10 Reasons To Get Married In New Jersey

January 31, 2013

Long Beach Island is a growing destination for weddings along the Jersey shore. Photo: Ann Coen

What’s NOT to love about the idea of having your wedding in the Garden State? With a variety of locations for the event and some of the most creative and talented wedding professionals in the world, NJ has everything on a bride and groom’s must-have list. Here’s just a sampling of great reasons to get married in New Jersey:

1. Being located in a geographic region with four unique seasons, New Jersey offers couples the opportunity for winter weddings (sometimes even at a discount), wedding celebrations during the spring renewal, beach or garden weddings in the summertime and colorful fall foliage for memorable photos at one of the many golf resorts, wineries or country clubs.

2. Having your wedding closer to home is more green and eco-friendly than planning a destination wedding: you can reduce your carbon footprint by using less gas and tolls, using locally sourced foods, flowers and wedding service providers.

3. With 127 miles of shoreline, New Jersey offers some of the most beautiful beaches and shore towns around, so couples can have their wedding ceremony on the sand with a reception following on or near the beach.

4. Cape May, New Jersey (“Exit 0” on the Garden State Parkway) is known as the third most popular destination in the United States to get married, and you can have your wedding on the beach or in one of many Victorian locations from a bygone era.

5. The Long Beach Island region is one of the fastest growing wedding destinations in New Jersey, with over 40 venues and wedding services to serve couples that want to have their wedding weekend in this resort area.

6. You can have a New York style wedding at New Jersey prices (and without the traffic!) since sales tax in New York City is 8.375 percent compared with 7 percent in New Jersey. Still want that backdrop of New York City? Have your wedding at one of the many venues along the Hudson River or charter a boat and cruise past the Statue of Liberty and other landmarks.

Buddy Valastro, Carlo's Bakery, Cake Boss, NJ Cakes

Buddy Valastro and his team at Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken have put NJ on the map, showcasing various styles of wedding and specialty cakes on TLC’s “Cake Boss.” (photo provided by Carlo’s Bakery)

7. Wedding TV reality shows love New Jersey, too! Some of the NJ’s top wedding locations and experts have been featured on the Style Network’s Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?, Jerseylicious, Bravo’s Real Housewives of New Jersey, TLC’s Masters of Reception, Say Yes To The Dress, Four Weddings and of course … we have the Cake Boss (and the Next Great Baker)! New York wedding planner David Tutera often showcases his New Jersey brides on WEtv’s My Fair Wedding.

8. New Jersey’s history is rich with numerous historic locations and landmarks, places where George Washington has lived or slept. More recent history is also represented in the many locations that have served as a backdrop for movies and television, like The Sopranos. One of the most popular places in the state to pose for an engagement or wedding picture is Woodrow Wilson Hall at Monmouth University, better known as Daddy Warbuck’s mansion in the movie Annie.

9. New Jersey is one of the most culturally diverse states in the nation, with large populations of Italians, Pan-Asians, Asian Indians and much more. You can have ANY type of catering you wish at your reception … just name it and you can find it in New Jersey … and it’s delicious!

10. Looking to attend a bridal show or expo? In New Jersey, you’ll be able to find a bridal event going on almost any day of the week. You will meet local wedding professionals who will give you advice and direction on your wedding plans, see the latest bridal fashions, and even maybe take home some fabulous door prizes or a free honeymoon.

BONUS REASON #1 -> New Jersey was hit with Superstorm Sandy on October 29, 2012, which impacted several regions of the Garden State, especially the Jersey Shore. Many beachfront wedding facilities and businesses were affected, and and several are currently in the process of rebuilding. View our blog post entitled “Hurricane Sandy and the aftermath on the New Jersey weddings community,” with details on how NJ couples went ahead with their wedding plans, how wedding professionals teamed up to offer relief for NJ residents, and additional resources for helping those in need. New Jerseyans are “JERSEY STRONG” and we want you to know that the JERSEY SHORE IS OPEN, continues to rebuild and remains a popular destination for weddings, events and very special memories…

BONUS REASON #2 -> On Friday, September 27, 2013, a Mercer County Superior Court Judge ruled that the state must allow same-sex couples to marry, and same-sex marriages officially began on October 21, 2013! At NJWedding.com, we are thrilled to feature our Same-Sex Weddings category, where couples can find banquet facilities / reception sites around New Jersey to celebrate, along with Clergy / Wedding Officiants, photographers, entertainment companies and much more!

Shadowbrook - The Zweben Family in Shrewsbury, NJ is one of many beautiful locations for Same-Sex Weddings in New Jersey

Shadowbrook – The Zweben Family in Shrewsbury, NJ is one of many beautiful locations for Same-Sex Weddings in New Jersey

Erik Kent is the Co-Publisher of NJWedding.com. This article was previously featured on AOL’s Aisledash in August 2010.

Top Spots for Engagement and Wedding Photos in New Jersey

January 6, 2011

We asked professionals within the NJ wedding community for their favorite or most-requested photography spots for engagements and weddings. Subsequently, we received a wide array of locations from areas of the Jersey Shore to popular parks and historic sites to places made famous from movies and much more! Thanks to these experts in the NJ wedding industry along with some photos from professional wedding photographers, We’re excited to share with you some of these “15 Top Spots” for engagement and wedding photographs in New Jersey (there’s a brief description of each location as well as names of contributors):

Woodrow Wilson Hall at Monmouth University, Gary Bilbao Photography

Woodrow Wilson Hall at Monmouth University, Gary Bilbao Photography

1. Woodrow Wilson Hall at Monmouth University, West Long Branch – A National Historic Landmark Building that appeared in the 1980 movie version of “Annie” serving as “Daddy Warbucks” home. Offers amazing photo opportunities throughout the property, both inside and out, including their formal gardens and the famous “Annie staircase.” The bride or groom needs to be an alumni in order to shoot there. (Michael DiChiaro, Creative Video Editing; Gary Bilbao, Gary Bilbao Photography; Alex Ruchaevsky, Abacus Studio)

2. Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown – This is a gorgeous park of well manicured gardens that in some parts look like an English Manor Garden. Local couples love this park for its gorgeous blooms in warmer months, and amazing fall foliage in crisper months. (Michael DiChiaro, Creative Video Editing; Melissa Loiacono, Pampered Bride Weddings)

Engagement Portrait at Hoboken Train Station, Tackeff Photography

Engagement Portrait at Hoboken Train Station, Tackeff Photography

3. Hoboken Train Station, Hoboken – Is stately, historic, beautiful, majestic and a little bit different from the norm. It is a unique building, very quaint and old looking. It even has a big wooden bench where the bride and groom can sit. And did you know that a couple of scenes from the recent movie “Julie & Julia” were filmed there? (Michael Hammond, Your Cinematic Wedding; Alida Monaghan, Juliet Events; Jenny Orsini, Pampered Bride Weddings; Jennifer Bunce, Hudson Cakery)

4. Verona Park, Verona – It seems like there are many romantic nooks within the park that appeal to almost every taste, from traditional, romantic, woodsy /outdoor, water, etc. It’s such a diverse and beautiful place that I can’t remember a time that visited Verona Park without seeing a wedding related photography event, sometimes even on weekdays! (Abe Kasbo, Verasoni Worldwide)

Asbury Park Boardwalk, Jenifer Rutherford Photography

Asbury Park Boardwalk, Jenifer Rutherford Photography

5. The Boardwalk at Asbury Park – After decades of hype, Asbury Park has in fact seen a revival and the beachfront is doing very well. You have the classic landmark Convention Hall / Paramount Theater in addition to Asbury Lands and Wonder Bar. You have new attractions including the water park, mini golf course, and retail shops and restaurants. And of course the oceanfront is always great for photos. And Asbury’s combination of old, new and oceanfront – in a town that’s still a little funky on the edges- is very appealing to young, edgy couples who want something just a step out of the ordinary. (Spence Cook, Bloom Box)

6. Sayen Gardens, Hamilton – Offers lush foliage, beautiful manicured gardens and variety of interesting settings which include a woodland gazebo, temple garden and sprawling park like grassy areas. (Mark Klatskin, Ultrax Entertainment; Danielle Nutt, The Bridal Suite)

Lambertville-New Hope Bridge, ZaZa Creative/Nancy Katz Photograper

Lambertville-New Hope Bridge, ZaZa Creative/Nancy Katz Photograper

7. Lambertville – This historic town located on the Delaware River offers railroad tracks, the river, the bridge to New Hope, antique shops and more for great backdrops (Nancy Katz, ZaZa Creative Photography)

8. Eagle Rock Reservation, West Orange – The view from this location, being on a cliff overlooking the New York city skyline and the Hudson River is breathtaking! Inside the Highlawn Pavilion restaurant is especially beautiful and romantic at night, with a panoramic view of the skyline making everything aglow! (Marie Danielle Vil Young, A Votre Service; Allan Reider Photography)

9. Liberty State Park & Landing Marina (Petronella Lugemwa, by Petronella African & Latin Wedding Photography)

10. Long Beach Island region – Barnegat Lighthouse (a.k.a. “Old Barney”) makes a great background for a Long Beach Island wedding and many photographers love the beaches and coast of LBI which offer great lighting for photos. LBI is now a destination wedding resort for brides and grooms who have vacationed here in the summer months and they’ve got so many options for incredible photos (Katie Hood, Reynolds Gift Shop; Stephanie Somodi, Invitation Designs by Stephanie)

11. Rutgers Gardens, New Brunswick – A top spot in Central New Jersey, it is very picturesque and the cabin on the property offers great opportunities for various photos (Mark Krutyansky, Abella Studios)

12. Downtown Princeton – Includes this historic shopping district and grounds of Princeton University (Danielle Nutt, The Bridal Suite)

13. Downtown Jersey City – Some streets are very quaint and a nice walk is great for photo opportunities, along with incredible views of the New York City skyline (Samantha Goldberg, Gold Events Planning & Rebecca Ferrier Photography)

14. South Orange (Cameron Field and Main Street Shops) – (Petronella Lugemwa, by Petronella African & Latin Wedding Photography)

15. Cape May – Known as one of the most popular locations in the country for destination weddings, Cape May offers he Victorian beauty of a by-gone era, along with several beaches for sunset pictures, including the Cape May Sunset Pavilion (Nick Nezaj, The Hotel Alcott)

While the above 15 locations are in no particular order, there are so many more that were suggested by our experts in the wedding community, so I’ll include a bullet list of them below for some other ideas, even for a marriage proposal too!

* Smithville – This is a fun old town, located near Atlantic City, is filled with a lot of small shops and makes a beautiful backdrop for photos and video (Michael DiChiaro, Creative Video Editing)
* Weehawken promenade with the backdrop of NYC skyline (Irina Feygin, Impeccable Image, Inc.)
* Mindowaskin Park, Westfield – There is a beautiful lake with a fountain and graceful trees, a gazebo and a beautiful bridge with an arch that is perfect for bridal parties (Susan Marino, Sue?s Sweets)
* Lambert’s Castle at the Garret Mountain Reservation, Paterson (Ann Marie Brasco, NewJerseyLimoBus.com)
* Reeve’s Reed Arboretum, Summit (Ann Marie Brasco, NewJerseyLimoBus.com)
* Liberty State Park, Jersey City – Offers amazing views of NYC as a backdrop (Ann Marie Brasco, NewJerseyLimoBus.com)
* New Jersey Botanical Gardens/Skylands Manor (Joan Borzomati, Mrs. B’s Cakes; Jerry Frungillo, Frungiillo Caterers)
* Knight Park, Collingswood (Pat Ambrosius, The Pragmatic Planner)
* Grounds of Cathedral of the Woods, Medford Lakes (Pat Ambrosius, The Pragmatic Planner)
* Batso Village, Hammonton – Has some great historic buildings that allow for wonderful artistic images to be captured (Katie Hood, Reynolds Garden Shop)
* Mill Race Village and Main Street, Mount Holly (Tara Clapper, recent NJ bride)
* Bonnet Island Estate grounds, Cedar Bonnet Island, LBI (Heather Sconza, All the Rave Events)
* Waterfall at Kingsland Park, Nutley (Nella Cicchino, The Landmark)
* Branchbrook Park, Newark – Branchbrook is home of the Cherry Blossom festival in May (Josh Lynn, Josh Lynn Photography)
* Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Morris Township – On Hanover Avenue and part of the Morris County Parks System (Timothy MacHale, The Madison Hotel)
* Fairleigh Dickinson Campus, Madison – You can rent it out for a couple of hours and not have to worry about it getting crowded and waiting for other couples (Priscillo Leto, Finishing Touch Events)
* Pier Village, Long Branch (Cara Jones, New Jersey bride-to-be)
* Belmar boardwalk – Has vintage lampposts along the boardwalk so it really gives it that historic feel of a romantic old-time beach location (Sandi Silva, Save The Date Now; Mary Wall, Matisse Restaurant)
* Allaire State Park, Farmingdale – Features the Historic Village of Allaire, one of the most popular wedding spots at the Jersey Shore (Heidi Hutch, Sterling Ballroom at the Holiday Inn Tinton Falls)
* Manasquan Reservoir, Howell (Jennifer Rutherford, photographer)
* Strawbridge Lake, Moorestown (Craig Fisher, Taylor Rental)
* Various vineyards throughout Southern New Jersey (Valerie McGeary, Renault Winery)
* Grounds For Sculpture, Hamilton (Kay English, Kay English Photography)

Winter/Snow Engagement Shoot in New Jersey park - Josh Lynn Photography

Winter/Snow Engagement Shoot in New Jersey park – Josh Lynn Photography

When considering where you want to take engagement or wedding photos in New Jersey, consider thinking of them in a “theme,” as photographer Josh Lynn suggests, whether they’re captured “in a city, at the shore, in a favorite park or woods, or during a particular season or weather” (or even where your fiance proposed or where you spent a lot of time dating). And, as photographer David Toth concludes, “the best location is the one where you are, because if you love it, you own it and then a professional photographer will capture that love.”

To view a photo gallery of more New Jersey engagement and wedding locations, click here

-Written and compiled by Erik Kent, Co-Publisher, NJWedding.com

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