Try not to worry about the weather. If you have chosen to have an outdoor wedding then you are at the mercy of the weather. There are a few sheltered spots in Central Park where you can hold a wedding, under Bethesda Terrace being the one I would suggest, but if it rains you will still get wet on the way. If you are getting married in the Winter, it will be cold, dress accordingly. If you are a small group, the Ladies’ Pavilion will provide some shelter from rain or strong sun. Click this link for more information on seasonal weather in Central Park.
Wear shoes that you can walk in. You can get a pedicab from where the taxi drops you off to the ceremony location, but you will struggle to avoid walking altogether. I have seen lots of wedding guests carrying their shoes after just half an hour or so. Much of Central Park is paved, but there are several locations couples choose for ceremonies that are rough underfoot, Wagner Cove is one of them, and it is accessed by uneven stone steps.
Keep the ceremony brief. The Central Park Conservancy do not allow chairs at weddings. Some of the ceremony locations do have some seating, but not all of them. So, if you don’t want your guests’ legs to get tired, try to keep the ceremony short and sweet. Most of our ceremonies last fifteen to twenty minutes and, along with the paperwork, we find that is quite long enough.
Remember to bring your marriage license. The couple must go to the City Clerk’s Office at least 24 hours before their ceremony to collect their marriage license. When you come to Central Park for your ceremony, bring this license with you. After the ceremony, the couple, their witness and the officiant will sign it and the officiant will take it away and send it back to the City Clerk’s Office. You might be surprised how many couples we have who forget to bring the license with them. Check this blog for more information on how to get your marriage license in New York City.
Leave your MP3 player and confetti at home. Central Park provides beautiful outdoor space and tranquility for many people, locals and tourists alike. The Central Park Conservancy does not allow couples to decorate their ceremony location with flowers, and does not allow guests to throw rice or confetti because of the litter aspect. Amplified sound is not permitted, please consider other people nearby who may also be enjoying Central Park.
Take lots of photos. If you can afford it, employ a professional photographer to take pictures of yourselves and your guests during and after the ceremony. A professional will frame and edit the photos so that you are all looking your best. If you cannot afford a professional, then encourage your guests to take lots of pictures. This is a day that you will want to remember for a long time. It is easy to take a beautiful photo in Central Park, there are so many nice spots, and so many iconic features and buildings. Try to get pictures in lots of different places, you will treasure them for years to come.
Agree a good place to meet. Take in to account where you are staying and how you intend to get to Central Park then agree a good meeting place. The gates to Central Park all have names, some are better meeting places than others, some are close to Subway stops, have pedicabs waiting to pick people up, or have benches to sit on while you wait for people to arrive. This is good advice if you are planning to meet guests at Central Park, or your photographer. Take a map if you think you might get lost.
Do your research. Look at the Central Park Conservancy website and check out the things to see. Decide in advance which bridges, structures and areas are the ones you would like your photograph taking in, so that you can let your photographer or Central Park wedding planner know in advance. This will make the photography part of the day much more efficient.
Get an event permit. The Central Park Conservancy do not require couples to have an event permit for a wedding with less than twenty guests, but I always apply for one, no matter how many people are in attendance. If you have come a long way for your wedding, and have put any effort in to planning it, then you may have some time constraints, in which case you do not want to arrive at your chosen ceremony location to find another couple getting married in there. If you do, you can simply wait for them to leave, but this may be a nuisance if you have a table reservation in a restaurant somewhere in the city.
Go to the bathroom before you go. Central Park was built in the 1870s, and so was it’s plumbing. There are several bathrooms around Central Park but there are fewer than there would be if it was built today, and there are areas of Central Park where bathrooms are quite far away. Check where the closest bathroom is to your ceremony location before you go.