13 Top Spots for Engagement & Wedding Photos in New Jersey

By Erik Kent, Co-Publisher, NJWedding.com

To celebrate the 13th anniversary of NJWedding.com on Valentine's Day 2010, I asked professionals within the wedding community throughout New Jersey for their favorite or most-requested photography spots for engagements and weddings. I received a wide array of locations from areas of the Jersey Shore to popular parks and historic sites to places made famous from movies and much more! Thanks to these experts in the NJ wedding industry along with some photos from professional wedding photographers, I'm excited to share with you some of these "13 Top Spots" for engagement and wedding photographs in New Jersey (I?ve also posted a brief description of each location and included names of contributors as well):

Woodrow Wilson Hall at Monmouth University, Gary Bilbao Photography1) Woodrow Wilson Hall at Monmouth University, West Long Branch - A National Historic Landmark Building that appeared in the 1980 movie version of "Annie" serving as "Daddy Warbucks" home. Offers amazing photo opportunities throughout the property, both inside and out, including their formal gardens and the famous "Annie staircase." The bride or groom needs to be an alumni in order to shoot there. (Michael DiChiaro, Creative Video Editing; Gary Bilbao, Gary Bilbao Photography; Alex Ruchaevsky, Abacus Studio)

2) Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown - This is a gorgeous park of well manicured gardens that in some parts look like an English Manor Garden. Local couples love this park for its gorgeous blooms in warmer months, and amazing fall foliage in crisper months. (Michael DiChiaro, Creative Video Editing; Melissa Loiacono, Pampered Bride Weddings)

3) Hoboken Train Station, Hoboken - Is stately, historic, beautiful, majestic and a little bit different from the norm. It is a unique building, very quaint and old looking. It even has a big wooden bench where the bride and groom can sit. And did you know that a couple of scenes from the recent movie "Julie & Julia" were filmed there? (Michael Hammond, Your Cinematic Wedding; Alida Monaghan, Juliet Events; Jenny Orsini, Pampered Bride Weddings; Jennifer Bunce, Hudson Cakery)

4) Verona Park, Verona - It seems like there are many romantic nooks within the park that appeal to almost every taste, from traditional, romantic, woodsy /outdoor, water, etc. It's such a diverse and beautiful place that I can't remember a time that visited Verona Park without seeing a wedding related photography event, sometimes even on weekdays! (Abe Kasbo, Verasoni Worldwide)

5) The Boardwalk at Asbury Park - After decades of hype, Asbury Park has in fact seen a revival and the beachfront is doing very well. You have the classic landmark Convention Hall / Paramount Theater in addition to Asbury Lands and Wonder Bar. You have new attractions including the water park, mini golf course, and retail shops and restaurants. And of course the oceanfront is always great for photos. And Asbury's combination of old, new and oceanfront - in a town that's still a little funky on the edges- is very appealing to young, edgy couples who want something just a step out of the ordinary. (Spence Cook, Bloom Box)

Engagement Portrait at Hoboken Train Station by Tackeff Photography6) Sayen Gardens, Hamilton - Offers lush foliage, beautiful manicured gardens and variety of interesting settings which include a woodland gazebo, temple garden and sprawling park like grassy areas. (Mark Klatskin, Ultrax Entertainment; Danielle Nutt, The Bridal Suite)

7) Lambertville - This historic town located on the Delaware River offers railroad tracks, the river, the bridge to New Hope, antique shops and more for great backdrops (Nancy Katz, ZaZa Creative Photography)

8) Eagle Rock Reservation, West Orange - The view from this location, being on a cliff overlooking the New York city skyline and the Hudson River is breathtaking! Inside the Highlawn Pavilion restaurant is especially beautiful and romantic at night, with a panoramic view of the skyline making everything aglow! (Marie Danielle Vil Young, A Votre Service; Allan Reider Photography)

9) Long Beach Island region - Barnegat Lighthouse (a.k.a. "Old Barney") makes a great background for a Long Beach Island wedding and many photographers love the beaches and coast of LBI which offer great lighting for photos. LBI is now a destination wedding resort for brides and grooms who have vacationed here in the summer months and they've got so many options for incredible photos (Katie Hood, Reynolds Gift Shop; Stephanie Somodi, Invitation Designs by Stephanie)

10) Rutgers Gardens, New Brunswick - A top spot in Central New Jersey, it is very picturesque and the cabin on the property offers great opportunities for various photos (Mark Krutyansky, Abella Studios)

11) Downtown Princeton - Includes this historic shopping district and grounds of Princeton University (Danielle Nutt, The Bridal Suite)

12) Downtown Jersey City - Some streets are very quaint and a nice walk is great for photo opportunities, along with incredible views of the New York City skyline (Samantha Goldberg, Gold Events Planning & Rebecca Ferrier Photography)

13) Cape May - Known as one of the most popular locations in the country for destination weddings, Cape May offers he Victorian beauty of a by-gone era, along with several beaches for sunset pictures, including the Cape May Sunset Pavilion (Nick Nezaj, The Hotel Alcott)

While the above 13 locations are in no particular order, there are so many more that were suggested by our experts in the wedding community, so I'll include a bullet list of them below for some other ideas, even for a marriage proposal too!

  • Smithville - This is a fun old town, located near Atlantic City, is filled with a lot of small shops and makes a beautiful backdrop for photos and video (Michael DiChiaro, Creative Video Editing)
  • Weehawken promenade with the backdrop of NYC skyline (Irina Feygin, Impeccable Image, Inc.)
  • Mindowaskin Park, Westfield - There is a beautiful lake with a fountain and graceful trees, a gazebo and a beautiful bridge with an arch that is perfect for bridal parties (Susan Marino, Sue?s Sweets)
  • Lambert's Castle at the Garret Mountain Reservation, Paterson (Ann Marie Brasco, NewJerseyLimoBus.com)
  • Reeve's Reed Arboretum, Summit (Ann Marie Brasco, NewJerseyLimoBus.com)
  • Liberty State Park, Jersey City - Offers amazing views of NYC as a backdrop (Ann Marie Brasco, NewJerseyLimoBus.com)
  • New Jersey Botanical Gardens/Skylands Manor (Joan Borzomati, Mrs. B's Cakes; Jerry Frungillo, Frungiillo Caterers)
  • Knight Park, Collingswood (Pat Ambrosius, The Pragmatic Planner)
  • Grounds of Cathedral of the Woods, Medford Lakes (Pat Ambrosius, The Pragmatic Planner)
  • Batso Village, Hammonton - Has some great historic buildings that allow for wonderful artistic images to be captured (Katie Hood, Reynolds Garden Shop)
  • Mill Race Village and Main Street, Mount Holly (Tara Clapper, recent NJ bride)
  • Bonnet Island Estate grounds, Cedar Bonnet Island, LBI (Heather Sconza, All the Rave Events)
  • Waterfall at Kingsland Park, Nutley (Nella Cicchino, The Landmark)
  • Branchbrook Park, Newark - Branchbrook is home of the Cherry Blossom festival in May (Josh Lynn, Josh Lynn Photography)
  • Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Morris Township - On Hanover Avenue and part of the Morris County Parks System (Timothy MacHale, The Madison Hotel)
  • Fairleigh Dickinson Campus, Madison - You can rent it out for a couple of hours and not have to worry about it getting crowded and waiting for other couples (Priscillo Leto, Finishing Touch Events)
  • Pier Village, Long Branch (Cara Jones, New Jersey bride-to-be)
  • Belmar boardwalk - Has vintage lampposts along the boardwalk so it really gives it that historic feel of a romantic old-time beach location (Sandi Silva, Save The Date Now; Mary Wall, Matisse Restaurant)
  • Allaire State Park, Farmingdale - Features the Historic Village of Allaire, one of the most popular wedding spots at the Jersey Shore (Heidi Hutch, Sterling Ballroom at the Holiday Inn Tinton Falls)
  • Manasquan Reservoir, Howell (Jennifer Rutherford, photographer)
  • Strawbridge Lake, Moorestown (Craig Fisher, Taylor Rental)
  • Various vineyards throughout Southern New Jersey (Valerie McGeary, Renault Winery)

Winter Engagement Shoot in New Jersey park - Josh Lynn PhotographyWhen considering where you want to take engagement or wedding photos in New Jersey, consider thinking of them in a "theme," as photographer Josh Lynn suggests, whether they're captured "in a city, at the shore, in a favorite park or woods, or during a particular season or weather" (or even where your fiance proposed or where you spent a lot of time dating). And, as photographer David Toth concludes, "the best location is the one where you are, because if you love it, you own it and then a professional photographer will capture that love."

To view a photo gallery of more New Jersey engagement and wedding locations, click here...

Photo credits above: Woodrow Wilson Hall at Monmouth University, West Long Branch (Gary Bilbao Photography), Engagement Photo at Hoboken Train Station (Tackeff Photography), Wedding photo overlooking the Delaware River in Lambertville (Nancy Katz, ZaZa Creative Photography), Engagement photo on the Asbury Park Boardwalk (Jennifer Rutherford Photography), Winter Engagement Shoot in the snow (Josh Lynn Photography)

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