Elinor and Carl brought their friends and family from their home in Manchester in the UK in the summer of 2014 to get married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in Central Park. They met at work – they are both nurses. They dated for six and a half years before getting married, and they bought their first house together three years before they got married.
Carl took Elinor to the Savoy hotel in London the autumn before they got married, and he proposed there. “It was a beautiful setting, and we had a wonderful weekend,” said Elinor. “Although in all honesty we had already decided we would get married and that we would get married in New York,” she added. But they wanted to make an occasion of their engagement, as many couples do.
Neither Carl nor Elinor wanted a big wedding or the pressure that they felt that might bring. They both feel that they appreciate the importance of marriage over the wedding. “I have always wanted to get married but only when it felt right, said Elinor. “We were at a point in our relationship where it didn’t feel like a massive jump, just a natural progression,” she told me. “It felt like the jewel in our crown if that makes sense, all the ground work was there we just needed the rubber stamp,” she explained.
When they started discussing their wedding, they were already in agreement about the major points: “we wanted a wedding abroad, we wanted something low key and non-traditional, but we knew we wanted our close family and friends there,” they told me. For a while they considered Las Vegas for a wedding destination, but Elinor’s mum could not shake the image of them being married by an Elvis, so she talked them out of it! “We considered other locations a little closer to home too,” said Elinor. “We looked at Spain, Italy and France, but either the language barrier or local laws proved a big of a struggle,” she said.
They feel strongly that an important aspect of their relationship has always been travel and holidays, they were keen to create memories with their loved ones that they will never forget. “We were also keen not to get focused on things like bows on chairs, centre pieces or what piece of music we do our first dance to,” they told me. “We wanted something that represented us as a couple which was already formed, and the focus was our marriage not just our wedding day,” Elinor added.
New York was Carl’s idea and as soon as he suggested it something just clicked for them both. They had both been to New York but not together. It took them around ten minutes of talking about it all to suggest the location of Central Park between them and they said that very quickly it all started to fall in to place. Elinor said that she found the planning of the wedding nice and simple and very enjoyable.
The couple did a bit or a search online for information, and felt that most of what they found was a little bogged down by jargon, but then they found my Central Park wedding planning website and they liked how simple I could make it for them. They chose the Ladies’ Pavilion for their ceremony location. “We liked it because it looked intimate and pretty,” said Elinor. “In reality it was beautiful and I am so pleased that we choose this location. The views from the Pavilion were breath taking,” she added. I agree. This is where I got married and after planning all these other weddings for the past five years, it is still my personal favorite location, as long as the group is small enough.
They had photos taken at Bow Bridge and around Bethesda Fountain. “We put all our faith in our photographer who was incredible. He also took us to DUMBO prior to the service and the photos are brilliant,” Elinor added. “It also calmed my nerves to be with Carl prior to the ceremony, although I know this is unconventional it suited us much more,” she said. This is what I love about breaking with tradition and getting married in a park, you can break with tradition is so many other ways quite easily and do just what suits you.
The dress Elinor wore for the wedding was actually her second wedding dress. “The first was a beautiful Maggie Sottero tea length dress that was perfectly altered for her for just two weeks before our flight to New York I picked it up and I just hated it, it wasn’t right for me at all,” Elinor said. “After a worrying afternoon I found a dress in Coast and on the day I honestly could not have been happier in it,” she told me.
Elinor’s brother and sister in law live in Houston, Texas so while she was visiting them a little while before the wedding she made all the boutonnieres and corsages from faux flowers from Michaels. She did not want big, expensive, formal flowers and she did not want to carry a bouquet so this was perfect for her.
They invited close family and friends to their wedding. They tried to make it clear that they knew that some people would not be able to make it to the wedding and that was OK by them, but this was about Carl and Elinor as couple and a traditional big wedding at home just would not be for them. “It got a mixed reception, and some me family members weren’t able to make it,” said Elinor. “But in the end we were overwhelmed by the response from many of our friends who booked their flights before we did!” she added. In total there were twenty-five guests, this included their parents and brothers and their partners and several friends. “That was the incredible thing,” Elinor said, “to feel that support and love from all those people, friends and family who made the trip, we are incredibly lucky and will never forget that.”
Elinor and Carl stayed at The Strand, which was a great location and picked specifically for its roof top bar with sensational views of the Empire State Building. They spent the evening of the wedding, and indeed every evening of the trip in this bar, “it was perfect,” said Elinor. Their wedding dinner was at the Loeb Boathouse as the sun started to set over the Lake during their main course, “I can’t think of a better place,” said Elinor.
I asked if they had any other thoughts about Wed in Central Park that they would like to share and Elinor said “Claire was incredibly attentive, timely and informative and had an excellent knowledge of the area, protocols and services. It became so easy with her on board. People commented on how chilled out I was on the run up to the wedding (except the day before!) and it was purely because everything was taken care of. You can’t ask for more than that; just relax and enjoy!” Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Elinor and Carl, I wish you the best of luck for your futures together, although I am posting this blog two and a half years after your wedding. That is exactly my aim – for the bride to be relaxed and confident in the run-up to her 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.