Frank and I drove over 225 miles up and down the state of NJ looking at wedding venues over the past few weekend. We are looking to do a March 2012 wedding. My busy season at work is April and May so we figure that by doing early March; we can have the wedding and go on a honeymoon before my crazy season begins.
We weren’t really sure about what kind of place we wanted to hold the wedding. We both have very large families and are blessed to have so many wonderful friends so we know the wedding is going to be big. We wanted the venue to be elegant and fun. I made a list of questions to ask such as: How many people can the venue hold? How many events would be going on that night? What is included in the price? Any plans to renovate or do construction around the time of the wedding? What hotels are nearby? Plus many more.
We visited a total of 7 different locations:
Nicotra’s Ballroom (located in the Staten Island Hilton)
This was the first place we visited right down the road in Staten Island. Frank and I have both been to weddings and events there and knew it would be a great time for all our guests. We loved the space and the fact that our guests could stay right where the event was being held.
Bridgewater Manor (Bridgewater, NJ)
It was beautiful and had lots of different wedding packages. The staff was super friendly. Our only concern was that the ballroom could hold a total of 220 and we were nervous that it may get too crowded in the room. Our family and friends LOVE to dance so we wanted to make sure we had a big dance floor.
Bridgewater Marriott (Bridgewater, NJ)
The second place was the Bridgewater Marriott. We decided it wasn’t our favorite for a wedding (although if you book a wedding with them, you get a free cake from Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, you know, Cake Boss!) Their rooms were really nice though and we would definitely use them for our many out of town guests if we book at the Bridgewater Manor.
Woodlake Country Club (Lakewood, NJ)
When we pulled up to the Woodlake Country Club, Frank and I looked at each other and laughed. I had totally blanked and realized that we had been to two fundraisers at this location in the past. The venue was nice, food decent and people very friendly. We just knew it wasn’t the atmosphere we were looking for.
The Royal Manor (Garfield, NJ)
When you pulled into the parking lot of this venue, it was like you were in a different world. The entrance was beautiful and the staff was super friendly. We loved a lot of things about this place and were especially excited because we would be the only event happening at that time (since we have such a large group).
The Venetian (Garfield, NJ)
We weren’t originally going to look here but drove by and figured “what the heck”. They were very nice and the place was beautiful. Unfortunately, there was an event going on in the ballroom so we couldn’t see it. It wasn’t really our style or what we wanted but was still nice.
The Imperia (Somerset, NJ)
I work right down the street from this location so I figured I would run and take a look at lunch one day. It was pretty and comparable to other venues but we thought we could get more “bang for our buck” somewhere else.
After asking questions, taking notes and making pro/cons lists we narrowed are list to our top two venues and are hopefully making a decision in the next few weeks. (Side note: any one that knows me knows I LOVE making lists. I would make lists all day if I could. Frank thinks I’m crazy sometimes when I make our weekend “to do” lists the actually have “see grocery list attached” on the master list!)