- Beluga Whale
- 7 years ago
- Wedding: August 2011
I’m a new Bee! I got engaged 2 weeks ago and the FI and I have been spending the past 2 weekends looking for a venue. Lucky for me, FI and I have the same idea for what makes a perfect wedding: a lovely B&B with beautiful grounds (not too manicured or fancypants) including a large field for us to set up a tent. We want to have lawn games nearby the tent so the folks playing can still hear the music and feel like they’re a part of things. We want something rustic but still elegant (not too rough looking). Think gentleman’s farm. Or Great Gatsby wedding. We’ve gotten a lot of resistance from our parents about an outdoors wedding (they’ve only been to indoor hotel weddings) so we want a beautiful setting to show them that an outdoors wedding really is something special. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to find something that fits the bill! You’d think a B&B with a large field and a tent would be easy to find!
Our parents have only asked one thing of us – that it be within an hour or so of Cherry Hill, NJ where they live.
Here’s a brief listing of our top contenders:
Sweetwater Farms (PA): beautiful expansive grounds, love the pool, love the inn. Negatives: no tenting and only do receptions in their barn, which – to us – defeats the purpose. Don’t get me wrong – the barn is lovely and wonderfully redone, but what’s the point of having your reception on a beautiful farm with beautiful grounds if everyone’s inside a building and can’t see it?
Inn at Fernbrook Farms (NJ): great B&B, they seem very flexible about who stays and such (very nice for FI’s college buddies who want to crash on the floor of someone’s room), nice entrance driveway, love the little cottage and water tower on the grounds. Negatives: no large field. Their grounds are divided into smaller parcels by rows of trees which results in no view from the tent and makes the whole place feel smaller. Besides, we feel that having the party split up in different areas would take away from a cohesive feel to things. FI also thought the covered nurseries were too visible from the wedding area and looked “messy.”
Alba Vineyards (NJ): we absolutely loved this view. Large field amongst the vines, awesome views all around, very much a sense of grandeur. Negatives: no B&B (which means no afterparty), out of range of our criteria (1.5 hours away from Cherry Hill)
Crossed Keys Inn (NJ): loved this place as well. Has the large field we want, the grand views, the B&B portion, a playhouse for afterparty, and a tent! Checks in all our boxes! My only gripes were that the “bridal suite” was the playhouse, which consists of very masculine plaid couches, a pool table, and shuffleboard with wooden walls and almost no mirrors. Not great for setting the tone of feeling pretty and feminine before getting married. The honeymoon cottage was also unacceptably small, though it had a nice jacuzzi tub. We were willing to overlook these things because everything else was so perfect. Except that it’s 2 hours away from Cherry Hill.
Other places we looked at and crossed off for a variety of reasons: Heritage Winery, Renault Winery, Laurita Winery, Holly Hedge, Barley Sheaf, historic Waynesborough, Raritan Inn.
We’re at our wits end and are quite frankly fed up with the venue search. We sort of hate the idea of choosing a place simply because we’ve given up. So I thought I’d put it out to the Hive – any of you know of places we haven’t checked out yet? A Sweetwater Farms that allows outdoor tenting? An Inn at Fernbrook Farms with a large field? A closer Alba Vineyard or Crosskeys Inn?
Thanks in advance!