Many couples think they need to hop on a plane to have a destination wedding. But the truth is that some of the most beautiful beaches happen to be right here in New Jersey, making it the perfect place to say “I do” while also giving your guests a chance to enjoy some rest and relaxation. Even better: Everyone can save lots of money on airfare! Here are some of our top locales for hosting a destination wedding in the Garden State.
Windows On The Water, Sea Bright: This 7,000 square-foot venue boasts the only private beach in the area, so you can say “I do” without the local lady in the thong lurking nearby. The entire wedding—ceremony, cocktail hour and reception—can be held on the beach, while the Empress Ballroom offers an elegant space for your reception, with gorgeous panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, the outdoor deck can be glass-enclosed and temperature-controlled during inclement weather. There is only one wedding held here at a time, so you’re ensured personal attention throughout the event. While there are no guest rooms, Windows’ Director of Catering, Larry Meluso, recommends these three locations for overnight stays: the Marriott Courtyard in Red Bank, Blue Bay Inn in Atlantic Highlands or the Beach Walk Hotel in Sea Bright.
Avenue, Long Branch: For the more modern couple, Avenue in Long Branch is a dream destination. You can exchange vows on the beach or the venue’s rooftop deck overlooking the Atlantic. Then, move inside for a formal sit-down dinner for up to 200 guests. The third floor lounge is perfect for the rehearsal dinner, after-party or even a smaller cocktail party–style reception. Anyone staying at the venue’s Bungalow Hotel can gain access to the Beach Club for a small fee, where guests can lounge by the pool or on the beach with a drink during the day. And Avenue Nuit is an outdoor lounge featuring deejays spinning tunes, bottle service, a rooftop pool, outdoor fireplace and oversized bed seating.
Crystal Springs Resort and Spa, Hamburg: This Adirondack-style lodge is not only a beautiful venue for your vows—with views of the mountains of Sussex Skylands—but there are plenty of activities to keep guests entertained when they’re not participating in the wedding festivities. One of the coolest features is an indoor Biosphere Tropical Pool Complex, the first structure of its kind in the country, with a specialized roof that allows for year-round tanning. There’s also an underground aquarium, Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and full-service spa. For your more active guests, a round at one of the resort’s seven premier golf courses or a workout at the Mineral Sports Club can do the trick. Skiing, a water park, farm tours and wineries are also nearby. And for the big day, there are four indoor and unique outdoor venues. Each of the venues hosts only one wedding a day, so the spotlight will be solely on you. There are also three locations that offer accommodations on the resort’s property: Grand Cascades Lodge, Minerals Hotel and Mountain Creek Resort.
Congress Hall, Cape May: As America’s oldest seaside resort, Congress Hall has hosted memorable weddings for more than 100 years. Located in the heart of Cape May’s historic district, Congress Hall overlooks the area’s beautiful beaches, as well as an impressive grand lawn for outdoor ceremonies and a ballroom for an elegant reception. Couples can also choose to get married on the nearby beach. During the warmer months, guests can relax in a private beach cabana or by the pool, take an exercise class on the beach or a tour of the venue’s own 62-acre Beach Plum Farm (weather permitting). There’s also a day spa, restaurants, lounges and nightclubs to keep everyone entertained during their stay.
The Reeds at Shelter Haven, Stone Harbor: The Reeds is a boutique hotel overlooking the bay, and is the perfect spot for couples who want a true indoor/outdoor wedding. Brides and grooms can say “I do” on the Roof Garden Sundeck, surrounded by beautiful water views, and then move the reception into the Sweet Grass Ballroom. This open-air room, which can hold up to 220 guests, features wall-to-wall sliding glass that opens up to the outdoor veranda so guests can move freely between the indoors and outdoors. A dramatic fireplace is perfect for photos and adds a cozy feel to the space. There are 37 guest rooms available, and people lucky enough to stay at the hotel can relax on the Roof Garden Sundeck, where there are two hot tubs and a plunge pool. The venue also offers motorcars to the nearby beach, with beach tags, towels, chairs and umbrellas complimentary.
Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club, Galloway: Located minutes from the boardwalks and beaches of Atlantic City, Seaview is home to 670 acres of gorgeous gardens, pine forests and amazing views of Reed’s Bay. Founded in 1914, it has become one of South Jersey’s premier golf and spa resorts. There are 270 rooms and suites, and with AC just a few miles away, there are plenty of activities for everyone to enjoy. For the wedding, Seaview has more than 39,000 square feet of event speech, including the Oval Room where Grace Kelly celebrated her Sweet Sixteen, and the Bayview Ballroom that boasts a beautifully landscaped terrace and patio. For brides that want an outdoor ceremony, there are lush garden locations around the venue.
Did you have a destination-style wedding in the garden state? Tell us about it! Submit your wedding HERE
Cover photo by Jeff Tisman from Lindsay and Michael’s wedding at Windows on the Water