Claire and Noel moved to New York City in January 2011. A British couple, they had lived together for two years in Germany and realized that they enjoying living abroad, but they are both pretty lazy when it comes to learning a foreign language, so they wanted to live somewhere English-speaking.
Noel was offered a job in Manhattan, working as a software consultant, and they both jumped at the chance to live in the incredible city. Claire came along, with plans to find a job in her field of the energy industry.
The first place they lived in was a small studio, provided by Noel’s employer on West 81st Street, two blocks from Central Park. Claire spent many hours either jogging around or walking through Central Park with a camera, and soon fell in love with it. She went through some training with the Central Park Conservancy and began volunteering as a Greensward Guide, giving directions and information to tourists.
Claire and Noel decided they would start looking for their own apartment on New York’s Upper East Side, so when real estate agents called with potential apartments Claire walked across her beloved Central Park from the West side to the East side. Eventually, they found their home on East 86th Street, in the area of Yorkville, two blocks from the East River and the lovely Carl Schurz Park. They got themselves a beagle puppy and the three of them spent many a happy afternoon walking the dog, picnicking, or just chilling out in the Central Park.
They had planned to get married in July 2011 so Central Park seemed like the perfect choice for them. They love living in the incredible and exciting city of New York, but Central Park provides the peace and quiet many New Yorkers need. They discussed it and agreed that Central Park was their favorite part of the city, and to have a minimalist, quiet wedding there would suit them both perfectly.
A friend from back in the UK who had got married in the Shakespeare Garden had recommended a multi-faith ordained officiant who has performed weddings in New York for over 10 years, named Raquel. One of Claire and Noel’s New Yorker wedding guests knew a few local photographers, so Claire met with several before choosing her favorite, Ande, who has been living and photographing in New York City for over 20 years. Claire, Noel and their dog, Rufus, spent a while walking around the park, taking photos and considering location options within the park. Their family back in the UK wanted a video of the event, and luckily Ande’s partner Dany was a videographer, so they asked her along, too.
When considering the guest list Claire and Noel wanted to keep it short, so they invited two friends who they had met during their first few months in New York. And of course, a benefit to getting married in a park, their guest of honor was their puppy. They had the ceremony on a Friday morning in the Ladies’ Pavilion. It was July 1st, usually a hot and humid time of year in New York, but Central Park is often to coolest spot in the city and on this day, the weather wasn’t too humid – a great relief to Claire because her hair stayed straight for the photos! Afterwards they dropped the dog off at home and took their guests to legendary New York restaurant the Russian Tea Rooms for lunch. Then they said goodbye to their guests and took the subway home.
Claire and Noel chilled out at their Upper East Side apartment for the afternoon, chatting with friends and family back in the UK on Skype and showing off their shiny new rings, purchased from Sea Wave Diamonds on West 47th Street, the diamond district of New York. They were able to choose their diamond from a vast choice of cuts, carats, colors and clarities, with the help of their expert advice. They could then choose their setting and style of ring and have it made to fit them in the precious metal of their choosing.
Claire and Noel celebrated their first dinner as a married couple at the Top of the Tower restaurant in the Beekman Hotel on 49th Street and 1st Avenue. Their table overlooked the sun setting over the Manhattan skyline, but the could pop over to the other side of the restaurant to look out over the East River if they wished. They drank Manhattan cocktails and reflected on their wedding day and the first six months of living together in this incredible city.
Claire realized how daunting it might be for a foreigner to find out the legal paperwork required to get married in New York, and finding reliable and high quality people to make it happen – and to capture the day in photos. After doing all that hard work and gaining all that knowledge she decided she was in a unique position of knowing the park so very well as a guide, and having the time to start a business, so she decided to launch Wed in Central Park. Since then she has planned weddings for couples from near and far, and is thoroughly enjoying her career change.