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Any advice for the No. Jersey board for a Newbie?

Hi I'm Christine, not engaged yet.  I've been lurking on this board for the past week (as the general Knot board instructions suggest).  I'm wondering if there is any advice other No/Central Jersey Knotties can give for posting on this board. Things I should/shouldn't do... Where I should tread lightly?I'm easy going, big-time planner, don't use a lot of exclamation points, and have pretty decent grammar! I plan on making a Planning Bio once we officially get engaged, so that will be coming.  About me and my bf:  Met through Match.com 2.5 years ago. He’s Jewish, I’m Catholic... I’m more Catholic than he is Jewish. I’m definitely looking to do an interfaith ceremony. I moved in with Jason about a year ago. We like to go on vacation (although I travel a sick amount for work so not too keen on the physical travel part).  In 2.5 yrs we’ve been to Puerto Rico, Atlantis Paradise Island, Secrets Capri-Playa Del Carmen, and we’re off to England (3 day Indian Wedding) and Majorca, Spain next week. (I'm telling you this for future reference and in case you have any honeymoon suggestions)  I’ve always envisioned a winter wonderland wedding, plus I can be a sweaty monster in the summer months. My bf suggested I make a list of 10 venues that are in our price range so that when we get engaged we can get right into planning the Wedding. I have NOT visited any of the venues as I’m waiting for “that” ring first. 1)    The Palace @ Somerset Park  (I believe this is my #1 choice) 2)    Dolce Hotels and Resorts 3)    Park Avenue Club 4)    The Grand Colonial 5)    The Merion (South Jersey) 6)    Valley Regency 7)    The Westwood 8)    Westmount Country Club 9)    Hamilton Park Hotel 10)  The Venetian I’m a Bridesmaid in two of my best girlfriends' weddings this year.  One in Blue Bell PA, Normandy Farms, and the other at Park Savoy in Florham Park.   So I desperately have the wedding itch! Sorry for such a LONG, first post.  

Re: Any advice for the No. Jersey board for a Newbie?

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    edited December 2011
    IMO, the Westwood is in a different (lesser) class than the others. My H HATED the food we had at the tasting and, in his opinion, if it wasn't good for just 6 people, how would they perform for 150? I live near the Merion and it looks nice, but I've heard it's a bit of a wedding factory. Plus it is RIGHT ON a big highway. My reception was at the Bridgewater Manor in January 2008, so I had a winter wedding as well. The Bridgewater Manor had HUGE spread of food, is reasonably priced, with great service.
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    edited December 2011
    Out of that list only been to the Palace and I love it. That was my first choice for a venue but FI was not feeling it...We're also having a winter wedding, but not really going for that winter wonderland theme.
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    edited December 2011
    Welcome...I had an interfaith co-officiated wedding and it was great.
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    edited December 2011
    Welcome! Hopefully we will be wishing you congratulations in the near future :-)I am LOLing at "I'm easy going, big-time planner, don't use a lot of exclamation points, and have pretty decent grammar! "The Palace is gorgeous I LOVED the wedding I went to there. I think their biggest asset though was the outdoor cocktail hour, which I don't think would work out for a winter wedding.Westmount/Venetian are gorgeous and would have a beautiful winter wedding.
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    edited December 2011
    Seabass.. What happened that you aren't getting married at Kirkpatrick Chapel?  Also are you getting married at the Imperia? I went to a Friday night wedding there at the end of July.  Cocktail hour was super impressive! The venue was really beautiful/modern.. we were in the downstairs ballroom. 
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    West0509West0509 member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I've been to the Venetian and Valley Regency for weddings and IMO Valley Regency is not up to par with the other places you have on your list.  On the other hand, the Venetian is amazing!  The CH has a ton of food, all of which is delicious, and the main course is just as good.  Plus they offer one of the best venetian hours in NJ.  Also, one plus about the Venetian is that they are (or have-- not sure if they're done) undergone remodeling and have new ballrooms available.  However, just keep in mind that their minimums for Friday and Saturday are extremely high, especially for the new room, which I think holds up to 600 people. I haven't been to any events Westmount Country Club, but it was my second choice when we did a walkthrough.  What sets it apart from the others is the more modern decor, especially in the CH room, which is set up with couches and coffee tables rather than small tables.  FI has been to an event here and he thinks the food is amazing, up to par with Venetian.  However, they tend to be pricier because there are a lot of add-ons, and you have to use the florist they recommend. 
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    edited December 2011
    Yup getting married at the Imperia and our ceremony will be at Voorhees Chapel. Originally wanted to book Kirkpatrick but when I called them they weren't sure if they would be having their annual winter concert the day of my wedding so they guy told me he would call me once they figured out what date the concert was going to be. I never heard back from him so we booked Voorhees instead. It worked out for the best because I think Voorhees suits us better. I'm trying to stay far far away from a Christmas themed wedding and that would have been hard to do with the red walls in kirkpatrick plus the holy they use to decorate it with.
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    Slento15Slento15 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Welcome!  Hope to be congratulating you soon!I just got married at the Westmount and I'm happy to answer any questions.  I absolutely looooooved it there--we couldn't have been more pleased with the service, food, etc. It was spectacular.Your post also caught my eye because we went to Mallorca a few years ago and loved it.  My favorite bar of all time is in Mallorca (but I don't know the name of it :     ( We were only there for a few days and only in Palma, but it was fantastic.  Where in mallorca are you going?
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    edited December 2011
    i visited the park avenue club. i was nice, but the room is huge and i just definitely would not have had enough people to fill that room. also the woman we met with there was such an unfriendly snob. if if i had enough guests i would never have booked there because of that woman (i think her name was jen) she was just way to awful to have to deal with.i've never been to any of the other places you mentioned. good luck and happy planning (once you get engaged!)
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    edited December 2011
    welcome and for advice, I would say dont put the cart before the horse, but you have already kind of done that
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    edited December 2011
    the Westwood is definitely not in comparison with the other venues listed...I agree that the Palace is spectacular and if that's within your budget - go for it...although the Westmount is gorgeous as well.  The Grand Colonial is ok but if you are considering the Palace, venetian, etc. you will surely be disappointed with the colonial. good luck & welcome
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    edited December 2011
    I am also lol'ing at the same as teamAnE :) I am sorry I don't have advice on the places, but welcome and ignore brad
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    edited December 2011
    Welcome to the board. I hope we can "oh-ah" and congratulate you soon!I've been to weddings at the Valley Regency, Venetian and the Palace. The Venetian was the most memorable for me - being they were all a few years ago and probably wasn't paying as close attention as I do now that I'm planning a wedding! The cocktail hour was great, good main course and the room we were in was stunning. It was a fall wedding and I'm sure it would make a great winter wonderland.
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    FutureMrsF111FutureMrsF111 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Hi, I am new to this board as well but have been posting on GIS for a few weeks now and lurking in general since before I got engaged. I got engaged in April and I am getting married in October 2010 at the Crystal Plaza. I have taken a break from planning for the summer now that I have the place booked so FI and I can enjoy our weekends. I looked at Park Ave Club and really liked the room for cocktail hour but was not thrilled with tents for the ceremony and reception. I am going to a wedding at the Venetian next month and one at Westmount in March. I did not visit either so I cant really offer much help. I also looked at Seaview, which is now a Dolce resort. It was really nice but not really my style and I thought it was a little pricey for what they were offering. FI really wanted to look at the Palace but my parents insisted we stay in North Jersey so I never got to see the inside.Ill start my own thread after I lurk for awhile so I dont hi-jack yours but I have lots of questions about photographers, hair/makeup and all that fun stuff. Luckily I have my venue, band and florist so three big ones are out of the way!
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    edited December 2011
    I had a wintery New Years Evish wedding in Jan at Naninas in the Park. It seems to be in your price range. I would check it out. They did an amazing job and the food and service was fabulous. Good luck!
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    edited December 2011
    Future F11, you said Seaview was pricey, but Crystal Plaza told us that they are $50K flat fee.  Is Seaview more than that? 
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    edited December 2011
    brad, she said it was pricey for "what you get"...Crystal Plaza may be more, but you may get more too.
    ~Chelsea~
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    edited December 2011
    I am getting married at the Park Avenue Club and I think it is beautiful. It is different from a lot of the other places on the list as it is not a tradtional ballroom. I am working with Jennifer and she is so sweet, everyone there has been nothing short of amazing and the food there is always great.
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    edited December 2011
    I've been to a bunch the venues above and agree with what everybody has said about The Westwood.  It doesn't really fit with the other venues.  There are no "grounds," it's basically a venue on the side of the road and they host multiple weddings at once.  Some of the other venues also host multiple weddings, but the Westwood doesn't balance them well.  Aka - the wedding we just blogged had a drunk groom from another  wedding walk in front of our bride getting out of the limo.If you like the Venetian, also look at Seasons (same owners) - excellent food at both.Palace has perhaps the most dramatic drive up...  long street and then THE PALACE.  The weird thing is that for such a fancy venue, they don't really have a garden our outdoor spot to take photos.  I can however show you photos from a winter wedding (with snow) at the Palace.  :)We got married at Westmount and they were great front to back.  Can answer any questions you might have.Welcome!  :)B
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    edited December 2011
    Oh and maybe look at Nanina's In The Park as well.
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    edited December 2011
    my thoughts exactly, brad.  welcome, but a little strange to be posting about venues before you have the ring.  don't get ahead of yourself.  one thing having the itch and luriking and it is another actually posting.  just sayin.... 
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    edited December 2011
    I completely understand getting that "itch," however it is a little weird posting before getting engaged.  I didn't even join the knot till I was engaged.  There also is a Not Engaged (Yet) Board.A few of my friends got engaged a few months before I did, & I definitely felt that "I can't wait till its my turn..." feeling. Good luck with all your upcoming planning, but wait till you're officially engaged!  What's the rush?
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    FutureMrsF111FutureMrsF111 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Brad-Sorry for the late reply-is anyone still checking this thread? Crystal Plaza is expensive but definately not a 50k flate rate. Seaview was a lot more and because of location it would have been costly for the guests. When we went to look there it was still a marriott so some things may have changed but from what they told us and from the info on the website there were a lot of "hidden" fees. Most of what would have cost extra at Seaview is included at Crystal Plaza. Specifically ceremony fees, bartender/waiter fees, food upgrades, and I believe there were a few others.
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    edited December 2011
    Thank you everyone for the great advice! As for those who think I shouldn't count my chickens.. The reason I am researching venues is because I REALLY want to get married Jan 2011.  I need to start getting things organized now, so that when he does propose we can get hoppin' on setting appointments. My job requires me to travel and it can be international or domestic.. couple days or a couple weeks.  One of my colleagues had to spend every other week in Indianapolis while she was planning her wedding, it was torture for her. For example, this past June I was in Germany, Chicago and then Texas, all in the same month! I'm not complaining about my job (I love what I do), I'm just saying that I dont have your normal 9-5  and planning a wedding may get interesting based what projects I am on next year. I've always been a bit extreme with planning.. As a High School Junior I visited 31 colleges and applied to 11 of them.  During my Senior year of college I  began applying for jobs when I knew I would be graduating in May.. One company actually flew me out to Connecticut from Central, PA for an interview.and finally.. since my bf and I know we'll be paying for the wedding ourselves we need to be realistic with how much my "dream" venue is versus what we can afford/plan to spend..  I began saving $2500 a month as of last November.. Now that I am a tightwad and cannot afford to go out, I can put some quality time into researching venues. ;)Thank you again and I look forward to seeing all of your pics/ideas/inspirations and stories.
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    edited December 2011
    Super late on this but I think it would be odd posting on here if her BF didn't know about it and she didn't know when/if they were getting engaged anytime in the near future. But I know couples who planned their engagement together or at least set a timeframe of their engagement together and it wasn't a big surprise when they got the ring, the how might have been a surprise but the fact that he proposed was eminent.
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