Megan and Ryan’s Wedding Cop Cot

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Megan (32) and Ryan (33) live in New York, and have done for the past three years. They got married in Cop Cot this May. Megan is originally from the Netherlands, but has lived in many places, and Ryan is from Portland, Oregon.

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They got engaged while on vacation in Cuba. They were watching a sunset from the Malecon when Ryan produced a ring from his pocket and proposed. Marriage was the logical next step in their relationship for both of them, to show their commitment to each other.

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They considered other locations for the wedding. They thought about getting married in Seattle, with the ceremony on a ferry followed by a meal on an island in the Puget Sound. This turned out to be quite tough to plan while they were both living and working on the East Coast, and would have been more difficult for Megan’s family who were living in Europe to make it for the wedding. So, they chose New York, being almost in the middle.

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They both knew Central Park well, and some of their happiest memories in New York City have been in Central Park with their dog, Clyde, walking and running and chilling out. “We really wanted to do something in a green space,” said Megan.

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We had a good weather plan of them getting married in Cop Cot and bad weather plan of them getting married in the Ladies’ Pavilion. In the end it did rain, but they still chose to have their ceremony in Cop Cot. They carried clear umbrellas and Megan wore a shawl and they just accepted that they would get a little wet. They met with their photographer before the ceremony to take some photos, so that they wouldn’t be keeping their guests waiting after the ceremony. They didn’t go too far from Cop Cot for the photos because of the rain.

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We kept their ceremony short and sweet, with an introduction where the officiant talked a little about the couple and Megan’s mom doing a short reading. “The ceremony was lovely. We didn’t say much which is what we wanted, we pretty much just said I do,” said Megan. They had their nephews deliver their rings.

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Guests came from far and wide for the wedding, and it was an intimate affair of just immediate family and a few select friends. I asked Megan what they had thought about their ceremony location and she said, “I think they were initially surprised but they seemed to be excited about the idea.”

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Megan wore a white dress from Banana Republic, and added a navy blue shawl because it was quite chilly along with the rain. Megan had gone to Drybar to have her hair done right before the ceremony. Ryan wore a blue suit from Banana Republic with a white shirt and orange tie. Ryan’s mother is an artist and hand carved and painted a wooden bouquet of tulips. The Netherlands are of course famous for the tulip and orange is their national color. The bouquet really is amazing – it is beautiful and looks so realistic in the photos. “She also hand made a wooden vase for them so I get to keep my bouquet forever!” said Megan.

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After the ceremony they took a few group photos in Cop Cot and then they all hopped straight on to the trolley bus they had rented to take them to Chinatown. On the way they did a little tour of New York City for their guests. “One of our favorite things to do in New York is going to Chinatown, especially for dim sum,” said Megan. So, it seemed fitting to do that for their wedding celebration. “We are pretty laid back, informal people so this felt the most like us,” she explained. They took their guests to the Oriental Garden in Chinatown, which they already knew that they would like. The couple are very well-traveled and they went off to Portugal for their honeymoon after the wedding.

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The couple had considered an outdoor picnic for lunch for the party after the ceremony, and they are so glad that they had gone for the restaurant option in the end, because of the rain. Megan suggests that brides keep their outfit flexible in case the weather turns bad as it did for them. That day was cold in the rain and she was freezing. She highly recommend clear umbrellas, though, and I agree that they do look so much better in photos.

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Megan said that she was glad that I was on board. “I loved having a helping hand when planning everything, made it much less overwhelming,” Megan said. She is local but her job keeps her very, very busy so we did most of the planning in short bursts, when her schedule allowed. For more information to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, with photos just about anywhere in New York, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where you will find lots of lovely photos and many more inspiring stories of real weddings.

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Wed in Central Park at Tiny Weddings Fair

Wed in Central Park to be at Tiny Weddings Fair

I will be exhibiting at the Tiny Weddings Fair, on 30th September 2018. It will be held at The Wycombe Swan Theatre, St Mary St, High Wycombe HP11 2XE, UK. The Tiny Weddings Fair is an exciting new event; focusing on couples planning elopements and small, intimate weddings. I know tiny weddings very well. My clients tend to either be eloping to New York to get married in Central Park alone, or bringing a small group of their nearest and dearest with them to witness their wedding, or bringing a larger group of up to fifty guests with them, or perhaps inviting family and friends from different places around the world. Fifty is a large group for a wedding in Central Park, but by traditional wedding standards, it still counts as a “Tiny Wedding”, or to use an increasingly popular term; Microwedding. Or, if you prefer; a small and intimate wedding with a focus on the couple and a celebration of their love with just the people who matter most to them. I find that many couples are having a smaller wedding to put the emphasis on themselves as a couple, and to provide a truly unique and memorable experience for their guests.

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Many couples are choosing to disengage from the notion that a bigger guest list is better and beginning to avoid large mainstream suppliers and industry stalwarts. So many couples are cutting their guest lists to spend more on what is important to them, or to get married somewhere awesome, such as New York. When writing ceremonies with couple, I find that if fewer people are present when a couple get married, they are more likely to show their true personalities, and include more unique and personal touches.

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Actually, I’m not just exhibiting at this fair, I’m organising it. My friend and business partner, Carly from Epic Elopement, and I have found this fair to be a labour of love. We have attended traditional wedding fairs and more alternative fairs, but we have often grumbled to each other that eloping couples often don’t comfortably fit in to either niche. We truly love tiny weddings and elopements, and we feel that a small wedding has specific requirements, and once couples have decided to keep their guest list small, they need suppliers who can help them with these particular needs. We didn’t think those needs were being met with existing wedding fairs, so we decided to start a fair that would.

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When I talk to my clients about their reasons for choosing to marry away from home, I find that couples are changing with the times and choosing to focus on home ownership, raising a family or travelling rather than spending a large sum on extended family weddings. It’s also true that couples are getting married later in life; the average age is at a record high 26.5 for women and 28.5 for men – many people are already co-habiting or raising a family by the time they embark on marriage and this “right of passage” is no longer what it once was.

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Follow the Tiny Wedding Facebook page for helpful and inspiring articles and information, and show your interest in our Facebook event to see updates. Follow us on Instagram for lovely photos and inspiration of small weddings, chat with us on Twitter and see our posts on Pinterest. Most importantly, buy yourself a ticket in advance.
One of the main ways this fair differs from many of the others are the talks and workshops that the exhibitors and other experts will be putting on in a room upstairs at the venue. They will provide genuinely useful information for couples considering and elopement or a small wedding. Many couples are interested in small and intimate wedding, but often they feel that they do not know enough about how to do it, or where to start. With this in mind, we will be presenting small talks and workshops throughout the day. Those who purchase tickets in advance will have preferential entry to these talks.

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We are working very hard to find a great mix of British-based celebrants, venues in the UK who are happy to cater for small groups, photographers who love small weddings and who are keen to travel, wedding attire suitable for a wedding in a less traditional location, stationers and caterers and florists who want to create something unique and special for your small group, and planners like myself who specialise in one particular fabulous location (so far we have people who know about Cornwall, the Lake District, Scotland, France, Spain, Iceland, Canada, Alaska and myself with my New York knowledge). I can’t wait to meet couples who are interested in hearing about getting married in this amazingly beautiful public park in this incredible city which truly has something for everyone. Let me know if you’re planning on coming to see me!

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For more information to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, with photos just about anywhere in New York, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where you will find lots of lovely photos and many more inspiring stories of real weddings.

SG Tiny Wedding Central Park

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Shauna and Lorcan’s Wedding in Cop Cot

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Shauna (26) and Lorcan (27) brought around twenty-five of their friends and family over from Galway in Ireland to get married in Cop Cot this May. They met in school when they were 15. They got engaged at home, just the two of them, ten years to the day of their first date. Lorcan had put down rose petals to make it memorable.

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Marriage is important to Shauna and Lorcan to show their commitment to each other. The celebration of a wedding with their nearest and dearest was also very important to them. “I think destination weddings are becoming more popular,” said Shauna. “People want their weddings to stand out, and a lot of Irish weddings, beautiful as they are, are all very similar. Destination weddings will ensure that both you and your guests will remember it as something different and special. It’s also a way of getting all of your favorite people on holidays together”, she added.

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Shauna told me that they had thought about getting married at home in Ireland, “but we always wanted an outdoors wedding, which is not really possible in Ireland unless you don’t mind getting wet!” she said. We only wanted to share our wedding with a small number of guests and we’d married in Ireland we would probably not have got away with that!” she added. I asked her if she said, “definitely not – and I will recommend a destination wedding to anyone I know who gets engaged from now on.”

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Neither Shauna nor Lorcan had ever actually visited New York before they came over for their wedding. Shauna said that surprised a lot of people. “I loved TV shows set in New York like Sex and the City and Gossip Girl – they made the city look magical – and it was everything I thought it would be,” Shauna told me. Shauna thinks that not knowing quite what the city and Central Park would be like made it extra exciting. “We didn’t know what to expect so put all our faith in Claire, and everything exceeded our expectations – it was wonderful,” Shauna said. That’s the great thing about my job – it is pretty rare to be disappointed by the beauty of Central Park! “All of our guests are still gushing about the location and the ceremony,” she added.

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The couple stayed for six nights in New York in the Casa Hotel on 45th street. “They were very helpful and accommodating in any way they could be when we told them that we were in town for our wedding,” said Shauna.  Shauna’s sister Becca read a poem during the ceremony called He Never Leaves the Seat Up and we prepared a little for the officiant to say in the ceremony introduction about the couple and their relationship so far. “Our officiant was absolutely wonderful, she made every effort to ensure we felt that it was special and important. She even learned a Gaelic phrase on our request for the end of the ceremony,” said Shauna. “We decided to write our own vows, and although we were very nervous about this on the run-up, Claire checked them both individually to ensure they were the same length and tone, which took pressure off,” she added. They kept the traditional “I do” parts but they also wrote some special promises to make to each other. When couples do this, but don’t want to spoil the surprise by showing them to each other before the big day, I often check them for the couple but keep the secret. I check that they have the same level of soppiness, silliness, seriousness, positivity, private jokes and a similar tone. All couples are different, but it’s my job to make sure that each couple keeps a similar tone as their partner in the personal vows – we don’t want one person all jokey and the other person over-sharing lots of private stuff! Shauna and Lorcan got exactly the right level of it all – so they’re obviously made for each other!

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Shauna wore a full length white silhouette dress and Lorcan wore a navy blue three-piece suit. It was unusually hot when they got married, at the beginning of May “I didn’t realise it would be thirty-two degrees that day!” said Shauna. I arranged for their flowers to be delivered to their hotel. Shauna carried white and pink roses, and her bridesmaid had a smaller white bouquet. Lorcan and his brother both had white boutonnieres. They had both of their immediate families with them and around ten friends. “Maira Oritz came to our hotel on the morning of the wedding to provide hair and make-up services for myself, my two sisters, my bridesmaid and my mother,” said Shauna. “They were fantastic – fun and professional. I would highly recommend Maira,” she said.

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The couple originally wanted to get married in the Ladies’ Pavilion, but it was already booked when we applied for the permit so their second choice was Cop Cot. “It was absolutely perfect for our twenty-five guests as they could all sit down during the ceremony,” said Shauna. “It was also very private and intimate in comparison with some of the other locations,” she added. They loved taking pictures underneath Bethesda Terrace, “there were musicians down there playing ‘New York New York’ and it all felt like a scene from a film,” she said. They also loved their photos taken on Bow Bridge, “we had a late afternoon wedding so the sun was starting to set by the time we got to Bow Bridge and it looks great in the photos,” she said. After the ceremony their guests left Central Park for the reception location while their photographer Leah Lombardi took the couple around Central Park to pose for some beautiful photos around the iconic spots of Central Park.

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After they were finished with the photos, the couple joined their guests at the reception location – a restaurant in Midtown called Davio’s Steakhouse. They had booked a private dining room and had a three course meal. “Davio’s were so easy to deal with and very accommodating of any requests we had,” said Shauna. “All of our guests were impressed with the food, the decor and the staff, and it was also very reasonable in pricing,” she added. After the meal they were duty-bound by their nationality to go on to an Irish bar – Slattery’s Midtown, which had been recommended to the couple by a friend from Ireland. “The owner, Justin was very helpful and delighted to welcome fellow Irish,” said Shauna. “We had an outside balcony area to ourselves and music played all night,” she said.

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I asked Shauna to sum up her experience and she said “the Wed in Central Park service was brilliant – Claire was always very clear, helpful and fast at responding. The stress of finding each individual service like flowers, musician, etc. was removed. She was also happy to give advice on services outside of the ceremony wherever she could like transport and hair and make-up. I can’t recommend her enough,” said Shauna. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Shauna and Lorcan.

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For more information to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where you will find lots of lovely photos and many more inspiring stories of real weddings.

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Do I Need a Permit for a Wedding in Central Park?

do i need a permit for a wedding in central park

Every now and again I like to tackle a frequently asked question as a blog post.  The short answer to this one is; if there are less than twenty people in your group, then no, you don’t.  But I encourage every couple to get a permit for their wedding from the Central Park Conservancy, and I have several reasons why.

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It will help you to keep to your schedule

If you have made a plan that involves beginning the ceremony at a certain time, so that you can have a certain amount of time taking group photos close to your ceremony location, and then some more time having photos in Central Park, and then arriving at the exit to get in a cab at a certain time, then you want it all to go to plan.  Especially if the cab was to take you on the a location for drinks or food and you have a room or a table booked.  If you don’t get a permit then there could be another couple getting married in your chosen location when you get there. So, then you will have to wait until they are finished before your group can move in to the location and get started.  If you have a tight schedule for the day, and many couples don’t want to be wasting time on their wedding day, then a permit will ensure that the space is your for the time you book it.

JB Do I need permit for Central Park Wedding

It will be helpful if you need to ask people to move along

It is a condition of the permit that the area you have reserved for your wedding remain a right of way.  But of course you can ask people nicely if they would move out of an area soon because you intend to have a wedding there.  Most people are polite and respectful and will clear the area for you but there can be the odd weirdo who enjoys making things difficult for others.  This has only happened to me once personally, in the Conservatory Gardens, but I was glad to have the permit to show to the person in question.

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The fee is a drop in the ocean

If you are travelling to New York for your wedding, then you will have spent hundreds on travel and accommodation.  And even if you’re locals who are looking for a budget location then you may well have spent money on what you are wearing and on the food and refreshments later on.  Unless you’re getting married in the Conservatory Gardens, where they total fee works out as $500, then it’s only $25.  Not a huge deal to most.

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It helps to keep Central Park as stunningly beautiful as it is

The Central Park Conservancy do amazing work, and keep Central Park looking beautiful day in, day out, all year round.  It is in the center of one of the world’s busiest and most expensive cities.  It takes a lot of work and resources to keep it looking as it does.  In my opinion it isn’t much to ask for a couple who are making the most important promises of their lives to each other to pay a little towards the upkeep of the incredible location that they are doing it in.

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So, while the short answer might be no, the long answer is yes, you should get a permit to get married in Central Park. For more information to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, with photos just about anywhere in New York, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where you will find lots of lovely photos and many more inspiring stories of real weddings.

JR Do I need permit for Central Park Wedding

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Lucy and David’s Winter Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion with Photos at Grand Central

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Lucy (aged 39) and David Williams (aged 36) both from Wordsley in the West Midlands, UK, brought their friends and family over to New York in February to witness their long-awaited wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion. The couple met through David’s brother Andrew, who was their best man, and Lucy’s best friend Michelle, who was her bridesmaid. Andrew and Michelle introduced Lucy and David at an Oasis and Stone Roses tribute night. They have been together for over thirteen years. “Most of our family and friends think our marriage has been a long time coming and had basically give up on it ever happening,” Lucy told me.

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Lucy and David have never been in any rush to marry, but then David decided that, on his terms, when he felt ready, he would like Lucy to be his wife because she’d always been there for him and by his side through everything and he’d like that to be forever.  “David is not romantic at all but he proposed in the most romantic way possible – on a blue-skied day at the top of the Empire State Building in New York City,” said Lucy. It wasn’t David’s first plan; he’d planned to do it in their hotel rooftop bar, but when they arrived at the hotel, it was closed for a refurbishment. He carried the ring around in his pocket for three days before finding the right moment. At the point when he asked Lucy, they were overlooking Central Park and discussing what a fabulous view it was. David then claimed he could improve the view…and he did, by presenting Lucy with a gorgeous engagement ring he had chosen himself back in January.

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Getting married is important to Lucy and David because after living together, backpacking together, renovating a house together and realising what a strong team they were they wanted to finally make their team official and legally binding. They had also discussed the exciting prospect of starting a family and, for them, sharing the same surname as their children is really important.

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Originally, Lucy and David wanted to get married in the Alps. Snowboarding is a passion they both share and they both love the snow and the cold. “From the get go, we knew we would have small, intimate destination wedding,” said Lucy. Once they started researching this, they realised the many pitfalls of a wedding in the Alps, from it not being legal (France) to the ceremony being conducted in German (Austria – where it was legal). It was important to Lucy and David that, if they were asking family and friends to travel to celebrate their marriage with them, the wedding would be legally binding there and then and the ceremony would not be ‘lost in translation’. Then, on a night out with friends, David began talking out loud about what they really wanted – cold, snow, outside ceremony, a ceremony in English, a destination wedding, in a location they loved which meant something to them. Then the light bulb moment happened…why not ‘book end’ the engagement with a winter wedding outside in New York City? So, later that night, when he returned home (after a few beers!) he put the idea to Lucy. Lucy agreed! When they started to suggest to close family and friends that this is where it might be, they were overwhelmed, surprised and excited by the positive responses. So, the research for an outdoor space and NYC wedding planner began!

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“One of the best weddings we have ever been to was my brother’s,” Lucy told me. He got married in Lindos in Greece, seven years ago. “Destination weddings are definitely becoming more popular,” she says. They have several friends who got married either abroad (Cyprus, Greece, Spain) or some distance away in the UK (Stratford, Cornwall). “Personally, a destination wedding was the only way that we were ever going to get married,” she explained. “It was a way to maintain the privacy, intimacy and individuality that we both wanted. It’s also a fabulous way to cut out the ‘obligatory’ invites which many couples feel the pressure to send,” she added. It meant that they got to spend quality time (ie more than just a couple of hours) with the people whom they love most in the world, as well as each other. “We didn’t want to feel the pressure of having to circulate amongst a large group, being the centre attention and missing spending time with the person it was actually all about – each other” Lucy said. The cost was nowhere near what it could have been in the UK and they found that in the US, just because it was a wedding did not impact on the price of things. “In fact, we had several lovely gestures and ‘extras’ thrown in by different places because it was a wedding,” Lucy enthused.

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A destination wedding also made Lucy and David’s celebration about more than just one day. They were fortunate enough to spend a week celebrating with family and friends. At their age (36 and 39), when else would they be in a city like New York with their siblings and parents all in one place? “Especially when you consider that David’s dad is 72 and one of my brothers lives with his wife in Australia, whilst my other brother lives with his wife in Worthing” Lucy said. This was a great opportunity to get all their nearest and dearest together.  Whilst Lucy and David had some disappointments, they had no regrets about a destination wedding at all. The only family members they invited were siblings and parents. As for friends, some of them made it, some of them didn’t. Those that didn’t, they were Lucy and David’s one disappointment – not because they couldn’t make the journey, “we understood that – it was a lot to ask both cost and time-wise, but more how some of our friends handled it” Lucy explained, “one person to this day still has not sent an RSVP!” Whilst this did not spoil their day at all, they were a little upset by it. But, Lucy and David don’t deny that this is the risk you take with a destination wedding. They just weren’t prepared to marry in the more conventional way that other people would have preferred.

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Lucy and David chose Central Park for many reasons: they were overlooking it when David proposed; they wanted to get married outside; they didn’t want to marry on a rooftop – Lucy tells me that she is scared of heights; “Central Park is just a beautiful calm peaceful oasis in the middle of a fabulous city, and the Ladies’ Pavilion was used in a scene in one of my favourite films, Sex and the City 2,” said Lucy.  David and Lucy said that they had no concerns at all about getting married in New York; just pure excitement! “After considering the Alps, the legalities of it all were very easy in comparison, and there were no language barriers!” said Lucy. The only concern they had about getting married in Central Park was after they learned that I could not apply for their event permit from the Central Park Conservancy until the December before their wedding in February. This is a policy of the Conservancy that all of my couples who marry in the first few months of the year find very frustrating, but they inform me that it is due to yearly budgeting constraints. “It felt like really short notice and we struggled to believe that all would go smoothly – but it did, as Claire said it would!” said Lucy.

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Their ceremony was at the Ladies’ Pavilion in Central Park; a wrought-iron structure chosen because it offered some shelter should they have had any bad weather, which they did. Their favourite pictures were taken on the rocks with the lake behind them, at Bethesda Terrace and Fountain and later on at Grand Central. “David loves the Grand Central building and so it was his decision to have photographs there,” Lucy explained. “This turned out to be the perfect choice as it did rain a little, and the photos were just fabulous!” she said. “Bethesda Terrace is such a romantic and beautiful place. The ceiling of the Arcade is absolutely amazing and how their photographer played around with light and shade there created some simply stunning photos,” Lucy said. As I often proudly tell people, those tiles on that ceiling were made in my home town of Stoke on Trent in the 1860s when it was built and they’re still made in my home town today. They said that they got such lovely photos because the place was deserted, probably because of the rain. “Every cloud has a silver lining!” said Lucy. David and Lucy also loved their more fun and candid photos. The one of them hailing a cab is one of their favourite shots as it encompasses NYC and their faces are brimming over with the happiness they felt.

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“The ceremony was perfect in terms of timing and content,” said Lucy. I write all my ceremonies with my couples, so everyone has exactly what suits them. Theirs was around fifteen minutes long and included two readings – by Lucy’s older brothers. The vows Lucy and David said to each other were very personal, “we loved how we could have an input into what was said and how much was said by the officiant,” Lucy explained. They did not want to say too much themselves and so handing over to the officiant was a dream come true for them both. David is not fond of public speaking and Lucy knew that the less she said the better, because she knew that her emotions would take over and she would cry, which she did! The officiant shared the story of how they met, how David proposed and some of their best experiences together as well as thanking all of the guests for making the journey out to New York to be there on such a special day. “Being able to review and edit the vows before their wedding day was a great way to include exactly what we wanted to in our ceremony so that it was a true reflection of us as a couple,” said Lucy. They also really loved having a guitarist play and sing some of their favourite songs before, during and after the ceremony.

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David and Lucy had fifteen guests in total: both sets of parents, Lucy’s brothers and their wives, David’s brother and best man, Lucy’s best friend and bridesmaid and five very close friends. Their decision to marry in Central Park caused nothing but excitement amongst their guests. “They were all very vocal about how much they were looking forward to it and knew it was going to be amazing – and it was,” said Lucy. They all commented that it was one of the best weddings they had been to, and one guest said that it was “like a fairytale.” Lucy had organised ‘wedding packs’ for every guest which included walking maps, so they also enjoyed getting to see and little more of the beautiful Central Park, as well as sampling a few drinks at the Tavern on the Green.

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Lucy wore an ivory wedding dress. It was a tulle ball gown design with crystal beaded detailing, straps and an embroidered bodice. David wore a navy tweed suit with a grey waistcoat and red tie. Lucy had an organically inspired garden bouquet composed of wintry tones of deep red and white seasonal blooms including roses, ranunculus, tulips, lisianthus, and peony, trailed with slight sprays of textural greenery. It was tied with a double-sided satin white ribbon. Fathers of the bride and groom, Lucy’s brothers and David’s best man had dark red spray rose boutonnieres whilst the Mothers of the bride and groom and Lucy’s bridesmaid had purse corsages with navy blue and white ribbons.

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Lucy, her mum and her bridesmaid had professional hair and make-up done in Lucy’s hotel suite on the morning of the wedding. Lucy said that this was one of her favourite things that she did before their wedding. The hair and make-up artists were so much fun and made Lucy, her mum and bridesmaid look and feel just amazing! It was such a relaxed morning, during which they listened to music, drank prosecco and were made to feel simply beautiful. They were all thrilled with their hair and make-up and it looked pretty perfect right up until 2am! David, together with his best man and a close friend, went to a traditional New York City barbershop for a shave – complete with hot towels, moisturizers, oils, tipped back in the chair, it provided a bit of enforced relaxation for the nervous groom!

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Lucy purchased her wedding dress from a local shop, Hagley Bridal Studio, who she said were fabulous. Buying locally meant that she could pop in pretty much whenever she liked for another try on or to match the dress with different accessories. This was a real advantage when it came to Lucy and her bridesmaid choosing their fur coats. They believe that between them they must have ordered and tried on around twenty! The dress was a Madeline Gardner New York design, appropriately. When Lucy wore her dress, she says she felt just amazing and didn’t want to take it off! After Hagley Bridal Studio suggested it, Lucy chose to wear a petticoat with a hoop underneath and believes that this made walking around Central Park and NYC so much easier! The dress glided with her rather than against her.

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On the day of their wedding, Lucy and David left the guests for two hours at the Tavern on the Green whilst their photographer Jakub Redziniak took them for photos around Central Park and at Grand Central. This time away from the guests not only resulted in some fantastic photographs, but also meant that they had some quality time together to process that they had just got married and enjoy their first couple of hours as husband and wife, “it was just lovely and we treasured this time very much,” said Lucy. After this, once they had returned to their guests at the Tavern on the Green, they organised taxis to The Milling Room where they had booked a private dining room. “The food and staff were absolutely amazing and communication with us throughout the planning process was excellent,” said Lucy. “We selected our menu choices, added our own logo to the menu, and decorated the private dining room, and helped them to choose wines to accompany dinner,” she said. Guests commented that it was the best meal they had ever had – Lucy and David agree that the food really was phenomenal. After a three-course dinner and speeches, they caught taxis to Refinery Rooftop – a rooftop bar at the top of their hotel where they had booked an area overlooking the Empire State Building where Lucy and David got engaged. They said that they would strongly recommend you book an area if you wanted to do something like this as the bar was packed, especially being winter, as not all rooftop bars can accommodate the public comfortably during the winter months. They arrived here at around 10pm, freshened up in their room, then partied the night away until 2am! There was already a DJ on, who took requests, and they also had table service. The management even opened up the outdoor area for a few close-up photographs with Empire State in the background behind the happy couple!

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Lucy and David and the majority of their guests stayed at the Refinery Hotel. A small group of guests stayed at the Archer Hotel. “Both hotels were fantastic!” said Lucy. All of the guests met at the rooftop bar at the nearby Archer the night before the wedding. Lucy and David ate at many different restaurants, to suit all budgets. Their favourites were The River Café (for utterly awesome views, service, food and cocktails), Bryant Park Grill (for great service, food and a more chilled vibe overlooking Bryant park) and Black Tap (for phenomenal burgers and shakes). They’d also recommend heading over to Brooklyn for a completely different, but equally as enjoyable, vibe to Manhattan.

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I asked Lucy for any final comments that she’d like to pass on, and she said, “for anyone who would like a wedding that’s a little bit different, more intimate, with stunning views, in a city where people and places are totally awesome, then opt for Central Park and choose Claire at Wed in Central Park as your planner. From start to finish, Claire has been just brilliant and we can’t thank her enough for her support, advice, knowledge, contacts, organisation and suggestions. A wedding should be about the two people getting married and it should be a happy occasion. With Claire’s help, ours definitely was a stress-free and absolutely awesome day! Our only regret about getting married in Central Park is that it’s all over! But at least we have a reason to return…we’re already planning our wedding anniversary celebrations!” Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Lucy and David, and I wish you lots of happiness for the future. I look forward to seeing photos of your children snowboarding on the Alps in years to come.

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For more information to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, with photos just about anywhere in New York, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where you will find lots of lovely photos and many more inspiring stories of real weddings.

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New York City Hall versus Central Park Weddings

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The vast majority of my clients come from out of town. And it seems to me that for many of these visiting couples, the major competitor to my offering of a wedding somewhere secluded and peaceful within the stunning 843 acres of Victorian splendour of landscaping and leafy beauty in the centre of Manhattan is… City Hall. OK, I’m biased but I do find this rather baffling. Alright, Manhattan’s City Hall is the oldest City Hall building in the US, and it’s not bad-looking. It is in the middle of downtown’s hustle and bustle and pretty close to the Brooklyn Bridge, for a great photo opportunity. But I hope to convince anyone reading this that a wedding in Central Park is the wiser choice. Did I mention how biased I am on this issue…?

A wedding at City Hall is cheap, I will grant you that. As far as I know the charge is $25. But, I’ve been to these weddings where the couple just show up and have had no input in the writing of their ceremony. The officiant can do the ceremony from memory because they have said the same thing time and time again. The couple say “I do”, exchange rings and that’s that. Ceremonies in City Hall probably take less than two minutes. I will admit that there is an appeal to the no-nonsense ceremony, and only having to say the bare minimum will attract some people. I write every ceremony with a couple. I ask questions that allow me to write something about them as a couple – their past and their future, to thank certain guests by name, and to mention those who cannot attend or those who are no longer with us. My couples can write long and personal promises that they want to make to each other, and we can incorporate specific traditions from their culture or religion. I my opinion, what a couple says to each other during the ceremony and the promises they make is what the wedding is about. Not the dress, or the flowers, or the reception, or the photos. All that stuff is the icing on the wedding cake, so to speak, but the wedding ceremony is where you make huge and important promises to your significant other. I think that is a pretty big deal, and taking a standard version might be fine for you, but a wedding in Central Park with us gives you the option to personalise things a little if you would like to.

A City Hall wedding is quite popular for eloping couples, it doesn’t really suit a larger group. They have two chapels at the Manhattan City Hall and they are not huge rooms. So, only a small party can fit in there at any time. Did I mention that Central Park is 843 acres? OK, most locations that suit weddings would fit under 25 people, but there are locations that are appropriate for 100 people.

Any couple marrying in New York will have to make a visit to City Hall anyway, because they are legally obliged to pick up their marriage license from there, together and in person. Actually, where couples need to go is the Marriage Bureau at the Office of the City Clerk, but everyone calls it City Hall. I have been there several times myself, to collect paperwork when I got married and also for my clients on a few occasions. I quite like going there. You take a ticket with a number on it and you wait to get called. So, if you get married there, you can’t make a reservation for a time slot, you just show up and wait. While you wait you can do some people-watching and see other couples who are there to get their license, or certificates or to get married. I like people-watching, it’s fun. I tend to take something to read, though, because it’s not *that* much fun, after an hour or so of waiting. I was pretty nervous when I got married, I’m not sure why, but I’m glad that I didn’t have to do all that waiting around before I got married. For weddings in Central Park, we apply for an event permit for the location, so we can make a schedule for the day. We know there won’t be any waiting around so couples can book a car to pick them up at a certain time and make reservations at a restaurant, or perhaps a time slot at the Top of the Rock or the Empire State building for some fabulous photos. Waiting times at City Hall are notoriously difficult to predict – there is no busy season or quiet season. If you like to have a plan, City Hall may not suit you.

The marriage bureau is open from 8:30am until 3:45pm. I have only ever done one wedding before 8:30am (the couple were in the St Patrick’s Day Parade later that morning and wanted to get married first), but I have done numerous weddings after 3:45pm. In truth, you just have to get in to City Hall and have taken your number to get in line by 3:45pm, the wedding can take place after that, but I’m willing to bet anything you like that a sunset wedding in Central Park is prettier than a late afternoon wedding in City Hall. The most common time for the weddings I arrange is about 1pm-3pm. So, I’d expect that this is true of City Hall, too. They are not open on weekends, so Friday is their busiest day. So, if you go in to City Hall after lunch on a Friday, expect to wait a long time for your ceremony, I’m told it’s a couple of hours’ wait then. With a wedding in Central Park, once you have your event permit application accepted, then you have your time slot. Weddings take place in Central Park 365 days of the year, and at any time of the day.

For me, the major reason to choose a wedding in Central Park over a wedding at City Hall is the beauty of the location. I loved saying my wedding vows next to a wide lake, as the sun glinted off the water, with the green trees all around us, and the skyscrapers of New York up above. I love our wedding photos, taken in this world-famous section of peaceful landscaped scenery in the middle of this incredible, hectic and fabulous island. Central Park is a piece of art. It is not natural, rural woods, but in places it feels like it is. It is easy to get lost in some parts, the tree cover is so dense. And then in other parts, the sky is wide and expansive and the tall buildings are so far away. The many beautiful stone and wrought-iron bridges and the several lovely fountains and bodies of water provide endless options for truly unique wedding photographs.

If I have convinced you that getting married in Central Park , visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where you will find lots of lovely photos and many more inspiring stories of real weddings in the stunning beauty of Central Park. I rather enjoy a polite disagreement, so I’d love to hear any comments from people who chose to get married in City Hall and why they did it.

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Karl and Elizabeth’s Vow Renewal Under Bethesda Terrace

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Karl and Elizabeth renewed their marriage vows in July underneath Bethesda Terrace in the heart of Central Park. They got married a year earlier at City Hall and they wanted to renew their vows on their first wedding anniversary with something a little more personal.

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Elizabeth is from Ecuador and had just graduated from Columbia when they got married, they knew that within a year she would end up having to go back home and neither of them wanted that. They had been together for a year and could not imagine living on different continents, so they decided to get married quickly so they could begin to build their lives together in New York. They told me that it is just a quick and basic ceremony at City Hall and they wanted the opportunity to make special promises to each other somewhere beautiful.

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The couple are local New Yorkers, but they wanted to make an occasion of it, so they stayed at the Hotel Plaza Athenee for a few nights. Our photographer met them there and they walked in to Central Park together, and up the Mall to Bethesda Terrace for the ceremony.

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The couple had considered inviting some guests, but in the end they decided that they didn’t need anyone else present for their vow renewal, so they had nobody else there. They had written vows that they wanted to say to each other. Our celebrant has officiated many weddings but she told me that their beautiful words to each other made her cry. Our officiant is bilingual, so we had much of the ceremony in English, with a prayer to the Virgin Mary in Spanish towards the end.

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After they had renewed their vows, Karl and Elizabeth had a few more photos taken around Central Park and then went off to One if by Land, Two if by Sea for dinner.

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For more information to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where you will find lots of lovely photos and many more inspiring stories of real weddings.

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