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The blinged-out ballroom with 300 of your nearest and dearest isn’t everyone’s idea of the dream wedding. Whether you’re eloping, have a really small family, getting married for the second time, want to save money or just don’t like all of the attention and fanfare, small, intimate weddings are some of our favorites. Everything is that much more personal—shared with a small, select group—making the entire event incredibly memorable and meaningful. Here are some of our top New Jersey locations for your exclusive affair:
1 .The Bernards Inn, Bernardsville. The Silver Vault and the Wine Pantry are two of our favorites. These intimate areas with stone walls and elegant details are located in the basement of this historic boutique inn and hold between 40 and 50 in each room for a sit-down dinner. Since the rooms are attached, you could set up your dance floor in one room, with tables in the other. The inn also has 20 guest rooms.
2. The Gables, Beach Haven. For seated affairs, this charming Victorian inn can accommodate weddings with 40 to 110 guests, depending on the season. The smallest ceremonies can be held in the lobby; larger ones are outdoors in the garden. Guests can enjoy dinner on the gorgeous front porch with gingerbread trim and in interior dining areas as well. A six-piece band can play in the rear garden, which doubles as an outdoor dance area. You’ll have use of the entire inn, including its five guest rooms.
3. The Inn at Millrace Pond, Blairstown. This former grist mill, which has been around for 255 years, can accommodate up to 75 guests in the dining room. The property is made up of old stone buildings, a waterway and a bridge (perfect for wedding photos), as well as 17 guest rooms. There’s an outdoor ceremony space on the lawn, and the cocktail hour can be held on the patio or the inn’s Tavern, which is closed to the public during that time. The main dining room has a more formal feel—with plenty of room for music and dancing.
4. Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, Morristown. Housed in Morristown’s historic Vail Mansion, Jockey Hollow can accommodate groups as small as 30. Couples can wed on the patio, which holds a maximum of 75 guests, overlooking the 150-foot reflecting pool and grounds. The second floor Dining Room can accommodate up to 50 people. It’s a sophisticated space, with floor-to-ceiling windows and modern accents. Both spaces have room for music and dancing. Unless a couple decides to buy out the entire space or chooses a Monday wedding, the Dining Room remains open to the public during the event.
5. Kolo Klub, Hoboken. This hip out-of-the-ordinary space in a turn-of-the-century building on Grand Street in Hoboken conjures up images of 1920s Prague, with its leather and suede furniture, hardwood floors, rustic columns and uniquely curved wood ceilings. They host weddings from 50 to 150 guests, with catering by AD Catering/Events.
6. Lambertville Station Restaurant and Inn, Lambertville. The restaurant, in a former train station that dates to the 1860s, has two rooms that can hold 50 or 60 guests each. Ceremonies can be held indoors or outside on the grounds of the inn. The restaurant spaces offer a cozy and romantic feel, a warm space filled with antiques and original details. The restaurant does not have a dance floor, and music is not permitted. The inn, in a separate building, has 46 guest rooms.
7. The Loft at Jack’s Barn, Oxford. This rustic yet elegant loft space above Jack’s Barn antiques store is perfect for the bride looking for a small barn wedding. This small turn-of-the-century feed-mill barn offers a unique location and can hold from 20 to 125. Guests can stay a mile away at Twenty Belvidere, a cozy inn that sleeps up to 16.
8. Ninety Acres, Peapack & Gladstone. Ninety Acres Culinary Center in Somerset County can host weddings for as few as 10 guests. The maximum number it can accommodate if the restaurant remains open is 40, but couples can also buy out the entire venue or have a Saturday daytime or Monday event. When that happens, there’s plenty of room for live music and dancing. The restaurant has a modern rustic feel, with reclaimed wood and beautiful brick more than a century old. The executive chef creates a custom menu for every couple, and all dishes are made with fresh ingredients from its certified naturally grown farm.
9. Olde Mill Inn, Basking Ridge. For a cozy feel, the Hunt Room in the 18th-century Grain House can accommodate 50 to 120 guests. Ceremonies can be held outside in front of a river-side gazebo, under a tent or inside. The Hunt Room boasts rustic charm, with an original stone fireplace and woodwork, a lovely spot for an intimate event. There’s room for a seven-piece band and dancing. The inn has 100 guest rooms plus two bridal suites.
10. Peacock Inn, Princeton. This historic 18-century mansion, with award-winning cuisine, hosts weddings for up to 85 guests. Chef Manuel Perez has trained under celebrity chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin in New York City. Peacock Alley on the lower level, a former speakeasy, can accommodate up to 24 people. Or you can rent out the entire inn, which includes 16 guest rooms.
11. Rat’s Restaurant, Hamilton Township. Located on the Grounds for Sculpture, Rat’s Restaurant can accommodate wedding celebrations of 15 to 175 guests. The country French-style space has various dining areas and private rooms that overlook the sculpture park, plus two wood-burning fireplaces. The ceremony can be held outside in the garden, in the amphitheater or indoors. The restaurant’s pavilion is where you can enjoy dancing and an eight-piece band. There are no overnight rooms.
12. Renault Winery Resort & Golf, Egg Harbor City. This 150-year-old winery located in the Pine Barrens offers three spaces. The Burgundy Room, which holds between 25 to 50, boasts brick floors and archways. The Vintage Room can hold 50 guests or more, with barrel staves and a fireplace. And the Tuscany House Ballroom holds 75 or more, with an outdoor veranda and gazebo overlooking the pool area. All of the rooms have space for entertainment, and while the resort’s restaurants and common areas are open to the public, the event rooms are private.
13. Ryland Inn, Whitehouse Station. Small weddings ranging from 10 to 100 can be held in three different private rooms at this charming award-winning restaurant and event space, including the chef’s tasting room with views of the kitchen.
14. Woolverton Inn, Stockton. A wedding at the Woolverton Inn is an escape to the countryside. The inn hosts elegant weddings for 50 to 130 from May to October. The ceremony is held outside in the horseshoe garden that overlooks a meadow, and the reception takes place under a tent with a carpeted floor and space for a large band to play. Once the reception ends, the event moves inside the 1792 stone manor house. You’ll also have use of the 13 guest rooms.
15. Jardin de Buis. If you want you and your guests to be transported to the French countryside without ever leaving the state, you have to visit Jardin de Buis in Pottersville. This private estate can be rented out for weddings up to 100, and there’s truly no other location like it. There are formal gardens, a grand hall barn, two formal glass greenhouses, an orangerie, a formal potager garden, as well as extensive grounds for an alfresco celebration. You can host an intimate and whimsical ceremony in one of the greenhouses or a large reception outdoors. This place is truly one of a kind.
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