20 Wedding Readings and Poems

20 wedding readings and poems

When I am helping couples to plan their wedding in Central Park, one of the things I do is to write the ceremony wording with the couple. What I usually do is start off by sending them a list of basic questions, about themselves as a couple, their relationship, their families, and so on. Then I use their answers to create a first draft of ceremony wording for the couple to check over. Sometimes the couple are happy with the first draft. I’ve written over 200 hundred wedding ceremonies now so I’ve got a tried and tested process. Sometimes there’s some discussion and we make lots of changes to get the ceremony just how the couple want it. Something a lot of couples like is to have a poem or reading towards the beginning of the ceremony. This might be done by the officiant, or a guest. I am often asked for suggestions, so I thought I’d publish the top twenty readings that my couples have used in the past, and some of my favorites. Some are lighthearted and funny, some are serious and intended to bring a tear to the eye. Some are traditional, some modern. I hope to bring some useful inspiration to many with this list.

Erin&Matthew (11)

Blessing For A Marriage

by James Dillet Freeman
May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding.
May you always need one another — not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness.
A mountain needs a valley to be complete.
The valley does not make the mountain less, but more.
And the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it.
So let it be with you and you.
May you need one another, but not out of weakness.
May you want one another, but not out of lack.
May you entice one another, but not compel one another.
May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another.
May you succeed in all-important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces.
May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults.
If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back.
May you enter into the mystery that is the awareness of one another’s presence — no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities.
May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy.
May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.

Hannah&Leigh (36)

Why Marriage?

by Dena Acolatse

Because of the depths of me, I long to love one person,
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body.
Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won’t hold them against me,
Who loves me when I’m unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential of me.
Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night,
With someone who is thankful for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold.
Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love in friendship.
Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements.
Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole.
Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me,
I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage.
Because with this understanding
The possibilities are limitless
and our love will last forever…


How Do I Love Thee

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.


Benediction of the Apaches

by Elliott Arnold
Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness for you.
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is only one Life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth

04_Tammy & John Wedding_WEB_W_AM

Sonnet CXVI

by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love,
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
Oh, no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests.. and is never shaken.
It is the star to every wandering bark
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love is not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come.
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out.. even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

S&H Central Park Wedding (16)

Marriage Joins Two People in the Circle of Its Love

by Edmund O’Neill
Marriage is a commitment to life, to the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other human relationship can equal; a joining that is promised for a lifetime. Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other’s best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. There may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent for a child. Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller; memories are fresher; commitment is stronger; even anger is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly. Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, and new ways of expressing love through the seasons of life. When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique to themselves, which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential, made in the hearts of two people who love, which takes a lifetime to fulfil.

01_Sarah & Gavin Wedding_WEB_W_AM


by Roy Croft

I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good,
And more than any fate
To make me happy.

You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.


The Art of a Good Marriage

by Wilferd Arlan Peterson

A good marriage must be created.
In marriage the “little” things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say, ”I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values, and common objectives.
It is standing together and facing the world.
It is forming a circle that gathers in the whole family.
It is speaking words of appreciation, and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is not only marrying the right person — it is being the right partner.



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

02_Caroline & Bryan Wedding_WEB_W_AM

Yes, I’ll Marry You

by Pam Ayres
Yes, I’ll marry, my dear, and here’s the reason why;
So I can push you out of bed when the baby starts to cry,
And if we hear a knocking and it’s creepy and it’s late,
I hand you the torch to see, and you investigate.

Yes I’ll marry you, my dear, you may not apprehend it,
But when the tumble-drier goes it’s you that has to mend it.
You have to face the neighbour should our Labrador attack him,
And if a drunkard fondles me it’s you that has to whack him.

Yes I’ll marry you, you’re virile and you’re lean,
My house is like a pigsty you can help to keep it clean.
That sexy little dinner which you served by candlelight,
As I do chipolatas, you can cook it every night!
It’s you who work the drill and put up curtain track,
And when I’ve got PMT it’s you who gets the flak,
I do see great advantages, but none of them for you,
And so before you see the light, I do, I do, I do !


Traditional Irish Wedding Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
May God be with you and bless you;
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

E&T Ladies Pavilion Central Park Wedding Ceremony

Corinthians, chapter 13, verses 1 to 8
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith,so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

02_Heather & Scott Wedding_WEB_W_AM

A passage from The Bridge Across Forever

by Richard Bach
A soul mate 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 soul mate 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 soul mate is the one who makes life come to life.

Holly&David (6) Bow Bridge Central Park Wedding Ceremony

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)

by ee cummins

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Katie&Brett (147)

A passage from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

by Louis de Bernieres

Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together That it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because that is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, It is not the proclamation of promises of eternal passion…. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is left over when being in love has burned away, And this both an art and a fortunate accident….. To have roots that grow towards each other underground, So that when all the pretty blossom has fallen from your branches You find that you are one tree and not two.


A Vow

by Wendy Cope

I cannot promise never to be angry;
I cannot promise always to be kind.
You know what you are taking on, my darling –
It’s only at the start that love is blind.
And yet I’m still the one you want to be with
And you’re the one for me – of that I’m sure.
You are my closest friend, my favorite person,
The lover and the home I’ve waited for.
I cannot promise that I will deserve you
From this day on. I hope to pass that test.
I love you and I want to make you happy.
I promise I will do my very best.

02_Lisa & Grant Wedding_WEB_W_AM

The Life That I Have

by Leo Marks

The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours
The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.


A passage from The Amber Spyglass

by Phillip Pullman
“I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, eve-ry single moment.
And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you… We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams…
And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me.”

L&S central park Ladies Pavilion wedding ceremony

I Will Be Here

by Steven Curtis Chapman
If in the morning when you wake,
If the sun does not appear,
I will be here.
If in the dark we lose sight of love,
Hold my hand and have no fear,
I will be here.
I will be here,
When you feel like being quiet,
When you need to speak your mind I will listen.
Through the winning, losing, and trying we’ll be together,
And I will be here.
If in the morning when you wake,
If the future is unclear,
I will be here.
As sure as seasons were made for change,
Our lifetimes were made for years,
I will be here.
I will be here,
And you can cry on my shoulder,
When the mirror tells us we’re older.
I will hold you, to watch you grow in beauty,
And tell you all the things you are to me.
We’ll be together and I will be here.
I will be true to the promises I’ve made,
To you and to the one who gave you to me.
I will be here.

Nicola&Marc (10)

The Promise

by Eileen Rafter
The sun danced on the snow with a sparkling smile,
As two lovers sat quietly, alone for a while.
Then he turned and said, with a casual air
(Though he blushed from his chin to the tips of his hair),
“ I think I might like to get married to you”.
“Well then, she said, “Well there’s a thought,
But what if we can’t promise to be all we ought,
If I’m late yet again, when we plan to go out.
For I know I can’t promise that I’ll learn to ignore
Dirty socks and damp towels strewn all over the 28 floor.
So if we can’t vow to be all that we should
I’m not sure what to do, though the idea’s quite good”
But gently he smiled and tilted his head
Till his lips met her ear and softly he said
“I promise, to weave my dreams into your own,
That wherever you breathe will be my hearts’ home.
I promise, that whether with rags or riches I’m blessed
Your smile is the jewel I’ll treasure the best.
Do you think then, my love, we should marry – do you?”
“Yes “ she said smiling “ I do”.

10_Sian & David_Wedding_Lo Res _AM

I would love to hear any other suggestions for readings, poems or prayers for a wedding. If you are considering a Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on 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. Please comment below if you have any suggestions of your own, or let me know what reading(s) you had at your own wedding.

Allison&Ryan (220)

Posted in Central Park, wedding advice, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Paper Jackdaw talks about Paper Flowers

I can order fresh blooms for my couples who are getting married in Central Park from my preferred florists in New York City, but many brides choose to bring paper flowers over with them from home, and then take them back home again after the wedding to keep. I asked Ali from Paper Jackdaw to write a piece for this blog, to provide a bit more information for anyone considering a paper bouquet.

I’m so excited to be sharing today on Claire’s blog especially about my favourite topic; paper flowers. Paper is becoming a popular medium for wedding flowers, and rightly so in my opinion. They are so versatile; whether you have huge oversized blooms, rainbow hues or a classic monochrome posy you can create stunning displays from such a humble everyday item – it’s magical.
I love all flowers but adore the level of personalisation you can include in paper bouquets.

S&T343 - Copy

Image http://www.bigphatphotos.co.uk/

Let me share with you some examples of my previous commissions just to give you an idea of how limitless this medium is:

  • Surreptitious Star Wars details – roses created from the blue print of the millennium falcon
  • Maps of places special to the Bride and Groom – Roses created from maps of the world with a single flower created from the map of their home town in the centre of the bouquet & the grooms buttonhole or maps from favourite stories such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s middle earth is a firm favourite
  • Bouquets and flowers created from the music of the first dance and a favourite book
  • One of my personal favourites was using the Bride and Groom’s children’s artwork for flowers a truly unique bouquet and way to include their family

You really are only limited by your imagination and the paper available.

Jen's Bouquet

There are also super practical reasons as to why you would choose paper flowers:

  • Maybe you have an unusual colour palette that nature nor artificial flowers are produced in
  • Some suffer from awful hay fever
  • Perhaps (as you are reading this blog) you are having a destination wedding.

Paper flowers really do come into their own for destination weddings:

  • They won’t wilt on hot days
  • They are super light – this means they make brilliant buttonholes and corsages too.
  • Maybe most importantly you will know what your flowers look like before the day, you can include a little bit of home in them so that everyone is included in your day and you have a fabulous keepsake for years to come.


Hannah 2

What to keep in mind when you order your flowers:

  • What are the timescales? Make sure you have advised when you need your flowers by, not your wedding date, you don’t want to be caught out when your wedding is the end of August but you will be travelling to your wedding the last week of July
  • What size will your bouquet be? You are going to be travelling with them and if you want them in your hand luggage they cannot be too big.
  • How are they supplied to you? I personally supply my flowers double boxed and packed for posting and they normally weigh less than 1.2kg. This means they are all ready to travel with you, mine travel safely by themselves to the USA, across Europe and the UK.
  • Are they weather resistant? Keep in mind it rains in New York sometimes, and even in paradise! All my bridal flowers are specially coated to make them weather resistant – I am based in Yorkshire (if you’re British you’ll understand they have to be very weather resistant in that part of the world!). I don’t ask you to invest in expensive papier-mâché but a robust bouquet that will give you pleasure for years to come.

If you would like some more inspiration do take a peek at my website and if you don’t see what you have in mind, please ask, it really is the best part of my job when I can create something truly unique to add something extra special to your day.
Keep in mind whether home or abroad you really can have your day your way, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise that’s why having the help of a planner with good local knowledge like Claire can be invaluable.

P1040335 (2)


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and tips, Ali.
Ali from Paper Jackdaw is based in Leeds, England. Check out her website for lots more information about what she does. She may be UK-based but she will ship internationally.
Check out her blog, and follow her on your social media(s) of choice. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, Instagram or Pinterest for lots of lovely inspirational photos.

If you are considering a 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 beautiful photos and many more inspiring stories.

Posted in wedding advice, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Michelle and Ian’s Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

Michelle and Ian get married in New York City

Michelle and Ian came from their home in the UK with thirty of their friends and family to New York in July 2008 to get married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in Central Park.  Michelle is Scottish, Ian is English, so they have friends spread over the UK, as well as in Canada and the US.  Michelle had seen photos of the Ladies’ Pavilion online and thought it looked amazing.  Her mum had recently passed away, so she felt that she wanted a small wedding.  So, it seemed like New York would be a great place to get everyone together for their wedding, since wherever they had got married someone would have had to travel anyway.  They designed their invitations themselves, which they delivered with pocket guides to New York.

Michelle and Ian get married in New York City

Their guests were staying in several different hotels, but they were all quite close to Rockerfeller Plaza.  The couple stayed in a suite at the New York Palace and their upgrade included a magnificent lounge for meals and drinks.

Michelle and Ian get married in New York City

I think a destination wedding is a wonderful chance to have two sets of family and friends truly mix with each and get to know everyone.  I think Michelle and Ian truly made the most of this opportunity.  Their guests could do their own thing all day in New York, seeing the sights that appealed to them, but they requested that they all meet at 6pm at a bar in Rockerfeller Plaza so everyone could share their news of the day, and to spend the evening together if they wished.  They had different activities to join in with each evening, and the group could join in with any of them.  I think this is a brilliant way to make the whole trip for a destination wedding part of the wedding celebration.  It really adds to experience and the whole purpose of two families becoming one at a wedding.

Michelle and Ian get married in New York City

The wedding took place at 5pm.  July in New York City is hot, so they decided to marry later on as the temperatures cooled a little.  “There had been lots of rain during the day but it was beautiful weather when we were married,” Michelle told me.  “Our wedding date was July 25th and this was my late mum’s birthday so it was significant to me that I got married on that date,” she added.

Michelle and Ian get married in New York City

Michelle wore a gown a very pale shade of pink called shell.  They had only decided to get married four months before the date, so she had to choose something quickly.  “My dress was the second one I tried on in the shop and I decided it was perfect,” she said.  “I bought the dress, veil, shoes and head dress in about thirty minutes,” she added.

Michelle and Ian get married in New York City

Michelle planned the whole wedding herself and did lots of extensive research online to find the right people and to get everything right.  She applied for the permit herself from the Central Park Conservancy.  “They tried to discourage me from booking the Ladies Pavilion because there was building work going on there!”  She said, but she had her heart set on that location, also my favorite.  “I said that we’d all wear wellies if we had to!” she told me.

Michelle and Ian get married in New York City

They had booked the Lyrical String Quartet, who played Jerusalem and Caledonia and Englishman in New York as the guests were waiting for the bride, her dad her niece Danika to arrive.  They played Panis Angelicus when they arrived, and walked down the pathway to the Pavilion that works so well as an aisle for a bride to make an entrance, and then they played Hawaii wedding song when they were pronounced married, because Michelle had memories of her dad singing this to her mum.

Michelle and Ian get married in New York City

Their photographer was the wonderful Brian Friedman.

Michelle and Ian get married in New York City

Michelle’s dad gave her away, and as a surprise he brought the missal her mum had carried when they were married in 1960.  “It was such a lovely surprise,” Michelle said, “I didn’t know he was going to bring it to New York.”  Her dad is carrying it in the photos because Michelle had already ordered her bouquet.

Michelle and Ian get married in New York City

Their wedding receptions was held on a Spirit Cruises yacht on the Hudson River.  They hired an open top bus from CitySights NY to take the guests from Central Park to Chelsea Harbour to board the yacht.  Michelle ordered her cake from BabyCakes, which has since changed it’s name.

Michelle and Ian get married in New York City

The day after the wedding the couple flew to Fort Lauderdale.  They hired a car and drove to Miami where they stayed for a week before driving down to Key West where they stayed for a further week.

Michelle and Ian get married in New York City

“I love saying I got married in Central Park in New York,” says Michelle.  “It was a truly special day in a fabulous location,” she added.  “Many of the guests still say it was the best wedding they’ve ever been to,” she told me.  And that is a pretty good endorsement nine years later.  Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Michelle and Ian.

Michelle and Ian get married in New York City

If you are considering a 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.

Michelle and Ian get married in New York City

Posted in Central Park, real wedding, Weddings | 1 Comment

Five Things I Loved About my Wedding – Kelsey

This is the seventh in a series of blog posts about those little things that make a wedding special to the couple. It is called Five Things I Loved About My Wedding. The idea is to help provide some inspiration for anyone planning their own wedding. Most of the weddings discussed in this series will be from Central Park, but some weddings from other locations will be featured, because I think all weddings will provide some ideas. Many couples have a big vision of what they want on the day, but this series is about the details. Most of the weddings discussed in this series will have taken place in Central Park, but some weddings from other locations will be featured. Kelsey is a Floral Designer and Event Planner, providing services in Nashville and Middle Tennessee with her business An Elegant Encounter. She very kindly posted a piece written by with my tips for a great destination wedding in Central Park, so we are doing a swap. Kelsey married her husband Jim in 2015 at President Andrew Jackson’s The Hermitage in Nashville Tennessee.

The Plantation
Our wedding was held at a historic home on a plantation in Nashville, TN. The property includes two mansions, several cabins, and a museum. Our family members are not big drinkers, and we knew that they wouldn’t want to stand around for an hour between the ceremony and reception while we took pictures. Therefore, instead of a cocktail hour, guests were allowed to take tours of the main historic mansion and museum. I loved that it was unique and gave my guests something to do!

Kelsey plantation
The Snowy Chapel
My husband grew up near this little chapel and always wanted to get married here. I was not wild about the idea, as it is quite plain on the inside. However, he can be quite nostalgic about his childhood, and it was really important to him, so it was totally worth it for me. As an added bonus, it snowed on our wedding day! The chapel was picture perfect in the snow, and I ended up loving it.

Kelsey chapel snow
The Cake
Okay, I know, everyone loves their cake. But what you need to understand about me is that my mother owned a home-based cake decorating business when I was a child. She used to do wedding cakes, but one day a cat jumped into the back of her car and smashed in an entire layer of one of the cakes. After that, she refused to do any more wedding cakes; she said it was too much pressure! But she still needed a creative outlet for her cake design, so we had fresh, homemade cake at every major event of my childhood. I LOVE cake! And I HATE dry, store-bought cake. I could have chosen a beautiful, fancy, tiered wedding cake, but I couldn’t stand the thought of bad-tasting cake. Instead, I choose these simple cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes. We were able to order multiple flavors, and they are all divine. My favorite is the white chocolate raspberry, while my husband loves the red velvet. Sorry, Mom, but these are the best-tasting cakes ever.

Kelsey wedding cakes
The Sweaters
Remember all that snow we had on the wedding day? Well, for Nashville, it was a lot! It was a blizzard for us. We never would have guessed that it would snow, but I had my heart set on a winter wedding, and we put the bridal party in sweaters and sweater dresses to play up the theme. It might not be to everyone’s taste, but I loved it and my bridesmaids were so thankful to be comfortable and warm.

Kelsey sweater dresses
We ordered BBQ for our wedding back before every single bride in the South was having BBQ at her wedding. I just do not understand spending thousands of dollars on wedding food that doesn’t even taste good. This BBQ was from a local restaurant, so we knew it would be delicious. Our guests loved it, and I saved SO much money on food.

All the wedding photos were by Katy Johnson Photography.

An Elegant Encounter are duo Kelsey, a floral designer and event planner, and Kayla, a wedding coordinator. Check out their blog, and follow them on your social media(s) of choice. Follow them on Twitter and Pinterest and Instagram and “like” them Facebook page for updates on her posts.

I absolutely love the idea of sweater dresses to keep bridesmaids warm and comfortable, they would be great for a wedding in Central Park in the Winter.  If you are considering a 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.

Posted in Five Things I Loved About My Wedding, wedding advice, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Things I Loved About My Wedding – Jess

This is the sixth in a series of blog posts about the details that a couple remember from their wedding day and that made the day special to them, no matter how small they may seem to others. It is called Five Things I Loved About My Wedding. Lots of couples come to this blog looking for inspiration for their own wedding, so this series is intended to help with just that. Most of the weddings discussed in this series will be from Central Park, but some weddings from other locations will be featured. This is Jess’ list of the five things that made her wedding day special, read more about it here. She married her husband on the rooftop of the Surrey Hotel, which is on the Upper East Side, close to Central Park, and then they had some wedding photos taken in Central Park afterwards.

The Date

Okay, this may sound silly, but hear me out! I’m a huge believer in the details–whether it’s the perfect shade of red lipstick, the tiny golden tuxedo my chihuahua wore, the engravings on the inside of our wedding bands, or the wedding date itself! I have long associated 7 with being a lucky number for me, and my husband and I both adore the summer, so July 7th (7.7) was a wedding date we were both so excited about! Another plus: since it fell on a holiday weekend (4th of July) the city and Central Park were virtually empty while we were taking photos. And it’s great to be able to plan little getaways every year on our long weekend anniversary.

Jess Central Park Wedding 1

Making a Wedding Video of all our Special NYC Places

Since my husband and I met in NYC, dated in NYC, got engaged in NYC, it was only appropriate that we get married in NYC, i.e. our favorite place in the world! I had the idea to go around to all our special places the day before our wedding (like where we met, where we got engaged, etc.), and film a video which we would later show our friends and family. Every anniversary, my husband and I watch it and relive that beautiful day all over again! Anytime someone asks what I’m happiest to have spent money on for my wedding, hands down it’s the wedding video (here it is).

Surprising Our Parents

The morning of our wedding, we had our parents meet us at the hotel under the thought that they were going to a “food tasting” for a wedding they thought would be much later in the year. When they showed up, I was already in my wedding dress and my husband in his tux, and we said, “surprise! we’re actually getting married TODAY!” The look on their faces was priceless (in the best way possible!:-)

Jess Central Park Wedding 2

Our Ring Bearer

Our sweet chihuahua, Gillman, was the ring bearer at our wedding. We tied our wedding bands on a ribbon around his neck, and had him prance over to give them to us! Funny story: later that evening my husband couldn’t find his wedding band. We tore the hotel room apart looking for it, and low and behold it was hiding at the bottom of Gillman’s doggy carrier. He took his job very seriously!

Sadly, our little chichi passed last year at 15 years old, but having him as such an integral part of our most special day is a memory we both cherish so, so much.

Jess Central Park Wedding 3

Giving a Special Gift to my Groom

My husband was so thoughtful when it came to putting together my dream wedding, that I wanted to do something special for him, as well. The morning of our wedding I gave him a watch that I knew he’d been eyeing for years, with an engraving on the back: “You are the tick to my tock. 7.7.13” While it wasn’t the gift itself that was so special, it was more the gesture behind it: we were signing on to a lifetime of love, support, and going out of our way to do little things every single day to make the other person smile.

Jess Central Park Wedding 4

Jessica lives in New York and blogs over at UsedYorkCity.com about “the best of New York, as used by New Yorkers.” You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. She shares some great tips and advice for locals and visitors alike.

If you are considering a Central Park wedding yourself, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where you will find lots of beautiful photos and many more inspiring stories.

Posted in Five Things I Loved About My Wedding, New York, real wedding, wedding advice, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Five Things I Loved About My Wedding – Laura

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts with a focus on the things that a couple look back on and know that they made their wedding special to them.  It is called Five Things I Loved About My Wedding.  The idea is to help provide some inspiration for anyone planning their own wedding.  Most of the weddings discussed in this series will be from Central Park, but some weddings from other locations will be featured, because I think all weddings will provide some inspiration.  Laura writes a parenting and lifestyle blog, Autumn’s Mummy, and she very kindly posted a piece written by me about my business, so we are doing a swap.  She married her husband Dave in June 2015 in Kent.  This is Laura’s list of the five things that made her wedding day special.

That I was finally getting married

My husband and I got engaged when we were 18 and it was apparent that it would take years for us to get married. Sometimes it seemed like we were never going to get there, as I watched others meet partners and get married around us. Now it was finally our turn! I know a lot of people say that “it’s just a piece of paper”, but it was important to us.

Laura wedding 1

My dress

My dress was the first one I tried on, but no other dress I tried came anywhere close to it. It was traditional but modern, with a small train just like I wanted. It was an Alfred Angelo with lacy details, small pearls and sequins. It sparkled in the light, but wasn’t too much. I loved how it made my figure look and I loved how I felt in it. I never wanted to take it off!

Laura wedding 2

My shoes

My shoes were the first thing I bought for our wedding. I’ve always loved shoes and when I spotted Irregular Choice’s “Fresh Cut Grass” online, I just knew that those had to be my wedding shoes. I’ve loved their quirky designs for years and I couldn’t imagine wearing any other shoes once I’d seen those. Frustratingly, they’d been discontinued. However, I managed to find a brand new pair heavily discounted from a seller on eBay!

Laura wedding 3

My makeup

My makeup was how I like to wear my makeup on a daily basis, but a more polished version. I really wish I looked like I did on my wedding every day! I really need to master winged eyeliner, then I’ll be a step closer. It was important to me that I looked like “me” and felt my most confident. My makeup on the day definitely did both those things.

Laura wedding 4

How our rings were delivered

I’ve loved owls since I started reading the Harry Potter books at the age of 8. I’ve collected owl things since and would consider them my favourite animal. I found out that you could have barn owls deliver the wedding rings at your wedding. It was a wonderful surprise for our guests and the owl was beautiful! It added a little more interest to the day and was definitely a very special memory.

Laura wedding 5

All the wedding photos were by Robert Marriott Photography.

Autumn’s Mummy is a family lifestyle blog, written by Laura who lives in Rochester, UK. She writes about her experiences as a 25 year old, happily married first time mama. She also has a wide variety of interests which include beauty, technology and fashion which she also blogs about.  Check out her blog, and follow her on your social media(s) of choice.  Follow her on Twitter and Instagram and “like” her Facebook page for updates on her posts.

If you are considering a 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 beautiful photos and many more inspiring stories.

Posted in Five Things I Loved About My Wedding, real wedding, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What if it Rains on Your Wedding Day?

When I ask my clients if they were nervous or concerned about anything before their wedding in Central Park, by far the most frequent answer is that they were worried about the possibility of rain.  This is such a common issue, but after planning and delivering over two hundred weddings we have seen rain maybe ten times, and weather has been so bad that we have rescheduled or re-arranged four times.

It is easy for me to say, we had lots of sunshine for our July wedding in Central Park, but if you have made the choice to get married in Central Park then you just have to make peace with the possibility that it might rain.  There are things we can do to make a backup plan in case of bad weather, or you can just accept that you might get a little wet.


There are places in Central Park that provide shelter from some rain.  We can purchase a plan A event permit and a plan B wet weather permit if a couple has a group that will fit inside one of the structures with shelter.  Or, a couple can be a little pessimistic and just make one plan, and decide to marry in the location that provides shelter.  The Ladies’ Pavilion and Belvedere Castle Terrace have shelter, and a very large group will fit under Bethesda Terrace.  Couples must remember that if it’s raining, other people in Central Park will want shelter too, so these areas may get busy when it’s raining.  When it rains, it can also be windy, and though Belvedere Castle Terrace has two covered areas, it is the highest point in Central Park, so it does get windy up there.

Couples can just accept that they and their guests may get a little wet and choose to bring umbrellas.  The transparent ones are very popular and look great in wedding photos, because they won’t cast a shadow over your faces, or you could choose umbrellas to match your wedding colors!  There are places, such as Wagner Cove, where the couple and an officiant can fit under cover and guests could carry umbrellas, but this wouldn’t be very kind in a downpour, and only really appropriate if you are only worried about a little drizzle.

Bethesda Terrace Central Park wedding rain 1

An important point to remember is that many musicians cannot play in even a little moisture in the air.  Classical instruments will by ruined by any dampness, so even if you decide to carry on in any rain then a musician may not be able to.  We have had musicians agree to play if a guest can hold a large umbrella over them, but this sort of decision would be at their discretion.

Brides may want to keep in mind the possibility of wet ground when choosing their wedding dress.  A long gown that reaches the floor with a train may well suffer if the ground is very wet.  Similarly, brides may want to discuss styles with their hair and makeup artists, some styles will fair better in wet weather than others, but then that’s true of very hot and humid weather or wind, too.  Shoes for photos and a pair for walking in might be helpful, in fact this might be a helpful tip in good weather or bad!

S&L cab NYC wedding rain

In all my contracts I say “in case of a change of plans or bad weather, every attempt will be made to work with a new date or suitable alternative location.”  That may sound a bit vague but I think it has to be to cover any eventuality, and that’s what I try to do.  Sometimes couples have had other reasons than the weather to ask to change the plans that we have made and I have done all I can to work with any new plans, whatever the reason.  Myself and the couple will discuss the possibility of wet weather during the planning process, and we may work out a backup plan if the couple wishes to.  We will be watching the weather forecast in the run up to the wedding day and if necessary will discuss wet weather options a day or two before the wedding.

Each couple is different, with different plans for their wedding day, so everyone will have something different that they would like to do if it rains.  In many cases, if the wedding is a large one, with lots of guests, and a reception location booked and so on, then often the show must go on as originally planned.  In these cases we might just move the location to somewhere under cover.  In the case of eloping couples or a smaller group, then the couple can be more flexible, and in these instances we have been able to change the time of day of the wedding (ie if it was scheduled for the afternoon, but we have a wet afternoon and a dry morning forecast then we moved the wedding to the morning) or we have changed the day of the wedding (ie go with everything in plan A, just moved it to the following day).

V&S Central Park Wedding the Mall rain (1)

The option of changing the date or time of a wedding can present a few issues.  One is that we have an event permit for a date, time and location and we must allow at least three week’s notice for the Central Park Conservancy to issue that permit.  So, if we are changing plans on a wedding at the last minute then we will not have a permit for our new last-minute plan.  Some couples purchase a backup permit, but in many cases, if the party is under twenty people, then they can marry without a permit.  Holding a wedding without a permit means that you could arrive at your chosen location and find that there is already a wedding taking place, but we have no choice but to wait for them to finish before we can move in to the area.  I do not recommend this as a plan A option, because it can disrupt the rest of the schedule of your day, but if rain has already disturbed things, then a little more disorder may well be unavoidable.

The Mall Central Park wedding rain

Another issue is that when I book a photographer, officiant, and any other service provider then I am booking them for the date and time that I have agreed with the couple.  The people I work with are all very obliging and ready to be flexible when they can be.  So, in the case of a couple wanting to change their date or time, then I would simply ask the officiant (and anyone else booked for the day) if they can change the date or time that we have contracted for.  Everyone I work with is busy, they might have another job alongside this occupation, or they may be booked for another wedding at that time.  If they can change, they will, and they will do it free of charge, because they are great people, and we do try to remain flexible for each other because we value our relationship, but it might be that they cannot change.  This has happened before, but fortunately I know lots of awesome people in the wedding business in New York, so I can simply book someone else.  In this case there would have to be a fee for the extra person’s time.  So, it might be that we can change a date or time of a wedding for a couple for no fee at all, and it might be that there will be a fee.  We cannot say which it would be until the time comes that we need to re-arrange.  Either way, there is no extra fee for my time to make any last-minute reshuffles.


In some cases a couple just cannot change their schedule for rain and they just have to accept it and even try to embrace it.  If a couple have put lots of time and effort in to planning then this can be very upsetting.  In one case, we discussed the possibility of the couple marrying in their hotel at the pre-arranged time and date, but then arranging for the photographer and them to meet the following day for some photographs in Central Park.  In the end we didn’t need to, because the rain that was forecast didn’t come.

This is a very important thing to keep in mind when wedding planning; it really does not happen very often.  A quick look through this blog will show that the vast majority of weddings in Central Park see dry weather, and often blue skies.  There have been many occasions that I have been nervously watching the weather forecast and seen rain predicted, and then the day before the forecast has changed to sunshine.  Manhattan does not tend to see as much rain as the rest of New York City, and it is important to remember that when looking at pessimistic forecasts.

wedding central park bethesda fountain

It is important to stay cheerful and positive on your wedding day, even if there is some rain.  It is the celebration of your union and you are only going to do it once.  Your wedding day may not be completely perfect, but your marriage won’t be either!  This is the first day of your married life and you are going to promise to stick together for better or for worse.  This may include some rain, and it’s only water, after all.  Your guests may have traveled a long way to celebrate with you and it is in everyone’s interests to remain positive.  If you have made the choice to have an outdoor wedding, try to embrace nature and dance in the rain!

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


Posted in Central Park, wedding advice, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment