Looking for a New Jersey wedding venue for your special day? For thousands of couples who were planning to tie the knot this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought their wedding arrangements to a halt. While a destination wedding or a large, lavish affair might be off the cards, it’s still possible for loved-up couples to say “I do” at our intimate New Jersey wedding venue, the Woolverton Inn.
For inspiration, we have teamed up with Blue Nile, the world’s leading online retailer of diamond jewelry and engagement rings, to share our best advice for planning a small but memorable wedding.
Plan an Intimate Wedding… and Stay Local
For now, a local wedding is the safest option. With evolving challenges and uncertainties, planning a wedding locally helps avoid the impact of travel limitations and secures a safe location that is easy for close friends and family to attend.
Reduce the Stress of Planning from a Distance
Working with local businesses and selecting vendors that come recommended by the venue enables easy, personalized, update-to-date communication with people who are operating in the same (regulated) environment as the wedding property. The cohesion of businesses who work together in a local community will reduce the risk of conflicts that could result from trying to source and coordinate remote services during this unusual period of time.
It’s Easier to Include Those Closest to You
A local wedding close to the home for the majority of your friends and family will allow you to have those special people by your side on your very, special day and minimize the added stresses that often arise when asking people to travel. Our New Jersey wedding venue is centrally located making it convenient for friends and family to attend.
Manage your Numbers Carefully
Make sure to monitor local, state-mandated restrictions on the number of guests allowed, which will depend on whether your event is being held indoors or outdoors. Most couples set a core list of immediate family “required” guests, and then a second or third tier of additional family and friends so they can adjust their guest count if the guidelines change during the final weeks before their wedding day.
Book Accommodations Well in Advance
If guests are coming in from other states, make sure to find them a place to stay as soon as possible, because some hotels have capacity restrictions which mean fewer available rooms, especially during an area’s busy wedding season. Our New Jersey wedding venue is pleased to offer lodging for up to 30 guests right on site in our stunning accommodations.
Check the Latest Restrictions
States such as NY and NJ are imposing quarantines on inbound travelers from certain “hot spot” states, so these evolving state lists need to be monitored and factored into planning for the attendees. Make sure that your agreement with the venue and caterer accommodates the need for flexibility in guest count and that you are very clear on any minimums as well as final dates for the number of guests and meal counts.
Take a Tour of the Venue
Couples should always try to visit their wedding venue — which is much easier if your venue is local. Imagine the group activities at each point in your day or weekend, and then address any concerns, such as rain, social distancing, mask requirements, etc.
Choose Your Vendors Carefully
There are few if any wedding vendors who have not been impacted by the pandemic. Make sure that the ones you choose are reliable and their businesses running steadily, so that you do not face delays, shortages or limitations on the services expected. Selecting vendors recommended by your venue may help reduce some of this risk.
Add the Overnight Experience at Woolverton Inn
Our venue offers the perfect setting for a lovely, intimate wedding celebration, from small two-person elopements to larger gatherings (with no restrictions, we can host up to 200 people). Family and friends can stay overnight to have an extended , more exclusive wedding experience. We have lodging on site for up to 30 guests.
Many of our clients are actually local, but staying at the Woolverton Inn means that they get away from their regular surroundings. By letting your dedicated wedding coordinator and catering team handle the event, you’ll enjoy every minute of the wedding experience.
Adding a casual dinner on the property the night before the wedding, or sitting around the fire pit after the reception, extends your wedding a few more hours, and your memories linger just a bit longer.
Selecting a gorgeous outdoor location means that you don’t have to add much for decor, and let nature (and the gardeners) work their magic. A property like Woolverton Inn has many beautiful spots on the grounds for photos and memories – some man-made such as a fountain or trellis or gardens, others quite natural, among the trees or along the sheep pasture.
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Make it Unique and Personal
Focusing more on each other and the special people in attendance, rather than all the “extras”, makes the wedding even more memorable, especially these days when we are learning not to take anyone or anything for granted.
Adding special tributes during your ceremony, or bringing in certain family traditions are very important and will be remembered by all attending. We recently had one bride play the cello for her Father at her wedding as a thank you for his inspiration. This same couple had a 3 piece Louisiana-style marching band parade with them right after the ceremony all around our grand front lawn. And, they brought in soft shell crabs straight from New Orleans as a special treat for the groom.
Plan for Safe Dining and Dancing
To get around the limitations on dining, we are seeing more extended cocktail hours where people can mingle after the ceremony with a glass of champagne and some hors d’oeuvres without being seated in a crowded room.
There can still be music in the background and some casual dancing on a patio, so you can still do that first dance or parent dances but not feel constrained by the longer events.
Consider a Mid-week Wedding
With so many people working from home and not traveling as much, couples seem to be more flexible with dates, and mid-week weddings are becoming more popular. We usually schedule small weddings (under 25 guests) Sunday — Thursdays but next year, we have a large wedding with over 100 guests scheduled on a Thursday.
Join us at the Woolverton Inn
Whether you are planning an elopement, a micro wedding or something a little larger, get in touch to chat to us about how we can create a safe, special and memorable wedding for you here at Woolverton Inn, your New Jersey wedding venue.