Hannah and Leigh got married in Cop Cot this May. They brought a group of ten friends and family over from their home in Melbourne, Australia, and some also from the UK. We arranged for a bagpiper to play at their wedding, and he accompanied them around Central Park for some photographs afterwards. Leigh’s father sung Until Death Do Them Part after they were pronounced married, with the accompaniment of the piper.
They met online about four years ago and were dating for three of those before they got married. The couple had discussed marriage for a while, and they had been together to design a custom-made engagement ring that they would both love. So, Hannah knew a proposal was coming. The day Hannah knew Leigh was picking up the ring she was super excited. They’re not overly public people so they got engaged in their home in private.
The original plan for their wedding was to elope, just the two of them. “We don’t like the ‘drama’ that seems to be associated with weddings, and also we just wanted something quiet,” said Hannah. But when they started to talk the idea through with their close family they changed their minds, and invited a small group of their nearest and dearest to join them. “As a young girl I always dreamt of a beach wedding, so Mexico was our first choice,” Hannah told me. “After looking into the requirements to get married there it became too difficult and we just wanted simple and easy,” she said. “We started considering the USA, and New York just felt like the perfect choice for us,” she added.
I spoke to Becca from Chicago about her beach wedding in Mexico for my “Five Things I Loved About My Wedding” series, and she said that they chose to have their legal ceremony at home to avoid all the complications involved in getting married in Mexico.
Since Hannah had the idea of the beach wedding in her mind, when she gave it some more thought she realised that what she wanted was to be outdoors for her wedding. They both agreed on New York as a great location, and then started to look for somewhere pretty that was outdoors, and Central Park seemed right for them.
I asked Hannah if she had any concerns about getting married in New York. She did. She had a few. “Yes of course!” she said. “The weather was an obvious concern when planning an outdoor wedding,” she said. I can’t argue with that. For Hannah’s wedding we made a plan A for good weather, which would be a wedding in Cop Cot, and a plan B for rain, which would have been a wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion, which provides cover from rain. Cop Cot is covered in lovely foliage, which provides shade but won’t keep the rain off. As you can see from the photos we got good weather.
Also, they were concerned about handing their money over to someone they had never met to plan a very important day in the lives. I can’t argue with this concern either. “We live on the other side of the world from where our wedding would take place, so we realized hiring a planner was the best way to proceed, but even then I was still worried,” Hannah explained. “How did I know the businesses behind the websites were legit? How did I know I was going to get what I wanted?” she said. This is why I write this blog. It is partly to provide advice and inspiration for couples planning their weddings in Central Park, but it’s also to show that we’re a real business and we do real weddings and we do them just how couples want them. “I think I emailed four or five different options and Claire was not only the fastest, but seemed the most genuine, caring and interested.” I totally am. I love my job, and I’m grateful every day that I get to be involved in people’s weddings in this beautiful location. Sorry, carry on, Hannah: “Besides that, the costs were the lowest as we got to personalise every detail so we weren’t paying for anything we didn’t want,” she explained. I do make an effort to keep my costs low by being super-efficient at what I do, cutting out the stuff I don’t think is necessary, and more importantly; remaining flexible to do just what the couple wants.
Hannah and Leigh had travelled for twenty hours on a plane to get to New York, so they made the most of it while they were there! They spent two weeks in New York before the wedding, because they had lots of sightseeing and shopping to do. They stayed at Club Quarters in Midtown, “mostly because it was close to Central Park but also to Times Square and public transport so the location was perfect,” said Hannah.
The couple rode bikes around Central Park a week prior to the wedding to check it out. As I said, we had a good weather location and a bad weather location picked out, and they could have changed their minds and gone with the plan B location of the Ladies’ Pavilion if they had wanted to. But they said that they loved Cop Cot, not just for the ceremony, but for the photographs taken nearby. They were very happy with their choice, so they were glad when the weather was good so we could stick with the plan A. Hannah said that while they were at Bethesda Terrace it wasn’t her favorite spot, but when they got the photos it did look amazing and that location is the one people comment on most frequently when she shows them the wedding photos.
We had the guests and groom meet the officiant and photographer in Cop Cot, which is at the top of a little hill, just a minutes’ walk from the entrance to Central Park. We had the bagpiper meet the bride and her dad at the bottom of the hill and our piper played Skye Boat Song for the bride to make entrance to.
Hannah wore a traditional lace white dress with a small train. “I felt like a queen,” she said. She had told me that she wanted red and white roses, so I ordered those for her. “My flowers were beyond expectation, a beautiful big bouquet of red roses, which matched my hair, with a few white ones scattered through,” she said. Hannah’s mother used to be a hairdresser, so she did her hair for her. Hannah’s makeup was done at Sephora, which she chose to save some money, and she recommends them highly. “They were exceptional at their jobs and what I thought I wanted wouldn’t have worked well for photos, and they explained that really well, and I’m so happy I took their advice as my makeup was perfect,” she said.
We wrote a fairly short and sweet ceremony for the couple, with them writing their own vows to each other, besides the traditional “I do”. They kept the vows a secret from one another until they said them at the ceremony. They told each other why they loved each other and made special, unique promises to each other. Leigh’s father sung Until Death Do Them Part after they were pronounced married, with the accompaniment of the piper. After the ceremony, they took photos around Cop Cot, then walked up the Mall, with the piper playing alongside them, to Bethesda Terrace and Bow Bridge for photos, and eventually went out of Central Park via Strawberry Fields.
Their reception was held in a small private dining room at a French restaurant called Claudette in Greenwich Village. They said they loved the food and the service. I asked Hannah how I did. “Claire is exceptional at her job and it is obvious that she is passionate about weddings and enjoys what she does. She was always very professional and quick to respond to my many emails and questions and helped put me at ease, especially when organising something on the other side of the world. No small detail was overlooked, even things I didn’t think of myself. The day ran very smoothly.” Thanks so much, Hannah! I think the comment about me covering deatils that she hadn’t thought of herself is an important one – I’ve done this so many times that I have a system that means that I shouldn’t miss the little things.
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