Sarah and Gareth got married on Bow Bridge in May. They eloped to New York, just the two of them and had a party on their return home. They were considering having their children as guests, but in the end they couldn’t attend due to work and school commitments.
The couple are British, but both fly for a living and they met in Texas. We kept the ceremony wording quite straightforward and short since they had no guests. The couple are Catholic so we had a traditional and religious ceremony with an ordained officiant.
Sarah had her hair done by Salon Ziba on the morning of their wedding. She decided to book that herself, as well as order her own flowers.
Their photographer, Jakub Redziniak, met them at the entrance to Central Park and took some photos at Strawberry Fields before walking into the park with them to meet their officiant at Bow Bridge. That’s where the ceremony was held. Since they had no guests their photographer was able to be their witness. On a marriage license in New York State couples are legally required to have at least one witness, but there is space for two if they would like two witnesses.
After the ceremony, couples can leave the completed license with the officiant to mail back to City Hall if they’re not in a hurry for the marriage certificate. Then City Hall register the marriage and mail the marriage certificate to whichever address the couple give them, including addresses abroad. Sarah and Gareth preferred to keep the license to take back to City Hall themselves to get certificate straight away, since Sarah was eager to change her name. We can also do this for a couple, for a fee and with a signed and notarized letter.
The original plan was to take some photos around the ceremony location and then walk down the Mall with their photographer, stopping at Gapstow Bridge for more photos. In the end they decided to get a cab from 72nd Street down to their hotel. Sarah was wearing heels and didn’t fancy the walk!
They finished up at their hotel, The Plaza, which is on Central Park South. They had wanted to take photos there since it is such a lovely hotel. We had them check with their hotel beforehand that it would be allowed, since some hotels and venues require the photographer’s information and a certificate of insurance in advance if they are to allow it.
I asked Sarah how we did. “Thank you, Claire, it was just amazing and we were blessed with the weather” she said. “Jakub was great, as was Reverend Barbara, very happy with the service” she added. She did say that her feet were very sore since she’d worn heels in the park, so any other brides thinking of doing a similar thing may want to bring some back-up flip flops!
As many readers of this blog will know; I’m British. I moved to New York in January of 2011 and the campaign to legally recognise same-sex marriages in the state was huge during the first half of that year. The Marriage Equality Act passed in July of 2011, coincidentally the month that I got married. I had signed any petitions that I was asked to sign for this act to be passed, but I never really thought about what a hugely important fundamental human right it is to be able to legally declare your significant other until I was actually considering doing it myself. This is especially true in America, where someone may need to be married for their partner to be covered by their health insurance. I hadn’t considered this, until an officiant that I work with pointed it out to me recently as Project Cupid was launched to allow people to get married in New York during the height of the Covid 19 pandemic.
LGBTQ+ people and their allies worked hard for the right for their relationships to be treated with the same respect as straight relationships are. The Marriage Equality Act passed that July, and lots of weddings popped up all over New York City and NY State straight away. New York was the sixth state to recognise same-sex marriages. Nowadays, around 12% of weddings in New York State are same-sex weddings. It just happens that around 12% of the weddings I do with my business Wed in Central Park are same-sex weddings, too.
My clients, whatever their sexuality, come from all over the world to get married in New York. Over the years, in some cases, the same-sex couples who married with us in NYC may not have a legally recognised marriage in their home country, but they want to get married in a place with marriage equality. So far, when these countries have caught up and begin recognising same-sex marriages, the New York wedding will become legally binding in their own country. Everyone I work with is LGBTQ+ friendly, I wouldn’t work with them if they weren’t. Several of the photographers and officiants are gay themselves. So, if you would prefer a gay person to marry you then just let me know.
A survey of 500 same-sex couples by the Gay Wedding Institute said that two-thirds of same-sex couples are paying for the wedding themselves. Think about how you prefer to spend your money on your wedding day – a big party close to home with all of your friends and acquaintances, or a smaller affair in an amazingly inclusive city, which truly has something for everyone and is certainly one of the most gay-friendly cities on Earth? Which is likely to be more memorable for both the couple and the guests? OK – I’m biased on this one – it’s New York every time for me. Another possible benefit to a destination wedding, is that if there are any issues with family members that you don’t want to invite to your wedding, then having it far away is the perfect way to more easily exclude anyone who may be a bit difficult.
It’s quite straightforward to get married in New York. All you need to do is go together to City Hall with your passports and $35 to get your license. I wrote a blog post with a bit more information about how to get your license in New York City. Then you wait 24 hours after picking up the license before you can have the ceremony. I’m now offering five choices of Central Park wedding packages – all of which can be adapted to a different location in another public park in New York City – Brooklyn Bridge Park, with a view of the Manhattan skyline anyone? I will book a New York State registered officiant for you, and write the ceremony especially for you. I ask all couples a series of questions that allow me to write something just for them. We can completely personalize a ceremony to suit the couple. After the ceremony, you both sign the license, along with the officiant and at least one witness (we can provide one if you need us to, or your photographer can be witness!), we can return it to City Hall for you, and they register your marriage worldwide.
The New York Marriage Equality Act says that the State and local courts and governments must not discriminate against any marriages, and they cannot refuse to sanctify a marriage on the basis of the sexuality of the couple who are marrying. It does allow religious organisations to decline to officiate same-sex wedding ceremonies, though. If my clients wish to incorporate religion into their ceremony, then it’s easy enough for me to find the right officiant from my contacts. I write the ceremony wording for each couple individually, so we can include as much or as little tradition, spirituality, symbolism or religion as you like. I work with several multi-faith ordained officiants, and everyone I work with is very happy to be involved with same-sex weddings.
I can also book a photographer for you, for however long you need one, and I’d work with you to make a plan of the day, with timeline estimates and all the photo locations that you want to get to. I can also provide someone to make an edited video of the wedding, or a live stream for people back home to watch as it happens. I can provide a musician, flowers, hair and makeup and lots of other pieces of advice that should make everything smooth and stress-free. I’ve planned over three hundred weddings, and I estimate that 30-40 of them have been same-sex weddings, so it’s quite difficult to ask me something that I haven’t been asked before!
I’ve read a number of times that “a gay wedding is just a wedding” and I agree with that to a certain extent, and of course love is love. I see plenty of similarities when it comes to weddings – gay and straight, but I think it’s important not to assume a hetero-normative idea of traditional weddings from any of my couples, same-sex couples in particular. I see my job as a planner to listen to the couple and give them the wedding that they want, not to try to fit them in to a cookie-cutter idea of a wedding that everyone has.
Increasingly over the years I have been planning weddings, I’ve seen many couples questioning the traditions around marriage, such as who arrives first (if anyone – the couple can of course arrive together), is anyone given away, who carries the flowers (if anyone), does anyone change names, what exactly do couples promise each other during the ceremony (love, honour and obey, anyone?) and of course who pays for it all? So, I try to be careful not to make too many assumptions when planning a wedding. In many ways, I think same-sex weddings have started to influence straight weddings. Straight couples are seeing same-sex couples break traditions in small but significant ways and they are following suit. For example, I see lots of same-sex couples walk to their weddings together, and increasingly I’m seeing straight couples arrive together now, too, rather than the tradition of the groom waiting for the bride to walk to him.
Some of our couples, gay or straight, might get ready together and arrive together to their wedding, instead of the old-fashioned way of arriving separately. This is especially common with a more low-key elopement. We’ve all seen the traditional wedding where the groom waits for the bride to arrive and when she does, everyone gasps. We can have one of the couple waiting with the guests and the other arrives later, or we can have the couple arrive together (to receive a collective gasp!) and on some occasions, we’ve had one of the couple first walk down the aisle to receive their gasp, and then the other of the couple to walk down the aisle. According to the Gay Wedding Institute, 30% of lesbian couples walk down two aisles or from different directions, and 81% of gay grooms walk together down one central aisle holding hands. If you’re getting married in a park you’re already breaking some rules, so you can do it however you want to.
Couples getting married in New York won’t find choosing a reception location a difficult task – except for the vast array of choice! The law under the Marriage Equality Act states that marriage licenses cannot be denied to same-sex couples, and that no government or private entity can deny the rights, benefits or protections of marriage to same-sex couples who are legally wed. So, no vendors should refuse to serve same-sex couples because of their sexual orientation. This is New York City, and many of the venues are extremely gay friendly. The whole of New York City welcomes LGBT+ people, and the well-known gay-friendly areas such as Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen and the Village certainly not the only option. Rest assured that couples can choose from lots of awesome reception venues – some of which will of course be gay bars.
If you would like some help planning your wedding in New York, whatever your sexuality, then get in touch with me via email, or have a look at the website where many questions are answered. If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or follow us on Pinterest where we pin all things New York or wedding-related, “like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram for lovely photos of happy couples – I try to show a good reflection of our gay and straight couples in my social media feeds. New York City is known for welcoming LGBTQ+ people, so you will have a fantastic time if you choose to get married in this incredible city!
New Yorkers Caryn and Kristopher got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in October. They seemed to pick the peak time of the middle of the month to see the loveliest Fall colors on the trees. Caryn first contacted me in August – just two month before their date! I do love a last-minute wedding.
Caryn and Kristopher met at work, they were friends and work buddies for about three years before he asked her out. They had been together for almost nine years when they got married and they had two children.
They live in Manhattan so they knew Central Park quite well, so they had a fairly clear idea of what they wanted. They knew that a wedding in Central Park suited them. They were originally interested in getting married in the Dene Summerhouse, but when I told them that is one of the few popular wedding ceremony locations which the Central Park Conservancy do not issue permits for they weren’t so keen. They wanted to feel certain that we had laid claim to a spot so that we would be sure the day would go to plan. If you don’t have a permit for your chosen location you can still get married there with a group of less than twenty, which Caryn and Kristopher intended to have. They had restaurant reservations afterwards, though and we had planned a ceremony start time as well as time in the park taking photos. They knew that if they arrived at the Dene Summerhouse to find another wedding taking place there, then they’d need to wait for that event to finish before their guests could move in. Many couples don’t want to risk that happening.
After a chat on the phone with me, followed by some location scouting (an advantage to living just a few blocks from Central Park when planning a wedding there!) they decided on the Ladies’ Pavilion for their wedding ceremony location. “We visited Ladies’ Pavilion and fell in love!” said Caryn. “That’s the location for us. Love the views!” she said. This spot suited them partly because they had some concerns about rain, and the Ladies’ Pavilion provides good cover for a small group such as theirs.
When it came to timings we worked backwards from when they wanted to start lunch with their guests. Caryn knew that she wanted everyone to be seated by 1pm so we planned back from there. They chose the package with two hours of photography, so we planned for them to have left Central Park in time to get to the restaurant with ease. So, we had a mid-morning ceremony to allow them time to take photos around Central Park before leaving for their lunchtime celebration.
Even though Caryn and Kristopher are locals, they were still a little concerned about their guests getting to the wedding ceremony location without getting lost. I made them a route map to show the simplest and shortest way into the Ladies’ Pavilion from the entrance to the park. I also made them a route map to show where they would need to be walking to capture the photos after the ceremony that we had planned. This is helpful for brides when thinking about their shoes!
The pathway to the Ladies’ Pavilion is a lovely way for a bride to make her entrance. Caryn had considered walking down to the ceremony location with her eldest child but in the end Caryn’s brother walked her “down the aisle” and it made for a striking entrance.
We discussed fresh flowers before the wedding, and Caryn had a clear idea of a lovely Fall arrangement that she liked. In the end she chose to carry silk flowers, and I think they looked amazing, as did her whole outfit. She also decorated the reception table with matching silk flowers.
Caryn and Kristopher wrote unique vows to read out to each other as part of the ceremony. They have two kids and they took bubbles along for the kids to blow after they were pronounced husband and wife. This is a lovely alternative to confetti, which is not permitted in Central Park. After the ceremony, their photographer Jakub Redziniak took them around Central Park to take photos.
I asked Caryn how we did. “It was truly a wonderful day! Everything came together so nicely and the weather held up. I cannot wait to see the photos from Jakub! He was very easy to work with and took us to some beautiful locations in the park. It was truly a memorable and beautiful day.”
December can be a surprisingly busy month for weddings in Central Park, despite it being so cold in New York during the Winter! New York gets lots of visitors in the run-up to Christmas and also in the week in between Christmas and New Year’s. Couples who get married at this time of year will be rewarded with dramatic views of an icy Central Park with bare trees, frozen water and possibly some snow covering. In early December there are still fallen leaves on the ground, as this couple saw on the sunny day when they got married at Wagner Cove.
The couple must pick up their marriage license in advance of their wedding. They must have it at least 24 hours in advance of the ceremony. The City Clerk’s Office is closed on Christmas Day; December 25th, but other than that day, keeps normal office hours. So, keep that in mind when making travel plans. We can perform ceremonies in Central Park pretty much any day of the year, including holidays. However, the Central Park Conservancy will not issue permits for holidays, so if you have a larger group then it’s best to avoid them.
There’s a good chance of the ground being wet in December, so think about that when choosing shoes – many Winter brides have outdoor and indoor shoes for their day. New York does see some rain in December, so a popular choice for a ceremony location is underneath Bethesda Terrace, because this area will protect a large group from the rain. These two grooms got married underneath Bethesda Terrace and enjoyed some beautiful weather. This eloping couple got married on a rainy day, but as you can see from their smiles they didn’t let it ruin their fun.
New York and Central Park are striking in the Winter, so if you’re a person who can cope with the cold, then it’s worth considering getting married at this time. New York can get very hot in the Summer, and not everyone likes the heat. Some people love to get wrapped up in a cosy coat and be outdoors when it’s cold. Some brides have always dreamt of a wedding at Christmas time; this couple got married on Christmas Eve.
Keep in mind that the sun sets earlier during the Winter months. Some couples may want to make the most of that and take photos as the sun goes down, as we had a couple do when they got married the day before New Year’s Eve one year. Some couples may want to make the most of the light (and December does see some crisp, bright days) and get married in the middle of the day.
Natasha and Armen came over to New York from their home in San Francisco to get married in Wagner Cove in September. They had been together for eight years when they got married. Natasha is originally from New York City, so she knows Central Park well, but they felt that they needed some help from me to do all the organising for a wedding there, since they lived on the other side of the country.
They held their ceremony in the early afternoon. We had a cellist play Bach’s Cello Suite in G for the guests while they waited for the bride to arrive. The bride arrived with her sisters, and her dad waited at the bottom of the steps for them, then he walked to the wooden structure with the bride from there. The cellist played Pachelbel’s Canon in D as the bride arrived, then he played Here comes the Sun and Let it Be after the ceremony.
When we first started talking about which wedding ceremony location in Central Park would suit them best, they were leaning towards the Conservatory Gardens. This was partly because they wanted to take photos in the north end of the park, because that part is more natural and rugged-looking. “The other locations I had thought of were Dene Summerhouse and Wagner Cove,” said Natasha.
Before talking to me, when they were just starting to plan their wedding in Central Park, Natasha had already submitted a permit application to Wagner Cove, “but immediately afterward I began to think it would be too small for our group,” she told me. “Although I love the look and feel of the wooden structure on the lake,” she said. In the end they decided that their group of twenty would fit at Wagner Cove, an afterwards she told me that she was happy with the decision and everything flowed fine, although she did feel that the cellist didn’t have quite enough space there.
Since Natasha had family in New York, she was visiting the city quite frequently in the run-up to the wedding. She went dress shopping in New York with her mom. She was also able to check out Central Park and their wedding ceremony location of Wagner Cove, just to reassure herself that they have chosen the right location for them. She also checked out some restaurants and chose their reception location on these visits.
We kept the ceremony quite short, especially in terms of what was said by the officiant. She thanked all the guests for being there, and many of them were mentioned by name in the ceremony. Also we gave mention to loved ones who were unable to attend. Natasha and Armen had written personal vows that they wanted to say to each other, that were quite long and had special meaning to them. They repeated them line by line after the officiant so that they could look at each other as they made their promises.
They had considered going up to the North Woods to take photos, which are level with around 108th Street. Wagner Cove is level with 72nd, Street so that’s quite a long way. In the end, their photographer Jakub Redziniak managed to capture the kind of photos they wanted in the area of Central Park close to where they had their ceremony, to save travel time.
Afterwards, I asked her how we did. “Thank you so much for all of your help with the planning and coordination. All of our guests thought the wedding ceremony and location was very unique and lovely. We received lots of compliments. We could not have done it without your help. Thank you so much,” she said.
If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, large or small, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where we pin all things New York or wedding-related.
If you are in Central Park during November there is no mistaking that the season is Fall. There will be leaves covering many of the lawns and walkways. Some trees will still have a covering of orange, yellow and brown leaves, but the majority of those leaves will fall as we go through the month of November. It is starting to get cold in November, but we still see plenty of weddings in Central Park during this month.
It can be quite chilly in New York at the end of Autumn but during November we still see some lovely crisp, bright and clear days. Of course the likelihood of bad weather and rain increases as the month goes on. If you like the Fall colors, this is the month for you! One couple who married in November were concerned about the possibility of rain so got married underneath the cover of Bethesda Terrace, but they were able to capture lovely photos around the park among the fallen leaves. Central Park, other NYC parks, and many of tree-lined avenues are quite striking in the Fall, with so many lovely colors in the leaves, and some stunning bare trees surrounding the skyline.
Keep in mind that the sun sets earlier during the these colder months. Some couples may want to make the most of that and take photos as the sun goes down, and some couples may want to make the most of the light (and November does see many crisp, bright days) and get married in the middle of the day. One couple who married in the Conservatory Gardens on the 1st November captured a rainbow in a nearby fountain, so the sun can be bright!
The couple must pick up their marriage license in advance of their wedding. They must have it at least 24 hours in advance of the ceremony. The City Clerk’s Office is closed on Thanksgiving, which is a huge holiday in the US, observed on the last Thursday in November. So, keep that in mind when making travel plans. A big event that takes place in November is the New York Marathon. This couple were in town for the groom to run it, and they decided to get married while they were in town!
Think about what to wear if you’re getting married outdoors in New York in November. If you’re wearing a dress, think about what you might wear under it. There’s a good chance of the ground being wet in November, so think about that when choosing shoes. This bride arrived at her wedding with a little rain, so carried an umbrella, but it had stopped raining by the time the ceremony was over and they went around the park taking photos.
Katie and Paul brought their family over to New York from their home in Stoke on Trent, England (also my home town!) for their New York wedding last summer. This is not a wedding that I have planned, but their wedding was so lovely that I wanted to share the story here.
The couple met at work in 2006, so they had been together for 13 years when they got married. They got engaged in March 2017. They had considered marrying in 2018, but Katie had surgery on her legs that year and hadn’t wanted to wear flat shoes on her wedding day as she would have had to if they’d got married then! So in the end their wedding took place in 2019. “It was the right time and the children were old enough to be part of it as they were the best men,” said Katie.
When thinking about where they wanted to get married, Katie and Paul considered a few options. “We looked originally at Vegas but we had our first holiday in New York and it’s our favourite place in the world,” Katie told me. They considered some areas in Central Park, they had liked Cop Cot as a possible ceremony location.
They liked the look of 620 Loft and Garden after seeing it in a John Wick movie, so went to see it on while visiting the city and fell in love with it. After they had chosen the venue, “we looked back at photos from previous trips and we realised that every year we have been to New York it has ended up on our pictures somehow,” said Katie. So, it was perfect for them. “There was no other option for us once we saw it,” she said.
Katie thinks that destination weddings are increasingly popular in recent years. “I think more people are doing destination wedding and smaller elopements as it’s easier to make yourselves happy than hundreds of people and it’s a lot less stress,” she said. I asked if they had any regrets about not having a “traditional” wedding closer to home. “We had a party when we got back from our honeymoon and had all the family there so we had the best of both worlds,” she told me. “But the wedding day itself was just about us,” she added.
Katie and Paul stayed in New York for six days. “We stayed at the Novotel as we have been there a few times and love the rooftop bar in the winter and even more in the summer,” said Katie. Their guests were Katie’s parents and sister, her husband and daughter as well as their two sons.
Katie planned the whole thing herself, with no help from a wedding planner such as myself. Her make-up and hair was done by Adrienne DeMedici. Their ceremony was led by officiant Mirelle Eid, “she was so lovely and helpful,” said Katie. They chose simple and straight forward vows from a selection from their officiant and kept the ceremony non-religious. They had booked the venue for just one hour for the ceremony.
The bride’s dress was a Madeline Gardener design and she picked up her flowers from George, who is a florist who sells bouquets from outside City Hall. “They were beautiful peonies that he managed to get even though they were out of season,” Katie told me.
After the ceremony at 620 Loft and Garden they went to Central Park with their photographer Vince Middleton. “I love the pictures taken in Central Park, especially the fountain and the arches, “Katie told me. “Again, we saw them in the John Wick movie!!” said added. They had taken some photos on Bow Bridge the year before on Christmas Day so wanted to replicate them. New York is clearly a city that’s very dear to their hearts. After the photos in Central Park, they all went for a meal in the Tavern on the Green and then went back to their hotel for drinks on the outdoor terrace.
I asked Katie what she would say to anyone from out of town, or a Brit such as herself considering getting married in New York. “I would recommend to anyone to get married in New York as it was a really special experience and everyone should visit there once in a lifetime!!” she said. I can’t argue with any of that! She also said “I would recommend booking everything directly rather than using a planner!!” Of course I’m biased but I think there are pros and cons to the argument about whether to hire a wedding planner or not – here’s my blog on why I think you should hire a wedding planner. “It is very hard work but worth it because my day was exactly everything we wanted,” Katie said.
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Katie and Paul. If you would like me to help you with planning your own wedding in New York, visit our website, or follow us on Pinterest where we pin all things New York or wedding-related, “like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram for lovely photos of happy couples.
One of the questions that I am asked most frequently is where to go to eat after a wedding in Central Park. It’s such a difficult question to answer in a fabulous city such as New York with so much choice. And of course couples have such a vast range of tastes and budgets and group sizes to cater for! So over the years of writing this blog I’ve written my own list of New York restaurant recommendations, and followed that up with a second list of New York restaurant recommendations.
After that I decided to use my client’s recommendations, so I wrote a post summarising where all the couples who featured on the blog in 2016 ate after their wedding, then one about all the couples who featured on the blog in 2015, then those from 2014 and now I’m summarising the couple’s recommendations who featured on the blog in 2013. I have had to break the posts down year by year, otherwise they would be far too long (for me to write and for you to read!). Later this year I hope to post summaries of the clients who got married in more recent years. Not every couple who I work with wants to be interviewed for the blog (in fact, most don’t), the following are the couples whose weddings featured on the blog in 2013, and where they went to eat and celebrate after their weddings.
Alice and Jim travelled from Exeter in the UK for their beautiful, snowy Winter Central Park wedding in Wagner Cove. Their post-wedding lunch was at Serendipity 3, because they had been there before and they knew it was great. “They had the best dessert I’ve ever eaten in my life, the Forbidden Broadway; a big sundae made of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate brownie and loads of hot fudge sauce.” While they were in New York they also ate in Ellen’s Stardust Diner, which they recommend, the wait staff are all hoping to break into Broadway shows so they spend the whole time taking it in turns to sing show tunes. “It’s definitely a one-of-a-kind experience,” Alice said.
Paula and Alan came from Birmingham in England to get married in Central Park. The night before the wedding they ate at Sparks steak house. Alan swears he did not tell them that they were getting married the next day but Paula is not sure that she believes him because they received such amazing service. After the wedding they ate at the Tavern on the Green, back in 2013, this was the Tavern before its massive refurbishment. They loved the setting with the courtyard strung with lanterns and lights.
Gemma and Paul came from Stockton on Tees in the UK to get married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in Central Park. After the ceremony and photos in Central Park they had a limo ride to Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse for a meal, followed by champagne back at their hotel and a trip to the Empire State Building in the evening.
Laura is from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and her groom, Iain, is from Ealing, London. They got married in Wagner Cove in March. They stayed in The Roosevelt Hotel and unfortunately they were not impressed with their room. They had their reception meal booked with the hotel so they knew they were there for their wedding, but on arrival they were allocated a really bad room. When they checked in the receptionist even told them that they would not like it! Laura said that the beds were fine, but the bathroom was awful. They did get moved, but this is not a good start to such an important trip. Laura and Ian had arranged a limo to take themselves and their guests back to the hotel for a three course champagne lunch in a private suite with musicians. Then later on they all got changed and went to the revolving restaurant for drinks at the Marriott Hotel in Times Square. They also went to the lounge in the Renaissance Hotel during their trip, where they have fabulous wall to ceiling windows with amazing views of Times Square.
Helen and Owen started dating when they were seventeen and have been together ever since. This June, they brought their close family and friends all the way from their hometown of Liverpool to New York City in order to get married in Central Park. Since Helen and Owen had been to NYC before, they knew exactly where they wanted to eat to celebrate their wedding. After the photos were taken they all went to the Tribeca Grill, where I had made reservations for in advance for them. “The food and service was amazing. They made us a special complimentary chocolate cake which was just fantastic,” Helen said.
Katherine and Richard brought their family and friends from Burton upon Trent in Derbyshire to get married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in June. They have two children together; Sam (four years old at the time) and Max (20 months old). They had arranged to have a meal in the private wine cellar at Scotaditto Osteria Toscana. Katherine said that it was beautifully decorated, with fabulous food and service.
Emma and Tom, from the UK, had been together for just over five years when they got married. Eventually Tom moved in with Emma and her son and they got engaged on the Valentine’s Day before their wedding. After the ceremony they had lunch in the Loeb Boathouse, and we ended their special day by going up to the observation deck of the Empire State Building and watching the sunset.
Louise and Antony stayed in New York City for four nights, in the boutique hotel Gramercy Park Hotel. The hotel is in a lovely and historical part of East Midtown, created in the 1830s for New York’s very well-to-do families who wanted to move into the quieter part of town. On the day of their wedding Louise and Antony made use of their hotel and held their wedding reception on the Gramercy Park Hotel rooftop terrace.
Jenny and Simon brought their friends and family over from the UK at the beginning of August to get married in Central Park. Simon and Jenny took their party, along with their photographer and officiant to the Loeb Boathouse for drinks after the ceremony and then the wedding party went on to the 21 Club for a fantastic meal. Jenny said “the 21 Club is definitely worth a visit. We are so glad we went there!”
Lewis and Sylvia came to New York City to get married this August. Sylvia is French and Lewis is British and they live together in the UK. After the ceremony they took photos around Central Park and then at the Top of the Rock. After that, they returned to Central Park for dinner at the Loeb Boathouse.
Atzin and Stevenson live together in Manhattan, just a short walk from Central Park. After the photos were finished it was the cocktail hour, so they went over to The Leopard at des Artistes, a restaurant close to Central Park on West 67th Street. Some guests walked over there, but some jumped in pedicabs.
Tammy and John travelled from their home town of Cleveland, Ohio in September to get married in Central Park. They had breakfast at the well-known Manhattan bakery and cafe, Sarabeth’s, and their wedding dinner was at the Loeb Boathouse inside Central Park.
Tanya and Greg kept the day of their wedding laid back and relaxed. They breakfasted at Sarabeth’s, then took their time collecting their cake and choosing their flowers. Then they went back to the hotel to get ready. Following the wedding ceremony and photographs, they returned to the hotel for the lighting of the unity candle, cake, and champagne in private. They wanted to keep the “reception catering” as simple as possible so they went to the well-loved Manhattan bakery Crumbs to order a 6 inch cake and purchased a bottle of champagne from a store nearby. Following that they went to the Calle Ocho restaurant inside the Excelsior Hotel where they were served more complimentary champagne and had a delicious dinner.
Diane and Ian came from Scotland to New York to get married in Wagner Cove in August. All the men left SoHo a few hours before the ceremony to have a few beers near to Central Park, leaving the ladies to enjoy champagne in the garden of the James Hotel, where they were staying, before travelling up to Central Park themselves. After that they all headed to Sambuca on West 72nd Street, which they had booked in advance for their reception. Diane said they had a fantastic meal there and the staff made them feel very welcome.
Lauren and Andrew came over from Middlesborough in the UK along with their family to get married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in November. They stayed at the newly renovated Novotel Hotel in Times Square for ten days. Lauren said they would recommend the hotel, “the rooms are very modern and the staff were friendly and we had a lovely view of Times Square.” After the ceremony and photographs in Central Park the party returned to the Novotel hotel restaurant for a meal and drinks.
Katie and Reece braved the New York City Winter temperatures and theirs was our final wedding of 2013, held on 30th December. There were twenty people in the wedding party altogether. They went on to Morton’s Steak House on Fifth Avenue for a meal following their wedding. Katie said they provided a fantastic wedding reception dinner in a private room and she would definitely recommend them.
Barbora and Zoran got married in Wagner Cove in September. Barbora is Czech and Zoran is Serbian. They had been together for four years when they got married. They eloped alone to New York from their home in Prague, Czech Republic for their wedding in Central Park.
The couple met the photographer at the entrance to the park and they walked in with him. Their officiant met them at Wagner Cove along with a saxophonist and videographer that we had arranged.
Our saxophonist played for the couple at the ceremony. He played Simply Red’s song Say You Love Me as the couple arrived at Wagner Cove. This is their special song and is very important to them. He also played Frank Sinatra’s My Way after they were married and some other songs as background music.
We provided a videographer to record their ceremony and to create and edited video for them to view whenever they like. We also provided a live stream of the ceremony for their family and friends to watch back home.
After the ceremony they took photos at Bow Bridge, Cherry Hill, Bethesda Terrace, the Mall and Strawberry Fields before leaving. One advantage to an elopement is that it’s quick and easy to get around all of the major iconic locations for photos.
October is a lovely time of year to get married in Central Park and it might actually be our most popular month for weddings (although May could also be our most popular month!). This is the start of Fall in New York. At the start of the month the trees are mostly still green, but by the end of the month, many leaves have started to change color or fall from the trees, although by no means all of them!
All the greenery that has been growing over the summer will mostly still be there in October. So, Cop Cot will still have a green and fairly lush cover, trees will still have most of their leaves and all the lawns will still look great. Expect a smattering of golden leaves on the ground over the lawns and the Mall, although the park is kept very tidy by its many staff.
The days start to shorten in October. Sunrise happens at around 7am at the beginning of the month and around 8am by the end of the month. The sun sets around 6:30pm at the beginning of the month and around 6pm by the end of the month. There’s always a risk of rain when getting married outdoors, although it’s a fairly low risk in New York at this time of year.
We have done many weddings in October with very sunny days. Often guests and couples are surprised by the lovely weather we see in New York in October. Though the sun will often be bright, making photos beautiful, the temperature will be starting to drop at this time of year, so keep that in mind when deciding what to wear and what to do on you wedding day.
There are two major holidays in October to be aware of. The couple must pick up their marriage license in advance of their wedding. They must have it at least 24 hours in advance of the ceremony. City Hall will also be closed on Columbus Day, which is observed on the second Monday in October, so keep that in mind when making plans to pick up your license. The other holiday does not affect City Hall opening, but it does affect almost everything else in New York – it is Halloween. All of the bars and restaurants will be decorated for Halloween and there will be a huge parade through the city that evening.