Karl and Elizabeth’s Vow Renewal Under Bethesda Terrace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Choose a Wedding Planner

how to choose a wedding planner

When planning a wedding in Central Park, whether you are local New Yorkers, or from far away; broadly speaking, you have two options when it comes to the nitty gritty of planning.  You can either do the whole thing yourself, and figure out what you need to do, decide where and how, and research and hire all the people you need.  Or, you can have someone else to do it for you and guide you through the wedding planning process.  There are pros and cons to each method, and I explain in another blog post why I think you should hire a planner to help you to plan your wedding in Central Park.  I also wrote a blog post on why I think that planner should be me.

There are several weddings planners offering their services to help couples to get married in Central Park, or anywhere else in New York.  We’re all offering something similar but slightly different.  I’m a big believer in not forcing my sales pitch on anyone, either you will feel drawn to work with me or you won’t.  Here’s how I would advise you to choose the wedding planner that suits you.  These thoughts might be quite useful for anyone looking for a wedding planner anywhere, not just New York or Central Park.

If you were getting married near to your home, you would ask for referrals from friends and family, but that is not so easily done if you are considering a destination wedding or elopement in New York.  So, the next best thing is to check the reviews.  This is not a perfect method.  One reason is that very few people actually find the time to write them – when was the last time you wrote a review online?  I rarely do it, even though I keep telling myself that I should.  Another reason is that what that person wants and likes might be what you want.  But it’s a good start.  I have reviews on Facebook, Google, and have recently started on WeddingWire.

Social media is a very helpful way to check out someone’s work from far away.  Have a look at their photos on Instagram. Check out the sort of posts they are sharing on Facebook, and whether people like and comment on them and how the planner interacts with others who do comment.  If they have a Pinterest, this is where they will share pins that they think their followers will find helpful or inspiring – not just their own content but others’ too.  And maybe they’re on Twitter, check out the sort of thing they’re sharing there and what they say.  All this will give you a good feel for how busy they are, how they communicate, and what they have done in the past.

I have noticed that some wedding planners are upfront about what they charge and have it listed clearly on their website, and some don’t share their fees unless you contact them directly.  However they do it, be sure to try to compare like with like.  We will all charge something different but then we’re all offering something different.  This is why it is important to consider what you need for your wedding day quite early on in the process.  If you think you have found the planner who can do the job for the lowest price, ask yourself why it is cheaper – are their communications good, can you see examples of some nice-looking weddings that they have been involved in, do they have good feedback?  On the other hand, just because you’ve found someone who offers all the trimmings and charges the earth, this doesn’t mean they will be the best – they might be offering various services and options that you don’t really need or want.  They may be taking a larger profit for themselves than someone who prefers to keep busy with lots of weddings for a smaller fee.

Of course the most effective way of checking whether you and another person are on the same wavelength is to reach out and ask them a few questions.  Either drop them an email, or set up a time to call.  It is really important to think about what you want from your wedding right from the beginning.  This can be quite difficult for some couples, because some feel that they just don’t know where to start.  But I think it is very helpful to really try to think of good questions to ask that will help you to work out what you want from your wedding day and whether this person is going to help you to achieve it.  If you really have no idea during the first stages, have a look through my blog and also as my FAQ page on my website.

Ask how long the planner has been doing this job and how many weddings they have planned.  After planning around two hundred and fifty weddings to date I find that it’s uncommon for someone to ask something new, or suggest something I haven’t dealt with before.  Although it does still happen from time to time.  This means that I can answer a question quickly and accurately.  Another thing to ask is who they work with and how many suppliers and connections they have.  If you have something in particular that you need, then if they have a long contacts list then they are more likely to be able to help you.

Many clients tell me that, just like when they found their partner, they just know who is right for them.  You will find a comfortable rapport with someone who gets you and that is so very important when it comes to selecting the wedding planner who is right for you and who will guide you through the process of planning your perfect wedding with comfort and ease.

how to choose a wedding planner

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Diana and Aaron’s Elopement Wedding in Wagner Cove, Central Park

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Diana and Aaron eloped from their home in Canada to get married in Central Park on 1st July, which is Canada Day.  Since it was just the two of them, we needed to provide a witness to their wedding.

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We arranged for their flowers to be delivered to their hotel, the Crowne Plaza in Times Square.  Diana carried a bouquet of roses in cream shades and creamy off-whites with no greenery, and Aaron wore a boutonniere to match.  Diana had originally planned to have white roses with lilies in her bouquet but then she found a dress she loved in a creamy off white at BCBG Max Azria.  So, we changed the order to complement her beautiful dress.

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They wanted to have lunch after their ceremony, so we planned for a morning wedding, when we hoped it would be a little cooler than the afternoon.  They had requested that we capture a photo of them in the wooden structure at Wagner Cove from across the other side of the water, so we made sure to do that.

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The couple arrived together at Wagner Cove, their ceremony location.  We had our photographer, Jakub Redziniak, meet them at the entrance to Central Park and walk in with them.  As they arrived, our violinist played Pachelbel Canon while the photographer took some photos of the couple in their wedding ceremony location.

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Diana had asked us in advance if we could surprise Aaron with the violinist playing the song “Falling Slowly” from the show Once.  It is one of their favorite shows and they say it together on a previous visit to New York.  So, the couple sat on the small bench inside of Wagner Cove and the violinist played this piece for them, which they sat and relaxed and thought about the promises they were about to make to each other.

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We had a short and sweet wedding ceremony, and after the couple were pronounced married the violinist played Vivaldi Four Seasons – Spring while they listened, and then they signed the paperwork.  As background music while they did this, the violinist played Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring and also Falling Slowly one more time.

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After taking some photographs around Central Park, including some drinking a champagne toast at the Tavern on the Green, the photographer left them and the couple went on to the Boathouse for lunch.

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

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Top Ten Tips for a Honeymoon or Minimoon in New York City

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Many couples choose a destination wedding or elopement wedding in Central Park, or anywhere else in New York, because it gives them the opportunity to combine the trip with their honeymoon.  Couples might come to New York with a small group of friends and family, for a small and intimate wedding, or a microwedding as many people are calling them now.  Some couples come alone to New York for their wedding – in many cases a couple might already have a trip to New York booked, and then they decide to get married while they’re in town!  So, then the trip becomes a honeymoon.  With pressures of work and family, it is becoming common to have a short honeymoon, or minimoon, after a wedding.  So, here are my tips and suggestions on how to make a stay in New York as newlyweds into a memorable and romantic honeymoon.

Spend some time thinking about it

This one might seem obvious, but so much time and effort goes in to planning a wedding, when it’s just one day, that a honeymoon can get forgotten about.  This is your first few days as a married couple, and you will always remember them, so spend a little time and effort thinking about what you would like to see and do to make it special.

Splurge on a fancy hotel

Usually, I’d say that a hotel isn’t that important – after all you’re only sleeping there and what matter is the place you’re staying in.  This is still true to some extent but a honeymoon is different from another sightseeing trip or vacation, so consider staying in one of the many swanky hotels that New York City can offer.  Some are converted from historic and beautiful mansions, some are ultramodern and super-stylish, and lots have bars and restaurants with amazing views of the city, or of Central Park or of the rivers.  If you are staying in the hotel on the night before your wedding, consider having the photographer come to your hotel to take photos in the room or lobby, on the roof or balcony, or other areas that are picturesque and unique.

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See a show

You can’t go to New York and not see a show!  There are so many wonderful choices; long-running Broadway shows, and shorter runs with a world-famous celebrity that you can enjoy seeing in the flesh!  There are also lots of choices for more offbeat and alternative theatrical experiences that you may very well not be able to see anything like anywhere else.  Seek out the unusual, if that’s your thing.

Go somewhere high up

When people think of New York City, they think of the skyline – the skyscrapers.  You can just walk the streets of New York and look up to enjoy the experience of being amongst these incredible structures, but it’s also great to get a different vantage point.  Go to the Top of the Rock, or the Empire State Building, or one of the many fantastic rooftop bars to choose from in the city.  And don’t just stay in Manhattan, there are breath taking views to be had from many locations.

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Eat in amazing restaurants

New York has a vast choice of places to eat.  Spend a little time researching them to find a place that you will really love.  There are places that you just won’t find anywhere else, so it’s a shame to stick to the places near to your hotel, or the cuisine that is familiar to you, or heaven forbid; a chain restaurant!

Drink in bars

By the time a couple is ready to get married, they already know each other pretty well.  But taking the time to sit down together and talk is always important.  New York has a wide choice of bars and clubs to drink and party in.  Celebrate your wedding and have a drink or two together.

Walk the streets

New York City is a fantastic melting pot of architecture.  Walk the streets and explore it together as newlyweds.  See the brownstones, the tenements, the modern skyscrapers, and the traffic and busy transportation.  Go to as many neighborhoods as you can, to see the eclectic variety or people and places in New York.  While you’re there; don’t forget to eat!

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Go to a museum

New York has a rich and fascinating history, and has many museums that tell it beautifully well.  The Museum of the City of New York, the Tenement Museum, the Merchant’s House Museum and many more tell vivid stories of the history of this wonderful city.  Some museums are worth visiting just for their buildings – the Guggenheim, the Cloisters, the Frick.  And of course there are world-class museums with collections of a standard that you just won’t see anywhere else – the Museum of Natural History, the MoMA and the stunning Met.  Go and view some of these places together, and learn something new or look at something beautiful and share it together as a newly married couple.

Go on the river(s)

Take a yacht tour on the Hudson, or one of the tours that goes all around Manhattan island.  There are large and small vessels to choose from – you can go on a large ship with a restaurant and eat as you travel, or smaller sailing yachts.  Whatever option you choose, it is so memorable to see New York City from the water.

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Enjoy the parks

It will surprise nobody to hear that I love Central Park.  It’s a truly unique piece of history, a stunning accomplishment of design, with incomparable landscaping, beautiful architecture and world-famous iconic sights.  But, New York does have other parks!  There are beautiful parks on the riverfronts and in squares all of the city with sights that are well worth seeing.  These places are New Yorkers’ backyards, and seeing them gives visitors a fuller picture of the city.

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

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Yuki and Nicolas’ Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

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Yuki and Nicolas got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in May.  We planned their wedding in around two months.  They are local New Yorkers, although Nicolas is French and Yuki is Japanese.  Since becoming a couple, they have visited each other’s native countries together.  “That helped us to gain more insight and understanding for each other’s cultural background,” said Nicolas.

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They had been in the same circle of friends about ten years previously, “but we never got to really know each other then and many people moved away,” explained Nicolas.  And in the fall of 2015, they were reintroduced to each other at a dinner by a mutual friend who was visiting the city.  “And this time, finally, we got to know each other and discovered that we were meant for each other,” he said.  They had been a couple for a little over a year when they got married.

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Their party was around twenty-five guests.  Unfortunately their mothers were not able to make the journey from their home countries for the wedding, but they have lots of friends in the city.  One of their friends read a poem at the ceremony, and Yuki and Nicolas wrote their vows to say to each other.

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I asked them why getting married was important to them.  “We share the same dream of having a family of our own one day.  We love each other and cannot imagine being without each other and we wanted to have our special union also validated in the eyes of God and law as well as our family and friends,” explained Nicolas.  “We can talk about anything, feels like closest friends, have lots of fun and also work as a good team,” he added.

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Yuki and Nicolas didn’t want to leave their guests waiting around while they took photographs around Central Park, but they also didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to have a set of lovely posed pictures in such a beautiful place.  So, they broke with tradition and decided to see each other before the wedding ceremony.  They met with their photographer, Jakub Redziniak, forty-five minutes before their ceremony start time, and took some photos then.

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Because the couple had already seen each other before the wedding ceremony, they were able to walk to their wedding together, rather than have the groom and guests wait for the bride to arrive.  One of the many benefits of choosing to get married in a public park is that it’s very easy to get rid of lots of traditions that don’t suit you!

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After the ceremony they took more photos with the group, and they were able to go off straight away after that for lunch at Lincoln Center.  They walked together as a group from the Ladies’ Pavilion, through Strawberry Fields, past Sheep Meadow and out of Central Park from 64th Street.

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

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FAQS for Central Park Wedding Blog

wed in central park answers to FAQs

Who are you?

I’m Claire, I have been running a business planning weddings for couples who want to get married in Central Park since 2012.

Why do you write this blog?

Partly to show case the gorgeous weddings we have been involved in to tempt others to marry in Central Park, and to show that we are a real business, which is comforting for clients who hand over the deposit to someone they have never met.  It is also there to provide more detailed information and photos than I can feature on the website without getting too cluttered.

What is this blog all about?

Weddings in Central Park, New York.  The majority of features are of real weddings that have taken place in Central Park.  Over the years of writing it, though, I’ve written more general advice pieces, that are long answers to frequently asked questions, or things that I find myself telling people a lot.  I feature some real weddings that have not taken place in Central Park, which I hope readers will find useful for inspiration for their own weddings.  I also post general summary pieces that I think would be useful for those considering a wedding in Central Park.

Did you plan every wedding on this blog?

Most of them, but not all.  You will be able to tell which ones are mine and which are not if you read the posts.

Will you feature my wedding on the blog?

If you got married in Central Park and you planned it all yourself, then yes for sure!  Just let me know the names of the people who were involved in your wedding so that I can credit them.  If you were married anywhere else in New York City then I would probably still be interested, because I think my readers would be interested.

Do you hire interns?

Thanks but no.  The business is run solely by me, all the weddings are planned by me, and this blog is my voice.  That’s how I like it.

I want to do what you do for a living, what is your advice?

Find your niche.  There will be something special about your knowledge and experience, you should use that.  I am British and I got married in Central Park, so I wanted to help other visitors do that same with what I had learned while planning my own wedding.  Also, learn about search engine optimisation.

Do you accept guest posts?

Yes, but only if I think my readers will find them useful.  So, imagine if you were considering getting married in Central Park, New York.  Then decide if your subject matter might be helpful, interesting, inspiring or valuable in any way.

Do you write for other blogs?

Yes.  I have written lots of guests posts, mostly for other wedding blogs, usually all about getting married in Central Park – how best to do it, why you should do it, who else has done it, and what’s so great about it.  I really like doing that.  Please contact me if you would like me to write something for your blog.

I also freelance write for other blogs, usually any wedding-related subject, contact me if you would be interested in having me do that for your blog.

Central Park Wedding Planner

I have a FAQs page on my website for many of the questions I get asked most frequently when planning weddings.  Please comment below if you have a further question that I don’t answer here or on my website.  I update the website FAQs occasionally.

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

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Bernadette and Jody’s Belvedere Castle Terrace Wedding

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Bernadette and Jody got married on Belvedere Castle Terrace in early September of last year.  It was unseasonably hot and sunny, so it doesn’t look like September in the photos!  They brought around a dozen of their nearest and dearest with them from their home in Pennsylvania, including Jody’s three children and Bernadette’s son.  So, this marriage was not just a union of this couple, but also the forming of a new family with their children also.

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Bernadette didn’t want to make a big entrance, so instead the whole party arrived together, and walked to the castle through the Shakespeare Garden, up the stone steps and on to the breezy terrace.  There are a couple of covered areas on Belvedere Castle Terrace where a wedding ceremony can take place, Bernadette and Jody chose the larger area with a view over Turtle Pond.

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There was a lot going on in the city that weekend, and around Central Park.  Labor Day had been the previous Monday, but the parade was being held on Fifth Avenue that morning.  You can see in the background of some photos that Central Park was full of people enjoying a bonus sunny Saturday at the end of the summer.

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Belvedere Castle is closed for 2018, due to huge renovations – the biggest the castle has seen since the 1980s.  But it will be open again for weddings in 2019, and it will be looking fantastic by then.  It is the highest point in Central Park, so has an incredible vantage point over Central Park.  One New Year’s Eve, that’s where I watched the fireworks from at midnight and it was awesome.

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They had a short and sweet wedding ceremony, where they wrote their own vows to say to each other.  The party made the most of their spot on Belvedere Castle Terrace and took plenty of photos up there, before the guests left Central Park and the couple and the photographer walked back through the Shakespeare Garden for more photos amongst the flowers.  “The weather was beautiful and everyone seemed to have a great time,” said Bernadette.

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They took some more photos by the Lake, on Bow Bridge and at Bethesda Terrace before getting in to a carriage and having a little quite time together before the couple joined their guests at The Time Hotel for cocktails before their meal.

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“We appreciate you helping us coordinate our wedding day and taking care of the details.  You were very professional and detailed in all your communications and I appreciated the responsiveness!” said Bernadette.

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

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