Today, Mike and I visited the sister restaurant of Stone House, Liberty House in Jersey City. With less nervousness and a venue for comparison, Mike and I now feel like pros at this whole picking-a-venue thing. (Okay, not really, since this is only venue #2.)
Located right smack-dab in Liberty State Park, Liberty House looks gorgeous in pictures. But, unfortunately, it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be–at least not for us.
TOP REASONS WHY I’D HAVE MY WEDDING AT LIBERTY HOUSE:
- Gorgeous view – pretty much any window you look out of, you see something breathtaking, be it the NYC skyline, the Statue of Liberty, or Ellis Island.
- Good food – the menu included a great amount of vegetarian options, and the cake (which is included in the price) comes from Carlo’s Bakery of Cake Boss fame.
- General atmosphere – in addition to the gorgeous view, I loved the long cobblestone drive the leads through Liberty State Park to the end by the marina (where the restaurant is located), and the grounds, where the ceremony can be held, have neato found objects, including a giant-sized chess set. They’re also big on candles; they decorate the whole of the room with tea lights, which I love.
TOP REASONS WHY I WOULD NOT HAVE MY WEDDING AT LIBERTY HOUSE:
- Cost – way out of our price range. For a Saturday wedding, prices start at $180 a head, and for the Grand Ballroom (what we thought to be the nicer of the two rooms) you need a minimum of 200 people.
- Not intimate enough – this a big concern for Mike. He doesn’t want a space that is going to feel “empty” if we don’t have enough guests to fill it; nor does he want it to feel too much like a reception hall, which is the feeling he got from here.
- More than one party may be going on at any given time – this is a lot to ask of a restaurant/catering facility, but what we liked about Stone House was the fact that The Gallery would be ours and ours alone for the night. Here, there are two main spaces – The Liberty Room and The Grand Ballroom – with adjacent garden spaces for your ceremony. Although they book each even at least an hour apart (so neither event will be starting or ending at the same time), Mike still said it gave him the feeling that it was a “wedding factory.”
First of all, from the picture, the place looks huge and gorgeous. But my first reaction upon driving up the driveway that led down to the restaurant was that it was waaaayyy smaller than it looked in pictures. We also unfortunately had our appointment at 5pm, so it wasn’t dark out yet and the glowy lights weren’t lit. So overall, not a great first impression.
But as we went inside, I perked up about it–very urban/modern feel, neat light fixtures in the bar (I’m a fan of light fixtures), overall positive feedback from me. But the tour we took with Tarra, the event planner, didn’t quite bowl us over like Stone House did. The terrace on which you can have your ceremony or cocktail hour is nice, but Liberty Room itself is on the darker side, and I’m not a “dark” person. The Grand Ballroom is really classy and has a great wrap-around balcony, but it’s huge–too big for what we’re looking for–and also probably a little too fancy for a cotton dress and DIY decoration kind of wedding.
Although nothing was outright horrible about it, nothing wowed me enough to say, “The hell with it! Let’s spend $180 per person! And while we’re at it, throw in that extra roast at the carving station–yum yum!”
Okay, so money was probably the most important factor in me nixing Liberty House from our prospective venue list: once I heard the price and did the math in my head, it was hard not to consider that as a major hindrance. But I think even if money were no object, it still wouldn’t have been my top choice. It didn’t scream “Mike and Ally are awesome and are having an equally awesome wedding”–and that is the goal of the venue. Once a place screams those exact words to me, I’d be willing to donate my eggs or sell a kidney to afford it. Unfortunately, Liberty House didn’t speak up.
It probably also didn’t help that the whole time, I wanted to be watching the men’s gold medal hockey game on the Olympics, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices for a wedding, don’t you?
82 Audrey Zapp Drive
Jersey City, NJ 07302