Princeton Styled Series: Updike Farmstead

Updike Farmstead is a hidden gem right here in New Jersey tucked away on a Princeton back road. The acres upon acres of beautiful preserved farmland offers a charming farmhouse, rustic white barn, and signature windmill. We are so proud to showcase this venue first in our Princeton Styled Series - three consecutive styled shoots at Princeton venues, featuring local Princeton vendors, all for the Princeton Bride.  Keep reading to see how all of the details unfolded.

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the papers

A wedding invitation begins painting the picture of your big day for your wedding guests. From the time it arrives in their mailboxes they are able to experience your personalized wedding style and vision, which is why we love a beautiful handmade invitation suite. 

This watercolor dream was created custom for this photo shoot by Kelly of  Kel Made Goods. The sweet watercolor flowers, handwritten calligraphy, sketch of the barn, and subtle surprise of floral details peaking through the vellum envelope still makes us so excited! In addition to the showstopping invitation, Kelly, also crafted all of our menus, table numbers, and place cards use throughout the design. Let's all stop for a moment and soak this in.


the dresses

This barn wedding would not have been complete without a little Hayley Paige, Allure Bridals, and Pronovias. A girl's got to have options, right?! We love each dress more than the next. The way the Hayley gowns moved across the beautiful landscape was magical and the elegance of the Pronovias gown for the ceremony added drama with the sheer lace train. Thanks to Castle Couture Jacalyn was able to experience every girl's dress dream. She got to wear them all! 


the farm

Updike is a venue you immediately fall in love with. From the second Jaye Kogut and I pulled up on the property for our first meeting with Leanne I began plotting what kind of celebration I could throw. It's serene location on a Princeton back road makes for a beautifully scenic drive that brings you to a quiet little spot where you hear birds chirping, trees rustling, and bees buzzing. The sun catches the cornfields in the most beautiful way, especially at sunset, and the signature windmill turning with the breeze is mesmerizing in the best way. 

It isn't like most venues you find in New Jersey. There is something much more special about this place. One of the best things about Updike is that the property is all yours to utilize as you wish. Each and every bride gets to create her dream scenario for her wedding day from where to hold the ceremony to where you want the reception held. The entire day of your wedding is all yours to enjoy from the start of hair and makeup through the last song of your reception.

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 a sweet welcome

With so much property for wedding guests to enjoy, we loved the idea of setting up a  sampling of small bites, sips of wine, and sweet lemonade as a welcome. Guests can enjoy a refreshment while strolling the property and soaking in all of the nooks and crannies. To make the welcome even more enjoyable Emily's Cafe and Catering made a sampling of incredibly delicious hors d'oeuvres to pair with local wines from Terhune Orchards. They also created the sweetest lemonade display we have ever seen. What is better than a little lemonade in the sweet summertime?!


the ceremony

For our dream ceremony we utilized the back courtyard that overlooks the farm. The vision included a dramatic unveil of the bride using the barn doors. We were told others use the front of the house, the tree next to the barn, or any of several small sheds throughout the property for their ceremony backdrop. 

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To compliment the natural backdrop in an elegant way bentwood chairs lined the ceremony space. The rich mahogany and sleek silhouette of the chairs becomes part of the space while creating a garden-like feel. All of the guest seating for the ceremony came from Daylily Group right out of Pennington. Daylily is a brand new family-run business. Richard, the owner, and his dad hand make all of their farmhouse tables and rent these incredible bentwood chairs

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The ceremony backdrop was a Terrain-inspired potted garden trellis containing an arrangement of farm fresh flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Many of these were sourced from Terhune Orchards, a family run farm and winery right here in Princeton! It's a charming place with live music on Fridays and Sundays and pick your own seasonally.

I actually got to visit a few days before the shoot and cut my own flowers for the arrangements. Each one was hand selected to create the perfect compliment to the ceremony space and natural landscape of the farm. 

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the lounge

Who wouldn't want to sit on this beautiful property in the summer with a glass wine and watch the fireflies dance through the cornfields? The perfect way to allow guests to enjoy the magic of the farm is to create a cozy lounge area. Although we love all of our farm fresh details, incredible floral chair, mismatched boho pillows, and industrial cart from Daylily Group.  the showstopper in this lounge was the completely custom chandelier created by JM Glass Co. Jacob is an incredibly talented glass blower who lives and works locally. With only a few inspiration images he created this masterpiece to perfectly accentuate the lounge and highlight the tree at the back of the property. 


rustic with a twist

Everyone has seen a rustic barn wedding with some burlap and lace which is why I was so excited to take this in another direction. Our style inspiration came from Updike's past and potential brides who often ask for an "Anthropologie" wedding. Everything about the pieced togetherness of heirloom vintage finds, mismatched rustic and modern furniture, with a little bit of pretty and handmade details lends itself perfectly to the barn setting. 

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perfectly paired

The modern and unexpected combination of the farm table with clear plexi ghost chairs from Vision Furniture allowed for the mostly wood interior of the barn to remain light and airy. It also meant we could add a sweet little water color detail from Bombshell Graphics to the tablescape.  To bring in a touch of the outdoors woven lounge chairs with rustic cushions and bohemian pillows flanked the ends of the table

Place settings featured layered floral and glass plates with metallic gold accents, hand-painted water color menus and lemon placecards by Kel Made Goods, and mismatched water glasses for a vintage touch. Kelly also made plexi table numbers to tie into the ghost chairs. BHLDN votives added some romantic candlelight to the farm to table centerpieces that were arranged in a series of Anthropologie flower pots

To add some height to the overall styling a series of mixed glass votives, fresh florals in gold frames, and overhead arrangments nestled on the beams framed  a hand-made macrame chandelier. Overall, the mix of old and new with rustic and modern touches created the Anthro vibe Updike brides desired. The farm to table feeling was enhanced by the family style table you may find in your dining room.

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complimentary tablescapes

To enhance the design of the reception space and the guest experience I often recommend brides create two to three different environments within their space. We went with a slightly more elegant look for our second reception table which featured a dusty rose velvet linen, dishes from Anthropologie, simple vellum menu cards with watercolor placecards, a gold edge float frame with watercolor table number, mismatched glasses, and tall trellis centerpiece to add height while tying into the ceremony decor from earlier. The ghost chairs with watercolor floral detail carried through from the farmhouse table, and BHLDN votives and Anthropologie vases added a bit of glimmer.


farm to table

It was not only the fruit, veggies, and flowers of our floral arrangements that brought to life our farm to table concept. All of the food from Emily's was also locally sourced and seasonal. Their fresh, vibrant summer menu still makes our mouths water. See the menu below and get inspired for your big day. In case you were wondering, we did get to eat it and it was delicious!


Welcome Refreshments
Lavender Lemonade

Hors D'oeuvres
Petite Lobster Rolls
Minted Mango Cucumber Cups
Endive with Dates, Goat Cheese, and Balsamic Reduction

First Course
Basil & Corn Risotto drizzled with basil oil

Salad Course
Fresh Peach, Basil, and Burrata with Balsamic Reduction

Sliced Beef Tenderloin drizzled with chimmichurri plated with garlic smashed potatoes and roasted asparagus

Seared Striped Sea Bass topped with cherry tomato conserva plated with garlic smashed potatoes and roasted asparagus

Petite Tartlets
Lemon curd and blueberries, fresh fruit with chantilly cream, maple walnut, chocolate ganache

a table for two

A sweetheart table is always a good idea. It is not only a way to escape the chaos of your wedding day and take time together to reflect. Making moments to soak it all is allows you to enjoy your reception and remember special moments. 


all you need is a little hayley paige and a bombshell graphics dance floor

Watercolor florals didn't just end with the chairs. They also framed out a proper dance floor and created a focal point at the center of the reception space. Bombshell Graphics, creative geniuses, constructed this watercolor graphic dance floor that created the illusion of fallen flowers. What a dream to dance across a floral dance floor! Add that Hayley ballgown and we can't think of anything better!



a sweet, sweet ending

The grand finale is 75 layers of crepes made of locally sourced goodness from Jammin' Crepes, accented with edible flowers from Blue Moon Acres. Yes, that's right! It is made entirely of crepes! Kim handcrafted this cake herself with lots of patience and even more love and passion. We don't know if we have ever seen anything cooler than this! In fact, I would love to get married again just to have a crepe wedding cake. If you are wondering how good it tastes, the answer is DELICIOUS! It is just like a cake but so much better. 

A perfect ending to the perfect night.


If this Princeton Styled Shoot at Updike Farmstead has inspired you here are a few more things you should know about how to host the perfect wedding at this venue. 

We asked Leanne from Updike the following questions. See her answers below.

1. Where do most Updike brides block rooms for hotels guests / stay the night before the wedding? 

There are many hotels just off Route 1 in Princeton. There are also the Nassau Inn, the Peacock Inn, and Chauncey Conference Center and Hotel in Princeton as well. 


2. Where do most Updike brides host their rehearsal dinners?

Or where would you recommend they host them? I like to recommend farm-to-table restaurants in Princeton. Two of my favorites are Agricola, which has a private room, and Jammin’ Crepes, which has a great casual “farm” vibe.  Both use local farms. 


3. If an Updike bride was hosting a morning after brunch, where would you recommend they do it?  

I would suggest Cargot, on University Ave.  They have wonderful brunch, and the ambiance is lovely.  They also have indoor and outdoor seating.



4. Where are a few local "hotspots" you might recommend Updike Wedding guests staying in the area visit pre and post wedding festivities? 

Since Princeton has so much history, I would recommend a walking tour with our own Historical Society of Princeton!  The University campus is absolutely beautiful and not to be missed. While there, I would recommend visiting the University Art Museum, which is one of the finest university art museums in the world.  Triumph Brewery on Nassau Street is a fun micro-brewery, and Mistral Restaurant is very popular restaurant recognized by its inventive small plates to share by award-winning chef Scott Anderson.  Shopping on Nassau Street and Palmer Square is also a must!


5. How many guests can Updike accommodate for a wedding on the property? just in the barn? 

We can accommodate up to 200 guests if a tent is added in the courtyard behind the barn. The barn itself seats 125 guests comfortably with a dance floor and band.  We can seat up to 150 with a DJ only. 


6. What are three unique features or facts about Updike Farmstead that may interest future brides?

1) The Farmstead is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places and lies within the Princeton Battlefield/Stony Brook Settlement Historic District.

2) The Farmstead is along the route followed by Continental troops on their way to engage British soldiers at Princeton Battlefield.

3) Originally constructed in 1892, the barn has been recently renovated to be transformed into a premier event space.


Looking for your Princeton Wedding dream team? Check out the incredible vendors that helped us pull this off!

venues: Updike Farmstead
Coordination, Event Design, Floral Design: Magnolia West
Photography: jaye kogut photography
cinematography: spinners Entertainment
Acoustic trio, Original Music: Owls and Lions
Dresses and accessories: Castle Couture
dress designers: hayley paige, allure bridals, pronovias
Hair and Makeup: Casa Aziz
Catering: Emily's
Cake: Jammin' Crepes
custom chandelier: jm glass co
specialty rentals: vision furniture
graphics and vinyl clings: bombshell graphics
farmhouse tables and bentwood chairs: daylily group
custom stationary and calligraphy: kel made goods
edible flowers: blue moon acres
wine and farm flowers: terhune orchards
round tables: party perfect rentals
velvet table linen: bbj linen
models: jacalyn and shannon
suit: j crew mens