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Located in Hunterdon County, New Jersey RYAN SANDS PHOTOGRAPHY

Monthly Archives: May 2018

The Farmhouse at The Grand Colonial Wedding Venue • Hampton, New Jersey

The Farmhouse at The Grand Colonial Wedding Venue in Hampton, New Jersey

The Farmhouse at The Grand Colonial wedding venue was established and built in the year 1685 by master craftsmen, The Blane Homestead. With stone walls over two-feet thick and hand-hewn solid wood beams coming in at over three and half feet wide, their location has clearly stood the test of time. This one of a kind event space features multiple fireplaces all constructed using enormous stones which were brought here to the United States by European ships in order to help steady their transatlantic voyages across the dangerous seas. Careful attention to detail, extremely high quality building techniques and world renowned craftsmanship have kept this structure preserved for over three hundred years (3 centuries). The Farmhouse at The Grand Colonial in Hampton, NJ is nestled on over ten acres of pristine Hunterdon County real estate, making this one of the oldest and most historic buildings in the New Jersey area. It is officially recognized as the oldest standing structure in Hampton, NJ. If you’re from the New Jersey area and you’re looking for a wedding venue that gives you modern amenities mixed with old world charm, then this is the space for your next special event.

A brief history of The Farmhouse at Grand Colonial

In April of 1831, Dr. John Blane, a well respected physician, purchased the property for which the historic Farmhouse at Grand Colonial now stands. In May of 1840, he married Miss Corneila Hunt of Hunterdon County, and together they made Blane House the home for which they would raise their three children, Nancy, John and Mary. During this time period, Dr. Blane served as a Physician, Surgeon and Major General of the 4th Division of the New Jersey Militia in which he helped train doctors to provide medical services to Military Officiers serving in the Union Army during our country’s Civic War. Dr. In order to give back to the community, Dr. Blane traveled on horseback through the Hunterdon County area providing medical attention to citizens in need. Not only was he a recognized physician, but Dr. Blane was also a small time banker. Unable to travel to the banks in Flemington and Somerville, citizens of Hunterdon County, New Jersey would entrust Dr. Blane with their deposits. He would routinely take these deposits and assign each one a tree on the The Farmhouse property in which he would bury each deposit under said tree. After collecting sufficient deposits, Dr. Blane would then dig up the money and safely transport it via horseback to the Flemington and Somerville banks.

Today, The Farmhouse’s guests experience the great historic charm of this wonderful property when dining in The Tree Bank Room, named after Dr. Blane’s generous services as a sort of “traveling teller”. When visiting The Farmhouse at Grand Colonial in Hampton, New Jersey, make sure to ask one of the highly trained staff members about the property’s many stories. This is sure to make your dining experience a pleasurable and educational one.

Experienced staff members at The Farmhouse at The Grand Colonial Wedding Venue in Hampton, New Jersey

The Farmhouse features a highly trained team of professional who’s only goal is to help you and your fiance design and navigate the very best roadmap for your once-in-a-lifetime event. Countless years of fine dining experience, cutting edge creativity and transparent policies and procedures drive their team to make your vision a breathtaking reality.

Led by multiple award-winning chef Christin Ayers, The Farmhouse team effortlessly collaborates to create unforgettable guest experiences. Chef Christine graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and quickly forged her reputation as a professional culinary artist with outstanding mentors in the finest kitchens in Manhattan including Restaurant Daniel, and in New Jersey at The Ryland Inn. Not only a very talented chef, she is also highly respected member of the Chaine des Rotisseurs. Together with the Farmhouse team, Chef Christine applies her years of culinary talents to create beautiful, fresh farm to table cuisine that is sure to please any guests of their restaurant.

Rebecca Ciraco is The Farmhouse’s Director of Catering Sales. With over ten years of catering and event coordination experience, Rebecca is a clear and concise leader. From the moment she meets with brides, grooms and their families, she listens to exactly who they are, what needs they have and the special moments they have dreamed about ever since becoming engaged to be married. Not only does she listen carefully to wedding clients but she pays extremely close attention to corporate clients as well. These types of high end guests need special cutting edge technology for business meetings and presentations. Team building exercises and fundraisers demand the highest level of production which Rebecca supplies over and over again. She meets and exceeds their expectations. She has worked with trendsetting clients such as David Tutera and The Cake Boss not to mention clients like the ever impressive Sir Richard Branson and hall of fame rock star Bruce Springsteen. Formerly the Direct of Catering at The Architects Golf Course, Landmark Properties and The Bernards Inn, Rebecca now dedicates herself to Farmhouse Couples and high end corporate clients.

From farm to table – The Farmhouse at Grand Colonial is at the cutting edge of health oriented cuisine

Local roots – both literally and otherwise are deeply embedded into the culture of The Farmhouse’s idea of healthy, locally grown, sustainable dining options. This unique New Jersey wedding venue is passionate about everything this movement stands for from promoting the humane treatment of local non-hormone fed animals to the pure process of just-picked non-GMO fruits and vegetables. The Farmhouse has created a partnership between community and heritage. In addition to their alliance with local farms and artisans, Farmhouse also grows heirloom ingredients rich in their own backyard. Chef Christin draws from her Italian upbringing to forage and supply cardoons and fiddlehead ferns in April. After a weekend of hunting and gathering with her family, she cultivates these wild pants and transforms them into ethnic-inspired dishes for all of their restaurant guests to enjoy.

This marriage of foraged ingredients combined with artisanal partnerships is purposeful and rewarding. Ripe with tradition and strengthened by local ties to the community and it’s patrons. Their in-house staff design each menu around seasonally harvested fresh, locally sourced, grown and gathered ingredients to insure that no matter what the occasion, be it a sophisticated large-space event or an intimate dinner for friends and family, your experience will be second to none. From grass-fed high quality beef to unexpected locally foraged ingredients, The Farmhouse at Grand Colonial brings the farm, stream and forest right to your table in a pleasing upscale atmosphere worth of even the most discerning of clientele. It truly is an amazing experience you need to taste in order to believe.

    The Farmhouse at Grand Colonial Wedding and Event Amenities

  • Professionally trained, highly experienced white gloved staff members
  • Ivory silk damask linens on all dinner tables
  • For the convenience of your guests Farmhouse includes place cards and directional cards
  • Villeroy and Boch China
  • Chistofle Hotel Silver Flatware
  • On-site Generator
  • Lobby hostess and on-site coat check personnel
  • Bridal Attendant for all brides and grooms on the day of their wedding
  • Event Manager to help with you plan the wedding of your dreams
  • Full service wait staff and multiple bartenders so you never have to wait for a cocktail
  • Pinspot lighting for your first entrance and first dance as husband and wife
  • Halo lighting and Up Lighting to enhance the look of The Farmhouse’s already beautiful ballroom
  • Chiavari chairs for you and your guests
  • Brand-new fully renovated, oversized dance floor
  • Bridal Suites for both bride and her bridesmaids plus the groom and his groomsmen

The Farmhouse at The Grand Colonial offers guests a number of historic and unique rooms. Whether you’re having a wedding or hosting a corporate event, The Farmhouse can accommodate your every need. 

  • The Main Ballroom overlooking the historic Blane Homestead has a capacity to comfortably hold up to 250 guests. This gorgeous room features a newly renovated, oversized dance floor that is sure to keep your guests moving all night long. The space also has pinspot lighting and gorgeous colored uplighting.
  • The Hunterdon Room is equipped with two full bars and access to their outdoor patio area filled with lush gardens, perfectly manicured lawns and is an ideal location for outdoor summer barbecues. The patio is also a perfect location for receptions, family reunions and corporate activities.
  • Their outdoor Gazebo while not only being perfect for outdoor ceremonies almost all year around, can also host private dinners for anywhere from two to six guests.
  • The great lawn is a grand outdoor space perfect for all tented receptions and any kind of special event. Situated among the property’s large trees with a view of their outdoor “back forty” garden, this area can host more than 500 people and during the summer months is also host to hot air balloon rides.
  • Built of solid stone in 1839, The Schoolhouse is the perfect location for outdoor wedding photographs.
  • The Farmhouse Restaurant, built more than 300 years ago by master craftsmen, no features a newly renovated wine bar, expanded outdoor patio seating and unique, historic spaces such as the 1685 Room, Treebank Room not to mention The Grille Room, The Porch and The VIP Room. An almost amount of private dining opportunities for you and your closest friends and family.

About Lexi and Adam’s beautiful wedding at The Farmhouse at The Grand Colonial

Lexi and Adam opted for my super fun photo booth complete with more props than you can possibly imagine. I arrived at The Farmhouse early to setup their photo booth before their wedding coverage officially began. I always setup the booth early in order to avoid complications during cocktail hour. Cocktail hour should be spent photographing the ballroom details and never spent setting up a photo booth. 

After their booth was setup and their props ready to go, I headed over to The Courtyard by Marriot in Lebanon, New Jersey. This location is where Lexi and her bridesmaids plus Adam and his groomsmen chose to get ready. Lexi and Adam also chose the option of a 2nd photographer for their wedding day. This is a plus since having a 2nd photographer is always a good thing. More can get done in a shorter amount of time and with the presence of a 2nd shooter, things just run that much smoother. My 2nd started photographing details, while I covered the girls having their hair and makeup professionally done. Since the boys were only one floor away, it was easy for me to bounce back and forth between rooms in order to get the appropriate amount of photographs I needed.

Lexi and the girls had a blast hanging out all morning. They drank mimosas and happily chatted for hours while getting dolled up for the start of the wedding day. Adam and his boys relaxed while drinking some ice cold beer and enjoying some fine cigars. The bridal party was a huge help. Always tending the needs of the bride, groom and their families. After we got a ton of great images of everyone getting ready at the hotel, everyone jumped in the limo and headed straight over to The Farmhouse for the rest of Lexi and Adam’s wedding day.

Upon arrival at The Farmhouse, everyone unloaded their belongings into the bridal suites and then the girls joined me outside for some really cute “first look” photos between Lexi and her bridesmaids. Lexi had decided to officially get into her wedding dress at The Farmhouse, which gave us a great little opportunity to stage a first look between her and her bridesmaids. Lexi’s mother helped her get dressed in the bridal suite and then it was off to see her bridesmaids for the first time. The girls toasted their bride right before turning around to reveal Lexi in her beautiful wedding gown. Lexi looked gorgeous! As soon as the girls saw her they rushed to her side. I was able to capture a ton of really great natural reactions from all her bridesmaids.

Upon finishing first look between Lexi and her bridesmaids, we quickly started with our super fun, creative bridal party photographs. Since The Farmhouse at Grand Colonial’s property is so gorgeous, it was rather easy finding suitable locations for these wedding photographs. We also had perfect sun for their wedding day which made things even more beautiful. Like I mentioned earlier, the bridal party was a huge help. Super fun girls and incredibly enthusiastic attitudes all helped make Lexi’s bridal party photos a big success. After we finished, the girls went back to the bridal suite to relax for a bit, while I went off photograph The Farmhouse property and it’s many details.

Photographing a wedding venue’s property and its details is something every good photographer should do. The bride and groom paid a lot of money to rent this establishment and these details should be preserved with beautiful photographs. Earlier in my career before I became a wedding and event photographer, I primarily specialized in architectural photography, so shooting buildings both indoor and outdoor is something that comes very natural to me, since I have such extensive experience with this the of work. Keeping lines straight, angles straight and your shots perfectly composed are just a few tricks in order to take beautiful architectural and detail photographs.

After the property photographers were complete, I joined my 2nd photographer in the groom’s suite and we all headed outside together to get some really cool photographs of the guys all hanging out together. Men normally aren’t too keen on being photographed but I gotta say, Adam’s boys were awesome. They had no issues with any of the scenarios I put them in. They joked around, laughed together and totally supported Adam in any way that he needed. It was a really great bunch of guys. Again, we easily walked around the property taking advantage of all that The Farmhouse had to offer. Lexi and Adam were keen on utilizing both the indoor and outdoor features that their venue had to offer. Upon finishing with the guys, I sent them back to their room for more beers while I went back to the girls and started the formal group photographs.

We gathered the bridal party and all family members together and using the indoor space of the grand ballroom started shooting all of the formal group photographs. The ballroom’s natural lighting was absolutely gorgeous. All it needed was one off camera flash to balance it all out and we were set. We finished up with about half of the formal photos with our goal to finish the 2nd half at the beginning of cocktail hour.

Wedding ceremony time was fast approaching. We finished up with our formal group photos, got the bridal party to where they needed to be and I quickly setup my gear for the start of their official wedding. Lexi and Adam had their ceremony outside on the great lawn under The Farmhouse’s beautiful outdoor gazebo. All the guests were in attendance, the groom was in place and Lexi entered his view. Adam was stunned at how incredibly beautiful Lexi looked as she came down he aisle just moments away from becoming his new wife. The two shared a glance, that I swear did not break the entire time she walked into their ceremony space.

Their outdoor wedding ceremony at The Farmhouse at The Grand Colonial venue in Hampton, New Jersey was absolutely beautiful. Perfect weather, an amazing bridal party and two wonderful families coming together for the union of this amazing couple. Like I always do during a ceremony, I carry two camera bodies around with me. One camera with my telephoto lens, the Canon 70-200 2.8 is ii attached and another body with my canon 35 1.4L ii attached. This gives me two different perspectives during the ceremony. I can get in close without being on top of the ceremony with my long telephoto lens and I can shoot incredibly shallow depth of field photographs with my canon 35 1.4 ii. My 2nd photographer had a Canon 24-70 2.8 ii in order to capture some great wide angled shots as well as some close up parents and bridal party reactions. Overall, we did a great job covering Lexi and Adam’s wedding ceremony and I was able to deliver a ton of really fantastic images for the newly announced husband and wife.

After the bride and groom were now officially husband and wife their cocktail hour officially began. We quickly finished up with the formal group photographs in front of the gazebo where Lexi and Adam were married. Once those images were complete I took the happy couple around The Farmhouse property and we shot a ton of really beautiful creative bride and groom photographs. You can tell by their images that they are head over heels in love with each other.

The cocktail hour ended, the guests poured into their ballroom and the reception officially began. The guests took their seats, the bridal party entered the room and the bride and groom were announced for the first time as husband and wife. The crowd cheered as they ran into the room and immediately started their first dance. The bridal party quickly joined them on the dance floor and the party was off to a quick start.

It didn’t take many minutes before their entire guest list noticed my photo booth. Table after table of amazing, unique props were offered to anyone that wanted them. The kids had fun playing with all the foam replica weapons, the adults had fun trying on all the masks, hats, glasses, video game props, movie props and much more! They even brought their props onto the dance floor and had a great time showing off for everyone to see. Overall, their guests couldn’t believe the sheer amount of fun items that I brought to Lexi and Adam’s wedding. Nobody had ever seen a booth with this amount of props.

As the night went on, I was able to capture an endless amount of fun dance photos. The wedding reception is one of my favorite parts of the day. Everyone lets lose, takes their ties off and goes crazy on the dance floor. These kinds of photographs are so fun to shoot. I run around the dance floor ducking in and out of guests as I snap away. The key to these shots is to not stop the action. You have to be quick…and I mean quick! Shoot over someone’s shoulders without them even knowing you’re there. Grab a quick reaction shot, take a fast group photo as the guests pile together on the dance floor all while running in between the crowd to get from one side to the other with ease. Like I said, this is one of my favorite times of the wedding day.

The bride and groom’s wedding day ended with a sparkler sendoff. Everyone piled outside, lit the sparklers and the happy couples rushed through while brandishing two loving smiles. Their wedding day was a huge success. I want to personally thank Lexi, Adam and their friends and family for having me be a part of their wedding day. I feel truly blessed every time a couple allows the honor of documenting their wedding day. I wish Lexi and Adam nothing but love, happiness, success and most importantly many, many children!

If you wish to contact The Farmhouse at The Grand Colonial about hosting your wedding, for your convenience I have provided the following contact information.
The Farmhouse at The Grand Colonial
86 Route 173
Hampton, New Jersey
Telephone Number: 908-735-7889

If you wish to contact me about pricing and services for your wedding day, I’d love to hear from you!
Feel free to contact me any time at 908-581-0124 or email me at
PLEASE NOTE: I typically book up 1-2 years in advance and I only book one event per day. If you are interested in hiring me for your wedding or event, please do not hesitate to contact me. Dates filled up quickly and they are a first come, first serve basis.