What You Need to Know Before Planning a Destination Wedding

Many of my couples tell me that they have always wanted to get married somewhere exciting away from home.  They knew that the traditional option with lots of guests close to home wasn’t for them.  For some people it is difficult to make a move from the big dream of a destination wedding in to the practicalities of choosing the location and starting to make decisions on the details.  Here are a few things to consider when making the choice as to whether a destination wedding is right for you and your partner.

I write the ceremony wording for all of our couples, so I get to know them at least a little during the wedding planning process.  Lots of our couples are fond of travel, and have visited some amazing locations together in the past.  I think this helps when it comes to planning a destination wedding and letting go of the concern that they may not actually see their wedding location in person until they get there!  Many of our couples have visited New York before, some even got engaged in New York, but some have never been to the city before.  They certainly won’t be able to meet all of their vendors in person before the wedding and they may well not have set foot in the place where they will have their reception.  Couples from abroad need to be aware of this and unless they plan on making a trip to New York to scope things out in advance they just need to accept it.  If you hire a wedding planner such as myself to deal with a lot of this, then there is also some letting go involved. 

When choosing the country in which you want to say “I do” make sure that it will be legally recognised in your home country!  Lots of countries have stringent requirements for people to get married there, such as the language the ceremony must be in, the length of time the couple have to be in the country before they get married, or perhaps blood tests.  So, some couples have a legal ceremony in their home country before the symbolic ceremony abroad.  I often wonder when these couples celebrate their wedding anniversary.  In New York State, there are no restrictions on how long you need to be in the country before you get your license, only that you wait twenty fours between getting the license and having the ceremony.  After your marriage is registered it is legally recognised all over the world, although some countries require a long certificate instead of the standard certificate issued by City Hall.  It’s easy to get this and I can tell you all you need to do to get it.  For residents of the UK, as many of our couples are, here’s what the UK government says about the legalities surrounding a wedding in the US.

Often, our couples tell me that the trip to New York for their wedding might be the first time for many of their guests.  Keep in mind your loved ones’ appetite for travel when considering who you will invite.  Our couples tell me that their guests loved the idea of them getting married in New York, but it won’t be everyone’s idea of fun.  When considering a destination wedding it is wise to accept early on that not everyone in your life will be able to come.  They may not be available for your date; since a trip to New York requires much more of their time than an afternoon at a church or hotel in their town, or they may not be able to afford the trip, or they may just not be physically able to travel that far, as we find with many couples’ grandparents.

Another thing to keep in mind, as an extension to the point above, is that some people won’t like your choice.  I absolutely believe that a couple should have the wedding day that they want, not what others want, but friends and family may feel otherwise.  Some family may have their own ideas about what your wedding should be like, or they may resent being asked to pay for travel and accommodation to attend. 

It is so important to try to avoid stress when planning your wedding.  This is as true for a destination wedding as it is for a traditional wedding close to home.  I wrote a blog post with some tips on how to reduce stress when planning a destination wedding.  There are just some things that you can’t control when getting married far away and a bit part of reducing stress is to accept that.

This is an important one: check what the weather will be like when you get married.  This may help you to choose what time of year to go, or if you have a date in mind that you don’t want to change for whatever reason, this will help you to prepare for the weather.  The time of year you get married may also affect how busy the location will be and perhaps any holidays.  Of course you will need to think about the weather when you decide what to wear, and to advise your guests what they may wear. 

If you’re planning to get married in New York then the budget can be as big or small as you want it to be.  You should consider this at the start.  You can stay in a fancy, swish hotel, something more basic, or keep the costs down with an AirBnB stay.  There are hundreds of restaurants in walking distance of Central Park, and many more if you get in a cab, so the same goes for the reception location!  The cost of a destination wedding is likely to be well below the average cost of a traditional wedding, but you can still spend an awful lot on a trip like this if you don’t consider the budget early on.

Your wedding is your special day, but if you invite your nearest and dearest along to share in your special day then the comfort and happiness of you guests should be a big consideration.  In some way, this is even more true for a destination wedding; partly because you’ve asked such a lot of your guests for them to travel a long way to attend, and partly because you only have a small group, there are the people who matter most to you.  I wrote a couple of blog posts on how to make a destination wedding better for your guests.  I think it’s all about considering their needs, and clear communication about what you will be doing, and what is expected of them.

If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, large or small, 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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Eunice and Ray’s June Wedding Beside Bethesda Fountain

Eunice and Ray got married beside the Fountain on Bethesda Terrace in June.  Ray is a New Yorker and Eunice is from the Philippines.  They met online through a Christian online dating service two years before they got married.

We planned the wedding quite quickly – in around ten days.  Eunice and Ray decided quite early on that a small wedding in Central Park was right for them. They chose Bethesda Terrace because it is a beautiful area, but also because if it turned out to be raining, then they could have the ceremony underneath the Terrace so they would stay dry.

The couple rode in a horse-pulled carriage to their wedding from Columbus Circle.  They told the driver that they wanted to be at the top of the steps of Bethesda Terrace at 2pm and our photographer met them from the carriage.  Our officiant was waiting for them beside the Fountain.  The couple had one friend with them as witness, but if you’re considering an elopement, our photographer will be able to be witness to a wedding.

We kept the ceremony short and sweet, Eunice and Ray had chosen a reading from the bible; a very popular one from Corinthians:

Love is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;

does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;

does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;

bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

In the end, there was no need to be concerned about the weather, and Eunice and Ray had a very sunny afternoon for their wedding day.  Lots of couples are understandably concerned about rain on their wedding day, so I wrote a blog post about it. After the ceremony, they took some time around the area of Bethesda Terrace taking photos. 

Coincidentally, there were fireworks let off in Central Park that night, so Eunice and Ray had a unique display for their wedding night.  The New York Philharmonic were holding their annual Concert in the Park that day, and following the concert, a fireworks show took place at 9:30 that evening.

Afterwards I asked Ray how we did, he said “thank you so much Claire everything went according to plan so grateful for your efforts.  Thanks again in your wonderful organization on our wedding day.”  Thank you for your kind words, Ray.  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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Major Differences Between Weddings in Britain and Weddings in the USA

This is another blog post where I answer a frequently asked question that I get from my clients.  I am British and the majority of my clients getting married in Central Park are British (I estimate around 60-70% of our clients are British, of those, the majority are Scottish).  I was a bride in the USA, and a bridesmaid once as a child in England and again as an adult in Las Vegas, both for British couples.  I am by no means an expert on British weddings, since my own wedding and the more than three hundred weddings I have planned with Wed in Central Park have since have taken place in the USA, but I have attended a few weddings at home in Britain.  So, for those who were wondering, here’s my summary of the major differences between British weddings and US weddings that I have noticed.

Let’s begin with the pre-celebration parties!  Bachelorette parties are called hen parties or hen dos in Britain.  The “hen” refers to the bride, while “do” is what many of us Brits call a party.  The American tradition is to have a bridal shower which isn’t really a tradition Britain, but some groups in Britain are choosing to observe the American tradition and give gifts, and I have seen that.  A bachelor party is called a stag night or stag do in Britain. 

In the USA, bridesmaids tend to be the bride’s close grown-up friends, whereas in Britain, traditionally the bride usually chooses children from the two families to be the bridesmaids and pageboys.  If the bridesmaids are adults in Britain, a British bride tends to have fewer bridesmaids than an American bride, as a rule.  In the USA they tend to call the children ring bearers and flower girls and they might have a job to do, such as some holding the rings or the bride’s train, or perhaps dropping petals down the aisle.  In both countries, brides might have a maid of honor who might be already married and acts as a kind of head bridesmaid.  I’m told that British brides pay for their bridesmaids’ dresses, but in America, most bridesmaids buy their own dresses, although the bride will of course have a big say in what they wear, if not make the choice entirely.  Also, groomsmen are traditionally called ushers in the UK, although I do find British couples referring to groomsmen for our weddings, although that may because our wedding are less formal, so no real need for anyone to do any ushering!

In Britain, the bride usually walks down the aisle first and any bridesmaids walk down behind her, perhaps holding the train of her dress.  In the USA, the bridesmaids usually walk in first, ahead of the bride.  The bride makes the final, grand entrance.  Usually, for American weddings, the bridal party remains standing during the ceremony (if there are seats, which we don’t tend to have at weddings in Central Park!).  For British weddings, the bridal party sits down in the first row during the ceremony.

I’ve found that my couples from all over will decide for themselves how they will arrive at their wedding in Central Park.  I’m not sure if this is a general trend or just what I’ve seen over the years with my weddings in Central Park.  It is my view that same-sex couples have inspired many heterosexual couples to think differently about their arrival.  Since many same-sex couples choose to arrive together to their wedding (although not all!) I think it has given heterosexual couples the idea to do the same.

Strictly speaking, it is traditional for grooms in Britain to face the altar as their bride walks down the aisle, but increasingly these days, they are turning to watch her walk down the aisle, as the American grooms do.  What we’re finding with our weddings in Central Park, with Brits and Americans alike, is that brides and grooms might meet privately with the photographer before the wedding and have the photographer capture the “first look” of the couple seeing each other for the first time in a different setting to the ceremony.  As for who walks the bride down the aisle to her partner, it seems that the Americans popularised both parents walking a bride to the ceremony rather than just her father before the Brits started doing it in significant numbers.

A major difference between British and American weddings, is that in Britain, they must take place only in licensed locations.  This restricts couples quite a lot in where they can get married, especially if they want to elope or hold a small event.  In the USA, you can get married wherever you like!  This does boggle the minds of our British clients sometimes.  This makes things much easier, especially if you want to get married in a beautiful public park!

Americans tend to have a few get-togethers around the wedding; with rehearsal dinners, a reception meal and sometimes even a morning-after brunch.  Traditionally, the Brits focus on the “wedding breakfast” – the meal straight after the wedding and the photos.  Although, the Brits are taking on some of the other meals surrounding the celebration that the Americans have traditionally enjoyed.  With our couples, since they might be bringing a small group with them to New York from their home, they can incorporate many of these group celebrations into their break as a group in New York if they wish to.  In the USA, it is generally assumed that the bar tab will be covered for the guests, but in Britain, this isn’t always the case.  As a Brit who has lived in the USA for a few years, I’d suggest that this is because the Brits tend to put away a lot more booze than the Americans so it could turn out dangerously costly!

This label of the “wedding breakfast” comes from the tradition of British weddings starting around noon, so the meal tends to take place in the mid-afternoon.  This is usually with the close friends and family and then wider acquaintances will be invited for the evening do.  So, some guests might be at this evening party but not at the ceremony, this doesn’t tend to happen in the USA – churches come in bigger sizes in the USA (just like many other things!) so everyone can fit!  In the USA, weddings traditionally happen later in the afternoon.  These timing traditions don’t necessarily hold for more conventional weddings close to home so they certainly aren’t observed for events in Central Park!  Since our weddings take place outside and the receptions often aren’t traditional at all, I usually advise to go with whatever timings work best with your other plans for the day.

The Brits, as anyone who has watched a Royal wedding will know, love to wear a hat to a wedding!  Other than that, I’d say the Americans tend to dress more formally, with most weddings being a black tie event, ie a tuxedo for the men, whereas in Britain the men tend to wear morning suits.  We Brits also like a fruitcake for the wedding cake, whereas there are no rules when it comes to wedding cake in the USA.  Traditionally, the Brits might save the top tier of the cake for the Christening of their first child so it needs to be of a type that will keep for a little while!

I may well have missed quite a few, since I haven’t planned a wedding in Britain myself, but these are the differences I have noticed.  I’d love to hear in the comments from any other differences people have spotted or from anyone who disagrees with the views I’ve expressed above!  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you’re from Britain, the USA or any other country – we welcome everyone – 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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Nicole and James’ Fall Wedding in Cop Cot

Nicole and James got married in November at Cop Cot.  They are both New Yorkers.  Nicole grew up in Staten Island and James grew up in Brooklyn.  Nicole was 28 and James was 29 on their wedding day.  They met in college.  They became friends while in college but did not start dating until years after they had both left college after reconnecting at a nineties night party in the West Village.  They were together for almost exactly six years to the date before getting married.  They got engaged in September 2019.  James surprised Nicole by getting down on one knee and proposing on the roof of their apartment building which overlooked the Brooklyn Bridge.

Like many couples who got married in 2020, the wedding that happened was not Nicole and James’ original plan.  They were set to have a large wedding with around two hundred guests at a beautiful venue in New Jersey.  But with all that happened due to Covid 19, they decided that it was wise to postpone the big celebration to late 2021.  They still wanted to get married in 2020 though, so an outdoor wedding seemed to be the right choice for them, since that is generally thought to keep everyone safer.  So, “after some research we came across Wed in Central Park and we are so happy that we did”, said James.  “We loved our small family ceremony in Central Park and will look back at the date as one of the very few bright spots in 2020,” he told me.

I asked what it was about getting married in Central Park that appealed to them.  “Nicole and I both have strong ties to New York City, having grown up in Staten Island and Brooklyn, respectively, and both going to college in Manhattan,” he explained.  They attended the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, located just a short walk from where their wedding took place.  After college, Nicole worked in the city, and James went to law school in the city.  “We got engaged in front of the Brooklyn Bridge,” he reminded me.  Their whole lives are just so NYC!  “Getting married in Central Park seemed like the perfect fit for us born and bred New Yorkers,” he said. 

When Nicole and James first contacted me two months before the wedding, they had already got the event permit for Cop Cot themselves.  At this time, due to Covid 19 restrictions, the number allowed at a gathering in Central Park was limited to a reduced number compared to normal times.  Usually we’re allowed up to fifty people in Cop Cot, but during this period the number was limited to thirty.  This was fine with Nicole and James; they planned to have only close family and friends present for this scaled-down wedding.  They wanted me to organize the officiant, photographer, videographer, musician and flowers.  We also decided to get a permit for a bad weather backup plan, for underneath Bethesda Terrace – luckily we didn’t need it!  Nicole and James requested their appointment at City Hall to get the marriage license, because that’s something the couple are legally required to do themselves. 

Cop Cot and the area around it is lovely at this time of year.  “The leaves had just begun to fall and change color; it was the perfect rustic wedding we wanted,” Nicole said.  As you can see from the photo, the foliage on top of Cop Cot was mostly still green, even in mid November.  “We loved taking pictures on the Mall/Literary Walk and Bethesda Terrace,” he added.  We checked what time sunset would be on their wedding day – 4:38pm – and we planned around that.  They met the photographer for photos around the park before the ceremony, including Nicole and the photographer meeting James at Cherry Hill with Bow Bridge in the background to take genuine and relaxed “first look” photos.  After taking pictures around that center area of the park, they walked down to Cop Cot for a 4pm ceremony.  After that, they took group photos at Cop Cot and left as the sun set. 

Our violinist played for the guests while they waited for the couple to arrive.  James arrived first and greeted their guests and then Nicole walked up the hill to Cop Cot with her father, who gave her away.  She walked in to the violinist playing Canon in D leading into Ed Sheeran’s Perfect and back into Canon in D, as the couple had requested. 

During the ceremony Nicole’s Uncle Michael read a poem; Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog, by Taylor Mali, and James’ sister Becky read The Art of Marriage, by Wilfred Peterson.  Both of which I’ll put at the end of this post.  Before they began the traditional exchange of vows, they each read out something they had prepared to say to each other.  They had kept what they were going to say a secret from each other until the day, but it turned out that they both asked the other to be their forever dance partner.  After they were pronounced married, the violinist played Marry You by Bruno Mars and then went back to playing background music while they signed the paperwork and took group photos.

We arranged for a mixed bouquet of white and ivory blooms to be delivered to their apartment.  It was tricky for the florist to commit to being able to source certain flowers due to breakdowns in supply due to Covid 19 but Nicole remained flexible about her options.  We were able to request the blooms that she was most keen on, but she was aware that we couldn’t be certain exactly what would be available for her date.  This was a November wedding so Nicole wore a long sleeved dress.  She also had a new denim jacket with her new married name embroidered on the back!  She used GlamSquad for her hair and makeup, “I asked for a natural look so I looked and felt like myself, and they did it perfectly!” she said. 

After the ceremony, they all had a family dinner at Tony’s Di Napoli, “the food, staff and service were excellent,” said Nicole.  I asked how we did.  “We appreciated how Claire was very detailed and responsive, so nothing was a surprise the day of, we knew exactly what to expect and that put us at ease,” said James.  Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, James and Nicole!  I hope you have a wonderful time this November when you finally get to celebrate with your larger social circle!  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

Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog, by Taylor Mali

First of all, it’s a big responsibility,
especially in a city like New York
So think long and hard before deciding on love.
On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
when you’re walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love
ain’t no one going to mess with you.
Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
Who knows what love could do in its own defense?

On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.
Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.

Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.

Is love good all the time? No! No!
Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.

Love makes messes.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
not so much to cause pain,
just to let love know Don’t you ever do that again!

Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise.
It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.
It pulls you in several different directions at once,
or winds around and around you
until you’re all wound up and can’t move.

But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.
Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops.

The Art of Marriage, by Wilfred Peterson

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 all 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 in 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 expecting the husband to wear a halo, or the wife to have the wings of an angel.
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.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
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.
This is the art of marriage.

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Ideas for a New York themed party

Many of our couples who are getting married in Central Park have come to New York from out of town, and in many cases, outside of the USA.  So, the day of the wedding might be shared with just a small group of select close family and friends.  Sometimes the couple elope with no guests with them at all on their special day. 

There are pros and cons to having a small wedding, but some couples just can’t choose!  It is quite common for the couples to want to have their intimate celebrate with the people who are most special to them in this incredible city and also to have a big celebration closer to home with their wider social circle.  This post contains some suggestions for how to celebrate your wedding with New York style, wherever you are!

Invites

If you have eloped to New York for your wedding, or just had a small group with you, then you may not have sent out official invites to the actual wedding.  If you’re having a big party, then this is your chance to send out some lovely stationery featuring Central Park, or the iconic New York skyline.

Decorations

If you’re giving people a sit-down meal then the welcome sign, seating plan, table numbers or names and place cards could be New York themed.  Perhaps themes of well-known areas of New City, iconic New York sights or New York City Street names for the tables.  You can use some of your favorite New York images for any of the signage or decorations.  I’ve also seen couples renting the big, light-up lettering to spell NYC.

Music

So many songs have been written about New York.  If you’re having a DJ, ask for a good smattering of all the classics.  Frank Sinatra’s New York New York, Beastie Boy’s No Sleep till Brooklyn, Jay Z’s Empire State of Mind, Leonard Cohen’s First we Take Manhattan, Alice Cooper’s Big Apple Dreamin’, Alicia Keys’ New York, Simon and Garfunkel’s The Only Living Boy in New York, The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York (if it’s the right time of year!) and one of my favourites; Bobby Womack’s Across 110th Street (about the street that marks the south of Harlem, and the north of Central Park).

Party Favors

An informal party doesn’t necessarily require party favors, as a wedding reception might, but if you’re giving them out, then they could easily feature something NYC-related.  You can pick up trinkets and souvenirs to give people while on your trip to New York.  You could give out NYC-themed or USA-themed gifts, depending on what sort of thing you’d like to give everyone.

Flowers

It might be a nice touch for you to keep to the same floral theme and colours as your actual wedding day for your party back home.  It all depends on how much time you leave between the wedding and the party – if seasons change then it might not be quite right to keep with the same flowers!  If you order your flowers through us we can give you a detailed list of the blooms used so that you can pass that on to florists at home to recreate it for your party.

Guest Book

Even if your party is quite informal, then a guest book can be a lovely keep sake.  Check out the New York themed books available.

Food

What food do you think of when you think of New York?  Pizza seems an obvious choice, perhaps bagels or hot dogs if the food is informal, but you could also go for New York cheesecake, and perhaps something involving a big apple!  If you expand your theme to American food in general then you have lots more options.

Cake

Many of our couples getting married in New York order a small cake for the day from a local bakery, or have their reception location order one for them.  Your big party is a chance to cut a bigger cake amongst wider friends and family, so this could be an opportunity to push the boat out with a tiered cake decorated with all your favourite features of NYC.


As always, I’d love to hear from other couples in the comments about what they did if they had a New York themed wedding party on their return home after a wedding in Central Park or elsewhere in New York.  The party on the couple’s return home isn’t something I’m usually involved in so I may well have not thought of something that you can add, so I’d love to hear from you!

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

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Nicole and Will’s Wedding under the Wisteria Pergola in the Conservatory Gardens

Nicole and Will got married underneath the Wisteria Pergola in the Conservatory Gardens in May.  They brought around fifty guests from their home in Dallas, Texas.  Although I don’t usually attend the weddings I plan, in this case I was also there, too!  They visit New York quite often because Will has family in the city, so they had checked out the park and chosen where they’d like to get married before contacting me to help arrange everything for their destination wedding in Central Park.

The couple had known each other for ten years when they got married.  They met on a soccer field in Corinth, Texas when Will was coaching his niece Reagan’s team.  Nicole’s daughter, Cassidy, played in the same league, but on the rival team.  Will and Nicole were introduced by Will’s friend Mark.  It took a little time and courting, but eventually, Will was able to get both Nicole and Cassidy to join his team!

I arranged for the bridal bouquet of large white calla lilies, the groom’s boutonniere, and five bridesmaid bouquets of smaller blush calla lilies to be delivered to their hotel on the morning of the wedding.  They were staying at the the Library Hotel, where Nicole and Will also held their reception.

We had a violinist and cellist play at the ceremony.  They played for the guests while they waited for the bride to arrive.  She arrived to Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley.  Nicole’s son gave her away.  Will’s mom read from Corinthians, Chapter 13 and Nicole’s Dad read from Genesis, Chapter 2 and Ecclesiastes, Chapter 4.  I’ll put the text at the end of this post.  And our multi-faith ordained officiant read from John, Ephesians, Peter and John, and I’ll put that at the end too.  Nicole and Will had met our officiant along with these family members for an informal rehearsal the evening before. 

We had a videographer capture the ceremony and also some footage afterwards while they group took photos around the Conservatory Gardens with their photographer Jakub Redziniak.  After the group photos, a minibus collected the guests and took them ack to their hotels to freshen up in advance of the reception, while a car took Jakub, Nicole and Will to the center area of the park for more photos around Bethesda Terrace.

Congratulation to Nicole and Will, and thank you so much for allowing me to attend your wedding and to be a witness on your marriage license.  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

Corinthians, Chapter 13

4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,

5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;

7 [a]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Genesis, Chapter 2

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Ecclesiastes, Chapter 4

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

John, Ephesians, Peter and John

John 4:16 “Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” 

Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” 1 

Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 

John 15:12: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

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Morning, Afternoon or Evening Wedding Ceremony in Central Park – Which is Better?

When people start to think about their wedding in Central Park, as with any other location, an important factor to decide on quite early on is timings.  Some coupes ask me when I advise they should get married, but I think it’s down to personal choice and whatever else you want to do on your wedding day.  There are arguments for and against getting married at any time of day, we all have different priorities, although the time of year does affect things. 

Morning Ceremonies

If you’re planning on getting married and then going off to do something very memorable with your day, then the morning is the obvious choice for you.  We married one couple very early on St Patrick’s Day so they could be in the parade later on.  Some couples get married early in the day, and go on a tour of the city taking photos in wedding attire; some with their guests and some eloping couples do it alone.  We’ve had plenty of couples who get married in the morning because a lunchtime reception is cheaper than an evening one.

I got married in the late morning.  It was July so it was cooler then, and it allowed us time to take our guests out for lunch after the ceremony, video chat with our families back home in England and walk the dog that afternoon and then go out just the two of us that evening. 

Parties that include little children seem to do better with morning weddings; kids tend to be in a better mood in the morning and more likely to tolerate standing still for a little while for the ceremony.  If you choose a time very early on the day, then the park will be quieter and you’ll have fewer passers-by in your photos!

If you are getting married in the warmer summer months then the photographers I work with would strongly recommend avoiding early afternoon.  The morning is cooler and the sun is at its highest in the early afternoon so will be too bright and most people don’t want to be squinting in their wedding photos!

Afternoon Ceremonies

Perhaps the most popular time for our weddings is early to mid-afternoon.  This can mean that event permits for the more popular wedding ceremony locations in Central Park get booked up first for the early afternoon slot, especially on Saturdays, so you may need to get in early if this is your preference.  Also, weekend afternoons; especially when the weather is nice, will be peak times for other people to be in the park, so you may have to work harder to avoid passers-by in your photos.

Many brides tell me that they choose the afternoon because they want to take the morning to get ready with their party.  They also build the excitement that way (although one reason why we chose the morning was to avoid being nervous for too long!).  We’ve had some groups organising a brunch for the ladies and a brunch for the men in the morning and then coming together for the wedding ceremony in the early afternoon. 

If you get married in the afternoon, then take a couple of hours for photos, which many of our couples do, then travel to your reception location, then if you time it right that can get you there for cocktail hour.  I often suggest that couples work backwards from what time they’d like the reception to start and that will give them the best start time for them.

For couples getting married in the winter the afternoon will see much better light for photos.  We have done some lovely sunset weddings in colder months, which look very pretty but the couples must be very cold.  Also, in spring and autumn of course the middle of the day will be the warmest time of day, too.

Evening Ceremonies

In the warmest months, some couples are choosing to get married in the very late afternoon or early evening.  Then they go straight off afterwards for the reception.  This is quite popular for Friday evenings, and feels to me like the no-nonsense approach to a wedding when considering your guests – they can do whatever they like during the day and then you only take up their evening.

If you get married in the evening and then go straight off for the reception with your guests, then you may want to meet the photographer to take photos for an hour or so before the ceremony.  This obviously breaks with tradition of the couple seeing each other before the wedding, but it does mean that the guests don’t have to wait around while the couple take photos.  This idea of taking photos before the ceremony can of course be useful for a wedding taking place at any time of day, it also allows the photographer to capture a more genuine “first look” photo.

I find that we do have to time it just right with these evening receptions.  I can check the predicted sunset time for your wedding date and make a plan that gets the best of the twilight hour or the beautiful light from the sunset, but for this to work, everyone has to arrive on time, and brides are known for being late from time to time! 


My main advice is to think about what else you want to do on the day, and what suits you both as a couple.  Some time ago I wrote a blog post with some general advice about the best time for a wedding in Central Park.  Looking at that post, I’ve done over a hundred more weddings since then, but there’s still some thoughts that might be helpful.  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of lovely photos; “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest

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Broni and Tom’s Wedding at Wagner Cove

Broni and Tom brought a small group with them from their home in Wales last February to get married in New York.  They got married in Wagner Cove on a rainy day.  Theirs was one of the last weddings we did before we had so many cancellations and postponements of weddings due to Covid 19, starting in the spring of last year.

The couple had been together for ten years when they got married, and they had two children who are aged six and two.  “We met in my local pub on a Tuesday night,” said Broni.  “I heckled his darts skills to get his attention,” she added.  Well, that chat-up technique certainly worked because ten years later they were saying “I do”.

Broni and Tom got engaged in New York.  They were on top of the Empire State Building on their 7th anniversary when Tom proposed.  It had always been important to them to be married, especially with having children, they wanted them all to have the same family name. 

During the trip when they got engaged, they visited Central Park, “we both stood at Wagner Cove silently thinking that would be a beautiful wedding location,” Broni told me, and then when they discussed it a few years later Wagner Cove seemed like the obvious choice for them. 

They had gone down the road towards planning a traditional wedding close to home for May the previous year, “but as we started planning realised it just wasn’t what we both wanted,” Broni told me.  I asked her what she thought about more intimate destination weddings, “yes, they’re becoming more popular,” she said, “they are more intimate and romantic which to us was the best part; we have been to a lot of weddings and the bride and groom never get chance to spend any time together which is just not what we wanted,” she explained.

In fact, Broni and Tom were able to have the best of both worlds; a small wedding in New York with Tom’s brother and three of their best friends and then a big party when they returned home.  Their guests loved the experience of attending the wedding in Central Park, “they were amazed by it all and had a great time,” Broni said.  So, they had no regrets about not having a “traditional” wedding closer to home; “not at all, it was absolutely perfect for us,” she told me.

I asked if they had concerns about getting married in New York.  They had the same worry as almost all of my couples say they have; the weather.  “We were pretty anxious about the weather as it was February,” Broni said.  They did get rain for their wedding day; “it rained so badly all day in the end but the pictures were phenomenal,” she said.

Broni and Tom stayed at the Riu Plaza Times Square for five nights.  Tom wore a three piece suit from Moss Bros and Broni wore an Enzoani wedding dress, from Wedding Belles in Anglesey, and cathedral length veil.  She bought her flowers from Michael’s in New York for around $30.  Broni and her maid of honor had their hair done at a Dry Bar in Times Square.  Broni went to Sephora and got some new make-up and did her own, as she is a qualified beauty tech. 

After the wedding ceremony at Wagner Cove, they took photos around the center area of Central Park.  “Our favourite pictures were taken at Bethesda Terrace,” Broni said.  “There was a busker playing at the time who we paid and he played some beautiful songs for us and we had an impromptu dance in there,” she told me. 

After a little while taking photos in Central Park the couple went to Times Square for photos.  After that they went on to a spot in Midtown we had pre-arranged that they could capture the Empire State Building in the background – where they had got engaged.  Then they went down the Manhattan end of Brooklyn Bridge to take a few shots of that iconic NYC structure. 

Once they were finished taking all of those photos around the city, Broni and Tom met up with the rest of the wedding party at their hotel for drinks and then later on a meal at Manhatta in the Financial District.  “It had the most incredible views and amazing food, it’s the best place we have ever eaten it absolutely made our wedding day,” Broni told me.


I asked Broni if she had any advice for British couples planning on getting married in New York, her advice was; “make sure you plan when you will get your license as it needs to be twenty four hours before, we originally wanted to get married on the Monday but the offices are closed on a Sunday and we flew in too late on the Saturday,” she says.  Yes, it’s important to remember that the couple is responsible for getting the license – nobody else can get it for you.  I wrote a blog post with the basics on how to get your married license in New York, which I direct all of my couples to.

I asked what Broni would say to anyone considering getting married in Central Park as she and Tom did, “it was a complete dream come true we had the most perfect day despite a few hiccups we wouldn’t change a thing,” she said.  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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Reasons to Elope

I have been helping couples to plan their small wedding in Central Park or elopement since I founded this business back in 2012.  All of the weddings I work on are small and intimate by traditional standards, and many of them are elopements.  In recent times, with the popularization of this type of wedding, some people have referred to a small wedding with just a few guests in a destination that’s not home as an elopement.  That’s the most common type of wedding we do here at Wed in Central Park, so I wouldn’t call that an elopement.  When I use the term elopement, I mean it in the old-fashioned way; it’s just the couple – no guests at all. 

I wrote a blog post on the pros and cons of an elopement versus inviting a few guests along, but this post is a pure and simple argument in favor of eloping.  I offer a range of wedding packages that might suit an eloping couple, and also a specific elopement package aimed at a small, low-key event.

One major advantage to eloping is that it’s the easiest option.  If the plans just involve the two of you then that can solve a lot of problems.  Some of our eloping couples get married in secret and don’t tell anyone about it until afterwards.  Some of our eloping couples decide to get married almost on the spur of the moment.  Many of our eloping couples already had a trip to New York booked and then decided to get married while they were there! 

Wendy and Craig eloped from their home in Queensland, Australia to get married in Central Park in September of 2018 at the beginning of their retirement.  They knew an elopement was right for them. “at our age, and having been married before, and having had big weddings, this time we wanted our wedding to be about us and what we wanted to do,” explained Wendy. “Our families are so spread across Australia, trying to get everyone together was going to be a challenge, so we decided to elope,” she said. “Eloping allowed us to be relaxed and have the day exactly how we wanted it.”

Jacqueline and Jonathan, who live in Brooklyn, who had planned to elope to Amsterdam in 2020 but had to cancel their travel plans due to Covid 19 decided to get married in Wagner Cove.  Their original plan was to elope just the two of them anyway, so they were happy to have their wedding closer to home with just the two of them; it suited them.  “It was just us. We wanted it to be romantic and intimate. It was a wonderful choice,” she told me.  “So much less stress and so very intimate” Jacqueline said.  I asked Jacqueline if she had any regrets about not having a big “traditional” wedding.  “ABSOLUTELY not. I’d do it all over in a heartbeat,” she said.

Alwena and Amanda came over to New York from their home in England with their close friend Keith to get married in Central Park in December 2019.  Since they had just one guest and we planned the wedding in a little over a week I’m still counting this as an elopement!  I asked if they had any regrets about not having a big, traditional wedding close to home. They said no. “Get married where you want, live the dream and no hassle of inviting people you don’t like!” said Alwena. I can’t argue with any of that! I asked Alwena if she had any advice for other couples considering a wedding in Central Park. She said, “do it.” That’s great advice.

Gemma and Dean came over to New York from their home in Falkirk, Scotland to get married on Gapstow Bridge in June 2018.  Their wedding was almost an elopement – two of their friends witnessed the wedding. “We looked at local options but decided that it would be easier to go to New York and do it on our own,” said Gemma. They preferred a marriage without the stress of a big party. “We missed our family but it was the best option for us,” said Gemma. “Our wedding was so relaxed and laid back, it was brilliant,” she added.

Stephanie and Jack eloped to New York to get married in Central Park in July 2019. Stephanie is from Dublin, Ireland and Jack is from London, UK. They live in Dublin with their two year old son, Kai.  Stephanie had always said that she wanted to have a destination wedding and get married in somewhere like Hawaii or Bali but Jack was adamant that he wanted a big, traditional wedding, “so we just sort of parked wedding discussions and said we would come back to it after about five or six years,” said Stephanie. They had planned their trip to New York for just the two of them that year when Stephanie spontaneously suggested to Jack that they get married in New York and to her surprise he straight away said yes. “To us, a wedding should be about the two people getting married and a traditional wedding can be too much about other people,” explained Stephanie, “and weddings nowadays have lost a bit of romance which is why we decided against going that route,” she added. 

The couples I have worked with who have eloped to New York have been able to spend the whole day together and really focus on each other in a way that’s just not possible with a traditional wedding with lots of friends, family and acquaintances to deal with on the day. 

I asked Carly, elopement planner and blogger at Epic Elopement what people have said to her about their experiences of eloping.  “Over the past five years of blogging I have interviewed and spoke with hundreds of couples about their elopement experiences.  Not a single couple have told me they regret their decision,” she told me.  “Every couple has said that, even if they were reluctant at first, they loved the intimacy and the time it gave them to contemplate the start of their marriage together.  No distractions, very little stress and easy to organise and execute, even with minor inconveniences along the way,” she said.  She also pointed out; “anecdotally those marriages seem to be outlasting their counterparts who opted for big celebrations.”

Kailey, one half of the photography team The Foxes Photography, who specialize in elopement photography, based in the Pacific Northwest of the USA told me; “for many of our couples, they love the stress-free day that’s all about them. Instead of deciding what kinds of napkins to get for the reception, they’re deciding which trail they want to hike for sunset. They love making an adventurous experience out of their day as they start the next big adventure together in their relationship. It’s just a really fun and intimate way to get married.”

Yana, European destination elopement planner at Peach Perfect Weddings said, “for destination elopement planners like us, an elopement is all about the couple going for what they really want without any pressure from those around them.”  She added “weddings are always associated with stress, a big crowd, and expensive and stressful preparation. This has always been the case pre-pandemic. These things shift the focus from the couple’s dreams and desires to what ‘others’ want for them. We’ve always thought there has to be a better way. Fast forward to today, many of our couples confessed that they went for a destination elopement in a beautiful European country because they wanted a stress-free wedding that is truly about them, not anyone else.”  That sounds lovely.  She also advises that “couples who want the focus of their wedding day to be on them and their desires should definitely go for an elopement.”

Tori, an elopement photographer who works with Adventure Instead, who specialize in elopement weddings, said “choosing to elope rather than have a big wedding doesn’t mean you are opting for “less” or that your day is any less important than someone choosing to celebrate it with two hundred other people. If anything, I find that couples that choose to elope care even more about their experience. They want to have the very best day imaginable together and don’t let anything get in the way of that. Imagine your very best day together. One where you are completely relaxed and stress free, where you get to see something new, try an activity you’ve always wanted to try for the first time, enjoy an amazing meal together, and truly be 100% your authentic selves. That’s what an elopement is. A wedding is for everyone else. An elopement is just for you. A wedding is a performance you are putting on, a show, for a group of people who will judge you at some point (i.e. the food wasn’t great, their table decor was ehh, the ceremony was too long). An elopement is a day purely for you two with no judgement, restrictions, must-dos, or rules to follow.”  I would add that the wedding is the first day of your marriage, which is of course about the two of you and your relationship, not what everyone else thinks.

Amber, also a photographer with elopement specialists Adventure Instead said, “eloping is empowering to any couple who imagines a laid-back wedding experience, where they can actually slow down and spend quality time together, celebrating their love in their own unique way. Elopement days lend themselves to couples who don’t enjoy being the center of attention or “put on display”, especially for such an intimate occasion. Eloping doesn’t mean you can’t involve your loved ones—that’s a common misconception! It does however allow couples to forget all the silly expectations and traditions that they don’t connect with, and have a wedding day focused on their love and relationship. In current times, it helps to keep others safe too.”  What she says is reflected in what so many of my clients tell me – they really don’t like the idea of following traditions for the show and display of the ritual, so they choose to go their own way instead!

I would add that whenever I ask couples for feedback soon after their wedding in Central Park, they always tell me that they have no regrets about choosing a smaller wedding or elopement.  I’ve planned a few last-minute scaled down weddings this year for couples whose original plan for their wedding was a big event, but Covid 19 has ruined their plans.  Even those who didn’t originally plan to have a very small wedding have told me that this option was so easy, fun and relaxed and they’re so glad they chose it!  Ultimately a wedding day is the first day of your marriage, and the marriage is about the two of you – nobody else, and that’s a great argument for the wedding day to be for just you two!  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, either with or without guests, 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.  I’d love to hear from others who have eloped, wherever you eloped to!

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Hayley and Mark’s Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

Hayley and Mark got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in May 2019.  Hayley is 50 and Mark is 47 and they’re from King’s Lynn, Norfolk in the United Kingdom.  They met at work, a manufacturing company in King’s Lynn.  They had both experienced long-term relationship breakups, with similar circumstances.  After meeting through work reasons, they realised that they got along well and would bump into each for social chit chat occasionally.  Mark told Hayley that he had a trip to New York planned, Hayley had recently visited on a girls’ trip, so she has lots to share about her experience – so their initial friendship began with chatting about the city they eventually got married in!  I don’t usually attend the weddings I plan in Central Park, but was lucky enough to be able to attend Hayley and Mark’s wedding.

The couple got engaged after five years together and married just under a month after their seventh anniversary of being together.  They were on a five day Christmas break to New York, and Mark popped the questions on the 30th December 2017.  “It was on our last full day, at the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park when Mark proposed,” Hayley told me.  “It was the only day of snow and there was a beautiful powder snow covering everywhere when Mark bent down on one knee in front of the fountain facing the Bethesda Terrace,” she said.  They were very lucky that a passing mother and daughter witnessed the moment and took pictures of them literally seconds after it happened!

I asked them why getting married was important to them.  “It was important to us both to be married, not only reinforcing our commitment to each other, but also demonstrates to the world we are an official unit and wanted to unite both our families,” Hayley said.  Mark always wanted to marry overseas, “I was unsure initially as I wanted to ensure our close family and friends who had supported us, prior to but also during our relationship, shared the day with us,” said Hayley.  During their discussions about what they wanted from their wedding day, they talked about other places, “we knew we did not want it to be the usual Cyprus etc. as we needed to be special but also appropriate to our relationship” she told me.  One of their favourite places is Ibiza and they considered it briefly, but they wouldn’t have been able to have a legally binding ceremony there, and would have had to do that in a UK registry office, so they decided against it.  “We both felt the wedding vows should only be taken once,” Hayley said, “however have discussed a vow renewal in years to come!”

Before their trip to New York in December 2017, when they had got engaged, they were chatting with someone in a shop who said that she had married in Central Park and it was not as expensive as you would imagine.  “Although we had no immediate plans to marry (or so I thought) we left the shop and said when we get married, we would consider New York” Hayley said.  “Little did I know that Mark already had purchased the engagement ring and planned to propose during our holiday a few weeks later,” she added.

Hayley and Mark’s close family joined them in New York from the UK, and also some British friends who were currently living in New Jersey and friends of Hayley who travelled from Australia.  “They all enjoyed the day and particularly my mum, dad and brother who still talk about it nearly two years later!” said Hayley.  “We also had a picnic together as a group the day before the ceremony to enable everyone to meet each other and visit the Ladies’ Pavilion which was a lovely addition to the holiday!” she told me.  Their picnic was from Perfect Picnic NYC.  “I would not change our wedding day for the world, but I can see how an elopement on our own could be exciting,” Hayley said.  “To be honest we look forward to renewing our vows one day just to experience the feeling again!” she added.  Hayley thinks destination weddings and elopements are becoming more popular, “the cost of a wedding in the UK and the pressure to provide a certain standard to the world is too much I believe,” she said.  “Although the choice of venue and service providers seems to cater for lots of options the cost can still be extravagant in the UK,” she explained.  “The approximate cost of all we arranged; the wedding day, flying four adults out to New York, and hotel for six of us, and a lovely wedding reception in our local Town Hall could be the same cost for just one day for couples having a traditional wedding in the UK,” she said.  “I feel very lucky that we were able to do both and will always look back with very happy memories!” Hayley said.

This trip was Hayley and Mark’s fourth visit to New York.  They stayed at the Rui Plaza Times Square and this was the second time they had stayed in the hotel.  They also returned in February 2020 for their second honeymoon!  They felt that the hotel would be perfect for their family who would be travelling with them this time, and who had never been to New York before.  They felt that to be nearer to Times Square made sense for their wedding party to be more independent if they wished.  “We would highly recommend the hotel; breakfast is more than enough for anyone, the rooms are spacious and clean.  With the building being reasonably new, the amenities are very lovely including dining areas, the bar and coffee shop.  The reception and concierge had always been extremely helpful, and we never waited too long for our rooms neither,” Hayley said.

Hayley and her dad arrived at Central Park in a vintage yellow cab, and the driver was able to hang out nearby for a little while so that the couple could have photos with the cab after the ceremony.  “The driver, Peter was fantastic,” Hayley told me.  He does come highly recommended by all and I can pass on his contact details to any couples who want to use his services.  “We will definitely look to use this service for special occasions in the future, it was one of my dreams to use an old NYC taxi so therefore will be a very prominent memory of our day and photos!” Hayley said.

The ceremony took place in the Ladies’ Pavilion in the late morning.  We had a cellist playing for the guests before and after the ceremony.  The bride walked down the pathway to the Ladies’ Pavilion to Yellow by Coldplay.  A guest read from an excerpt from “The Bridge Across Forever” by Richard Bach, and the officiant read “Love is Friendship Set on Fire” by Laura Hendricks, which I’ll put at the end of this post.  They took photos around Central Park after the ceremony then had a quick drink in the Tavern on the Green so we could all have a little rest.  Then we all got picked up by a vintage trolley bus from the space in front of the Tavern – this is an advantage that the Tavern has over the Boathouse – vehicles can come up to the door for easy pick up and drop off.  The bus took us to Brooklyn Bridge Park for photos with the whole group, then back in to Manhattan where just the couple and the photographer went into Grand Central for photos.  Then the group went on to Bourbon Street Bar and Grille (now known as Tito Murphy’s) for the evening, which was conveniently across the road from their hotel on the same street.

The bride wore a lace wedding dress by Mark Lesley.  She purchased it from Brides by Solo in Suffolk in the UK, who she highly recommends, “particularly Sadie who attended to me and made alterations and also repairs after I had ripped the bottom of my dress at Brooklyn Bridge on the wedding day,” she said.  Her flowers were made from paper vintage maps by Alison at Paper Jackdaw based in the UK, whose work I’m also a big fan of.  “They were all so beautiful, I could find no words to describe them, breath-taking and more than I could ever have imagined!” Hayley said.  “They are now a lovely keepsake for us all,” she told me.  Their fresh flowers from George at City Hall, which they used for the other buttonholes and flower girl posies.  These were collected on the Friday before the wedding when they collected the marriage licence.  They kept the fresh blooms in the fridge in their hotel room over the weekend, and this kept them looking perfect, this is also what our florist recommends to keep flowers looking fresh.

Hayley had her hair and makeup done by Beautiful Brides by Vesta and an assistant who also attended to the bridesmaids, Hayely’s mum and Mark’s sister.  “Vesta was a lovely lady and very relaxed in her approach,” said Hayley.  This isn’t the hair and makeup team that I work with, but Hayley was happy with them.  “However, we were an hour late, resulting in the wedding being delayed significantly unfortunately and the schedule of photo stops either were missed or a wee bit rushed,” said Hayley.  “However, top work by both ladies and the lateness did not detract from the artistic level of work carried out, all ladies looked lovely and this showed on the photos,” she added.

I asked if they’d had any concerns in advance of the wedding, and Hayley said that she had the same worry as everyone else – the weather!  “But bad weather can happen in the UK,” she said.  “We chose an area of the park which would be partly covered if the heavens opened,” she added.  That is a big advantage of the Ladies’ Pavilion – good cover in case of rain!  “Before leaving the UK and even on the plane I recall our conversations of the weather forecast showing thunderstorms but to be honest neither of us were worried, it would just be ensuring umbrellas were available,” she said.  They had visited New York together previously in April and they wanted to get married when it was a little warmer than it had been then, “we recalled how during our visit the temperature had fluctuated between extremely cold winds to reasonably warm sunshine,” Hayley said.  “We considered this, and the prospect of an outdoor wedding, and hoped a later May wedding would provide some reassurance of a comfortable temperature at the very least!”  I’d say this was a wise move.  March and April can still be quite chilly, and then the temperatures warm up very quickly in May.  “On our wedding day the temperature reached at least 29 degrees C by the time we arrived at our post wedding meal at 5pm!” said Hayley.  So, most people got changed for the evening meal; the groom in shorts, polo shirt, trainers and the bride in a short floaty lace dress with Havaianas wedding themed flip flops purchased by Mark for her prior to the trip! 

I gave Hayley the opportunity to share any further thoughts on getting married in Central Park that she would like to share with others who might be considering doing what they did.  “If this is a dream to you, it can be a reality and getting married in New York is not as costly as you may think.  It is as expensive as a couple wish to make it,” she said.  I couldn’t agree more.  We have couples who do this simply on a small budget and couples who make it a very grand affair, and everything in between.  Hayley said their wedding was “an unbelievable experience for us as a couple but to have shared this with close family and special friends was fantastic, we certainly have no regrets!”

When asked if she had any regrets about not having a “traditional” wedding closer to home Hayley said “absolutely not!  If I could repeat the day every year for the rest of my life, I certainly would!  To experience our wedding vows and the magnificent surroundings of the day all over again, it was truly magical, and I personally get goose bumps thinking about it. Although the day had some formal aspects, it was such a peaceful venue that it made it so informal and relaxed,” Hayley said.  “To be honest if people in the park were looking, I was not aware, and nor did this detract from our special day,” she added, I do find this is common for couples who worry a little about getting married in a public place – they really don’t notice any passers-by once the ceremony is in progress.  “For anyone who would prefer a more intimate and private ceremony the Ladies’ Pavilion was perfect,” she said, and I agree – the location and structure make it a lovely spot for a ceremony (It’s also where I got married!).

I asked Hayley if she would recommend Wed in Central Park.  She said “the cost was very reasonable, and the process of booking was easy but also professional.  I felt reassured after my first conversation with Claire that this dream could happen.”  We did meet briefly in person at the start of their planning process at the Tiny Weddings Fair that I co-organise.  “Overall, Claire was awesome!” said Hayley.  “I feel that she went way beyond our expectations!  Such a lovely lady who provided immense support, encouragement, and positivity to the whole event!  Thank you again to Claire, it was unforgettable, and without a doubt encouraged the dream we had to make this become a reality and therefore will always be remembered!”  Thank you so much for your kind words, Hayley.  It was a pleasure working with you and an honor to be able to attend your wedding.  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 excerpt from “The Bridge Across Forever” by Richard Bach

A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.

“Love is Friendship Set on Fire” by Laura Hendricks

Love is friendship caught fire; it is quiet, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection, and makes allowances for human weaknesses. Love is content with the present, hopes for the future, and does not brood over the past. It is the day-in and day-out chronicles of irritations, problems, compromises, small disappointments, big victories, and working toward common goals. If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things you lack. If you do not have it, no matter what else there is, it is not enough.

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