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The big red barn, silos, rustic fences and acres of tilled fields are still so mesmerizing to brides and grooms. Whether it’s a barn, farm or a simply charming historic space, the rustic venue is a complete departure from the traditional reception hall—but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress it up with formal décor including chandeliers, fine china, linens and flowers that introduce luxury to your big day down on the farm.
The architecture of a barn, from vaulted ceilings showcasing exposed beams, to classic barn doors and rustic wood fences, has its own vintage elegance, but becomes even more so when glamorous wedding touches brighten the setting. What makes this style of wedding appealing is the laid-back experience you’ll offer your guests, juxtaposing elegant fun with the bucolic landscape: Play horseshoes and cornhole during cocktail hour, and visit the farm’s friendly horses, goats, sheep, cows and even alpacas before cutting the cake.
Couples in the Garden State are lucky to have so many beautiful rustic venues to choose from. The natural details of the location will simplify your wedding day. And there are even brand-new wedding venues that have been built to have that rustic look, with all the technology of today. Here are some of our favorite rustic venues for your wedding:
1 • The Barn at Perona Farms, Andover. In 2013, this 1930s barn was renovated with a beautiful new floor and woodwork, a red elm bar, a black walnut bar and uplighting to add modern elegance to this rustic former dairy farm. The barn accommodates 30 to 300 guests, and offers tables and chairs—so no need for the rentals that many barn locations require—and their catering staff is onsite as well. They also have a huge fire pit.
2 • Bayonet Farm, Holmdel. Bayonet Farm is a 240-acre public park with two barns to choose from for your event: either the Gray Barn or the Red Barn. Both can accommodate up to 100 people, and a tent can also be set up outside. The historic buildings, scenic trails, rolling lawns and acres of actively farmed lands make a spectacular backdrop for your wedding.Rental fees range from $5,000 to $8,000. You can also host your ceremony here for $200 to $300.
3 • Bear Brook Valley, Fredon. Bear Brook Valley may have very well created the term country-luxe. This brand-new state-of-the-art venue in Sussex County offers everything you’d want for your wedding—all with a rustic vibe. The ballroom is beautiful in its simplicity, with floor-to-ceiling windows, all-hardwood floors, custom cross-back chairs and farmhouse dinner tables, where more than 350 people can be seated under a 20-foot ballroom ceiling. The attached Silo Suite offers privacy for the bridal party, and the 40-foot copper cocktail-hour bar with granite top has more than 24 beers on tap. Outside, there’s a 70-foot-long natural stone ledge, a stone fire pit and built-in heaters to ensure everyone is comfortable. And the Woodford Lounge, with a double-sided indoor stone fireplace and six-foot-wide barn doors, has a built-in sound system, 2 televisions, video games, pool table, shuffleboard table, classic Pac Man and more. It’s a rustic venue with all of today’s modern conveniences.
4 • The Bernards Inn, Bernardsville. This elegant boutique hotel in the heart of Bernardsville, ideal for intimate weddings, has 20 rooms for your guests and gorgeous rustic private spaces in the basement—the Wine Pantry and Silver Vault—perfect for rehearsal dinners or after-parties. Their award-winning gourmet chef can prepare a yummy brunch the next day.
5 • Brookmill Farm, Lambertville, 978-464-1836; brookmillfarmnj.com. Brookmill Farm provides privacy and luxury on 13-plus gorgeous acres. Surrounded by lush woodlands, this property offers an estate home, a guest house, a heated pool, original mill footings, a tranquil brook, a covered bridge and more. Rates start at $15,000, which includes lodging for two nights for up to 16 guests, parking and shuttle services and a luxury restroom trailer.
6 • The Coach House at the Ryland Inn, Whitehouse Station, 866-683-3586; rylandinnnj.com. This newly refurbished 200-year-old barn is nothing short of magnificent. Utilizing the original silo and materials from the original barn on the property, the Coach House is unique and dramatic. It features whitewashed ceilings with dark wood-exposed beams, Italian porcelain floors, French doors and a tremendous floor-to ceiling stone fireplace. It can accommodate 200 guests for both seated affairs and cocktail parties.
7 • The Cranbury Inn, Cranbury, 609-655-5595; thecranburyinn.com. The Cranbury Inn consists of two 1700s stagecoach taverns built together in 1800, with a timber-frame banquet hall built in 2005 to replace the big barn that was destroyed by fire in 1902. The Cranbury Inn can hold more than 200 guests and offers eighteenth-century ambiance with today’s modern high-end service.
8 • Crossed Keys Estate, Andover, 973-786-6661; crossedkeys.com. Crossed Keys is set on 12 beautifully landscaped acres with a pond and stream, lush meadows and a magnificent grove of tall oak and weeping beech trees. Their English garden has more than 1,000 dahlias on the property. Arrive down a tree-lined drive and hold your reception outdoors under their big white tent. There’s a fire pit, tree swing, stone cottage with Juliette balcony, five guest rooms, playhouse for an afterparty and a B&B-style country breakfast—all the ingredients of a charming rustic wedding. And they’re building a brand-new farmhouse, ready for weddings in 2020, that will offer historic fixtures, detailed beveled-glass windows, custom bridal suite furniture and perfectly curved staircases.
9 • The Grove at Centerton, The Grove at Centerton, Pittsgrove, 856-358-3325; centertoncc.com. Located in Salem County, in the woods of Parvin State Park in Pittsgrove’s farm country, The Grove at Centerton offers a rustic design with traditional touches and customizable farm-to-table menus. The ballroom with drop-crystal chandeliers set high above rustic wood floors features Chiavari chairs, neutral-toned linens and classic white china, and seats from 100 to 400. There’s an outdoor garden with a fire-pit lounge for ceremonies, pictures or cocktails.
10 • The Hageman Horse Barn, Somerset, themeadowsfoundation.org. The Hageman Horse Barn is perfect for small weddings, with a maximum capacity of 80 guests. This is truly a rustic venue—since the barn was built in the 1800s—and does not have heat, air conditioning or running water. And no open flames are allowed on the property. You’ll have to arrange for catering and portable restroom facilities, and parking areas are not paved—parking is on the lawn. You also have to obtain a permit from Franklin Township if you plan on serving alcohol.
11 • Hotel du Village, New Hope, PA; 866-683-3586; hotelduvillage. We’re loving the rustic charm of Hotel du Village, just over the Delaware River in New Hope, PA. This restored historic French country estate offers two different style ballrooms, along with various outdoor patios for both your ceremony and reception. The Colt Ballroom, with hardwood floors and a large stone fireplace, holds up to 200, while the Historic Ballroom has a wall full of windows and holds 140. Our favorite part is the 22-room hotel that was just completely remodeled with a modern-rustic vibe. You can host your after-party in the lobby as late as you’d like, since the only guests staying there will be yours. There are also tennis courts, an outdoor pool and loaner bicycles and walking trails for your guests to venture into town.
12 • The Inn at Fernbrook, Chesterfield, 609-298-3868; innatfernbrookfarms.com. Built in the early 1700s, Fernbrook is a three-story Georgian mansion that sits amid 200 acres. Intimate weddings inside the manor are held for up to 70 guests. An outdoor tent holds 185, and larger groups can also be accommodated.
13 • The Inn at Millrace Pond, Hope, 908-459-4884; innatmillracepond.com. This 1769 historic inn set on 23 acres of rolling hills offers stone cottages, meandering paths, a wooden footbridge, outdoor garden ceremonies and tented weddings for up to 185. There are also indoor venues and 17 charming guest rooms. Murder mysteries and scavenger hunts can be arranged for your guests.
14 • The Loft at Jack’s Barn, Oxford,908-857-2054; jacksbarn.com. Jack’s Barn is a turn-of-the-century feed mill barn located on four acres in beautiful Warren County that combines the rustic with the refined to create a unique setting for your guests that is simply elegant.
15 • The Olde Mill Inn, Basking Ridge, 908-696-2315; oldemillinn.com. This 10-acre estate offers an historic setting in an eighteenth-century Grain House for intimate weddings, featuring gardens and lawns with a gazebo and tented patio for outdoor ceremonies. Larger weddings are held in the Grand Washington Ballroom with an entire wall of French doors opening onto a stone courtyard, garden and decorated gazebo for wedding photos. Rehearsal dinners, after-parties and brunches can be arranged. There are 100 guest rooms and two grand suites.
16 • Parsonage Barn, Cranbury, 609-655-5361; cranburyhistory.org/
parsonagebarn. During the spring, summer, and fall, this barn hosts wedding ceremonies for up to 80 and wedding photos. It is not available for wedding receptions. The Parsonage Barn does not have electricity, heat, water or restroom facilities, and no alcoholic beverages or smoking are allowed.
17 • Prallsville Mills, Stockton, 215-860-7600; uniqueweddingspaces.com. Located in the D&R Canal State Park, the Prallsville Mills, which are on the National Register of Historic sites, overlook the Delaware River, the Delaware-Raritan canal and Wicke-cheoke Creek. The main building, a 1711 grist mill, can be used for 10 hours, for up to 135 guests.
18 • Rode’s Barn, Swedesboro; rodesbarn.com. This casual and rustic barn built in the 1940s is used today for casual weddings and parties. It holds up to 100. On-site catering is available through Rode’s, and the rental fee varies according to the season. It’s closed in July and August.
19 • Sterlingbrook Farm, Pittstown, 908-303-5444; sterlingbrookfarmevents.com. Recently open to the public, this brand-new wedding and event venue originally opened in 1979 as an equine veterinary clinic and racing stable. The newly renovated barn is set on 175 acres and is the perfect rustic setting for your wedding. Ceremonies and receptions can be held either inside the barn or out in the field. The rental fee is $3,200, and it holds a maximum of 100 guests.
20• Stone Rows Farm, Stockton,802-233-2617; stonerowsfarm.com. Stone Row Farms offers a 3,200-square-foot reception barn that can accommodate up to 200 people, in addition to their after-hours barn, perfect for a rehearsal dinner and late-night after-party with a bar, music, mood lighting and a frosty-beverage-dispensing vending machine. A tent for your ceremony can be set up anywhere on the historic 216-acre property. You can sleep up to 26 people in the circa-1743 main home and the recently renovated cottage house. Weddings are based on a 24-hour booking between May and October.
21 • Thousand Acre Farm, Middletown, DE, 302-893-3510; thousandacrefarm.com. This 110-acre farm, just over the border in Delaware, offers an 8,000-square-foot barn that seats up to 180 people inside and an unlimited number of guests outside under the tent. In addition to custom doors are hardwood floors throughout the entire barn. Every window features water views, and fireplaces provide a rustic atmosphere. The barn also consists of three custom bathrooms and a loft and lounge area overlooking the first floor. And there’s no sales tax in Delaware, saving you thousands.