By Monica Rozenfeld
Although I could never quite imagine my perfect wedding, I knew it had to have two ingredients: it had to be unique and had to represent who we are as a couple. Since we are foodies (so much so that my fiancé often skips the main course at weddings and seeks out a local restaurant afterward) our initial thought was that the menu had to be awesome. Our theme: brunch!
I mean, who can say no to unlimited crepes and mimosas? I got to work researching venues around New Jersey that offer a brunch wedding menu (not so many), and when I needed a break I switched over to Pinterest. I was totally excited for all the ideas I came across, like the morning newspaper with our story on the front page and coffee bar decor that says “Love is Brewing.” Although my fiancé doesn’t care much for my pins, he did like that this was something we haven’t experienced before and that could potentially save us money, which was all we needed to move ahead.
After some digging, here are several options that we found.
First stop: Pig & Prince, Montclair
Once a train station in the early 1900s, the space has since been converted into a restaurant that has held onto the station’s original antique clock, benches, and 50-foot high ceiling architecture. Although it’s not a wedding venue per se, Pig & Prince—a name that marries rustic and chic—has held weddings there in the past and is more than accommodating when it comes to customizing its menu and space to fit our needs.
When I reached out for a potential brunch wedding, the event planner (who is also having her wedding at the venue there next year) gave us a list of more than 40 food options to choose from, including lobster rolls, quiche, duck confit hash, and carving stations. They even offered to fulfill our wishes of having a wedding pie instead of a cake, which they can bake in-house.
The event planner went above and beyond in coming up with ideas to go along with the theme. For example, she offered to set up indoor furniture outdoors along with some outdoor games that guests can play to give the event that laidback afternoon vibe we were going for.
The cost: $100/pp. This includes 10 menu items and the wedding cake (or pie) plus unlimited brunch cocktails and select wines and beers. We would also save a ton of money on décor and flowers because the space doesn’t need much. It already has plenty of character with its brick walls, large brass chandeliers, and intimate lounge area. It’s also one of the few venues you’ll find where a Saturday is more affordable than a Sunday because it won’t lose walk-in business. Not a bad way to start the venue hunt.
However, after giving it some thought, there were concerns. For one, we want a ceremony on site and we felt the space was a little awkward to accommodate both a ceremony and sit-down dinner, although it is doable. There are several parks in the area if one wishes to have an off-site ceremony instead, including nearby Verona Park. The restaurant also works much better for a cocktail-type reception for people to walk around and mingle. Two, we learned the hard way in our search that eggs can cost just as much as a steak dinner, and a selection of specialty cocktails can become more expensive than an open bar if guests decide to order off the shelf.
With that said, it’s a great option if you’re considering a rustic-style, brunch-themed and somewhat offbeat wedding. So specific, I know. Here are some other options to consider as well.
The Mill, Spring Lake
This venue offers a Champagne Wedding Brunch package with butler passed mimosas and a custom designed wedding cake. It also has indoor and outdoor seating with scenic views of the lake. Cost: $87 per person.
Historic Hotel Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Its Pearl Wedding Package includes a deluxe pastry display with croissants and muffins baked in-house and a four-hour open bar with a variety of brunch items. Cost: $109 per person.
The Brownstone, Paterson
The Wedding Brunch package here provides one hour of butler-served mimosas and bellinis followed by crepe, quiche and carving stations. Cost: Varies depending on number of stations and open bar option.
Windows on the Water at Frogbridge, Millstone
The $121 per person pricing includes tax and gratuities with a brunch menu served under a tented reception overlooking the water. You can request chandeliers to be hung on the ceiling of the tent and lounge furniture for an extra fee.
With all the add-ons we would like, however, we’re learning that brunch at the end of the day could end up costing as much and possibly even more than a sit-down dinner. (Raw bar is a must.) And although food is a priority, the type of meal we serve is still up for discussion.
In the process, I did learn more about the type of venue I might be interested in and that the place perhaps does matter just as much as the menu. In the next post, you’ll read about a cozy vintage inn recommended to me by my coworker who also moonlights as my pseudo wedding planner, as well as what happens when a fiancé gets a bad case of allergies and doesn’t get to see the place with you.
Monica Rozenfeld is recently engaged and baffled by all that goes into wedding planning. She is optimistic, however, that it will all come together in the end.