Hollie and Kye’s Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

Hollie and Kye got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in September.  They are both from Bournemouth in England and Hollie was 29 and Kye was 31 when they got married.  They had two witnesses to their wedding, Hollie’s mom and her partner.  They had been together for five and a half years before getting married.  “Marriage is important to us because it confirms our commitment to each other and the wedding day and preparations for it were a lovely chance to reflect on what we mean to each other and the day itself was about expressing that to one another,” Hollie said.  

They met through work.  They were working in the same hospital where they worked on different wards.  Hollie had to take something to Kye’s ward to a mutual colleague, and that colleague played matchmaker for a few months.  He hinted to Kye that perhaps Hollie might like him to ask her to go on a date.  They did indeed start dating in January 2017.  Their first date was at a local steakhouse.  They said that the food wasn’t too impressive, but the company was. 

Hollie and Kye got engaged at home on Christmas Day of 2020.  They told me that Kye had planned to wait until their anniversary the following February to propose, but decided it would be nicer to do it in 2020.  And after the year many of us had in 2020 I’m inclined to agree!  So, they ended what had been a very tough year in a happy way.   

Hollie had already found Wed in Central Park on Instagram before they got engaged!  So, she had seen some of our beautiful weddings, and knew that getting married in Central Park appealed to her.  “It seemed to fit perfectly with our idea of a small wedding in a place we have always wanted to visit,” said Hollie.  I asked if they had any regrets about not having a “traditional” wedding closer to home.  “At times we thought about people who couldn’t come and felt sad that they wouldn’t be there to share in the day, but overall, we knew we had made the decision which was right for us and had an amazing day,” Hollie said.  She told me that she most missed having her closest friends there – the ladies who would have been her bridesmaids if she had gotten married close to home.

I asked if they thought that smaller weddings are becoming more popular.  “I think Covid has definitely made them more popular as I think all the cancellations made people realise that the ‘big day’ isn’t necessarily the most important thing, but you just want to be married,” Hollie said.  I agree, based on what many of my couples have told me.  “I think they are right for couples like us who want something a bit different and don’t have a big family, but everyone is different, and I think it is important for couples to feel like they can have the wedding they want without judgement or criticism from others who might do it differently,” she said.  I do wholeheartedly agree with this.  I’m someone who spends a long time helping people to plan their wedding, and usually our weddings do not tend to follow tradition. I believe all weddings are a lovely celebration of love, but everyone’s relationship is different, so why shouldn’t weddings reflect that?

So, New York was the place that the wanted to say “I do”.  Hollie told me that they loved the idea of getting married somewhere so iconic and so beautiful.  New York had been on their ‘bucket list’ for so long, so it felt like a great opportunity to tick somewhere off that list, and get married while they were there.  They did worry about the weather on the day, which I think is unavoidable.  “We feared that if it rained all day we might regret choosing to get married outdoors,” Hollie said.  “We knew we had no control over this and tried to remember what is most important about the day and this helped,” she told me.  Luckily the weather was perfect, as it so often is in New York in September, but of course there’s always a risk of rain affecting photos.

Hollie and Kye and their witnesses stayed in New York for nine days, at the Kixby Hotel.  “We had amazing food all week” Hollie told me.  “Highlights for breakfast were Café Hestia and Friedman’s and Gallagher’s Steakhouse for lunch,” she said. Their hotel had Black Tap on site for burgers if they didn’t feel like going out after a busy day of sightseeing.

We had a vintage cab pick the couple up from the hotel and then they met their photographer, Jakub Redziniak, at Bryant Park for some photos outside the New York Public Library.  He came with them on to Times Square  for more photos and to Central Park from there, taking photos with the vintage cab on their arrival.  In the meantime, Hollie’s mom and her partner met the officiant at the Ladies’ Pavilion ready for the bride and groom’s arrival.

Hollie and Kye had the reading The Art of a Good Marriage by Wilfred Arlan Peterson as part of their ceremony, which is one my favorites, and I’ll put that at the end of the post. They also repeated some promises after the officiant that were unique to them.  The reading was chosen by Hollie’s Mum.  They had asked her to choose a reading and narrowed it down to a few options of ones that they liked, but the ultimate decision was a surprise for the bride and groom so they said that it was almost like hearing it for the first time on the day.  “We now have our vows and reading from the wedding to look back on to remind ourselves of the promises we have made to each other and our future and know this will be useful and comforting moving forward, particularly if we find ourselves facing challenges,” Hollie told me.  After the ceremony they took photos at Bethesda Terrace and Fountain and at Bow Bridge.  “The photos taken at Bow Bridge are some of our favourites as it’s such a beautiful part of the park and so familiar and well-known,” Hollie said.

Hollie’s mom and her partner had been a bit worried when Hollie and Kye first told them about their wedding plans.  Their idea was for quite a different kind of wedding to the usual ones that they had been to in the past.  “But as soon as we got to New York and saw Central Park they knew that we had made the right choice,” Hollie said. They told them that it was a lovely wedding and they loved NYC more than they were expecting to! 

Hollie wore a White One dress from a bridal store in her home town.  She had the straps altered to make it one-of-a-kind and she loved it.  She carried a bouquet of silk flowers which she had made herself before coming over to New York.  She wanted to be able to keep the flowers afterwards but was worried that real ones wouldn’t last long enough to be pressed at home.  So, she decided to go for artificial ones and then put them in a vase at home as a reminder of the day.  She also made boutonnieres for the men.

Hollie and her Mom had their hair and make-up done by Jocelynn and Dana from Metro Look.  “They were really professional and friendly, and the make-up lasted all day,” said Hollie.  Hollie said that their hair also stayed in place perfectly and she had been so impressed how Jocelynn was able to re-create something just from a picture that she had seen online.  She said that she would definitely recommend them and it really added to the ‘bridal experience’ even though it was just Hollie and her Mom.

After their time in Central Park the four of them went on the Bateaux premier dinner cruise, “which was a definite highlight,” said Hollie.  I’ve been on it, too, and I would agree!  “The food was really good, we got a free bottle of champagne and an announcement about our wedding, and it was amazing to see the sights of the city as the sun sets and at night,” she said.

I asked them what they would say to other couples who were considering getting married in Central Park.  “If you want a wedding that is a bit different from the traditional in an amazing city then definitely consider Central Park.  Everyone was so friendly and congratulated us as we walked around doing our photos,” Hollie said.

I asked how we did.  “Claire was incredibly organised and efficient.  She answered all of our questions in a timely manner and provided us with so much useful information,” Hollie said.  “Her connections with different services; photographers, the vintage cab, hair and make-up were all great and we could tell they all valued working with her and each other which helped the day go smoothly,” she added.  Yes, after more than ten years doing this, I truly feel that I have found some amazing people to work with, who love making weddings as special as much as I do!  “Claire took away the stress involved with planning a wedding and we are so glad we stumbled across her page on Instagram.  We had our dream wedding and Wed in Central Park played a massive role in that,” Hollie said.

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

The Art of a Good Marriage by Wilfred Arlan Peterson

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

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Victoria and Aaron’s Bethesda Terrace Wedding in May

Victoria and Aaron got married beside Bethesda Fountain in May.  Victoria was 34 and Aaron was 35 when they got married.  They had the ceremony right in front of the fountain.  They were able to say “I do” and be pronounced married right before it started to rain!  We had hoped to get to some other locations in the park for photos, but the rain stopped that.  They’re happy with the lovely photos taken in front of the fountain and on the terrace, and then at the reception location. 

They had met on the dating app Bumble soon after Victoria had moved back home to New York from Texas.  She told me that they bonded very early over being early risers (and therefore going to bed early!) and also true crime podcasts.  They felt that it was cool that they were compatible and also had a lot of the little quirky things in common.

Victoria told me that she didn’t think that getting married was something that they were actively thinking about when they started dating.  “We just realized that we enjoyed each other and we fell in love,” she said. They both felt sure that they wanted to continue spending their days together and whenever they talked about future plans, they always included each other.  So, it just naturally followed that if they were always to be together, they wanted to be married too! 

They contacted me around six months before their date, and they were sure on the date and location for their ceremony straight away.  “We hadn’t gotten too deep into scouting venues when a good friend of mine shared the Wed in Central Park website,” Victoria told me.  Her sister had been about have a big wedding in April of 2020, but her plans changed (as so many wedding plans changed that year!) and she and her husband had a small wedding ceremony in Central Park instead.  “Aaron is OBSESSED with Central Park,” Victoria told me (a sentiment I can of course appreciate!).  So when he heard what Victoria’s friend’s sister did, he was immediately on board.  They had planned on having a small wedding anyway, and it seemed like a perfect location.  In the end, they had around thirty guests, which I’d say is medium-sized for a wedding in Central Park, but of course fairly intimate by traditional measures.

I asked Victoria if she thinks couples are leaning towards more intimate weddings in recent years.  “I think that the pandemic has made people focus on the idea of quality over quantity,” she said.  “I think that smaller weddings have become more popular because although large weddings are still about the love that a couple shares, smaller weddings allow the couple to really be with all of their guests,” she said.  She told me that she loved that they actually had time to walk around and spend time with all of their guests.  Also, they were very intentional and selective with their guest list.

We provided Florencia Saavedra photographer for the ceremony in Central Park, who focused on capturing candid photos of the guests, and they also booked their own photographer, Erika Coy, for a longer period to capture the whole day.  Victoria and Aaron are local to New York City, so it was easy for their local guests to attend, but they also had guests from out of town.  One benefit to get married in New York is that usually, everyone is happy to visit this incredible city!  “So, the right guests will make sure that they’re there for you – wherever you are,” Victoria said.

Victoria walked into the ceremony with her dad, who gave her away.  They had a cellist playing for the guests before the bride arrived.  Their guests were family, local friends, friends from college, and friends from Texas, where Victoria had lived and worked. “They were all very impressed with our Central Park wedding!” said Victoria.  They had inadvertently planned the quintessential New York City spring wedding, with sunshine and showers!  After the ceremony in Central Park, they had a shuttle bus take the whole group on to the reception location.

I asked Victoria how we did.  “I don’t know that we would have been able to have our ceremony be as organized and as beautiful as it was without Wed in Central Park. Claire, thank you again for everything!!”  Thank you so much for your kinds words, it was an absolute pleasure to work with you, Victoria and I wish you both lots of luck for your future together.  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you live locally or are planning on traveling to New York to get married, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest

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Larissa and Bob’s Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

Larissa and Bob got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion first thing in the morning one Saturday in September.  Larissa is from New York and Bob is from upstate New York originally.  Larissa is 45 and Bob is 54.  They had been together for almost four years when they got married. 

Larissa and Bob met through work.  They were work colleagues at a bank in 2018 and Bob was the very first person that Larissa met there, and her first friend at her new workplace.  We said in the ceremony that ever since they met, he has been her biggest champion and supporter, and she is his biggest fan.

They got married pretty early in the day and they also got engaged quite early.  They were taking a dawn walk in Caumsett State Park in Lloyd Harbor, New York. Bob proposed at the Marshall Field Main House overlooking Long Island Sound.  They initially considered getting married on Long Island with a church wedding or maybe at a vineyard in the North Fork.  But, Larissa broke her foot while they were considering their options, so they had to postpone wedding plans for a while.  Bob had wanted to get married on this certain date in September because it was his mother’s birthday.  They both agreed that a smaller wedding would be less taxing than the standard, big extravagant affair.  Bob loves New York City, and Larissa wanted something smaller and more informal.  They also didn’t want to deal with the hassle of planning a large wedding.  And so, they found me!

Larissa told me that they originally thought of The Boathouse and the Tavern on the Green, the two restaurants in Central Park, and she also checked other venues that she felt were quintessentially New York.  “These were all too expensive and I didn’t like the other micro wedding options I researched,” she said.  She told me that she stumbled onto a review of Wed in Central Park on WeddingWire and checked out our Instagram feed.  “I was impressed so I went to the website,” she said.  “I reached out to Claire impulsively but was pleasantly surprised to find out that getting married in Central Park is an affordable option,” she said.  “Bob and I have had many great memories in Central Park, and everything seemed to fall into place,” Larissa told me. 

I asked Larissa what her thoughts were on smaller weddings in general.  “Love them. It’s the best way to go,” she said.  “Couples want a ceremony that reflects their tastes and their relationship.  More and more, I see people opting for more unique venues that are more ‘them’,” she told me.

Larissa and Bob are locals, but because they had the wedding at 9am on Saturday, they stayed at a hotel nearby; the Arthouse Hotel on 77th for the Friday and Saturday nights, so that they would be refreshed and ready to go.  For the bridesmaids, Larissa booked High Tea at the Plaza Hotel the day before the wedding.  Bob took his friends out for drinks at The Boathouse.  When they all got together for dinner the Friday before the wedding, they had a lively dinner at Serafina’s downstairs at the Arthouse. 

We didn’t organize this wedding with a whole lot of notice, so when we came to apply for the event permit for the Ladies’ Pavilion, 9am was the only slot they had.  “We had a few moans and groans from a few guests about the early hour, but everyone who made it thought it was a memorable experience,” said Larissa.  This turned out great for the photographs because Central Park is much quieter earlier in the morning.  “That early in the morning, it seemed like the whole of Central Park was ours.  The Ladies’ Pavilion has a beautiful view of the Lake and the city skyline in the background,” said Larissa.  She said that their favorite photos were taken in front of the Bethesda Fountain and the arcade in front of the Minton tiles.

For the ceremony, we had a short introduction and a friend did a reading, and then they exchanged traditional vows.  I asked Larissa how the ceremony went.  “Lovely! I was nervous but happy,” she said.  “My friends thought it was all very cinematic,” she added.  She said that she hardly remembers the ceremony.  “I remember when the officiant asked whether I would take Bob as my lawfully wedded husband; I said, ‘Yeah, of course, I do.’ I think it was the nerves, honestly,” she said!

Larissa wore an off-white A-line lace dress purchased from David’s Bridal.  “I wore bridal sneakers under my wedding dress, and I fully endorse wearing comfy footwear,” she said.  Bob wore a blue linen suit with a gray shirt purchased from Proper Cloth.  Larissa carried a fall-colored bouquet with a mix of red, yellows, and oranges.  Her hair and makeup were done by Stephanie and Arielle from Metro Look.  “They did a fantastic job with my request for an old Hollywood glamor look.  I received a lot of compliments on my hair and makeup,” Larissa said.

After the ceremony and photos around Central Park, Larissa and Bob took their guests to lunch at the Porter House Bar and Grill in Columbus Circle.  Afterward, a few guests decided to go to the bar at the Mandarin Oriental for the views of the Park.  Later in the evening, they took their out-of-town guests to a Japanese restaurant on the Upper West Side.

I asked if they had any regrets about not having a “traditional” wedding.  “No, we had a wonderful time and so did our guests,” said Larissa.  “I am glad we did it in a non-traditional way because the wedding had a more spontaneous, joyous feel,” she added.  Like most New Yorkers, Larissa is believes that New Yorkers are not friendly on the whole.  I’m a Brit and I disagree.  “Everyone is super friendly on your wedding day, even New Yorkers,” she told me.

I asked Larissa how we did.  “Claire provides excellent white-glove wedding planning services. I e-mailed her back and forth about the details.  Honestly, I was expecting hiccups along the way, but there were none.  She was very responsive and answered my questions and concerns promptly.  She did an excellent job for us on our big day. Thanks, Claire!”  Thank you so much for your kind words, it was an absolute pleasure to work with you, Larissa, and I wish you both lots of luck for your future together.  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you live locally or are planning on traveling to New York to get married, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest

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Peter and Melanie’s Wedding in Wagner Cove

Peter and Melanie brought their grown-up children with them from their home in the UK to get married in Central Park in August.  Melanie is 49 and from North Wales and Pete is 50 and from Manchester in England.  They met at work and had been together for six years when they got married.  They said that their wedding day was “amazing and better than we had hoped for.  Definitely achieved everything we wanted in a personal day, focused on us and close family while still having a thread of tradition and fairy-tale.”

Peter asked Melanie to marry him after a family gathering.  After getting engaged they took a romantic trip to Chester to pick a ring and had lunch by the river.  They had been engaged for three years when they got married.  They did at first consider a traditional wedding close to home, “but we decided we wanted to make the day more special and focused on us and our children rather than wider family,” Peter told me.  Then they considered getting married on a beach – the classic destination wedding.  “We looked at getting married in the Seychelles, Mauritius and some other places, but we wanted something more unique, individual and a true fairy tale adventure,” he said.

I ask all of my couples who feature on the blog why they decided to get married.  I’ll admit that I am usually quite impressed by the answers given by couples who are getting married for a second time.  Perhaps many of those couples view marriage from a different perspective than those doing it the first time around.  “It signifies the love we have for each other, said Peter.  “Apart from everything else, we are best friends and could not imagine living without each other.  We share so much together, have the same values and life goals and want to make a commitment to each other and share a name.  Family is most important to us and we felt getting married demonstrated our true dedication,” he told me.

I asked them what their thoughts were on destination weddings and or elopements in general.  “People and family’s needs are changing and when making such a big statement as marriage, people are increasingly wanting to focus on making it unique and special for them and not simply the expense of wider and distant family,” Peter said.  “Marriage is about the individual couple and this is increasingly the focus over tradition,” he said.  I asked him if they had any regrets about not going with their initial plan of getting married close to home.  “No regrets, and we would recommend what we have done to anyone.  You can make your own fairy tale,” he said.

So, what made Peter and Melanie choose Central Park for their wedding ceremony?  “Central Park gave us all the bonus of the biggest, most exciting city in the world coupled with stunning scenery,” he said.  “We had the right balance between privacy and public to make us feel like celebrities for the day,” he told me. 

Peter and Melanie flew out to New York for a few days before the wedding with their grown up children.  They all stayed in the Sheridan Times Square Hotel.  Their kids are 27, 25 and 23. “This was a rare opportunity to share a holiday with all of our grown up children,” Peter told me, so that made the trip so much more special.  “The kids were unsure what to expect but loved the whole experience and will consider this wedding option over traditional for themselves when the time comes,” said Peter.  I planned a vow renewal for a couple a while back and their daughter contacted me recently about planning her wedding in Central Park, so this is not unheard of!

They held the wedding ceremony at Wagner Cove.  “It was the perfect location for the ceremony and the initial pictures,” said Peter.  “Bow Bridge was our favourite picture shot location and the photographer maximised the location’s beauty to produce some stunningly romantic shots,” he said.  Melanie’s mom had written a poem especially for the ceremony, so our officiant read that as part of the introduction.  We had arranged for a guitarist and singer to be there to perform their favorite songs for the group before and after the ceremony, and Peter and Melanie were able to have their first dance there at Wagner Cove.  “The guitar player singing our favourite romantic songs really set the scene for the service,” said Peter.  “The ceremony was amazing.  With the support we had been provided we had been able to shape the wording of the ceremony to be more specific for us.  The ability to personalise helped make it more special,” he said. 

Melanie purchased her wedding dress from a specialist shop in Llandudno, Wales. “They had an excellent team that really helped get the right look,” she said.  “I wanted traditional but functional walking around Central Park,” she told me.  She carried cream roses in her bouquet.  They used the hair and makeup team that I recommend who came to their hotel room beforehand.  “They were excellent on the day.  They really helped start the day and add one of the special touches,” Melanie told me.

After photos around Central Park they all returned to the hotel for drinks before moving on the Rockefeller Centre for a meal at The Capital Grille.  I  always ask for any restaurant recommendations, and they said that one stand out place to recommend was Ellen’s Stardust Diner, which has full on Broadway singing live as you eat.  “Amazing and fun,” they told me.

I asked how we did.  “The support provided by Claire at Wed in Central Park was definitely the key and we were not let down,” Peter said.  “The local knowledge and experience coupled with care and understanding, really helped us shape exactly what we wanted with confidence.  Wed in Central Park helped us build and deliver the romantic fairy-tale we were looking for,” he added.  It was a pleasure working with you both to plan your wedding, and I wish you the best of luck for your future together.  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest

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Helen and Nathan’s Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

Helen and Nathan brought a group of close family and friends over to New York from their home in Southampton in England for their wedding in Central Park.  Their wedding ceremony took place in the Ladies’ Pavilion in early September.  Nathan was 30 and Helen 28 when they got married.

The couple met on Tinder and very soon realised that they both went to the same school and had lots of people in common that they both knew.  They were together for over six years before they got married.  They got engaged in April 2021 just before their sixth anniversary of being together.  Nathan proposed at home and had decorated the house with rose petals, flowers and candles.  They felt truly ready to get married.  “Marriage is the ultimate commitment,” said Helen.  “Being married makes you a family and formalises your relationship,” she said.

After getting engaged, Helen and Nathan agreed that a destination wedding was for them.  Helen told me that they know quite a few other couples getting married abroad.  They briefly considered some locations in Europe but decided they didn’t suit them.  “We wanted an elegant city vibe which we felt only New York could offer us,” said Helen.  I completely agree with this, although of course I’m biased.  A beach wedding is lovely, but there’s nowhere else quite like New York. 

Helen and Nathan’s party arrived on the Saturday and got married on the Wednesday.  They stayed in the M Social Hotel in Times Square for the first part of the trip.  Helen said the guests all said that they had a wonderful time and loved the city.  The couple then moved on to stay in The Plaza for the wedding, checking in on the Tuesday.  So, we had their photographer Jakub Redziniak go the hotel first to take getting ready photos with the bridal party and first look photos with the father of the bride.  The Plaza is a beautiful hotel and very close to Central Park. 

As the bride and her party were getting in a cab the groom and guests were meeting the officiant, videographer and violinist at the Ladies’ Pavilion.  We had the violinist play background music for the guests while they waited for their bride.  When Helen arrived, she walked down the pathway to the Ladies’ Pavilion to the violinist playing Wagner’s Bridal Chorus.

Helen wore a Mark Lesley gown, purchased from Brides of Southampton and Nathan wore a traditional black tuxedo.  They had pink and cream neutral flowers, all in season.  Miss Harlequin did Helen and her party’s hair and makeup beforehand in the hotel.

We kept the ceremony fairly short, with a reading from the maid of honor and traditional vows.  After the ceremony, the guests went to the open top bus while the couple took some photos at Bethesda Terrace, and they joined them soon afterwards.

Helen and Nathan’s party drove around Manhattan on an open top bus from Central Park to their reception venue over in Brooklyn.  “The bus was a real hit with us and our guests,” said Helen.  They had struggled to find an evening reception location within their budget that they really liked, but in the end they found Bridgepoint in DUMBO, when they were enquiring about another venue.  “We didn’t want to have a restaurant meal, we wanted a fully private venue to have a proper party!” said Helen.

While working on the plan of timings for their wedding day, Helen and I went back and forth quite a lot.  Understandably, Helen wanted to get the most out of her wedding day in New York and fit in lots of photo stops along the way.  I’ve been planning weddings in NYC for over ten years and I prefer to add in a little buffer in the plans to allow for any issues.  The main culprits for lateness are bridal parties getting ready and the dreaded traffic.  Helen was sure that she could keep to time and was happy with a busy schedule, we discussed my concerns but she wanted to stick with her ambitious plan.  I think this may have been in part because she had decided on the plan early on and wanted to stick with it.  “Listen to Claire and also avoid confirming your timings with guests too early on.  Although you might think this is a good idea and you’re being organised, it can cause you difficulties later down the line if you need to make any tweaks to your schedule,” Helen said.

In the end, things worked out great, and everyone had an awesome day, but there were some photo stops that had to be missed out due mainly to the ever-problematic traffic and the open-topped bus being limited in what streets it could go down to shave some time off the journey.  “Listen to Claire!  She is the expert and will know the timings even if you think you know it all!” said Helen.  “Make sure you give yourself another 30-45 minutes to get ready and get to Central Park even if you don’t end up using it,” she advises.  This is the problem – couples aren’t keen to add in that buffer time because it seems like a waste, and I can empathise.  In the grand scheme of things, losing a few photo opportunities didn’t spoil their day, and that open topped bus added so much to the memories of the day for all involved.  “We can’t recommend Central Park enough to get married.  It is beautiful, it is unique, it is iconic and you’ll look back in 20 years and it’ll still be timeless,” said Helen.

I asked Helen how we did.  “Claire was truly fantastic, is fast at replying and answers all your questions and has provided an excellent service throughout,” she said.  There was an afternoon when we got close to the date and Helen was feeling overwhelmed so I called her to talk it through.  “Claire was kind enough to offer a video call when I was getting stressed about final arrangements which helped settle my nerves,” she explained.  Sometimes all it takes to feel a little calmer is to walk through the plan with someone who knows it all as well as you do!  “Lastly, if you are thinking about getting married in Central Park, just do it!  And make sure to book Claire of course,” was Helen’s final recommendation.

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

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Caitlin and Tom’s Wedding in Cop Cot in June

Caitlin and Tom brought a small group of close friends and family over from their home in Oxford, England for their wedding in Central Park in June.  The ceremony took place in Cop Cot in the late morning.  I don’t usually attend the weddings that I plan, but I was able to be at this one.

Caitlin was 28 and Tom 29 when they got married.  They had met at the age of 17 and 18 so had been together for almost eleven years when they got married.  They got engaged in New York.  Tom had originally planned to pop the question in Times Square, but something went wrong with his plan, and he had to think of a plan B.  Central Park was his plan B!  He rented one of the rowing boats from the Loeb Boathouse and managed to get down on one knee in the boat.  So, their engagement began with this proposal and ended with their wedding, both in Central Park.

They told me that they had considered getting married in Vegas, and that was where they had been on their trip before arriving in New York.  “We ultimately decided New York was the better fit for us, as we both love the city so much after visiting multiple times together and it was a better environment to celebrate with friends and family,” Caitlin said.  “I think Central Park is a wonderful place to get married and due to the diversity of the park it can really cater for so many different wedding styles and group sizes,” said Caitlin.  “All couples can achieve their dream wedding by simply factoring in things like the seasons, the different locations available and extra touches such as live music etc when making their choices,” she added, which of course I completely agree with. 

Caitlin told me that she had thought that she wanted the traditional big, white wedding close to home, “but after watching my sister plan hers and saw how much stress it brought her, I quickly changed my mind!” she said.  “Tom was never fussed about a traditional wedding and he just loves being on holiday,” she added.  So, by the time they were engaged they both felt that a smaller wedding in New York would suit them both, “we could have holiday included and get some epic wedding photos!” said Caitlin.

So, they knew they wanted to get married in New York, and they started to look at possible wedding ceremony locations.  “After having a look around we saw a lot of venues that were very expensive and tailored to larger groups that we knew wouldn’t suit us,” Caitlin told me.  Central Park is a much lower cost option for a wedding ceremony location than almost anywhere else in New York City!  They had visited New York a few times before, and had walked around Central Park so they had seen Cop Cot and knew that it would be a lovely spot for them to get married.

Caitlin and Tom chose Cop Cot for their ceremony partly because they loved the backdrop nearby, of the very high buildings of Central Park South close up, with the tress directly in front of them.  They also liked that the structure provided seating for their guests to sit if they wanted to, and because it is located just up a short hill from the Sixth Avenue entrance meant that it was easy to find, and the guests didn’t have far to walk, a must for those in heels!

The party stayed at the Evelyn Hotel for five days, which they said was beautiful.  They did a lot of research on where to stay because they wanted a room that was both beautiful for taking getting ready photos in beforehand, but also practical.  The room needed to be big enough to fit bride, bridesmaids, mothers, hair and make-up artists as well as their photographer and videographer!  “This place really ticked all the boxes, and everyone was so helpful with anything we needed in the lead up to our day and also very thoughtful on the day itself,” Caitlin told me.

Usually, our couples have me sort out everything for their wedding ceremony, including the photographer.  Sometimes, couples prefer to choose from the amazing range of photographers that New York has to offer.  Very rarely they bring over a photographer from their home, but it does happen.  This is what Caitlin and Tom did, and they brought over Nikki Watkins Photo and Film, who are a photographer and videographer couple, based in Bedfordshire in England, but who love destination weddings too. Caitlin and Tom’s invited guests were Tom’s parents and brothers, Caitlin’s sister and brother in law and her friend and her husband.  “They all thought it was a lovely and different place to get married and understood that for us the traditional big white wedding wasn’t really our thing,” said Caitlin.

We had a violinist play for the guests while they were waiting for the bride to arrive, and she waked up the hill (ie kind of like walking down the aisle!) to Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis.  We kept the ceremony short and sweet, and quite traditional.  Caitlin and Tom had some uninvited guests at the ceremony; a family of raccoons that seemed to be living in the foliage at the top of Cop Cot!  Our photographer had told me that he’d seen them at a wedding there the week before although they were gone when I was there later in the week!

When decided what to wear, they had tried to factor in the weather when considering their outfits, because they knew it would be warm.  Tom wore a three piece suit but opted for chinos rather than suit trousers so they would be a bit more lightweight.  Caitlin had chosen a long dress, it had cap sleeves and the skirt was flowy with minimal layers to help to keep her as cool as possible.  She bought her dress from Web2B in the UK.  It started with three quarter sleeves but she was able to have them adjusted to suit the warm weather in New York in June!  Caitlin booked her own hair and make up.  She used MG hair and makeup, who arrived at 6:30am to be sure that everyone would be ready for their late morning ceremony.  “They were wonderful and helpful in planning the day with a few swaps and changes to suit our final guest lists,” Caitlin said. Caitlin carried artificial flowers, to keep the costs down. 

After the ceremony they took family photos and then the guests left to enjoy the afternoon however they wished.  Caitlin and Tom left the group with the videographer and photographer to take some photos around Central Park, and then we had hired a vintage cab to pick them up when they had finished in the park.  They went to the Top of the Rock, the New York Public Library, street locations with views of the Empire State Building and finished up at the Brooklyn waterfront with the Manhattan skyline as backdrop.  After their long photo session, Caitlin and Tom went back to their hotel, got changed into something more casual and cooler for the evening.  Then they met back up with all of their guests to have a lovely meal back in Central Park on the patio at the Tavern on the Green.

Caitlin and Tom had a big party with wider friends and family on their return home, so they got the best of both worlds – the intimate destination wedding with close family, and the party with a big group, too.  “There are the obvious sacrifices in terms of who attends when it comes to a destination wedding, but if this works for you then I think people should go for it,” said Caitlin.  “We had a party with all of our friends and family when we got back, so still got to celebrate with them whilst also having the wedding we wanted and not feeling the pressure to please everyone else,” she added.

I asked Caitlin how we did.  “I would really love to say how wonderful Claire is and what an incredible service she provides.  We simply wouldn’t have been able to achieve the day we wanted without her, all her help, planning and suggestions meant our day went so smoothly and stress free and she took a lot of the hard work out of planning too!” she said.  “I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her as a must, to anyone who was thinking of getting married in Central Park,” she added.  Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Caitlin and Tom, and for allowing me to attend your wedding!  I wish you both the best of luck for your future together!  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you’re from near or far, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Verity and Richard’s Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Apache blessing;

Now you will feel no rain,

For each of you will be shelter to the other.

Now you will feel no cold,

For each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there is no more loneliness,

For each of you will be companion to the other.

Now you are two bodies,

But there is one life before you.

Go now to your dwelling place,

To enter into the days of your togetherness.

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

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Another Twenty Readings and Poems for Weddings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Excerpt from Ecclesiastes.

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

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

Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine von Radics.

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

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

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

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

For Now by Tracey Emin

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

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

I Wanna Be Yours…by John Cooper Clarke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Art of a Good Marriage by Wilferd Arlan Peterson.

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

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