June Bride

juneI recently met a couple who were celebrating their 69th wedding anniversary. Being a married man myself, I had to ask the gentleman what his secret was. He said, “I make all the big decisions, and she makes all the little decisions.” I said, “Oh yeah, big decisions like what?” He replied, “Well, we haven’t had any of those yet.” And so it goes. Years may pass but we always remember our wedding day. Unless you’re Larry King. There isn’t enough ginko biloba in the world to help with those memories.

Getting married is one of the biggest events we experience in our lifetimes. Sure there are those who go to city hall or Las Vegas. Somehow the thought of a drive-thru chapel with Elvis as minister doesn’t do it for me. Someday I will be put in the position of paying for a wedding (or three), and the choices are completely mind-boggling. New Jersey has a wealth of options for any prospective bride and groom. To wit, try these on for size: Reception Halls, Churches and Temples, At Home, Hotels, Beaches, Colleges and Universities, Cruises and Private Yachts, Country and Private Clubs, Historic, Waterfront, Parks and Gardens, Museums, and anything a creative couple can dream up. The best part is that New Jersey can accommodate any and all selections. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the venues and celebrations the Garden State has to offer…

Chapel at Sandy Hook    
On one side, the bay; on the other, a view of Manhattan. The ceremony can be help in the chapel itself (which can seat up to 200 guests), or on the waterfront, or at the Fort Hancock Post Theatre. Yes, you can get married on a stage. Just don’t recite any of the lines from “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.”                                                                                merrimakers.com

The Pop Shop        
For a smaller wedding (up to 90 guests), this Collingswood hot spot offers up a retro ceremony that will feel like an episode of “Happy Days.” Chrome-ringed soda counters, diner booths, classic game boards framed on the walls. For an extra charge you might even get Fonzie to say “Sit on it” instead of “You may now kiss the bride.”

Shanghai Jazz        
Perhaps you have a flair for the elegant and dramatic. This Madison club and restaurant takes you back to the glamorous Shanghai of the 1920’s and 30’s, when the city was called the “Paris of the Orient.” One special perk of booking this experience for up to 150 guests is the entertainment. Because this is a bonafide jazz club, you are able to book Grammy-winning artists for your party. How about Etta James singing, “At Last…”

Natirar Mansion    
This 500 acre estate nestled in the mountains and valleys in the Peapack-Gladstone area is the former residence of the King of Morocco (right, I was wondering the same thing…How does the King of Morocco find New Jersey? What, does he have a cousin in Hopatcong?). As elegant as you can imagine, this “House,” built in 1912 can accommodate 225 revelers under a brilliant white tent where an executive chef will make you feel like a member of royalty.

Rutgers University Historic Kirkpatrick Chapel    
I remember my freshman year in college where the orientation director told us to look around, saying that approximately 60% of us would marry someone we met there. It kind of threw me for a loop since I was attending an all male school… Getting married on campus doesn’t get any better than this historic structure in New Brunswick. With its gothic architecture and Tiffany stained glass windows, this landmark, built in 1873, is the creation of Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh, the same man who designed the Plaza Hotel and the Dakota. And when that incredible pipe organ plays “Here Comes the Bride,” you know it’s for real.

These are just a few of the many options for New Jersey nuptials. Any certified wedding planner will help you along with the process of choosing the perfect site for the big day. Just pray you don’t get someone like Martin Short in “Father of the Bride.”

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