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NEW HERE.

Where to start, where to start.

Re: NEW HERE.

  • felicia220felicia220 member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    Welcome and congrats.  Venue should be your first decision then your major vendors such as DJ/band and Photographer.  Oh and don't forget to breathe.  
  • edited December 2011
    I actually signed on because I was looking for venues.. THANKS, so excited and overwhelmed..

  • Danes983Danes983 member
    1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Tell us when you would like to get married, your pp budget and what kind of place your looking for..
  • edited December 2011
    Welcome!  My suggestion is to make a guest list so you know how many people will celebrate with you.   You should also make a general budget...it will help narrow down  venues!

    Good luck!
  • edited December 2011
    Ok here we go, I have 150 to invite, my budget is 35,000 - 40,000
    and I want a venue with a gazebo, thats a big thing for me...
  • edited December 2011
    Is your overall budget $35-40,000?  The Knot has a cool budgeting tool...you should check it out so you can figure out how much you want to spend on your venue.
  • mbcdefgmbcdefg member
    10000 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Hi and welcome!

    Book the ceremony and reception sites first. If you plan to marry in a church/temple, DEFINITELY do that before you book a date with a hall. You can go back and forth between them regarding available dates. Plus many churches require months of marriage prep, so you need to get that squared away first. With a secular wedding ceremony, you can probably do the reception hall first and then work on a secular officiant and location.

    I would do the photographer next, then maybe the band/DJ. Look for your dress about 10-12 months out from your wedding, order it by 7-8 months out.

    Definitely do not choose a bridal party before you have your date set in stone (which means, ceremony and reception sites booked). Choose a bridal party maybe 8-10 months out ... bridesmaid dresses at 6 months out and groomsmen's tuxes about 2 months out.

    Good luck!
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  • edited December 2011
    thanks sooo much.
    My overall budget is total 40, As I never paid for a wedding before4, I am not sure if I need more then that?
  • Danes983Danes983 member
    1000 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    You have lots of options. Gazebo for sure at the Manor in West Orange.  I think Nanina's in the Park too.
  • mbcdefgmbcdefg member
    10000 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Oh, and as far as your venue search, my reception was at The Tides Estate in North Haledon this past April.

    This was for the downstairs room - the upstairs room is bigger but is a higher price per person. And it was a Saturday night - Fridays and Sundays were cheaper, as were Saturday afternoons (12-5 p.m.). January-March dates were cheaper than April, but our April wedding was cheaper than summer and fall months (peak times). At most venues, a non-Saturday night and a January-March date will score you some discounts.

    I think there's a gazebo in their backyard area. You can definitely have your ceremony back there. We were married in a church so we didn't use the backyard. But there was an outdoor patio space for smokers.

    We invited about 160, and 120 wound up coming. And for the entire wedding, we paid under what you stated as your budget (is $35K for the reception or for your entire wedding?).

    We also considered Bridgewater Manor in Bridgewater, and Costa Del Sol in Union. We also considered The Atrium, The Manor and Mayfair Farms (all in West Orange) because I read here that they were in our price range, but we didn't go see them because we liked The Tides and wanted to get it booked ASAP.
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  • edited December 2011
    You don't need more!  There is a place for every budget!
  • edited December 2011
    O wow the Tides sounds nice, gonna look that up, did you get good feedback about that place from here?
  • edited December 2011
    Welcome!
  • edited December 2011
    Welcome :)

    Gazebos at nice venues I know of which may be worth a look (for atmosphere as well as price):

    Knoll Country Club East, Parsippany

    Brooklake Country Club, Florham Park

    Bridgewater Manor, Bridgewater

    Valley Regency, Clifton
    A Yankee Fan & A Red Sox Fan...
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  • uppereastgirluppereastgirl member
    2500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    I am not saying this because of the Tides Estate generally (I've heard good things), but...

    I would probably get a bit more organized before you start fixating on one venue or another too much.  First, there are tons of venues with gazebos.  Second, there are tons of venues generally.  You're just going to drive yourself crazy if you start asking about each one just because someone says something nice about it (there are lots of nice venues about which people can say nice things).

    I'd figure out more about what your budget per person is (typically about half of your budget would go towards catering, but you may want to play around with budgeting tools to see if that's what you want to do with your budget, or if you have other things that you want to splurge on).

    Next figure out what other things are important to you -- what time of year do you want to get married?  What time of day and week?  How flexible are you on those things?  It is kind of crazy, but some venues like half the price they'd be on a September Saturday night if you get married on a Saturday afternoon in January.  Same food, service, etc., but for a lot less.  

    And you need to figure out what minimum you're comfortable with.  A lot of venues require a certain number of guests, like 150 or 200.  Are you inviting 150 people, or are you expecting 150 to actually show up?  (BTW, you may want to put some thought into how you're coming up with the actually showing up number).  

    When you have that worked out, I'd come back here and ask for venue recommendations, with a "I'm looking to have my wedding on a [day of week] [afternoon or evening] in [month].  We can afford [range of price] per person, and expect [number of] guests.  Other important things to me are [list them]."   Then you'll get good, targeted recommendations.

    One more thought about the gazebo -- your ceremony will be very quick, but your reception will be 5 hours.  Maybe I'm skeptical because the one wedding I went to that was in a gazebo was kind of awful (gazebos take up lots of room so lots of guests weren't close at all, and we couldn't see or hear anything because gazebos are pretty enclosed), but remember that lots of venues have gazebos, and even more have nice outdoor gardens to get married in (that have some sort of structure for the ceremony even if it isn't a proper gazebo -- or you could bring one in).  It may rain and then your ceremony would be inside.  Kind of a shame if you picked your venue on the basis of the gazebo alone.  And there are lots of parks with gazebos to take pictures in if that's your thing.  I'd maybe think a little more about the building you and your guests will spend 5 hours in, and what the room looks like, how the food is, how the service is, etc.?


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  • edited December 2011
    Congrats and welcome to the board. I would agree with everything Uppereast said. Take a step back and figure out a few key things before getting your heart set on any one thing. Based on your answers it may substantially change the wedding details.
  • edited December 2011
    Congrats and welcome! 
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  • edited December 2011
    Thanks,
    Yea I will do that. So overwhelming.
    I want to start seeing places already..

  • mbcdefgmbcdefg member
    10000 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker
    edited December 2011
    Sounds like you already have a budget in mind, which is the first step. $40K is PLENTY to throw a nice wedding in New Jersey. You don't "need" more ... there are girls here who've thrown nice weddings for under $10K, up to $100K, and everything in between. The "right budget" is the one that YOU set.

    Ditto UpperEast. A good way to start gathering information on venues is to make a post here saying, "I can afford $x per plate, I am looking in the general area of [city, county or region], I want certain characteristics in my venue [beach location, rustic, standard ballroom, hotel on-site, high ceilings, dramatic staircase, whatever you want], I am looking at X date(s) [pricing may differ greatly depending on your timeframe ... you may be able to afford certain places in the off-season but not in the peak-season]." People can suggest venues from there.

    Figure that 50-55% of your overall budget will go to the reception. So if you can spend $40K on the whole day, then $20K will go to the reception costs ... meaning that, including tax and gratuity, you are looking for places in the range of $130 a plate if you want 150 guests. That will give you a lot of nice options in New Jersey.
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  • edited December 2011
    Congrats and welcome!
  • StefaniBelStefaniBel member
    Third Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Congratulation and welcome to the board!
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  • hcer0708hcer0708 member
    1000 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Congrats and Welcome!
  • edited December 2011
    /congrats and welcome!
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  • teacup0618teacup0618 member
    Fourth Anniversary 500 Comments
    edited December 2011
    Congrats and welcome! Happy planning!! :) The girls on here are great.
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