New Jersey

Intro - And venue questions

Hi ladies! By way of introduction, I'm 27 years old and newly engaged to my boyfriend of 6 years. We've been engaged for a little over a month and I'm just starting to wrap my brain around planning our wedding... I'd assume first up for most would be to secure the venue and set the date. I don't think I can get my act together any earlier than something June - August 2015. So, couple questions for those who are a bit farther into planning...

-If we set a date sometime in June - August 2015 - is that a nice amount of planning time? I'm in the Hoboken / Jersey City, NJ area and worried I'll find a lot of vendors, venues, photogs etc. already booked up for next year.

-I'm looking for a venue close to home - Hoboken / Jersey City area. I've been to two weddings at Liberty House, so would prefer to stay away from that. I was going to check out Chart House and the W in Hoboken if they do weddings there. Can anyone suggest other venues in the area?? Someone recently told me about a new place right on the Hudson River called Battello. The pictures look really nice but I haven't been there yet in person. Has anyone been there or know anything more about that?

-What are the most important things, in your opinion, to think about when selecting a venue? Aside from cost and availability :) I have an aunt that can't do stairs easily, so that's a consideration. What else do you consider important when making your decision for the venue??

-And lastly (and if you've gotten this far, thanks for reading) what are the next most important things that book up quickly that I should start researching? Like, after we have the venue and date, where should I put my efforts next? Photog? Band? What else needs to be thought about this far out??

Thanks and looking forward to getting to know you all throughout the planning process!!

Re: Intro - And venue questions

  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!)
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
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    edited April 2014
    Congrats on your engagement!!

    Do you plan on getting married in a church?  If so, you should make that arrangement first.  I've seen a couple brides pick the reception/date first and then their church doesn't have availability on that date.  If no church is involved, then you're safe to move to the reception selection.  Once you find a venue you like and a date, it's often nice to check with your VIPs to make sure they're available for that date.

    As for timeframe, we planned our wedding in 9 months.  I could've done it sooner, but I worried about time to get a wedding dress.  We got married in a relatively off peak month (November), yet many vendors that we wanted were already booked when I called them about 8 months before.  You are thinking about months that are more prime, so you will most likely run into vendors who are already booked, even a little over a year out.  

    Our most important criteria when selecting a venue was cost, location and only one wedding at a time.  We did a tasting not long after booking and the food (which is really the only thing guests will remember at your reception!) was delicious.  

    Once you have your ceremony and reception booked, I would book your photographer next if photos are important to you.  Finding a good photographer can take time and the good ones book up early.   After that, the DJ/band, officiant (if one is needed) and florist.  There's no reason to wait to book them.  

    I would start looking for your dress a year out.  No sense putting it off and be under a unnecessary stress and a time crunch.  Some shops can take 6-8 months for a dress to come in, and then you still have alterations to do.

    No specific info about venues in the north Jersey area.  Sorry!  Good luck!

    ETA:  Don't forget about hair and makeup trials.  I found if you don't have a working relationship with anyone, most people will want a deposit to get you on their calendar.  I wasn't going to leave a deposit without doing a trial, so I did mine early.  And good thing, because I HATED my first makeup trial/artist and ended up finding someone new.  Many of the MUA I called when I started looking were already booked, so definitely think about doing that earlier rather than later.
  • ohmrs2014ohmrs2014 Dirty Jerz
    Moderator 500 Love Its 1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary
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    We planned in 22 months so I can't help you on that aspect.  I will say this though, in Jersey, vendors can book up 2 years out so don't be surprised if the vendors you want are already booked.  A couple that we are friendly with became engaged 6 months after us and they looked at our venue for this year, 2014, and then were booked solid for the weekends for the year when they went to speak with them.

    And I agree with @JoanE2012.  I would book the Church first if thats where you want your ceremony.  If not, then yes, go ahead and book the venue.

    In terms of venue, a budget would help.  I am from the North Jersey area, and we went west because the venues out there worked better with out budget.  The W in Hoboken does do weddings, but again, they were out of our budget.  Maritime Parc is in LSP, near the Liberty House, so thats an option.  I believe the Hyatt in Exchange Place also does weddings.  There is a place in North Bergen on River Road called the Waterside Inn.  The pictures are beautiful, but never been.
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  • You should really just sit down and think about what matters to you in terms of the venue. What style of wedding do you want? Do you want a run of the mill NJ catering/wedding hall? Tons of those around. Are you looking for something outdoors or indoors? Rustic or modern? Non-traditional? These are questions that you need to answer for yourself. What's YOUR style?
  • We got engaged in August and are getting married in 34 days (eek). We booked the venue first and then did all the other vendors pretty quickly. I didn't read any timelines about standard times to book each vendor. I just went under the assumption that we were already behind, time-wise, and we should just get it all done ASAP. A handful of photographers I contacted were booked already but then again, I contacted A LOT OF THEM (probably 20?). One florist that I contacted (who only does one wedding per weekend)  was booked already. I only just started looking into hair last month but did find at least 2 people available. We had no issues with DJ or videographer availability.

    Now, do you want July/ August because that is the earliest you feel comfortable with or because you want a summer wedding? Keep in mind that is peak season (highest priced) for many venues and obviously it will be hot then. Some things to consider.

    Before looking at venues, you need to have your preliminary guest list so you know what size space you need and also how many people  you are comfortable guaranteeing as a minimum but also how many you want to invite, total. This was tough for us as FI's family is all out of the country and we really had no idea how many people would end up traveling in. We guaranteed 150 but invited over 200. So check your numbers and find a place that goes with your minimum but can also hold your maximum.

    Yes, the Hyatt in JC does weddings. That was one of my dream venues, but I was quoted $185pp for a Saturday in May which was out of our budget. I have also been to a wedding at the Chart House. I think they have a relatively small capacity. The views were gorgeous but I wasn't impressed with the food - it was not the same quality as when I have gone there for dinner.
  • The first thing you have to do is make a preliminary guest list to get an idea do how many people you are inviting. Then you need to make a budget to see what you can afford. Then you should go online and read reviews of some of the places other people have been married in your budget in your area. Make a list with the information you put together with your online search including prices other people got the address phone number and website. Then call the places to see what they quote you over the phone. Most places do that. Once you have a list of places you can afford that have good reviews in your area go see them in person. I got engaged on Christmas and had mu venue picked before New Years. I am getting married on May 24th 2015 at the Highlawn Pavillion in West Orange. I then booked my hair with my hair dresser and my very popular dj. He books fast so I booked him early. Next I did research and met with a few photographers and booked my photographer and videographer later in January. Love them :) I called whole foods to do my flowers they gave me a price quote but said not to book until next January. That's when they know what flowers they will have in May.
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