Guest Post – Planning a Bridal Look for a Park Venue

Today’s post  has been written by Olga from Best for Bride, a Canadian bridal dress chain. Brides often ask her for advice on what to wear for their wedding day, so I asked her to write a blog making some suggestions on what to think about for anyone planning a wedding in Central Park.  Here is what she said.

An outdoor wedding is always interesting, with nature forming a beautiful canvas for your wedding décor. Although unconventional, getting married in a venue like a park is very popular these days. Central Park, for instance, is a preferred location for weddings all-year round.

When your venue is outdoors there are more factors to consider when planning your bridal look. Your dress and accessories should be comfortable, while your hair and makeup should be appropriate. Here are some tips from the bridal experts at Best for Bride, Canada’s top bridal destination, to help you plan your wedding day look when the venue is outdoors.

 

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Prioritize function over form when choosing your dress

A heavy wedding gown with a long train is impractical and inconvenient when you will be walking on uneven terrain. Similarly, fitted dress silhouettes will stifle your movement. The apt choice would be a light, airy wedding dress in breathable fabric like chiffon or lace. Avoid styles like the trumpet and mermaid as they can be difficult to move in, while ball gowns are heavy. Instead opt for A-line or sheath styles. Dresses with hemlines at the ankle or above also suit the casual and relaxed vibe of a park wedding.

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Wear water-proof makeup and a hairstyle that holds

Use waterproof makeup to look fresh for longer. Also pick a hairstyle that will hold. Don’t forget to pack an emergency touch-up kit to use throughout the day. It should contain hair brushes, compact, lipstick, brushes, blotting paper and Q-tips for quick touch-ups. Quickly refresh your hair and makeup at regular intervals and especially before photo shoots to look great throughout the day.

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Pick accessories with care

While high heels are fine for an indoor wedding, they aren’t advisable for an outdoor venue. Instead opt for kitten heels, peep-toes or sandals. You can even try unusual options like sneakers or boots for a statement look. Outdoor weddings are the perfect occasion to experiment with unique accessories like floral crowns and wildflower bouquets. Choose lightweight jewelry to avoid a cluttered look.

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Dress according to the weather

Spring and summer are the popular seasons for park weddings. Nevertheless, there are couples who decide to tie the knot outdoors in the cold months. Plan your bridal look according to the weather at the time of your wedding. If it will be windy, add an accessory like a stylish jacket, bolero, cape or shrug to your bridal ensemble. Or choose dresses with sleeves to stay warm. For an autumn or winter wedding, dresses made from thicker fabric like velvet or wool blends are best.

Thanks so much for this Olga, this is all great food for thought.  Best for Bride is a Canadian bridal dress chain operating from four locations in the country.  They feature an extensive collection of wedding dresses; bridesmaids dress collections and dresses for the rest of the bridal party.  For more details on the collections they carry and their services, check out the Best for Bride website here.

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

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Rivka and Dani’s International Cop Cot Wedding

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Rivka and Dani brought their family and friends from pretty much all over the world this August, to get married at Cop Cot in Central Park. Rivka is originally from New Zealand and Dani is from England. They met when Dani was backpacking through New Zealand. They had only been together for a short time when Dani’s visa ran out and she was due to go to Australia. Rivka decided to go with her. It turned out to be the right decision and they have been together for over five years now.

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They lived together in Sydney and did lots of travelling together from there. They both attended a friend’s wedding a year or so ago and after that they “felt that something shifted,” as Rivka put it, and they felt that it was time to take the next step in their relationship.

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Just a few days before they had got together Dani had jokingly proposed to Rivka with a ring from her own finger and had always refused to take it back. So, it was a long-standing joke between them that when it became time to get married, Rivka must do the proposing, because Dani already had. As an Englishwoman living abroad tea is very important to Dani, as I can wholeheartedly appreciate, after living away from England for over six years myself. So, Rivka had a mug specially made with a spoon engraved with “will you marry me?” Rivka proposed four years to the day that Dani had jokingly proposed to her.

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Same-sex marriages are not legally recognized yet in their home of Australia, but Rivka and Dani wanted to formalize their commitment knowing that they wanted to share all parts of their lives with each other. It was important to them to make their commitment somewhere that their marriage would be seen as equal in the eyes of the law to all other marriages. Initially they were going to get married in the only place in Australia where this would be the case, which is the British Consulate. This option is only open to couples with one partner who is British, and although they qualified for this, they decided they wanted to get married somewhere a bit more fun, and where they could have a proper celebration.

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New York seemed like the obvious choice for a couple with family as spread out as theirs. It is one of Rivka and Dani’s favorite cities and it is accessible for many of their friends and family who they wanted to attend their wedding. I find that this is quite a common reason for couples who are from two distant places; a destination wedding in New York is neutral and feels fair to everyone. They were quick to choose Central Park for their ceremony location “because it is so quintessentially New York as well as beautiful,” said Rivka “and as soon as we saw Cop Cot we knew we had found the place,” she added.

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The couple stayed in a rented apartment in Soho for ten days. This was a rather large wedding by Central Park standards with around fifty guests. All but four of the guests were from overseas. They all loved the location for the wedding. “For many of them, especially those from New Zealand, it was a great excuse to come to a city they had always wanted to see,” Rivka told me. “We had Dani’s family from the UK and some of my family from New Zealand, along with friends from the UK, Australia and France,” she said.

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They held their ceremony in Cop Cot, “which is not only beautiful but is also very well located for transport and easy for guests to find,” Rivka pointed out. “The photographs we took around there were great because we had Central Park and the iconic New York City skyline in the background,” she added.

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They had their reception at The Park in Chelsea, near to the Highline, so they took lots of photos there, too. “It gives you a great mix of garden, industrial and New York all at once,” Rivka said. Their reception has a room overlooking the Highline. “They were great at organizing the whole reception from overseas and it actually was beyond our expectations when we finally got to see the place on the week of our wedding. All the guests loved it too and the food was fantastic,” enthused Rivka.

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Rivka wore a Grecian inspired dress originally designed as a bridesmaid dress by Jadore from White Runway in Sydney. Dani wore a suit that she had tailored on their last trip to Thailand. Rivka and her bridesmaid carried gerberas in their bouquets and we had spray roses and baby’s breath put into Rivka and the bridal party members’ hair. The wonderful Rachel Cho floral design provided all the flowers and the fabulous team from Metrolook styled the flowers in to their hair. “Metrolook were amazing,” said Rivka, “we had a lot of fun getting ready and not only were they great at their jobs but were so good at helping me stay calm.”

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I asked them if they had any thoughts to share for anyone considering a wedding in Central Park, and Rivka said “if you are nervous about planning a destination wedding or wondering whether it is worth it …. it really is. With Claire’s help our day was not only perfect but also seemless and everything she organized for us, whether it was flowers, hair and make up, celebrant or photographer they were very professional and great choices.”

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Thank you for sharing your story with us, Rivka and Dani, I wish you the best of luck for your future together, and I hope you have an amazing time together travelling over the coming years. For more information on planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook for photos and more inspiring stories.

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Tatiana and Fabio’s Conservatory Garden Wedding

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Tatiana and Fabio are both originally from Brazil, but they currently live together in Upper East Side Manhattan. They met at their Tatiana’s friend’s tattoo studio, Acqua Santa Tattoo in Chelsea, where Fabio works as a tattoo artist.

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At first Tatiana thought Fabio was too quiet, and Fabio thought Tatiana was too loud, but eventually they got to know each other better. Tatiana was often at the tattoo studio to see her friend and she would see Fabio, and the group would socialise together, and one day something clicked and from then on Tatiana and Fabio became an inseparable couple. They moved in together three months after getting together and soon after Tatiana’s birthday that year, which fell on Thanksgiving, Fabio proposed in front of her whole family.

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As soon as they were engaged to be married, the couple knew that they wanted to tie the knot in Central Park. They had had their first date in Central Park, in the Conservatory Gardens, so the place had a special significance for them. One day, Fabio had taken a wrong turn while walking their dog, and happened upon the beautiful Vanderbilt Gate, and when he got home he suggested they get married in the gardens.

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Tatiana and Fabio live just a few blocks from Central Park, so it seemed like the obvious choice for them. I completely know how they feel. Myself and my husband were living just a few blocks away from where Tatiana and Fabio live now when we decided to get married in Central Park. We went running there and we walked our dog there, it seemed so natural that this beautiful place that featured so heavily in our daily lives should be the place where we got married. We have something else in common with Tatiana and Fabio, we also took our dog to our wedding.

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The couple chose the Burnett Fountain at the Secret Garden in the Conservatory Gardens for their wedding ceremony location. Since Tatiana and Fabio are New Yorkers, they really didn’t need too much from me, just pieces of advice here and there, and the purchase of their event permit.

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The Conservatory Gardens carry an extra charge (not mine – theirs – for more info, check their website), all the other locations have a fee of $25, which I build in to my packages, the Conservatory Gardens cost $500, so it costs $475 extra to get married there on top of my usual package prices. Tatiana and Fabio did not need me to provide an officiant for them, that friend who introduced them was their officiant at the wedding ceremony.

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Tatiana wore a beaded lace sheath wedding gown with godet inserts by Galina, purchased from David’s Bridal. Her hair and makeup were done at the Maria Bonita Spa and Salon.  Their photographer was Tiago Chediak.

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Tatiana and Fabio are locals so they were able to have lots of friends and family at their wedding. Tatiana told me that they all loved the beauty and energy of Central Park. That evening they had a beautiful cocktail party overlooking the sunset. I always ask people if there is anywhere in New York they would recommend, and this couple is Brazilian, so their recommendation is a Berimbau, a Brazilian restaurant.

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I asked them if they would recommend a wedding in Central Park to other New Yorkers, or visitors to their city and Tatiana said “oh yes it was so magical and dreamy to be married in such a beautiful location.” She added, “Claire helped me set everything, answered all my questions in a speedy manner, I would do it just the same all over again, thank you Claire.”

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Thank you for sharing your story with us, Tatiana and Fabio I wish you the best of luck for your futures together in New York, I am honoured to have been a part of your wedding. For more information on planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook for photos and more inspiring stories.

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Susanna and Jari’s Wedding Celebration at Belvedere Castle Terrace

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Susanna and Jari brought some of their friends over to New York from Tampere, Finland to get married this July. They first met in 2007 when they began their studies in Tampere University of applied sciences. They were in the same class and had mutual friends, but they were not together as a couple until five years ago in 2011 as a result of spending a lot of time together arranging an educational trip to the wonderful city of New York for their student society. “In May 2011 we shared the most romantic moment kissing under the stars at the Top of the Rock,” said Susanna. As they fell in love with New York they also fell in love with each other. This is the reason they decided to have their wedding in New York.

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They had been together for two years before they got married in June 2013 before their son Max was born in August. It was a quick ceremony on a Tuesday afternoon in their local registry offices, so they planned to have a bigger celebration later on after their son arrived. At that time they had not yet decided where it would be. So, they did not get engaged in the traditional way of one asking the other, they just decided together to get married before their son was born because they wanted the whole family to have the same last name.

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I asked them about their decision to get married in Central Park. “When we started planning our wedding we knew right away that no ordinary party would do,” said Susanna. “We had seen way too many weddings all from the same mould and we wanted something different and exciting, something that would reflect us as people.” The Top of the Rock has a special significance to them, of course, so they had considered having their ceremony there, but in the end they decided that it would be too difficult and expensive. They had loved Central Park since the first time they visited it, so it seemed like the natural choice for them.

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They stayed in New York for six days, at the Cassa Hotel on 45th Street. “The hotel was great and the staff was beyond amazing!” Susanna said. “They were very helpful in all our questions and requests,” she added. They also recommend the hotel’s restaurant Butter. “Outstanding food, lovely atmosphere and friendly staff,” she said.

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Their ceremony was held on the Belvedere Castle terrace. They were on a tight schedule on their wedding day, so they stuck to that one location for all their photos, but luckily they had chosen a spectacular location so they got lots of great pictures.

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After the ceremony they went on a dinner cruise by Spirit Cruises aboard the Spirit of New York. “We had a lovely evening with good food, dancing and sightseeing and it was really nice since most of our guests were in New York for the first time and they got to see the sights at the same time,” Susanna said. “After the cruise we all went back to our hotel to have a drink and change clothes before we headed to the rooftop garden at 230 Fifth. We had table reserved and we spent the rest of the evening enjoying the beautiful view and nice cold drinks,” she added.

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Susanna wore a champagne colored wedding dress from Pure Bridal that she had bought in Finland and brought with her to New York. Jari’s tux was rented from Baldwin Formals in New York. Susanna’s bouquet and Jari’s boutonniere were from Rachel Cho Floral Design and they were made with burgundy roses and calla lilies. Susanna’s hair and make up were done by artists from Metrolook New York. Susanna loved her look and all the guests said that they did a great job.

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I asked what they would say to anyone considering having a wedding in Central Park. “To anyone who is thinking about getting married in Central Park I say do it!” Susanna said. “It is a unique experience and with a professional like Claire handling everything all you have to do is show up!” Thank you for sharing your story with us, Susanna and Jari, I wish you the best of luck for your future together with your little family. For more information on planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook for photos and more inspiring stories.

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Rhiannon and Danielle’s Shakespeare Garden Elopement

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Rhiannon and Danielle came from Fife in Scotland to New York with their friends to get married in Central Park. They met seven years ago when Rhiannon was working in a restaurant as a waitress. Danielle came in with her friend to book a table and they just clicked.

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After being together for only six months, Rhiannon proposed in their home, surrounded by rose petals and candles. Then Dani decided to buy Rhiannon a ring in return, so she took her to a local beach where they had had their first two dates, and they got officially engaged there, and they think of it as their special place now.

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The couple know that they did not want a big wedding, “we didn’t want the hassle,” said Rhiannon. They already had the New York vacation planned, so they thought maybe a small chapel while they were away might be an option for them. They had something like Gretna Green in mind, a traditional location for quick weddings on the border of England and Scotland.

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Rhiannon Googled “get married in New York” and my website for Wed in Central Park came up. They liked what I said on the website, it convinced them that Central Park would be a nice place to have a wedding. They emailed me asking for prices, and we went from there. They said that they were pleasantly surprised with what they could get from me in Central Park for the prices I charge. “Claire was fantastic – she helped with everything, and even gave us some nudges in the right direction when we weren’t sure,” said Rhiannon. “For example, we had narrowed down our ceremony location choice to a few places that looked nice, but Claire picked the perfect one out for us – it was a lovely and quiet little location surrounded by flowers and quaint little wooden fences, it was beautiful.” They got married in the Shakespeare Garden. There is a small wooden platform at the bottom of the garden that is great for small groups like this.

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I asked them if they had had any concerns about getting married away from home and they told me that their main worry was that all would go smoothly in picking up the marriage license from City Hall. This is the part that I cannot do for the couples, they are legally required to do this themselves, this is where the City Clerk checks that they are who they say they are. “It sounds simple enough – go to City Hall with your passport and your partner, fill out an online form, then wait for your name to be called up to the desk,” explained Rhiannon. “I think it was a bit scary because it was so important,” she added. She is right, it is straightforward but it is an important part of the legal process of getting married. “Also, when they say it needs picked up at least 24 hours in advance, they mean it! It does have a time on it! We picked ours up on Monday, and it got approved at 11:27am and we got married at 10:00am on the Wednesday. If we’d left it until the day before, it wouldn’t have been valid until 11:27,” Rhiannon warned.

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Rhiannon and Dani were on holiday with their friends, Rhiannon’s best friend from school, Alan and his husband Calum. They were their only guests, their official witnesses, their best men, maids of honor, ring bearers, and the ceremony cameramen! “They looked very handsome in their kilts, and they made it very special indeed,” Rhiannon told me. Alan even wrote a poem especially for them and read it out for them during the ceremony. The only other people there were the officiant and photographer.

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They certainly got lots of lovely photos all over Central Park. A benefit to having a small group, it is quicker to get around to all the great locations. “We had the ceremony in the Shakespeare Garden, it was very quaint,” said Rhiannon. “It is very peaceful, had beautiful flowers, lovely little rustic wooden fences. Magical,” she added. I asked if they had any favorite photos in particular and she said “it’s so hard to choose only a couple as they are all lovely. I especially like the ones with the skyscrapers in the background. The contrast between such an open, green space and the hustle and bustle of one of the biggest cities in the world is spectacular.”

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Rhiannon wore a strapless white dress, fitted around the torso, with a high collar and a long train, and a lilac sash. She purchased it from JJSHouse. She is lucky to live next door to a professional wedding dress maker, Pattern Cutter UK Ltd, and she altered it for her. Danielle wore grey trousers and a grey waistcoat, a white shirt and a lilac tie, from Primark, which I think is brilliant. Both guests wore kilts, which regular readers of this blog will know that I am very fond of. And they chose to keep it simple and not carry flowers. The couple estimate that overall their full wedding attire cost around $400 for everything!

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After the wedding and the photos the group went for a beer with the officiant and photographer. “It was a wonderful way to finish up such a lovely experience,” said Rhiannon. “They were absolutely delightful, and really put us at ease throughout the day.” Then after they had Skyped family and friends to tell them that they were officially married and got changed out of their wedding gear, they went to the Top of the Rock for some breath taking views of the city and their wedding location of Central Park.

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I asked if they had any advice for anyone considering marrying on Central and Rhiannon said “Do it!! And go through Claire at Wed in Central Park.” I fully agree with both of those statements. “It was so easy to organize everything, Claire organised the permits, the wording, where we would meet the photographer and so on, and it was honestly really cheap!! It cost $35 to get our marriage licence, and, along with the officiant and photographer, that’s really all you need,” she said. I find people are often very pleasantly surprised at how cheap it is to get married in such an incredible place, as long as you are happy to pay for the flights and hotels.

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Thank you for sharing your story with us, Rhiannon and Dani, I wish you the best of luck for your futures together, I’m honored that we were able to be a part of your wedding. For more information on planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook for photos and more inspiring stories.

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Jamie and Paul’s Elopement Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

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Jamie and Paul came over to New York from the UK to get married in the Ladies’ Pavilion this June. They met through friends exactly ten years to the day before they got married. They got engaged on New Year’s Eve 2015 in Manchester. Jamie surprised Paul with a video illustrating their lives together up to that point, with Lionel Richie’s song Stuck On You playing in the background. The last frame was Jamie holding a board asking Paul to marry him.

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They couple have two dogs, called Parker and Sebastian and a cat called Thalia. “They are like children to us,” said Jamie. “After being together for a number of years it felt like marriage was the natural step,” he told me.

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The couple initially planned a ceremony at home in the UK. As they went through the planning process, they quickly realized that we were planning the day for their guests, based around what they thought they would want and not really what Jamie and Paul wanted. So, they decided to elope. They love New York City, and Central Park in particular. They wanted a destination wedding, so that they could have a holiday at the same time, so this seemed perfect for them.

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The ceremony was held in the Ladies’ Pavilion. They chose some beautiful lyrics by Steven Curtis Chapman, called I Will Be Here as their reading. Jamie’s aunt and uncle were their guests, and they loved the location. “It was a great day, very relaxed,” said Jamie. “We ate breakfast in Central Park, and then went for a boat ride in the sun on the Lake. Then we went for lunch at the Tavern on the Green.” Then they took a pedicab from there to the Ladies’ Pavilion for their wedding.

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I asked him if he had any comments on the wedding planning service from me, and he said “The service from Claire was efficient and friendly. Not directly organizing the event myself could have caused me to feel a tad anxious, but Claire’s prompt responses to my queries put me at ease.” I am very pleased to hear that, thank you for sharing your story with us, Jamie and Paul, I wish you the best of luck for your futures together, we are honored to have been a part of your wedding. For more information on planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook for photos and more inspiring stories.

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Karan and James’ elopement to Belvedere Castle Terrace

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Four years ago, Karan and James eloped from their home in Bristol in the UK to get married in Central Park.  They had been together for five years before they got married.  Now they have two children together, and James is stepdad to Karan’s son from a previous relationship.

The couple met through mutual friends, and James proposed while they were on a trip to Edinburgh for a long weekend.  James had hidden the ring in his hand luggage, to avoid the worry of losing it in a bag that they checked in.  He was so nervous that he just wanted to get the proposal over with, so they had just got in to their hotel room, and he popped the question while Karan was in the middle of figuring out how to work the TV!

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It was important to them to be married to bring their family together.  They felt that the ceremony was a marker for the beginning of the rest of their lives together as a team.
They did consider a traditional wedding at home in the UK, but after a month of planning, they both realised that it was not what they really wanted.  They felt that they were planning a wedding to suit their guests, when what they wanted was to suit themselves and celebrate their special day in their way.  “We wanted to do something that we both loved and something completely different,” said Karan.  The plan was to have their honeymoon in New York but in the end they decided to get married there too.

Karan and James quickly chose Central Park for their wedding location, with it being such a picturesque place. They found a wedding planner that they communicated well with and they felt completely as ease about their plans.  They said that it helped to have someone organizing things for them who had done it many times before.  They wanted their wedding to be an elopement, but they checked with their families first that they had their blessing, so it was just the two of them.

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Their ceremony was at Belvedere Castle Terrace.  “It was like a hidden treasure lost in a massive park!” said Karan.  I agree, it is one of the quieter locations for a wedding, but right there in the center of the Park, with those incredible views.  “We were very lucky to have had such a beautiful blue sky and warm weather which really helped make the photos so much better,” she added.

Straight after their ceremony the couple took a ride in a horse and carriage around Central Park.  “I would really recommend this,” said Karan, “it was a lovely experience, going around Central Park, relaxing and taking in all the sights and sounds of the city, everybody waved at us as we passed them, with the odd shout of congratulations occasionally!”

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They stayed in the Hotel Metro Midtown for a week.  After their ceremony, they went back to their hotel, cracked open a bottle of champagne and called family and friends.  After that they went up to the top of the Empire State Building, still in wedding gear.  “It was fabulous as the staff there let us all go up to the 102nd floor for free as it was our wedding day,” Karan said.  I always suggest that couples let New Yorkers know that it’s their wedding day, they are generous people and love to share in the celebration.  They went to the 21 Club for their dinner that evening, “it was delicious and we would recommend it to anyone staying in New York,” Karan told me.

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The day after their wedding Karan and James visited the September 11 Memorial, and Karan laid her wedding bouquet under the Survivor Tree there as a mark of respect.

I asked them if they would do anything differently, four years on.  “We have absolutely no regrets!”  said Karan.  “It was the best day from start to finish and I would not change anything for the world, our wedding was perfect in every way.”  The couple have since been back to visit the spot where they got married, in Winter 2015, and this time it was in the snow.

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They told me that they have had a few people tell them that this sort of destination wedding is something that they would like to do, over the years since their wedding.  The couple have a lovely souvenir from their trip, their daughter!  Karan found out that she was pregnant two weeks after the wedding, and their daughter was born nine months after they got married!

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Karan and James, I wish you the best of luck.  It was lovely to talk to someone who had married in Central Park some time ago.  If you got married in Central Park a few years ago and have any thoughts to share on it, then please get in touch.  For more information on planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook for photos and more inspiring stories.

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