Stephanie and Jack eloped to New York to get married in Central Park in July. Stephanie (26) is from Dublin, Ireland and Jack (23) is from London, UK. They live in Dublin with their two year old son, Kai. They met at their work. They both applied for the same position and Jack originally got offered the job. A week later, another vacancy opened up in the team and Stephanie was offered that job. “I only joined on a temporary basis,” explained Stephanie, “because I had a job in New York starting that summer, but then I met Jack and the rest is history.”
The couple had been together a little over four years before they got married and had been engaged for a little over three and half years. They got engaged when they were out with friends just outside Dublin city to ring in the New Year. “We had been discussing the idea of marriage over the Christmas period spent together and shortly after midnight, Jack asked could we go home,” Stephanie told me. “We said goodnight to our friends and left. We were walking for a taxi when Jack stopped and proposed. He didn’t even have a ring but of course I said yes.” A couple of days after that they were out for a walk after work and Jack stopped outside a beautiful church beside where he was living at the time, took out an engagement ring and proposed again.
I asked what marriage meant to them. “The unity of marriage is a bond like no other,” Stephanie said. “It’s one of the biggest steps in a relationship and it’s a really special journey that you both get to go on together,” she added. “Marriage is a really special union and we both always find it so lovely when we see couples who have been married for fifty or sixty years and that is something that is important to us in life,” she told me. “We have seen my two sets of Grandparents reach fifty years of marriage and it was such a happy, special time not only for them but for the entire family. To be able to share all that life has to offer with one another and have all those lovely milestones to look forward to is just such a privilege and something to be proud of,” she said. Stephanie and Jack have of course been a family since the birth of their son Kai, but marriage is a way of formalising that family bond.
From the beginning, Stephanie had said that she wanted to have a destination wedding and get married in somewhere like Hawaii or Bali but Jack was adamant that he wanted a big, traditional wedding, “so we just sort of parked wedding discussions and said we would come back to it after about five or six years,” said Stephanie. They had planned their trip to New York for just the two of them this year when Stephanie spontaneously suggested to Jack that they get married in New York and to her surprise he straight away said yes. “To us, a wedding should be about the two people getting married and a traditional wedding can be too much about other people,” explained Stephanie, “and weddings nowadays have lost a bit of romance which is why we decided against going that route,” she added. Preach, girl. They have visited New York every year since being together, it was their first big holiday together, somewhere they visited during their months spent traveling whilst Stephanie was pregnant and also their first holiday as a family of three. So New York holds a special place in their hearts with nothing but nice memories.
I asked why they had chosen Central Park itself for their wedding. “We chose Central Park for its beauty,” Stephanie said. “It’s just absolutely stunning. There are so many wonderful ceremony locations to choose from and then endless places for photos,” she added. I asked if they’d had any worries about getting married in Central Park, “not really,” Stephanie said. “Jack had none whatsoever and the only concern I had was the attention that we might have had. However, there was no need for concern. It’s New York so the people have seen it all,” she said. “When we got married, tons of people stopped to congratulate us. People clapped, told us how beautiful we looked, asked for photos, helped us by offering to take photos on our phones. They were just generally so so nice and positive,” she told me. This is what I see when couples walk around New York in wedding attire – they are treated like celebrities!
Stephanie and Jack stayed in the Lotte Palace New York which features in many of the photographs in this blog. “It was our second time staying there and by far the best hotel we have stayed in over the years of going to New York,” said Stephanie. They stayed for one week. They usually stay in New York for two or three weeks when they visit but this time they didn’t want to leave their son for that long.
The couple had chosen Wagner Cove for their ceremony location, and they had wanted to get married on the Sunday. The NYC Triathlon was being held on the Sunday, so part of Central Park would be closed. We switched to the Saturday, but were still unable to get a permit because the Central Park Conservancy wouldn’t issue them in case they wanted to start putting barriers up early for the event. I usually suggest getting a permit for lots of reasons, but in this case, we couldn’t. So, we got a permit for the Ladies’ Pavilion as a backup but planned to give Wagner Cove a try first – if the were unable to get down to Wagner Cove then we’d go with plan B of the Ladies’ Pavilion. In the end, it all worked out fine and we were able to hold the ceremony in Wagner Cove. I’m so happy it worked out. “I love Wagner Cove as it just has such a special feel to it,” said Stephanie. “It’s beautiful and romantic and you wouldn’t actually believe this place was nestled in the middle of New York City. For wedding photos, it’s probably just marginally more special than other locations in Central Park,” she said.
In the ceremony, we talked a little about the couple’s family and how they had met, and the officiant read the poem Marriage is… which I’ll post at the end of this for anyone interested in using it themselves. “The ceremony was beautiful,” said Stephanie. “When we arrived at Wagner Cove the sun was beaming and the surroundings were just incredible. So peaceful too. It just felt really intimate and special,” she added. We kept the vows traditional. They had considered writing their own vows, but in the end decided against it, “because sometimes the more simple you keep things, the more beautiful and romantic they can be. Traditional vows really cover everything in a simplistic yet beautiful way,” Stephanie explained.
This was a true elopement. They had no guests and they didn’t even tell anyone that they had got married until they got home. “When we got home and told everyone, everyone was blown away,” Stephanie told me. “When they saw the photos, they thought it was just incredible. A lot of people said it was so romantic,” she said. Our photographer, Jakub Redziniak, worked super hard on this very hot day!
We arranged for Metro Look to do Stephanie’s hair and makeup. “Dana and T were amazing – so nice and did such a wonderful job,” she said. “The day we got married was the hottest day of the year and Jack’s shirt was soaked through because of the heat and he had to change clothes for dinner but my hair and makeup remained flawless the whole day through,” she said. “I had a photo taken on Times Square nearing midnight so a good sixteen hours after having my hair and makeup done and it looked just as good as when it was first done,” Stephanie told me. “Plus, if you’re getting professional photos, it’s worth spending that bit extra for your hair and makeup because it really does complete your look for the photos,” she added.
Stephanie wore an embellished white dress from Ted Baker and her shoes were a white leather backless mule with a crystal-encrusted strap. She carried a pink rose bouquet with lavender and lily of the valley and Jack had a pink rose boutonnière with lily of the valley. Jack wore a pair of white turn-up trousers, a white shirt, a blazer and an Italian silk bow tie. He also wore fox cufflinks which was his favorite part of his outfit. He had put on a pair of suede Reiss loafers which he tried on in store and loved. He then didn’t take them out again until the day of the wedding and the back fell out of them! It caused some problems while they were taking photos around the hotel, so he had to switch to his only other pair of shoes. He had to run to H&M on Fifth Avenue after the ceremony to buy a new pair of loafers to wear for dinner “which ended up being one tenth the price and a hundred times the quality,” said Stephanie. She had taken three pairs of shoes with her in anticipation of a shoe disaster but it ended up being Jack who needed the spares!
Stephanie and Jack forgot to bring their license to the ceremony! This does happen occasionally, which is why I remind couples of it several times in the run-up to the wedding. So, our officiant went to fetch it for them and they had lunch with her and her family. After that they went back to their hotel room for champagne and cake. They had ordered their wedding cake from Magnolia Bakery. After that, they went to Ralph Lauren’s restaurant, the Polo Bar, for dinner. “The food was incredible,” Stephanie said. After dinner they went to Broadway and to see the Lion King. After that, they had a caricature drawn of them wearing our wedding outfits in Times Square.
I asked Stephanie if she thinks that destination weddings and elopements are becoming more popular. “In general, I think that sort of wedding is the way to go,” she said. “Traditional weddings as such have become too much of a show and we feel you really miss out on the intimacy and romance that an elopement has to offer,” she added. She feels that they are becoming more popular. “Growing up, they were virtually unheard of, but now, especially with social media, you see and hear of more and more people having destination weddings and eloping. Thanks to social media, people’s perceptions of an elopement are changing and they have more of an appeal to them nowadays,” I couldn’t have put it better myself, Stephanie.
I asked if they had any regrets about not having a “traditional” wedding closer to home, “No, none at all,” Stephanie said. “Our day was 100% about us which is exactly what we wanted. The thing we feared the most about the idea of a ‘traditional’ wedding was not being able to spend enough time with one another on the day because we would have so many other people/things to worry about. With the elopement, we had no one and nothing else to worry about. We spent every second of the day together, enjoying every single moment together and it was beautiful. The day went so fast as it was. I could only imagine how much faster it would have went had we went the ‘traditional’ route,” she said. I hear this so much from couples – and who wouldn’t want the day to be all about them – it’s the first day of their marriage. “Plus, we are going to have a party back home to celebrate with family and friends without the stress of a wedding,” she added, so the couple are getting the best of both worlds.
If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, or elopement, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where we pin like crazy all things New York or wedding-related.
Learning to give not always to take,
Learning to forgive each little mistake,
Learning to give not always to take,
Learning to forgive each little mistake,
Learning to love whatever the cost,
Always remember alone you’d be lost.
Trying so hard your partner to please,
Trying to save whilst paying the fees,
Trying to smile when things turn out wrong,
Always remember to curb your tongue.
Never to think of only yourself,
Never to say you wish you had wealth.
Never to let your temper get hot,
Always be thankful for what you have got.
If you remember all of these things,
You will discover the joys that it brings,
Then you will have what so many folks miss,
A lifetime of love and a marriage of bliss.