New Jersey Wedding Venue Spotlight: Perona Farms in Andover, from a Photographer’s Perspective

Are you planning a New Jersey wedding and still searching for the perfect venue? Perona Farms, a rustic industrial hybrid wonderland in the Sussex County countryside, may be just what you’re looking for. As a wedding photographer, Perona Farms is one of my favorite places to work. Full disclosure? My fiance and I picked Perona Farms (Refinery) for our own 2024 wedding! If the Perona Farms wedding photographer endorsement isn’t enough itself, keep reading!

This sprawling estate features three main event spaces; The Barn, The Reserve, and The Refinery. It also has plenty of picturesque grounds for everyone including: an orchard with two rows of giant trees gardens, the serene Perona Lake, a willow tree complete with a tree swing, fire pits, “secret” photo spots, private suites, incredible food – and I’m just getting started. 

Let me take you on a digital tour of one of my favorite picturesque wedding venues.

A full body photographic portrait of a couple walking through a row of big trees in an orchard during their wedding at Perona Farms in Andover New Jersey

A Quick History of Perona Farms 

Founder Emil Perona had a dream – a dream that looked like settling down on a dairy farm. But that vision quickly shifted when his finances could no longer support his cows’ appetites. 

So, he decided to open his home to people he had met working in the theatrical world. Before he knew it, thespians and city dwellers were flocking to the country estate for respite and Mrs. Perona’s cooking. 

Fast forward a bit, and Perona Farms grew in name and fame. The Peronas soon found themselves extending their hospitality services to household names. Think Joe DiMaggio and Groucho Marx. 

Today, people still flock to the farm to enjoy the grounds and savor the fine food. The only difference between now and back then is the addition of “I do.” 

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Ceremony, Cocktail, and Reception Venues 

The beautiful thing about Perona Farms is that there is a way to use all three of their wonderful event spaces in every season. And the venues as standalone buildings themselves are also gorgeous. You can have your choice of; country charm, modern romantic Mediterranean style, or industrial chic speak easy elegance. It’s the perfect balance. 

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If you’re going for country ambiance, The Barn is the perfect pick. Weather permitting, you can have your ceremony on the lawn, then follow with cocktail hour on The Barn’s lower level. Head up to the upper deck for dinner and dancing. Both areas are enclosed and constructed of wood-paneled walls and flooring. This all gives the Perona Farms Barn a cozy authentic farmhouse atmosphere, and the neutral colors are easy to design around. There’s a new (as of Summer 2022) beautiful back patio area that features a full bar, pizza oven, and fire pit with an abundance of seating. Oh and guess what? It’s also fully covered by a roof. Rain or shine, you will have a great time at the barn!

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Perona Farms also offers The Reserve and The Refinery, whose beautiful indoor/outdoor spaces take you to entirely different worlds than The Barn, and also make backup plans for rain a breeze. The Reserve’s ceremony area is essentially an enclosed garden with floor-to-ceiling windows and a retractable roof. The rest of the interior features upscale Mediterranean styling (including a wine room pictured bellow), and the recently reimagined reception ballroom has stone columns, modern black iron chandeliers and chairs, arched windows, and plenty of space for dancing.

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The Refinery is an industrial-chic space with exposed brick walls, a steel-beamed ceiling, and modern concrete finishing. No dusty hotel carpets here folks! Within the Refinery, you’ll find other areas of interest to entertain your guests. The Atrium’s (ceremony space) transparent roof and walls retract, making it pleasant in any weather. And the Terrace & Loggia is a covered outdoor patio space with a fireplace, lounge bar, and a brick oven for wood-fired pizza. The indoor cocktail space has an upscale speakeasy vibe with classy furniture, and a standout bar featuring exposed decorative bulbs hanging from the ceiling.

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Then there’s The Archive, a special section that houses the private suites and offers chic spots for getting-ready photos and portraits. It is modeled after a speakeasy bar that existed in the area almost 100 years ago. This is personally one of my favorite aspects of the Refinery, and I cannot wait to get ready here myself in 2024!

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Mind-Blowing Food and Outstanding Staff

The gold stars don’t stop at the Perona Farms’ venue spaces. They serve fresh farm-to-table delicious food that also includes using ingredients from their on-site greenhouse. And I can confidently say it’s consistently the best food I’ve had at weddings over the years, hands down. You can also have brick oven pizzas and an abundance of savory sliders during cocktail hour, who doesn’t love the sound of that? Oh and let’s not forget about the famous “hot bag of donuts to go” after the reception ends and your guests have that drunk food craving.

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The staff at Perona Farms is always excellent. From the table bussers to bridal attendants, and beyond, they all cater to your exact needs. Speaking from a photographer’s perspective, they’re a dream to work with. We’ve never had a timeline go awry there, which is also great news for couples! We truly appreciate all of the hard work they put in to making your wedding go perfectly. This was a huge factor for us in picking a venue. I felt very confident knowing everyone there all the way up to the owners, will have my back, and take good care of my family + guests. That’s the value you often don’t think about when going with a family owned and operated business. Places like Perona Farms treat you like family.

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Things To Keep In Mind 

Perona Farms books multiple same-day weddings, but this shouldn’t deter anyone from hosting and celebrating there. The venue staff carefully staggers ceremony times, so everyone has a chance to use all of the beautiful spaces equally. We have never had a wedding run into one another (how embarrassing!) and we’ve never been told that we couldn’t use one of their popular spaces because someone else was. Sadly a lot of NJ venues don’t know how to properly pull off multiple weddings, but Perona has both the correct amount of space and the right kind of professional and friendly staff, to pull it off flawlessly.

There’s also a rental house (The DeBergh House) on the property where you and your wedding party can stay overnight. Use it for your rehearsal dinner, your getting-ready space, and a place to tuck away at the end of the night. It is also located right by Perona’s best photography spots that we mentioned above!

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If you’re not staying onsite and/or need accommodations for guests, make sure you block hotel rooms far in advance because Perona Farms is in high demand. And when you do book, consider adding shuttle transport to the venue.

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Here’s the thing. I’ve photographed A LOT of weddings and seen many New Jersey wedding venues. But none continue to charm me quite as much as Perona Farms.

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I’ve photographed weddings there for many years and know the spaces like the back of my camera. It’s a unique venue that excels in every area, and it’s why my fiancé and I have chosen it as our wedding venue. We love the look of The Refinery, and after all of the photos I’ve taken there, I’m looking forward to being on the other side of the lens in 2024. 

Does Perona Farms sound like your kind of venue too? Allow myself and/or my team to capture your wedding day memories there. Reach out today!

A photographic portrait of a couple sitting on an orange couch outside on a patio embracing and putting their heads together at night time by a fire place on the patio during their wedding in Andover New Jersey.

The Journal

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  1. We love Perona Farms!

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