Many of the couples whom I assist with the planning of their weddings are visitors to New York City. In some cases they may have visited the city before, but they may not be so familiar with Central Park that they know all their options for where they might hold a wedding ceremony.
I have made some suggestions on the most popular locations for a wedding ceremony in Central Park on my website. I have found that these are the most commonly chosen locations for a wedding ceremony in Central Park and they all have their strengths and weaknesses depending on various factors. There are plenty of other great place in Central Park to get married, besides this list, but I tried to keep it short to avoid confusion or information overload in the early wedding planning stage. Things to consider that might affect a couple’s choice in location might be the size of the wedding party, where in Central Park they want to be, and how far they want to walk through the Park for other photograph locations, what level of privacy a couple wants, and what sort of backdrop they want for their ceremony.
I discuss all these needs with the couple and make my recommendations for them specifically. We talk about where they would like photographs taking after the ceremony and how much walking they are able or prepared to do. We can also talk about proximity of Subway stops, restaurants, and public bathrooms, since things like that can be important to some people. Of course, a lot of the choice comes down to what the couple finds attractive to look at. There are some wide open locations with an expansive view, such as Belvedere Castle Terrace or Bow Bridge, and there are some structures which offer a little cover around a group, such as the Ladies’ Pavilion for a smaller group, Cop Cot for a larger group, or Wagner Cove suits eloping couples very well. Of the structures, several are rustic in style and built from wood, such as Wagner Cove and Cop Cot, and there are Bow Bridge the Ladies’ Pavilion with its wrought iron work.
Some locations might get quite busy and therefore quite noisy at certain times of year, and so might not suit a large group. The Bethesda Fountain is one of the most iconic locations in Central Park, but it will be the busiest part of Central Park in high summer in the middle of the day. Some of the structures might not fit all of your wedding party inside. Some locations have a little seating, some offer beautiful views, some have a little cover if you want to provide some shelter from rain or sunshine. I would usually suggest Belvedere Castle Terrace, underneath Bethesda Terrace or the Ladies’ Pavilion to couples who are concerned about rain, or who want to have a second permit for a bad weather backup. Some offer rustic charm, some have art deco style, some are wide open spaces and some are covered in foliage. Different couples want different things and Central Park can satisfy a wide range of tastes.
The Conservatory Gardens are a popular choice for larger groups, and for couples who want to be further away from the South end of Central Park, which tends to be busier with tourists. There will be more locals in the North end of Central Park, where the Conservatory Gardens are, and it will be quieter. There are many stunningly beautiful spots in the Conservatory Gardens, but if you would also like photographs taking in the center area of Central Park, where Bethesda Terrace and Bow Bridge are, then you will have to walk thirty to forty minutes through the Park to get there after your ceremony and photos in the Conservatory Gardens.
The Central Park Conservancy do not allow us to bring seats for all the guests at weddings, but if couples think some of their party will need a seat during part of the proceedings, then I might suggest the Ladies’ Pavilion, Cop Cot or the Shakespeare Garden, where there are some benches already there. Generally, we find that all guests will stand for a wedding ceremony, though. It is nice to have benches nearby before and after the ceremony, to sit down to sign the license, or maybe to leave some belongings (supervised!) while group photographs are taken.
The couples and I will chat about their needs and we will settle on a choice for their wedding location, but it is important to remember that you can take photographs wherever you like in Central Park, so you should not get too concerned with choosing that one perfect location just for the ceremony. We usually suggest at least two hours for photographs in Central Park, and that includes the ceremony, which might take fifteen to twenty minutes, and then we can make a plan of all the other spots that you might want to get to for photos. The whole of Central Park is yours to enjoy when you get married there.
For more information in planning your Central Park wedding, or to discuss the best places to get married in Central Park, then drop me an email and we can have a chat. For more inspiration for planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook for photos and more inspiring stories.