Friday, January 7, 2011

The Venue Not Taken

Over the past two months I have spent dozens of hours researching alternative wedding venues online. I'm a Googling machine. I've found a lot of cool places that just won't work, but could for someone else, or might just be fun to visit. (Seriously, if you're ever bored in NJ, email me- I have suggestions!) here's a few of the places I've come across:

I’ve been searching across the state extensively for art galleries and museums. One I’ve found that I like but have already ruled out is the Hunterdon Art Museum.

It’s in Clinton, NJ, so it’s not too terrible a commute from Monmouth County. And it’s soooo pretty! I love that it’s a gorgeous historical building, next to this lovely river, and it’s an art gallery to boot. The rental price was reasonable, around or below $2000, but it doesn’t have a few things we’ve deemed crucial in terms of layout, unfortunately.
I’ve seen pictures of weddings at this venue before- the Adventure Aquarium in Camden. I thought this could work because Michael and I do love animals and water, and the tanks make a striking background. However, the prices aren’t low enough for us to justify going to Camden (ugh, sorry Camden, but- ugh) for something we like but don’t love. And it’s too heavy a theme for us that, again, we like but don’t love. I’d certainly endorse this site for others who were looking for a dramatic background or had a personal tie-in to sea life or water.

Outside of regular art galleries, I found a couple cool places that could make a perfect Brooklyn-hipster-meets-NJ setting. First was the Roebling Museum.

John Roebling designed the Brooklyn Bridge, and there’s a model on the premises. When I saw this pop up during a Google search I was so excited. It’s a museum, it’s got a fantastic connection to Brooklyn, it’s in NJ and it’s affordable- the highest fee to rent the main hall, the galleries and mill yard was $850. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the museums exhibits, there are a number of restrictions I just don’t have the heart to work around. For instance, all dancing must be relegated to the Mill Yard, red wine and sauce is discouraged, champagne bottles cannot be popped inside the building, music type and decibel level must be approved and regulated, etc. But hipsters, take note! If you want a 'relevant' space outside the city to groove to Animal Collective in, this might just be it!


Next, and I didn’t explore this too far so I'm not sure what they could even do, is the Metz Antique Bike Museum.

Speaking of hipsterific- if there isn’t space large enough for a wedding, it looks like it could be a great place for a photo shoot, or maybe for rentals- bride and groom riding up to the reception on antique bikes? Fantastic!

Last, and I seriously considered this for about 20 minutes: the Whippany Railway Museum.

Hold your wedding in a restored vintage train car! So cool! Better for small weddings of course- and/or maybe you could set up a tent, and have the ceremony in the car, or make it into a ‘bar car’. Again, could also just be cool for photo shoots- bridal party as passengers, bride and groom as robbers? I loved this idea because I spent the first 6 months of our relationship taking NJ Transit trains up to visit Mike at least twice a week.

On the opposite side of trains, bikes and suspension bridges: the chic modernism of Maritime Parc.

So chicly modern it’s almost unattractive. Have I mentioned that chic modernity is my ideal bridal style? (It’s pretty hard to pull off on a budget, though, so don’t hold your breath. Also don't hate me for saying 'bridal style'.) Icing on the cake, er, well, this is practically the whole cake itself- the view.

Alas, it seems it will be too pricey for us.

Okay, you might think I'm crazy here, but it could work for someone: Monmouth County Library.

Sure, New York Public Library it most certainly is not, but it’s got it’s own fusty, nerdy charm, doesn’t it? And you all know what a book nerd I am. However, I can’t connect this space to Michael at all, and to be honest, even though I’m not the type who needs crystal chandeliers, the library is a little too low on razzle dazzle, even for me.  

The last one is sad- this is actually where I’d planned to get married, previous to actually being engaged. Sometime in either ‘08 or ‘09, when Michael and I were talking seriously about getting engaged, I came up with the perfect place- the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. You already know why I like Asbury; memories and parental significance and proximity to beach, church, hometown etc. It’s also where I attended my first concert (HOLE, 1994 and yes it was kick ass) and Mike has also been to several shows there. Our parents both went there before it was legendary, and both were attending shows there still. My mom was such a popular figure there that when I emailed the manager about rental prices, she offered me the friends and family discount. Which is why I’ve now changed my mind- I think it would just be too much. Too many memories of my mom.

To be honest, it’s not completely off the table, but I can’t really think about it and have already told the few people I’d told before that I’m changing my mind. Michael understands and is with me either way.

As for the other places- you will live on in my dreams.

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