Laura and Alan brought twenty guests over from their home in Scotland for their wedding blessing beside Bethesda Fountain last October. The couple had their legal ceremony at home in Glasgow with just their parents before going to New York for a blessing ceremony with friends, due to health limitations of both sets of parents.
Laura and Alan had been together for four and a half years when they got married. They met on Tinder, and their first date was in a pub in Glasgow. They got engaged in February 2017. “It was a private beach on Thala Beach Nature Reserve in Port Douglas, Australia,” Laura told me. “Alan got down on one knee and proposed…I called him an idiot!” she said. “Getting married felt like the natural next step to take in our relationship. We knew we both wanted to spend the rest of our lives together,” said Laura.
When considering where to get married, they considered going back to where they got engaged in Australia but knew it would be a long an expensive journey and a big ask of people. I asked Laura if she thinks that destination weddings are becoming more popular. “Yes, I think so, because people have more access to social media and other platforms which advertise and promote elopement packages which are becoming more affordable,” she said. “From a personal perspective, I heavily relied on the reviews of other customers which are also widely available to read on the internet,” she added. This is why I ask previous couples to write a review, even though so few do, although this is true for almost all types of business – we rarely write a review if we’re happy with service! But future couples do find it so helpful!
When they started looking at New York for their wedding, they initially looked at weddings on a cruise on the Hudson. “But when we saw Bethesda Fountain and the archways underneath Bethesda Terrace in Central Park we knew we wanted to have our ceremony there,” said Laura. “We loved the diverse features and different locations available in Central Park for photos,” she added.
Laura and Alan stayed at the Warwick Hotel on 54th Street for a week. They arrived on a Friday and their ceremony was on the Sunday. They spent the rest of their trip seeing sights and indulging in lots of fabulous food!
Laura had a list of restaurants from the trip that she’d recommend, so I’m just going to post her list and comments here:
Sarabeth’s – near Central Park, very child friendly.
Carmine’s – (Laura recommends the one just off Times Square, and I recommend the one on the Upper West Side). This is child friendly, and was recommended by a friend. The portions are all sharing size, you will not be disappointed if you have a big appetite.
The Rockefeller Centre – the restaurant looks onto the ice rink so is good for people watching. The portion sizes are huge and they do an awesome eggs benedict.
Bill’s Bar and Burger Place, 51st Street – this place offered good American grub, again the portions are huge and very child friendly.
Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Broadway – GREAT for kids, the entertainment is great and service was always with a smile. The menu offered a good selection of food (portions were huge though).
Casa Nonna, 38th Street – lovely Italian restaurant, seemed to get busy very quickly so would recommend booking rather than just turning up.
Their ceremony was held beside the Bethesda Fountain. They had a traditional exchange of vows with an added traditional Scottish Quaich ceremony. Traditionally the couple both drink whisky from a small pewter cup or “quaich” symbolising trust and the blending of two families. They do this before exchanging the rings. In Laura and Alan’s case they didn’t drink whisky but pinot grigio! The officiant read a poem as they drank the wine, which I’ll post at the end. In keeping with Scottish tradition, we also had a bagpiper play at the ceremony.
Their twenty guests consisted of friends and family, just not their parents, who had witnessed their legal wedding at home. “Some had never been to New York so they were excited to be part of our day as well as taking advantage of being able to explore the city,” Laura told me. “Everyone was in agreement it was a fantastic and different experience,” she said.
The groom Alan, the couple’s son Lucas, and the groomsmen wore traditional highland kilt wear. The bride Laura wore a Jesus Peiro dress purchased from Eleganza Sposa in Glasgow. The bridesmaid dress was purchased from That Special Day Bridal Warehouse in Bathgate and the flower girl dresses came from Carriage and Castles in Glasgow. Laura carried white roses, which we’d arranged to be delivered to their hotel that morning. Laura’s hair was done at Drybar Parker in Midtown and her make up was done at Blushington Midtown West. Both are located within the Parker Hotel. She was able to walk into both salons on the Saturday morning to make an appointment for the following morning.
Once the ceremony finished Laura and Alan went around Central Park taking photos with the photographer. While they did this, the guests went to the Boathouse for some drinks and the couple joined them once they were finished. After that, they all headed over to the Tavern on The Green for a meal. They had booked the glass room within the restaurant for their meal, “this isn’t separate from the restaurant but the set up was spectacular,” Laura said. “We had direct views of the outdoor area so when the sun went down and everything lit up it looked perfect,” she added. Their menu was a fixed three course meal and they loved it.
I asked if Laura had any words for anyone considering doing the same as she and Alan and getting married in Central Park and she said, “just embrace the whole experience,” which is great advice. She also cautioned that couples should “be aware depending on where you have your ceremony you will be sharing this with everyone in the park. Some of our guests were pushed out of the way by other people taking pictures of our ceremony. On the other hand, most people were super nice and I cannot believe the amount of well-wishers taking time out of their day to congratulate us.”
I asked her how we did, “we are happy with the service from Wed in Central Park. Everything was easy from start to finish and Claire was extremely reassuring – all we had to do was turn up for the ceremony so there was no stress whatsoever,” Laura said. They were very happy to have had the weddings (plural!) that suited them. “We were glad to be able to include our parents in our wedding day because they could not make the journey,” said Laura. “We have no regrets about the way we’ve done things, having the blessing and celebration in New York was the opportunity to do something different with our friends and we are grateful they made the journey with us,” she added.
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The poem the officiant read while the couple drank from the Quaich
Strike hands with me, the glasses brim,
The dew is on the heather.
For love is good and life is long,
And two are best together.
Bless the union of these two,
Eager for marriage, eager for love.
May they begin life together,
Live that life together
And come to the end together.