Pleasantdale Chateau, West Orange NJ

The Pleasantdale Chateau, West Orange NJ

If you had no budget and you lived in the NY/NJ area, one of the very finest places you could be married at would be the Pleasantdale Chateau.  The grounds are remarkable and as a photographer you could easily exhaust a full 3-5 hours on shots around the property just for a photo session alone.  Of course no one has that much time, that much patience and certainly not on a day like today when it was 95F and very humid.  Even in the winter, even if its raining, you will never have a better place to get photos.   The indoor pool alone has so many beautiful combinations.  In fact, the movie “Cocoon” was shot there as well as many other popular shows like Law & Order, The Sopranos, and features on the Food Network.

If you are a traditional couple and want to get married in a church or synagogue, this might not be the place for you, because again, there is so much property secluded from the main road (both by a long entrance way and with all the trees), that you would want to take full advantage of it.

Built in the 1900s, It looks more like a castle than anything else.  Off the top of my head I can think of at least a dozen fantastic scenic spots (indoors and out) for photos.  It has a rich history and the artifacts inside and out to reflect this.

What is even better, is this is easy to get to from all major road and highways, from the Garden State Parkway, to Routes 10, 23, 280 & 46 and probably a few others I cannot think of, it even runs parallel to Bloomfield Avenue in Essex County.

Now, the best part.  The food.  Your guests will never dine on better food.  I know I can get in trouble for saying that because I work weddings at many major catering halls.  And many have very fine food, but I think even the others will agree the Pleasantdale has some great food.  For example, at cocktail hour alone:  Mini osso-bucco, better than I can cook it and better than I have every had in any restaurant (Italy does not count); Crawfish risotto is sinful, so buttery and loaded with crawfish; the Asian station provides some very tasty meat and vegetable dumplings; but my favorite in this case was the raw bar — some of the freshest oysters I have ever had, cold shrimp cocktail which did not taste like chlorine or were over cooked, over frozen or even “leftover” from the previous wedding, and of course, who does not love crab claws already shelled for you?  There were so many other spreads and stations, but those for me where the best that differ from most catering halls.  Never have I seen crawfish risotto or mini ossobucco.  Nanina’s in the Park has some great risotto, probably the best anywhere, and to put that up against the crawfish risotto would be interesting, but NEVER have I seen mini ossobucco.  If you have the budget, you will also see real caviar served at the Pleasantdale.  Sure, they have all the cheeses, fruits, cold grilled vegetables, and all the other things you see at wedding cocktail hour like fried calamari and passed hors d’ouvres, but even with the cocktails they get creative:  Watermelon Martinis with slices of watermelon, Blackberry Mojitos, Sunset Martinis, and the list goes on.

As with any catering hall, professionalism isn’t always a given, but here, it is guaranteed.  Even the matre’d has a backup with a walkie talkie (to make it official).  But all joking aside, they staff is professional, courteous, polite and even treat the vendors (like photographers, bands, DJs, etc) with respect as long as they respect the house rules.

There are more indoor rooms than you can imagine, the library, the bridal suite, the pool, the botanical garden, the stairway from the bridal suite to the downstairs, 3 different gardens (at least)… but take a look for yourself:  www.pleasantdale.com – enjoy!

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