Nicole and James got married in November at Cop Cot. They are both New Yorkers. Nicole grew up in Staten Island and James grew up in Brooklyn. Nicole was 28 and James was 29 on their wedding day. They met in college. They became friends while in college but did not start dating until years after they had both left college after reconnecting at a nineties night party in the West Village. They were together for almost exactly six years to the date before getting married. They got engaged in September 2019. James surprised Nicole by getting down on one knee and proposing on the roof of their apartment building which overlooked the Brooklyn Bridge.
Like many couples who got married in 2020, the wedding that happened was not Nicole and James’ original plan. They were set to have a large wedding with around two hundred guests at a beautiful venue in New Jersey. But with all that happened due to Covid 19, they decided that it was wise to postpone the big celebration to late 2021. They still wanted to get married in 2020 though, so an outdoor wedding seemed to be the right choice for them, since that is generally thought to keep everyone safer. So, “after some research we came across Wed in Central Park and we are so happy that we did”, said James. “We loved our small family ceremony in Central Park and will look back at the date as one of the very few bright spots in 2020,” he told me.
I asked what it was about getting married in Central Park that appealed to them. “Nicole and I both have strong ties to New York City, having grown up in Staten Island and Brooklyn, respectively, and both going to college in Manhattan,” he explained. They attended the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, located just a short walk from where their wedding took place. After college, Nicole worked in the city, and James went to law school in the city. “We got engaged in front of the Brooklyn Bridge,” he reminded me. Their whole lives are just so NYC! “Getting married in Central Park seemed like the perfect fit for us born and bred New Yorkers,” he said.
When Nicole and James first contacted me two months before the wedding, they had already got the event permit for Cop Cot themselves. At this time, due to Covid 19 restrictions, the number allowed at a gathering in Central Park was limited to a reduced number compared to normal times. Usually we’re allowed up to fifty people in Cop Cot, but during this period the number was limited to thirty. This was fine with Nicole and James; they planned to have only close family and friends present for this scaled-down wedding. They wanted me to organize the officiant, photographer, videographer, musician and flowers. We also decided to get a permit for a bad weather backup plan, for underneath Bethesda Terrace – luckily we didn’t need it! Nicole and James requested their appointment at City Hall to get the marriage license, because that’s something the couple are legally required to do themselves.
Cop Cot and the area around it is lovely at this time of year. “The leaves had just begun to fall and change color; it was the perfect rustic wedding we wanted,” Nicole said. As you can see from the photo, the foliage on top of Cop Cot was mostly still green, even in mid November. “We loved taking pictures on the Mall/Literary Walk and Bethesda Terrace,” he added. We checked what time sunset would be on their wedding day – 4:38pm – and we planned around that. They met the photographer for photos around the park before the ceremony, including Nicole and the photographer meeting James at Cherry Hill with Bow Bridge in the background to take genuine and relaxed “first look” photos. After taking pictures around that center area of the park, they walked down to Cop Cot for a 4pm ceremony. After that, they took group photos at Cop Cot and left as the sun set.
Our violinist played for the guests while they waited for the couple to arrive. James arrived first and greeted their guests and then Nicole walked up the hill to Cop Cot with her father, who gave her away. She walked in to the violinist playing Canon in D leading into Ed Sheeran’s Perfect and back into Canon in D, as the couple had requested.
During the ceremony Nicole’s Uncle Michael read a poem; Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog, by Taylor Mali, and James’ sister Becky read The Art of Marriage, by Wilfred Peterson. Both of which I’ll put at the end of this post. Before they began the traditional exchange of vows, they each read out something they had prepared to say to each other. They had kept what they were going to say a secret from each other until the day, but it turned out that they both asked the other to be their forever dance partner. After they were pronounced married, the violinist played Marry You by Bruno Mars and then went back to playing background music while they signed the paperwork and took group photos.
We arranged for a mixed bouquet of white and ivory blooms to be delivered to their apartment. It was tricky for the florist to commit to being able to source certain flowers due to breakdowns in supply due to Covid 19 but Nicole remained flexible about her options. We were able to request the blooms that she was most keen on, but she was aware that we couldn’t be certain exactly what would be available for her date. This was a November wedding so Nicole wore a long sleeved dress. She also had a new denim jacket with her new married name embroidered on the back! She used GlamSquad for her hair and makeup, “I asked for a natural look so I looked and felt like myself, and they did it perfectly!” she said.
After the ceremony, they all had a family dinner at Tony’s Di Napoli, “the food, staff and service were excellent,” said Nicole. I asked how we did. “We appreciated how Claire was very detailed and responsive, so nothing was a surprise the day of, we knew exactly what to expect and that put us at ease,” said James. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, James and Nicole! I hope you have a wonderful time this November when you finally get to celebrate with your larger social circle! If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you’re from near or far, visit our website. Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest.
Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog, by Taylor Mali
First of all, it’s a big responsibility,
especially in a city like New York
So think long and hard before deciding on love.
On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
when you’re walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love
ain’t no one going to mess with you.
Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
Who knows what love could do in its own defense?
On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.
Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.
Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.
Is love good all the time? No! No!
Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.
Love makes messes.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
not so much to cause pain,
just to let love know Don’t you ever do that again!
Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise.
It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.
It pulls you in several different directions at once,
or winds around and around you
until you’re all wound up and can’t move.
But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.
Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops.
The Art of Marriage, by Wilfred Peterson
The little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
The courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
It should continue through all the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation, and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo, or the wife to have the wings of an angel.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual, and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner,
It is BEING the right partner.
This is the art of marriage.