Written for MyCentralJersey.com
With people still struggling to find stable employment, layoffs afoot and costs skyrocketing, the idea of traveling to a faraway destination for a grand wedding is anxiety-inducing, and even impossible, for most people.
However, those living in pictureesque Central Jersey, which is full of rolling hills, romantic venues and elegant eateries, don’t have to spend their nest egg on a wedding to say their ‘I do’s’ in style.
Instead, they can just check out some of these top wedding venues right at home in Central Jersey.
Read on below to discover some of the most romantic wedding ‘destinations’ — right down the street from your house.
Ryland Inn, 115 Old Highway 28, Whitehouse Station
The 1796 inn, which has been the venue for stagecoach stops, down-home cooking and family picnics, is also a wedding destination that can accommodate up to 220 guests in its Grand Ballroom.
With prices per person ranging from $155 to $225, the Ryland Inn is known as a destination that is romantic, refined and luxurious, but also cozy and comfortable.
“Unlike other venues that have hopped on the farm-to-table bandwagon, it’s the only way we’ve ever done things here,” said Carla Camargo, director of marketing and public relations. “Even before we took over the property, the Ryland always partnered with local farmers, artisans and their families.”
Included in the price is a cocktail hour, five-hour open bar, full-course meal, customizeable wedding cake, tables, chairs and linens.
Call 908-534-4011 or visit rylandinnnj.com to learn more.
Ria Mar, 25 Whitehead Ave., South River
Want the milliondollar wedding without the milliondollar price tag? According to Rui Baptista, general manager, this is what Ria Mar delivers, as it caters to the middle-class person in a sophisticated yet comfortable space that offers great food and service.
“We have the upscale, elegant facility minus the lakes and gazebos, so you can get your dream wedding without having to break the bank for $65 to $120 per person,” said Baptista.
Ria Mar can accommodate up to 180 people in its space, which can offer packages that include top-shelf open bar, a surf and turf dinner and cocktail hour. However, it also offers less-demanding packages that can be completely customized.
“We don’t have any preset pieces of paper,” said Baptista. “Every booking begins with a conversation — we want to know what you want to achieve at your wedding.”
Call 732-257-1100 or visit ria-mar.com to discover more.
Forest Lodge, 11 Reinman Road, Warren
If you’re looking for a wedding with an outdoor twist, then Forest Lodge is your place — the large venue has a combination of parklike space that can accommodate 400 people, as well as a cozy, elegant indoor space in the Sherwood Room that can accommodate 180 people.
“We have had events with a country twist and we have also transformed this space into a nightclublike setting,” said Linda Taylor, vice president of Forest Lodge.
Plus, only one event is hosted at a time, making for a private affair ranging from $65 to $100 per person that includes an open bar, complete dinner and cocktail hour and a wedding cake.
Call 908-754-7300 or visit forestlodgecatering.com to learn more.
The Imperia, 1714 Easton Ave., Somerset
With three grand ballrooms that lend the opportunity to host intimate events or large all-day weddings that can accommodate 50 to 550 people, the Imperia specializes in modern, upscale and elegant weddings that range from $110 a person to $160 a person.
The venue, which was built less than 10 years ago, features accents of wood, water, light and stone set against a grand staircase, private stone patio and waterfall garden. Plus, it has two sister hotels for guests — Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott of Somerset and Springhill Suites by Marriott, which will open on Cedar Grove Lane this year.
The price of an Imperia wedding includes valet and coat check, cocktail hour, full dinner, custom wedding cake, unlimited five-hour open bar and a private bridal suite and attendant.
Call 732-469-2522 or visit theimperia.com to find out more.