How Many Guests Can Attend a Wedding in Central Park?

We see lots of different weddings in Central Park.  Of course the smallest a wedding can possibly be is just two people – the couple!  We’ve done lots of elopements.  The biggest weddings we have in Central Park tend to be 60-80 people but that is quite unusual.  Our weddings are usually between ten and twenty people.

To hold a gathering of more than twenty people, a party must apply for an event permit.  So, if you have under twenty people it’s not actually required to get an event permit, but I always suggest getting a permit.  If you don’t, then there’s always a chance that you might get to your wedding location and find that someone else is in the space getting married.  Then you’d have to wait until they were finished until you can move into the area, which might make a mess of your other plans for that day. 

We are not allowed to affix banners, balloons, flowers or other decorations to park property.  We are not allowed to set up tents, tables or chairs.  Amplified sound is not permitted, but acoustic music is.

The different locations each have limits on how many they will allow for events there.  Most of the limits stand up to common sense, since some just wouldn’t suit larger groups.  Cop Cot is a popular location for quite large groups – they will allow up to fifty people there, and of course there is seating within the structure so it’s a good one if you have guests who can’t stand for too long.  Cherry Hill is a great spot for a large group, if you are happy to be standing on grass for the ceremony and don’t mind being out in the open.  They will allow permits for up to one hundred people at Cherry Hill, and the backdrop of Bow Bridge is lovely.

The Parks Department will allow permits for up to twenty-five people at the Ladies’ Pavilion, Wagner Cove, Shakespeare Garden, Bethesda Terrace, Gapstow Bridge, Belvedere Castle Terrace and Bow Bridge.  I wouldn’t recommend having a wedding with a group this size on any of the bridges in Central Park.  This is because a condition of all permits is that we must allow the public to have right of way, so there may be passers-by wanting to walk past a wedding, and with 25 people they just wouldn’t fit.  Also, the shape of a bridge means that some of your group wouldn’t be able to see or hear you with a group this size.  The other locations in the list above are just right for a group of up to 25 people, though.

We find that for large groups of up to one hundred guests, the locations within the Conservatory Gardens are a popular choice.  The Conservatory Gardens carry an extra charge on top of all the other ceremony locations in Central Park.  All the other locations have a fee of $25, which I build in to my packages, the Conservatory Gardens cost $500, so it would be $475 extra on top of any of my package prices to get married there. 

There are other lesser-known large and quiet ceremony locations in the north end of Central Park that are great for larger groups.  We can get permits for 50-100 people (depending on which location you’d like) for ceremonies at Harlem Meer, Cedar Hill, Great Hill, Summit Rock and the Pool Lawn.  All of these locations at closer to the north end of the park, so tend to be quieter.  There tend to be fewer tourists at the north end and more locals.  We held a wedding at one of these locations last year and Lin-Manuel Miranda congratulated them as he passed by walking his dog!

If you think there’s a chance that you may have slightly more guests than the permit is for, then it’s not too much of a concern in many of the spaces.  I don’t advise having huge groups in the smaller spaces, because it can get too cramped and some guests may not be able to see or hear the couple if the group is too large in some locations. 

For more information on the permit application process, check out my blog post on that.  Once I have a deposit from the couple, and the permit applications are open for the year you want to get married, I can apply for the event permit.  It takes them a little while to process the application, and occasionally, they might tell us that the couple’s first choice is not available.  This might happen for a Friday or a Saturday for a popular ceremony location if we are applying for the permit quite close t the date.  If that happens, then I come back to the couple and ask for a second choice, perhaps they would either change the date, time or location, depending on what their other plans might be for the day.

If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, wherever you’d like to get married in Central Park – visit our website.  There are some other locations in the park where we can get event permit for that I haven’t listed above, so drop me an email with any questions if I haven’t covered the location you’re interested here.  Keep updated with our news and see lots of beautiful photos, “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest.  There’s part of the webpage with some comments and pros and cons about the most popular wedding locations in Central Park so have a look at that for an introduction.

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1 Response to How Many Guests Can Attend a Wedding in Central Park?

  1. Pingback: What is a Wedding in Central Park Really Like?  | Weddings in Central Park, New York

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