Jade and Danny’s Elopement at the Pond Lawns, Overlooking Gapstow Bridge

Jade and Danny eloped from their home in Scotland to get married in Central Park in July.  They held their ceremony on the Pond Lawns at the south end of Central Park, with Gapstow Bridge in the background.  Jade is 28, Danny is 31.  They had been together for almost ten years when they got married.  They met at a mutual friend’s party “and then continued to show up at the same social events,” said Jade. 

They got engaged on a fancy boat hotel docked in Leith, Edinburgh.  “We had a great day and night and then I was surprised with a ring box,” said Jade.  “I had absolutely no idea which made it so much more special,” she added.  I asked if they had considered any other options for their wedding before decided on Central Park.  “We never considered any other options,” said Jade.  “We knew we didn’t want anything traditional and to go off and do it ourselves without a huge fuss.  New York City is one of our very favourite places and within that city Central Park is my most favourite location. It made immediate sense to get married there,” she explained.

I asked Jade if she thinks destination weddings and elopements are becoming more popular.  “Definitely,” she said.  “We looked at wedding venues closer to home out of curiosity and for every single one as soon as you say it’s for a wedding the price immediately jumps up,” she told me.  “A destination wedding is much more suited to our personalities and we got an amazing holiday out of it too, so win-win,” Jade said.  Of course, I wholeheartedly agree.

Jade first contacted me in August of 2021, so we planned the wedding in a little under a year.  Travel was still looking quite uncertain then, but they had initially wanted to get married in the summer of 2022, and at the end of 2021, travel between the UK and US opened up so they got their wish!  They booked their flights in September and booked with me in October.

I asked Jade if she had any regrets about not having a “traditional” wedding closer to home.  “None whatsoever.  We had the most perfect day,” she said.  “It was totally relaxed and just what we wanted. We have planned a big party for all our friends and family in Edinburgh for when we are home.  We plan to wear our wedding gear so that everyone still gets to share our excitement,” she added.  So, they get the best of both worlds.  The relaxed elopement wedding and the big celebration with friends and family.

Originally, Jade and Danny were considering Wagner Cove for their wedding ceremony location, but they decided on this spot beside the Pond overlooking Gapstow Bridge instead.  “Central Park is my most favourite location within the city,” Jade told me.  “I love how it is an escape from the hustle and bustle of the streets and at certain angles the city disappears completely, then you turn around and there’s all the skyscrapers.  It’s a magical place,” she said.  Again, I completely agree, and of course that’s how it was deliberately designed to look.

Jade had a clear vision of the photos that she wanted to capture on her wedding day.  She sent me a mood board and explained the sort of photos that they wanted to capture, which was really helpful for me to pass on to the photographer in advance.  “We chose Gapstow Bridge for our ceremony as it was a more intimate and quiet setting,” Jade said.  “We then had photos taken in iconic locations throughout the park. We wanted our photos to capture the greenery of Central Park as well as the iconic magnitude of the skyscrapers behind,” she said.

I asked Jade if she had had any concerns in the run-up to the wedding.  “I’m a big organiser so entrusting someone else to do everything for me was a little nerve wracking but also a complete breeze. Claire was an absolute joy,” she said.  I do enjoy working with someone who loves a good, detailed plan as much as I do!  “She kept me updated constantly and really listened to what we wanted. It all went smoothly and our day was truly perfect,” Jade said.

This visit was Jade’s third time in New York and Danny’s second time.  “We stayed for a week this time and still could have stayed for much longer!” said Jade.  “We booked using a travel agent as with the fear of Covid we thought it would be easier having someone to organise all the finer details and keep us right,” she said.  “We stayed in Manhattan in a very central location on 43rd Street which made it very easy for us to get to everywhere we wanted to visit,” she added.

I have a process that I tend to go through for all of my weddings, and quite early on, I send the couple a series of questions that I use to write the ceremony for them.  the ceremonies always turn out differently, but often tend to follow a traditional model.  Jade and Danny weren’t too keen on that so we took an awful lot of the ceremony out and kept it very minimal.  “I rewrote our ceremony after Claire gave me a basic draft of what is normally said,” said Jade.  “We didn’t want anything traditional or religious so the entirety of our ceremony lasted five minutes tops.  It captured our personalities, was light and funny and exactly what we wanted,” she said.  I’ll admit that a part of me wanted them to get more of their money’s worth so to speak but I’m all about giving the couple what they want, so we kept it petty much as short as possible, while keeping all the parts we need to have for it to be legally binding!

Jade did her hair and makeup herself.  “I’m not into people touching and fussing with me and didn’t want anything elaborate either,” she explained.  “I had an idea in my head of what I wanted my hair to look like and of course my hair did not cooperate on the day so ended up with something completely different but I just had to go with it.  It was my only stressful moment of the day,” she said.  It does seem that hair and makeup is most commonly the most stressful part of a bride’s wedding day! 

Jade purchased her dress from a boutique bridal shop in Scotland.  “They specialise in unique and quirky pieces and it was the first dress I saw and the second I tried on,” she said.  “We were traditional in the way we dressed but with our personalities shining through.  Our outfits had unique elements to them,” Jade told me.  “I didn’t have flowers as it was causing me too much stress worrying about travelling with them and I didn’t see the point in spending a fortune on flowers while over in New York.  Instead we had a customised bag with our married name on it that we used as a prop in some of our photos – and was perfect for carrying everything we needed (including a flat pair of shoes) seen as it was just the two of us,” Jade said.  I think this bag was a wonderful idea, especially the part about the shoes!

I asked Jade what their friends and family had thought of their decision to get married in Central Park.  “All our friends and family knew we were getting married just the two of us and were all very happy for us.  Whenever someone asked where we were getting married and we told them New York City in Central Park, the look on their faces was priceless,” Jade said.

We had the ceremony take place in the morning.  After taking photos around the park Jade and Danny went to Tavern on the Green for brunch.  After that they went back to their hotel to change.  “It was too much for us Scottish people to wear our full wedding gear in the New York City summer heat!” said Jade.  Once changed and refreshed they went to the Plaza for cocktails and then went to see Chicago on stage that evening.

Jade said that she thought that it helped them enjoy their day more because they had visited New York before their wedding trip.  “That way you have a feel for the city and know what to expect,” she said. She also had some advice on the climate.  “We opted to get married in the height of summer, which was wonderful but impossible for us to keep to our wedding outfits on all day since they weren’t exactly height of New York summer appropriate.  So definitely consider the season and the outfit you choose and ladies a change of flat shoes was an excellent call on my part,” she says.

I asked how we did.  “We had the most wonderful of experiences with Wed in Central Park!” said Jade.  “As mentioned before Claire was a joy!  Incredibly professional, prompt and made us very pleased. Jules, our photographer made us feel so at ease.  She gave us pointers of how to move and pose until we got into it and then let us play around and do as we pleased.  Barbara, our officiant was incredibly sweet, the fact that she had recently dyed her hair blue was very fitting with our own unique qualities,” she added.  “I would highly recommend Wed in Central Park.  The service is 10/10, Claire kept us right from beginning to end and as a result we had the most perfect of days and would do it all over again.”  Thank you so much for your kid words, Jade, it was a pleasure to plan your wedding with you!  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, whether you’re planning a small or large affair, 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

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