Summer Wedding location

Old Mar 19th, 2005, 07:11 PM
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Summer Wedding location

OK everyone...perhaps you know of me from my move to WA/OR saga...my BF and I have decided to get married this summer in Jersey before we make the move to WA/OR. I only want low key.Thinking immediate families and the closest of friends..perhaps 20-30 total.I think it may be alot of fun to organize a "dinner party" and surprise them with a wedding when everyone gets there. So...
Question #1-Does this idea sound fun to anyone other than ourselves? Or do I watch too much TV and the idea is really lame?

Question #2- Does anyone have any suggestion for a nice restaurant with a private room and some sort of view? The shore or some lake,perhaps?

I know places book well in advance for weddings, but...hey! We can get married any day of the week,so maybe nobody will see a Tuesday/Wed night wedding coming?
Any thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks!
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 08:32 PM
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Hi klr, well your idea is certainly original! I don't know what I think of it.

I guess the first thing that goes through my mind is that if you and your fiance have parents I would strongly urge to to let them know about your plans. Otherwise some parents would not be happy about this "wedding surprise".

Your closest friends I would imagine would enjoy this, but I imagine you and your fiance know them well enough to determin that.

Regarding grandparents (if any) only you know whether they would be hurt by not being advised in advance. Some older people have strong feelings how important events should be handled. Aunts and uncles etc. well all families are different but if it was me I would not be upset.

Do either of you have sibilings? How would they feel about the surprise. I would imagine you will have two witnesses, siblings perhaps? So they would have to know in advance.

One other thing. If the invitation is to just a dinner and some of your loved ones can't make it will you or they be upset or dissapointed because they were not there for your wedding?

It will be interesting to hear what others think about your idea.

I do understand your wishes for a low key wedding. I wonder if doing this as a surprise will cause so much confusion and emotions that it may not be as serene and low key as you desire. Just a thought.
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 08:37 PM
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And I meant to say, congratulations on your engagement and the best of wishes to both of you for your future life together.
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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 03:50 AM
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I think a surprise wedding is a bad idea.

A wedding is one of the happiest & most festive rites in our society...the joy of anticipation should be shared with everyone close to you. Everyone loves a wedding...we love planning showers, shopping for wedding gifts, buying a special outfit, having our hair done, helping with the arrangements, etc.

If I was invited to a dinner party and found out if was a surprise wedding I think I would feel bad that I didnt bring an appropriate wedding gift...plus I would wonder if the bride was "with child" and had to plan a quickie wedding.

If you were my sister, I would tell you to please dont cheat your family and friends out of that fabulous & fun time in the months before the wedding. Because it brings us JOY to have a wedding to look forward to.

By the way...celebrities do this often in order to avoid a media frenzy, but even their parents, siblings and closest friends are usually in on the surprise.

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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 04:29 AM
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Congrats!

Having been the bride in the elaborate, full-on wedding less than a year ago, I think the idea of a low-key one is great. My first thought is that those most important to you will make more of an effort to be there if they know it's your wedding v. thinking it's 'just' a dinner party, especially if they have to travel and it's midweek when many have to work.

I definately think you can have a fun reception/wedding with those closest to you so yes, it does sound fun.

Remember it's your day (and your fiance's) but if you want to share it with others, the probably need to be in on the secret.

Good luck with the wedding and the move

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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 05:54 AM
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Whether or not you do this as a surprise for your guests or not - a suggestion is when discussing event with restaurant, down-play the wedding aspect. Many years ago we had a small, low-key wedding (40 guests) and everywhere we looked kept telling us they did not do weddings that small.

It finally dawned on us to tell the restaurant to think of it is a dinner party - they got the idea - and had no trouble booking a place.
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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 06:30 AM
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Finding anwers to your posting is like presents under the tree! I always worry everyone will read it and say "Duh!" and not respond! Pros/cons are all accepted! I'm still in the thinking out loud stage!
Unfortunately,only one grandparent(my grandmother)between the two of us,and she's local.2 of my siblings local,1 in WA,so date would be during her regular Summer visit.That gives me about a three week window.Most of his family is not in the US,although happily,his parents will be here for the Summer to visit,and his one sister and her family lives here as well.He's fine with the other 8 siblings most likely not attending.
Maybe my family is weird,but we've always been very casual(lovingly!)
2 of the 4 of us sisters married,but neither of them had any siblings in their wedding.(One was church-her friends were MOH and BM,other sis got married at courhouse with parents only present)so,I don't see anyone being upset at the surprise,since I've always spoken of low key when I talked about my wedding dreams.I do have a 2 year old from a previous nightmare that BF has always treated as his own.She knows him as Daddy,something I never forced. My family and friends have already busted our chops for quite some time about when she's going to get a sibling-to which my response has always been "I'm doing it in the right order this time" I DO have to figure out what to do if someone says they can't attend-spill the beans or drop hints? I really only want the people who witness to know ahead of time.

If small is an issue for venues,which is definately a possibility, then my other thought was BBQ/Pig roast type outdoor gathering.Our best friends (the witnesses!)have a very large yard,and have always offered the space to us...Rent a tent in case of weather....very casual,relaxed...

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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 07:44 AM
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I actually know a few couples who've done this (surprise wedding) and it always worked out fine. In each case though it was an older couple who'd been together for a while, didn't want or need gifts and just wanted their closest friends and family for a small non-stressful celebration. In each case it was in their own home. So I guess I'd ask the question why do you want it as a surprise? Just more fun or less stressful (you think) or less meddling from parents? You could certainly do it and bill it as a going away party, assuming you'd be moving shortly after. But I'd suggest from a practical standpoint it sounds like you'll be needing a lot of "stuff" if not cash for a move and just doing a small wedding and letting people know is not a bad idea.

Don't know what part of NJ you're in, but it might help to post it for others to help with a venue. If it's near the city, my first though was one of the boat cruises. I think World Yacht and/or Spirit do weddings. There are a bunch of places across the Hudson with views of Manhattan too that I think have private rooms. I know nothing about what it's like but I've seen Spirito's on the web.
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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 08:40 AM
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I was hoping for less stress and more fun! Honestly,the last 3 friends that have gotten married have spent well over 10K on their weddings,one of them closing in on 50K. Staggering to me...We'd rather have small and simple and take all of that money and put it down on a house. The prices for cake/pics/flowers,etc.. are mind blowing. Just looking for a pretty setting and a simple sundress....
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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 09:36 AM
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Congrats and I think your idea of a low key wedding is a wonderful one!

I don't think I'd have a surprise wedding.

I would do just what you outlined, find a restaurant, hire a judge of justice of the peace and have a low key wedding and a dinner afterward.

Spend the bucks on a honeymoon.
 
Old Mar 20th, 2005, 09:41 AM
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Klr6773:

I think that your idea is great. I too felt overwhelmed by all of the wedding stress and decided to do something low key. I talked to my parents and they said that the would give me $20k for a down payment if we wanted to do an immediate family only wedding. To me there was no struggle in coming to the stress-free decision.

Our plan: we'll be getting married by a judge in New Orleans in two months. My parents, his parents, both of my grandpas, and his grandma will be present. We're going to go out to a nice dinner in NO (haven't decided yet but leaning towards Maximo's). The next day we leave for our week long honeymoon (Turks & Caicos...counting the days!). It worked out well for us because we're both graduating from law school two days after we return from our honeymoon so more family will be in town. Our graduation dinner will be somewhat of a wedding dinner as well for the family that wasn't in town for the small civil ceremony.

I was met with resistance from parts of my family, but my mom has been very supportive. The thing that I have found about weddings is that everyone has an opinion, and most of the time their opinion is different than what you want. A wedding is too much of a financial and emotional commitment to go along with what everyone else wants. The moment I gave up on my idea for a destination wedding on the beach at Seaside was the moment that I started feeling relaxed about the process.

As for doing it during the week, I know that the rates for venues can be about 25% less than doing it on Friday or Saturday. I agree with a previous poster's recommendation to approach it like a dinner party w/respect to prospective venues. Once you say the word "wedding," dollar signs starts adding up in the eyes of restaurant owners.

To find possible places to have your wedding dinner, I recommend going on www.theknot.com. Go to "local resources" then "reception sites" and you can browse through the various venues in your area. They also have a very active forum (I think that one of my friends has become addicted to the forum...people get pretty nutty about all of this wedding stuff!) where you can present this question to all of the brides to be. A word of caution: they might be a little more resistant to the impromptu wedding idea b/c most of the girls on the forum seem to want the whole storybook wedding. Don't be offended; just use the forum to get venue advice.

Good luck with your idea and have fun (because that is what weddings are supposed to be)!
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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 11:02 AM
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Excellent advice Mah and congrats on your upcoming nuptuals!
 
Old Mar 20th, 2005, 01:00 PM
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I also agree with Mah's advice. I think the idea of the graduation dinner being also a wedding reception is terrific.

Back to klr6773, I think you think the idea of a surprise wedding would be fun and something to remember and I agree if you think you can pull it off. Otherwise, do as others suggest and just plan a small low key wedding.
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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 01:15 PM
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I've been to two surprise weddings, and they both were lovely. One was an older couple that had been together a long time. They had it at their traditional, yearly Christmas party (an event that all key players attended every year anyway).

The other was a couple my age (late 20s at the time). They had arranged a low-key close-family-and-friends long weekend in the snow and got hitched on their snowboards. Great fun for everyone, including grandparents.
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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 02:21 PM
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OK, I've spent a rainy day jumping around different NJ websites. I do have to laugh at some of the gals on "the knot"..bridezillas! Just as passionate about wedding topic conversations as some of the topics here on Fodors!
All of your responses have been helpful to me. Perhaps the "surprise" element will not be the way to go after all.I am determined,however, to keep it small,casual,and affordable.Lots of research to go!As for the honeymoon,I have a feeling it's going to be spent in Costa Rica-I have his whole family to meet!
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Old Mar 20th, 2005, 02:55 PM
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My teenagers (one boy, one girl) know I will do the same for them regarding wedding finances that my parents did for me. Give them a check for a set amount (if I have any money left after paying for their college educations). They can spend it on a small wedding, elope and use it towards down-payment on house, or if they want a huge wedding, find some way to finance difference on their own.

And since this is a travel forum - maybe they will want to use it for a really nice trip somewhere.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2005, 04:24 AM
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A very nice restaurant right ON the beach (almost unique for New Jersey) is Matissse in Belmar. They do weddings as well. They have a good size dining room with huge windows looking onto the beach, and a small deck as well. I have eaten there several times and love the food and the views. Go to matissecatering.com.

You could ask if they could have the ceremony on the beach in front, not sure about rules, licenses, the restaurant may know, or check the website for the town of Belmar at belmar.com

I also love the Grenville in Bayhead, but they are not on the beach. Take a look at www.thegrenville.com

I personally would not do a surprise wedding. Looking forward to an occasion like a wedding is part of the enjoyment of the actual day, especially for your parents. You can stress that it is a very low key event, people should not bring gifts (or pick a charity for people to contribute to), no showers, etc.

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Old Mar 23rd, 2005, 05:43 AM
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Congrats !
it's your wedding and I think you should do exactly what you want. I think a surprise wedding would be fun and an obvious way to avoid the pre-wedding stress. I think alot of stress comes with all the family getting involved, etc. and for me personally it would be a good thing to avoid. The focus is on you not them, so I personally wouldn't plan everything around worrying about what everyone else will think because no matter what you do and and when you do it, you will not please everyone anyway...have fun !
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Old Mar 23rd, 2005, 11:32 AM
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Wow!!Thanks for the two sights, Cicerone! Matisse looks like it hits the nail on the head in terms of what I was looking for. I already e-mailed for more info...Probably won't go the surprise route after all. Between Fodors and a talk with my best friend,I think I'll just keep everyone in the know, but out of my hair!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2005, 11:54 AM
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I think its a good idea.

Personally, I dread weddings (I'm a terrible mom; I tell my kids that I hope when they marry, they elope!), but enjoy dinner parties, so it might work out to be a lot of fun!

Good luck!
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