Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Venue Shopping- The Vineyard Edition

Wineries are popular spots for weddings. You’ve got the booze angle, beautiful flowering grounds, and a romantic, relaxed vibe. Now, New Jersey and New York City aren’t exactly known as wine regions- NYC is more famous for breweries and distilleries if anything, although NY State does have the Finger Lakes and parts of Long Island. And you may be surprised to learn that NJ actually has over 40 wineries.

I investigated three different venues, which I’ll share here:

Laurita Winery is in the western-most part of Monmouth County. The vineyard is lovely, and the space itself is striking- there’s a dining area, a cool bar and a loft for cocktails. The patio is also available in nice weather. They’re exclusive with one caterer, who has a variety of options. They serve their own wines exclusively, but also can bring in all other liquors.

Downsides- a little pricey; yet another location with a ‘no-shots’ policy (neither Mike and I are big shot takers, nor are the majority of my guests, but I hate the idea of being told ‘no’ to something like this when I’m shelling out tens of thousands of dollars!); and being out in ‘the country’, the hotels are limited and all a good 15+ minutes away. Not a big deal, but I’d prefer to give people closer options. (For us, too!)

Brooklyn Winery- yup, you read that right. They are the first winemaking center in Brooklyn. This place is very new and very cool. There are several options for renting, from one small room to the entire facility. Currently they do not have a hard liquor license, so you would buy one of their wine packages and bring in your own liquor- although by the time our wedding rolls around, that may have changed. You’d also bring in your own caterer- being a new place, they’re pretty flexible. The event coordinator is really sweet and I think I would love working with her.

Of course this place, being NYC, is a little expensive (for us) for what it is- the wine package, extra alcohol, and catering adds up quickly; but the space is so cool you wouldn’t need a ton of decorations. And it’s right in our own (sort of) neighborhood, Williamsburg. I love that.

Silver Decoy Winery, in Mercer county and less than 45 minutes form our hometowns, is a little smaller and doesn’t have a reception hall. Weddings are held under rented tents on the beautiful grounds. I believe they are open to several caterers- I found them through Falco’s Caterers, who also work with the Berkeley Hotel and many others.

I have to admit, this one has been on my mind for months- I just adore the picture with the luminaria walkway, and I loooove the idea of stringing paper lanterns across the ceiling, and decorating simply with vases of lavender. It looks so sweet and laidback and romantic. From the beginning I was hesitant to consider outdoor venues, because I didn’t want to spend the week before the wedding obsessively checking Weather.com. But when I imagine a rainstorm happening during our wedding, it doesn’t even faze me. Michael and I both love the rain (as long as we aren’t commuting in it!) and I think it could be kind of cool. Not my ideal situation, sure, but not a dealbreaker worst-case-scenario, at least.

So, this is definitely one of my ‘back up’ venues- if right now I’m investigating another location that I haven’t shared on the blog yet, and while I’m really excited about it, pulling it off would require a lot of work. So this is my ‘in case I lose my shit and realize I have no DIY skills, nor patience to deal with 10 different vendors’ Plan B.

Aren't the wineries so pretty? I'm hoping to head out for a tasting this spring. I promise to report back- after the buzz has worn off.

1 comment:

  1. Winery weddings are very in vogue right now! I completely understand about freaking out about weather the week before the wedding though... it's the one thing you can't control. Just find a place that offers enough options and space for your guests and you'll be happy rain or shine!