Megan and Daniel’s August Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

Real Central Park Wedding M&D

Megan and Daniel are from Leeds in the UK. They brought twenty of their friends and family with them this August to watch them get married in the Ladies’ Pavilion. They met when Megan was fifteen and Dan was sixteen, through mutual friends, one of whom was their maid of honor. When they got married they had been together for just over eleven years.

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The couple got engaged by the Lake in Central Park on Christmas Day 2015. They were in New York for a Christmas vacation, and had arrived on Christmas Eve. They woke up very early on Christmas morning, so they decided to get a coffee and go for a walk in Central Park. Daniel had planned to propose beside Bethesda Fountain, but decided that it was too crowded, so they walked around to the other side of the Lake where it was private enough to pop the question. He got down on one knee, and asked Megan to marry him, “Just then, what appeared to be a bus-load of people walked past us, all shouting Congratulations” laughed Megan!

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Megan and Daniel have been together since such a young age, they practically grew up together. They knew that they wanted to grow old together. “We grew up knowing that marriage was something we both wanted,” Megan told me. “When we got engaged we had been together for more than nine years and it felt like marriage was the next step for us. We want to start a family and marriage was always the first step for us in doing so,” she explained.

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Initially, they thought that the traditional, big, white wedding was what they wanted. “We looked at several wedding venues around our home in Yorkshire but they just weren’t what we wanted,” said Megan. “When we sat down and talked about what we wanted from our wedding day, we knew we wanted to spend quality time together, without having to spend it making sure everyone else was having a good time, but we also wanted to spend more than just the one day with our closest friends and family,” Megan told me.

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One day, Megan suggested New York after yet another frustrating day of wedding venue searching. At first Daniel had thought that she was joking. “We had been to New York twice before and we had instantly fallen in love with the city – once I’d had the idea, getting married in our favorite place then became the only option,” said Megan.

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When they had been looking at wedding venues near to their home, they really wanted to have a strong outdoors feel, so they knew they wanted to have a ceremony outdoors if possible. So, once they started discussing New York it felt like the location just had to be Central Park, especially since they had got engaged there, too.

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I asked Megan if she had had any worries about getting married so far away from home. “I like to be in control so having a lot of the organisation outside my hands was a concern for me,” she said. Also, they had not visited their ceremony location; the Ladies’ Pavilion, or their reception location; the Tavern on the Green, in person. Luckily, their parents were in New York the year before the wedding, so they could check out their list of possible wedding ceremony locations and reception locations.

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Many couples worry about the weather when getting married outdoors. “We had to get married in the summer because Daniel is a primary school teacher,” said Megan. “We knew that if we had got married at home in England that we could not guarantee good weather, even in Summer!” But New York does see more extreme weather than England. “On the day of our wedding, the weather was hot!” said Megan. “The day prior to our wedding we had been sent weather alerts whilst we were at the Yankee Stadium watching the baseball, and there was a storm. I had a bit of a mini meltdown thinking that we would have a storm on the day of our wedding but it actually turned out to be the hottest day that we were there!” she laughed.

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There were twenty people in their wedding party and the majority of the guests stayed in the Empire Hotel. Most people, including the bride and groom, arrived three days before the wedding, and stayed for five nights in total. On the Tuesday before the wedding, Megan and Daniel got their marriage license, a legal requirement that all couples must do. Then that evening, they had bachelor and bachelorette parties. On Megan’s bachelorette party, the girls in the group went to The Standard rooftop bar for cocktails at sunset, Megan highly recommends this, “the views and the cocktails were just perfect!” she said. After that they went to Dos Caminos for dinner, which a friend had recommended, “it was the best Mexican food I have ever eaten!” Megan told me. After the five days in New York, the newlyweds left for their honeymoon in Hawaii and Las Vegas.

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On the morning of the wedding, Megan went to Sarabeth’s opposite Central Park for breakfast with her parents and brother and she was pleased that she did, because it allowed her to spend some quiet time with her family on a very busy day. After that they walked back to the hotel through Central Park. “It was a military operation avoiding Dan in the hotel!” Megan laughed. They were deliberately staying in seperate rooms on the night before the wedding, to observe the tradition of not seeing each other before the wedding, but still staying in the same hotel. “We only just avoided a very near sighting on the morning of the wedding!” She explained that her bridesmaid had to run around the lobby of the hotel as they were leaving to make sure that they were not seen and the big entrance spoilt!

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For the wedding, Megan wore a figure hugging strapless Blue by Enzoani wedding dress with lace detail. She also wore a hair piece and blue Badgley Mischka heels. She had wanted blue wedding shoes since seeing Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City! She carried white and pink roses with gypsophilia. The maid of honor and bridesmaid’s dresses were from Marks and Spencer.

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We had the photographer go to her hotel to capture some photographs of Megan and her bridesmaid, her mother, and her maid and of honor getting ready. We had a guitarist and singer play at the wedding, for the guests while they were waiting for the bride to arrive. Megan walked down the pathway to the Ladies’ Pavilion to My Girl by The Temptations.

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I asked Megan what her guests thought of their decision to get married in Central Park. She said that all of the guests who joined them for the wedding were thrilled to have the excuse to make the trip to New York, since the majority of them had not visited before. “When I initially told my mum our plans to marry in New York she had thought we were eloping and was devastated she wouldn’t be able to join us,” said Megan. “When we cleared up that misunderstanding, she was the most excited one out of us all!” she laughed. I always suggest discussing your plans to get married with your nearest and dearest as early as you can. You may need to manage their expectations, depending on whether you are inviting them or not, and of course they can be a great help to you, as Megan’s parents were by checking out the locations for them on their trip the previous year! She said that the people of New York really played a big part in making their day special. “Walking through Central Park in wedding attire, we had lots of locals and tourists congratulating us and taking pictures – we loved the attention!” she said.

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After the wedding ceremony in the Ladies’ Pavilion, and group photographs in Central Park, the guests went on to the wedding reception in the Tavern on the Green, which is on the West side of Central Park, while the couple had a few more photographs taken alone. “We had reserved areas both inside the restaurant and outside on the terrace, a three course meal, open bar and a wedding cake from Magnolia Bakery,” Megan said. As the newlyweds arrived they saw that a jazz band were playing on the terrace outside the Tavern, and Megan’s mum asked if they had been booked by the couple. “They hadn’t been booked by us, but it was a lucky coincidence that we got to enjoy them!” said Megan. After the reception in the Tavern, Megan and Daniel got a pedicab back to the Empire Hotel where the group had an area in the rooftop bar reserved. “It was just a perfect day!” Megan enthused.

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I asked is they had any final thoughts on marrying in Central Park that they would like to share. “Claire and Wed in Central Park were fantastic!” said Megan. “We had the most perfect day! Everything ran smoothly, the suppliers couldn’t be faulted, and the service we received was faultless. Claire responded within a few hours to all of my queries (I never chased for a response) and she went over and above with organizing our reservations whilst we were in NYC. I would recommend Wed in Central Park to anyone that wanted to get married in NYC. I’m a very organized person so wanted to get everything planned early on and Claire was happy for us to do this. It was the best decision we made and it wouldn’t have been so perfect had it not been for Claire.” Thanks for your kind words, Megan. I love working with a super-organized bride! I wish you both lots of good luck for the future.

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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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Eleven Reasons to get Married in the Spring in Central Park

reasons to get married in central park spring

1 The number one reason I hear from couples is the cherry blossom.  It is a pretty good reason – it is very beautiful.  It tends to come in April or May, although that will vary a little from year to year, because it all depends on when the temperatures start to warm up.

2 It can be quite warm.  March can still be very chilly in New York.  Then in April or May it warms up and in my opinion it warms up very quickly.  Once day it’s still Winter, and the next day it’s almost Summer!

3 You could aim for a sunset wedding at around 6pm and capture some beautiful photos of Central Park in that perfect light.

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4 It’s not too hot.  I got married in Central Park in July.  It was hot.  And much of Manhattan can be very humid in the Summer.  Springtime in New York is just perfect – warm sunshine and a nice breeze coming off the water.

5 The flowers start to bloom in many places in Central Park in the Spring.  In particular, the Conservatory Gardens and the Shakespeare Garden will be starting to bloom, as will many of the flower beds near to the Lake.  There will also be a vast array of in-season flowers to choose from when making a bridal bouquet.

6 Spring is not the busiest time of year for weddings, or for tourists, so you get to enjoy the lovely weather in relative quiet.

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7 Spring symbolises new life, and a new start.  What better time to get start this new phase of life together?

8 Everyone is in a great mood in the Spring.  Winter is over, the sun is out much more often and the days are getting longer.

9 Family holidays do not tend to be booked in the Springtime, so many loved ones should be able to join you for your wedding.

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10 The temperature should be warm enough to enjoy an outdoor reception, or maybe just a cocktail on a rooftop somewhere overlooking Manhattan.

11 Birds migrate through New York in May, and they can often be spotted resting and feeding in Central Park during their journey in the Ramble and the Woods.

For more information to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, in the Winter, or any other time of year, 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.  We can help with advice and guidance to help you through the planning process to be certain that your day goes smoothly so that you can relax and enjoy your wedding.

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Jade and Sunil’s Wedding in the Conservatory Gardens

real Central Park Wedding J&S

Jade and Sunil got married last August in the Conservatory Gardens.  They brought their five year old daughter Ava and twenty of their family and friends with them to New York from their home in London.

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The couple had been together for ten years before they got married, and like many couples who have been together for a long time, their relationship grew steadily over the years.  So, they did not have a traditional engagement, although they had always talked about getting married, and they had shared the special bond that parenthood brings.  They were happily settled in their family life of making a home for their daughter Ava, and when the time felt right for them, they just set about planning their wedding.  It had always been in their plans, and once they started to organise things they both started to get excited about formalising their commitment and all having the same name.

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They started looking at wedding venues in London, and found lots of lovely places.  “Organising a huge wedding in London started to feel like it would involve a lot of fuss,” Jade told me, “we wanted our wedding day to be just about is, and the love we have for each other.”  So, they started looking at other options, and found Central Park.  “Central Park is iconic,” said Jade, “we choose the Conservatory Gardens for its serenity; it is in the quieter end of Central Park, so it would be more private and intimate.”

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Jade and Sunil had the same concern that almost every British couple has; the weather.  But they were not worried about the rain, as many couples are.  “Our only concern was that it might be too hot.  But in fact it was absolutely perfect despite being the end of August,” Jade said.  Jade wore a Jenny Packham dress, shoes and veil all from David’s Bridal, her flowers were created by Designs by Ahn and her hair and make up were done by Emily and Sofia from Once Upon A Bride.  During the ceremony, the officiant read the poem Here’s To Right Now.

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They stayed for one week at Le Parker Meridien, which is on 56th Street, so quite close to the South end of Central Park.  “The hotel had a pool which was perfect for the hot summer days and our daughter really enjoyed splashing about after a long day of sightseeing,” Jade told me.  They had twenty guests, a mix of family and friends.  “We will be eternally grateful to them all for coming with us to New York to support us on or special day,” said Jade. “Everyone was so excited to be in New York and we spent lots of time together exploring the city,” she added.  I love it when couples use the destination wedding as an opportunity for two families to bond.  In Jade and Sunil’s case, after ten years and a child together, their families are likely to already know each other quite well, which would certainly add to a fun atmosphere for the week.

 

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Jade and Sunil’s ceremony was in the Conservatory Gardens, underneath the Wisteria Pergola, which is covered with foliage at that time of year, so it provided some good shade for everyone on the hot day.  They had photographs taken all over Central Park, and then in different places in New York City with their photographer Samm Blake, while their guests enjoyed some drinks and snacks back at the hotel.  Jade said that he favorite photos were the ones taken on Bow Bridge in Central Park, and in the East Village.  After the photos and when the sun began to set, they met everyone at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park for dinner.

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I asked Jade if she had any final thoughts that she would pass on to anyone considering getting married in Central Park.  She said “Claire was faultless in her communication.  We felt prepared and organised for every part of our wedding even down to the little details like making sure we arrived at City Hall before it opened to collect our marriage licence!”  Back in last September, when she answered these questions for me, she added “we are still floating on a cloud after our dream wedding.  We would do it all over again in a heartbeat!”

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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Eleven Reasons to Have a Wedding in Central Park in Winter

get married central park in winter

1 If you’re lucky enough to get snow on your wedding day then your photographs will be stunning.  Central Park is beautiful in the snow.  Snowy wedding photographs will certainly stand out from most people’s wedding photos.  New York sees lots of crisp, cold blue skies in the Winter, too.

2 You are way more likely to get your first choice of date time and location for your event permit, because fewer weddings take place in Central Park in the Winter than the rest of the year.  Even if you are considering getting married very soon, you are quite likely to get an event permit for wherever you like in Central Park, even with very little notice.

3 Most of the people you want to attend will be able to be there.  Your date is less likely to clash with other weddings or family vacations during the Winter.  Many people take time off between Christmas and New Year anyway, so if you get married in the week in between, lots of your loved ones should be able to attend.

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4 If you get married outside of the holiday period, then you might get some great offers on accommodation and travel.  You might be able to save some money, or get more for your money than you would in the Summertime.

5 There will be less tourists and members of the public in your wedding photos, because Central Park will be quieter in the Winter.  There will be less people in Central Park altogether, so you will feel as if you have this incredible place all to yourself.

6 After being out in the cold for a little while, you get to go inside somewhere warm and cosy.  And have mulled wine and coffee or tea with rum or whiskey in them.  If you are getting married over the holidays the bars and restaurants will be decorated and it will feel very festive.

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7 Wedding vendors get very busy during the period between May and September.  You may not get your first choice of photographer or other service provider if you get married during this hectic season.  People in the wedding industry are more likely to be available during the Winter, and your photographer may well get your photos edited more quickly if they have less other work competing for their time!

8 If you like shades of rich plum, forest green, berry red and scarlet then this season is for you.  But really, and color palette will work in Central Park in the Winter.  Also, marrying outdoors in the Winter is the perfect excuse to accessorise with a shrug or jacket to complement your dress.

9 You can take a short flight to Florida or the Caribbean after New York for your Honeymoon.  Or go up to a ski resort in the Rockies.

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10 January and February can be pretty grim and boring in the Northern hemisphere, and usually there is not a very long list of events to look forward to.  If you give your guests a wedding to look forward to in this otherwise dull time of year you will be rewarded with an anniversary to look forward to at the same time of year for the rest of your lives.

11 Your photos will be fabulous.  No squinting in bright sunlight, no hair frizzing in the humidity, no makeup sliding off a hot and sweaty face.  You should get married in the middle of the day to get the best light, but twilight photos are pretty amazing, too.

 

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For more information to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, in the Winter, or any other time of year, 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.  We can help with advice and guidance to help you through the planning process to be certain that your day goes smoothly so that you can relax and enjoy your wedding.

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Five Things I Loved About My Wedding – Kayla

loved wedding central park kayla

This is the tenth in a series of blog posts with a focus on those little things that make a wedding special, called Five Things I Loved About My Wedding.  The series is intended to provide some inspiration for couples who are currently planning their wedding.  Many couples have a big vision of what they want on the day, but these posts will be all about the details.  Most of the weddings discussed in this series will have taken place in Central Park, but some weddings from other locations will be featured.  This is Kayla’s list of the five things that made her wedding day special.  She married Matt in the Ladies’ Pavilion in September 2017, read about their wedding here.

Presents on my wedding day

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Matt’s brother Dan and his girlfriend Abby were our best man and bridesmaid so the night before our wedding Matt and Abby switched hotel rooms so we could keep the tradition of not seeing each other until the ceremony. During the morning Abby made her excuses that she needed to go back to her room and came back with presents from Matt. He got me a lovely card, a beautiful white Thomas Sabo bracelet with a heart charm engraved with our initials the perfume that I had hinted at ages ago that it would be perfect for our wedding day. My mum also came to visit me on the morning and my parents had bought me a wedding day Pandora charm to add to my collection.

My bouquet

flowers kayla

I spent ages looking at artificial bouquets online, I knew I wanted purple flowers but couldn’t find the right shade until I came across these. They were absolutely perfect and exactly what I wanted. They were the perfect shade of purple and matched the men’s ties so well.  They had lace around the handle which gave them a vintage look and the diamanté brooch attached which was very similar to the belt I had on my dress.

Matt’s reaction

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Matt isn’t a very emotional person and in the nearly ten years we’ve been together I have rarely seen him cry so to see him so emotional and choked up really surprised me!  To this day he says he didn’t cry during the ceremony but the photographs say otherwise!

Strawberry Fields

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Strawberry Fields in Central Park has such a great atmosphere and I was really looking forward to having pictures taken there in my wedding dress and It didn’t disappoint! Both of us absolutely love the Beatles, I chose to walk down the aisle to the musician playing Here Comes the Sun so it meant a lot to us to go there on our day.

Dinner cruise

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We booked a three hour dinner cruise from Chelsea Piers. It was amazing, the food, the music and of course the views! We we’re welcomed on board with a champagne toast and a round of applause by the other guests! We were told what time we would be approaching the Statue of Liberty and to head to the top deck for the best views of her. The staff were so helpful and we got to have our first dance on board (John Lennon – Imagine) and they cleared an area on the deck for us to have our speeches. I highly recommend this is anyone going to New York.

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For more information on planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest for photos and more inspiring stories.

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Zoe and Andrew’s September Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

Real Central Park Wedding Z&A

Zoe and Andrew brought their nearest and dearest over to New York from their home in Bathgate, a town a few miles west of Edinburgh in Scotland, to get married in the Ladies’ Pavilion this September. They have been together for six years and have a three and a half year old son, Harry.

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They met at a wedding, and they got engaged in New York City. The wedding where they met was Andrew’s cousin’s and when he proposed Zoe’s parents and both her sisters and their partners were present. So, family is a big part of their story. Andrew proposed on a cold and windy November night on top of the Empire State Building. Their son was a year and a half old at the time, and Andrew put a vest on him which said “mummy, will you marry daddy?” and then he got down on one knee. They already share the strong bond of parenthood, but marriage felt like an important stage in their relationship, “marriage is important to me as it feels like we are one unit. I love having the same name as my small family. I feel linked to Andrew in a special way being his wife,” said Zoe.

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They discussed getting married at home in Scotland, but they decided that it wasn’t for them. “We aren’t people who would enjoy the attention of a hundred guests,” Zoe told me. “We also thought it would be very pricey as we both have large families,” she said, “and we didn’t want to plan our wedding around trying to please other people.” All these points are excellent ones, and reasons that many of my clients tell me drove them to choose a destination wedding with just a small group. They also considered getting married in Orlando, but Zoe decided that she didn’t much like the idea of getting married in that heat and humidity. Also, they felt that New York was a suitable location for a shorter stay, and a more appropriate length of time for a trip with a group of guests. They felt that an Orlando trip could end up turning in to a two-week honeymoon with their closest family, which wasn’t what they wanted!

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After some discussion, they knew that they wanted a destination wedding. “I love the idea of elopements and destination weddings, they are fun and very different,” said Zoe. “I think they are becoming a lot more popular because people don’t want to spend a fortune and are looking for something different and unique,” she added. I asked her if she had any regrets about not having a traditional wedding closer to home. “Not one bit,” she said. “There were a few people that couldn’t make it, but I know they wished us all the luck and love in the world. There was also a select few that we were thankful couldn’t make it,” she added, laughing.

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Zoe and Andrew turned to the internet for inspiration. “I can remember searching the internet for information about weddings in New York, I was day dreaming and thinking this would never be finically possible,” Zoe told me. “I came across Claire’s website Wed in Central Park and decided to look further into the idea of marrying in Central Park,” she said. “I was very surprised that her prices were within our budget but I thought it was too good to be true so I emailed her without telling family and friends about the idea in case there were some sneaky hidden charges or the website wasn’t legit,” she said. This is a tricky one for me. There is a vast range of prices couples can pay to get married in New York and Central Park. Some (travel agents in particular) must be taking a huge profit, and some wedding planners charge much more that I do because they offer other parts of the service that I don’t think are necessary so I take them out to save costs, but I’m not the cheapest! I do try my best to find high quality people to work with on our weddings who don’t cost the earth; that has always been my aim.

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I asked Zoe if she had any worries about their decision to get married in Central Park. “Yes, many,” she said. “I worried at the start that I was sending money to someone I didn’t know and then I would let people down by trusting someone I barely knew,” she admitted. Again, this is a tricky one for me. I ask for as small a deposit as I possibly can to secure all the people involved, and then I hold off for the balance until two weeks before the wedding, to try to avoid too much worry, because we will have done most of the planning by the time the wedding is two weeks away, and generally couples feel much more confident about handing over their money by this point. Also, this blog exists just to prove that we are a legitimate business, planning real weddings for real people.

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Zoe and Andrew stayed in New York for a week, in the Bentley Hotel on the Upper East Side. “It was a lovely hotel and good to get away from the madness of Times Square,” said Zoe. My thoughts precisely. I love the Upper East Side, it’s very close to Central Park, has great places to eat and lots of beautiful buildings. It baffles me why so many visitors stay in Times Square, when it’s so very busy and expensive. “A few guests felt it a little out the way but we enjoyed it,” said Zoe. I don’t think anywhere below 110th Street in Manhattan is out of the way, but I know that others disagree!

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Zoe and Andrew had twenty-three guests at their wedding. “Our family and friends were astounded when we said we asked if they would consider coming to New York to witness us getting married,” Zoe told me. “Many of them were surprised that everything went so smoothly and that we actually did pull off a wedding in Central Park!” she added.

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Zoe wore a full wedding gown in ivory. She carried artificial flowers, which she had brought from home, to save money. She was a little reluctant to buy them but she was very happy with them and now she gets to keep them forever. Zoe and her ladies decided to do their own hair and makeup, also to save money. They had professional hair and makeup lessons at home and practised doing each others’ hair several times before the trip. I think it paid off and they all look fantastic.

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As I mentioned previously, and as you can probably tell by the photos of the men and little guy in kilts, Zoe and Andrew are Scottish. And they wanted to keep a Scottish feel to their wedding, so we arranged for our bagpiper to meet Zoe at the entrance to Central Park and walk in with her, piping as they went. We kept the ceremony fairly short. “Andrew and I don’t like the focus on ourselves for too long so we asked for a pretty short ceremony where we had traditional vows and mentioned a couple of stories based on us meeting and about our family and those who couldn’t be with us,” said Zoe. “The ceremony was just perfect, our favourite part was when our officiant welcomed all our guests to Central Park at the start, it brought it home that this was our dream wedding come true,” she added.

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The wedding ceremony took place in the Ladies’ Pavilion. “Our favourite pictures were taken there and at Bow Bridge,” Zoe said. “I liked these areas for their beauty and tranquillity from the mad inner city.” Our photographer also took them to Times Square to Brooklyn Bridge, to capture other iconic areas of New York City. We hired a vintage trolley to take the whole party around New York to have their photos taken in these other locations. “We took a cool box in to the trolley with prosecco, beers and juices and my sister had made a wedding music play list on her phone which we were allowed to play on the trolley,” said Zoe. So, while they travelled between photograph destinations they all drank and sang and danced their way around New York.

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Afterwards, the trolley dropped them at their wedding dinner destination, the Heartland Brewery, underneath the Empire State Building, where they enjoyed a three course meal with unlimited bar for a couple of hours. They had tentative plans to go out partying afterwards, but in the end they were all worn out and decided to head to bed after that.

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I asked Zoe if she had any advice to share with other couples considering a wedding in Central Park. She advised that anyone even considering it a little bit should look in to it. “It might seem like an impossible dream, but through Claire’s professionalism and expertise our dream wedding actually came true,” she said. She also suggested that couples ask me lots of questions through the planning process. I agree. “It settles your nerves,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to ask Claire anything; she has a wealth of information waiting to be shared. Trust Claire with her recommendations. Every little thing was just perfect due to her fantastic service.” Thanks so much for your kind words, Zoe. And thank you for sharing your story with us. I have long considered making it a condition of my contracts with Scottish couples that the men folk wear kilts, but after seeing your gorgeous little boy Harry dressed so smartly, I’m thinking of adding that in for little boys, too! I wish the three of you lots of luck for the future.

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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.

Central Park Wedding Zoe&Andrew (75)

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Keilani and Thomas’ Wedding in the Conservatory Gardens

real Central Park Wedding K&T

Keilani and Thomas got married in the Conservatory Gardens in July 2004.  I met her through her online community Big Love Small Weddings, a site she set up for brides and wedding professionals who are interested in small and intimate weddings to find each other.  She is a lover of elopements and small weddings, which the vast majority of the weddings in Central Park I help to plan are.  I was interested to talk to her about her experience since she got married some time ago when there weren’t the resources then that we have now.

Keilani is originally from Brooklyn, and Thomas is from Staten Island.  They met through their work in the fitness industry.  Thomas proposed to Keilani at the historic Mohonk Mountain House, which is just at the southern border of the Catskills, a popular vacation place for New Yorkers, and where myself and my husband spent our honeymoon after our own small wedding in Central Park.  They were visiting the area the weekend of Keilani’s birthday, which was a week before Christmas.  “I had no desire to have a big wedding and certainly not plan one.  The only part of the wedding planning I had any remote interest in was the planning of my honeymoon,” says Keilani.  “Back then there were limited resources for small wedding planning, and I basically winged it.  I planned everything in six months,” she added.

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Like many couples back then who want to tie the knot in a no-nonsense style, and still quite commonly now, their first thoughts were Las Vegas.  “We were planning on eloping to Vegas and marrying at the Bellagio, then continue to the South Pacific Islands for our Honeymoon,” Keilani told me.  In the end, they decided to stay in New York for the wedding to include their families, but they stuck with the original honeymoon plan, because that was very important to them, and what they considered worthwhile to spend their money on.

They chose the Conservatory Gardens for their wedding ceremony location.  This is level with around 105th Street, so quite a way up North of Central Park.  And since Keilani and Thomas were locals, they knew this area would be much quieter than the South end of the park, which is very busy with tourists.  “It is a semi-private space and the grounds were serene,” she said.  It was easily accessible for their guests, from all over the boroughs of New York City, and it was inexpensive.  I think it’s important to point out for people who are not New Yorkers just how important the city’s parks are to locals.  Many people will have heard Central Park being described as “New Yorkers’ backyard” but it is so true.  So many family events and get-togethers take places in these parks; I would see kids’ birthday parties every weekend in all the parks, not just Central Park.  So, it was the natural choice for these two New Yorkers to marry in this world famous park that was so close by.

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Keilani chose a simple satin ribbon style dress with an open back and carried long stem calla lilies, purchased from RK Bridal, and she did her hair and makeup herself.  They had an acoustic guitarist at the wedding ceremony, then a backyard garden reception at Thomas’ Aunt’s house on Staten Island.

Their wedding party was a small one.  They just invited immediate family and just a handful of close friends.  “If you weren’t a part of our everyday life, you weren’t invited,” Keilani said.  “It wasn’t the purpose of our wedding to invite everyone we knew,” she added. “I just wasn’t the type of bride to have a major shindig!”

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“I wish back then there were resources for the type of bride that wanted something small,” Keilani said.  “I am happy with how things all came together, but at that time there were no websites I could go to for anything related to elopements and intimate weddings”.  Of course this may seem hard to believe for younger people planning their weddings now, but there wouldn’t have been the vast choice of blogs and online information that people can be swamped with now.

The couple married over thirteen years ago, so I asked Keilani if she had any regrets.  She said that if she had known then what she knows now then she would have taken more time choosing a photographer.  The photos used in this blog are digital photos of original prints, since that was the norm in 2004.  Now that she works as a wedding photographer herself, she would have given the decision more thought, but at the time the wedding wasn’t the priority for them, they were focused on the honeymoon.  And in my opinion, it looks like they had their priorities right – the wedding day shouldn’t necessarily be the focus when a couple gets married – the marriage should be, and they’ve been married for over thirteen years so they must be doing something right!  As it turns out the photographer they used for the wedding has now gone out of business.

I asked Keilani what people say when she tells them that she got married in Central Park.  “Usually when I say that I got married in Central Park, people tell us how lucky we are, and I guess they are right,” she said.  I asked if she’d do it all again; “I would recommend it to anyone!  Keep it small, keep it real!” she said.

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So, now Keilani photographs elopements and intimate weddings herself.  So, many years after her own small wedding, she still truly believes in the charm and appeal of an intimate wedding celebration.  That’s why she does this for a living now, and why she started the website.  “I realized that my peers who specialize in elopements and small weddings are getting lost in the masses of websites that are geared towards more of the bigger traditional wedding,” said told me.  Her online community is a place where brides are able to communicate with one another during their wedding journey, and it’s a place of community over competition.  “Big Love Small Weddings is for the couple who desires more love and no stress!” Keilani says.

I asked her if she had any advice for anyone reading this blog, who might be considering a wedding in Central Park themselves, whether they are local or from further afield.  “If you want to keep your wedding simple and beautiful, then get married in Central Park,” Keilani said.  “I would definitely marry in the same place if I did it all over again.”

Check out the Big Love Small Weddings online community, follow them on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.  If you feel you might need some help planning your own future wedding in Central Park, then check out my website for lots more information, follow us on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for stories of real weddings, inspirational photos and helpful advice.

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