2014 Clients’ New York Restaurant Recommendations – Where to Eat After you are Married in Central Park

couples new york restaurant recommendations 2014

Some of my blog’s most read posts are the ones about New York restaurants that couples could go to after their wedding in Central Park.  It’s such a frequently asked question and such a very difficult one to answer, so I wrote a post about all the places where couples who featured on the blog in 2016 went to eat and celebrate after their wedding.  Then I wrote another one about where couples who featured on the blog in 2015 went to eat after their wedding in Central Park.  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!).  Not every couple who I work with wants to feature on the blog (in fact, the majority don’t), the following are the couples whose weddings featured on the blog in 2014, and where they went to eat and celebrate after their weddings.  There are lots of great restaurants in this list.

Donna and Matt – February

Donna and Matt came to New York in February to get married in Wagner Cove in Central Park. It was a secret elopement – they did not tell people they were coming to get married, they just surprised them with the news when they got home. Donna and Matt’s guests were a couple who were friends of friends and they had taken their photos. They also did the important job of taking them for a toast in The Boathouse after the wedding. After saying goodbye to their guests the couple went back to their hotel and had some wedding cake, which they had collected that morning from Magnolia Bakery, then got changed and went out for a meal at Keens Steak House.

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Hayley and Michael – March

Hayley and Michael brought their family and friends to New York from Baton Rouge, Louisiana in March for their wedding on Bethesda Terrace next to the fountain in Central Park.  It had been snowing in New York and there was still some on the ground as they got married.  After they had finished having their photos taken they met up with their guests for a reception dinner at Carmine’s on the Upper West Side. “The food was wonderful, and I would recommend this place to anyone looking for great Italian cuisine,” said Hayley.

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Rachel and Dean – April

Rachel and Dean came to New York to get married in Cop Cot in April.  They went on to the South Gate Tavern at the Marriott’s Essex House for some drinks, “and they treated us spectacularly in there, we would highly recommend them,” said Rachel. After that they went over to the Water’s Edge restaurant in Long Island City for a great wedding dinner. They chose that restaurant because they wanted a view of the fabulous New York skyline to look over as they dined.

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Jenny and Andy – May

Jenny and Andy chose Wagner Cove for their ceremony location and it suited their small group perfectly. There was Jenny’s mum and her husband, and Jenny’s best friend and her husband, and Jenny’s son, Keiran, who gave her away.  After the ceremony was over and the photos were taken they left Central Park and all went for a meal at Wolf and Lamb on East 48th Street, “the food was amazing,” said Jenny.

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Caroline and Peter – May

Caroline and Peter came to New York in May to get married in Wagner Cove. They eloped for their wedding, but they did not keep it a secret from their loved ones.  After the ceremony they had pictures taken in Grand Central Terminal and Times Square. They popped back to the hotel for a quick drink and change of clothes then had dinner at the Aureole restaurant on West 42nd Street. They both said that it was amazing.

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Georgina and Shaun – May

Georgina and Shaun got married by the Burnett Fountain under the shade of the trees in the Conservatory Gardens in May.  After the wedding we all walked down to The Boathouse, which is a bit of a walk, but we took photos along the way. They had their wedding breakfast at The Boathouse, then after that they had a gondola ride on the boating lake, which I had booked in advance for them. Georgina said “I would recommend the Boathouse for a wedding breakfast, the food and service was fantastic and although it was busy it added to the atmosphere.”

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Miranda and Daniel – June

Miranda and Daniel eloped to New York in June to get married in Wagner Cove.  After the ceremony they had a glass of champagne at The Boathouse and they took a helicopter flight over Manhattan and ended the day on a sunset cruise. This is a huge benefit to eloping – the day is yours to do lots of other memorable things when it’s just the two of you.

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Caroline and Bryan – July

Caroline and Bryan brought a small group of their nearest and dearest to witness their wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion in July.  After their wedding they went to The View Lounge at The Marriot Marquis on Times Square, this restaurant revolves to give you a 360 degree view of the city, they said that all of their guests loved it and said what great food and service they got there. Then the entire wedding party went back to their hotel for drinks and wedding cupcakes, ordered specially from Magnolia Bakery.

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Sorcha and James – August

Sorcha and James brought friends and family over from Ireland to get married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in August.  Their reception was held in the Genesis Bar on the Upper East Side, not too far from where the ceremony was. Sorcha said that she would highly recommend it, “the food is amazing and the staff are extremely friendly,” she said.

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Clare and Alec – August

Clare and Alec brought their family with them to New York to get married on Belvedere Castle Terrace in August. After the ceremony, the wedding party headed for Keens Chophouse on 36th Street, one of the oldest and most respected steakhouses in Manhattan, for their reception. “The food and service is great and the decor and atmosphere makes for a classic American experience,” said Alec. They enjoyed it so much that they returned for a second visit on their last night.

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Heather and Scott – August

Heather and Scott brought their family and friends to New York to get married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in August. After the ceremony and photos around Central Park they had a wedding cake on a park bench and then they took a limousine ride around the city for more photographs with fabulous sights in the background. On the evening of their wedding day they had a river cruise on the Bateaux New York. “This was an amazing experience and we would highly recommend this to others,” said Heather. “We were treated fantastically throughout and had gorgeous food. The views were stunning.”

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David and Alison – August

David and Alison got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in August.  This was to a second marriage for both of them, they both have children, who were their only guests at the wedding.  They took a gondola ride and then ate at the Boathouse, and they highly recommend doing these things as a great way to finish off the day in Central Park.

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Liz and Adam – September

Liz and Adam got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in September.  After their wedding ceremony and some photos around Central Park, they had a yellow school bus transport all the wedding party to Brooklyn for some more photos under the Brooklyn Bridge with Manhattan in the background.  After those photos the bus dropped them off at the Club A Steakhouse on East 58th Street. They chose this restaurant because they got their own private room, because it was close to everyone’s hotels and because they did not charge a huge minimum spend.

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Anita and Grant – November

Anita and Grant were visiting New York City because Grant was running the New York Marathon. So, they decided to tie the knot beside Gapstow Bridge in Central Park while they were here.  After the ceremony they walked North through the Park to the Boathouse. As they walked they took photographs along the way. They had lunch there at the Boathouse, then after lunch, Anita and Grant went to Grand Central and Brooklyn Bridge for more photos before heading back to the hotel to take photos on their rooftop.

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Camilla and Carol – December

Camilla and Carol got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in late December with just Camilla’s parents and brother as guests. After their wedding ceremony, they had photos taken in in Central Park, enjoyed a drive around the city in a stretch Limo and then they all went for dinner at Daniel, a swanky French restaurant on the Upper East Side.

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I would love to hear any other suggestions of great New York City restaurants in the comments below – there are so many to choose from!  I get asked so frequently for suggestions on where to eat, and it’s such a difficult one because the choices are so vast in this incredible city!  As you can tell from this particular post, The Boathouse is hugely popular with couples who have married in Central Park, in part because it’s right there next to the Lake.  The other restaurant in Central Park is the Tavern on the Green, which was closed for refurbishment in 2014, so isn’t mentioned in this post, but it’s well worth checking out.

Follow the links to see the first post I wrote on restaurant recommendations for where to eat in New York on your wedding day, and the second post I wrote with more restaurant recommendations for where to eat in New York on your wedding day.  Then I also wrote similar lists to this one for couples who featured in the blog in 2015 and where they ate on their wedding day, and couples who featured in the blog in 2016 and where they ate on their wedding day.  Watch this space for later in the year when I’ll be posting more clients recommendations of where to eat in New York, but if there’s one major message to take away from all these restaurant suggestion posts is that New York is a huge city with a vast range of fabulous places to eat.

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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Jess and Nathan’s August Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

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Jess, 29, and Nathan, 31, brought twenty five of their family and friends over to New York from their home in Yorkshire, England to get married in Central Park this August.  They met seven years ago whilst working on board a cruise ship.  Nathan proposed to Jess in New York!  She had planned a surprise trip to New York for him for his thirtieth birthday.  They flew a week after his birthday, and she presented him with the gift of the tickets on the day of his birthday (so he did get to pack!).  Nathan had been planning to propose on their upcoming other vacation that summer, but once he knew they were going to their favorite city for his birthday, he changed his plans.  The couple had shared several incredible trips to New York in previous years, so it was already a very special place for them.  Nathan got down one knee in Central Park, next to the Ladies’ Pavilion and the Lake.  It was a complete surprise to Jess!  Of course Jess said yes.  They both knew that they were ready to take the next step in their relationship to show commitment to each other for the rest of their lives.  They want to start a family, and they wanted the same surname before they did.

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They didn’t consider any other locations for their wedding, they had always said that they would get married in New York.  So, when Nathan chose the Ladies’ Pavilion as his proposal location, they knew that this should be the place where they would say their vows to each other.  They loved Central Park and a big reason why Jess was so excited for her wedding was to show it to her friends and family who hadn’t visited before.  Jess knew that a destination wedding was what she wanted “I think that destination weddings are on the rise.  I know lots of people who are considering one, or planning one,” she said.  “I think they are the perfect way to make a wedding all about the couple and to make memories that will last a life time,” she added, “we particularly enjoyed how our destination wedding brought our families and close friends together for a week, we got to share and make loads of amazing memories together!”

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Destination weddings are not without their concerns, though, and Jess did have some worries – the main one being the weather, which turned out to be glorious!  She was worried about her dress, and whether it would be too big for a wedding in a public park, and she does say that if she were to do it all again she may choose something lighter, but then again she did look stunning and the dress is beautiful, “I just got very hot in it!” she said.  Jess wasn’t able to have hair and makeup trials, with not getting married close to home, so she had been a little worried about that, “But it turned out amazing!” she said.  “Every detail I worried about all turned out fine!  I wish I hadn’t have worried so much!” Jess said.  But I’m sure that’s how all brides feel!

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I always ask the couple who get married in Central Park if they have any regrets about not having a “traditional” wedding closer to home, and Jess certainly has no regrets, she has the best of both worlds, “we are having an evening reception at home next month to celebrate with family and friends that couldn’t make it,” she told me.  Jess and Nathan stayed in New York for one week, at the Empire Hotel on the Upper West Side, the neighborhood that I always sing the praises of.  They had stayed there on their previous trip so they knew they liked it.  Lots of their family and friends stayed there too.  “But we had others stay at the Beacon Hotel, The New Yorker and The Gramercy and they all had no complaints!” Jess told me.

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Jess told me that they were very happy with their decision to have the wedding ceremony in the Ladies’ Pavilion, since it turned out to be so hot.  “The Ladies’ Pavilion was lovely on the hot sunny day, as we got a little shelter from the sun whilst we said our vows,” she said.  “My favorite photos where at the Ladies’ Pavilion, and after that Claire had planned us a route to follow which included other spots to take photos.”  She added, “we also loved our photos of us walking through Central Park, and our photos at the  Bethesda Fountain.”  Of course they managed to get a picture of the newlyweds kissing in the middle of a road crossing with the traffic behind them!

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This wedding was a little bit DIY, due to their talented family.  Nathan’s brother from Wood Photography was their photographer, which was lucky for them, and even luckier is Jess’ mum being a part-time photographer so she took the getting ready photos!  Jess’ sister is a florist, you can find her on Instagram.  She made up the bouquets for the wedding.  “She did an amazing job,” said Jess.  They went to the flower district on West 28th Street the day before the wedding to buy the flowers they needed.  They had already decided on what flowers they wanted and the color scheme before they came and Jess’ sister had made up some mock bouquets.  “The flower district was amazing!” Jess told me.  “It is a whole street of flower shops full of all different kinds of flowers and at wholesale prices!  We got some amazing roses in pink, blush pink and cream and they were amazing, everyone commented on how beautiful they were and what good quality!  Amelia got busy making six bouquets and eight buttonholes in our hotel room and we had them all in plastic cups the night before!”

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Their ceremony went just how they wanted “the ceremony was wonderful – just how we imagined it!” Jess said.  “Our officiant was lovely and made us both feel a lot more relaxed.  Claire had written our ceremony wording several months before so we had a chance to read through it several times so that relaxed us, too,” she said.  “The ceremony wording was based on questions we had answered about ourselves and our relationship and our family and friends and thanking them for being there,” she explains.  They decide to stick to traditional vows and we included a poem called The Art of Marriage which they felt was suited their view of what a marriage should be like.  I asked what their guests thought about their decision to get married in Central Park.  “They were all very excited and supportive about us getting married in New York, even my mum who is scared of flying and has never flown that far before!” said Jess.  “We did have a few family and friends that we invited who couldn’t make it but we totally understood and spoke to them on the day of the wedding so it felt like they were there,” she added.  We do have the capability of live streaming a wedding in Central Park over the internet, so your loved ones at home can watch it live.  But of course Jess and Nathan had a second party on their return home, so they got to celebrate all over again!

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Jess wore a Justin Alexander dress with lace at the top with a low cut back and a stunning train.  She purchased it from Angel Brides in Leeds, close to her home.  The bridesmaid dresses were from Boohoo, the flower girl dress from Monsoon and the page boy outfit from Next.  Nathan got his suit from Slaters, also in Leeds.  Jess found her hair and makeup artist, Giselle on Instagram.  “We messaged each other lots leading up to the wedding,” Jess told me.  “She was so lovely and reassuring as I was so worried about my hair and make up.  I had a trial two days before my wedding which was on the day of my hen night, which went amazing, Giselle had really listened to what I wanted and did a fantastic job.”  She added, “compared to other quotes I had got Giselle was very well priced and worth every penny!”  Her bridesmaids all had their make up done at mac and were very happy with it.

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The wedding took place at 3pm, so Jess had breakfast with her side of the family and then spent the morning of the wedding chilling with her mum and sister in their hotel room, opening gifts and watching Sex and the City.  “My sister wrote me a lovely letter for my wedding day which made me cry!” she said.  “I also opened my card from Nathan that he had left for me which was lovely!” she added.

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The ceremony took place in the Ladies’ Pavilion.  The officiant read the poem The Art Of A Good Marriage by Wilferd Arlan Peterson.  After that, they walked through Central Park, taking photos, and went on to the Tavern on the GreenWe had a few drinks there before getting cabs to our wedding reception which we had at Hardings in the Flatiron district,” Jess said.  They had their meal and speeches there, and then walked round the block to their sister restaurant, Casa Neta, where they had hired and decorated a room where they could play their own music.  They had brought their decorations from home with the help of their guests, who each brought some in their suitcases.  That is where they did their first dance, cut the cake and Jess threw her bouquet.  “The staff at both venues were very accommodating,” Jess said, “we had our own signature cocktails made up at Casa Neta – one chosen by me and one chose by Nathan and paid for a two hour free bar package.

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I asked if they had any places they would like to recommend for anyone visiting New York, and Jess had a list for me!  “We got our cake and cupcakes for the wedding from Magnolia Bakery, their cakes are amazing the best we have ever had!” Jess said.  “Our guests even went to purchase more after they’d eaten theirs!” she added.  They love the walk across Brooklyn Bridge and exploring Dumbo on the other side.  They recommend Katz’s Deli for a quick bite.  “Our favorite place for breakfast is Cafe Viand, on 75th Street and Broadway, we go here every time we go without fail and our guests fell in love with it too!” Jess told me.  They loved the rooftop bar at the Empire Hotel, where they stayed.  “We finished our nights back here many nights after we had been out,” Jess said.  “We also had a breakfast buffet in the Empire Hotel the morning after the wedding with all our quests,” she added.  “Ray’s Pizza is definitely the best place in New York to grab a slice!” she told me.  And they also recommend the hop on, hop off bus tours and the Staten Island Ferry for great ways to see the sights.

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I asked what advice they would give others who might be considering getting married in Central Park.  “You should most definitely do it!” said Jess.  “We would do it all again in a heartbeat!” she added.  “We planned and budgeted for everything which really helped!  We did lots of planning before we went, so when we got there we only had a few things to do then we were set!” she said.   They got their wedding favors for their guests from the souvenir shops – they got magnets and toy taxis for the children, and Jess said that they went down a treat!  “I would definitely recommend Wed in Central Park and Claire!  We couldn’t have done it without her! She literally made the whole process so easy and stress free! All we needed to do on the day was turn up!” said Jess.  They were lucky to have a photographer and a florist in the family, so they were able to get the Just the Ceremony package from my website, and have an awesome wedding at a reduced cost.  “Claire was always very helpful when we had and queries and I did have a few!”  Jess said, I do like a bride with questions, and Jess was obviously the sort of person who loves a clear plan.  “Claire always had all the answers and was very reassuring,” she added.

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Thanks for sharing your story with us, Jess and Nathan, I wish you lots of luck for the future. If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, whatever the time of year, visit our website, or follow us on Pinterest where we pin all things New York or wedding-related, “like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram for lovely photos of happy couples in Central Park and New York.

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Wedding Photo Locations in Central Park From Film and TV

Wedding photo locations in Central Park from film and TV

I don’t think I’d get many arguments if I said that Central Park is the most famous public park in the world. We’ve seen it on countless films and TV shows. It is the most filmed location in the world, over 350 movies have scenes shot there. That’s why many people come to Central Park to get married – because they’ve seen it on the screen. Some people who come to Central Park to get married have never visited in person, but they’ve seen it in film and TV and they just know it’s the place for them.

What follows is by no means an exhaustive list of those 350 movies. This is my list of some of the popular movies that are shot in some of the most photographed locations in Central Park for couples who come here to get married.

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The Mall has featured in many New York movies. Dustin Hoffman teaches his son to ride a bike there in Kramer vs. Kramer. In a scene in Maid in Manhattan, Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes sit on one of the distinction Central Park benches. Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis walk down it in Friends with Benefits. It has featured in many more movies, such as Vanilla Sky, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Big Daddy. The kids from Glee danced and sang part of “I Love New York” on the Mall.

The Tavern on the Green is a hugely iconic New York restaurant, and was actually inoperative as a restaurant for a long time, until it was refurbished and recently re-opened in 2014. It has featured in Ghostbusters, Beaches, Hitch, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Mr Popper’s Penguins (which also has scenes in the Central Park Zoo, of course), to name but a few. Also, an important scene in Wall Street takes place on Sheep Meadow and the nearby Tavern.

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Lots of scenes in the 1984 Ghostbusters movies were filmed in Central Park. In fact, the building where Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver live; where the big finale happens on the roof with the demon Zuul would have been on Central Park West had it existed. You can easily see the building they altered with CGI for the film from the Lake in Central Park, and it is many couples’ wedding photos.

The Boathouse restaurant, in the heart of Central Park, is perhaps the most famous restaurant in Central Park. In an episode of Sex and the City, Carrie meets Mr. Big for lunch there. She has sworn to Miranda that she will not kiss him and while dodging his kiss, they both fall off of the restaurant terrace and into the Lake. Also, Meg Ryan has lunch with her friends there in When Harry Met Sally (not the *very* famous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene – that’s Katz’s Deli)

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Harry and Sally famously take a stroll together in Central Park. As do Kermit and Miss Piggy in a newly cleaned-up and restored 1980s Central Park. So do Julia Roberts and James Franco in Eat Pray Love, and many, many more. The opening scene of the 1979 movie adaptation of Hair is shot as the dancers perform “Aquarius” all over Central Park.  The North end of the park is lesser-known to tourists, but there are some lovely scenes shot around Harlem Meer in the Adam Sandler movie, Big Daddy.

When many people think of Central Park, they think of Bethesda Terrace and Fountain. Kevin evades the “Sticky Bandits” there in Home Alone 2. And, possibly the most famous wedding in Central Park, when Chuck and Blair get married in Gossip Girl, took place underneath Bethesda Terrace. It has also featured in scenes in John Wick, Elf, Sex and the City, Green Card, Godspell, Angels in America, It Could Happen to You, Law and Order, Out of Towners, Love Story and Enchanted, and many more. Lots of the 2012 movie The Avengers was of course shot in Manhattan, with some big scenes taking place on Bethesda Terrace. This area has also featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV.

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In Léon: The Professional, Jean Reno taught Natalie Portman how to shot with a sniper rifle from rooftop of a building overlooking Central Park by Columbus CircleGhostbusters, Borat, Enchanted, Taxi Driver, Keeping the Faith, and Crocodile Dundee shot scenes at street level at Columbus Circle.

The Conservatory Water is a lovely open space on the east side of Central Park. I think it’s best known for being in the scene where the mouse Stuart Little sails a boat. Human visitors can also sail boats on this charming little pool. Other films, such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and 13 going on 30 have also filmed scenes there. There’s a scene in Remember Me, where Robert Pattinson sits on the Alice in Wonderland statue that is close to the Conservatory Water.

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If you stand outside the Met, on Fifth Avenue at the edge of Central Park, you’ll be where they filmed the external scenes when Pierce Brosnan stole a Monet painting in the 1990s remake of The Thomas Crown Affair. If you want to go inside, you can see where many famous movies have scenes, one iconic New York movie being When Harry Met Sally, when Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan walk through the Met’s majestic Egyptian Room.

Bow Bridge has what might be the most iconic vista of all of Central Park. From there, you can look of the Central Park Lake, with the row boats, and see the well-known shapes of the beautiful buildings on Central Park West in the background behind the trees. So many movies feature a scene filmed here, including Enchanted, Uptown Girls. Spider Man 3, Autumn in New York, Keeping the Faith and Woody Allen’s Manhattan.
Actually, just about every Woody Allen film features a scene in Central Park. Hannah and her Sisters in particular has some major scenes there.

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A walk by the Lake also provides a stunning view of those same Upper West side buildings. Ben Stiller and his co-star in Night of the Museum walk past it in a scene, perhaps because the museum in the film’s title is right next to that part of Central Park.
In the south-east corner of Central Park is the lovely stone Gapstow Bridge. Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon sat on a bench with it in the background in Arbitrage. Yet another Home Alone 2 scene is filmed there – Kevin meets the woman who feds the birds there by the Pond with the bridge in the background.

The Plaza is not quite in Central Park, but it’s right next to it on Central Park South. If you are getting married in Cop Cot then you will be just a stone’s throw away, so it might be worth considering a drink there, either before or after. Macaulay Culkin stayed there in Home Alone 2. Scenes from Almost Famous, It Could Happen To You, North By Northwest, Brewster’s Millions, Crocodile Dundee, The Great Gatsby and a film about two friends scheduling their wedding son the same day, Bride Wars, along with many more, have also been filmed there.

The Wollman ice skating rink is only in Central Park during the winter, but it has featured in several films. In Serendipity John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, meet up there at the end of the film. Love Story, Stepmom and Gossip Girl have also shot major scenes there. And of course Home Alone 2 (it would be easier to write about places in Central Park where they didn’t shoot that movie!)

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I’ve almost certainly missed out lots of film and TV locations. More than 350 movies have been filmed there, making Central Park the most filmed location in the world. I have just tried to list some popular ones in lovely locations. So, if any film buffs are reading this, please feel free to add to my list in the comments.  If you’d like some help planning a wedding in Central Park in any of these locations, and many more then email me.  heck out lots more information on the website, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest to see lots of photos of newlywed couples in this world-famous, iconic location that you’ve seen so many times on screen.

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Anna and Michael’s Intimate Wedding in the Shakespeare Garden

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Anna and Michael came over to New York from their home in Australia to get married in Central Park in June. The ceremony took place in the Shakespeare Garden.  They met five years before they got married at their local gym but it was not until many months later that they became a couple, mainly out of respect to Michael’s children from a previous relationship.

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The couple got engaged in Byron Bay, one of their favourite places in the world. It was also considered as a location for their wedding, before they eventually decided on New York.

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Theirs was a super-chill, laid back wedding. They had the ceremony at 3pm and they had only four guests. They chose to get married in New York partly due to the size of both their families and circle of friends. The idea was that a small wedding would be much more about them as a couple. They got the best of both worlds, because they threw a big party on their return home. The original plan was just for Michael’s kids to be there, but in the end Anna’s parents came long, too. So, halfway through our planning they doubled in the guest list!

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The Shakespeare Garden is lovely at this time of year, and all the flowers are blooming. It is designed to evoke Shakespeare’s England, and features hundreds of plants mentioned in his works, and contains ten small bronze plaques that feature Shakespearean quotes referencing horticulture.

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Usually we have the groom and guests meet the officiant at the wedding location and the photographer meet the bride and walk in with her. But Anna and Michael decided that the whole party should arrive together, with them being a small group. So, our photographer met them all at the entrance to the park, while our officiant waited for the whole party on the wooden platform in the Shakespare Garden.

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There are a couple of good options for a ceremony location in the Shakespeare Garden. One is the big stone bench at the top, known as the Whisper Bench, it is at almost the highest point in the garden, so has sweeping views of the meandering pathways, rustic, rough-hewn wooden fences and benches and flowers. This curved bench gets its nickname from a fun trick: whisper into one corner of the bench, and the sound of your voice will travel to the other side for someone else other person to hear. Another lovely spot for a very small wedding is the wooden platform at a lower level in the garden. This is where Anna and Michael chose to get married. They way up to the platform begins with stone steps, then wooden steps, before you get the platform, which has two wooden benches.

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Michael’s children did a short reading each, the first was; “People are like cities: We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time all we let each other see is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. Love lets you find those hidden places in another person, even the ones they didn’t know were there, even the ones they wouldn’t have thought to call beautiful themselves.” by Hilary T Smith.

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The second reading was; “If you do not believe that hearts can bloom suddenly bigger, and that love can open like a flower out of even the hardest places, then I am afraid that for you the road will be long and brown and barren, and you will have trouble finding the light. But if you do believe, then you already know all about magic.” By Lauren Oliver.

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If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, whatever the time of year, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where we pin like crazy with all things New York or wedding-related.

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Wed in Central Park at the Birmingham Tiny Weddings Fair

I will be exhibiting at the Tiny Weddings Fair, on 10th March 2019. It will be held at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Broad St, Birmingham, B1 2EP, UK. This will be the second Tiny Weddings Fair – the first was held in September 2018 in High Wycombe. The event will focus on couples planning elopements and small, intimate weddings. We’ve decided to move to the Midlands to be in a more central location, and this fair will be bigger and better than our last.

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When I talk to my clients about their reasons for choosing to get married in Central Park, I find that my clients would rather take a trip to New York and tie the knot in a city they love, either eloping alone or bringing a small group of their nearest and dearest, rather than spending a large sum on an extended family wedding close to home. Or, they might elope or have a small wedding in New York, then throw a big party for everyone they know on their return home – you don’t have to choose one or the other if you don’t want to, and you can have the best of both worlds. Anything goes in the world of weddings, and I think that’s wonderful.

Tiny weddings are what I do best. The vast majority of the weddings I have planned over the past six years (and I’ve planned over two hundred and fifty weddings) have had under fifty guests, with most of my weddings having between five and fifteen guests, and I’ve helped with a good deal of elopements, too! I believe that smaller weddings are on the increase – many couples are reducing their guest lists to concentrate on the elements of the wedding that are most important to them, or just to escape and get married somewhere they love, such as New York. I find that many couples are having a smaller wedding to put the emphasis on themselves as a couple, and to provide a truly unique and memorable experience for their guests, not to mention the awesome wedding photographs they take! I write each ceremony especially for the couple, and I think that if fewer people are present when a couple get married, they are more likely to show their true personalities, and include more unique and personal touches. A small and intimate wedding with a focus on the couple and a celebration of their love with just the people who matter most to them.

Actually, I’m not just exhibiting at this fair, I’m co-organising it with my friend and business partner, Carly from Epic Elopement. We have attended traditional wedding fairs and more alternative fairs in the past, but we have often grumbled to each other that eloping couples often don’t comfortably fit in to either niche. We have a true passion for tiny weddings and elopements, I got married in Central Park, and Carly got married in Vegas, both of us had just two guests at our weddings. We feel that a small wedding has specific requirements, and couples need suppliers who can help them with these particular needs. We didn’t think those needs were being met with existing wedding fairs, so we decided to start a fair that would. We accept that many eloping couples will want to get the best of both worlds and have a big party on their return, so this fair will have exhibitors who can help with that, too.

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We are working very hard to find a great mix of British-based celebrants, venues in the UK who are happy to cater for small groups, photographers who love small weddings and who are keen to travel, wedding attire suitable for a wedding in a less traditional location, stationers and caterers and florists who want to create something unique and special for your small group, and planners like myself who specialise in one particular fabulous location abroad. I can’t wait to meet couples from the West Midlands who are interested in hearing about getting married in this amazingly beautiful public park in the incredible city of New York, which truly has something for everyone. Let me know if you’re planning on coming to see me!

One of the major ways this fair is different from the usual run-of-the-mill wedding fairs are the talks and workshops that the exhibitors and other experts will be putting on in a room upstairs at the venue. They will provide genuinely useful information for couples considering and elopement or a small wedding that would take so long to find online. Many couples are interested in small and intimate wedding, but often they feel that they do not know enough about how to do it, or where to start, or where they should do it. With this in mind, we will be presenting small talks and workshops throughout the day. This is your chance to expand your idea of what a wedding can mean. You can meet vendors who are interested in smaller weddings, and hear talks from those who help plan tiny weddings themselves, and most importantly: ask questions that will allow you to have the wedding that truly suits you as a couple.

The good people of Unique Venues Birmingham will also be giving tours throughout the day of their different wedding venue options in the building – either for a small ceremony, or a larger celebration after your elopement somewhere exotic. Those who purchase tickets in advance will have preferential entry to these tours and talks. Sign up to our mailing list if you want to be kept updated on who will be at the fair and what you can expect to learn while you’re there.

Follow the Tiny Wedding Facebook page for helpful and inspiring articles and information, and show your interest in our Facebook event to see updates. Follow us on Instagram for lovely photos and inspiration of small weddings, chat with us on Twitter and see our posts on Pinterest. Most importantly, buy yourself a ticket in advance.

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Sophie and Ben’s Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion in January

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Sophie and Ben got married in Central Park this January. Sophie is 25, Ben is 28 and they are from Northamptonshire in England. They met at work. Ben hired Sophie in 2014 and was her boss for a while. They have been together since 2015. They got engaged in Central Park in January 2017. Ben proposed beside Bethesda Fountain, and after Sophie had said yes they went to Tiffany’s on 5th Avenue to collect the ring he has chosen.

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A January wedding wasn’t their original plan. When they booked their wedding with me it was for November 2018. Then the couple had the wonderful news that they were expecting a baby in October, so they decided to move the date back a little. They wanted to be married for the stability of the family. Sophie has two daughters and now they have a baby son together. “We just felt as if we were ready for that commitment,” Sophie told me. “It is important that the children feel they have a secure life, like Ben did growing up, his parents have been married 30 years last year, his grandparents the same, married all of their adult lives. We wanted that for our family” she said.

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Central Park hadn’t been their first choice for a wedding location. “We actually booked a pretty big wedding here in Northamptonshire, at a beautiful venue.” Sophie told me. “We had booked the registrar, and were in the process of sorting photographers, cakes etc, but we had a conversation one day about how that just was not for us – the thought of 180 people staring at us and being there for us made me want to faint!” she explained. I hear this so much – couples start down the road of planning a traditional big wedding at home and then they realize that it just isn’t for them. So, once they decided that they wouldn’t enjoy a big wedding, they started to think about other options. “Almost straight away we thought of New York!” said Sophie.

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I asked Sophie if she thinks destination weddings are on the increase. “I don’t really know much about them to be honest,” she said. “I’m in a few wedding groups on social media and destination weddings in places like Cyprus and Italy are popular, but those places are just not for us,” she told me. Sophie explained that a destination wedding wasn’t really a deliberate choice for them, “the choice of location was more about coupling up our favorite city with the biggest milestone of our lives; plus we got engaged there too so it was very special to us!” she said.

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I asked if they had any regrets about their decision not to have a “traditional” wedding closer to home, as was their first plan. “None, whatsoever,” said Sophie. “All of our family and some of our friends came to the wedding, minus my Gran,” she told me. “We would have liked some of our other friends to have been there but that’s not always a possibility, which is something you just have to accept with a destination wedding,” she said. I can’t argue with that, there are pros and cons to escaping to somewhere fantastic for your wedding, and sometimes you just have to accept that not everyone can be there. “Two of our friends did manage to make it though; their cruise from their honeymoon ended in New York on the day of our wedding so they were able to join us!” Sophie told me. Their guests were close family; their three children and their parents and siblings, and some very close friends.

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I asked if they were nervous about anything when planning their wedding from England. “Yes, we had some concerns,” said Sophie. They were a little worried about getting their licence on time, since they arrived on the Thursday, had to get the license on the Friday and they got married on the Saturday. But in the end they had lots of time to get the license – in fact they were up bright and early on the Friday and they walked from their Upper West Side hotel all the way downtown to City Hall.

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They also worried about the weather; a common concern for anyone getting married outdoors, but a perfectly reasonable on in New York in January! Anything can happen at this time of year! In fact, a snow storm was forecast for the weekend, and we were watching the weather forecast closely. In the end it snowed a little before the wedding day, but it had melted by Saturday, and then the big snowfall came the following day. It was very, very cold that weekend in New York, though. Sophie is a big Gossip Girl fan, so they stayed at the Empire Hotel when they visited. It is very close to Central Park so they were able to walk there, which I think is a lovely thing to do on your wedding day. They stayed for eight nights.

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It turned out that on their wedding day there was a women’s march through the city, so Central Park West was closed. With that and the weather forecast we were in close contact in the days in the run-up to the wedding. “There was a road closure all down Central Park West, literally where we were staying and where we needed to go,” Sophie said. “Claire told us and everyone else involved as soon as she knew about it. Nothing at all that could have been done but she made sure all people involved knew where to go, how else to get into the park etc!” Myself and the fabulous people I work with made sure that everyone was kept informed of the changing situation with road closures and we ensured that all went as smoothly as possible.

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They day passed in quite a whirl and Sophie said that she felt like she forgot most of the ceremony. It took place in the Ladies’ Pavilion, and Sophie’s mum gave her away. “I am so glad we had a videographer because neither of us remember a lot of it, we were so scared and nervous it just flew by,” she said. “The guests said it was so beautiful. No idea what we said to each other!” She laughed. Luckily, we had the officiant do most of the talking, with a good introduction detailing their relationship to this point, and thanking everyone involved with the wedding. Ben had necklaces to give to Sophie’s two daughters to symbolize his commitment to them as their stepfather, and we incorporated that in to the ceremony, before the exchange of rings between Sophie and Ben.

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Sophie had purchased a wedding dress and shoes in advance of the wedding. I am so impressed with her managing to do that just a few months after giving birth. Her dress came from Anna McDonald Bridal Gallery, in Thame, Oxfordshire. The designer was Wendy Makin. On the morning of the wedding she decided to give up on he wedding shoes, though and switched to her Converse! Sophie and her bridesmaids carried blush and white bouquets with ranunculus, garden rose and lisianthus to create a textured feel. Sophie’s maid of honor did everyone’s hair and make up!

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Because it was so cold, we had the guests take some group photos with the couple at the Ladies’ Pavilion and then they left to go back to their hotel to warm up. Sophie and Ben continued with the photographer for more photos around Bow Bridge and Bethesda Terrace before returning to the hotel to meet everyone and get warm themselves. They had a few drinks there and took Gossip Girl style photos in the lobby. Then they went over to the Tavern on the Green for their dinner, and then back to the Empire Hotel for drinks in their rooftop bar. “The Tavern on the Green was amazing, the food was incredible,” said Sophie.

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I asked Sophie how we did. “I’d recommend Claire and Wed In Central Park to anyone, our wedding was amazing, the guests loved it and even though we had been nervous because we weren’t planning the wedding ourselves, we literally had nothing to worry about!” she said. I asked if she had any advice for anyone considering getting married in Central Park. “Go for it,” she said. “It’s amazing and you will not regret it!” Great advice.

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Thanks for sharing your story with us, Sophie and Ben, I wish you lots of luck for the future. If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, whatever the time of year, visit our website, or follow us on Pinterest where we pin all things New York or wedding-related, “like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram for lovely photos of happy couples.

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13 Things You Need To Know About Having A Wedding Outdoors

Lots of people dream about getting married outdoors.  It’s a lovely thing to do – out in the fresh air with just the sky above your heads, saying your vows to each other.  But, there are practical things to consider and I’m here to help.  I’ve been planning weddings outdoors since my own in Central Park on a very hot and humid day in July 2011.

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  • If you are in the good old USA you can do it! If you’re English, as many of my clients are, you might be surprised at this, because it is not allowed in England.  It is allowed in Scotland, though.  In England you may only get married under a fixed roof.  Central Park has plenty of places with or without a roof where you can get married, depending on what you would prefer.
  • Weather is going to happen. This is the biggie.  It might be cold, or wet or windy, or as it was on my wedding day; very sunny and humid.  All these things will affect your wedding ceremony and your wedding photos.  You need to either plan around them, make back up plans, or just deal with it.  Or possibly a mixture of all three.
  • Prepare for the weather when you are choosing what to wear and how to have your hair. Don’t plan anything too elaborate that will be ruined by wind if you’re marrying somewhere high up in Autumn.  Make sure you accessorize with an appropriate jacket or other outwear if you’re getting married in the colder months.  Think about thermal underwear if you’re marrying outside in the winter!
  • If you have guests – warn them! Explain what the likely temperature will be, and what the possibilities are for rain and so on.  Suggest in the invite that they check the forecast before they come and dress appropriately.  I’ve had brides tell me of upset bridesmaids who were cold at Winter weddings and who made the bride feel bad on her wedding day because of this.
  • Keep things fairly informal. Everyone will be more comfortable if the dress code is relaxed – and that counts for the brides and grooms, too.  When trying on your wedding attire, keep in mind the time of year you are getting married, the likelihood of getting a sit-down and how much walking you will have to do.  Keep all this in min when choosing shoes, too.  Consider getting some shoes for photos and some for walking, if necessary.
  • If you’re marrying in Central Park, choose a location that has cover. Several locations provide good cover for a small group or at least for a couple and the officiant.  If you really love a location that is out in the open, then consider making a backup plan that includes a location under cover.  We can make a plan A good weather plan and location with timings etc and a plan B bad weather plan with location and so, too.  Then we can watch the weather forecast until the day before the wedding and make a call on which one we go for on the day.
  • Bring your furry friend! An advantage of marrying outdoors is that you can bring your pet with you to the wedding.  This isn’t always possible for those travelling a long way, but we had our dog present at our wedding, and I’m so glad that we were able to do that.
  • If you’re marrying in Central Park during the winter, keep it short. Don’t plan to have a long ceremony with speeches and cake and things.  Just have the ceremony, pose for some stunningly beautiful photos in a stark and snowy Central Park, then get to one of the nearby bars or restaurants for warm drinks and a sit down in the warm.  Bring the photographer inside with you for photos in all your finery without shivering!
  • Keep the food and drinks on offer seasonal. If you are getting married outdoors, whatever the season, this will feature heavily in everyone’s memory of the event.  If you get married in the winter then why not make a thing of it and have hot toddies or hot chocolate on order for the guests as they arrive in the reception location, or pumpkin-spiced drinks of you marry in the fall, or jugs of ice-cold drinks waiting if you get married in the height of summer as I did!
  • You may need to bring some seats. Officially, the Central Park Conservancy do not allow seating for guests, but if you have elderly guests or other guests that can’t stand for too long then you may need to choose a location with some seating, or bring a few folding chairs for those who will need to sit.  I’ve done this a few times myself when attending weddings I have planned when I was pregnant.
  • The photographers I work with would never forgive me if I didn’t mention the light. If you get married later on in the afternoon during the winter then the light will fade.  But, more importantly, the sun is too strong and bright in the middle of the day during high summer.  Many couples want to get married in the early afternoon but my photographers always advise against it because people will be squinting in photographs and it’s very hard to get truly lovely shots while the sun is at its highest.
  • The musicians I work with would have me mention that many instruments would be damaged if played in the rain, and some cannot be played in very cold temperatures. So, if you would like acoustic music at your wedding ceremony, we can discuss what would be appropriate for the time of year, and we can make plans to be sure that the musician is kept under cover in case of rain.
  • The videographers I work with would also point out that there will be background noise if you choose to have a video made of your wedding ceremony. It all depends on what location you choose for the wedding, but some of the popular wedding spots are quite close to the roads so you may well hear traffic in the background, or wind.

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If this all seems like a lot to remember, I cannot stress enough how getting married in Central Park is totally worth it.  There’s nowhere like it on earth.  Central Park has so much stunningly beautiful scenery, juxtaposed with those iconic New York skyscrapers behind it.  You just can’t get that anywhere else.  I make so many backup plans and spend so much time with couples worry about the weather and we so rarely have to make alternative arrangements for rain.  Although, it does happen sometimes, so it’s something that we have to plan for to keep everyone’s mind at rest – that’s my goal – for the couples to feel confident in the run-up to the wedding that they will have a lovely day, so we have to plan for everything!

If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, whatever the weather or the time of year, visit our website, or follow us on Pinterest where we pin a *lot*, “like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram for lovely photos of happy couples.

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