Wedding Venue Search: Congress Hall

Wanting a non-traditional wedding in New Jersey?

Looking to stray from the typical banquet halls? Not to worry, this wedding planner has got you covered! Join me for a weekly blog series where I will share a bunch of offbeat, contemporary and even secret venues where you can host your perfect wedding.

The possibilities are endless with a non-traditional venue! Everything from the schedule of events to the style and themes, you can design a wedding that is true to you and your love. Flexibility is key when you want to avoid the run of the mill and host a unique wedding. These venues allow you to imagine and create with little restraint- besides your budget that is. 

Congress Hall | Cape May, NJ

Cassie Claire Photography

If you’re looking for a venue that has historic charm yet it is fresh and fully staffed- then Congress Hall is the one for you. This beachside resort has really nailed the art of hosting amazing weddings. Congress Hall offers the flexibility of hosting your wedding in different areas of their property which offer your guests beautiful sights, luxurious accommodations and quality service.

There are quite a few options including hosting your very own beach ceremony or on the Grand Lawn followed by cocktail hour and your long-awaited reception in the stunning Grand Ballroom.

Outdoor ceremonies are my absolute favorite but there is always the looming fear of inclement weather. At Congress Hall that is not a problem since they offer awesome plan B options in the event of bad weather. 

For the budget-conscious couples- Congress Hall offers great discounts for winter weddings and you won’t have to sacrifice beauty or service!

Clearly, I am a fan!

Here’s Why: Wedding Guest Attire doesn’t have to be stressful

Let’s face it- figuring out what to wear to a wedding isn’t rocket science but there is definitely a method to figure out precisely what to wear so that you’re not under or over-dressed. Selecting the perfect-outfit-to-stand-out-and-strut-your-stuff but also in-line with what everyone else is wearing so you don’t-stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb-can be tricky. With a little help from my friends at The Black Tux, here are some surefire ways to make sure you’re a mainstay at the photobooth and have plenty of selfie options to choose from. They even created a quick reference guide to for us to use.. see below ;)

1.     Start with the invite.

This is the best way to figure out if the formality of the celebration.  But how on earth do you figure that out if they don’t explicitly name it on the invite? Couples will match their invites to the themes of their wedding so observing the design and other content of the invite is your next best way to decide.  Here are some good ways to decipher:

a.     Wow-factor when you open the invite.. is it in a lot of special envelopes or boxes, heavy cardstock, was it specially delivered?

b.     Font. Is it clean and precise or fancy script?

c.      Design. Does it look beachy, earthy or super elegant?

d.     Location. Is the wedding at a farm, beach, traditional wedding banquet hall or at a swanky hotel or venue? (doesn’t hurt to let Google help you with this one) Also, note that this one isn’t the definitive answer- I have planned Black Tie weddings on farms in the past.

Note: Most couples will denote on the invite when the wedding is Black Tie optional or above.

2.     Once you’ve figured out all the formality stuff you’ll want to consider where to shop and colors.

My top recommendations are Rent the Runway and The Black Tux. If you’ve been following my blog, you might remember I wrote about how amazing Rent the Runway is for ladies – everyone from the bride to the bridesmaids and guests. It is the answer to the age-old problem- “I’m probably not gonna wear this outfit again after I’ve been photographed in it.” Why not rent it a- avoid paying an arm and a leg to then store in your closet, all the while lying to yourself about finding somewhere else to wear it to! Ladies- I’ve done my girl code due diligence. 

Now for the fellas- The Black Tux, is the answer for you as well.. I’m sure you have had to take time out of your busy schedule in the past to go and get fitted for a suit, then had to pick it up and then had to take almost the same amount of time after wearing it to drop it back off at the rental store. With The Black Tux, you don’t have to do any of that. Measure yourself at home, have your very own Fit Specialist check your measurements, try it on a week before the event date and mail back when you’re done. Voila! Not only was it easy but you will be the dapperest wedding date of all.. Yes, dapperest is a new word.. Feel free to use ;)

Now, on to color. Although I tend to go dark, don’t be afraid of color. This is one of the best ways to play up your personality.  Coordinating with the season is a great way to stay on trend and make sure you don’t become that sore thumb I mentioned earlier.

Patterns are another great way to show off your style and coordinate with your date.  Just keep the formality in mind when choosing so that you make sure to stand out in a good way!

3.     Coordinating with your date.

Please do not go crazy matching with your date. By this I mean- avoid reminiscing prom at all costs! Pick 1 color that you can both incorporate in your outfits in subtle ways. If that color is the main color of the lady for example- it can be a complimentary color for the guy with subtle pops in his outfit. A good alternative is to use shades of the same color- but again don’t go crazy.

4.     Comfort is key. Do’s and Don’ts

a.     Don’t wear an outfit you can’t dance in let alone breathe in!

b.     Do bring spare shoes to change into.

c.      Don’t forget a pashmina, bolero or jacket for early spring and late fall affairs.

d.     Do find the perfect pocketbook to hold all the necessities.

That’s all I got for now guys! Hope this helps you be the perfectly dressed wedding guest of your dreams. Let me know if you have any tips you’d like to share! Sharing is caring. <3

4 Unique + Off the Beaten Path Wedding Venues in New Jersey

Planning a non-traditional wedding in New Jersey?

Looking to stray from the typical banquet halls? Not to worry, this wedding planner has got you covered! Join me for a weekly blog series where I will share a bunch of offbeat, contemporary and even secret venues where you can host your perfect wedding.

The possibilities are endless with a non-traditional venue! Everything from the schedule of events to the style and themes, you can design a wedding that is true to you and your love. Flexibility is key when you want to avoid the run of the mill and host a unique wedding. These venues allow you to imagine and create with little restraint- besides your budge that is. 

Sterlingbrook Farm | Pittstown, NJ

This renovated barn venue is perfect for the horse-loving bride and groom. It was established in 1979 as an equine veterinary clinic. Horses still roam the property in fenced sections as you drive down the picturesque dirt road entrance. The barn features a huge window and rafters for string lights making it perfect for a small wedding at any time of the day.  

Photography by Cinnamon Wolfe Photography

Laurita Winery | New Egypt, NJ

A vineyard in New Jersey?! Set the perfect ambiance for your wedding at Laurita Winery whether you choose to have it in the winery or smack dab in the middle of the vineyard! Your photos will be nothing short of amazing in this idyllic yet offbeat New Jersey venue.

Photography by Lin Pernille Photography

Photography by Mekina Saylor Weddings 

Willowwood Arboretum | Far Hills NJ

Willowwood Arboretum is perfect for the couple looking for venue where you can create different areas for entertaining while keeping tons of green space. The Stone Barn is too small to host a full wedding inside of it- even a small one. However, a combo of barn and tent provide sufficient coverage from the elements and keeps the open air option on the other side of the barn. The grounds surrounding The Stone Barn make for charming photo ops for you and your guests.

Willowwood is also great for food truck wedding with a paved drive in front of The Stone Barn, multiple food trucks can drive up and serve all of your guests seated under the tent.

Photography by Monika De Myer Photography

Fernbrook Farms | Columbus NJ

The Inn at Fernbrook Farms is a beautiful all-inclusive venue that sits on 200+ acres which you get full access to on your wedding day. The property can host your special day on the open air or tents on their expansive lawns and the Georgian Manor House built in 1750.

Photography by Love & Luck Photo