I am often asked by new clients exactly what it is that I do in the lead up to the wedding. With my business, Wed in Central Park, I have planned over one hundred and fifty weddings to date and have been planning weddings for four years now. Over that period I have developed a process that I usually follow with all couples so that I remember to cover all the important issues.
One of the first things I do is let the couple know what they are legally obligated to do in terms of their marriage license. Nobody else can get it on behalf of the couple, they must go to City Hall together to get it themselves, this is the part where an official will check your identity. I will answer any questions that I can about this process.
I know Central Park quite well, I used to live a few blocks from it, I used to run there and walk my dog there, and for a time I volunteered with them as a Central Park Conservancy Guide. I got married there myself, and have attended several of my weddings there. So, I can offer some insight and advice on which locations might suit a couple, if they can tell me what sort of thing they are looking for and what they like. Some prefer a private area, some want a stunning view, some want a natural and rustic structure, everyone has different tastes, and size of group. We can also discuss what is the best time of day to get married for that couple at whatever time of year they have chosen. I apply for the event permit on behalf of the couple with the Central Park Conservancy and deal with any issues if they arise.
I work with several officiants, all of whom are now native New Yorkers and have been working for several years as officiants in the city. They each have different skills, and of course unique personalities, and some can help with special requests, such as religion or language. I will match a couple with an officiant I believe they will enjoy having conduct their wedding ceremony. The officiants I work with and I value our relationships and in many cases have worked together for some years. They will do everything they can to be on time to your wedding and do a great job of performing your ceremony because of that. If anything should happen to the officiant I have booked for your wedding, such as a family emergency or illness, then I can quickly find someone else within the community of officiants I work with to take their place. So I can offer peace of mind that nobody will let you down on your special day. The same goes for the photographers, videographers, musicians, florists, hair and makeup artists and other service providers that couples book through me. We have a history of a good relationship and neither of us wants to ruin that. Couples who come from out of town find that very reassuring, because they worry about what might happen if anyone they booked were to let them down; they would have no backup.
I write each wedding ceremony personalised for each couple. I begin by sending over a series of questions about the couple; who they are, what their history is, what they need from a ceremony and officiant, and so on. Then I write them a first draft. Sometimes the couple is happy with the very first draft. I have written over one hundred and fifty wedding ceremonies so my process is quite efficient and I have developed a good list of questions that allows me to create something that couples will be pleased with. If the couple needs to make some changes to that first draft then we make the changes together, they can go away and think about it, and I can send over examples of readings, poems or personal vows that previous couples have used to get them thinking. I have been to weddings where the officiant knows the ceremony off by heart, ours are not like that. Because each ceremony is different the officiant will be sent your ceremony wording some time in advance of the ceremony and they will be familiar with it, but they will need to read it out on the day because we wrote it just for you.
Once we have the permit secured for the couple’s chosen time, date and location then I book the officiant, photographer and any other service provider for the wedding. I then discuss with the couple how they want the day to go; where they are staying, what they will be doing on the day of their wedding in the morning, transport issues and timings, how the bride will arrive at the ceremony, any photography requests, and where the couple needs to be afterwards, and when they need to be there. We create a detailed plan of the day and I offer any advice and suggestions along the way. This takes as long as it takes, everyone is different. Once we have that detailed plan I communicate it to all the people involved in your wedding, and I make sure that everyone has everyone else’s contact details.
Common requests tend to be for things such as; putting brides in touch with hair and makeup artists, getting quotes for flowers or cake, advice on when to book the car to pick them up from the hotel to take them to Central Park, and which car company, and which entrance to Central Park, and for a map of their route from that entrance to their ceremony location. I can tell you where to get a pedicab from. Our videographers can add your favorite song to your wedding video, our musicians can play special requests as you arrive at your ceremony location or as you are pronounced husband and wife. We will watch the weather forecast in the run-up to your wedding, I will be on hand with any suggestions for bad weather alternatives if you need them, and in some cases we have been able to reschedule a wedding when heavy rain was forecast. If anything happens on the day, such as our most common issue: a bride running late, or sometimes a couple has forgotten their license, or once a hotel lost a bride’s flowers, then I will be on the phone to help out.