Jennifer and Maurice got married on Labor Day in the Conservatory Gardens with fifty guests in attendance. They are both from Brooklyn – Maurice born and raised; Jennifer by way of New Jersey and also California.
The couple met on the very day that Jennifer moved to the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in 2011. They were in a local bar and Maurice literally picked Jennifer up. He lifted her into the air and said “you’re so little and cute!” His pick-up line worked! And eleven years later, they got married in Central Park with their friends and family to witness it. Maurice had planned to pop the questions in a fancy Italian Restaurant one Valentine’s Day that fell on a Monday, but the ring hadn’t been ready on time, and there was no proposal! On the Friday of that same week, Jennifer arrived home from work to the surprise of Maurice on bended knee with a ring.
They were ready to get married after eleven years together. “Marriage is actually the culmination and earned celebration of all that we’ve endured, overcome and accomplished together,” said Jennifer. “Our love and loyalty has been time-proven and perfected; it was important to us to formally honor our union in front of family and friends who have supported us throughout or lives, both individually and as a couple,” she explained.
I am shocked and scandalized to hear that they seriously considered another famous New York City public park for their wedding! “We considered the Boathouse in Prospect Park but the wait list was over a year,” Jennifer told me. They also considered eloping – either a no-nonsense City Hall wedding or perhaps in New Orleans where Maurice’s daughter resides. They decided that they wanted to get married in New York City, so they brainstormed beautiful outdoor locations that they knew of in New York; Brooklyn or Bronx Botanical Gardens, Prospect Park Boathouse, Dumbo Waterfront in Brooklyn, even some of the city beaches! “But most of these venues had long wait times to book and came at a high price point,” explained Jennifer. As long time New Yorkers, they both remembered past experiences wandering into the beautiful Conservatory Gardens at Central Park, so they started to look in to getting married there. They applied for their own permit and then contacted me at Wed in Central Park to start to deal with everything else that they needed to make the wedding happen.
They said that an outdoor, small wedding was certainly the perfect fit for them! “Outdoor settings are generally more beautiful than an event hall,” said Jennifer. They wanted to keep the guest list fairly small at around sixty guests. “With a smaller wedding, you really get to spend time with all of your guests, and with each other!” she told me. I always ask couples if they had had any concerns about getting married in Central Park. As with almost every other couple who gets married outdoors, they were concerned about rain, and also whether any members of the public might wander into their ceremony. “Both worked out fine!” said Jennifer. Although both she and I were watching the weather forecast in the run-up to the day, worrying about storms forecast for the afternoon. They were luck and finished up in the park before there was any rain!
There are a few locations for a wedding in the Conservatory Gardens, and Jennifer and Maurice chose to say “I do” under the Wisteria Pergola. “It is a gorgeous location with trellised greenery serving as coverage overhead, and with a wonderful view out over the Italian Fountain as well as the rest of the gardens,” Jennifer said.
On the morning of the wedding, Jennifer went for a run in Central Park with friends. Jennifer and Maurice spent the day getting ready separately with their families in individual hotel suites at the Courtyard Marriott on East 92nd Street and 1st Ave. The ceremony took place in the late afternoon. There were around fifty people at the wedding. This was Jennifer and Maurice’s immediate families, cousins and closest friend. Jennifer told me that several attendees have remarked that it was the most beautiful wedding ceremony they’ve ever attended.
We worked hard on the ceremony. Jennifer and Maurice wanted traditions from each of their cultures to be represented in the ceremony. We included an introduction about their relationship to date, then they exchanged traditional vows. After that, our officiant explained what jumping the broom involves and why it is important for Black Americans today (for the benefit of Jennifer’s family) and then the jumped the broom together. It is a ritual dating back from slavery in the 1600s and symbolizes the sweeping away of the old and the welcoming of the new. Usually, it comes at the end of the ceremony, but this was a multi-faith ceremony so we switched things around a little. After that, they exchanged rings and were pronounced married. For the finale, our officiant explained the Jewish tradition of the breaking of the glass (for the benefit of Maurice’s family) and then they did that. The breaking of the glass, symbolizes that the commitment the couple make is irrevocable and permanent. “The ceremony was wonderful and entertaining! Our officiant Kevin had great and humorous inflections, which perfectly fit our spirit as a couple and made both of our families laugh,” said Jennifer. I always ask our couples if they have any regrets about not having a “traditional” wedding. “ZERO regrets,” said Jennifer. “We are a unique couple, and our wedding was perfect for us,” she said. I really enjoyed working on this ceremony with Jennifer and I’m glad that we could give them the wedding that they wanted.
Maurice wore a custom light blue suit from Indochino, shoes from Allen Edmonds, and a Brioni silk tie and accesories. Jennifer wore the Bonaire gown from BHLDN, shoes from Manolo Blahnik and Diamond Jewelry from Blue Nile. I work with two florists and neither were open for this three-day holiday weekend! Jennifer was very understanding that I wasn’t able to source her flowers through my usual suppliers, and she dealt with it all herself! Her cascading bouquet and floral crown came from Rosa Rosa Florists on the Upper East Side and were made of white roses, babies’ breath (which was dyed light blue to match Maurice’s suit), and green-leaf accents. Jennifer had her hair and make-up done by Glamsquad.
After the wedding ceremony in Central Park, they had the guests stick around for a little while, taking group photos in the lovely Conservatory Gardens. Then the guests went on to the reception location at Marlow Bistro on the corner of East 100th St and Amsterdam Avenue. Jennifer and Maurice stayed behind for a little longer with their photographer Jakub Redziniak to take portrait photos in the area. They were very happy with the restaurant. “The restaurant has beautiful indoor and outdoor seating and is already decorated in flowers, so there was no need to purchase any additional floral arrangements,” said Jennifer. “The food was incredible – a seasonal Mediterranean food menu with a variety of selections to please all of our guests,” she said.
I asked Jennifer how we did. “Claire was UNBELIEVABLE in helping us prepare for and execute the perfect wedding ceremony. I highly recommend using Claire’s service to prepare for any wedding ceremony in Central Park.” said Jennifer. “Right from the start, she was always quick to respond to email correspondence and answer all of our questions, and was also willing to do a Zoom call during the process to help ease my nerves,” she added. “Claire helped us make ceremony adjustments just about up to the last minute,” said Jennifer. That was due to the rain on the way!
It was an absolute pleasure to plan your wedding with you, Jennifer, 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.