Rustic luxury wedding venue comes to Fredon

Bear Brook Valley held its first wedding April 29

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  • Bear Brook Valley held its first wedding on April 29 Photos by Laurie Gordon

  • Privacy, quiet and beautiful vistas for that special day

By Laurie Gordon

— There's a new wedding venue in a location that many pass by but probably don't know exists. From Newton, head south on Route 94 and just past Cesco's Restaurant & Pizzeria (on your right) you'll see the entrance to Bear Brook (on your left). Within the residential community now lies Bear Brook Valley, an upscale wedding ceremony and reception destination nestled amidst rolling hills, gorgeous greenery and a pristine, heart-shaped pond creating a rustic, fairy tale wedding setting.

The brainchild of Perry and Michele Bonadies, Bear Brook Valley's first wedding was held on April 29th. Perry Bonadies, former General Manager of Lake Valhalla Club, in Montville, NJ, for over 26 years, and Michele Bonadies, professional wedding ceremony coordinator, are the owners of this new venture as well as their other venue, Rock Island Lake Club, in Sparta. They purchased Rock Island in 2014 and 11 months later found Bear Brook. The highly seasoned and very successful Bonadies bring their extensive experience and knowledge to running both Rock Island Lake Club and Bear Brook Valley, as they have managed over 3,000 weddings, ceremonies, affairs and social gatherings. When the Bonadies bought the building at Bear Brook in 2015, they wanted to create more than just a beautiful facility. They took their experience and innovative ideas to create the ultimate experience for brides, grooms and guests of all ages. Each room has been personally customized and designed from scratch to meet aesthetics each with their own touch and character.

“What makes Bear Brook Valley unique is the overall setting, the beautiful views, the privacy of the building, the large parking lot and of course the heart shaped pond,” said Jamie Eichvalds, Director of Marketing. She added, “Every couple gets the privacy they want on their wedding day as well as our undivided attention. We’re in a private gated community and only hold one wedding per day so the day is truly theirs. Our event coordinator and maître d’ work closely together and with our couples to make sure we understand their vision and make the day authentic to each and every bride and groom. The overall style of Bear Brook’s building and grounds is not like your typical New Jersey venue. The venue is a mix of upscale and rustic, held at a country-club setting without the members. We have decks, outdoor seating, fire pits, lawn games, a putting green, live action stations and over 30 beers on tap with a large selection of local and craft beer.”

There is a back story to the property. Once a golf course meandered through the houses and condos on the property, but the course went out of business and fell into disrepair. The Bonadies purchased a portion of the property that once housed the club house and part of the golf course to create Bear Brook Valley. Said Eichvalds, “The residents have been extremely welcoming and supportive. When we first opened, they were coming into the building thanking us for making such a beautiful place out of the clubhouse. The committee has worked closely with us and the outcome has been great for everyone.”

When it comes to the food at Bear Brook Valley, everything is made in-house. “Our awesome chefs have hand-crafted a unique 'foodie' menu,” Eichvalds said. “Every wedding gets a fully inclusive package with extended cocktail hour, top shelf open bar, unique and extensive food selections, live stations, a sit-down dinner with a choice of four entrees, seasonal desserts and more.”

“Bear Brook can accommodate weddings of 350 plus,” Eichvalds said. “Our ceremonies are held primarily along our heart-shaped pond with an indoor alternative and our receptions are indoor/outdoor. Our bridal suite has a lounging space and separate salon area to get ready the day-of. Our groom’s lounge is sponsored by Woodford Reserve and has a bar, TVs, shuffleboard table, pool table, Pacman machine, popcorn machine and more.”

Something else that sets Bear Brook Valley apart is their willingness to work with couples and grant their wishes as very best they can. To this end, on Saturday evening if you hear or see fireworks along Route 94, they're part of a Bear Brook Valley wedding.

Two popluar wedding blogs, where couples can share their wedding journey, are The Knot and WeddingWire. Michelle (who wished her last name to remain anonymous) said on WeddingWire, "If you are a couple, that is not trying to have another barn wedding… (one: because it is played out and two: who is trying to spend 10K for a site see with dirt on the floor?) but digs the rustic look and at the same appreciates elegance, class, and quality... this is your place!'Rustic Elegance' are the words used and I could not agree more. The owners are visionaries, have years of experience, and are passionate … Perry and Michelle not only offer a venue to accommodate around 350 guest, but is has been built for weddings of 2017 and beyond. They have truly thought of everything to accommodate the many different types of wedding people have now a days.” She added, “My fiancé and I booked at Bear Brook Valley because we are people who have a fine eye for quality, have high standards for customer service, and looooooove food… and those packages they offer are to die for. Having a wedding can be intense; you want a venue that you feel are with you the whole step of the way and competent.”

Bear Brook Valley is located at 23 Players Boulevard in Fredon. You can peruse their website at: For information or to book a wedding call (973) 241-1001 or e-mail:

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