I live in South Jersey and have been to most of these places or at least researched them. We are getting married this dec and I was on a mission to find a place with a good menu, full bar and a modern look. Fiance didn’t want a ballroom, “a place that only does weddings, country club or anything that was easy lol. I looked a every single place in the north and south jersey area. My goal was 90 or under. I will tell you about them below but first your questions:
mansion: really nice on the outside but unless you are going or looking for the whole princess ballroom thing, this wouldn’t work. The inside is really heavily decorated and I found it to be a bit “gaudy” think of a really fancy hotel with a lot of floral fabrics, carpet, etc. They also have multiple venues at a time. You will probably not be the only bride. I’ve only been here for a business meeting. The pricing on the knot and on their wedding paperwork is well over 100$pp, not sure if they are willing to negotiate on pricing.
Luciens: Went to a wedding here this April. They were close friends and told us that the were paying roughly 80$ pp. Here are the bad things: this is right off route 30, surrounding area is kinda crappy if you ask me. I used to work right around corner. not sure where you would take pics aside from lucien’s property. bldg is really pretty on the outside, inside lobby is really nice. they have multiple ballrooms there so the day our friends got married there were 4 brides. I want to be the center of attention, (call me selfish) so if that would bother you, this place is out. I believe the couple with the biggest guest list gets the biggest room and so forth. This couple had about 120 and we were in smallest ballroom. It was ok, but I feel too small. It also had a full mirrored wall which I don’t like, all pics have the flash showing in the mirror. They had an indoor ceremony which was in what I call a fancy basement. Standard banquet chairs, ugly carpet, low ceilings and bad lighting. If you can do outside ceremony go for it. The food and drinks were really the best part. For the $ they got a crap load of food. Full cocktail hour with crazy amount of stations and passed snacks. really didn’t need dinner after this cocktail spread. full bar, drinks lilttle weak but hey, free. Dinner was actually pretty good. soup, salad then meal. waiters actually came around mid meal offering more meat or a chance to try the other menu selections. full dessert spread with like 5 cakes, bananna foster station, wedding cake and a full buffet of mini desserts, juust crazy!
Smithville inn: smithville is really cute little “village ” type shopping area. There is a man made lake with swans and ducks, little shops and little train for kids to ride. This is perfect place for a country look wedding or shabby chic. not modern so if that’s your look, won’t work. We went to a wedding here in april. They have a really ncie outside area for ceremony. Luckily it was a beautiful day so they were able to do that. not sure about inside ceremony options. The cocktail hour was in the same area as ceremony just off to side with some high top tables and then opened into an inside area with bar and food. They had about 120 people and I think the ballroom was way too small. we were squished in. best part is a full wall of glass windows so lots of great light and high ceilings! It was a nice spring day but the room was like 110 degrees, everyone was sweating. Food was your average food not good but edible. I know pricing for a basic package is right around 100 pp. unless you are into the shabby chic look I would recommend looking elsewhere.
Here is what I found and I’ve done extensive reseach on venues that were not insanly expensive. (ps there are not many in NJ)
We chose the Sheraton Atlantic City. AT first when friend who is wedding planner suggested it I said hell no, not having my wedding at a sheraton. however, given the fact that she showed me an awesome station menu, full bar and they have two ultra modern rooms for our ceremony and reception I decided we should look at it. I am glad we did. The lobby is beautiful. We are doing an roaring 20s wedding and the hotel has an art deco look. Ms. America offices used to be in this hotel before they moved out of AC so the lobby has a neat display of old ms america dresses, really neat! They offer free valet for guests on day of wedding. room rate of 69$ for guests. Full open bar and I was able to add guiness and blue moon to the beers for free, malibu rum and a sig cocktail all for no additional cost. WE have a cocktail hour with cheese station, veggi station and I negotiated a slider bar for free. 5 passed hour dourves. Dinner is station style: beef carving station, sushi and sashimi station, pasta station with two options chef prepared, reg and caesar salad station, potato bar, wedding cake in package from awesome bakery Irene’s signature desserts, full open bar for 4 hours (added extra hour for 2$ pp since we are doing 5 hour cocktail/reception) and a mini dessert tray for each table. All this for 90$ pp.
We are using the boulevards cafe for the reception. This is actually their breakfast restaurant but they change into a wedding set up. Full wall of windows overlooking AC skyline. Really cool room, perfect for under 120 people. We are using the gallery for our ceremony. This is the room that used to be ms. america offices. It’s really neat, super high ceilings and modern look. If you want to check it out, I highly recommend it. Melissa the wedding manager.
Carriage house. This is in galloway NJ. The outside is beautiful and the inside looks like your standard “fancy” wedding place. The main ballroom is neutral with wood floors and high ceilings, white walls, easy to change into your look. They do have ability to have multiple events and weddings on same day. We are doing a friday wedding in dec so I was able to negotiate an awesome package for like 80$ a person, with an insane amount of stuff. I highly recommend you doing a Friday, sunday or monday wedding, you will get so much more, especially if you want to do it off wedding season but that’s your choice. No one would budge on price when I was looking at saturdays, even in Dec.