Know What You Want ... "Set your goals. Once we know your goals and your vision, we can help create your dream wedding and keep it within your goals."
Explore Different Ideas ... "We've worked with brides on themes ranging from an Enchanted Forest to a Medieval Wedding, a Great Gatsby celebration, Romantic Glowing Candles, and even a Flowers Forever motif."
The Bernards Inn, 27 Mine Brook Road, Bernardsville, NJ 07924
908.766.0002, email@example.com, www.bernardsinn.com
Celebrate Your Wedding with … Creative Décor & Menus
Your Wedding Vision
“Before you visit any venues for your wedding,” says Andrea Testa, manager of events at The Bernards Inn, “set your goals. Once we know your goals and your vision, we can help create your dream wedding and keep it within your goals.”
Your venue must know all your details. “We always ask the couple how many children are attending and which vendors will be present, so we can prepare accordingly. We also ask if there are any special food allergies or dietary restrictions among the couple themselves or their guests.”
Andrea tells us that, with all your vendors, and especially your venue, “It’s important that you get along with the person you’ll be working with. That person will carry you through the entire experience, so you need to be sure you connect with them and that they understand your vision.”
Maintaining the overall flow of the day helps make everything go smoothly. “That’s where I come in as well as our bridal attendant. The bride is being pulled in 20 different directions by her family and friends, and can forget the run-throughs we’ve done, so we keep everyone on track with where they need to be and take our couples from one spot to the next to guide them through the entire day.”
Enchanted Forests, Candlelit Ballrooms, Medieval Themes, & More
“We do an extensive interview with the couple to understand their vision. They might want a lighted stairwell, a certain theme or color palette, or may have other very specific ideas.”
The wedding planners at The Bernards Inn start with the blank canvas of the venue’s ballroom. “We transform it into each bride’s specific wedding day dream.” To offer ideas you can present to your wedding planner so they can do the same, we ask Andrea to recall some of her more memorable weddings.
"As one example, the governor’s niece had a very unique wedding here. She really liked the outdoors, so we decided to bring the outside into the inside.” They rented about 40 trees from a nearby greenhouse. Each tree had a set of wheels attached, which permitted the staff to easily arrange the décor. “We transformed the ballroom into an enchanted forest.”
One bride wanted the ballroom to be candlelit, with no additional lighting. “Her vision was ‘Sparkle’ and we decorated the entire room with glowing candles to bring her theme to life.”
Another bride wanted a medieval-themed wedding. “We brought in antique wooden tables and plates and even big wine goblets. We even had a few of the employees wear medieval costumes. It was all very customized.”
On New Year’s Eve, they had a Great Gatsby wedding with feathered centerpieces adorned with gold lamé down the center.
“We have another wedding coming up and the bride loves flowers. So we’re filling the room with dozens of fresh flowers. The more flowers, the better.”
More ideas! “One of our moms is creating a special surprise for her daughter, who got engaged at a beautiful rustic barn. They’re having the barn doors replicated as a surprise and the bride will get married with the barn doors behind her!
“The décor for each wedding is completely unique, tailored to each couple. We style the ballroom according to whatever you imagine and make it your dream day.”
Your venue should be able to adapt a menu to the culinary tradition you request. “I recently did an Indian wedding, so we made custom menus for them with dishes like chicken curry and vegetable biryani.
“Recently a woman came in and gave us a list of 15 things she was allergic to. She was largely restricted to legumes and had to have dishes that were nut-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Our chefs researched all her allergies and came up with some phenomenal vegetarian dishes. They created one dish especially for her, spice-rubbed cauliflower steak with lentils.
“Sometimes, just a couple of days before the wedding, the couple will call and say there’s actually going to be more guests than they thought. We might have been told initially that they were having 150 guests, but then they would tell us it’s going to be 180. It’s very challenging to prepare for more guests than anticipated with only a few days notice, but we still do it.
“If we’re doing anything in the Silver Vault and Wine Pantry here, which have a very unique ambiance, I always recommend keeping an Old World feel with lots of candles and light. It’s very romantic.”
If they are upstairs in the ballroom, which has a more traditional ambiance, Andrea often recommends some type of uplighting. “Tablescapes are also a big hit. If you have a vision, we can put in white drapes with white linens and create the feeling of a snowfall, for example.
“The end result is what we’re really trying to achieve. We want the bride to have the perfect day, where she doesn’t have to worry about a thing and everything goes accordingly.”
Given its romantic setting, a lot of couples get engaged at The Bernards Inn and then decide to come back for their wedding. “That usually happens several times a year.”
A Historic Setting
The Bernards Inn is 106 years old and the family that now owns the venue acquired it about 10 years ago.
“We are an exclusive custom venue with a staff that will meet all your requests,” says Andrea, who tells us they can do any type of event her brides and grooms envision. “When you come here, you get a custom experience that we feel makes us different from anybody else.”
Andrea got involved in the wedding industry when she started volunteering for the city of Summit. “I would help with town events and then it escalated to private parties. I was helping my friends and doing many events. Then I started working for a florist making floral arrangements, and moved on to work for several venues and catering companies, so I’ve had my hand in many parts of the wedding industry. Eventually I put it all together and now I’ve been an events director for 30 years.
“My goal is for every couple to leave here with a smile on their faces. The most exciting part of the day for me is the ceremony. Watching two people that I’ve worked with for over a year to create their wedding finally put it all together is so beautiful. Some couples also come back for their anniversaries, their children’s birthdays, and all their special occasions. We love that!”