Many years ago, my husband (then boyfriend) and I would drive around the Somerset Hills “Mansion hunting,” while he gave me a brief history of all the great houses that surround us. One of them was Natirar, “Raritan” spelled backwards after the Raritan River it sits on, in case you didn’t already see it. It’s last owner being the King of Morocco, before the property and estate were acquired by Somerset County, the mansion sat vacant. I am a huge sap for historical properties, and almost nothing makes me happier than seeing Natirar being used to it’s greatest potential – entertainment!
When I spoke to Caroline about her wedding plans, she was so relaxed about all the details. “If it’s not complete, we’ll set up a tent or something.” I drive Peapack Rd every day, and would see the lights on the new extension as I passed by every night through the winter and early spring. Fortunately for Caroline and Alex, the staff at Natirar worked hard to complete the renovations in time, and it looks incredible.
I arrived at Bridal suite shortly after noon on Saturday, and was greeted by 11 bridesmaids and Caroline’s Mom. Needless to say, I cleared the room out before we dressed Caroline. She had her Mom and sister help her, while the bridesmaids waited patiently in the green room, and Dad got his “1st look” of his baby girl.
I love natural light, and Natirar’s multiple rooms offered tons of natural light indoors! I just love the way the green in that room compliments the girls in their various shades of blush and gold! After a brief champagne toast, it was off to the church in quaint little Liberty Corner’s, Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church. The family has been members of this church for over 30 years!
Our newlyweds and their 20-person bridal party made their way to Natirar Park for some portraits before cocktail hour, allowing us to get some pictures of Natirar’s impressive facade from the park below (and by “us,” I mean Barb…on her belly, because she’s awesome like that).
Cocktail hour was held on the back patio, bathed in warm afternoon sunlight. Food here, at Ninety Acres or Natirar, is a ritualistic experience and the food looks as good as it tastes. Ninety Acres even has their own brand of olive oil!
Bride and Groom portraits were brief, but it doesn’t take much to capture the beauty of the rolling hills below, and Caroline and Alex looked magical in the warm setting sun.
Enter the ballroom! I spent some time in this room, out to the cocktail hour, and then back to this room. There was no detail over-looked, from the vaulted ceiling, to the live wall (which even has it’s own electric panel that notifies them when a plant has died!), to the wall of wooden shelves and candles that light up the exposed brick. There is no bad angle in this room! Even the kitchen doors have clean lines, and fit in well with the style of the room.
The reception started off with the entrance of the new Mr. and Mrs., their first dance as husband and wife and very touching toasts to celebrate both Caroline and Alex as individuals and as a couple meant to be together. We saw Caroline really come alive on the dance floor, more specifically when the band sang “Sweet Caroline!”
I snuck back to the Bridal suite during dinner to photograph Caroline & Alex’s wedding bands on the gilded cow hide that I had my eye on earlier, but there was no way, I was going to get everyone off the rug while it was in use!
We pulled our bride and groom away from the dance floor for a hot second in front of the live wall before our time with them came to an end, but what a day it was! Congratulations Caroline & Alex!
2nd Photographer: Barbara Wentzel
3rd Photorgapher & Assistant: Kelly Joyce
Venue: Natirar Mansion
Hair: Profiles Hair Studio
Makeup: Jessica Williams
Band: Around Town