Jennifer and Maurice’s Labor Day Wedding in the Conservatory Gardens

Jennifer and Maurice got married on Labor Day in the Conservatory Gardens with fifty guests in attendance.  They are both from Brooklyn – Maurice born and raised; Jennifer by way of New Jersey and also California. 

The couple met on the very day that Jennifer moved to the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in 2011.  They were in a local bar and Maurice literally picked Jennifer up.  He lifted her into the air and said “you’re so little and cute!”  His pick-up line worked!  And eleven years later, they got married in Central Park with their friends and family to witness it.  Maurice had planned to pop the questions in a fancy Italian Restaurant one Valentine’s Day that fell on a Monday, but the ring hadn’t been ready on time, and there was no proposal!  On the Friday of that same week, Jennifer arrived home from work to the surprise of Maurice on bended knee with a ring.   

They were ready to get married after eleven years together.  “Marriage is actually the culmination and earned celebration of all that we’ve endured, overcome and accomplished together,” said Jennifer.  “Our love and loyalty has been time-proven and perfected; it was important to us to formally honor our union in front of family and friends who have supported us throughout or lives, both individually and as a couple,” she explained.

I am shocked and scandalized to hear that they seriously considered another famous New York City public park for their wedding!  “We considered the Boathouse in Prospect Park but the wait list was over a year,” Jennifer told me.  They also considered eloping – either a no-nonsense City Hall wedding or perhaps in New Orleans where Maurice’s daughter resides.  They decided that they wanted to get married in New York City, so they brainstormed beautiful outdoor locations that they knew of in New York; Brooklyn or Bronx Botanical Gardens, Prospect Park Boathouse, Dumbo Waterfront in Brooklyn, even some of the city beaches!  “But most of these venues had long wait times to book and came at a high price point,” explained Jennifer.  As long time New Yorkers, they both remembered past experiences wandering into the beautiful Conservatory Gardens at Central Park, so they started to look in to getting married there.  They applied for their own permit and then contacted me at Wed in Central Park to start to deal with everything else that they needed to make the wedding happen. 

They said that an outdoor, small wedding was certainly the perfect fit for them!  “Outdoor settings are generally more beautiful than an event hall,” said Jennifer.  They wanted to keep the guest list fairly small at around sixty guests.  “With a smaller wedding, you really get to spend time with all of your guests, and with each other!” she told me.  I always ask couples if they had had any concerns about getting married in Central Park.  As with almost every other couple who gets married outdoors, they were concerned about rain, and also whether any members of the public might wander into their ceremony.  “Both worked out fine!” said Jennifer.  Although both she and I were watching the weather forecast in the run-up to the day, worrying about storms forecast for the afternoon.  They were luck and finished up in the park before there was any rain!

There are a few locations for a wedding in the Conservatory Gardens, and Jennifer and Maurice chose to say “I do” under the Wisteria Pergola.  “It is a gorgeous location with trellised greenery serving as coverage overhead, and with a wonderful view out over the Italian Fountain as well as the rest of the gardens,” Jennifer said.

On the morning of the wedding, Jennifer went for a run in Central Park with friends.  Jennifer and Maurice spent the day getting ready separately with their families in individual hotel suites at the Courtyard Marriott on East 92nd Street and 1st Ave.  The ceremony took place in the late afternoon.  There were around fifty people at the wedding.  This was Jennifer and Maurice’s immediate families, cousins and closest friend.  Jennifer told me that several attendees have remarked that it was the most beautiful wedding ceremony they’ve ever attended. 

We worked hard on the ceremony.  Jennifer and Maurice wanted traditions from each of their cultures to be represented in the ceremony.  We included an introduction about their relationship to date, then they exchanged traditional vows.  After that, our officiant explained what jumping the broom involves and why it is important for Black Americans today (for the benefit of Jennifer’s family) and then the jumped the broom together.  It is a ritual dating back from slavery in the 1600s and symbolizes the sweeping away of the old and the welcoming of the new.  Usually, it comes at the end of the ceremony, but this was a multi-faith ceremony so we switched things around a little.  After that, they exchanged rings and were pronounced married.  For the finale, our officiant explained the Jewish tradition of the breaking of the glass (for the benefit of Maurice’s family) and then they did that.  The breaking of the glass, symbolizes that the commitment the couple make is irrevocable and permanent.  “The ceremony was wonderful and entertaining!  Our officiant Kevin had great and humorous inflections, which perfectly fit our spirit as a couple and made both of our families laugh,” said Jennifer.  I always ask our couples if they have any regrets about not having a “traditional” wedding.  “ZERO regrets,” said Jennifer.  “We are a unique couple, and our wedding was perfect for us,” she said.  I really enjoyed working on this ceremony with Jennifer and I’m glad that we could give them the wedding that they wanted. 

Maurice wore a custom light blue suit from Indochino, shoes from Allen Edmonds, and a Brioni silk tie and accesories.  Jennifer wore the Bonaire gown from BHLDN, shoes from Manolo Blahnik and Diamond Jewelry from Blue Nile.  I work with two florists and neither were open for this three-day holiday weekend!  Jennifer was very understanding that I wasn’t able to source her flowers through my usual suppliers, and she dealt with it all herself!  Her cascading bouquet and floral crown came from Rosa Rosa Florists on the Upper East Side and were made of white roses, babies’ breath (which was dyed light blue to match Maurice’s suit), and green-leaf accents.  Jennifer had her hair and make-up done by Glamsquad

After the wedding ceremony in Central Park, they had the guests stick around for a little while, taking group photos in the lovely Conservatory Gardens.  Then the guests went on to the reception location at Marlow Bistro on the corner of East 100th St and Amsterdam Avenue.  Jennifer and Maurice stayed behind for a little longer with their photographer Jakub Redziniak to take portrait photos in the area.  They were very happy with the restaurant.  “The restaurant has beautiful indoor and outdoor seating and is already decorated in flowers, so there was no need to purchase any additional floral arrangements,” said Jennifer.  “The food was incredible – a seasonal Mediterranean food menu with a variety of selections to please all of our guests,” she said.

I asked Jennifer how we did.  “Claire was UNBELIEVABLE in helping us prepare for and execute the perfect wedding ceremony.  I highly recommend using Claire’s service to prepare for any wedding ceremony in Central Park.” said Jennifer.  “Right from the start, she was always quick to respond to email correspondence and answer all of our questions, and was also willing to do a Zoom call during the process to help ease my nerves,” she added.  “Claire helped us make ceremony adjustments just about up to the last minute,” said Jennifer.  That was due to the rain on the way! 

It was an absolute pleasure to plan your wedding with you, Jennifer, and I wish you both lots of luck for your future together. If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you live locally or are planning on traveling to New York to get married, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest.

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Verity and Richard’s Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

Verity and Richard came over to New York from their home in England with four guests to get married in Central Park.  They had their small ceremony at the end of August in the Ladies’ Pavilion.  Their guests were Richard’s brother Simon and his wife Fiona and Verity’s sister Katie and her husband Patrick.  Verity said that they were all very excited to join them for the wedding and also to see New York City too.  

Verity is 49 and Richard is 51.  They met in 2012 when they both worked for the airline Flybe.  Richard was the pilot and Verity was cabin crew when their ‘flight’ paths first crossed!  They had been together for six years when they got married.  They didn’t get engaged with a grand gesture proposal.  They were walking their chocolate spaniel Maddie and talking about the future and agreed that it was time to get married.  “We had the house and the dog and it was the final piece of the puzzle, the ultimate commitment,” said Verity.

They briefly considered getting married in their hometown, but preferred the idea of eloping.  They had both been married before so this option felt right for them.  They knew they wanted to get married in the US, and they considered Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  “But having been to New York earlier this year we decided Central Park was the perfect location,” Verity told me.  I asked Verity if she had any regrets about not have a traditional wedding closer to home.  “Absolutely not,” she said, “we would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Verity and Richard chose Central Park because they felt like it would be very intimate.  “We chose the Ladies’ Pavilion because it was under cover, handy for a hot or wet day.  It also had a beautiful back drop and was tucked away so there would be less passers-by,” Verity said.  They got married in the morning on a weekday, which was also chosen with the intention of doing it when the park was quieter.  “I think more people should choose an elopement or destination wedding,” said Verity.  “We thoroughly enjoyed every single second as we had only four guests so it made it more intimate.  We were totally in the moment with each other instead of having lots of guests to have to chat to and feel responsible for,” she explained.

They had the ceremony there in the Ladies’ Pavilion and then the group walked down past the Lake to take some photos at Bow Bridge and Bethesda Terrace and Fountain.  They said that their favorite photos were taken at the Ladies’ Pavilion because it was quieter.  It was by no means particularly busy at Bethesda Terrace but by late morning there were plenty of people in the area.  “It made for a great atmosphere and lots of people congratulated us as we walked around,” said Verity. “Our photographer Florencia was awesome,” Verity told me.  “We felt so at ease with her and she got the best from Richie which isn’t easy as he doesn’t like his photo being taken,” she said.  Looking through all of their photos, they are laughing in so many of them, they certainly do look at ease!

Verity tells me that the ceremony was twelve minutes long!  She knows because they made a video of it.  The brought along a tripod that they attached to the structure of the pavilion itself.  We wrote a little intro to the ceremony, acknowledging their relationship to date, and mentioning their loved ones who were at the ceremony and those who were not.  They had the officiant read an Apache blessing in the intro, which I’ll put at the end of this post.  Verity and Richard exchanged traditional vows and had also written their own vows to read out before they exchanged rings.

Verity wore a dress purchased from Mint Velvet back home in England.  She had bought a bouquet of foam roses from Etsy.  “I wrapped them in tissue paper and placed them in the top of my large handbag for the flight,” she said.  Verity decided not to have her hair and makeup done professionally.  “I was conscious that I wanted to look like ‘me’ on the day,” she said, and also she said that it partly to keep costs down.  She watched some makeup and hair tutorials in advance and said that she was very pleased with the outcome on the day.  She did look gorgeous, so she did a great job.

After the ceremony and takin some photographs around Central Park, the group went over to the Carousel in the South end of the park and had a ride.  After that, they kept going South and had lunch at Sarabeth’s, on Central Park South.  “It was the perfect place to eat afterwards, good food and a lovely atmosphere,” said Verity.  After that, their guests took some more photos of them both in wedding gear in Times Square.

The party stayed at the Kimpton Hotel Eventi for four nights.  “It was absolutely fantastic,” said Verity.  She told me that their room had a view of the Empire State Building, it was a good size and had a boutique feel to it.  She said that the staff were so accommodating and genuinely friendly.  “We would definitely stay there again,” she said.  They have a few restaurant recommendations to share.  “We ate at Grimaldi’s over the Brooklyn Bridge, Black Iron Burger and Zoob Zib Thai, I would recommend them all,” said Verity.  She said they would not recommend the Bryant Park Grill, even though it was in a great location, she said the food was good but the service was not a patch on anywhere else they ate.

I asked Verity how we did.  “Claire sorted absolutely everything and all we had to do was answer some questions and we got the perfect wedding without any stress,” said Verity.  “Nothing was left to chance on the day, we knew where we needed to be, at what time and who would be meeting us there, we even had pictures of them as they did us,” she said.  That’s absolutely true, everyone involved gets a detailed plan and my assurance that all will go fins if they keep to the plan!  “It was truly the best day of our lives. Thank you Claire,” Verity said.  Thanks so much for your kind words, it was a pleasure to plan your wedding with you, and thank you for sharing your story with us! 

If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you’re from near or far, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest

An Apache blessing;

Now you will feel no rain,

For each of you will be shelter to the other.

Now you will feel no cold,

For each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there is no more loneliness,

For each of you will be companion to the other.

Now you are two bodies,

But there is one life before you.

Go now to your dwelling place,

To enter into the days of your togetherness.

And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

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Another Twenty Readings and Poems for Weddings

When I am helping couples to plan their wedding in Central Park, one of the first things we start to work on is the ceremony wording.  Once we have decided where and when the ceremony will be, we start to think about what the couple will say to each other.  What I usually do is start off by sending them a list of basic questions; how they met, about their relationship to date, plans for the future, their loved ones, and so on.  Then I use their answers to create a first draft of wording for the couple to check over.  Sometimes the couple are happy with the first draft and make changes at all, and sometimes there’s some discussion and we make lots of changes to get the ceremony just how the couple want it.

Lots of couples choose to have a poem or reading in the introduction to their wedding ceremony.  They might ask a guest to do it, or the officiant might do it for them.  I am often asked for suggestions, a while back I made a first list of twenty readings and poems that my couples have used in the past, and some of my favorites.  It was very popular and couples seemed to find it useful, so later on I wrote a second list of recommended wedding readings and poems.  This is my third list.  I hope to bring some useful inspiration to many with the three lists! 

Carrie’s Poem from Sex and the City
His hello was the end of her endings.
Her laugh was their first step down the aisle.
His hand would be hers to hold forever.
His forever was as simple as her smile.
He said she was what was missing.
She said instantly she knew.
She was a question to be answered.
And his answer was “I do”.

Maybe by Anon.
Maybe we are supposed to meet the wrong people before we meet the right one so when they finally arrive we are truly grateful for the gift we have been given.
Maybe it’s true that we don’t know what we have lost until we lose it but it is also true that we don’t know what we’re missing until it arrives.
Maybe the happiest of people don’t have the best of everything, but make the best of everything that comes their way.
Maybe the best kind of love is the kind where you sit on the sofa together, not saying a word, and walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you ever had.
Maybe once in a lifetime, you find someone who not only touches your heart but also your soul, someone who loves you for who you are and not what you could be.
Maybe the art of true love is not about finding the perfect person, but about seeing an imperfect person perfectly.

Symposium by Plato
Our original human nature was not like it is now. Human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions. There were three sexes then: one comprised of two men, one made of two women, and a third made of a man and a woman. Due to the power of these original humans, the Gods began to fear that their reign might be threatened. They sought for a way to end the humans’ insolence without destroying them. So Zeus hurled down his lightning bolts and divided the humans in half.
But the Gods—worried that the humans, now alone and losing the will to live, might not survive or multiply—decided on a few repairs.
Instead of heads facing backwards or out, they would rotate our heads back forward. They pulled our skin taut and knotted it at the belly button. And most important they left us with a memory, a longing for our original other half.
Separated, we are but the indenture of a person, and we are always looking for our other half. And when one of us meets our other half, we pass our whole lives together, desiring that we should be melted into one. One person instead of two. And so that after our death there will be one departed soul instead of two. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called Love.

The Second Time Around: Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van
Love is lovelier the second time around
Just as wonderful with both feet on the ground
It’s that second time you hear your love song sung
Makes you think perhaps that love, like youth, is wasted on the young
Love’s more comfortable the second time you fall
Like a friendly home the second time you call
Who can say what brought us to this miracle we’ve found?
There are those who’ll bet love comes but once, and yet
I’m oh, so glad we met the second time around
Who can say what brought us to this miracle we’ve found?
There are those who’ll bet love comes but once, and yet
I’m oh, so glad we met the second time around

On Marriage, by Kahlil Gibran
Then Almitra spoke again and said,
And what of Marriage, master?
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow
not in each other’s shadow.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the couple who’ll decide where to go.
All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum
All of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:
Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
Wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that…
And it is still true, no matter how old you are—when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

An Excerpt from Ecclesiastes.

Two are better than one, since they have good reward for their toil.
For if they fall, one will lift up his friend, but woe to the one who falls and has no second one to lift him up.
Moreover, if two lie down, they will have warmth, but how will one have warmth?
And if a man prevails against the one, the two will stand against him, and a three- stranded cord will not quickly be broken.

A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton
They’re both not wholly perfect
But who are we to judge
He can be pig headed
Whereas she won’t even budge!
All that said and done
They love the time they spent together
And I hope as I’m sure you do
That this fine day will last forever.
He’ll be more than just her husband
He’ll also be her friend
And she’ll be more than just his wife
She’s be his soul mate – till the end.

Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine von Radics.

I am not the first person you loved.
You are not the first person I looked at
with a mouthful of forevers. We
have both known loss like the sharp edges
of a knife. We have both lived with lips
more scar tissue than skin. Our love came
unannounced in the middle of the night.
Our love came when we’d given up
on asking love to come. I think
that has to be part
of its miracle.
This is how we heal.
I will kiss you like forgiveness. You
will hold me like I’m hope. Our arms
will bandage and we will press promises
between us like flowers in a book.
I will write sonnets to the salt of sweat
on your skin. I will write novels to the scar
of your nose. I will write a dictionary
of all the words I have used trying
to describe the way it feels to have finally,
finally found you.
And I will not be afraid
of your scars.
I know sometimes
it’s still hard to let me see you
in all your cracked perfection,
but please know:
whether it’s the days you burn
more brilliant than the sun
or the nights you collapse into my lap
your body broken into a thousand questions,
you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
I will love you when you are a still day.
I will love you when you are a hurricane.
A portion of a letter that Ludwig Van Beethoven wrote to his secret love.

My thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved.
I can live only wholly with you, or not at all.
Be calm, my life, my all.
Only by calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together.
Oh, continue to love me, never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.
Ever thine.
Ever mine.
Ever ours.

From Beginning to End by Robert Fulghum
You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks—all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”—those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe”—and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed—well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another—acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this—is my husband, this—is my wife.

Colossians 3:12 – 17
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

For Now by Tracey Emin

Hurry, but do not rush me
Push, but do not push me
Hold, but do not crush me
Love, but do not change me
let us be the way we are.
Devour, but do not consume me
Thrill, but do not frighten me
Excite, but do not scare me
Teach, but do not change me
Let us learn from the way we are.
Kiss, but do not smother me
Fuck, but do not break me
Adore, but do not suffocate me
Love, let me love you
Just the way you are.

The Beauty of Love by Anon.
The question is asked: “Is there anything more beautiful in life than a young couple clasping hands and pure hearts in the path of marriage? Can there be anything more beautiful than young love?” And the answer is given: “Yes, there is a more beautiful thing.
“It is the spectacle of an old man and an old woman finishing their journey together on that path. Their hands are gnarled but still clasped; their faces are seamed but still radiant; their hearts are physically bowed and tired but still strong with love and devotion. Yes, there is a more beautiful thing than young love. Old love.”

I Wanna Be Yours…by John Cooper Clarke

I wanna be your vacuum cleaner
breathing in your dust
I wanna be your Ford Cortina
I will never rust
If you like your coffee hot
let me be your coffee pot
You call the shots
I wanna be yours
I wanna be your raincoat
for those frequent rainy days
I wanna be your dreamboat
when you want to sail away
Let me be your teddy bear
take me with you anywhere
I don’t care
I wanna be yours
I wanna be your electric meter
I will not run out
I wanna be the electric heater
you’ll get cold without
I wanna be your setting lotion
hold your hair in deep devotion
Deep as the deep Atlantic ocean
that’s how deep is my devotion

I Choose You by Sara Bereilles
Let the bough break, let it come down crashing. Let the sun fade out to a dark sky. I can’t say I’d even notice it was absent. ‘Cause I could live by the light in your eyes
I’ll unfold before you, What I have strung together. The very first words of a lifelong love letter
Tell the world that we finally got it all right. I choose you I will become yours and you will become mine…
There was a time when I would have believed them, If they told me that you could not come true. Just love’s illusion But then you found me And everything changed And I believe in something again.
My whole heart. Will be yours forever. This is a beautiful start, To a lifelong love letter
Tell the world that we finally got it all right. I choose you. I will become yours and you will become mine…
We are not perfect we’ll learn from our mistakes, And as long as it takes I will prove my love to you. I am not scared of the elements I am underprepared, But I am willing. And even better I get to be the other half of you.

Absolute Beginners by David Bowie
I’ve nothing much to offer
There’s nothing much to take
I’m an absolute beginner
But I’m absolutely sane
As long as we’re together
The rest can go to hell
I absolutely love you
But we’re absolute beginners
With eyes completely open
But nervous all the same
If our love song
Could fly over mountains
Could laugh at the ocean
Just like the films
There’s no reason
To feel all the hard times
To lay down the hard lines
It’s absolutely true
Nothing much could happen
Nothing we can’t shake
Oh, we’re absolute beginners
With nothing much at stake
As long as you’re still smiling
There’s nothing more I need
I absolutely love you
But we’re absolute beginners
But if my love is your love
We’re certain to succeed

I’ll Be There For You, by Louise Cuddon
I’ll be there, my darling, through thick and through thin
When your mind’s in a mess and your head’s in a spin
When your plane’s been delayed, and you’ve missed the last train.
When life is just threatening to drive you insane
When your thrilling whodunit has lost its last page
When somebody tells you, you’re looking your age
When your coffee’s too cool, and your wine is too warm
When the forecast said, “Fine,” but you’re out in a storm
When your quick break hotel, turns into a slum
And your holiday photos show only your thumb
When you park for five minutes in a resident’s bay
And return to discover you’ve been towed away
When the jeans that you bought in hope or in haste
Just stick on your hips and don’t reach round your waist
When the food you most like brings you out in red rashes
When as soon as you boot up the bloody thing crashes
So my darling, my sweetheart, my dear…
When you break a rule, when you act the fool
When you’ve got the flu, when you’re in a stew
When you’re last in the queue, don’t feel blue
’cause I’m telling you, I’ll be there.

Baz Luhrmann Lyrics – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)
Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine.
Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing everyday that scares you
Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.
Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.
Get plenty of calcium.
Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary
what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.
Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.
Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.
Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.
Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.
Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.
Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it.
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than
it’s worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen.

I would love to hear any other suggestions for readings, poems or prayers for a wedding. If you are considering a Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebookfollow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest.  Check out the first list I made of wedding readings and poems for more ideas.  Please comment below if you have any suggestions of your own, or let me know what reading(s) you had at your own wedding.

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Joanne and Daniel’s Marriage Vow Renewal in the Ladies’ Pavilion

Joanne and Daniel renewed their marriage vows with us in August.  They are from Cheshire in England and are both 41 years old.  They had been together for twenty-three years when they renewed their vows, and married for exactly twenty years to the day.  They have two teenaged sons who were their guests for their vow renewal.

They met in the first year of high school, when they were in the same class.  They were friends throughout high school, lost touch after school, and then reconnected again a few years later, when they met again at the local nightclub and began dating again.  They said that they knew, even at a young age, that you had met “the one”.  They already knew each other very well, having been friends through school, and theirs was a connection that they had never experienced before.  Daniel proposed whilst on vacation in Turkey with a red rose in his mouth, then he then serenaded Joanne with Wonderwall by Oasis on Karaoke.  So, when it came to planning the vow renewal, Joanne felt certain that particular song simply had to feature in their vow renewal! 

Some of our couples come to us for a vow renewal because they weren’t entirely happy with their wedding day.  Not so for Joanne and Daniel.  “Our wedding was lovely; a beautiful sunny day with lots of family and friends present.  It was perfect, I wouldn’t change a thing about it.” said Joanne.  “I think vow renewals are becoming more popular as couples can include things in the ceremony that they missed the first time around and include others who were not present previously,” she said.  “For us we wanted a quiet vow renewal ceremony with just us and our kids to reaffirm our wedding vows and include the kids.  We didn’t want people to feel obliged to come along as we had already had our ‘big do’ previously,” she explained.

I asked Joanne what had made them want to renew their vows.  “My marriage is very important to me. My parents were happily married for years and I’d hoped for the same thing myself.  I believe there is no better way to show your love and commitment to another individual than marriage,” she said.  They had planned for a while to renew their vows, and had considered doing it at the ten year mark.  Renewing their vows was important to them to involve their kids, since of course they had not yet been born when they got married.  “We felt it was important to involve them as they are a huge part of our relationship,” she said. 

Joanne and Daniel had a feeling that they’d like to renew their vows somewhere memorable.  “We always wanted something small and personal without a huge fuss so it was always going to be away from home,” Joanne told me.  “We discussed Vegas as we’ve been there before and know you can get the ‘no fuss ceremony’ there but I really wanted something a little classier,” she said.  So, they did a little searching online and they decided that Central Park was the perfect option for them.  “There were various stunning ceremony locations to choose from and the backdrop of the city meant we wouldn’t have to go elsewhere for amazing pictures,” Joanne said.  “My husband is an outdoor person too so it ticked all the boxes.  It’s iconic and recognisable for all ages, it’s stunningly beautiful,” she said.  Of course I agree wholeheartedly!  “I knew I wanted my vow renewal in Central Park but I honestly didn’t know where to start so finding Wed in Central Park on various social media platforms was a godsend,” said Joanne.

Joanne, Daniel and their two sons stayed in New York for nine nights at The New Yorker Hotel on 8th Avenue.  I always ask couple if they have any restaurants to recommend.  “One of our favourite places to eat was Virgils BBQ in Times Square.  It had amazing food and great hospitality,” Joanne told me.  They visited Central Park a few days before the vow renewal ceremony to make themselves familiar with the location and understand the subway stops.  “I’d definitely recommend doing this as it was a great help to get things planned and visually sorted in our heads prior to our vow renewal,” said Joanne.

Music is very important to both Joanne and Daniel so they wanted a musician to play at the ceremony, and for music to feature quite heavily in the proceedings.  They chose the Ladies’ Pavilion to hold the ceremony.  “It is a beautiful picture perfect structure and location wise it was in a quieter area of the park, which is what we wanted,” said Joanne.  It was a great spot for what they wanted, since it has benches inside, so they could sit and listen to songs being played by the guitarist before, during and after the ceremony.  Also, the Ladies’ Pavilion has a roof, so that helps to reduce most couples’ worries about rain!

We always enjoy doing vow renewals, and I love to write the ceremonies, because the couples’ stories are always so wonderful to share.  We told the story of their relationship to date in the introduction to the ceremony, and talked about what they mean to each other.  We had a reading of the poem The Art of a Good Marriage by Wilferd Arlan Peterson, which I’ll put at the end of this post, and before they began the vows, we had a break part way through for their musician to play the song Only You by the Flying Pickets.  “It was a lovely ceremony, personalised with the story of our relationship including mentions of our kids but still traditional with the usual vows adapted for the vow renewal,” said Joanne.

Joanne wore a three-quarter length ivory Bardot-style bridal dress purchased from Monsoon with ivory diamanté heels.  Their sons wore grey suit trousers and waistcoats, with white shirts and sky blue ties with brown brogues.  Daniel wore the same trousers and shoes as the kids but he had a blue waistcoat and pink tie.  “We knew it would be hot in August so opted for lighter clothing,” said Joanne (very wise!).  “We took a change of shoes for the walk around the park afterwards to be more comfortable and stop the blisters,” she added (even wiser!).

Joanne said that their kids thought it was amazing that they were holding their vow renewal ceremony in Central Park.  “They are aged fourteen and eighteen and knew all about Central Park as they have seen it in films and on social media,” said Joanne.  They took photos at Bethesda Terrace after the ceremony, “our kids were also very impressed with this location as it was featured in the John Wick film,” she said.  “Everyone who we mentioned the vow renewal to were impressed about the location,” Joanne told me.  After taking some photos around Central Park, they all went to the Tavern on the Green to toast their renewed vows with a glass of champagne.  They went to DiscOasis roller rink at the Wollman rink in Central Park later that night and then on for a meal at Carmine’s restaurant.

I asked Joanne if she had any comments for anyone else considering doing what they did.  “If you want something different then I would highly recommend getting married or renewing your vows in Central Park,” she said.  “The setting is not only stunning you will honestly feel like a celeb!  We got so much attention and so many well wishes whilst in our wedding attire, which was lovely!” she added.  Joanne said that she’s quite a shy person and thought that she would hate the attention but in the end she felt that it was actually really lovely and heart warming for people to take the time to congratulate them.

I asked Joanne how we did.  “Claire is honestly amazing, she thought of every little detail and shared her knowledge and recommendations with us in the planning of our ceremony.  She is very professional and always responded to our queries promptly.  She helped us achieve a picture perfect vow renewal with no stress or worry.  The officiant she arranged was fantastic and the acoustic guitarist was awesome!  Claire is amazing at what she does and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her to others,” she said.  Thanks so much for your kind words, and for sharing your story with us!  It was a pleasure to mark the twenty year landmark of your marriage with you!

If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you’re from near or far, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest

The Art of a Good Marriage by Wilferd Arlan Peterson.

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created. In marriage the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner; it is being the right partner

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Prices and Packages for Weddings in Central Park

I have listed the packages that we offer for weddings, elopements and vow renewals in Central Park on the website.  I won’t discuss the prices in this blog post, because they’re all listed there on the website and they are subject to change.  This blog post is intended to be a discussion of the packages and options when considering purchasing a wedding package from us. Click the link for the most up-to date prices for weddings in Central Park.

The first, cheapest and most basic package is for just the ceremony.  With this package, I will write the ceremony wording for you (and that involves me asking you some questions about yourselves and your relationship and anyone else that you’d like to mention), and I arrange for a NY state registered officiant to be there to perform the ceremony.  I will get the event permit for you from the Central Park Conservancy.  You may have some questions about the locations, which I’ll do my best to answer, and try to show you what each location looks like, and the pros and cons of each.   I will ask you for a first choice of date, time and location and then apply for this for you, if that isn’t available then I’ll come back to you and ask for a second choice.  This will get you all the planning and advice from myself about the wedding, and your time in Central Park that you need.

The second package is as above but with a photographer for two hours.  The photographer might meet you at the entrance to Central Park, or at the ceremony location, as you wish.  They will take candid photos of the ceremony itself, and portrait photos around Central Park.  We can do portrait photos either before or after the ceremony, whichever suits you.  We usually suggest two hours is just right for photos in Central Park, this yields around 120-150 photos.  The photographer will edit them and get the high resolution digital images to you as soon as possible.

The third package is as above but the photographer is there for just one hour.  I can only offer this one for eloping couples Monday to Thursday.  Most photographers are not keen to come out for such a short job at all, and certainly not on weekends.  This is because they wouldn’t earn enough to potentially turn down another wedding on the same date, plus they have travel time and editing time.  We find that some eloping couples just don’t want to spend two hours taking photos, though, so we wanted to offer something more low-key.  This one is also quite popular with couples who are renewing their marriage vows with us in Central Park.

The fourth package is the ceremony, performed by an officiant, with two hours of photography, and also flowers delivered to your hotel, an acoustic musician and a videographer.  The flowers in this contract would be a rose bouquet with matching boutonniere.  Couples can upgrade for a small extra charge to any bouquet they like really, made of any blooms if the florist can get them, and any number of extra bouquets and boutonnieres.  The videographer will be at the ceremony and capture footage of the guests, the ceremony and the surrounding area.  Then they create an edited video with sound of the ceremony, and also a shorter highlight reel set to music of the couple’s choice.  At the time of writing I can provide an acoustic guitarist, singer, harpist, saxophonist, violinist, cellist, other classical musicians or bagpiper for a wedding ceremony in Central Park.  The musicians can do requests.  We usually have couples choose a few pieces for the musician to play for the guests while they wait for the bride or couple to arrive, then something special for the musician to play for the arrival, then another special request for when they are pronounced married, then they go back to playing from the original background while the couple signs the paperwork and have group photos taken in the area close to where the ceremony took place.

The fifth package is the ceremony, performed by an officiant and ten hours of photography.  We began to offer this because we were finding that some couples want to take getting ready shots, photos of the ceremony and Central Park, and then photographs all over the city in their wedding gear, followed by photos at the reception. 

What I find happens in practice, is that couples might choose one of these customizable wedding packages, or have something slightly different in mind that takes from a couple of the packages.  We can usually accommodate their wishes.  For example; the fifth package with ten hours of photography, but with a videographer too, or the second package with two hours of photography, but with a musician too, or with an hour or so more photography, and so on.  I’m quite happy to provide different quotes to help you think about what services you need to make the day go just how you want it to.  If you have something in mind that isn’t listed here, then please drop me an email at and we can discuss it!

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Jade and Danny’s Elopement at the Pond Lawns, Overlooking Gapstow Bridge

Jade and Danny eloped from their home in Scotland to get married in Central Park in July.  They held their ceremony on the Pond Lawns at the south end of Central Park, with Gapstow Bridge in the background.  Jade is 28, Danny is 31.  They had been together for almost ten years when they got married.  They met at a mutual friend’s party “and then continued to show up at the same social events,” said Jade. 

They got engaged on a fancy boat hotel docked in Leith, Edinburgh.  “We had a great day and night and then I was surprised with a ring box,” said Jade.  “I had absolutely no idea which made it so much more special,” she added.  I asked if they had considered any other options for their wedding before decided on Central Park.  “We never considered any other options,” said Jade.  “We knew we didn’t want anything traditional and to go off and do it ourselves without a huge fuss.  New York City is one of our very favourite places and within that city Central Park is my most favourite location. It made immediate sense to get married there,” she explained.

I asked Jade if she thinks destination weddings and elopements are becoming more popular.  “Definitely,” she said.  “We looked at wedding venues closer to home out of curiosity and for every single one as soon as you say it’s for a wedding the price immediately jumps up,” she told me.  “A destination wedding is much more suited to our personalities and we got an amazing holiday out of it too, so win-win,” Jade said.  Of course, I wholeheartedly agree.

Jade first contacted me in August of 2021, so we planned the wedding in a little under a year.  Travel was still looking quite uncertain then, but they had initially wanted to get married in the summer of 2022, and at the end of 2021, travel between the UK and US opened up so they got their wish!  They booked their flights in September and booked with me in October.

I asked Jade if she had any regrets about not having a “traditional” wedding closer to home.  “None whatsoever.  We had the most perfect day,” she said.  “It was totally relaxed and just what we wanted. We have planned a big party for all our friends and family in Edinburgh for when we are home.  We plan to wear our wedding gear so that everyone still gets to share our excitement,” she added.  So, they get the best of both worlds.  The relaxed elopement wedding and the big celebration with friends and family.

Originally, Jade and Danny were considering Wagner Cove for their wedding ceremony location, but they decided on this spot beside the Pond overlooking Gapstow Bridge instead.  “Central Park is my most favourite location within the city,” Jade told me.  “I love how it is an escape from the hustle and bustle of the streets and at certain angles the city disappears completely, then you turn around and there’s all the skyscrapers.  It’s a magical place,” she said.  Again, I completely agree, and of course that’s how it was deliberately designed to look.

Jade had a clear vision of the photos that she wanted to capture on her wedding day.  She sent me a mood board and explained the sort of photos that they wanted to capture, which was really helpful for me to pass on to the photographer in advance.  “We chose Gapstow Bridge for our ceremony as it was a more intimate and quiet setting,” Jade said.  “We then had photos taken in iconic locations throughout the park. We wanted our photos to capture the greenery of Central Park as well as the iconic magnitude of the skyscrapers behind,” she said.

I asked Jade if she had had any concerns in the run-up to the wedding.  “I’m a big organiser so entrusting someone else to do everything for me was a little nerve wracking but also a complete breeze. Claire was an absolute joy,” she said.  I do enjoy working with someone who loves a good, detailed plan as much as I do!  “She kept me updated constantly and really listened to what we wanted. It all went smoothly and our day was truly perfect,” Jade said.

This visit was Jade’s third time in New York and Danny’s second time.  “We stayed for a week this time and still could have stayed for much longer!” said Jade.  “We booked using a travel agent as with the fear of Covid we thought it would be easier having someone to organise all the finer details and keep us right,” she said.  “We stayed in Manhattan in a very central location on 43rd Street which made it very easy for us to get to everywhere we wanted to visit,” she added.

I have a process that I tend to go through for all of my weddings, and quite early on, I send the couple a series of questions that I use to write the ceremony for them.  the ceremonies always turn out differently, but often tend to follow a traditional model.  Jade and Danny weren’t too keen on that so we took an awful lot of the ceremony out and kept it very minimal.  “I rewrote our ceremony after Claire gave me a basic draft of what is normally said,” said Jade.  “We didn’t want anything traditional or religious so the entirety of our ceremony lasted five minutes tops.  It captured our personalities, was light and funny and exactly what we wanted,” she said.  I’ll admit that a part of me wanted them to get more of their money’s worth so to speak but I’m all about giving the couple what they want, so we kept it petty much as short as possible, while keeping all the parts we need to have for it to be legally binding!

Jade did her hair and makeup herself.  “I’m not into people touching and fussing with me and didn’t want anything elaborate either,” she explained.  “I had an idea in my head of what I wanted my hair to look like and of course my hair did not cooperate on the day so ended up with something completely different but I just had to go with it.  It was my only stressful moment of the day,” she said.  It does seem that hair and makeup is most commonly the most stressful part of a bride’s wedding day! 

Jade purchased her dress from a boutique bridal shop in Scotland.  “They specialise in unique and quirky pieces and it was the first dress I saw and the second I tried on,” she said.  “We were traditional in the way we dressed but with our personalities shining through.  Our outfits had unique elements to them,” Jade told me.  “I didn’t have flowers as it was causing me too much stress worrying about travelling with them and I didn’t see the point in spending a fortune on flowers while over in New York.  Instead we had a customised bag with our married name on it that we used as a prop in some of our photos – and was perfect for carrying everything we needed (including a flat pair of shoes) seen as it was just the two of us,” Jade said.  I think this bag was a wonderful idea, especially the part about the shoes!

I asked Jade what their friends and family had thought of their decision to get married in Central Park.  “All our friends and family knew we were getting married just the two of us and were all very happy for us.  Whenever someone asked where we were getting married and we told them New York City in Central Park, the look on their faces was priceless,” Jade said.

We had the ceremony take place in the morning.  After taking photos around the park Jade and Danny went to Tavern on the Green for brunch.  After that they went back to their hotel to change.  “It was too much for us Scottish people to wear our full wedding gear in the New York City summer heat!” said Jade.  Once changed and refreshed they went to the Plaza for cocktails and then went to see Chicago on stage that evening.

Jade said that she thought that it helped them enjoy their day more because they had visited New York before their wedding trip.  “That way you have a feel for the city and know what to expect,” she said. She also had some advice on the climate.  “We opted to get married in the height of summer, which was wonderful but impossible for us to keep to our wedding outfits on all day since they weren’t exactly height of New York summer appropriate.  So definitely consider the season and the outfit you choose and ladies a change of flat shoes was an excellent call on my part,” she says.

I asked how we did.  “We had the most wonderful of experiences with Wed in Central Park!” said Jade.  “As mentioned before Claire was a joy!  Incredibly professional, prompt and made us very pleased. Jules, our photographer made us feel so at ease.  She gave us pointers of how to move and pose until we got into it and then let us play around and do as we pleased.  Barbara, our officiant was incredibly sweet, the fact that she had recently dyed her hair blue was very fitting with our own unique qualities,” she added.  “I would highly recommend Wed in Central Park.  The service is 10/10, Claire kept us right from beginning to end and as a result we had the most perfect of days and would do it all over again.”  Thank you so much for your kid words, Jade, it was a pleasure to plan your wedding with you!  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, whether you’re planning a small or large affair, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest

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Kim and Rob’s Elopement Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

Kim and Rob eloped from their home in Manchester, UK to get married in New York.  They got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in June.  The first contacted me in October 2021, just as things were starting to look positive for Brits wanting to travel to the USA.

Their first trip together as a couple had been to New York in March.  “It was absolutely freezing,” said Kim.  “We always said we would go back in the summer, so when we realised how easy it was to get married in New York, it quickly became was the obvious choice for a June wedding.”

They are 49 and 50 years old and had been together for eight years before they got married.  They had met through some mutual friends on a night out to see a band.  They got engaged on Christmas day in their home.  “Rob popped the ring in the advent calendar and told me there was a chocolate in there, which was guaranteed to get me looking!” said Kim.

Kim said that they were ready to get married because it felt like “cementing” their relationship.  “We have no children and getting married just felt right,” she said.  They had initially planned to get married locally and to invite friends and family. “Covid meant our plans were delayed and we just decided that we would prefer to get married on our own so the day was just for us,” Kim said.

Kim says that she can see that small weddings aren’t for everyone, since lots of people do want to have their ‘big day’.  “Plus it’s difficult to expect friends and family to splash out in a destination wedding which they may not be able to afford,” she added.  So, eloping was the right thing for them.  I asked if they had any regrets about not having a wedding closer to home.  “None whatsoever,” Kim said.

I asked Kim what she would say to other couples considering getting married in Central Park.  “Our day was perfect and can’t recommend it enough,” she said.  “Be prepared for lots of walking in high heels though!” she added, although I thought she walked more comfortably and quicker in heels than I’ve ever seen a bride do before, so she had that one down!

Kim wore a tea length House of Mooshki bridal dress purchase from Areles Bridal in Darwin.  “It was perfect,” she said.  Rob wore a more casual t-shirt and jeans with a jacket.  Kim’s flowers were from a local shop in Soho and she did her own hair and makeup.

Kim and Rob stayed in New York for seven days at the Hotel Sixty Soho.  Our photographer Jakub Redziniak met them there for some photos in their room and in the lobby and he said it was one of his favourite hotels that he had shot photos in, and he’s been in quite a few New York City hotels!  Kim said that it was “lacking in service so I wouldn’t recommend it for the price,” so it wasn’t all good, but she does agree that “it did make for some nice photos!”

They had a vintage cab pick them up from their hotel and take them over to the Brooklyn waterfront for photos there, before driving back over to Manhattan and up to Central Park for the ceremony.  “The driver was just superb, said Kim.  “He really added to our day with it being just the two of us and the car really added to our photos,” she told me.  That cab always gets a huge amount of attention.  A driver of a passing open-top tour bus actually stopped his bus full of tourists to take a photo of it when it was parked outside Central Park to drop off Kim and Rob.

We held the ceremony in the Ladies’ Pavilion.  “We chose it as it had cover and we were worried about it being too hot and needing shade,” Kim said.  They were right to, it was a hot day, although the following day was unpleasantly hot so their choice of date worked out well for them.  “We love the pictures of us getting married in the Ladies’ Pavilion,” Kim told me.  “Our favourite pics of the whole day are those of us down at Dumbo with the vintage cab!” she said.

We kept the ceremony very short, with just a brief introduction before going into traditional vows and then the ring exchange.  “The ceremony was short and sweet,” said Kim.  “To be honest, I can’t remember most of it as it was such a whirl,” she added.  They had felt that there was no need for a long ceremony with it being just the two of them.  After a few photos in Central Park they took a subway back to their hotel, had a brief rest, then went back out again to the River Cafe for dinner.

I asked Kim how we did. “The service was just fantastic,” she said.  “Everything was sorted for us. Communication in the run up was spot on.  We can’t recommend them highly enough. Claire really made our day go without a hitch.”  Thank you for your kind words, and for letting me attend the ceremony.  It was an absolute pleasure to plan your wedding with you, and I wish you both lots of luck for your future together. 

If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you live locally or are planning on traveling to New York to get married, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest

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Rachel and Jack’s Bethesda Terrace Wedding in April

Rachel and Jack got married on Bethesda Terrace in April.  They brought over Jack’s mum and dad, and Rachel’s dad and his partner from their home in Scotland for the wedding.  Rachel is thirty and Jack is twenty-eight. 

The couple had been together for six years when they got married in Central Park.  They met at a friend’s house party.  They got engaged at the Top of the Rock in May 2019.  Jack got down on one knee to ask and surprised Rachel.  They hope to have a family in the future and wanted to get married before they have children. 

Rachel and Jack had originally booked their wedding at a venue in Scotland.  “During lockdown we realised that we didn’t want the big, flashy, expensive wedding as it wasn’t important to us anymore with everything going on in the world with Covid,” Rachel explained.  “We decided to do what we really wanted to do,” she said.  And, what they really wanted to do was to get married in New York

Rachel first contacted me in April of 2021, with a view to getting married with us in September of that year.  We had a brief discussion and they decided to hold off from booking to see what happened with travel restrictions.  As it turned out, Brits still couldn’t travel to the US in September so they had a rethink and decided to set their date for April of 2022 instead.

As first, Rachel and Jack felt a little concerned about the prospect of getting married in New York, since they didn’t know the process and legalities surrounding things, “but once Claire provided me with all the information and advice, I felt at ease,” Rachel said.  They stayed at the Riu Plaza Times Square Hotel.  They stayed in New York for five nights.  They saw a few sights while they were in town.  They especially recommend SUMMIT One Vanderbilt.  “The observation deck was amazing!” Rachel told me. 

Rachel and their two female guests had their hair and make-up done by Miss Harlequin in her hotel room on the morning of the wedding.  “The girls that did the hair and make-up were brilliant,” said Rachel.  “The make-up stayed on my face all day and my hair was still curly the next day,” she said.

They held the ceremony out in the open on Bethesda Terrace, although kind of in a corner beside the steps with the arches behind them.  This is still possible on a weekday in April, but in high summer on a weekend it would be too busy.  So, if you’d like to get married in this striking location, consider the time of year and day of the week!  “My favourite photos of the day were taken next to the cherry blossom trees and on also on the steps leading down to the Terrace,” said Rachel.  When she arrived, she made her entrance down the grand stone steps of Bethesda Terrace.  “I really liked the photos of my dad and I walking down the steps as it felt like we were walking down an aisle,” she said.

Rachel’s dad gave her away, and we had the officiant begin with a brief introduction about their relationship and to thank their parents.  “The ceremony was relaxed and quick, as we wanted it to be,” said Rachel.  They exchanged traditional vows and then their rings before being pronounced married.  “I like that the ceremony introduction was about us and our journey so far,” Rachel told me. 

Rachel and Jack’s guests were just Jack’s mum and dad and Rachel’s dad and his partner.  “They were very happy for us and enjoyed New York just as much as my husband and I,” said Rachel, slipping easily into referring to Jack as her husband! 

Rachel said that it had been a bit stressful to bring her gorgeous wide-skirted gown over on the plane from Scotland!  “As it was quite big I had to put it in the hold of the plane but luckily it arrived,” she told me.  Her dress was purchased from Bijoux Bridal in Hamilton, Scotland.  Jack wore a kilt, “he got a few funny looks while wearing it in the park,” Rachel said!  We love a groom in a kilt!  Rachel’s bouquet included thistles bring a little bit of Scotland to New York City. 

After taking photos around Bethesda Terrace, Bow Bridge and Cherry Hill they left the park to take photos outside St Patrick’s Cathedral.  “Those photos outside the Cathedral and on the street are lovely,” said Rachel.  Then they popped back to their hotel, Rachel got changed into a smaller dress and they went for dinner and drinks at STK.  “It was the best steak we have ever had and it also had a good party vibe as there is a DJ playing in the restaurant,” said Rachel.

I asked Rachel if she thinks smaller weddings and elopements are becoming more popular.  “I think a lot of people’s opinions have changed since Covid.  Things have been put into perspective for a lot of people that having a big wedding isn’t important, it’s actually getting married that counts,” she said.

I asked Rachel how we did.  “Claire was amazing from start to finish. The whole process was stress-free; when contacting Claire her replies were very quick and she answered all my questions,” Rachel said.  “Claire provided the photographer and officiant for us and they were absolutely brilliant.  Thanks again Claire for organising our special day,” she added.  Thank you for your kind words, Rachel, and for sharing your story with us.  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you’re from near or far, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest

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Allison and Glenn’s Wedding on Belvedere Castle Terrace

Allison and Glenn got married in May on Belvedere Castle Terrace.  Allison is 31, from Harrisburg Pennsylvania and Glenn is 35, from New York City.  They had been together for a little over twelve years when they got married in Central Park.

They met on a dating site, like so many of our couples.  They had been engaged for over six years before they got married, so were certainly in no rush.  Glenn had proposed by creating a scavenger hunt of clues that went on all day!  “We ended up in a garden at night time when he popped the question, I was so stunned!” Allison told me.  His family were in on the surprise and had champagne back at their house ready for their return.

When considering where and how to get married, they did consider getting married on a beach, “but that just wasn’t our vibe,” said Allison.  I asked Allison if she thought these smaller weddings were becoming more popular.  “I’ve definitely seen more elopements and smaller weddings the last few years, but I think that’s because brides are owning their days more, and not falling into the trap of doing it the ‘traditional’ way,” she told me.  “We loved that our wedding had no traditions, at all!” she added. 

So, instead of a beach, they chose a castle for their wedding ceremony location.  “We wanted the feel and vibe of New York City, and I really loved the idea of Belvedere Castle, right in the center,” Allison sad.  “We thought it was poetic,” she added.  Indeed, Central Park is in the middle of Manhattan, and Belvedere Castle is in the middle of Central Park!  Fun fact: it is also the highest point in Central Park, and for that reason, it is a weather station.  I watched New Year’s fireworks from there one year because of its views, it was lovely.

Allison and Glenn stayed the Embassy Suites Hotel by Hilton on West 37th for a week while they were in town.  For the ceremony, we had a brief introduction and then they exchanged some traditional vows and some more modern vows, and then our officiant performed a hand fasting ceremony with them, with some ribbons that they had brought along.  Then they exchanged rings and were pronounced married.  “It was perfect!” said Allison.  “Claire was amazing and let us customize our vows and it felt so serene and intimate,” she added.  It was just the two of them for the ceremony, no guests.

Allison got a silk flower bouquet and boutonniere set in pink, white and burgundy from Etsy, “it was awesome,” she said.  I am increasingly seeing couples get silk flowers for their wedding day.  It’s cheaper than fresh flowers, they last forever and they look very convincing in photos.  She wore a sleeveless lace corset dress with a sheer pearl cape, purchased from Amazon.

On the day, heavy rain was forecast and I had been worried about them getting drenched on the way to the ceremony.  There is good cover overhead at Belvedere Castle Terrace but it takes around ten minutes to walk from the entrance to the park to get there, and because it’s high up, it does get windy.  We checked in with them in the morning to see if they wanted to switch the location to underneath Bethesda Terrace, and they decided to stick with Belvedere Castle.  They were right to do so and there were only a few little light rain showers.  After taking photos around the park, they went on to have dinner at Carmine’s.

I always ask our couples who get married with us why getting married is important to them, and I really liked Allison’s answer.  “We felt that marriage was just another level to our love, not a defining instance.  We saw it as a way to give ourselves to the other, publicly,” she said.  After having been involved with a great number of weddings over quite some time I’d agree with this.  Getting married is a step in a relationship, just one step of many.  A big one and a public one but when you really think about it (and I do, a lot!) it’s just a day where your relationship goes from one phase to the next, and the wedding is a celebration of that.

I asked how we did.  “Everyone was amazing.  They were all absolutely beautiful and instrumental in making our day so beautiful.  Thank you so much for all you’ve done!” Allison said.  It was an absolute pleasure to plan your wedding with you, Allison, and I wish you both lots of luck for your future together. If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you live locally or are planning on traveling to New York to get married, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest.

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Meagan and Andrew’s Wedding on the Pond Lawns, Overlooking Gapstow Bridge

Meagan and Andrew got married in May on the Lawns by the Pond at the south end of Central Park, overlooking Gapstow Bridge.  They’re both 25 and Meagan is from Westfield, New Jersey and Andrew is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania originally.  They met in freshman year of college through mutual friends who insisted that they should meet since we were “both short”.  Although this may seem like an odd thing to bond over, their friends were right in their case! 

Meagan and Andrew were together for just over seven years before getting married.  They had been talking about getting married for a very long time but they kept putting it off because life just simply kept getting in the way.  Marriage was always the end goal for them, and they had talked about it after having dated for about a year.  They got engaged on the Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia.  Andrew had wanted to propose on the same day as their first date but due to Meagan’s job he had to pick a different date.  He planned a romantic picnic underneath a heated bubble tent right on the trail. They walked some of the trail until they got to the tent, where Andrew got down on one knee and popped the question.  It was a complete surprise to Meagan!  They spent a couple hours together in the tent and eventually drove over to a romantic dinner and stayed that night at the Four Seasons Hotel atop Philadelphia’s Comcast Tower.

I always ask our couples why getting married is important to them.  Andrew has quite a unique answer to this one.  When he was a third grader in Catholic school he learned about the sacraments, and when matrimony was brought up he was enthralled by the idea of two people being together forever since he did not have that at home.  Meagan has always adored the idea of marriage from watching all the shows about weddings and crying tears of joy when she saw other brides on their special day.  “Marriage to us was never a question,” Meagan told me.

Once they had finally officially gotten engaged, they knew that they wanted to get married in Central Park.  New York, and Central Park in particular, is where they had many of their early dates.  They actually held their wedding ceremony at the very spot where they took their first photo together.  So, the place where their relationship began is where they said “I do.”  They weren’t even sure that it was possible to get married in Central Park but they knew that they wanted to.  So, they got online and found us at Wed in Central Park.  “We were not sure if we could make it a reality until we found Claire,” said Meagan.  “Since we found Claire so early in our plans we never looked elsewhere.”

I asked Meagan if she thinks that smaller, mor intimate weddings are becoming more popular.  “Yes, 100%” she said.  “Our original wedding plan was to have a VERY small wedding with just immediate family but quickly realized that was not going to be the case.  Our wedding ended up being sixty-five people and it could not have been any more perfect for us,” she told me.  “Having a smaller wedding allows you to truly enjoy the presence of all of your guests and have full conversations together.  It felt so intimate and we would do it all over again the same way if we could,” Meagan said, which is the perfect answer!

I always ask our couples if they had any concerns about marrying in Central Park.  Meagan and Andrew had the same worry that the majority of our couples have, and it’s unavoidable when getting married outdoors.  “Rain,” said Meagan.  “We checked the weather obsessively in the weeks leading up to the wedding, and on the day we had clear skies until literally the moment we stepped into the taxi to take us to our reception,” she said.  We had two event permits to try to reduce their worries – one for this space beside Gapstow Bridge and one for underneath Bethesda Terrace.  “One piece of advice though is to be open to the unexpected,” said Meagan.  This is a good point for anyone planning to get married in a huge public park that other members of the public will be using too.  “People will stare and want to take pictures,” she said.  “On our wedding day there was a spin class going on at Wollman Rink with music playing. We don’t know how it happened but right as I made my entrance, the music stopped and we were able to have our ceremony as planned,” Meagan said.  Sometimes our officiants will ask anyone nearby to be quiet for fifteen minutes if necessary, and people d respect a wedding usually, but we can’t take credit for this one!

Meagan and Andrew had hired their own photographer Morgan Taylor Artistry for the whole day, including a first look at The High Line in Chelsea, the ceremony in the park and the reception.  They loved doing the first look in private since they’re both quite shy people.  The ceremony was held on the large patch of grass between Gapstow Bridge and Wollman Rink.  Meagan has anxiety but when she got to Andrew he soothed her and the ceremony proceeded beautifully.  We had the officiant read an introduction with thanks to all of their nearest and dearest and also the story of Meagan and Andrew’s relationship to date.  Meagan’s sister did a reading, and then they exchanged some traditional vows and some more unique vows before exchanging rings.  The couple had written private vows for each other which they wanted to keep between themselves, so they read them out to each other during their honeymoon.

They had invited their closest friends and family that they had interacted with the most during their relationship.  “Everyone was excited that we were getting married in Central Park and absolutely wanted to attend even if it meant venturing into the city and not having a chair to sit in during the ceremony,” said Meagan.  They provided small “welcome bags” during the ceremony which contained bubbles for their exit, a paper fan, Advil, deodorant wipes, chewing gum, a code for a Lyft, and a note that had a few words of appreciation and a QR code to our website.  “Our favorite photos were taken on the opposite side of the bridge by the ducks, geese and turtles where the sky is completely open and you can see the skyline,” said Meagan.

Meagan wore a Pronovias Milady Gown with the matching veil, purchased from Seng Couture in Fanwood, New Jersey.  Her shoes were purchased from Etsy.  She wore tennis bracelet Andrew had given her by the groom and earrings from Olive + Piper.  Her something blue was a sapphire cross given to her by her late grandmother when she was a child.  They hired Miss Harlequin to come to their hotel to do hair and makeup, and Meagan said that she would totally recommend!  Andrew wore a Jos Bank suit with pink tie.  The Meagan’s mom lent him her father’s watch so that they could have a piece of him with them on their wedding day.

The flowers were provided by City Blossoms.  The bridal bouquet was made up of peonies, Juliet roses, ranunculus, and Italian ruscus in hues of cream, pink, and orange.  Attached to the bouquet were rosary beads and a charm with pictures of both sets of grandparents.  Andrew had a boutonnière with a single white rose and accenting greenery.  “They also set up beautiful centerpieces and bar décor with similar florals at our reception,” said Megan. “One thing to note is that bridal bouquets are HEAVY so be prepared if you want to walk around afterwards,” she added, which is certainly worth remembering if you choose an elaborate bouquet for a wedding in Central Park where you can’t really put it down anywhere and there’s lots of walking around.  They held the reception at City Winery, “we danced and drank the night away!” said Megan.

Meagan and Andrew live about 45 minutes outside of the city but decided to stay in Manhattan for the wedding.  They stayed at The Maritime Hotel and then moved over to an airport hotel the night before their honeymoon departure.  Since they’re fairly local they have a few recommendations of places to eat.  “Whenever we go to the city our favorite stops are Ample Hills Creamery, Serafina for Italian food and Doughnut Plant,” Meagan told me.  I asked Meagan and Andrew what they would say to anyone else considering getting married in Central Park.  Meagan’s advice: “Do it, you won’t regret it.”  Andrew’s advice: “Make sure to call for a taxi or ride early to avoid getting caught in traffic.  Also, no matter where you pick in the park it will still look gorgeous.”

I asked Meagan how we did.  “Claire was very easy and flexible to work with,” she said.  “She created a base timeline which we used throughout our entire planning process and kept in constant communication with reminders of due dates and advice.  She added incredible value to our wedding planning process especially with her choice of officiant who was a joy to be around,” she added.  “We would 100% recommend her services to any future brides looking to plan their dream NYC wedding!”  Thanks so much for your kind words, and for sharing your story with us!  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you’re from near or far, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest

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