Picturesque Spring Wedding Venues in New Jersey

It's not hard to see why springtime marks the beginning of wedding season. When you're surrounded by blooming flowers and lush greenery around every corner, spring wedding photos can be exceptionally gorgeous. Plus, outdoor photo shoots are much more pleasant before New Jersey's humid summer heat kicks in!

If you're planning a spring wedding in the Garden State, you've got a lot of options for gorgeous venues. No matter where in New Jersey you live, there's a nearby location with the perfect backdrop for your big day. Here are five of our favorite NJ spring wedding venues.

Rutgers Gardens (New Brunswick)

 

Many Hurricane staffers are Rutgers University alumni. As a result, we work with a lot of couples who met during their time at RU. If you and your sweetheart are Scarlet Knights, what better place to get married than the place you fell in love? Located on the Rutgers-New Brunswick Campus, Rutgers Gardens hosts wedding outdoor ceremonies and receptions throughout the year. Whether you choose the Roy DeBoer Evergreen Garden or the Art Rudolph Sun and Shade Garden, your wedding photos will be filled with stunning florals and greenery.

Shadowbrook (Shrewsbury, NJ)

 

Shadowbrook at Shrewsbury is an incredible venue for any time of year, but a spring wedding at this historical Monmouth County estate lets you take full advantage of its 18-plus acres of natural beauty. After you travel up the maple tree-lined drive to the property, you'll find an elegant, historical mansion, an outdoor ceremony space with rows of gorgeous flowers, and countless opportunities for photos and videos in front of the venue's flawless landscaping.

The Spring Lake Manor (Spring Lake, NJ)

This beautiful wedding venue dates back to 1901 and was recently renovated to "preserve its unique character." In addition to its elegant exterior, Spring Lake Manor features a private outdoor courtyard with a fountain and a brick waterfall out front. Want beach photos, too? The Manor is just a few short blocks from the shore.

Clarks Landing (Point Pleasant)

Clarks Landing is one of our favorite Jersey Shore wedding venues. You can have your outdoor ceremony overlooking the Manasquan River, and then head out to the docks for a romantic photo shoot. Even if the weather isn't ideal for outdoor photos, Clarks Landing offers some amazing indoor shots:. Its Grand Ballroom has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the water.

The Water Witch Club (Highlands)

If you want the best of New Jersey's outdoor views in one location, look no further than the exclusive Water Witch Club. Situated on one of the highest points of the eastern seaboard, this one-of-a-kind venue is surrounded by the Sandy Hook bay, the Atlantic Ocean, and the New York City skyline. The Water Witch Club's official event season runs from April through October, so if you want to book one of its limited spring wedding weekends, you won't want to delay.

Planning a New Jersey wedding? Let Hurricane Productions provide your entertainment, photography, and videography services. Check out our pricing page to view our packages, or request a quote for more details.

 

Wedding Lighting and Your Reception: Why Venue Lighting Design Matters

You've booked your wedding venue, chosen your color scheme, and picked out your centerpieces and floral arrangements. The look and feel of your reception is coming together – but have you considered wedding lighting?

Good lighting is the difference between an ordinary ballroom and your wedding reception. With uplighting to match your colors, spotlighting for your introductions and first dance, and customized visual displays, your venue will be elevated and transformed into a unique space designed just for you and your guests.

A lot of couples overlook wedding lighting when they're planning their big day, but you don't want to skip this important element of your reception. Here's why you should ask your venue and entertainment team about lighting options for your wedding.

Set the mood with the right wedding lighting

What kind of emotions do you want to evoke on your wedding day? Romance? Fun? Playfulness? Excitement? Intimacy? This is where well-placed uplighting and spotlighting come in.

Uplighting typically involves soft white or colored lighting to change the style of the room and set the tone for your wedding. For evening celebrations, it helps your guests transition from the brighter lights of the venue's lobby into the more romantic, intimate space that is your reception. For daytime receptions, uplighting can enhance or replace any natural daylight that may be coming into the ballroom.

Spotlighting can help keep your guests focused on the most important moments and elements of your reception. For instance, spotlights during your grand entrance, special dances, toasts, and cake-cutting will draw guests' eyes to the right place, while strategically placed lights can showcase your floral arrangements, wedding cake, and other décor elements. Intelligent spotlights, which can be programmed to move and adjust, can help create a club-like or "party" atmosphere when guests are out on the dance floor, too.

When you meet with your venue's event coordinator, you'll want to ask about the ballroom's existing lighting options (dimmers, zones, etc.) and where your focal points (head table, dance floor, cake table, food stations, etc.) will be placed during the reception. This will help your wedding lighting designer figure out the right strategy for uplighting and spotlight placement.

Wedding lighting helps your other vendors, too

You probably already know that photography and videography turn out best when you have the right lighting. Spotlighting and uplighting in your venue can greatly enhance your reception photos and video footage. Your first dance will look magical and ethereal with a spotlight shining on you. The colors of your decorations will pop in photos. Every detail and special moment will simply look better on camera when the room has well-designed lighting.

Our wedding lighting options

Hurricane Productions can do more than just get people on the dance floor at your wedding. Our talented lighting designers will ensure that the mood is perfect with the right visual elements. Here's a breakdown of the lighting design options we offer as part of our wedding services:

Intelligent Spotlighting

Our lighting designers will control an intelligent spotlighting system at your reception. It's perfect for introductions and toasts, and can double as lighting for your dance floor. This option is available as a free upgrade to our Request Entertainment Package, and comes standard with our Spotlight Entertainment Package.

Full Venue Uplighting Design

Our battery-powered, wireless uplighting can be placed anywhere in your reception venue. One of our lighting designers will fully customize the lighting in the color and style of your choice, ensuring that your lighting matches the overall décor and ambiance of your wedding. Uplighting design is available as an upgrade to any of our wedding packages.

Custom Visuals and Name-in-Lights Monogram 

These wedding day upgrades add another touch of personalization to your wedding reception. With our Visuals Package, our team will create a custom monogram animation, photo montage presentation, and social media streaming of your wedding hashtag, all displayed on two LED screens. Our Name-in-Lights option lets you display a highly detailed, customized design directly on the walls of your venue.

Projection Mapping

Want to kick off your reception in a spectacular and memorable way? We can create a custom projection mapping display synced with the music of your choice for your grand entrance into the ballroom.

No matter what kind of atmosphere you want to create at your reception, well-designed lighting can help you achieve it. Talk to us about your wedding day vision, and we'll help you turn it into a reality.

Ready to book media and entertainment services for your wedding day? Visit our pricing page or request a quote for more details.

What Is the Appropriate Amount to Tip My Wedding Vendors?

Your DJ has just played the final song of the evening at your wedding reception. Your guests are all getting ready to head home (or to the afterparty!), but before you follow them out, you decide to make the rounds and thank your vendors with a tip.

While wedding vendor tipping is never required, it is often customary in the service industry (and always appreciated). If you loved your DJ, photographer, videographer, or anyone else who helped coordinate your wedding, it's kind and classy to show your gratitude with a small bonus for a job well done.

With so many different wedding expenses, it can be tricky to determine the right amount to give each of your vendors. Follow this handy guide to help you figure out the appropriate tips for your various wedding service providers.

Wedding vendor tipping: What do most people give?

Most wedding vendor tipping standards are based on a percentage of your contract amount. If you decide to follow these guidelines, it's a good idea to have all the numbers in front of you a few weeks before your big day so you can calculate and prepare your tips ahead of time. You'll also want to review your wedding contracts carefully to see if a gratuity was already built into the final price. This is common for transportation services and wedding venues (a service charge is typically included to cover the tips for your wait staff), but not for other types of vendors.

Wedding reception staff

  • Amount: 15 to 20 percent of the contract, if gratuity was not included
  • When to tip: At the end of your reception, usually handed to the maître d'

Wedding officiant

  • Amount: $100, or a donation to their church (if applicable)
  • When to tip: At the rehearsal dinner (if present) or after the ceremony

DJ or band

  • Amount: $100 to $200 per entertainer, or 15 to 20 percent of the contract
  • When to tip: At the end of the reception

Photographer

  • Amount: $100 to $200 per photographer
  • When to tip: At the end of the reception

Videographer

  • Amount: $100 to $200 per videographer
  • When to tip: At the end of the reception

Limo/transportation

  • Amount: Around 15 percent of the contract, if gratuity was not included
  • When to tip: At the end of the evening when they drop you off

Other wedding vendors you may want to tip include your hair stylist, makeup artist, delivery drivers for your flowers or wedding cake, wedding planner, bartenders (if their tip wasn't included in your catering contract), and

How to present a tip to your wedding vendor

Traditionally, wedding vendor tips are given in cash, enclosed in an envelope. Often, one of the couple's parents or someone in the wedding party is responsible for delivering the tip, so the newlyweds don't have to worry about it at the end of the evening. However, some couples prefer to give the tip themselves so they can chat with their vendors and thank them personally.

Don't want to carry around envelopes of cash all night? Some vendors, including Hurricane Productions, will gladly go digital and accept tips through services like Venmo or PayPal. You'll definitely want to confirm that other vendor accept electronic tips, but if they do, it can be an excellent alternative to the awkward envelope hand-off. Sending a tip quickly and securely through your phone means you never have to worry about misplacing the tip envelopes or giving the wrong tip to the wrong vendor.

Your wedding day team takes pride in their work and wants to ensure that you and your guests have an amazing experience. If they've delivered that, let them know it and say thanks with a tip (and a smile!).

If your budget is tight and you can't afford a big tip, you can also express your appreciation through a handwritten or emailed thank-you note and/dor positive online review of the vendor. This can go a long way and even encourage new business, so feel free to tell the world if you loved your wedding staff.

Hurricane Productions offers a full suite of wedding day services, including DJ entertainment, photography, and videography. Visit our pricing page for package details, or request a quote for your event.

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