The latest update for The Most Unique Wedding Venues in New Jersey is written by Lindsay Podolak.
Congratulations, you’re engaged! You’ve told your friends and families, and the world (via Instagram). But now comes the (other) big question: Where are you going to have your wedding? Will you go the traditional route and book one of the Garden State’s many beautiful wedding venues? Or would you rather get creative at one of the state’s most unique wedding venues?
If not, New Jersey couples seeking a unique wedding venue others might not think of have plenty of surprisingly delightful options.
In fact, the state is so full of hidden gems, we’ve put together a feature dedicated entirely to the most unique wedding venues!
Wedding photo opportunities abound with rows and rows of vines, wine barrels and gorgeous bars…all of which make wineries a chic choice for a reception.
New Jersey is no slacker when it comes to the wine scene, with just over 50 wineries now open throughout the state. Laurita Winery in New Egypt has scenic views and an on-site bed and breakfast for the bridal party and guests.
Ringoes’ Unionville Vineyards offers the Intimate Wedding Package for events with up to 60 guests or the Full Wedding Package for up to 175 guests. Both packages take place on the 88 acres of farmland and utilize the property’s Cave Room and Winery Floor.
Why I like it: Wineries give off a chic, sophisticated vibe for your event. Many of them also offer a handful of rooms to choose from. Think cocktail hour in the cellar, then dinner in the main tasting room.
Speaking of wineries…maybe you’re more of a beer lover? New Jersey is full of craft breweries and a portion of them can even accommodate a smaller wedding. Trap Rock Restaurant and Brewery in Berkeley Heights can host a party of up to 50 people in its Garden Room. But this is more than just a beer joint; Trap Rock is known for its delicious menu items as much as for its handcrafted ales and lagers.
Iron Hill Brewery in Maple Shade also has room for 55 for a sit-down dinner, while a larger group can do a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception, all while sampling the brewery’s beers and touring the facility.
Why I like it: If you’re searching for a spot to have a more casual, fun event, a brewery is hard to beat. Cheers!
Your Alma Mater
For college sweethearts, returning to the scene of their first meeting is a popular choice for a wedding ceremony. Rutgers University offers you the chance to wed outside in one of the Rutgers Gardens, then move to the Log Cabin and Alumni Pavilion for your reception. In fact, you don’t even need to be an alumni to have your wedding here!
Princeton University’s Palmer House and Prospect House are also available to faculty, staff, alumni and graduate students for special events. Your ceremony will take place on the gorgeous grounds of these historic mansions, with stunning gardens as a backdrop.
Why I like it: What better way to get your old college buddies to attend your wedding than having it at your alma mater? It’s a homecoming plus celebratory visit in one trip!
The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City is a fun, quirky choice of venue. Take your vows under the second largest Hoberman sphere in the world as it expands and contracts. Meanwhile, you can rent the entire museum out, so your guests can enjoy the interactive exhibits. They can also enjoy views of Liberty State Park and New York City from the fourth floor Observation Tower; which is the glass pyramid atop the Center’s 170-foot tower.
Another funky choice for a unique wedding venue is Adventure Aquarium, on the Camden waterfront just across from Philadelphia. The aquarium offers two distinct ballrooms, the Currents Ballroom and the Ocean Realm Gallery; of course, both allow your guests to wine, dine, and dance the night away in front of colorful sea creatures.
Otherwise, have you ever thought about having your wedding at a sports arena? The Prudential Center in Newark has spaces such as the Platinum Lounge, Club Lounge East and Club Lounge West, as well as one simply known as The Restaurant. Each space can accommodate as many as several hundred people. When booking a wedding at the Prudential Center, guests can enjoy views of the NYC skyline and downtown Newark.
Why I like it: Even non-committal guys would jump through hoops to have their wedding at a sporting arena. (Assuming they are Devils fans, of course!)
Who says a room with a view has to be exorbitantly expensive? Not the Garden State! Waterside Restaurant and Catering in Edgewater is a space many couples don’t consider; most think it is just a restaurant, but they do weddings there, too. It is more affordable than a traditional venue and offers skyline views.
You can also celebrate your marriage on the water at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City on the Hudson. The hotel’s wedding consultants will help you plan every detail, from the rehearsal dinner to the reception and everything in between. Since the venue is a hotel, there’s no need to secure lodging for your guests; in fact, they can just walk upstairs to their rooms at the end of the night!
Why I like it: Having a venue that provides its own food leaves you with one less detail to worry about, and both Waterside and the Hyatt Regency offer that option. At Waterside, for instance, you can choose between the Grand Cocktail or the Premium Wedding packages for your event.
The Great Outdoors
We aren’t called the Garden State for nothing! Why not take advantage of one of New Jersey’s many parks and say your “I dos” out in nature?
In Middlesex County, nine parks have gazebos available for rent for a two-hour ceremony. You can either choose one near the water or find a more secluded spot surrounded by trees. Edison’s Roosevelt Park, the oldest park in the county, also has a butterfly garden that offers a picturesque backdrop to enjoy.
Many beachfront towns also allow wedding ceremonies on the beach (sometimes it’s even free)! Check with the specific town, however, because rules vary. For example, Island Beach State Park has several beaches to choose from once you submit a Special Use Permit application.
If the ceremony takes place in-season between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, Belmar allows you to hold a wedding on the beach at no cost other than all guests having a daily beach badge. If you’re getting married in the off-season, it’s free.
Why I like it: When you’re trying to have a simple, no-frills wedding, a park ceremony is the obvious choice. Plus, it’s much cheaper than a traditional venue.
A Haunted House
Well, actually it’s a haunted prison, which is even spookier! The Burlington County Prison Museum hasn’t housed actual prisoners since its 1965 closing. Since then, the facility has supposedly been haunted by the memories of the deaths and prisoner anguish that occurred there. Who wouldn’t want to say “I do” in a place like this?
Why I like it: As a way to showcase its municipal venues, Burlington County offers free weddings at several of them. Last year was the first year that five couples actually got married at the prison…on Halloween!
At the Racetrack
Monmouth Park Racetrack offers various options for a wedding day full of fun at the races. The Patio Terrace Roof is the venue’s premiere outdoor event space; offering views from the balcony as well as private bars and big-screen televisions for up to 250 people. Or you can take the party inside to the Turf Club, a large banquet room with on-site wagering machines.
Why I like it: If horses aren’t your thing but you still like the venue, you can choose to host your event on a non-racing day.
Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Crystal Springs Resort
Additional Images (in Order) Courtesy:
Laurita Winery / Website
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant / Facebook
Rick Remlinger Artist & Historical Collector / Facebook
Liberty Science Center / Website
Waterside Restaurant / Website
Island Beach State Park / Facebook
Historic Burlington County Prison Museum / Facebook
Monmouth Park Racetrack / Facebook