Catherine and James brought their friends and family over from the UK this September to get married on Belvedere Castle Terrace. Cat is from Cardiff and James is from the Wirral. They met when they were both students at Aston University in November 2007 and have been together ever since.
They bought their first home together in Birmingham in August 2015, and James surprised Cat by asking her to marry him in the kitchen on the day they moved in. It felt like the next natural step in their relationship to symbolize their commitment with marriage, after making the financial leap of buying a home together.
After they had settled in to their house, they started wedding planning. They looked at some nice locations in and around their home in Birmingham, but none of them felt right for them as a couple. They were all very expensive, and Cat and James questioned the idea of paying so much money for just one day. “We feel a marriage is about so much more than just the wedding day and we wanted to do something special without spending so much on the day,” said Cat. It just happened that they were also thinking about taking a holiday to New York after their house move, and just for fun, Cat started to look in to how easy it might be to elope there and get married in New York. “It turns out it’s very easy,” said Cat, “but we liked the idea of having our families with us on the day,” she added. So, they talked to their families about the idea. The little spark of an idea grew and grew and in the end Cat and James decided to take four weeks off work in total and carry on travelling around the USA as their honeymoon after the wedding.
Their original choice for a wedding ceremony location was the Ladies’ Pavilion, but we were unable to get a permit for that spot. This does sometimes happen and we have to make a second choice. They went for Belvedere Castle Terrace in the end, but their photographer knew that they liked the Ladies’ Pavilion so made sure to get lots of extra photos there. That is always something to keep in mind when choosing which location to get married in, you can always go to a lovely location for photos, even if you don’t actually have the ceremony there. Cat said that she liked having that shelter at the Castle Terrace, and she loved the views from there.
I asked if they had any concerns about marrying in Central Park. They had the common worry about the weather, which pretty much everyone has. September usually sees lovely weather in New York, but of course it might rain, and it also might be very hot. In fact Cat and James saw very hot temperatures and some rain during their week-long stay in New York, but the weather was perfect on their wedding day. Belvedere Castle Terrace is a great choice if you are a bit worried about the weather, because it has covering to protect from rain or sunshine, although it is the highest point in Central Park so if it is windy, then you really feel it there. They also had the common worry that they were organizing the wedding from abroad, so they had a small concern that nobody would turn up on the day. I do a lot to try to reassure people about this one, but it is hard because this is an online business, and there are dodgy people out there. We have lots of reviews on Facebook by real people to set anyone’s mind at rest that we are a real business, and all the officiants and photographers and so on who I work with a very reliable, simply because they value their relationship with me, as I do with them.
Cat and James stayed at the Ameritania Hotel, and they would thoroughly recommend it, but they said that if they ever return to New York City then they would prefer to stay in Greenwich Village because they loved the more relaxed pace around there. Personally, I always recommend the Upper West Side; great places to eat, lovely buildings, great transport links, and sandwiched between the Hudson River and Central Park. Their guests were their parents, James’ mum’s partner and both their sisters. They all loved the idea of a destination wedding and used the trip as an opportunity for a holiday, most of the guests stayed for the full week in New York with Cat and James.
Cat wore a Justin Alexander dress and James wore a Ted Baker suit. Cat carried gypsophilia, lisianthus and roses in her bouquet and hair and for the button holes. I arranged for these to be delivered to their hotel room on their wedding day. “We would definitely recommend the florist as they exceeded expectations,” enthused Cat. She booked her own hair and makeup, Sharon Becker, “she did a great job and the hair and make-up stayed put all day and for our evening meal,” added Cat.
They had extra time taking photos, we did three hours instead of the usual two. We can always add on extra time if couples want it. After the wedding they all went to the Loeb Boathouse for drinks after the photos were finished. Then they all went on to a private dining room at Lincoln Square Steakhouse, which they loved. They said it was the best food they had during the week in New York City.
I asked if they had any tips to share for anyone considering a wedding in Central Park. Cat said “it is an absolutely beautiful place to get married but I recommend taking flip flops and asking a guest to kindly carry them for you if you’re wearing heels. There is quite a lot of walking around and luckily our lovely sisters helped carry bottles of water, my heels and James’ suit jacket while we were having photos taken.” This is great advice. The guests at my own wedding carried our dog for us at times (yes, we’re that kind of dog-owners) and whenever I attend a wedding as a planner my main duty is to hold bags and shoes. They also added that “the atmosphere was great and lots of people congratulated us whilst walking around, and we saw other weddings taking place.” Central Park is a popular place for weddings, and weirdly for a weekday in September, their date was very busy, for me and Central Park in general. We are often told how nice it is to walk through the city or through Central Park as people congratulate them as they go. New Yorkers are very friendly and warm people.
I asked if they had any other comments about us and Cat said “Claire provided a very helpful service and made the whole process of getting married in Central Park much less daunting!” She added that she “loved the florist and our officiant and photographer were both amazing!” Thank you for sharing your story with us, Cat and James. I wish you the best of luck for your futures together, I am honoured to have been a part of your wedding. For more information on planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook for photos and more inspiring stories.