It is with the greatest pleasure and pride that I share the news of my daughter Marisa’s wedding. The wedding “events” included her bridal shower at the Tea Room of the Raven and Peach in Fair Haven. While the restaurant remains closed, they still do banquets in their upstairs banquet room. My daughter opted for a tea party/shower, and it was lovely.
For the main event my daughter had chosen the Ashford Estate in Allentown, NJ. I had actually never heard of the venue and was fairly skeptical at first, however it honestly surpassed my expectations. To be perfectly honest I’m left fairly humbled by the fact I was able to provide my daughter such an unforgettable experience. To be perfectly honest, this was NOT an open budget affair, there was a budget, and several difficult decisions were made regarding invitations etc. to keep things within budget. Yes, I absolutely created some hard feelings but there is a limit to what can be done, and I had reached mine! Didn’t ruin the fairytale for my daughter though, that’s all that matters to me.
The “rehearsal” dinner was Thursday Nov. 3rd, catered by my friend Eddie Goldberg from Palumbo’s in Little Silver. He did an EXCELLENT job on the dishes, nothing over the top since the main event was the following night. The rehearsal dinner was hosted at my home.
The Ashford Estate:
Main building - this is where the cocktail party and the “after-party” was held. This also contains 14 rooms, including the bridal suite as well as rooms for the parents and bridal party. The estate rental is for 24 hours 11am - 11am the following morning.
View from “our room” / Parents of the Bride, overlooking the courtyard and the “barn/chapel” that the ceremony was performed in.
View from grooms’ parents room overlooking the carriage house.
The cocktail party stations: Taste of Asia (fried rice and sesame chicken - sliders station - pasta station - charcuterie station - brie station - signature drink station. Various passed hor d’oeuvres.
The main event. The ballroom was another building on the property, you have access to the ballroom from 6pm - 11pm at which time you retreat to the main building which held the cocktial party, for the after party. I didn’t get a ton of pics, but here are a few one of the groomsmen hanging out pre-pictures in the library.
It is a breathtaking venue and truly a once in a lifetime experience. The food was catered by Merri Makers which was a big sticking point with me. No offense to them, but I had less than a favorable impression of them heading into this, so count me as double impressed. The entree options were:
Sliced NY sirloin steak
Vegan option (no idea what it was)
I will be perfectly honest, as I explained to my daughter nobody in 5-10-20 years will remember if they had prime rib or surf and tuf what they will remember is the venue. So one of the cost saving measures was to go with the basic cocktail party and dinner menu options. We took the “low end” and it was quite satisfactory.
While the food quality was very good especially for catered, the passed hor duoverse were excellent but I learned about several items that I never saw. The salad was a poached pear and was delicious as was the sliced sirloin. Not the largest of servings, but they did offer me additional, not sure if that was for all guests.
The worst part of the food was the viennese table dessert, it was fairly pathetic. An ice cream bar, with banana foster and a table of Costco Italian cookies and mini pastries. Not that it really matters but it was NOT worth the up charge.
Later in the after party we had a Mc Donald’s kiosk set up form late night hamburgers and chicken nuggets and fries.
Overall, a fantastic venue with a surprisingly good caterer in Merri Makers. Now to start shopping second mortgages to pay it all off!!!