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Farms, etc - interesting reception venues

Heyyyy:
My fiance & I finally have picked a date (actually, a few possible dates) and now we're looking at venues.  I feel like I've looked online at every possible venue there is in the area and I wanted to post here to see if perhaps someone else comes up with something I may have missed.  My fiance & I are very non-traditional (how many times have you heard that?) with a very low budget & a large guest list (once again, how many times have you heard that.....?)  We have about 185 on the guest list for now, but I am positive that in the end, with RSVPs in & all, it will be closer to 150.  Our budget is about.. ready for it... $20,000 (hey... it's a lot better than it was in the first few days after we got engaged.  At first I thought I'd be able to pull this all off for less than $10,000!)
Sooo humor me for a moment:
As I said, we're not at all traditional (we were set up in high school because we were the "hippies" - our first date was at a jam band concert).  So clearly, the hotel/banquet style, as beautiful as it can be, is not for us.  We're very casual, earthy, like being outdoors...  We would love to rent out a farm or something like that.  (We love http://www.queensfarm.org/ but the dates we are looking at are for April 2011, and they seem to have a lot of events in April.)  We live in northern NJ but are open to nearby NY & Pa as well.  I suppose anything rustic, outdoors, lakeside... beachside is okay too.  We just want a fun, no-frills family celebration (and all for under $20,000!).
Thanks in advance!!!
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Re: Farms, etc - interesting reception venues

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    DMLJDMLJ member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    IDK about prices but maybe try Perona Farms?   20K seems really low to me for 185 people, but I'm sure there are some people who could give you some tips.
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    uppereastgirluppereastgirl member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Welcome!  Congratulations!  Have you thought about looking at wineries?  Here's a list of NJ ones: http://www.newjerseywines.com/

    Hunterdon County Playhouse may not be that that far off from what you're looking for.
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    chrissy31805chrissy31805 member
    Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    i remember watching an episode of my fair wedding or amazing weddings and they did something at a bed and breakfast in new hope PA. it was very outdoorsy and had beautiful scenery. i wish i remember the name but its something you may want to look into
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    ejeyeejeye member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Thanks all - great suggestions so far!  I know 20K might be unreasonable considering the #, area, etc... but I'm hoping that if I use that as my starting point, I won't get way out of hand (we'll see... ha).
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    edited December 2011
    there are some ideas in this discussion, though I don't remember them all

    http://tinyurl.com/ygvy2mg

    Maybe an arboertum? I don't really know ewhat's invovled with that though
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    mbcdefgmbcdefg member
    5 Love Its First Comment Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    I have a similar budget and guest list to you, so I just wanted to say that it CAN be done. You just have to think outside the box and prioritize.

    What dates do you have in mind? You will usually find the best deals from late November-March, because that's the wedding off-season. Saturday evening receptions will be the most expensive, so think about a Friday night, a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday afternoon/evening. A Mon-Thurs. wedding, if you can swing it, would save you a boatload of money.

    If you haven't yet asked your wedding party members, *really* think about who you want. I wouldn't suggest picking them until 8-10 months prior to your date, once you set it. And fewer people = less money. We only have two attendants apiece, and it's definitely helped keep costs down (flowers, limo space, rehearsal dinner meals, accessories we're buying them, gifts). Maybe keep it to siblings only, or nix the wedding party entirely. People will understand. You can always ask friends to do readings or sing.

    It's also helped us tremendously that we did not send out Save the Date cards. We've had to cut the guest list a bit as we've gotten closer ... had we sent STDs to those people, we would've been stuck inviting them. Plus, the cutesy cards and magnets are just added expenses. You can inform important people of the date though phone and e-mail. You can set up a website with information and e-mail people the URL. People will spread the word, too.

    Decide what aspects mean the most to you, and devote your money to those things. People will remember the food, drinks and maybe the entertainment. Photos will last forever. Beyond that, people really won't notice what's not there, so it's mianly about pleasing yourselves. If flowers mean a lot to you, by all means splurge. If you don't care about stationery, then just get inexpensive invites. DIY'ing things might save you some money, but you will save MORE money if you skip it entirely.

    Just some tips on how to save money. As for venues ... the best values I found were The Tides Estate, Bridgewater Manor (low gratuity charge) and Costa Del Sol. Not really sure that those are what you're looking for.
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    viviannacviviannac member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Perona Farms but it may be out of your budget based on your # of guests and whether you do it in the off-season. 
    I second MB's suggestion about seeing if you can trim your guestlist.  The wineries also sound like a good idea.   
    Anniversary
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    ejeyeejeye member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011

    Thank you mbcdefg!  It's always inspiring to hear from someone who has "been there." 
    Again, thanks everyone for the venue ideas - these are very helpful.
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    edited December 2011
    I can't give you many suggestions, but I can say that it seems that once you cross that border into PA, prices per person drop dramatically.  I remember seeing as low as $40-50 p/p while researching venues.  If you don't mind going into PA for your wedding (which I think you said you wouldn't mind!) then that may be your best bet.  Good luck!
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    rachaelb16rachaelb16 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011

    Idk if you want to do it outdoors, but if that is an option PA has alot of camp and fair grounds that would be ceap to rent.  My sister lives on 4 acres in PA and did the reception outside at her house, not only did ppl love it but it was only around $11,000.  She rented a very pretty white tent for 500.  The food was only $18/head and it was the BEST wedding food I have ever had (I wish mine could be half as good).  The poconos can get pricey, but most of PA is affordable.  Another way to save money is to rent speakers and hook them up to an ipod with preset playlists.  Good luck!!  $20,000 is doable.

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    dianenjnjdianenjnj member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    ballyowen in sussex county
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    edited December 2011
    Definitly look into camps, zoos, museums, anything fun like that.  You said you met at a jam band concert (I've been to a few of those myself) - why not look into parks that host jam band concerts - and then find a reasonably priced caterer to come in? The hard thing with this is finding backup space for rain...
    How about libraries, children's camps, ... I can continue this list all day.
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    Reilly626Reilly626 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I'd recommend The Stroudmoor- what I love about it is that you pick your package- like mountain view, waterfall, etc and they do everything down to save the dates in that one price, flowers, invites, all of it.  Its beautiful and you pick your backdrop.
    http://www.stroudsmoor.com/index.asp?bhcp=1
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    mbcdefgmbcdefg member
    5 Love Its First Comment Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011

    An interesting spot might be Maxwell's in Hoboken - a nice little restaurant with a small concert venue. I contacted them in the very beginning of my planning and they said they could host a wedding. But IDK if it can fit all those people, plus Hoboken is a biitch when it comes to parking so you might need to arrange for parking in a nearby pay lot.


    Montclair Art Museum might also work, especially if you get a good deal on catering.

    You could inquire with local colleges as to whether they rent out their banquet rooms for weddings.

    I looked into the Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair, but you need a smaller guest list. You could also look into the baseball stadium there (NJ Jackals, I think?) or mayeb the Newark Bears' stadium.

    I think I remember NJPAC in Newark not being outrageously priced. I inquired at the Prudential Center and that was ridiculously expensive. My dream venue was the Liberty Science Center but it was too much money. If you would go into Pennsylvania, maybe there are Philadelphia museums there that would fit your budget?

    A friend of mine was a BM for a wedding at the Stroudsmour Country Inn and seemed to like it a lot. 

    We had to go to the Somerset Hills Hotel last night to meet with our photographer, and they apparently host weddings. Their website says they do $75pp for selected dates.

    image
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    LolyalyssaLolyalyssa member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    David's Country Inn
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    virgil108virgil108 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I am not sure how far into Philadelphia you are willing to go, but I am getting married at Artesano Iron Works Gallery in Manayunk, PA. Depending on the month and night you choose, the rental cost is pretty low. It is a great 2 floor art gallery with a courtyard that you can use for a ceremony. You are also able to choose your own caterer which gives you flexibility with cost.

    Good luck!
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