Kristin and Sam are both from New York state, Kristin from Long Island and Sam from way upstate. They met at college in 2007, and within a year or so they knew they wanted to one day be married. Kristin had an elaborate plan for the perfect romantic proposal but in the end she got nervous and just blurted it out, which shocked them both! They had big ideas for a big wedding, but they had college to finish up and money to save if they wanted the expensive, fancy wedding they were planning.
As they began planning their wedding, their same-sex wedding options were limited to Massachusetts and Connecticut. They had moved to Long Island by this point, and were considering going over to Connecticut for a City Hall –type ceremony. Then New York passed the Marriage Equality Act, so they had a rethink, and started to consider a wedding in July 2012 on Long Island.
Before they really started looking into Long Island locations for the wedding, Kristin came across the Pop Up Chapel online. The night that the Marriage Equality Act passed, July 24th 2011, an organization was set up to throw free weddings for gay and lesbian couples that wanted to get married. Kristin and Sam put their names in to the hat, and we ended up being the first couple on the wait list. In early July another couple dropped out and they were in!
The Pop Up Chapel team held twenty four weddings that day in Central Park. Kristin and Sam had always joked about getting married in Central Park, but they never really thought that they would be able to. It must have been fate at work. The Pop Up Chapel had been set up by the Merchants’ Gate entrance to Central Park, right by Columbus Circle, so Kristin and Sam did have some concerns about traffic noise, but they said in the end they were far enough away from the road. They found that the only downside to having their wedding at the Pop Up Chapel was that they were only allowed a maximum of twelve guests. But being fairly local, they had lots of family and friends who wanted to come along, so they stayed out of the chapel area and could still watch the wedding.
Afterwards, they took a small party to Hooters to celebrate, which may not be appropriate for all wedding breakfasts! Then they all had a walk around Times Square, then they went home to Long Island. Kristin and Sam decided to make a night of it, and stayed in the London NYC hotel, and they sung the hotel’s praises, especially the staff, who, on finding out that it was their wedding night, had sent up wine and a note of congratulations. They had their main wedding reception the following day back home.
Kristin is a photographer, and she loved Central Park as a location for their photographs. They took some typical NYC city shots, but the park has many quieter areas, where even on this day when there were many weddings taking place in Central Park they were able to find some privacy for their family shots. Kristin’s advice to anyone planning a wedding in Central Park is to “go have fun with it!”, sounds like good advice to me.