Hillary and Ben brought their friends and family all the way from Melbourne, Australia for their Central Park wedding this May. Hillary is a social worked and Ben is a tattooist, they met ten years ago through a mutual friend and they have been together for five years. They live in Melbourne with the dog, Opie.
They got engaged two and a half years ago on New Years Eve. They were staying in a beach house with a group of friends and Ben asked Hillary to marry him at midnight. Hillary said that she had always assumed that she would get married one day, but had not given it much more thought than that, “I think when you meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with it becomes more important and you want to acknowledge the commitment to each other and celebrate in front of your close family and friends,” she said.
Hillary and Ben were fairly sure that they wanted a destination wedding, “we had a fairly big engagement party,” said Hillary, “so we wanted to have a small wedding. A destination wedding is a good way to keep numbers small and not offend anyone.” They had a large wedding by my standards, though. Twenty-six guests came all the way from Australia. Hillary said that most people were happy to have a good excuse to come to New York for a visit, though. “It was a great getting married away from home, because most people were in New York for a week or so with us so we had plenty of time to celebrate together,” said Hillary.
I asked them why they chose Central Park and Hillary explained that the first vacation that the couple took together was New York and they both really wanted to return, so having a wedding there was a great reason to visit again. “We first looked at getting married in Brooklyn Botanical Gardens but ended up choosing Cop Cot in Central Park because it was going to be a lot easier as we had Wed in Central Park to coordinate everything,” said Hillary. I have never yet planned a wedding in the Botanical Gardens, and Hillary did not mention this to me (why would she? with a name like Wed in Central Park?), but I think if they had been willing to be my first Brooklyn couple I could have done it. The permit application process is different, but the officiants and photographers are happy to travel. I wouldn’t have been able to offer as much insight into the location, though.
They arrive ten days before their wedding and went over to Central Park to check out their ceremony location and to think about where they would like to have photos taken. Their ceremony location was Cop Cot; “it turned out to be the perfect location because not only was it beautiful it was also easy to get to as it on the edge of the Park so it was easy for our guests to find,” said Hillary, “my favorite photos were taken at Cop Cot on a large rock with trees and then the buildings in the background.” I love that location, too, and a week after Hillary and Ben’s wedding I asked Ande, who took their photos, to take a maternity photo of myself in exactly that spot.
In total they stayed in New York for two weeks in a rented apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “I really like staying in Brooklyn because it is less busy than Manhattan and has a much more chilled out vibe especially with going for dinner and drinks,” said Hillary.
Hillary wore a Grace Loves Lace wedding dress, Ben wore a three piece suit that he got made from Oscar Hunt, a Melbourne-based company. Then he bought a matching tie for himself and his groomsman in New York. Hillary’s flowers were all made by Something May; which is based in Brooklyn, near to where they were staying. Her flowers were peonies, mixed ranunculas, white lilacs, scabiosa, lavender, succulants and lambs ear. Hillary and her best friend had their hair and makeup by Sabrina Gilbert in their apartment. Hillary was very happy with her and would recommend her.
After the wedding ceremony, they had photos taken in Central Park and then they went to the Highline to take some more photos. After that they met their guests at Spice Market, in Chelsea for an early dinner, following that we went to a roof top bar on the eighteenth floor overlooking the city.
I asked if they had any advice for anyone considering a wedding in Central Park, and Hillary said, “I loved getting married in Central Park, it did take a fair bit of organizing and a lot of emails, but it was worth it and really what wedding doesn’t?! The day was perfect, the photos were amazing and we got this amazing holiday/honeymoon to remember along with our guests. I think there is something special about a destination wedding especially because you get to spend a lot more time with your guest and the important people in your lives will always try and make it.” I agree, a wedding will always hold a special place in the memories of the couple who got married, but a destination wedding holds a special place in the memories of all who attended.
“Claire was amazing, she organized everything that I needed and made the day perfect with no stress. I chose to organize my own hair, flowers and car, but she organized everything else and would have been happy to organize those things if needed. She maintained regular communication and answered all my questions and organized every last detail; I could not recommend her more. The photographer and celebrant were great and worked as a great team and the musician, Brian, she organized was fantastic, he played all the music we requested as is an amazing musician. Thank you,” said Hillary. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Hillary and Ben, I wish you the best of luck for your futures together. For more information on planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook for photos and more inspiring stories.