Cape May, New Jersey, is known for a lot of things: Victorian homes, birding, and a great place to watch the sunset. But it’s also becoming well known for something else: destination weddings.
Cape May, which is the town at the Southern most tip of New Jersey, is the third most popular destination wedding spot in the country. Why? Not only does that Victorian theme lend the town toward romance, but it’s also within driving distance of New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Wilmington, Delaware, and all their various suburbs.
If you’re thinking of having your big day in Cape May, here are a few options:
For the big, blow out wedding
Congress Hall is a sure bet if you want a big to do – if you plan far enough in advance, that is, since this gorgeous old hotel books up fast (and can host more than a handful of weddings on popular weekends). They can host events for up to 300 guests, and they offer over 100 rooms so you can all stay together. Need to get done up? The Cape May Day spa, located in the building, can glam you out. Congress Hall can also accommodate smaller weddings, whether you’re getting married on their beautiful lawn or the beach across the street.
Small to mid-sized affairs
With five private dining rooms, the Peter Shields Inn offers cozy reception options for smaller weddings – anywhere from two to 100 people. Like Congress Hall, the Peter Shields Inn has guest rooms and is across the street from the beach – with plenty of indoor options should it rain on your parade. The Peter Shields Inn is BYOB, which could save the frugal bride and groom a pretty penny.
For a Victorian theme
For a true step back in time, consider The Chalfonte, which has not updated itself to modern conveniences (which is why a lot of people pick it as their wedding site). They’re not open in the winter because they don’t have heat – yes, it’s that authentic. It’s close to the beach if you’d like that for your wedding site, though many bridal parties opt for the Chalfonte’s “Wedding Tree,” a beautiful willow on the property.
If you're staying on the shore for your honeymoon, consider either The Ebbitt Room at the Virginia Hotel or The Washington Inn. They’re romantic, gourmet restaurants where you can act out exactly what you are: newlyweds! Top it off with a carriage ride, and you’ve got the complete Cape May experience.
Jen A. Miller is the author of The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May.
Photo credits, top to bottom: Courtesy Congress Hall, photo by Michelle Korbman; courtesy Peter Shields Inn; courtesy The Chalfonte.