Central Park is a romantic and picturesque location to hold a wedding ceremony.
There are many lovely spots for a wedding ceremony in Central Park, some nice places that we recommend for weddings are discussed in more detail below. Each location has a guest limit specific to its size and area. The locations have varying degrees of privacy and some have nicer views than others, all have differing pros and cons. Couples will want to take all these factors into account when choosing your location.
Shakespeare Garden is a lovely four-acre flower garden named for the famed English poet and playwright because the flowers in it are all mentioned in his plays and poems. It was added to Central Park in 1916. The garden is on a steep slope, having several paved pathways and several rustic wooden benches and bronze plaques with quotations from the Bard’s masterpieces. The garden makes for very beautiful pictures, with all the flowers, but there is some traffic noise from one of the roads that runs through the park. At the top of the garden, there is a large stone bench in the shade, when walking my dog in the park during the summer time, I found it a very cooling place to sit, and it is a lovely spot for a wedding. This location is close to Belvedere Castle.
Ladies’ Pavilion is a lovely spot by the Lake. The closest entrance to the Ladies’ Pavilion is the one right by John Lennon’s old home, the Dakota, at Central Park West and 72nd Street. It’s my personal favorite, and it is the location where I got married. There are seats around the edges and it has a pretty gray slate roof and charming cast-iron details. The Ladies Pavilion is an important example of 19th century American decorative arts. It was originally designed in 1871 as a shelter for trolley passengers and sat near the Park’s Eighth Avenue and 59th Street entrance. When construction began on the monument that stands there now, the pavilion was relocated inside the Park. It is so-called because during the Winter the Ladies’ would change into their ice skates here, before skating on the Lake. Wedding photographs taken around the Ladies Pavilion will have the Lake and the Manhattan skyline in the background, and you would be a short walk from Bethesda Fountain and Bow Bridge.
Cherry Hill is a circular plaza at the top of gentle slope overlooking the Lake with views to the Ramble. It has a small fountain at it’s center. It is named for the cherry trees that bloom across its landscape in the spring, which would provide shade for a summer wedding, and a natural confetti for a spring time wedding. Cherry Hill was originally intended as a scenic turnaround featuring a decorative watering trough for horse-drawn carriages. Its central ornamental displays a decorative finial and frosted glass lighting globes. I remember having a lovely picnic here in the summer time, and it’s a perfect spot for that. This location is within close walking distance of many of the iconic scenes within the park, just up from Bow Bridge and Bethesda Fountain, so there’s not far to walk for your photographs. Cherry Hill is particularly popular in the spring because of the blooming forsythia and azaleas in this area.
Wagner Cove is an excellent location for a small wedding. It is tucked away into a shady corner of the Lake, right on the water, looking out over Bow Bridge. I had some photographs taken in here on my wedding day, and I remember seeing turtles in the water, right next to us. The steps that lead to it from the main pathway in the Park are hidden between trees. The closest park entrance to Wagner Cove is the one right by John Lennon’s old home, the Dakota, at Central Park West and 72nd Street. This location is within close walking distance of many of the iconic scenes within the park, so there’s not far to walk for your photographs. The Cove features a rustic wood shelter, useful in case of any rain on your wedding day, or bright sunshine. The original shelters date from Central Park’s early years, when rowing boats would pick up passengers at one of six shelters that dotted the edge of the Lake and drop them off at another.
Bow Bridge is quite possibly New York’s most romantic setting for lovers. It is certainly a muse for photographers. You might recognize it from its starring role in many movies, television shows, and commercials. The view from the bridge is also iconic to Central Park, with the Manhattan skyline towering above the trees. It is certainly not the most private spot in the Park for a wedding, but would be one of the loveliest. This beautiful bridge spans the Lake’s narrowest point and links Cherry Hill to the sprawling woodland of the Ramble. The bridge is named for its shape – reminiscent of a violin’s bow. It is the oldest cast-iron bridge in the Park, and the second oldest in America.
The Conservatory Garden is divided into three smaller gardens, each with a distinct style: Italian, French and English. The Garden’s main entrance is through the ornate and beautiful Vanderbilt Gate, on Fifth Avenue between 104th and 105th Streets. The gate was made in Paris in 1894 and originally stood before the Vanderbilt mansion at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street. Because the Conservatory Garden is quite far North in the Park, it tens to be a quieter spot for a wedding, but that does mean you would be further from most of the most typical New York scenes for photographs. When I walk my dog in Central Park, I often head up to the North, because it’s so much quieter. You would be amongst locals rather than tourists in this area. Please note that there is an extra charge for a permit to be married in the Conservatory Garden.
Belvedere Castle caps Vista Rock, Central Park’s second-highest natural elevations. Because of this it provides the best and highest views of the Park and its cityscape. Myself and my husband viewed the New Year’s Eve midnight fireworks from the spot. The name of the castle is fitting because it translates to “beautiful view” in Italian. It was built in1869 as one of Central Park’s many whimsical structures intended as a lookout to the reservoir to the north (now the Great Lawn) and the Ramble to the south. All weather observations for Central Park are taken from Belvedere Castle. This location is very close to the Shakespeare Garden.