Budgeting ... “If you're on a budget, we'll adapt the menu to create a package that works best for their budget. We might also suggest an afternoon reception instead of an evening event or a Sunday versus a Saturday. So if they are open to ideas, we can provide what they want and still keep within their budget.”
Your Happiness ... To find your dream location, Lesley asks, “How do you feel when you walk into the venue, and how well do you think you will work with the banquet sales and planning team? That will determine whether your wedding dream and vision will come to life.”
What’s Important to You?
“When people visit Waterside, they’re looking for something different or unique for their wedding day, not your typical catering hall. I often focus on the view,” says Lesley Lovett, banquet sales and event planner at Waterside Events. “They’re blown away by the beauty of the iconic New York City Skyline. it is breathtaking regardless of the time of day.
“Couples faces often light up when they walk in. They always say, ‘This is so beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like this before, It’s like being right on the water.’ Those are the typical reactions I‘ve seen from couples.”
Waterside has created a Premium Wedding Package. “It’s a five-hour affair — one hour cocktail, four hour reception — with a premium open bar. We include a three-tier wedding cake and our couples love the seafood raw bar we include in our cocktail hour.”
When you’re looking for your wedding location, Lesley encourages you to check their menus. “Make sure they include the dishes and beverages you want and which will also appeal to your guests.”
For example, she suggests making sure your venue also offers a premium open bar and, for your cocktail hour, a wide range of passed hors d’oeuvres. Some favorites Waterside offers include miniature crab cakes with chipotle aioli, crispy wrapped coconut shrimp, asparagus Asiago roll ups, and scallops wrapped with bacon.
“We also offer traditional antipasto, plus cheese, fruit, and vegetable displays. and even a Mediterranean Feast presentation. Each one is eye-catching and delicious and a sure way to please your guests.
“Our pasta chafing dishes are also very popular,” says Lesley, “with penne alla vodka, homestyle gourmet mac and cheese, and broccoli rabe with sweet and spicy fennel sausage in a garlic, oil, and white wine sauce.”
They also offer a choice of fiery chafing dishes and captain carving stations. “Make sure your venue offers these too!” For dinner there are many delicious meat, fish, and poultry options, plus vegetable dishes.
One recent Waterside couple recalled their menu. “Our first course was poached shrimp and crab salad with creamy dijon dressing. The main course selections were chicken française, succulent sirloin steak, and spicy seared tuna. We ended dinner with our custom wedding cake and several family style desserts of crème brûlée, pastries, and even chocolate-covered strawberries!”
Another couple also raved. “For dinner, we started with a first course of fresh mozzarella with vine ripe tomatoes, roasted peppers, and fresh basil over mixed organic greens with champagne vinaigrette. For the main course, guests had a choice of rib eye with a béarnaise sauce, roasted cornish hen with balsamic glaze, or Chilean sea bass with lemon thyme butter sauce. All were served with garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus and everything was delicious.”
Says Lesley, “We’re able to customize all menus, to incorporate each couple’s traditions, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds.”
Lesley boasts about their executive chef, Gus Shizas. He was trained at the Culinary Institute of America and is known for making unforgettable food — including a Grand Marnier duck station with traditional Chinese garnishes — that’s sure to be nearly as memorable as the glamorous view.”
Budgeting & Decor
“If one of our wedding couples is on a budget, we will adapt the menu as best we can for them or create a package that would work best for their budget. We might also suggest an afternoon reception instead of an evening event or a Sunday versus a Saturday. So if they are open to ideas, we can provide what they want and still keep within their budget.
“Decor is always brought in by the couple,” says Lesley. “We have lounge furniture and big white throne chairs. Of course we provide the tables, linens, glassware, plates, and silverware, but any specific decor is brought in by the couple. Our space is very neutral, so any color palette works.”
Your Key Ingredient
To find your dream location, Lesley asks, “How do you feel when you walk into the venue, and how well do you think you will work with the banquet sales and planning team? That will determine whether your wedding dream and vision will come to life.”
Do you want a theme for your wedding? Special entertainment? “Trust in your venue to help you.”
Various special services can make a big difference for the comfort of your guests. “For example, we have valet parking and coat check attendants and a white glove service wait staff, with one person for each 10 to 12 guests, so we can quickly accommodate any request made by your guests.”
They also offer assorted linens, assorted table sizes, plus cocktail furniture, on-site lounge furniture, and Chiavari chairs. “All this is complimentary, so there is no need for rentals. We also provide directional maps and place cards, and of course our executive wedding consultants and maître d’s guide you every step of the way.
“We work closely with nearby hotels to make it easier for your guests. We also offer food tastings and rehearsals. With one wedding at a time, each wedding has our full attention. We also work very closely with our recommended vendors and host many large scale events and fundraisers, using our first floor restaurant and lounge for their after-parties, just as we do for our weddings. It’s a great space for after-parties.”
A Family Affair
“It began when three siblings decided to pursue their passion after being raised in the restaurant industry. Frances Vagias and Dina Holevas opened Waterside in 2009.
They recently changed their name to Waterside Events. “Our new name clarifies our position as a premier lifestyle and aesthetic venue with scenic views of Manhattan and our gorgeous event spaces.
“Modern design and an abundance of natural lighting are the key to throwing a gorgeous event. We have multiple spaces to choose from and our enthusiastic team is ready to make your event picture-perfect.”
New York gets international attention, but some of the best waterfront views are actually in New Jersey. “We’re on the edge of the Hudson River, with beautiful panoramas of the Manhattan skyline with its lights glistening on the Hudson. Our large sprawling space boasts two ballrooms that can be decked out to be as elaborate or as simple as the illustrious couple would like.”
Lesley has been with Waterside since it opened in June of 2009 and has worked for the owners for the past 16 years. Shantal Videla, wedding coordinator, has also been at Waterside since its opening.
“We are very much a family-owned business with long-time employees. Having worked together for many years, we view each wedding as a team effort.”
What’s the most exciting thing for Lesley when dealing with their wedding couples? “I think it’s when they actually book the venue. They found the venue they loved and that they dreamed of. This is the beginning of their planning process and they’re just so excited to start planning their wedding. And so are we!”
Waterside Events, 7800 B River Road, North Bergen, NJ 07047, 201.861.7767, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.watersideevents.com