Wendy and Craig eloped from their home in Queensland, Australia to get married in Central Park this September. Their ceremony was held in Wagner Cove. Wendy is 57 and Craig turned 58 the day before their wedding.
The couple have known each other since high school, and Wendy’s first husband was Craig’s best friend at school. They were not in touch for thirty years, then a few years ago Wendy was passing through Sydney for her work, she used LinkedIn to look up who she might know in the city and Craig’s name came up, so they arranged to meet. “Not many people know that LinkedIn can be a dating site too!” laughed Wendy.
Like so many couples who are attracted to a small, no-nonsense wedding, Wendy and Craig didn’t have an official engagement as such. They talked about their retirement and decided that it would be good to start this next chapter of their lives married. They had also talked about visiting New York together for some time. They had started to plan a big US trip to undertake as soon as they retired, and they learned of their options to get married in Central Park. “With a bit of research I found Wagner Cove and knew it was perfect for us,” said Wendy.
They knew an elopement was right for them. “at our age, and having been married before, and having had big weddings, this time we wanted our wedding to be about us and what we wanted to do,” explained Wendy. “Our families are so spread across Australia, trying to get everyone together was going to be a challenge, so we decided to elope,” she said. “Eloping allowed us to be relaxed and have the day exactly how we wanted it.”
Wendy and Craig traveled all over the US and Canada for their vacation before arriving in New York. So they were able to purchase their wedding bands at Tiffany’s in San Francisco. “We had the best experience there!” Wendy told me. “We had planned to only look at the bands in San Francisco and buy in New York, but our salesperson Jon was so lovely and accommodating we bought them there” she said.
They said that they found the process of picking up their license from City Hall very quick and easy. “We only had to wait five minutes to get called up, although it was a Tuesday!” Wendy told me. They were told at this time that they would need the extended certificate for their country, so they returned the next day to get it. This is a longer process, which involves going to another office besides City Hall, and has some extra charges, which total around $50. We can either this for couples, for a fee, if we know in advance that you will need it, because you need to sign some papers, or I can tell you all that you need to do to get it.
The couple stayed in New York for ten days. They stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott, Chelsea. The couple had bought a five day New York City Pass before leaving Australia, “that gave us access to a number of attractions, museums and the hop on hop off bus,” said Wendy, “it worked really well.” They took a night cruise, and a day cruise to the Statue of Liberty, went on a walking tour of Chelsea Markets, Highline and the Meatpacking area, they went up the Empire State building and the Top of the Rock, visited the 9/11 museum, and did lots of walking around, so they got plenty out of their trip!
For the wedding, Wendy wore a white flowing pant suit, her shoes bright blue with a green trim and multicolored fronts. “I wore low heels for easy walking around Central Park!” she pointed out. “Because I had chosen not to have an engagement ring, Craig had bought me an opal pendant and matching ear rings when we were in Coober Pedy (opal capital of the world) which matched the shoes, so I wore those too,” she said. Craig wore a white linen ‘grandfather’ style long sleeved shirt that they had shipped from Ireland, with dress jeans, and he bought his shoes in New York. Craig didn’t want flowers, and Wendy carried a bouquet of white roses, which she wrapped with ribbon from Australia that matched the green on her shoes. They used a florist near the hotel, Superior Florist, and they picked up the bouquet themselves. It cost $75.
The Saturday before the wedding, Wendy had her nails done at The Gel Bar. She had a mobile hair and makeup artist, Gabrielle Pacelli come to the hotel on the morning of the wedding, you can see her work on Instagram. She cut the bride and groom’s hair and colored Wendy’s hair that morning. Then styled Wendy’s hair and did her makeup. “She was brilliant and very friendly and professional,” said Wendy.
The ceremony took place in Wagner Cove, we wrote the ceremony wording well in advance of the wedding. We had an introduction with a little about the couple, a poem called “I Love You” by Roy Croft, and then the traditional vows and ring exchange. After the ceremony, the two were taken around Central Park by their photographer, taking pictures along the way. Since it was just the two of them, they were able to capture photos in lots of locations. “We love all our pictures, we got photos in great spots and we enjoyed our relaxed walk around the park,” said Wendy, “being photobombed by ‘Big Foot’ was very funny,” she added.
After the photos, our photographer walked them over to where they could get a horse and carriage, where they took a few photos and then left the, to it. “We went for a twenty minute ride around Central Park, which was lovely, then we went to the Tavern on the Green for a lovely celebratory drink at the bar,” said Wendy. Later in the evening they went on to Porter House Bar and Grill at Columbus Circle for dinner. “The steaks were amazing and we had a view overlooking the entrance to Central Park” Wendy told me. “They also gave us a complimentary piece of cake to share, with ‘congrats’ written in chocolate on the plate, so that was our wedding cake!” she added.
I asked if they had any advice for anyone marrying in Central Park, and Wendy pointed out that you need a working day in advance of the wedding to collect your license, and if you country requires it, then another working day some time after your wedding during your trip to get the certificate. I asked Wendy how she thought we did, she said “Claire has been fantastic from day one, her blog and website have been very helpful. Claire responded to our emails very timely given time differences, she organised the booking at Central Park, our fantastic celebrant and our amazing photographer and witness. It was has been the most enjoyable experience.”
When Wendy and Craig return home they will have a vow renewal ceremony with Wendy’s family, and then they will go on to Sydney for another celebration with their friends there, and then up to where Craig’s family are at Christmas for a celebration with them and their friends up there. So, they’re certainly not missing out on celebrating their wedding with their loved ones!
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Wendy and Craig, we wish you lots of luck for your retirement together! I hope you enjoy many more awesome vacations together! If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, either large or small, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where we pin all things New York or wedding-related.