The Inn at Millrace Pond | Rustic Country Charm

The Inn at Millrace Pond (Ryan Brenizer Photography)

Enjoy The Journey. “Have fun during the process. It’s an exciting time, even though it can be stressful.”

Set the Budget, Confirm Who Is Covering Each Item, and Relax. "You have a budget, and you’ve got to know where the individual payments are coming from."

It’s Your Day. "You’ll get a lot of opinions from people, and they all mean well. Friends, relatives, neighbors, or whoever will an opinion and you’re going to want to please everyone, but you really have to take care of yourself.

Consider Immediate Family."You'll want to contact immediate family and hear their needs, but 99 percent of the decisions should be all about the bride and groom."

The Inn at Millrace Pond, Frungillo Hospitality Group
313 Johnsonburg Rd, (Rt. 519), Hope, NJ 07844
908.303.3750, info@innatmillracepond.com
www.innatmillracepond.com

Celebrate with Rustic Country Charm

Historic, Traditional — & Brand New ... “We’re building a brand new farmhouse and a barn for weddings,” says Robert Frungillo, who with his brother, Gerald Frungillo, owns The Inn at Millrace Pond. “The property is 25 acres in one of the state’s most historic towns, Hope, NJ, just 50 minutes from Manhattan. A beautiful stream with a pond runs through the Inn, which is basically a village with eight different buildings couples can use over the weekend for their wedding.”

Weekend Weddings ... Like many couples now, you may be looking for a venue that can accommodate a 24-hour or even a weekend event, and more venues are remodeling to fulfill that desire. “Here, your guests can walk the trails all over the grounds,” says Robert. “They can go antique shopping down the street and have lunch in the gristmill or the tavern. They can get ready in a cottage before the ceremony and after the reception go to the after-party by the fire pit or in the tavern. Then they can stay overnight, wake up in the morning, and have breakfast here. It’s much more than a five-hour wedding."

There is a gristmill, a 300 year-old tavern with a majestic 10-foot fireplace, stone cottages with all the modern amenities, and 17 rooms where people can stay overnight. “The farmhouse is also over 300 years old and has been renovated to preserve its history and be usable for cocktail hour. You can walk outside to a beautiful garden right from there. Attached to this farmhouse is our rusticly charming barn, which can accommodate 225 people.” Robert tells us that one of the walls is all glass and overlooks the grounds where the sun sets. “It has ceilings 50 feet high with barn-like rafters and will be ready for the weddings we’ve booked for May.”

The Inn at Millrace Pond (Anthony Ziccardi Photography)

The Inn at Millrace Pond

The All-Important Budget ... “I don’t know of a single wedding couple who is not budget conscious. It’s challenging to make someone’s wedding expectations get compatible with their budget. Our job is to take their budget and their expectations and bring them to a common point.

“The most obvious way to save money is the date people choose. Say you want the second Saturday in October. As soon as you see your favorite property, you fall in love. Then the reality sets in. ‘How can we afford everything we want?’ We try to stay close to what our couples want, so we look at switching the Saturday to a Friday or a Thursday, or perhaps switch from October to November to keep the Saturday. You get the same package on a Thursday as you do on a Saturday. We don’t cut anything. The estate is open with all the buildings, the same package and experience, but on a Thursday it’s 30 percent less.”

They also look at the menu. “Food is typically 20 percent of your bill in our industry. With four selections of tableside options, we can play with your entrée selections to get you down to a smaller bill per person. But you need a certain amount of food, so it’s not the amount you want to change, but the type of food.

“Then you can look at the guest count. People understand budgets are real, so maybe instead of 200 they make it 150.

“There are other things, such as a military discount, that we do to help couples as much as possible.”

The Inn at Millrace Pond

Your Venue Choice: It Affects Almost Everything ... The most comprehensive wedding decision is choosing your venue, which can influence your choice of gowns, flowers, color palette, menu, themes, and more. “Your décor, for example, also typically goes hand-in-hand with the venue you choose. Here, there's really not a lot you need to bring in. Talking about cost savings, the natural beauty and woodwork, our gigantic fireplace, the glass wall, and the farm tables we provide, all help a lot. We’re also in the middle of a beautiful landscaped garden. There’s not much more you need.”

They’re also putting up a tent for the season. “We’re making it look like a ballroom, with beautiful chandeliers, custom liners for the ceiling, a beautiful brick floor with a dance floor on top, and heaters. It will look like a real ballroom, but you’ll be outside and in nature. We want to offer a backup for our couples, especially with Covid.

“We have the rendering to show clients who are booking now, and they can see they don’t need to do much. That helps a lot with your budget’s flowers, tables, and décor.”

The Inn at Millrace Pond

The Inn at Millrace Pond

The Inn at Millrace Pond (Markows Photography)Wow Them at Cocktails  ... “Trends have changed over the years, but recently it seems what is old is new again. Couples want hand-served dishes, but often a little different, so they may want little quail eggs with a crusted piece of bread with a little sauce about the size of a quarter. They want things that taste great, but they also want the look. Taking a watermelon radish, for example, with its beautiful colors and stuffing it with yogurt or pinning things up with clothespins along a line can become adorable, colorful displays. Mac and cheese always shows up, but now we’re making little mac and cheese bites.”

There are typically two to five stations per wedding at cocktail hour with the traditional pasta station, carving station, and sushi station. “Then it’s anything outside the box. A bacon station, for example, is now often requested. It’s everything bacon, dipped in several different chocolates, little muffins packed with bacon, and little bacon mac and cheese bites. Everyone wants something a little different.”

For Dinner — Special Services, Special Dishes  ... “The best way to get a fresh salad is to serve it and eat it right away. The years of pre-plating a salad are now long gone. We build the salad right in front of people with a team of servers. One lays the foundation in the salad, the next staff member will add the next component, and so on. Within 30 or 40 seconds you have a beautiful, fresh-as-it comes salad.

“We always give your guests the choice of options tableside, rather then have them choose ahead of time. No matter what selections you choose, most people will pick the filet mignon. But we can give people other options asking them, for example, what sauce they might want a poutine or a bordelaise.

The Inn at Millrace Pond (Ryan Brenizer Photography)“Chilean sea bass is our staple now, then we always have a poultry and a vegan or vegetarian option. Now a lot more entrées will be vegan or vegetarian. Wedding cake has not been as popular as it once was. Most couples now are opting not to serve wedding cake. My son just got married and instead of a cake, they chose fun, funky stations, with someone making zeppoles.”

After-party events have been hotter than ever. “Years ago it wasn’t even a thought, but now it’s a full-blown menu with a DJ. Couples do that at our tavern. We bring in some comfort food, maybe a slider station with different burger sliders like crab cake and lobster, chicken wings, or pork bellies, plus French fries. People do a to-go station, maybe a hot dog cart. You’ve got a million food trucks in the world, but we do a lot of that internally.”

A Rich History  ... “Our gristmill actually worked at one time. When George Washington camped near the Delaware River, this is where they made the bread for the troops. Some troops even stayed here, since it was a bed and breakfast at the time. The gristmill is where they would take grain and the stream’s flowing water would hit the wheel, turn it, and grind the grain into flour.”

Robert, Gerald, and their team are always happy to welcome new wedding couples.”Let us create the whole experience for you, and let it be more than just five hours. Let it last 24 hours or the whole weekend. It’s so rustic and charming, you’ll feel like you’re in a different country. We have a lot of people from Manhattan. They come out here to the country and it’s a breath of fresh air, with trees, horses, and our beautiful inn. They’ll have a rehearsal party Friday, wedding Saturday, and brunch on Sunday.”

Always Exciting  ... Robert was born into the field. “I’ve been involved since I was 10 years old. My parents started in Verona, NJ with a small deli in 1973. I was a baby. We started doing catering in the 70’s and 80’s. In the 90’s, when my parents got out of the business, it was still a deli with catering. But my brother and I started looking into how to be a venue, how to run it, how to be a little different. From there we started looking to purchase a venue.

“The most exciting aspect of hosting a wedding is when, at the end of the night, the bride and groom say, ‘You made our dream come true.’ In our business, the hours are endless and we only have one shot to make it right. I think of a wedding as a blank canvas. Throughout the night the events go on, moments happen, and the canvas is filled.

“My parents set my brother and I on this course. People still come up to us and remember my mom making delicious food for their wedding. It’s those stories that are so rewarding.”

The Inn at Millrace Pond, Frungillo Hospitality Group
313 Johnsonburg Rd, (Rt. 519), Hope, NJ 07844
908.303.3750, info@innatmillracepond.com
www.innatmillracepond.com