Scottish couple Jennifer (32) and Gary (34) got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in March of this year with eleven guests. They had been together for around two years before moving from their home in Glasgow, Scotland to Perth, Australia, where they had lived for almost six years. They have a three year old chihuahua-shihtzu called Ted who is the love of their lives.
A couple of years ago their parents were visiting them in their home in Australia and they said that they would love for their next trip to be a family vacation in New York. Jennifer thought about it for a while and jokingly suggested to Gary that if they did join their family on the trip then they should get married while they were there. Gary liked the idea. They designed an engagement ring together, and when it arrived in early January he hid it and then officially proposed a few days later while at a picnic with their dog at the South Perth Esplanade on a beautiful summer’s day.
Getting married was important to them because of their distance from the rest of their close family. “When Gary and I moved to Australia together getting married became a little more important to me as I wanted for us to be an ‘official’ family as we don’t have any immediate family over here,” Jennifer explained. Jennifer is well-traveled and had lived in the US for a year when she was younger. She had always loved the idea of a destination wedding in the US. She loved the idea of a Vegas wedding, but Gary was not keen. They had briefly considered a wedding close to home in Scotland, but they both have huge families and it would have been very expensive to include everyone, “it was also a bit too traditional for me,” added Jennifer. Jennifer planned the wedding herself. She sad that there were a few difficulties with the time differences between herself in Australia, their guests in Scotland, and everyone she was dealing with for the wedding in New York! “I had three different time differences to work with and at times it did feel a bit lonely planning it on my own,” she said.
When they first started looking at their options for a wedding in New York, they were considering getting married at City Hall. “Then after seeing the photographs of weddings in Central Park we decided that we wanted to get married at Belvedere Castle,” Jennifer told me. But Belvedere Castle was closed for the whole of this year for huge renovations, so unfortunately nobody has been able to get married there this year. “So they chose the Ladies’ Pavilion instead, “which ended up being lovely,” said Jennifer. Jennifer planned the entire thing herself, from the other side of the world! “I actually felt really laid back about getting married in New York, knowing that if anything went wrong with the venue or transport or anything at all then we had the whole of New York to find a solution with thousands of restaurants, bars and taxis, town cars, limos etc then it would be easy to find a back up,” she said. She said that she was a little concerned about the weather, but that’s unavoidable when getting married outdoors. “The day before our wedding there was a huge snow storm which my mum was panicking about but I was happy to see snow after years of living in Australia!” she laughed. As you can see form the photos, they had a beautiful sunny day for their wedding, but they had snow in their photographs in Central Park.
Jennifer and Gary were in New York for ten days, and their eleven guests arrived a few days later. The whole party all stayed at the Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue. “The hotel was amazing, the staff were so helpful and they even upgraded Gary and myself to a two-bedroom suite for the night before and after the wedding,” said Jennifer. “We were really lucky to get a fabulous deal on the hotel, it was perfect” she added. On the day of the wedding they had the bridal party get their hair and make-up done in the couple’s suite. Jennifer’s dad went to a local deli to pick up breakfast for everyone. They arranged for a limo came to take Gary and his family and friends to Central Park and then it came back to pick up Jennifer and the rest of the bridal party along with the photographer.
The ceremony took place at the Ladies’ Pavilion. Jennifer wore an A-line or princess wedding gown that purchased from a boutique in Perth, Australia. She picked up her bouquet with white roses and thistles from George, the florist who has a stall outside City Hall. They kept the vows pretty traditional but added the Scottish tradition of drinking whisky from a quaich, a silver two-handled drinking cup, to symbolise sharing everything together and the families coming together. Their groomsman read the poem “Falling in love is like owning a dog” by Taylor Mali. Jennifer loved this as not only do they own a dog but the first line is “First of all, it’s a big responsibility, especially in a city like New York” – very apt for them! They had pictures taken around that area, near the entrance to Central Park, at the LOVE sculpture and at Times Square with their photographer Jasmine Photography. They had hired a vintage trolley bus to drive them around the city and then drop them off at their dinner venue. “I loved the idea of getting photo taken at the LOVE sculpture and my favourite photos are the candid ones from Times Square,” said Jennifer, “it’s such an iconic location, I love the hustle and bustle going on in the background of our photos.”
They had booked a private dining are in Session 73 on the Upper East Side for their celebratory dinner. After dinner and drinks a live band played in the restaurant and dedicated their first song, Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen to the couple, and we got up and danced for their first dance to it. “The venue was perfect for us as it was not too busy, had live music and was very laid back with fantastic service,” said Jennifer. She said she wouldn’t change anything about the day. “The only thing I forgot was a soft drink for my pregnant sister for the trolley bus,” she said, “we had a cooler full of champagne and beer and I felt terrible that we forgot to pick something up for her.”
“I think it is very important for the bride and groom to have the wedding that they want and not to feel pressured by family or friends to have their wedding a certain way,” Jennifer told me. “If that means an elopement or destination wedding then I think it’s fantastic”, she added. Her parents had eloped to Gretna Green (a popular place to elope to just over the border in Scotland) for their wedding so Jennifer didn’t feel pressured to have a ‘traditional’ wedding. “I think they are becoming more popular as traditional weddings are getting more and more expensive,” she said.
The only regret the couple have about their wedding is that some family members were unable to fly out (Gary’s father and all of the couples’ grandparents). They would have loved to share their trip to New York with them, but they had the best of both worlds, and the couple flew to Scotland a few days after the wedding for a very small blessing at their local church, which their close family attended and then had a big reception with 180 people a few days after that. “I did miss having my mum and sisters at my wedding dress appointments in Australia but we managed to keep them included with Skype,” said Jennifer.
Jennifer’s parting thoughts were; “if you are thinking about getting married in Central Park, do it; you will not regret it. It was a magical day and the best part about it were the New Yorkers themselves. everyone was so nice and friendly, everyone congratulates you and takes photos of you. It was really lovely.” I can’t argue with any of that! Thanks for sharing your story with us, Jennifer and Gary, I wish you lots of luck for your future together. If you think you might like some help with planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest.