Leighanne and Mark’s January Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

Leighanne and Mark got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in January.  They’re both from County Durham in England.  They brought two friends with them as guests and as witnesses to their wedding in Central Park.

Leighanne is 26 and Mark is 54.  They met seven years before they got married.  “Mark does rallycross as a hobby and I went to go watch him in a race, I asked to get a picture with him and I remember feeling like I had just met a local celebrity,” said Leighanne.  They didn’t get together until a couple of years later.  They had been together for three years when Mark proposed, but Leighanne says that she knew from quite early on in their relationship that Mark was the man who she wanted to spend her life with.  He popped the question on top of Empire State Building, “it was an automatic yes, absolutely no hesitation,” said Leighanne.

Leighanne says that getting married wasn’t extremely important to her in itself, “I just wanted to share his last name and I wanted to share my life with Mark,” she explained.  “I think it was a step in the right direction for us to start sharing things as a married couple, we now have a joint bank account and we recently bought a house with both of our names on,” she told me.

They hadn’t given too much thought to how their wedding might actually go, although Mark had owned a hotel in the past and had hosted lots of wedding there, so they knew that any venue they would be subject to scrutiny!  They kind of knew they wanted to get married somewhere unique and interesting.  Then Mark suggested New York and it just felt right.  “When Mark suggested New York, I couldn’t turn it down, it was one of the first cities I fell in love with and I’d happily go back time and time again,” Leighanne said.

I asked Leighanne what she would say to anyone else considering eloping.  “I would say go for it, over this last couple years I have seen more and heard of more destination weddings happening.  Go for it, do what you want, not what people expect from you,” she said.  Which is excellent advice.  “I have no regrets at all,” she added.  “I had a perfect day, and some absolutely beautiful pictures to show for it, I would do it all again in a heartbeat,” she told me.

Leighanne picked up her own flowers.  “My flowers were perfect, we wandered around New York looking for a florist the Sunday before, we were about to give up hope when we came across a little place at the side of a shop, I went in, explained  roughly what I wanted and he said yeah, no problem, come back tomorrow to pick it up,” she told me.  I do agree that it’s quite easy and certainly cheaper to do this if you’re not too fussy about just having seasonal blooms and don’t have a large order!  “I went back the next day and I was just overjoyed with the effort put in to creating this beautiful bouquet, I just loved it, he did so well just to create something just from a verbal description!” she said.

It totally suited Leighanne and Mark to have just two guests with them for the wedding.  “Carol and John are amazing friends,” said Leighanne.  “We couldn’t have asked for better people to come with us,” she told me.  “There was no stress on the day or during the planning, no worrying about others and that’s how a wedding day should be. The ceremony was beautiful, the place itself was quiet, it was cold but that didn’t bother me at all,” said Leighanne.

Leighanne bought her dress from Wed2B in Middlesbrough, she went with her two sisters and her mom to try on the dresses.  “Even though they weren’t coming to the wedding I still wanted them to feel a part of it somehow,” she said.  “I think it was the fourth dress that I tried, I went it wanting something with lace, A-line and sleeves for the January temperatures, I came out with a plain A-line with no sleeves but an off the shoulder detail and I just loved it,” she said.  She loved the dress so much she stopped thinking about the cold!  She bought it and walked out with it the same day, in a cabin size box so it could go as her hand luggage.

Leighanne and Mark went for breakfast together on the morning of their wedding, “Mark went for a cut throat shave which was something he’s always wanted to do,” said Leighanne.  Leighanne did her hair and makeup with Mark in the hotel room, but then she went to their friend Carol’s room to put on her wedding dress.  Then they met in the lobby so Mark could see her for the first time, to make more of an event of that bride and groom “first look”, and they captured a few photos of that themselves.

We kept the introduction of the ceremony fairly short but with two poems, that I will put at the end of this post.  They wrote personal vows to read out to each other.  After the ceremony, their photographer Jakub Redziniak took photos in and around the Ladies’ Pavilion, and then walked down past the Lake to Bethesda Terrace, while keeping moving as much as possible!  They didn’t want to have a long photo shoot outdoors, so then they walked down to the Tavern on the Green in for some bottles of Verve Clicquot!

After they had warmed up in the Tavern on the Green, they went to the Top of the Rock and then on to a speakeasy, since Mark had always wanted to go to one.  “We had some cocktails in there then moved on to our wedding meal at One if by Land Two if by Sea,” Leighanne said.  They stayed at the InterContinental New York Barclay Hotel.  “It was a beautiful hotel, and very accommodating,” said Leighanne.

Leighanne first contacted me in March of 2021, when international travel was still looking very uncertain.  We exchanged a few emails over the months as the world gradually began to open up again, and then I didn’t actually take payment and the signed contract to go ahead with the wedding until just two weeks before they got married, so we planned it quite quickly, even though they had been planning it between the two of them for a year!  I asked Leighanne how we did. “The service you provide is nothing short of amazing, you’re patient, you have the best photographer, I couldn’t fault anything, I’d like to say a huge thank you to yourself, our photographer and our officiant, you all made mine and Mark’s day perfect.” 

It was an absolute pleasure to plan your wedding with you, Leighanne, and I wish you both lots of luck for your future together. If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you live locally or are planning on traveling to New York to get married, 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.

A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton

“They’re both not wholly perfect
But who are we to judge
He can be pig headed
Whereas she won’t even budge!

All that said and done
They love the time they spent together
And I hope as I’m sure you do
That this fine day will last forever.

He’ll be more than just her husband
He’ll also be her friend
And she’ll be more than just his wife
She’s be his soul mate – till the end.

Disney Themed Poem

What’s Mickey without Minnie,
Or Piglet without Pooh,
What’s Donald without Daisy?
That’s me without you.

When Ariel Doesn’t sing,
and Pooh hates honey,
when Tigger stops bouncing,
and Goofy isn’t funny.

When Peter Pan can’t fly,
and Simba never roars,
when Alice no longer fits
through small doors.

When Dumbo’s ears are small,
and happily ever after isn’t true,

Even then, I won’t stop loving you.

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