In October 2019 Wed in Central Park completed our 300th wedding! It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be involved with so many weddings over the years. As many followers of this blog know, I got married in Central Park in 2011 when I was living on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. We were spending lots of time in Central Park (it really is the New Yorker’s back yard!) and it seems like an obvious choice for us. I was looking for a change in career at the time, and planning my own wedding as a Brit in New York gave me the idea to start a business helping others do the same.
I planned my first wedding (that wasn’t my own) in the summer of 2012 and the business has gone from strength to strength since then. Over the years I have learnt quite a lot about what people want from a wedding in Central Park, what appeals to many about getting married in New York, and what those couples need from a planner to guide them through making the right decisions to get the wedding that suits them.
Wed in Central Park is truly my baby and I’ve nurtured this business over the years to give a high quality service at an extremely competitive price point that I’m really proud of. One wonderful thing about running this business is that it fits in so well around my two real babies – my sons – who were born in 2013 and 2015. I’m able to work very flexibly with this business, and can work around my kids’ schedules, although I rarely get a full day off and have to at least make sure that I reply to clients’ emails daily to keep on top of things.
These years haven’t all been plain sailing. We have had things go wrong with some of our weddings. I have made mistakes and so have the people I work with. Quite early on I had some feedback from a groom who thought the people involved in his wedding were great but that I was terrible. I simply hadn’t told him some things that he had never asked. Experience has taught me never to assume someone will know something, and to have a checklist of items that I must tell everyone, and some things I tell them more than once just to be sure – someone planning a wedding can have a lot on their mind.
These days, I always ask couples for feedback and that’s very helpful in finding ways to improve. It has meant that I have stopped working with some people – perhaps those who have not arrived on time too often or who don’t show the enthusiasm I expect. We have had things go wrong in the City Clerk’s system that are not our fault but we have found ways to fix issues. When we do have problems, we look at them as a chance to put new safeguards in place to avoid these mistakes in future – and this in the benefit of experience.
I now have a very clear process that I go through with all couples. We start with the big and important stuff and work our way through the decisions to get to the finer details. Every couple is different and everyone likes to work to their own timescales so I have to let the couples drive the planning to some extent, but everyone goes through a similar planning process. By the time we have a plan of the day ready most couples are feeling relaxed and confident that the day will run smoothly and they’ve had a stress-free run-up to the wedding with my reassurance that all will go to plan.
I generally do not attend the weddings, but sometimes I do – just to see how everything is going. The people I work with who I book for my couples are enthusiastic, talented people who also love what they do. They’re reliable and great communicators. I know this in part because I always ask couples for feedback after the wedding, which helps me to keep improving. On the occasions when I do attend the weddings, I have a great time, meeting the couple in person, chatting with the guests and standing at the back and having a good cry at how lovely it all is.
I love my job so much that it barely even feels like work. I enjoy being involved in such a happy and important day in couples’ lives. My involvement helps a couple to have the wedding day that they want and that I get to help make the first day of their marriage go as smoothly and as stress-free as possible. I genuinely believe that New York is the greatest city in the world, and I love Central Park and it’s many and varied beautiful scenes. I never get tired of it. I look at thousands of photos of weddings that take place in Central Park each year and I am frequently finding new favorite photos to enjoy.
So, if you are part of one of the three hundred couples who have trusted me to plan your wedding, or if I’m planning your upcoming wedding in Central Park then I’d like to offer my thanks. Thank you so much for allowing this to be the way I make my living, I really wouldn’t choose anything else.