10 Historic New Jersey Wedding Venues We Love
Bretton Woods361 Speedwell Avenue, Morris Plains; (973) 538-9000; BrettonWoods.net
Modeled after the Ford Mansion, the Mansion at Bretton Woods was built in 1894 by financier Oscar Coles Ferris and his wife, Jacob Ford's granddaughter, Louise. Get dressed in the rooms upstairs, then exchange vows inside the gazebo out on the outdoor patio, surrounded by gorgeous gardens. There's room to arrange the chairs in a semi-circle around the gazebo for a more intimate feel. After an indoor/outdoor cocktail hour, move into the boutique-style grand ballroom (max 225 guests) for dinner and dancing.
The Cranbury Inn21 South Main Street, Cranbury; (609) 655-5595; TheCranburyInn.com
One of the rooms in this 18th-century building was a Justice of the Peace office back in the 1920s, but the recently built Legacy banquet hall is the star of weddings at The Cranbury these days. Depending on how many guests you invite, you can get married in the lobby or the banquet hall itself. Move to the historic building's cozy lounge for cocktail hour, while the room changes over, then back into The Legacy for the reception.
The Gables212 Centre Street, Beach Haven; (609) 492-3553; GablesLBI.com
When it was first built in 1892, the then-called Kathlyn Cottage housed Beach Haven's lifeguards, and after a name change (to Green Gables) in the 1970s, it became LBI's first bed and breakfast. Restored in 2005, The Gables is now a quiet and quaint place for an intimate wedding. In the warmer months, enter the ceremony through the vine-covered pergola and exchange vows in the garden courtyard. In the winter, the large parlor and dining room, with a crackling fireplace, are just as charming.
Molly Pitcher Inn88 Riverside Avenue, Red Bank; (732) 747-2500; TheMollyPitcher.com
Built in 1928, this waterfront hotel has national landmark status. Take advantage of its prime spot overlooking the Navesink River with a ceremony and cocktail hour on the expansive promenade. Even if rains, the view of the water from the ballroom is just as pretty. Fit up to 175 guests there for the reception.
Nassau Inn10 Palmer Square, Princeton; (609) 921-7500; NassauInn.com
History buffs might enjoy the fact that delegates passing through Princeton on their way to sign the Declaration of Independence stopped overnight at this inn, back then called College Inn. Have the ceremony outside on the patio then move guests (up to 194) to the Prince William Ballroom or the Palmer Room (88 guests). After the party, spend the night in the parlor suite, complete with a bottle of champagne. Nassau Inn also makes it easy to have guests stick around for a post-wedding breakfast in the morning.
The Olde Mill Inn and Grain House Restaurant225 Route 202, Basking Ridge; (908) 221-1100; OldeMillInn.com
In 1929, established restaurateur William Childs turned this 18th-century grain house and barn into an inn, while still preserving its original structure. Now the old Grain House and the inn itself see lots of weddings every year. The split-level Hunt Room at the Grain House fits up to 120 guests and has a tented patio on the gardens. For a bigger party, the Grand Washington Ballroom fits 240 guests. Have the ceremony in the English garden and pose for photos in the gazebo before dancing all night long.
The Park Savoy236 Ridgedale Avenue, Florham Park; (973) 377-7100; TheParkSavoy.com
The Park Savoy has had many lives, including a stint as a speakeasy associated with a crime syndicate during Prohibition. After renaming it The Park Savoy in 1982, the landmark's current owner restored it in the early 1990s to bring it back its 19th-century glamorous look. Walk down the cobblestone staircase to your garden ceremony and have the reception in the ballroom, which fits up to 300 guests and has a romantic veranda for cocktail hour.
The Prallsville MillsRoute 29, Stockton; (609) 397-3586; DRMS-Stockton.org
Starting in 1794, John Prall Jr. transformed Prallsville into a major commercial center with his mills, several stone houses, a stone quarry and two fisheries. Today, these mills and the land along the Delaware River are a great spot for a rustic wedding. A basic wedding agreement at Prallsvile Mills includes 10 hours -- start off in the lower level of Grist Mill for cocktails and bring guests to the main level for the reception.Or have cocktail hour in a completely different building -- Saw Mill. Grist Mill tops out at 150 people, but bring a tent and invite as many friends as you would like.
Renault Winery Resort & Golf72 N. Breman Avenue, Egg Harbor City;(609) 965-2111; RenaultWinery.com
Open since 1864, Renault Winery is one of the oldest continuously operating wineries in the country, selling wine tonic in pharmacies to keep business alive during Prohibition. Today the property includes a 50-room hotel and a 7,200-yard championship golf course. For that vineyard feel, choose the Vintage Room, decked out with wine casks and a fireplace. It can fit up to 150 guests. The Renault Grand Ballroom is an option for a bigger crowd, and the Veranda Room, with its baby grand piano and view of the grounds, makes a perfect spot for cocktail hour.
The Smithville Inn1 North New York Road, Smithville; (609) 652-7777; SmithvilleInn.com
Nestled in the historic town of Smithville, only minutes away from Atlantic City, The Smithville Inn has been around since 1787. Weather permitting, get married in the courtyard. Even if it rains, the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lake and hardwood floors inside are just as pretty. Take a short trip across the nearby walking bridge for photo ops on the antique carousel, and book your party at The Smithville's sister restaurant, Fred & Ethel's Lantern Light Tavern. From there, guests can easily walk back to their rooms in one of the town's bed-and-breakfasts.