Alex and David’s Autumn Wedding in Cop Cot

Alex and David got married in Cop Cot in October.  They had been together for ten years when they got married.  They had around fifty guests with them for the wedding, brought over to New York for the wedding from their home in Montreal, Canada.  Alex and David first met at a hockey rink, when Alex’s brother Phil and David were about seven years old and played there together.

Originally, Alex and David wanted their own officiant to perform the wedding.  It was someone who is a member of the family, but she was not New York state registered, so if she had done it alone, the wedding would not have been legally binding.  So, we arranged for our own NY state registered officiant to perform the ceremony with her.  I usually write the ceremony with input from the couple, but for this one, their family member, Alex and myself did it together, and it worked out great.

The couple wanted to have a rehearsal the evening before the wedding, so our officiant, their family member officiant, the couple and some of the party met in Central Park before dinner on Friday to go over the ceremony in advance.  Their family member had wanted to say something special on the day and keep it a surprise from the Alex and David so we kept some of it back from them while writing the first drafts and for the rehearsal.

We arranged for a bridal bouquet and matching boutonniere to be delivered on the morning of the wedding to their hotel.  Alex carried a rounded, and compact petite bouquet of white mixed blooms of garden roses, spray roses, hydrangea, standard and mini phalaenopsis orchids and ranunculus with a slight touch of blush and no greenery.  Alex and David were staying at the Kimpton Muse hotel.

Alex and David got married in the morning.  They had wanted to get married in the afternoon, but when we applied for the event permit, all of the afternoon slots were all taken, so they were happy to go for a morning slot.  We agreed to do the wedding in February of the same year and applied for the event permit straight away, but a Saturday in October is a popular day for a wedding and Cop Cot is a popular location.  The permit applications for Central Park open at the end of the previous year, so if you want to get married on a Saturday afternoon in a popular ceremony location then it’s best to get in early.

We arranged for a harpist to play in Cop Cot for the party.  She played background music for the guests while they waited for the bride to arrive, and then when she did, she arrived to Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns and Roses.

Since their officiant was someone who knew them, she had lots to say in the introduction.  After that, they exchanged traditional vows and then some they had each written personally.  The officiant read the poem Reasons Why, by Joanna Fuchs, which I’ll put at the end of this post.

Our photographer Julieanne took them around the park for photographs after the ceremony.  Sometimes couples send their guests off to a bar or similar for an hour or so while they take portrait photos around the park, but Alex and David wanted their guests to hang out with them while they took photos.

After the photos in Central Park, they took their whole group up to the Top of the Rock in the afternoon.  I think that’s a great option for a destination wedding – it makes the day so much more memorable for everyone than doing only the traditional stuff!  So, having the afternoon free to take their guests somewhere amazing and uniquely New York was a happy consequence of deciding to have the ceremony in the morning instead of the afternoon as originally planned. 

I asked Alex how we did.  “Everything went very smoothly and we all had a blast,” she said.  “Thank you so much for planning everything it made for a very stress free weekend!  We were beyond happy with how everything went!” she told me.  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

Reasons Why, by Joanna Fuchs

Our love is the long-lasting kind; we’ve been together quite a while.

I love you for so many things, your voice, your touch, your kiss, your smile.

You accept me as I am; I can relax and just be me.

Even when my quirks come out, you think they’re cute; you let me be.

With you, there’s nothing to resist; you’re irresistible to me.

I’m drawn to you in total trust; I give myself to you willingly.

Your sweet devotion never fails; you view me with a patient heart.

You love me, dear, no matter what.

You’ve been that way right from the start.

Those are just a few reasons why

I’ll always love you like I do.

We’ll have a lifetime full of love, and it will happen because of you.

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What You Need to Know About Getting Married in Central Park

This is a post for the couples who have recently started to think about getting married in Central Park.  It’s not really for those who are brand-new to the idea but maybe they have made a few decisions about what they want from their day.  I wrote a post with the basic introduction to getting married in Central Park but this post is intended to discuss the smaller things that might affect your day that perhaps couples haven’t thought of.

You will be at the mercy of the weather.  OK, most couples will have considered this, and it’s the most common worry my clients have.  I get asked for advice on a plan B location or what to do if it rains.  There are ceremony locations that are good for keeping the rain off, but the day will certainly be affected if you do have rain, even if you choose a location with a roof.  The couple and the guests will have to get to the ceremony location, and then if you want to take photos around the park after the ceremony then you will have to accept that you will get wet if it rains.  There are far fewer people around when it is raining, though so your photos should be free of passers-by.  Another issue could be the sun.  If you are getting married in the middle of the day and it is high summer then the sun will be very bright, so try to avoid that if you can.  Nobody wants to be squinting in all of their wedding photos.

There are so many options.  Manhattan has around 24,000 restaurants.  So, if you are looking for somewhere amazing to eat, drink and celebrate then you have so many choices!  Of course there are also some great places to choose from in the other boroughs of New York, many with amazing views and more space than Manhattan.  Some couples see a Broadway show or a big sports game or take a river cruise on their wedding day, there are so many unique and memorable ways to mark your wedding day in New York.  This is fantastic but also can be quite overwhelming, especially if you are planning the wedding from out of town or outside of the country, and especially if you have a big group to organise. 

It can be exhausting.  If you take a group of your nearest and dearest to one of the busiest cities in the world for a big celebration, expect to be worn out at the end of it all!  Your dress will get dirty on the streets of New York, and it may get a little crumpled in cabs.  Your feet will hurt because there will be plenty of walking and standing, so keep that in mind when choosing your shoes.  If you are getting married in the summer you will get very hot and sweaty and if you are getting married in the winter, then bring a coat!  If it’s windy your hair will get blown around.  If you want to travel all over the city for awesome photos this will take time in traffic so could take up a large part of your day.

You are getting married in a public place.  I often get asked which locations are the most private, but then again I often get asked which locations have the best views.  The trade-off is that if you are in a tucked-away quiet location then you won’t get the views.  And nowhere is completely private because you are in the heart of Manhattan!  Also, even if you get an event permit the area must remain a right of way to the general public.  So, there will be no fencing-off of an area.  New Yorkers are bold and friendly people and many of them will congratulate a newlywed couple if they spot one, so beware of this if you are shy!

There are rules to abide to.  The event permits issued for weddings in Central Park come with a list of what is and is not acceptable.  You can’t just do whatever you like – see above, you’re in a public place and other people are also using beautiful Central Park.  Amplified sound is not permitted, so there can be no bringing a small speaker for music, if you want music you need to hire an acoustic musician.  Chairs, canopies and table are not allowed, this is listed on the permit.  There are some ceremony locations that have some seating, and I have been to weddings in Central Park where the couple brought along just a couple of chairs for those who could not stand for a long time – and I sat on one of them once when I was pregnant.  As I have said above, there can be no fencing off or blocking of walkways.  No cooking, no smoking or drinking alcohol.  No balloons or signs affixed to park property.  And this should go without saying but unfortunately many ignore this – permit holders should clean up the area when they leave.

Your wedding is not a photo shoot.  This is true for all weddings everywhere, of course, but so worth highlighting.  So many of those beautiful wedding inspiration photos you have seen are not real weddings.  They might well be models in styled shoots whose job it is to look amazing and who are used to being photographed.  They have also taken each shot many times and then edited everything.  Our photographer will be with you from when you enter the park for as long as you want them for and they will capture the ceremony, take posed portrait shots and also candid photos.  Your photos will be beautiful, and they will be edited, but they are unlikely to look just like a style shoot.  Photos should capture your memories of your wedding day, which is special and unique to you as a couple, and not compared to social media and magazines.

It’s pretty easy.  There is plenty to keep in mind when planning a wedding in Central Park, but a wedding here in New York is quite simple compared to many places.  All you really need to become legally married is to get your license from City Hall, wait at least 24 hours, find a NY state registered officiant to perform the ceremony and they can send the completed license back to City Hall and that’s really it!  If you have a large group you should get a permit, and of course you can hire a photographer and book a reception but all of that can be as grand or as simple as the couple prefers.

I’d love to hear from anyone in the comments who has other pieces of advice for those new to considering getting married in Central Park.  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, and make a lot of the things I’ve talked about above much easier, then visit our website or drop me an email at info@wedincentralpark.com.  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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Bisan and Fabian’s August Wedding in Cop Cot

Bisan and Fabian had their wedding celebration with us in Cop Cot in Central Park in August.  They had been together for four years when they got married.  They met when they were both studying for their Master’s degree in London.  After meeting in London their relationship withstood the test of being long-distance for some time, Bisan having lived in Italy and Fabian in Korea. 

They actually had their legally binding wedding ceremony that May, and then a dancing party in Bisan’s home country of Jordan after that.  This wedding blessing in Central Park with us was a blessing and celebration with guests mostly from Fabian’s side; he is Paraguayan.  They had decided to have multiple celebrations for their union and it was important to them to keep each one unique.

We arranged for their flowers to be delivered to their apartment that morning.  Bisan carried a textured, lush and petite bouquet with a semi-compact form featuring David Austin roses, freesia, ranunculus, sweetpea, standard roses, etc with very little greenery.  It was finished off wrapped in a double sided white satin ribbon. 

Bisan and Fabian met with their photographer Jakub Redziniak for photos around Central Park in advance of the ceremony.  They took portrait photos at Wagner Cove, Bow Bridge and Bethesda Terrace and Fountain before walking down the Mall to Cop Cot.  We had arranged for the officiant, musician, guests and videographer to meet in Cop Cot ahead of the couple and photographer arriving.  Bisan and Fabian walked into their ceremony together.

They had around fifty guests at the ceremony, and they decided Cop Cot suited their group best.  I agree that for a group this size, Cop Cot is perfect.  Also, it’s very easy to find, being visible from the street on Central Park South, and it has some seating for some of the guests.  The only possible drawback of getting married in Cop Cot is in case of rain it doesn’t provide any shelter.  Although the greenery provides a lovely shade from the sunshine, if you’re concerned about rain then it’s best to have a backup location planned.  Bisan and Fabian had a backup plan B ceremony location of underneath Bethesda Terrace, which provides ample cover for a group this size.  But luckily, they didn’t need it.

We arranged for a harpist to play at the ceremony.  She played background music for the guests to listen to before the couple arrived, and they walked in together to the harpist playing Pachelbel’s Canon.  We used traditional vows, and then Bisan and Fabian each had a list of reasons to read out to tell one another why they will never take each other for granted.  Then they exchanged rings.  They also had the officiant read a quote from Rumi in the introduction to ceremony, which I’ll put at the end of this blog post.

Bisan and Fabian had requested a secular officiant for this Central Park wedding ceremony.  Their guests mostly knew that they were already legally married, but we still had them exchanging vows and rings and pronounced married at the end of the ceremony as if this were a “real” wedding.  In both of their cultures, it is common to perform two wedding ceremonies.  Although usually the second ceremony would be religious and in their case, it was secular.

I asked Bisan how we did.  She said, “thanks a lot for everything!  It was amazing and we had a great time.  Everything was perfect from the flowers, photographer, the officiant, the videographer and the harpist.”  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you’re from near or far, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest

The quote from Rumi used in Bisan and Fabian’s ceremony:

“A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, eastern or western… Divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple.  Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire! The universe turns differently when fire loves water.”

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How to Livestream Your Wedding in Central Park

Over the past couple of years, a request we have gotten more and more frequently is for a wedding to be livestreamed for loved ones who can’t be there in person.  This has been popular for locals keeping the numbers attending their wedding low during the pandemic, but it is also something that I think visiting couples will find appealing.

We can arrange for a videographer to come along to the ceremony and film it, then create an edited video of the ceremony for the couple and their nearest and dearest with a short highlight reel for sharing with your wider social circle.  A livestream is different in that those who are watching it might almost feel as though they are official guests at the wedding. 

There are various reasons why someone might not be able to attend a wedding in person but would love to watch the ceremony on a screen from home.  Doing this will help those people feel much more involved in your wedding, even if they can’t actually be there with you for your wedding in Central Park

Livestreaming your wedding yourself is the easiest and of course cheapest way to do it.  Setting up a Zoom meeting and sending out a link in advance seems like the least confusing way of involving less tech-savvy relatives, but you could use Facebook, Skype, Google Hangouts or one of the many other online meeting software that we’ve all become more familiar with during the pandemic.  Whatever device you use for the livestream, ensure that it is fully charged before you get to Central Park – there will be no power points in the park!

There are lots of ways you can use virtual wedding invites, social media or even boxes with fun wedding bits and bobs such as small bottles of champagne and cake to make people feel included.  You can ask guests at home to record short message for you on their phones, and to send you photos of them celebrating at home.  Take care not to complicate things too much for elderly relatives and keep things simple if you think sorting out everyone at home on top of sorting out a destination wedding will be too much!

The are two choices for holding the device being used for the livestream – one is a tripod, and our videographer will be happy to bring a spare one along for a phone, which is of course the most steady option, and the other is a designated guest.  We did have a couple have a device to clip their phone to the roof of Wagner Cove once for livestream, but this may not work for every location in Central Park. 

The signal outdoors in Central Park is not as reliable as it would be inside a building, so if you have a guest holding the phone, ask them to check that it is connected every now and again.  The beauty of designating a task like this to a guest is that it is one less thing for you to deal with!

When set up where the livestream device should be, keep in mind that the people watching it will appreciate it being kept still.  So, if it’s on a tripod, it needs to be central, and in a position where both of your faces can be seen.  If it’s central, keep in mind where the photographer needs to be, and also where the in-person guests will be.  It’s a tricky line to walk to be aware of everyone that will want to see you say “I do” when there is a livestream device, a professional photographer and guests who all need to have a good view! 

Our photographers are often reminding me about shade, positioning and the glare of the sun when planning our weddings.  So, consider where your ceremony location will be and what the brightness will be like, and adjust locations or possibly timings accordingly so that those at home will be able to see you.  Our videographers will usually bring a small microphone to clip to the groom and/or to the officiant.  If you don’t have this at your wedding, check if you know anyone with a microphone that you can use.  Some of the locations in Central Park will have background noise so a microphone will help those at home to hear you as you say your vows.

Ask for help!  I’ve done this before; in fact I’ve planned well over three hundred weddings, so please ask me for input on how to do it and where everyone would stand, even if you’re having a guest deal with the whole thing on the day.  As we write the ceremony, we can mention those watching at home, and we can have a part in the ceremony where everyone there in person gives them a wave, just to make them feel more included.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.  Lots of couples choose to have an intimate wedding in Central Park because that is what appeals to them – they want to say their vows either alone or with just a small group.  Then others can make them feel as if they ought to do a livestream to include their wider social circle, who might be those who cannot make it, or just those who the couple didn’t want to invite!  Your wedding is your day and you should only be doing the things that you want to do.  Consider how you will feel saying your vows with the people who will be there, and how you will feel knowing that there are others watching at home.  Don’t feel pressured to add in a livestream just to keep others happy.

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April and Hugo’s Wedding Underneath Bethesda Terrace

April and Hugo got married underneath Bethesda Terrace in June.  April comes from Harrisburg Pennsylvania, and Hugo originally comes from Mexico, but was living in the Bronx, New York City when they met. Now the couple live together in Harrisburg.

They met four years ago at the garage when April’s car broke down.  What might have seemed like bad luck for April turned out to be the best of luck for them both!  Hugo proposed on Mother’s Day 2020.  He had been in the hospital, sick with Covid and he popped the question when he came home.  Hugo being in hospital had led to a big step in their relationship; April had to almost take on the role of his wife to make all of the decisions for him while he was so sick.  Her mom and son were there when he proposed.  Of course, April said yes!  I asked why getting married was important to them and April said “for us, it was important to be married to show us as a family, in the eyes of the lord and the world.”

They considered tying the knot at April’s local church but they decided they wanted to get married in New York, since it is where April’s late father is from.  April was happy with the decision, “it’s a beautiful place,” she said.  “I had never been inside of Central Park before, I had only seen it in movies,” she added.

So, they chose the most famous part of Central Park for their ceremony – Bethesda Terrace.  April’s brother gave her away.  We kept the ceremony quite short with traditional vows. I asked April where he favorite photos were taken, she said they were all her favorites!  Their photographer Jakub Redziniak took them around the area close to where they had the ceremony for their portrait photo session. 

They had eighteen guests – all close family members.  April said the wedding was quite different than what her family were expecting!  She wore a dark green/teal gown, since green is her favourite color.  She did look stunning in such a unique wedding dress.  The bridesmaids were also in teal.  All the dresses were purchased from David’s Bridal in April’s hometown.  April carried a beautiful bouquet of red and white roses and sunflowers.

After taking photos around Bethesda Terrace and Fountain photographer Jakub took them up to Cherry Hill and put them in to a horse and carriage ride.  Then they all went for dinner at Angelo’s Coal Oven Pizzeria on West 57th Street, which is very close to Central Park. 

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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2018 Clients’ New York Restaurant Recommendations – Where to Eat After you are Married in Central Park

So many couples ask me where to go to eat after a wedding in Central Park.  This is a frequently asked question, but such a difficult one to answer.  Check out my FAQs page on my website for some of the others I get asked a lot.  New York is a huge city with so many awesome places to eat to choose from with every cuisine you can think of to fit a vast range of budgets.  My couples are all so different, too – they have varying tastes, budgets and group sizes. 

In an effort to provide some general advice to get couples thinking, I’ve written my own list of New York restaurant recommendations, and followed that up with a second list of New York restaurant recommendations.  These lists may be slightly out of date now; there are some classics in there and some restaurants come and go.  I decided later on that my previous client’s recommendations may also be helpful, so I wrote a post summarising where all the couples who featured on the blog in 2017 ate after their wedding, couples from 2016, then from 2015, then those from 2014, and also those from 2013.  So there are lots of recommendations to look through! 

Below I summarise the couple’s recommendations who featured on the blog in 2018.  I intend to cover the next couple of years on the blog soon!  I have had to break the posts down year by year, otherwise they would be far too long (for me to write and for you to read!).  The list that follows is of the couples whose weddings featured on the blog in 2018 and where they went to eat and celebrate after their wedding, alongside any other recommendations they might have made. 

Pinky and Bones – Loeb Boathouse

Pinky and Bones, from Glasgow in Scotland, came to New York to get married in Central Park.  They had been together for seven years before eloping to New York to get married.  The couple were in New York for six nights and stayed at the Hotel St James, close to Times Square.  They took a horse and carriage ride around Central Park after their wedding and then went to the Loeb Boathouse for their celebratory dinner.

Kelly and Ivan – Little Italy

Kelly and Ivan got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in June with their two and a half year old daughter as their only guest.  After their photos they returned to the hotel to get changed before going to Little Italy for a meal at Kelly’s favorite restaurant.  Her godmother had rung the restaurant ahead of them and paid for prosecco on arrival, which is a lovely touch for someone getting married far from home.  On this visit they stayed at the Grand Westin on East 42nd Street.

Mirjana and John – The View

Mirjana and John came over to New York from their home in Perth, Australia to get married in the Ladies’ Pavilion at Christmas time.  They had been together for nine years before they got married.  Mirjana had chosen Central Park for their wedding because of its beauty and its significance to what she felt Manhattan was.  Hurricane Sandy had hit New York City badly two months before the wedding, and taken out The River Café in Brooklyn, which was where they had planned to go to eat after they had got married.  Instead, after the wedding, they went to Times Square to take photos, and after that they went up to The View for dinner.

Natalie and Jason – The Nomad Hotel

Natalie and Jason got married underneath Bethesda Terrace in November.  They live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  After the wedding they had a bagpiper accompany them on a walk from Bethesda Arcade, up the Mall, and along to the Tavern On The Green.  At the Tavern on the Green they had drinks at the bar for a little while and relaxed.  Their reception was held at the indoor rooftop of the Nomad Hotel, where they had a cocktail hour and then had dinner.  

Nikki and Andrew – Keens Steakhouse

Nikki and Andrew came to New York from their home in Essex in the UK with a small party to get married in Central Park on Valentine’s Day. They visit New York together every year, and already had this trip planned when they decided that they would get married.  Andrew and Nikki got married in the morning, so afterwards they went for lunch with their party at Keens Steakhouse, “we would definitely recommend this restaurant,” said Nikki. And they had a New York cheesecake as their wedding cake! 

Jacqui and Kenny – Black Tap

Jacqui and Kenny got married in Wagner Cove in July with just their kids as guests.  They had been together for almost twenty-five years before they got married.  The couple had been together since the age of twenty and had always said that they would get married “one day” they just weren’t in a hurry and took a while to get around to it!  They knew they didn’t want a fancy meal after their wedding, and they wanted to go somewhere appropriate for the kids so they went on to Black Tap for burgers and shakes for lunch.

Bernadette and Jody – The Time Hotel

Bernadette and Jody got married on Belvedere Castle Terrace in early September.  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.  They took some 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 at the same location.

Diana and Aaron – Loeb Boathouse

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.  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.

Karl and Elizabeth – One if by Land, Two if by Sea

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

Lucy and David – The Milling Room

Lucy and David brought their friends and family over from the West Midlands in the UK to New York in February to witness their wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion.  After the ceremony, the couple went off to take photos while the guests had some free time in the park and a few drinks at the Tavern on the Green.  Then the couple joined them at the Tavern for a little while until taxis picked them up to take them to The Milling Room where they had booked a private dining room. “The food and staff were absolutely amazing and communication with us throughout the planning process was excellent,” said Lucy. “We selected our menu choices, added our own logo to the menu, and decorated the private dining room, and helped them to choose wines to accompany dinner,” she said. Guests commented that it was the best meal they had ever had – Lucy and David agree that the food really was phenomenal. After a three-course dinner and speeches, they took taxis to Refinery Rooftop – a rooftop bar at the top of their hotel where they had booked an area overlooking the Empire State Building.

Shauna and Lorcan – Davio’s Steakhouse

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

Megan and Ryan – Oriental Garden

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

Carrie and Neil – Bateaus Spirit Cruise

Carrie and Neil brought twenty-five of their nearest and dearest over to New York from their home in Aberdeen in Scotland to get married in Central Park in May.  They had got engaged in Central Park when they visited New York for Carrie’s thirtieth birthday two years before their wedding.  After photographs around Central Park they went on to their evening reception.  I had recommended the Bateaux Spirit Cruise, “it was such fantastic value for money and every one of our guests passed comment on what a great evening they had,” said Carrie.

Gemma and Dean – Tavern on the Green

Gemma and Dean came over to New York from their home in Falkirk, Scotland to get married on Gapstow Bridge this June.  They got married on a Saturday and they had hoped to make a reservation at the Boathouse, but they don’t accept reservations on a weekend, and they close mid-afternoon, so the couple decided against it.  Instead they ate at the Tavern on the Green, and then went to the Plaza for cocktails. After that they went to 230 Fifth for drinks.  I asked if they had any restaurants to recommend, “we ate at Shorty’sKeans SteakhouseHootersKatz’s DeliOlive Garden and Mighty Quinn’s,” so they’ve certainly done a culinary food tour of New York!

Rafael and Liza – Tavern on the Green

Rafael and Liza eloped to New York from their home in Puerto Rico to get married in Central Park this July.  They had been together for more than twenty years when they married, and have two almost grown up sons.  After their wedding and photos they went to the Tavern on the Green for lunch.  I asked if there was any restaurants that they would recommend and Liza said that they had dinner in Havana CentralDos Caminos and the R Lounge. All of them walking distance from their hotel and Liza said they would recommend them all.

Alicia and James – Cuba NYC

Alicia and James got married in Wagner Cove in July with a small group of close family as their guests. Alicia is from the Bronx, New York and James is from London, England. They met in London through a dating app.  After the ceremony, the couple took everyone to a lunch reception downtown at Cuba NYC.

Alysha and Giovanni – Patrizia’s of Manhattan

Alysha and Giovanni got married in the Wisteria Pergola in the Conservatory Gardens of Central Park in September.  Alysha is from New Jersey and Giovanni is from Italy.  They had their reception dinner in the private room at Patrizia’s of Manhattan, which is an Italian restaurant, of course. “It’s one of our favorite restaurants!” she said, “the guests were absolutely amazed by the food, they are still talking about it!” she added.

Wendy and Craig – Porter House Bar and Grill

Wendy and Craig eloped from their home in Queensland, Australia to get married in Central Park this September. Their ceremony was held in Wagner Cove.  After the photos, our photographer walked them over to where they could get a horse and carriage, where they took a few photos and then left them to it. “We went for a twenty minute ride around Central Park, which was lovely, then we went to the Tavern on the Green for a lovely celebratory drink at the bar,” said Wendy. Later in the evening they went on to Porter House Bar and Grill at Columbus Circle for dinner. “The steaks were amazing and we had a view overlooking the entrance to Central Park” Wendy told me. “They also gave us a complimentary piece of cake to share, with ‘congrats’ written in chocolate on the plate, so that was our wedding cake!” she added.

Jennifer and Gary – Session 73

Scottish couple Jennifer and Gary got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in March with eleven guests. They had been together for around two years before moving from their home in Glasgow, Scotland to Perth, Australia, where they had lived for almost six years.  They had booked a private dining are in Session 73 on the Upper East Side for their celebratory dinner. After dinner and drinks a live band played in the restaurant and dedicated their first song, Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen to the couple, and we got up and danced for their first dance to it. “The venue was perfect for us as it was not too busy, had live music and was very laid back with fantastic service,” said Jennifer.

Brianne and Bradley – Loeb Boathouse and Da Nico’s

Brianne and Bradley had been together for almost eight years before they got married in Central Park in August.  They met in Portland, Oregon where they live.  The ceremony took place in the late morning, followed by lunch at the Loeb Boathouse.  After that they enjoyed some Monet at MoMA and finished with a group dinner at Da Nico’s in Little Italy. 

As ever, I welcome anyone who would like to comment below with their own suggestions of great New York City restaurants – there are so many to choose from, and although there are some firm favorites that last over time we’re always seeing new ones!  For more information to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebookfollow 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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Michelle and Jessie’s Intimate Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

Michelle and Jessie got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in June.  They are both born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.  Jessie is 31 and Michelle is 29 years old.  Michelle and Jessie met in August 2008, when Michelle was seventeen and Jessie was eighteen.  Jessie was working in the Subway sandwich shop in their neighborhood.  Michelle did not much feel like eating at the time but her Mom, insisted that they went.  Her mom knew the owner from visits when Michelle was a child, and she knew Jessie a little because she was a regular; she loved his service and the way he made her sandwich!  They walked in, Jessie greeted her and took her order.  Michelle took quite some time to make up her mind and then order the blandest sandwich Jessie had ever heard of!  They laughed about it, he made up her sandwich and they sat down to eat.

There was certainly a spark between them that day they met.  They were on each other’s minds until Michelle went in again – and Jessie remembered her order.  She visited the Subway a few more times and eventually they exchanged numbers.  They officially became a couple three months later, so they had been together for over twelve years when they got married. Michelle and Jessie got engaged on March 16th 2020, which was the day they declared official pandemic lockdown.  Originally Jessie had plans to take Michelle out that day to a restaurant and propose but then Covid put a stop to his plans as it did to so many others!  So he proposed that morning around 6:30 am, while everyone else was sleeping.  “He was super nervous,” said Michelle, “but it was so beautiful, sweet and intimate,” she said.

I asked Michelle why getting married was important to them.  “It was always a relationship goal for us,” she said.  “When we first met, we spoke of our future goals and both agreed we eventually would like get married and have kids.  We didn’t have that growing up as kids, so we wanted to make sure we can provide that, not just for us but for our kids to see and have both parents married and in love,” she explained.  Michelle and Jessie have a seven year old son, Aidan.

After they had gotten engaged, they initially considered getting married in a church.  Then they considered doing it in City Hall.  With Covid throwing so many wedding plans up in the air, they decided an outdoor wedding would be safer to plan and less likely to have to be rescheduled, even by June of 2021, and they were right.  “We browsed multiple websites that had Central Park wedding packages and saw the pictures and how beautiful it was, that’s when we instantly agreed; Central Park it is,” Michelle said. 

I asked her if she has any concerns in the run up to the wedding.  “Our main concern was any Covid restrictions and the availability of the location we wanted, but it ended up working out perfectly and we did get the location we wanted thanks to our wedding planner Claire,” said Michelle.  The permit application process for Central Park currently includes filling out a Covid 19 Safety Plan, so we were all made aware of any restrictions and measures that we were required to put in place to keep everyone safe.

Michelle, Jessie and their son Aidan met their photographer Florencia a little while before the ceremony to take some photos around Central Park.  They did a “first look” shot of Jessie and Aidan’s reaction to Michelle and then took some portrait shots around the center area.  This option of taking photos before the ceremony is becoming increasingly popular.  It means that the couple can hang out with the theirs guests straight after the ceremony and do whatever they want to do, rather than have the group wait for an hour or so while the couple take photos. 

Michelle wore a long summer dress in ivory, purchased from David’s Bridal, and carried an ivory and blue bouquet.  The color theme of the wedding was sapphire blue.  So her maid of honor, matron of honor and mom wore blue.  Michelle’s mom gave her away, because her father is no longer with us.  Jessie wore a white button down shirt with blue pants and brown shoes and Aiden wore a cute outfit with button down shirt, vest, pants, bow tie and brown shoes.  Michelle looked stunning but I think we can all agree that Aiden was the cutest person in Central Park that day!  Michelle had her hair professionally done at the hair salon she go to regularly and has gone to since childhood, Amarilli’s Unisex Salon at 1540 Gates Avenue, Brooklyn.  Her makeup was professionally done by this aesthetician and makeup artist Hencys.  “Book her, she’s amazing and she offered bridal trails as well,” Michelle advises any other brides!

The ceremony took place in the Ladies’ Pavilion.  “It was beautiful,” said Michelle.  They had twelve of their nearest and dearest friends and family as guests.  Straight after the ceremony, they all enjoyed a champagne toast in the Pavilion and took some photos in the area.  On the way home they picked up some delicious vegan food to share with the party, from a place called Greedi Kitchen, located on 180 Ralph Street in Brooklyn.

I asked Michelle her opinion on smaller weddings in general, since they have become so popular recently.  “We think smaller weddings are the best,” she said.  “They are becoming more popular too due to Covid, but we always agreed on a small wedding; it’s more intimate and special with just the important people around you, your family and friends,” she added.  I asked her what advice she might have for others considering doing something similar, “if you’re hesitating on getting married in Central Park; don’t!!” she said.  “Book it, you will not be disappointed one bit,” she added. 

Finally, I asked Michelle how we did, here’s what she said.  “Claire was amazing along with the officiant and photographer she assigned to us.  Our day was magical thanks to them all.  Book with Claire, she will exceed all your expectations and more.  She is very patient, kind and informative.  Very prompt too.  So glad I came across her website and booked with her.” Thank you for your kind words, Michelle, and it was an absolute pleasure planning your wedding with you.  I wish you and Jessie the best of luck for your future together.  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you’re from near or far, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest

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Getting Married in New York – Advice for British Couples

It is so much easier to get married in New York than it is to get married in Britain!  The vast majority of our couples are British, and so am I.  I got married in Central Park in 2011, and I was living in New York at the time.  This blog post is a long answer to a frequently asked question about what paperwork British couples need to get married in New York.  Apparently getting married in the UK requires quite a lot of paperwork and British couples almost can’t believe how simple it is to get married in the USA.

If you are not British, then check if your country will recognise your marriage if you get married in New York.  Here’s what the UK government says about getting married in the USA:

“Your marriage will be recognised in the UK if: you follow the correct process according to the law in the USA it would be allowed under UK law.  You don’t need to register your marriage in the UK.”  If you’re a British national getting married abroad, you might need certain documents from the UK government, for example a certificate of no impediment – this is if you have been married before.  Here’s the UK government website with details about getting married abroad: https://www.gov.uk/marriage-abroad 

The first thing to do, maybe just before your trip to New York, is to register online for your marriage license.  Do this within 21 days of your wedding date.  When you register online you get a confirmation number.  When you get to New York, take that confirmation number and your passport to the City Clerk’s Office to pick up your license.  It costs $35 and you will need to pay by credit card, they do not accept cash.  Do this at least 24 hours before your wedding.  That’s it.  I wrote a blog post about how to get your license from the City Clerk’s Office, but it’s very simple.  The Manhattan branch of the City Clerk’s Office is open Monday through Friday (not open on holidays), 8:30am to 3:45pm, and is at 141 Worth Street.

Then you have the ceremony.  This is the part where I can do everything for you, if you want to get married in beautiful Central Park.  I can help with other locations, too, but I really specialize in Central Park weddings.  I can book the officiant, get your event permit for Central Park, write the ceremony with you, book the photographer, help you to make a plan of timings for the day, book any musicians, video, hair and makeup, and order your flowers.  Check out our wedding packages and prices, or drop me an email at info@wedincentralpark.com to ask any questions. 

Take your license to the ceremony.  If I’m planning your wedding with you, then I’ll remind you of this maybe a half dozen times!  This is because quite a few couples do forget to bring it with them, with everything else that’s happening on the morning of their wedding!  Do whatever you can to be sure that you remember it – you don’t want to have to deal with a forgotten license on your special day!  After the ceremony, the couple sign the license, along with the officiant and either one or two witnesses (you’re only required to have one witness but there’s space on the license for two).  Then the officiant sends the completed license to the City Clerk’s Office, they register your marriage and then they mail the short certificate to your home address, wherever you live.  If you need to change your name after getting married, you ca use this short certificate to do so.

If you need the marriage certificate straight away and can’t wait for it to come in the mail, then you can take the completed license back to the City Clerk’s Office in person to get the certificate.  If you live in a country that requires the long certificate, and/or the Apostille, then we can tell you step by step what you need to do to get them, or for a fee with a signed and notarized letter, we can get it for you, but the long certificate is not necessary to make your marriage legally binding in the UK. 

Check out our wedding packages and prices, the prices quoted are in US dollars, but my business is registered in the UK, so I can take a bank transfer in GB pounds as payment if you prefer.  Drop me an email at info@wedincentralpark.com to ask any questions.  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you live locally or are planning on traveling to New York to get married, visit our website.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest

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Sophie and Ivan’s Wagner Cove Wedding

Sophie and Ivan got married in Wagner Cove in August.  Sophie is from South Africa, and Ivan is from Italy.  They live together in New York City, and they met in New York around four years before they got married.  They contacted me in June to ask for help with planning their wedding in Central Park.

We arranged for a violinist to play at the ceremony.  She played from a selection of classical pieces while the groom and guests waited for the bride to arrive, and then she walked down the steps to the popular Canon in D.  After they were pronounced married, she played Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now, followed by some more pop songs as background music while they signed the paperwork and took group photos.

They had a late afternoon ceremony.  They did have some rain on the afternoon of the ceremony, but many of their group managed to fit under the shelter of Wagner Cove – in fact more people than I’ve ever seen in that small structure by the Lake!  “The fifteen minutes of rain were actually perfect because they forced the people under the cove and we all stayed very close to our family and friends and the sun came out right after that,” said Ivan.

They didn’t want a religious wedding ceremony, but they wanted someone who was a spiritual person to conduct their wedding.  They had four friends read for them, firstly in English and then in Italian, two different friends read an Apache blessing.  After that two different friends firstly in English and then in Italian an excerpt from “The Prophet” by Khalil Gabran.  I will put the English version of both readings at the end of this post.  Sophie and Ivan exchanged traditional vows, then read out some personal promises that they had written specially for each other, and then exchanged rings. 

After the ceremony, their guests went on to reception drinks at the Tavern on the Green.  Sophie and Ivan had some time alone with their photographer, Jakub Redziniak, who took portrait photographs of them at Bethesda Terrace.  After that, the newlywed couple joined their guests a short walk away at the Tavern on the Green.

I asked Sophie and Ivan how we did.  They said their officiant was wonderful, as was the location and the whole process with the violinist, photographer.  “You made the whole things seamless – really easy and low maintenance for us and it was beautiful, fun and relaxed, which is exactly what we were hoping for.  So THANK YOU and WELL DONE!” said Sophie.

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

An Apache blessing

“Now you will feel no rain,

for each of you will be shelter for the other.

Now you will feel no cold,

for each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there will be no loneliness,

for each of you will be companion to the other.

Now you are two persons,

but there is only one life before you.

May beauty surround you both in the

journey ahead and through all the years,

May happiness be your companion and

your days together be good and long upon the earth.

Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and

remind yourselves often of what brought you together.

Give the highest priority to the tenderness,

gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves.

When frustration, difficulties and fear assail your relationship,

as they threaten all relationships at one time or another,

remember to focus on what is right between you,

not only the part which seems wrong.

In this way, you can ride out the storms when

clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives – remembering that

even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there.

And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your

life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.”

Excerpt from “The Prophet” by Khalil Gabran

“You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.

Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

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How to Survive Planning a Destination Wedding if You’re an Introvert

So many of my clients planning a wedding in Central Park are self-professed introverts.  People who choose to elope for their wedding, or bring just a small group of their very closest friends and family rather than have the big, traditional wedding close to home tend to be fairly introverted.  These are my people. 

If you are quite an introverted person, then you’re likely to find planning a destination wedding exhausting, even with a small group.  If you elope, then you’re avoiding a lot of the problems that dealing with others can present, but many of our couples getting married in Central Park tend to bring a small group with them.  Introverts can be terrified at the idea of all the attention that a wedding can bring.  There are some ways introverts can keep stress levels down when planning a destination wedding in New York, or indeed anywhere.

  • Plan the wedding for you.  So many couples tell me that they have started down the route of planning a big wedding and then realised that the whole thing was becoming more about others than about the two of them.  You and your partner are the ones who are getting married, so the wedding should be how you want it.  Discuss your wishes and needs as a couple, take your guests in to account, but ultimately you should do what you both want to do.  Keep a casual vibe.  The more formal the wedding, the more pressure you might feel.  Keep the tone light to avoid unnecessary stress.
  • Make a time line of the wedding day.  I help my clients to do this for their day in New York.  Make sure that you get a bit of down-time every now and again.  This might be before the ceremony, where you might want some time by yourself, or quiet time with just your family or just your bridesmaids.  Maybe you can get some alone time while getting ready; either have a quiet breakfast alone, or perhaps ensure that there is time for a little rest after having your hair done.  Take time out to be alone and breathe.  Perhaps after the ceremony try to get some quiet time with your new spouse, to appreciate the big step you are taking together.  This might be having your first dance, either just before or just after the photos, or possibly taking a cab to your reception separately from your guests.  We can usually find a way to sneak in a bit of alone time for the newlyweds in to a busy wedding day.
  • Consider hiring a wedding planner.  Lots of introverts tell me that it makes things easy to get to know their wedding planner quite well, and to only have to communicate their wishes to one person.  Some couples tell me an awful lot about their relationship, and that allows me to write their ceremony wording, but some prefer to keep the ceremony quite impersonal and keep themselves to themselves.  Whichever you choose is fine with us, and either way, this allows me deal with all the other vendors on the couples’ behalf. 
  • Keep your vows short.  You might want to keep what you are saying out loud to a minimum.  We can have a guest or the officiant read a poem or other reading that articulates how you’re feeling, and that avoids you having to say too much.  Don’t write long and emotional vows to say to your partner in front of everyone if you don’t want to.  If you do want to say something personal and unique, then bring it on a card to read out, or keep it short and repeat your vows line by line after your officiant, or just say “I do” and get out of there!  A benefit of having a small, intimate wedding is that the fewer people you have listening to you say your vows, the less self-conscious you should feel.
  • Keep input from family and friends to a minimum.  Accept help where it is offered, if it is what you want – you are allowed to say no.  Be selective about who you involve in the planning.  Advice is great, but introverts can find that listening to too many people can get overwhelming.  You will want your guests to be comfortable, happy and entertained.  Introverts are often very aware of others’ feelings, so if you sense that your guests aren’t happy then you won’t be either.  When planning a big trip abroad with a group, it can be tricky to keep everyone fairly happy and have the wedding you want.  Take care to strike the right balance.   
  • Communicate with your loved ones.  Tell your people how you are likely to feel.  Your partner will know you and your needs well, but it is worth taking the time to explain to your bridesmaids and your family (and your in-laws!) that you expect to find the day overwhelming at times, and you may need them to allow you some space to help you get through it.  They are unlikely to be surprised – after all they know you and love you, too.
  • Party a little, then rest a little.  Spread out the socialising.  Have your bachelorette or hen party at least a few weeks or even months in advance of the wedding, to give yourself time to relax in between.  If you want to, you can avoid events like bridal showers, and other wedding get-togethers the night before the wedding.  On the other hand; pre-wedding get-togethers can be a great opportunity for the busy couple to hang out with some of the people that they might not have enough time to spend as much time with as they would like on their wedding day.  So, if you have a big group and feel that extra celebrations as group will take the stress off, then do it.
  • Have some quiet time on the day before the wedding. This could be your spouse to be, or with your bridesmaids – someone who you feel it is easy to be around.  Schedule some fabulous New York sightseeing that won’t be with the larger group.  Many introverts can cope with one day of intensive social activity and attention, but it will certainly help if you have a few days of quiet beforehand to get your batteries fully charged!  Don’t fill your diary up with gatherings with everyone involved in the week before your wedding.  Take some time out.

It is very important to pay attention to how you will feel on your wedding day when planning your wedding.  The beautiful gown and the lovely flowers mean nothing if you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed all day and unable to enjoy it. 

So many women have been conditioned to believe that their wedding day is somehow the grand aim of their life – the best and biggest day of their life.  So, it’s not surprising that many brides feel huge amounts of pressure in the run-up to their wedding.  Take some time to consider what your wedding really means to you both, and take the pressure off a little.  Yes, it’s a big step, but it’s just a step.  You have probably made other big steps in your relationship together with less fuss and planning, and you will make other big steps together in the future, you have a long future together, so appreciate the wedding for what it is. 

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.  I’d love to hear tips from other introverts on how they got through their wedding day with minimum fuss.  Please add your thoughts in the comments below.

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