauty of it is that it captures people when they are unaware of being photographed. The result is that these photos tend to be more natural and have a much more realistic feel than posed shots.

When you find the style you’re looking for, think about how it will look on your wedding day. Are most of the photographer’s images wide shots with the couple in the distance? Or are a majority of the images more personal and close up? While you will get a feel for a photographer’s style from his or her website wedding gallery, figuring out what style a photographer specializes in will really help you imagine how your wedding photos will look.

Do They Have the Right Personality?

While you aren’t marrying the photographer, it makes a difference to get to know the person you hire to immortalize this day.  You will be working with them quite a bit over the next few months. If you’re going to trust them to help run your wedding day, you need to feel comfortable with them. You want to know that their personality meshes with yours and that they can command the attention of the people they need to photograph. Your photographer will probably spend more time with you and your new partner than anyone else on the big day, so make sure you like them.

Picking the Wedding Band

Music for a Summer Wedding garden

One of the most critical elements that can make or break any wedding is the music. Therefore, you need to think carefully about whether you want a rocking band to help your guests dance the night away or a smaller ensemble to play during dinner, or both.

On the other hand, you could opt for a wedding DJ to play the music of your choice. One of the advantages of hiring a DJ or band leader is that he or she can basically emcee the celebration and keep everything moving along.

How Do I Find the Right Band?

If you have your heart set on live music, the best way to start your search is through word-of-mouth referrals from friends. You can begin by asking around on social media. If you really liked the band at a friend’s wedding, find out their name and how you can reach them. Using your social network is one of the best ways to get reliable information about great wedding bands.

Check Out a Live Performance

Before you decide on your entertainment, check with the bands on your list to see if they have any live gigs in your area sometime soon. By seeing them live, you can gauge how they interact with the crowd and what kind of energy they bring to a room. If watching them live isn’t possible, ask for videos of recent performances. In any case, you need to do everything you can to figure out if a band’s style fits with what you have in mind.

Ask for a Set List

Requesting a set list ahead of time from bands is a good way to find out how they pace an event. A good setlist will follow the energy of the evening. For instance, the first set usually happens during dinner, so the music should go along with that vibe. After the plates are cleared away, the band should take things up a notch with classics that will get your guests onto the dance floor. During the last hour (typically the third set), the band should be ready to go to another level now that the young kids and the older generation have gone home.

After you have looked online, checked out referrals from friends, and hopefully have seen a few live performances, you will have enough information to make your selection. Go with your instincts, especially if you really liked them in person. If you do, it’s a good bet that your guests will be dancing and having a terrific time at your wedding.

Putting together the wedding of your dreams involves quite a few moving parts. From the venue to the photographer to the band, you will have your work cut out for you. Nevertheless, if you take your time, do your research, and plan adequately, you will be able to take advantage of everything New Jersey has to offer to make your wedding one of the most romantic and memorable days of your entire life.

Top Songs for a First Dance

Songs for a First Dance“A kiss for luck and we’re on our way.” The music you choose for first dances at your wedding is nearly as important as the wedding itself.  Each and every one of these songs should reflect and convey the feelings felt by those performing those dances. The first time the newly married couple steps out onto the floor to dance has the power to bring even the most unaffected guest to complete emotional turnaround, and it depends largely on the song that’s chosen. The father/daughter dance, the mother/son dance, any and all of these first dances can be the quintessential emotional backdrop for your wedding … if you’ve chosen the songs carefully. But how do you choose? With the literally billions of songs that have been written and performed over the years, which do you choose for you, your betrothed, Mom, Dad, guests that will properly, accurately, and above all, beautifully reflect the many deep and sincere feelings that are going on in this one day? Top wedding performers in New Jersey can help.
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Tips for Planning a Wedding

Tips for Planning a Wedding“Good plans shape good decisions. That’s why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true.” Funny—this very wise statement wasn’t made concerning planning a wedding, but seriously, can you think of better advice for it, or a better subject this person could have been talking about? Planning a wedding, well, it’s not for the faint of heart. Though it may seem like a perfectly lovely way to spend your time, the truth is it can be one of the most stressful things you’ll ever do. You should be enjoying the planning stage of your wedding, but it may not be going so smoothly. From working out the budget to locating a venue to finding a top wedding performer, here are some valuable tips on planning a wedding that will help you get back to the important part of yours … the love you feel for your betrothed and your future together.
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How to Choose a Wedding Band

Choose a Wedding BandGuest list—check. Venue—check. Bridal gown—check. Food—check. In planning your wedding, you’ve been marking next to each item on your checklist, slowly, surely—and in some cases, painstakingly—nailing down each and every choice. And now? You’re finally down to the fun part—choosing the wedding band! Okay, choosing a band—or anything else—for your wedding isn’t easy. But your journey to the right band for your wedding most assuredly is one of the most enjoyable parts of planning your wedding. After all, you get to listen to a lot of great music performed by wedding performers in PA and NJ. Bet you can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon, particularly when you’re endeavoring to create the most important day of your life. But now that it’s time to choose a wedding band, how do you go about doing it? Here are some tips from the best wedding bands in New Jersey and throughout the country on how to choose a wedding band.
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Best Music for a Summer Wedding

Music for a Summer WeddingSummer breeze makes you feel fine … and so does a summer wedding. No other season of the year lends itself more pleasantly or appropriately to stepping up and taking those all-important vows than summer. The beautiful sunny horizons, the brilliant and billowy flowers, the sparkling teal grass, and the crisp, warm air—it all culminates into the ultimate backdrop for your ultimate day. And choosing the music for your summer wedding is one of the funnest aspects of planning your nuptials. Though never an easy task, determining the musical atmosphere of your wedding is an important decision the two of you must make together. But it doesn’t have to cause friction between you and your betrothed. Top wedding performers in New Jersey and throughout the country offer the following helpful tips on the best music for your summer wedding.
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Types of Wedding Music

Types of Wedding Music“Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness.” American jurist and poet Oliver Wendell Holmes was the one who said it. Of course, with your nuptials just around the corner, it’s a sentiment you’ve discovered as well, isn’t it? You’ve found the key, and the gates have been flung wide open, and now that you’re facing the crossroads of the rest of your life with the one you love, it’s time to get down to business and plan the wedding. Your checklist includes all the important things—venue, bridal gown, groomsmen’s tuxedos, floral arrangements, and of course, wedding music. The truth about choosing wedding music is that more couples find this to be the most difficult aspect of planning a wedding than any other. After all, when it comes to music, you surely can’t please everyone. You may even find it hard to come to a mutual agreement about your wedding music between the two of you. Thankfully, there is information you can learn about the different types of wedding music that can assist in nailing down your choices. Here are some tips from top wedding performers in New Jersey that can help.
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Wedding Music Trends for 2017

The music you choose for your wedding is one of the most important aspects of the entire event. For, without music, your wedding is like a romantic movie that has no scenery. The backdrop for that film is nearly as important as the actors, the words they speak, the passion they convey. And so it is for the music you choose for your ceremony as well as your reception. Music will be the atmosphere, the essence that communicates the love you feel for each other. The problem many couples find, however, is that choosing the right music often becomes a dilemma of, shall we say, too many choices? There’s so much wonderful, passionate, and romantic music in the world, how do you determine which is the right style for your nuptials? Perhaps looking to the latest trends will help. Top wedding performers in New Jersey have compiled the following information about wedding music trends for 2017 in order to assist you and your intended in choosing the ideal musical scenery for your wedding.
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The Real History Behind Waverly Hills Sanitarium

Considered one of the most haunted abandoned buildings in America, the Waverly Hills Sanitarium is a site that needs to be recognized for its almost mythical status. Stories and speculation about its past outpace awareness of the real history behind this abandoned building.

The sanitarium is located in Louisville County, Kentucky and was opened in 1910. The hospital gained notoriety after opening its doors to a wave of tuberculosis patients in the county. The sanitarium was built to accommodate these diseased population, the location being ideal since it was a few miles away from the nearest residence.

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Around 40 people were relocated to the two open air pavilions on August 1912, and scores of patients were brought in over the next few years. Around 1924, the hospital was filled to capacity and could no longer admit new patients. Administrators and local officials decided to erect a new building to treat more advanced cases of tuberculosis.

To cut costs, however, the original buildings were used. Eventually, the hospital closed down as more effective medicines to treat tuberculosis became accessible. As the number of patients dwindled, the tuberculosis hospital became an elderly care center. The building was again shut down in 1981.

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There have been many attempts to sell the property, although there has never been a purchase. This is because of the many ghost sightings and scary stories plaguing Waverly Hills. It is said that the countless number of people who died in the hospital roamed the complex as vengeful spirits.

Whatever the reason though, it is still as site worth visiting should tourists find themselves in Kentucky.

Vince Pettinelli Phillipsburg, NJ likes studying and researching about the many abandoned structures in America. Read similar articles by following this blog.


Ken Brader’s “Holiday Brass” set to perform in December!

Ah, Yes, October!  The leaves are changing and the smell of Fall is in the air.  As the chill of autumn replaces the warm Summer heat, the landscape is beautiful and picturesque.  However, faintly heard in the distance is the sound of the Christmas season approaching as Christmas Day is only a little more than 2 months away.  For over 30 years the Holiday has been met with a performance by Ken Brader’s “The Holiday Brass”.  It was always said that the holiday season wasn’t official until the Holiday Brass performed. Well, it gives us great pleasure to announce that once again, Ken Brader’s “Holiday Brass” will be performing on Thursday, December 22, 2016 at 7:15pm and 8:15pm at the Outlets at the Sands in Bethlehem, Pa. The ensemble is excited once again to fill the mall with the sounds of the holiday season.



The Holiday Brass was formed many years ago by trumpeter Ken Brader, who wanted to give his students an opportunity to perform together in a brass ensemble. As the years went on and Ken began teaching more students, the Holiday Brass grew.  The group has grown to 50 members! What a glorious sound it is to hear that many trumpets, trombones, flugel horns, baritones, French horns and tubas all in place playing together. The sound is so unique because the music, which was arranged by Ken, truly is inspiring and a joy to behold.


Ken is a graduate of Easton Area High School and the famed Eastman School of Music.  He played lead trumpet for the Glenn Miller Orchestra among many other musical groups as well as the Principal Trumpeter of the Philly Pops directed by Peter Nero.  Unfortunately, Ken was diagnosed with Diabetes in 2012 which affected his feet and caused a significant loss of vision.  He then had a heart attack which required open-heart surgery and suffered a partial leg amputation due to the diabetes.  It was a most difficult time for him.  However, through a lot of hard work, prayer and rehabilitation, Ken now has a prosthetic leg and is beginning to walk again. This has rallied everyone around him and really makes every performance we have so special. He is doing the best he can and we are looking forward to another edition of the Holiday Brass.


The Outlets at the Sands is connected to the Sands Casino in Bethlehem. However, it has its own parking area and you can enter directly into the mall without having to walk all the way through the casino. Check out their website here:


With the upper floor of the mall overlooking down to where the Holiday Brass performs, it is not only an awesome site to see, but wonderful to hear.  If you would like more information or details on the Holiday Brass, please contact Vince Pettinelli and or call 908-619-4502.



The Most Spectacular Abandoned Places In The World

The world is filled with many magnificent structures left abandoned, allowing nature to reclaim them. These places are filled with a haunting beauty that attracts photographers and adventurers from all corners of the globe, as well as a strange sadness that follows visitors for a lifetime. Here are some of the most spectacular abandoned places on Earth.

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Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA, housed many vicious criminals from 1829 to 1971. It was one of the first modern prisons and has now become a top tourist attraction and a haunted Halloween destination. Its wagon wheel structure has since become the ideal shape of penitentiaries everywhere. One of its famous inmates was Al Capone.

Red Sands Sea Forts

Looking more like giant props in an abandoned “Star Wars” set, the rusting forts on stilts were designed to provide the River Thames protection during World War II.

Hashima Island

There used to be more than 5,000 people that called Hashima Island their home. They were mostly coal miners. But with the rise of petrol as fuel in Japan, the island was abandoned.

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During the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986, the small city of Pripyat caught the brunt of the unleashed radiation. Almost 50,000 people abandoned their homes. Pripyat today is more than just a reminder of the danger of nuclear energy. It is also a death trap, rendered uninhabitable due to high radiation levels. It will continue to be a desolate spot on the map for centuries to come.

Discover more about famous abandoned structures in the world by following this Vince Pettinelli Facebook page.