I want to Get Married in Central Park in the Spring – is that a Good Idea?

Get Married in Central Park in the Spring

So, you’re considering getting married in Central Park in the springtime. It shouldn’t be too hot, or too cold, but what if it rains?! You’ve seen photos of Central Park looking fabulous in the spring time; the blossom is out, the flowers are blooming, and all is has that lovely greenery, and let’s face it; we need the rain to get all this. Perhaps you don’t like extremes of temperature, or perhaps spring is a better time for you to get married for other reasons. You’re wondering; is it a good idea to get married in Central Park in spring?

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So many couples would say yes! May is one of the most popular months to get married in Central Park. But, did you know that May is New York City’s rainiest month? And the biggest fear for many couples getting married outdoors is the rain. In all my contracts I say “in case of a change of plans or bad weather, every attempt will be made to work with a new date or suitable alternative location.” That may sound rather vague but I do it deliberately because it is hard to cover even the most common eventualities. Myself and the couple will discuss the possibility of wet weather during the planning process and we will be watching the weather forecast in the run up to the wedding day. A couple could choose a location for their wedding which will provide some cover for them in case of rain. Or, they could choose their favorite location for a ceremony for plan A, and a location with cover for plan B. In the past, sometimes we have been able to change the time of the wedding, or even the day to avoid wet weather.  Click the link for more information on what happens if it rains on your wedding day if you need it.

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Spring is of course the season of change. As with every other place on earth, the start of spring will be colder than the end of spring. In New York, it can still be very chilly in March, and spring can begin any time between then and May. Spring can come very gradually or in a rush, it varies year on year. So, keep that in mind if you’re really hoping to have wedding photos with the cherry blossom all around you. It is difficult to predict when it comes out, although a wedding in May will be your best bet to be surrounded with blossom as you say “I do”.

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The days will get longer throughout spring, so if you’re looking for a sunset wedding then an early spring wedding may suit you, or to capture photographs at the golden hour before an evening reception, then towards the end of spring will be a great time of year for you. Of course the days will also get warmer towards the end of spring, and we’ve seen some very warm days in May in previous years, so keep that in mind when choosing what to wear.

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Spring sees several holidays, so think about that when choosing your date. We usually get some couples from Ireland getting married around St Patrick’s Day in March, and of course lots of people get time off over Easter so can travel to the city then. At the beginning of May many celebrate Cinco de Mayo and at the end of the month the US celebrates Memorial Day. Holidays bring pros and cons. The city can be busy with tourists, but have less residents around holidays, and parades and celebrations can make traffic even more difficult to predict and close off areas of the city. On the other hand, the couple and their guests may be more likely to be able to get time off work around these times, which is very helpful, especially when planning a destination wedding, as many of my clients are.

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Lots of the flowers start to bloom in the spring, although some hold out until the summer, and birds migrating through the area will often settle in Central Park for a little while during the spring, so there are lots of lovely things to see. There will be lots of color in wedding photos taken in Central Park during the spring, and you will have a wide choice of blooms in season for your bouquet.

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If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, whatever the time of year, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where we pin like crazy with all things New York or wedding-related.

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Wendy and Craig’s Elopement Wedding in Wagner Cove

Real Central Park Wedding Wendy and Craig

Wendy and Craig eloped from their home in Queensland, Australia to get married in Central Park this September. Their ceremony was held in Wagner Cove. Wendy is 57 and Craig turned 58 the day before their wedding.

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The couple have known each other since high school, and Wendy’s first husband was Craig’s best friend at school. They were not in touch for thirty years, then a few years ago Wendy was passing through Sydney for her work, she used LinkedIn to look up who she might know in the city and Craig’s name came up, so they arranged to meet. “Not many people know that LinkedIn can be a dating site too!” laughed Wendy.

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Like so many couples who are attracted to a small, no-nonsense wedding, Wendy and Craig didn’t have an official engagement as such. They talked about their retirement and decided that it would be good to start this next chapter of their lives married. They had also talked about visiting New York together for some time. They had started to plan a big US trip to undertake as soon as they retired, and they learned of their options to get married in Central Park. “With a bit of research I found Wagner Cove and knew it was perfect for us,” said Wendy.

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They knew an elopement was right for them. “at our age, and having been married before, and having had big weddings, this time we wanted our wedding to be about us and what we wanted to do,” explained Wendy. “Our families are so spread across Australia, trying to get everyone together was going to be a challenge, so we decided to elope,” she said. “Eloping allowed us to be relaxed and have the day exactly how we wanted it.”

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Wendy and Craig traveled all over the US and Canada for their vacation before arriving in New York. So they were able to purchase their wedding bands at Tiffany’s in San Francisco. “We had the best experience there!” Wendy told me. “We had planned to only look at the bands in San Francisco and buy in New York, but our salesperson Jon was so lovely and accommodating we bought them there” she said.

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They said that they found the process of picking up their license from City Hall very quick and easy. “We only had to wait five minutes to get called up, although it was a Tuesday!” Wendy told me. They were told at this time that they would need the extended certificate for their country, so they returned the next day to get it. This is a longer process, which involves going to another office besides City Hall, and has some extra charges, which total around $50. We can either this for couples, for a fee, if we know in advance that you will need it, because you need to sign some papers, or I can tell you all that you need to do to get it.

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The couple stayed in New York for ten days. They stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott, Chelsea. The couple had bought a five day New York City Pass before leaving Australia, “that gave us access to a number of attractions, museums and the hop on hop off bus,” said Wendy, “it worked really well.” They took a night cruise, and a day cruise to the Statue of Liberty, went on a walking tour of Chelsea Markets, Highline and the Meatpacking area, they went up the Empire State building and the Top of the Rock, visited the 9/11 museum, and did lots of walking around, so they got plenty out of their trip!

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For the wedding, Wendy wore a white flowing pant suit, her shoes bright blue with a green trim and multicolored fronts. “I wore low heels for easy walking around Central Park!” she pointed out. “Because I had chosen not to have an engagement ring, Craig had bought me an opal pendant and matching ear rings when we were in Coober Pedy (opal capital of the world) which matched the shoes, so I wore those too,” she said. Craig wore a white linen ‘grandfather’ style long sleeved shirt that they had shipped from Ireland, with dress jeans, and he bought his shoes in New York. Craig didn’t want flowers, and Wendy carried a bouquet of white roses, which she wrapped with ribbon from Australia that matched the green on her shoes. They used a florist near the hotel, Superior Florist, and they picked up the bouquet themselves. It cost $75.

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The Saturday before the wedding, Wendy had her nails done at The Gel Bar. She had a mobile hair and makeup artist, Gabrielle Pacelli come to the hotel on the morning of the wedding, you can see her work on Instagram. She cut the bride and groom’s hair and colored Wendy’s hair that morning. Then styled Wendy’s hair and did her makeup. “She was brilliant and very friendly and professional,” said Wendy.

The ceremony took place in Wagner Cove, we wrote the ceremony wording well in advance of the wedding. We had an introduction with a little about the couple, a poem called “I Love You” by Roy Croft, and then the traditional vows and ring exchange. After the ceremony, the two were taken around Central Park by their photographer, taking pictures along the way. Since it was just the two of them, they were able to capture photos in lots of locations. “We love all our pictures, we got photos in great spots and we enjoyed our relaxed walk around the park,” said Wendy, “being photobombed by ‘Big Foot’ was very funny,” she added.

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After the photos, our photographer walked them over to where they could get a horse and carriage, where they took a few photos and then left the, to it. “We went for a twenty minute ride around Central Park, which was lovely, then we went to the Tavern on the Green for a lovely celebratory drink at the bar,” said Wendy. Later in the evening they went on to Porter House Bar and Grill at Columbus Circle for dinner. “The steaks were amazing and we had a view overlooking the entrance to Central Park” Wendy told me. “They also gave us a complimentary piece of cake to share, with ‘congrats’ written in chocolate on the plate, so that was our wedding cake!” she added.

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I asked if they had any advice for anyone marrying in Central Park, and Wendy pointed out that you need a working day in advance of the wedding to collect your license, and if you country requires it, then another working day some time after your wedding during your trip to get the certificate. I asked Wendy how she thought we did, she said “Claire has been fantastic from day one, her blog and website have been very helpful. Claire responded to our emails very timely given time differences, she organised the booking at Central Park, our fantastic celebrant and our amazing photographer and witness. It was has been the most enjoyable experience.”

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When Wendy and Craig return home they will have a vow renewal ceremony with Wendy’s family, and then they will go on to Sydney for another celebration with their friends there, and then up to where Craig’s family are at Christmas for a celebration with them and their friends up there. So, they’re certainly not missing out on celebrating their wedding with their loved ones!

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Thanks for sharing your story with us, Wendy and Craig, we wish you lots of luck for your retirement together! I hope you enjoy many more awesome vacations together! If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, either 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.

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Best (Free or Cheap) Places for Photos with the NYC Skyline

best free places for photos with nyc skyline

Everyone knows that spectacular views of the New York City skyline can be had from the top of the Empire State Building, or even better, (in my opinion) the Top of the Rock.  I prefer the Top of the Rock, because it has views of Central Park, so I can just about see the exact spot where I got married from there, and of course, it has a view of the Empire State Building.  But not everyone wants to spend the money on the entrance fees.  So, here are few low budget suggestions on how to capture fabulous views of the New York skyline for free or cheap when you’re in town to get married.

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Brooklyn Bridge

In good weather, for fantastic views of Manhattan and Brooklyn and the expanse of the Hudson River, pose on Brooklyn Bridge.  The towers and the suspension lines provide great opportunities for artistic symmetrical photos, too.

Manhattan Bridge

This bridge is a little north of Brooklyn Bridge, and has the obvious example of having a great view of Brooklyn Bridge, as well as the skyline and the river.

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Gantry Plaza State Park

This Long Island City park provides an incredible view of Midtown Manhattan.  At sunset, you can capture the beautiful shades of light off the water, as well as seeing the sun drop behind the Empire State and the Chrysler buildings.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

This is a long park that provides views of Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge itself.  A photo taken from Fulton Ferry Landing will capture Brooklyn Bridge beautifully.  Again, it has a particularly lovely view at sunset.  This is a great option if you can find a restaurant in Brooklyn where you want to hold your reception.

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East River State Park

This small park on the bank of the East River in Williamsburg has a nice view of the Manhattan skyline, and is a convenient stop-off if you’re celebrating in one of Williamsburg’s hip restaurants or roof top bars.

The Met Museum Roof Garden

The Met is set just inside Central Park, on the East side.  The museum itself is full of a vast array of beautiful things, and the roof has a cocktail bar in the summertime.  The views over Central Park right down to Midtown are spectacular.

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The Rocks by Cop Cot in Central Park

At the very southern end of Central Park is the lovely Cop Cot, on top of a small hill.  Next to it, is a large rocky area.  Photos taken there will have the famous skyline of Central Park – the trees with the buildings of Central Park South behind them.

Bow Bridge and Cherry Hill in Central Park

The view from Bow Bridge is iconic.  The Lake with the trees around it and the buildings of Central Park West behind them is a world-famous view.  A photo taken from Cherry Hill can capture all that, and the bridge, too!

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Sheep Meadow in Central Park

If Sheep Meadow, close to the Tavern on the Green, is fairly free of people then a photograph taken there can look incredibly dramatic.  The wide open lawn with the trees behind and then the buildings of the Upper West Side behind is stunning.

Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry is free, and goes between the downtown tip of Manhattan over to Staten Island, so gives a great view of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

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North River Lobster Company

North River Lobster Company is a floating lobster restaurant at Pier 81 on West 41st Street and the Hudson River.  During the warmer months they charge $10 to sail and enjoy fabulous views of the West Midtown skyline.

The Brooklyn Barge

Over in Greenpoint, this is New York City’s only permanently floating bar.  During the summer, you can sip a drink or enjoy their bar food while looking over the East River to Manhattan.  It would be an awesome place to watch the sun go down after an informal wedding in Central Park.

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Bar Sixty Five at the Rainbow Room

This is New York City’s highest terrace bar.  Drinks are fairly pricey here, but they are cheaper than a ticket to the Top of the Rock, and it’s warm and cosy inside if you’re in town during the Winter.  It’s a great place for a drink after an intimate wedding in Central Park.  There are of course, lots of incredible rooftop bars to enjoy in New York.

The Aviary at Mandarin Oriental

Again, the drinks are pricey, but if you’re going to want a drink to celebrate your wedding anyway, then this bar on the 35th floor over looking Columbus Circle and Central Park is a pretty good place to choose!

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Jersey City’s Liberty State Park

If you choose one of the fantastic riverside restaurants over in Jersey City for your wedding reception, with a view over the Hudson River to Manhattan, then why not stop off in Liberty State Park for some views of the west side of Downtown Manhattan on the way.

The J Train

OK, it would be a bit tricky to get really picturesque photos of the skyline on a moving train, but this Subway line goes over the Williamsburg Bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn, and there are some lovely views to enjoy if you choose a south-facing seat.

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River Cruise

Another way to enjoy the skyline of New York might be to take a river cruise.  Of course this is not free, but if you are looking for a reception location anyway, then the cruise allows your guests to enjoy the fabulous New York City skyline while you eat, which makes for a memorable experience.

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When I help couples to plan their wedding in Central Park, I also make a plan of timings with a route plan for the day to take in all the great locations for photos that they want to capture.  Contact me if you think you might need some help getting married in Central Park, or anywhere else outdoors in New York!

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Michelle and David’s Bow Bridge Elopement

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Michelle and David had a small wedding in Central Park in September.  Their ceremony took place on Bow Bridge.  They met on dating site Eharmony and had been together for almost a year when they married.  David said that he knew from the moment they met that Michelle was ‘the one’.

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They had planned the trip to New York from the UK to celebrate Michelle’s fiftieth birthday and they decided that they could get married while they were there.  So, an elopement in Central Park was for them!  I find that this is quite a common thing with my clients.  In this case, they had this idea before even becoming officially engaged.  Michelle contacted me before she had a ring on her finger!  They officially got engaged just two months after they met, so this was quite the whirlwind.

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The couple stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel just off Times Square.  I had their flowers delivered to their hotel room on the morning of their wedding.  There was just the two of them for their wedding, but we had plenty of people involved to make sure that it went with a bang.

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I arranged for a guitarist to be on Bow Bridge for the ceremony.  Bow Bridge has quite a wide view, so the groom could see the bride approach him.  Our guitarist sung What You Do To Me by John Legend as Michelle arrived.

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We gave special mention to David’s mother and Michelle’s grandmother in the ceremony.  Both women were extremely influential in David and Michelle’s lives, and they would have been very happy to see their wedding.  David and Michelle wrote special vows to read out to each other before they exchanged rings.

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We had a videographer record the wedding for a lasting memory and for the people back home to watch.  After they were pronounced married our guitarist played Ed Sheeran’s Perfect, and continued to play background music while their photographer Jakub Redziniak took more photographs on Bow Bridge.  Then they went down to Bethesda Terrace to take a few more photos before leaving to celebrate in New York City.

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If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, no matter how big or how small, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where we all things New York or wedding-related.

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Am I Crazy to Want to get Married in Central Park in the Winter?

get married in central park in winter

So, you’re thinking of getting married in Central Park in the winter. You’re planning on getting your hair done and getting dressed up in some very smart wedding attire and standing outdoors in a public park to say “I do” to your true love. You’ve seen photos of Central Park looking stunningly beautiful in the winter time, with the bare trees, very few tourists, bright blue skies, and dare you even hope for it; snow. Perhaps you hate warm weather and you love the cold, or perhaps winter is just a better time for you to get married for so many reasons. You’re wondering; am I crazy to want to get married in Central Park in winter?

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Honestly, yes, you might be. At least a little bit. But in a good way, in a way that you know what you want for the wedding day that might not be for everyone but that suits you. New York gets cold at winter, of course it does. Like much of the world, New York will see its seasons vary from the norm, so some years winters are colder than others, or warmer than others. Some years it comes earlier or later and the same for when it starts to warm up. That’s why we can’t completely predict when the leaves change to their beautiful Fall colors, or when the famous cherry blossom starts to come out. We can’t be sure if or when it will snow, but there’s a fairly good chance of seeing some snow, particularly in January and February. And Central Park does look amazing in the snow. It’s a world-famous park, know for its beauty at any time of year, but in the snow; it’s something else.

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If you are thinking about getting married in Central Park, or anywhere else outdoors in New York in the colder months, then you should give plenty of thought to what you will wear. The ground may well be wet, so keep that in mind when choosing shoes. We had a bride this February wear two pairs of wedding shoes on her wedding day – indoor shoes and outdoor shoes. Some couples have said their vows with coats on, and then taken them off for the posed photos. Some buy a coat or shrug especially for the occasion. One bride told me that she wore a layer of thermals under her wedding gown.

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We have done weddings indoors during the winter, this January we helped a couple to get married inside Grand Central. Some couples have limited the time that they spend outdoors after getting married, and instead had the photographer accompany them inside a nearby hotel or restaurant and to take photos of the couple and their guests in that setting as well as Central Park. Some couples have got married, taken some photos around Central Park, and then had a horse and carriage ride afterwards. It’s a great way to get some quiet alone time for the couple under a cosy blanket.

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You may be able to negotiate some great deals in the winter time. Most vendors involved in the wedding industry will have more free time during the winter, so might be more keen to agree to lower prices. On the other hand, this is when wedding vendors tend to go on vacation, because they’re so busy during warmer months, so check availability in advance if you have your heart set on someone.

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If you decide to have guests at your wedding, they may love or hate you for the suggestion of a trip to New York in the winter. Some people are pleased to have something to look forward to in the colder months, some people have a lot on over the holiday period. And of course, Valentine’s Day falls in the winter, so if you want to really mark that date you could make it your wedding anniversary, too.  Most people generally don’t have many other trips or plans over the winter, compared to the warmer months, though, so winter might be a good time to get all your nearest and dearest together, because availability might be better for most.

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Photographers often tell me that couples should avoid getting married in the middle of the day on sunny summer days, because the light is just too bright. The problem is; that’s when couples want to get married, because it fits with all the other plans for the day that people tend to make around a wedding ceremony. If you get married in the winter, the middle of the day is when the light will be better, so it can help the schedule of the day. Keep in mind that the sun will set earlier in the winter, so you may want to be indoors by sunset, so it will be getting colder then, or you may want to be outdoors for photos as the sun sets.

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If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, either whatever the time of year, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where we pin like crazy with all things New York or wedding-related.

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Alysha and Giovanni’s Wisteria Pergola Wedding

Real Central Park Wedding Alysha Giovanni

Alysha, 24 and Giovanni, 25 got married in the Wisteria Pergola in the Conservatory Gardens of Central Park this September. Alysha is from New Jersey and Giovanni is from Italy. They met in Red Bank, New Jersey three years ago. They were both out at a bar, and they met through mutual friends. “Giovanni had just moved to the US at that time, and his English wasn’t great,” Alysha told me. “We did our best to communicate, but Google Translate was a big part of our relationship at first!” she said.

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The couple got engaged in June of this year in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Alysha had thought that they were there to celebrate Giovanni’s birthday. They had dinner at their favorite restaurant, went for a walk on the beach, and on the beach Giovanni asked Alysha to marry him.

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The plan was to have a large wedding in Italy. They thought maybe they would get married in 2020, so they would have the time to save up. “But as we started planning, we realized didn’t want to wait that long to be husband and wife,” Alysha explained. The couple decided to have a small wedding close to where they lived, and then a large celebration in Italy in a few years so that they can include all of Giovanni’s friends and family. “For us, we have other things we want to spend our savings on, like buying our first home together, so we couldn’t justify spending the average $30,000 on a wedding,” said Alysha.

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They briefly considered a City Hall wedding, but the idea of waiting in line for their turn to get married in a speedy, impersonal ceremony didn’t appeal, and Alysha came across the possibility of getting married in Central Park, and they decided that would suit them perfectly. When the couple first started dating, Giovanni was living in New York. So, New York is a big part of their story. “I’ve always been amazed by Central Park,” said Alysha. “It’s one of my favorite places to take Giovanni’s friends and family when they visit us from Italy,” she added.

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I asked them if they had any regrets about not having a “traditional” wedding, and Alysha said, “no, our wedding turned out better than we could have ever dreamed it would be!” Their wedding was not without its hiccups, though. There was a Labor Day parade that shut down some streets around their hotel, the Grand Hyatt by Grand Central. So, they had to delay the ceremony a little so that Giovanni’s family and the best man could arrive, and one of Alysha’s cousins who had traveled from Florida missed the ceremony because of the road closures.

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The couple had originally chosen Cop Cot for their ceremony location, but it wasn’t available when we applied for a permit with just a little over two months’ notice before the wedding. They went over to Central Park and had a look around and decided that they wanted to get married in the Conservatory Gardens. Every other location in Central Park has an event permit fee of $25, but the Conservatory Gardens has a fee of $500 in total, but Alysha and Giovanni knew that the Wisteria Pergola in the Conservatory Gardens was the place they wanted to say “I do”. “It was absolutely beautiful there,” said Alysha. “Our best photos are from that area. It’s much more quiet, and beautifully maintained. I certainly recommend paying extra for a permit to have this beautiful location!” she added.

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We had our cellist play some pieces by Elvis, Ed Sheeran, John Legend and Taylor Swift to add to the ambience. And of course he played the Wedding March for Alysha to arrive to. There were around fifty guests in attendance. “Our guests traveled by plane, train, car, boat, and party bus to get to Central Park,” said Alysha. “After the wedding, several people told me that at first they didn’t understand why we chose Central Park, but after seeing how beautiful the Conservatory Gardens are, they said that it made perfect sense to them,” she added.

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They had a vintage checker cab to take Alysha to Central Park from the hotel, and take the couple and their photographer, Jakub Redziniak to other areas of Central Park for photographs, then on to their reception afterward. “The car turned heads,” said Alysha, “and some of our favorite photos are with the checker cab!” she added. So, she highly recommends Peter at Film Cars.

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Alysha’s gown was purchased from David’s Bridal. She carried a silk bouquet made of roses, hydrangeas, and calla lilies. She had her hair and makeup done at L’Envie salon in Midtown Manhattan. After the ceremony, the couple’s guests went to a bar in Kipp’s Bay which the couple stayed on in Central Park, taking some more photographs. Then, they went on to meet their guests at that bar for a few drinks, before going on to their reception location. “We had our dinner in the private room at Patrizia’s of Manhattan,” said Alysha. An Italian restaurant, of course. “It’s one of our favorite restaurants!” she said, “the guests were absolutely amazed by the food, they are still talking about it!” she added.

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Alysha had some points to share about a wedding in Central Park not being for everyone that I think are excellent ones. “While I think getting married in Central Park was perfect for us, I don’t think it is for everyone. For a laid-back bride, it is perfect, but for someone who wants to control and plan every detail, I would not recommend it. Unavoidable things like parades and road closures, a New York Fashion Week show closing down the area around Bethesda Fountain, and of course unpredictable weather make it hard to know exactly what to expect!” Alysha told me. She raises good points about the perils of marrying in a public park, although of course road closures would affect travel to any ceremony location. She also mentions that there were strangers in some of their photos. It is a condition of the event permit that the area you marry in must remain a right of way, but of course when people are asked to move on they usually respect a wedding and will do as they are asked.

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I asked Alysha how she felt planning a wedding with Wed in Central Park in just two months had gone. “Claire was a pleasure to work with!” she said. And so was Alysha! “She is so quick to respond, and the vendors she works with are the most professional! Planning a wedding in two months would not have been possible without Wed in Central Park!” I must admit, I do love a last-minute wedding! Thanks for sharing your story with us, Alysha and Giovanni, we wish you lots of luck for your future together! If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, either for a fairly last minute wedding like this one, or for one years in advance, 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.

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Planning a Wedding in Central Park on a Budget: Money-Saving Tips

Budget Wedding in Central Park Money-Saving Tips

I started this wedding planning business after I planned my own wedding in Central Park in just a few weeks, back in 2011.  My husband and I are both British, but he had a work visa and for me to stay in the US with him we needed to be married.  We didn’t spend a huge amount on the wedding, and it struck me that other British people might want to get married in this incredible place without breaking the bank so I started Wed in Central Park around six months after we got married.

My general philosophy in life is not to spend money on stuff you don’t need, and I apply that to this business.  I offer a range of packages that clients can adapt to suit them, so that they don’t need to be paying for anything that they feel isn’t necessary for their wedding.  I don’t cut corners, but I am efficient, and protective of my time, and we deliver high quality weddings for a reasonable price in such an expensive city.

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The people I work with are reliable, enthusiastic and talented, but they keep their prices as low as they can.  New York boasts a vast choice of incredible photographers, for example, and you can spend thousands on your wedding photos.  We don’t charge thousands for photography, but I think that the photographers who I work with are pretty amazing.  If couples do want to spend thousands on a photographer, then I think they should go ahead, and have me sort the rest out for them.  I firmly believe that a couple should have their wedding exactly how they want it, and it’s my job to guide, advise and then make it all happen.

Though we can help to keep the costs of the ceremony down, if you are visiting New York from far away to get married, there are some unavoidable costs, but I do have some ideas on how to keep them as low as possible.

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Flights

Many of my clients are from the UK, Ireland or Australia, and flights between those countries and New York are pretty steady in price all year round.  January is often busy wedding planning season for me, and when I take most bookings.  Also, it is when many airlines have their sales.  So, bag a bargain if you can.  Check when your country and the US has school vacation, or a holiday weekend and try to avoid travelling at these times if you are able to.  There isn’t really a cheaper season to visit New York, although in general the further ahead you book, the better the prices will be.

Many couples come over to New York to get married and then go on to another part of the US for their honeymoon.  I’m going to count this as a cost-saving method because if you were planning on a honeymoon in Mexico or Hawaii or Vegas, then New York is part of the way there.

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Accommodation

This can be the biggest part of the expenditure for a destination wedding, particularly in an expensive city like New York.  So many of my clients stay in hotels near Times Square, and spend hundreds on the place where they sleep.  The hotels there are expensive and there are a lot of restaurants in the area that are poorly quality tourist-trap chains.

Wherever you are in New York, you are probably not far from a Subway.  Think about the things you want to do and the places you want to see and check if you can stay further out and spend 30 mins travelling to save quite a lot of money.

Central Park Wedding on a Budget money-saving tips VG

If a couple asks me for a recommendation on where to stay I always suggest the Upper West Side.  It is in between the Hudson River and Central Park, it is a beautiful area, has a vast choice of restaurants and bars, and great transport links.  The Upper East Side has fewer hotels, but has great bars and restaurants, too.  You could walk to your wedding from a hotel there, and choose a restaurant in this area to celebrate after your wedding, and save on transport costs.  Outside of Manhattan will be cheaper still, but then the couple should consider how much travelling they want to do while they are in New York and on their wedding day.

Ask yourself how important a hotel is to you, and what you are really paying for when you stay in one.  If you don’t mind making your own bed, picking up your own towels, and making your own breakfast, or walking downstairs and maybe down the street to get it then my key tip to save money on a trip to New York, though is to use Airbnb.  The great thing about using Airbnb in New York is that the city is so very built up that people live right next to where many of the hotels are, so wherever you stay, there will be cool things and restaurants and Subway stops nearby.  Most apartments you can rent will have a small kitchen, so if you are really looking to save money, you can prepare some meals yourself.

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The Wedding Ceremony

I work with high quality officiants, photographers, videographers, hair and makeup artists, florists and musicians.  Of course I make a living from doing this, so if you are prepared to do your own searching online then it is completely possible to find some fabulous people to be involved in your wedding all by yourself, just make sure that you check reviews.  It is worth noting that myself, and I expect others like me, will have preferable rates with many vendors, since we pass so much business their way, so it might be difficult to beat my prices.

Some couples want to save money by not hiring a photographer, but I think they are missing out on an opportunity to get photos as a lasting memory of a very important day in your life.  Some couples ask a guest to take the photos, which can work out great and save money if you have someone talented in your wedding party, but can also be disappointing if you don’t.

The other cost of getting married is the marriage license, which must be obtained by the couple, together, in person, from City Hall.  The fee is $35, for more information on how to do this I have written a blog post.

Central Park Wedding on a Budget money-saving tips R&D

Music

The Central Park Conservancy do not allow amplified music at events in Central Park, so it is not possible to keep cost down by getting out your phone and speakers!  If you would like music at your Central Park wedding, then it will have to be a live acoustic musician.  We can arrange for a professional musician to attend your wedding ceremony.  Anyone visiting Central Park will notice musicians playing music either on the benches, on the pathways, or under Bethesda Terrace hoping for donations from the public.  On more than one occasion we have asked one of these musicians to come along to a wedding and to play for them for a small fee.  They seem more than happy to do so.

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Video

Some couples want a lasting record of the wedding ceremony, and a video is great to show friends and family who have not been able to attend the wedding.  We can arrange for a professional videographer to be at your wedding, and we can live stream the ceremony to the folks back home, if you wish.  You can produce a basic video of your ceremony yourself by bringing apparatus that allows you to attach your phone or camera to something nearby and record the whole thing that way.  It won’t be up to professional standards but it will be free!  Of course, if you have guests, cameraperson is a role you could bestow on a responsible friend or family member.

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Flowers

I can arrange to have a beautiful bridal bouquet delivered to your hotel room, but of course there is a fee for this.  There are florists all over New York, so if you don’t have a particular bouquet in mind, then you could pop in to one on your arrival in New York and order a bouquet, then nominate a guest or the groom to collect them on the day of the wedding.  Another way to keep costs down that does take more effort, but also allows you to put more a personal stamp on your wedding, is to go to the New York flower market on East 28th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.

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Food

If a couple is eloping them this part is fairly easy to keep to a budget.  There is truly something for everyone in New York, so an eloping couple can enjoy some fabulous budget eateries throughout their whole trip to New York, saving something special for their wedding day itself.  And there are plenty of places to choose from that don’t charge the earth.

If a couple is having a destination wedding with friends and family then this could be the part of the wedding that costs the most for the couple.  If your guests are paying for their own travel and accommodation, I find it common for the couple to pay for the food.  Consider this when making your guest list.  If you have a smaller group, then it would be acceptable to book just a table in a restaurant and pay for everyone’s meal.  If it is a bigger group then you may need to book a private room.  The cost of this varies greatly over New York, and again, location plays a big part in price.  Expect to take some time shopping around to find the restaurant that fits your taste and budget and has a room the right size for you.

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I have helped to plan weddings for a vast range of budgets, and I love to be involved in all sorts of weddings.  But I am more than happy to help a couple to find ways to keep costs down if that is what they want.  Email me, or check out the Wed in Central Park website if you a considering planning a budget wedding in New York, I’d love to help!

Central Park Wedding on a Budget money-saving tips K&J

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