Michelle and David’s Bow Bridge Elopement

M&D Central Park Wedding

Michelle and David had a small wedding in Central Park in September.  Their ceremony took place on Bow Bridge.  They met on dating site Eharmony and had been together for almost a year when they married.  David said that he knew from the moment they met that Michelle was ‘the one’.

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They had planned the trip to New York from the UK to celebrate Michelle’s fiftieth birthday and they decided that they could get married while they were there.  So, an elopement in Central Park was for them!  I find that this is quite a common thing with my clients.  In this case, they had this idea before even becoming officially engaged.  Michelle contacted me before she had a ring on her finger!  They officially got engaged just two months after they met, so this was quite the whirlwind.

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The couple stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel just off Times Square.  I had their flowers delivered to their hotel room on the morning of their wedding.  There was just the two of them for their wedding, but we had plenty of people involved to make sure that it went with a bang.

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I arranged for a guitarist to be on Bow Bridge for the ceremony.  Bow Bridge has quite a wide view, so the groom could see the bride approach him.  Our guitarist sung What You Do To Me by John Legend as Michelle arrived.

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We gave special mention to David’s mother and Michelle’s grandmother in the ceremony.  Both women were extremely influential in David and Michelle’s lives, and they would have been very happy to see their wedding.  David and Michelle wrote special vows to read out to each other before they exchanged rings.

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We had a videographer record the wedding for a lasting memory and for the people back home to watch.  After they were pronounced married our guitarist played Ed Sheeran’s Perfect, and continued to play background music while their photographer Jakub Redziniak took more photographs on Bow Bridge.  Then they went down to Bethesda Terrace to take a few more photos before leaving to celebrate in New York City.

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If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, no matter how big or how small, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where we all things New York or wedding-related.

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Am I Crazy to Want to get Married in Central Park in the Winter?

get married in central park in winter

So, you’re thinking of getting married in Central Park in the winter. You’re planning on getting your hair done and getting dressed up in some very smart wedding attire and standing outdoors in a public park to say “I do” to your true love. You’ve seen photos of Central Park looking stunningly beautiful in the winter time, with the bare trees, very few tourists, bright blue skies, and dare you even hope for it; snow. Perhaps you hate warm weather and you love the cold, or perhaps winter is just a better time for you to get married for so many reasons. You’re wondering; am I crazy to want to get married in Central Park in winter?

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Honestly, yes, you might be. At least a little bit. But in a good way, in a way that you know what you want for the wedding day that might not be for everyone but that suits you. New York gets cold at winter, of course it does. Like much of the world, New York will see its seasons vary from the norm, so some years winters are colder than others, or warmer than others. Some years it comes earlier or later and the same for when it starts to warm up. That’s why we can’t completely predict when the leaves change to their beautiful Fall colors, or when the famous cherry blossom starts to come out. We can’t be sure if or when it will snow, but there’s a fairly good chance of seeing some snow, particularly in January and February. And Central Park does look amazing in the snow. It’s a world-famous park, know for its beauty at any time of year, but in the snow; it’s something else.

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If you are thinking about getting married in Central Park, or anywhere else outdoors in New York in the colder months, then you should give plenty of thought to what you will wear. The ground may well be wet, so keep that in mind when choosing shoes. We had a bride this February wear two pairs of wedding shoes on her wedding day – indoor shoes and outdoor shoes. Some couples have said their vows with coats on, and then taken them off for the posed photos. Some buy a coat or shrug especially for the occasion. One bride told me that she wore a layer of thermals under her wedding gown.

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We have done weddings indoors during the winter, this January we helped a couple to get married inside Grand Central. Some couples have limited the time that they spend outdoors after getting married, and instead had the photographer accompany them inside a nearby hotel or restaurant and to take photos of the couple and their guests in that setting as well as Central Park. Some couples have got married, taken some photos around Central Park, and then had a horse and carriage ride afterwards. It’s a great way to get some quiet alone time for the couple under a cosy blanket.

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You may be able to negotiate some great deals in the winter time. Most vendors involved in the wedding industry will have more free time during the winter, so might be more keen to agree to lower prices. On the other hand, this is when wedding vendors tend to go on vacation, because they’re so busy during warmer months, so check availability in advance if you have your heart set on someone.

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If you decide to have guests at your wedding, they may love or hate you for the suggestion of a trip to New York in the winter. Some people are pleased to have something to look forward to in the colder months, some people have a lot on over the holiday period. And of course, Valentine’s Day falls in the winter, so if you want to really mark that date you could make it your wedding anniversary, too.  Most people generally don’t have many other trips or plans over the winter, compared to the warmer months, though, so winter might be a good time to get all your nearest and dearest together, because availability might be better for most.

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Photographers often tell me that couples should avoid getting married in the middle of the day on sunny summer days, because the light is just too bright. The problem is; that’s when couples want to get married, because it fits with all the other plans for the day that people tend to make around a wedding ceremony. If you get married in the winter, the middle of the day is when the light will be better, so it can help the schedule of the day. Keep in mind that the sun will set earlier in the winter, so you may want to be indoors by sunset, so it will be getting colder then, or you may want to be outdoors for photos as the sun sets.

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If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, either whatever the time of year, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where we pin like crazy with all things New York or wedding-related.

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Alysha and Giovanni’s Wisteria Pergola Wedding

Real Central Park Wedding Alysha Giovanni

Alysha, 24 and Giovanni, 25 got married in the Wisteria Pergola in the Conservatory Gardens of Central Park this September. Alysha is from New Jersey and Giovanni is from Italy. They met in Red Bank, New Jersey three years ago. They were both out at a bar, and they met through mutual friends. “Giovanni had just moved to the US at that time, and his English wasn’t great,” Alysha told me. “We did our best to communicate, but Google Translate was a big part of our relationship at first!” she said.

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The couple got engaged in June of this year in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Alysha had thought that they were there to celebrate Giovanni’s birthday. They had dinner at their favorite restaurant, went for a walk on the beach, and on the beach Giovanni asked Alysha to marry him.

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The plan was to have a large wedding in Italy. They thought maybe they would get married in 2020, so they would have the time to save up. “But as we started planning, we realized didn’t want to wait that long to be husband and wife,” Alysha explained. The couple decided to have a small wedding close to where they lived, and then a large celebration in Italy in a few years so that they can include all of Giovanni’s friends and family. “For us, we have other things we want to spend our savings on, like buying our first home together, so we couldn’t justify spending the average $30,000 on a wedding,” said Alysha.

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They briefly considered a City Hall wedding, but the idea of waiting in line for their turn to get married in a speedy, impersonal ceremony didn’t appeal, and Alysha came across the possibility of getting married in Central Park, and they decided that would suit them perfectly. When the couple first started dating, Giovanni was living in New York. So, New York is a big part of their story. “I’ve always been amazed by Central Park,” said Alysha. “It’s one of my favorite places to take Giovanni’s friends and family when they visit us from Italy,” she added.

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I asked them if they had any regrets about not having a “traditional” wedding, and Alysha said, “no, our wedding turned out better than we could have ever dreamed it would be!” Their wedding was not without its hiccups, though. There was a Labor Day parade that shut down some streets around their hotel, the Grand Hyatt by Grand Central. So, they had to delay the ceremony a little so that Giovanni’s family and the best man could arrive, and one of Alysha’s cousins who had traveled from Florida missed the ceremony because of the road closures.

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The couple had originally chosen Cop Cot for their ceremony location, but it wasn’t available when we applied for a permit with just a little over two months’ notice before the wedding. They went over to Central Park and had a look around and decided that they wanted to get married in the Conservatory Gardens. Every other location in Central Park has an event permit fee of $25, but the Conservatory Gardens has a fee of $500 in total, but Alysha and Giovanni knew that the Wisteria Pergola in the Conservatory Gardens was the place they wanted to say “I do”. “It was absolutely beautiful there,” said Alysha. “Our best photos are from that area. It’s much more quiet, and beautifully maintained. I certainly recommend paying extra for a permit to have this beautiful location!” she added.

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We had our cellist play some pieces by Elvis, Ed Sheeran, John Legend and Taylor Swift to add to the ambience. And of course he played the Wedding March for Alysha to arrive to. There were around fifty guests in attendance. “Our guests traveled by plane, train, car, boat, and party bus to get to Central Park,” said Alysha. “After the wedding, several people told me that at first they didn’t understand why we chose Central Park, but after seeing how beautiful the Conservatory Gardens are, they said that it made perfect sense to them,” she added.

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They had a vintage checker cab to take Alysha to Central Park from the hotel, and take the couple and their photographer, Jakub Redziniak to other areas of Central Park for photographs, then on to their reception afterward. “The car turned heads,” said Alysha, “and some of our favorite photos are with the checker cab!” she added. So, she highly recommends Peter at Film Cars.

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Alysha’s gown was purchased from David’s Bridal. She carried a silk bouquet made of roses, hydrangeas, and calla lilies. She had her hair and makeup done at L’Envie salon in Midtown Manhattan. After the ceremony, the couple’s guests went to a bar in Kipp’s Bay which the couple stayed on in Central Park, taking some more photographs. Then, they went on to meet their guests at that bar for a few drinks, before going on to their reception location. “We had our dinner in the private room at Patrizia’s of Manhattan,” said Alysha. An Italian restaurant, of course. “It’s one of our favorite restaurants!” she said, “the guests were absolutely amazed by the food, they are still talking about it!” she added.

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Alysha had some points to share about a wedding in Central Park not being for everyone that I think are excellent ones. “While I think getting married in Central Park was perfect for us, I don’t think it is for everyone. For a laid-back bride, it is perfect, but for someone who wants to control and plan every detail, I would not recommend it. Unavoidable things like parades and road closures, a New York Fashion Week show closing down the area around Bethesda Fountain, and of course unpredictable weather make it hard to know exactly what to expect!” Alysha told me. She raises good points about the perils of marrying in a public park, although of course road closures would affect travel to any ceremony location. She also mentions that there were strangers in some of their photos. It is a condition of the event permit that the area you marry in must remain a right of way, but of course when people are asked to move on they usually respect a wedding and will do as they are asked.

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I asked Alysha how she felt planning a wedding with Wed in Central Park in just two months had gone. “Claire was a pleasure to work with!” she said. And so was Alysha! “She is so quick to respond, and the vendors she works with are the most professional! Planning a wedding in two months would not have been possible without Wed in Central Park!” I must admit, I do love a last-minute wedding! Thanks for sharing your story with us, Alysha and Giovanni, we wish you lots of luck for your future together! If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, either for a fairly last minute wedding like this one, or for one years in advance, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where we pin all things New York or wedding-related.

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Planning a Wedding in Central Park on a Budget: Money-Saving Tips

Budget Wedding in Central Park Money-Saving Tips

I started this wedding planning business after I planned my own wedding in Central Park in just a few weeks, back in 2011.  My husband and I are both British, but he had a work visa and for me to stay in the US with him we needed to be married.  We didn’t spend a huge amount on the wedding, and it struck me that other British people might want to get married in this incredible place without breaking the bank so I started Wed in Central Park around six months after we got married.

My general philosophy in life is not to spend money on stuff you don’t need, and I apply that to this business.  I offer a range of packages that clients can adapt to suit them, so that they don’t need to be paying for anything that they feel isn’t necessary for their wedding.  I don’t cut corners, but I am efficient, and protective of my time, and we deliver high quality weddings for a reasonable price in such an expensive city.

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The people I work with are reliable, enthusiastic and talented, but they keep their prices as low as they can.  New York boasts a vast choice of incredible photographers, for example, and you can spend thousands on your wedding photos.  We don’t charge thousands for photography, but I think that the photographers who I work with are pretty amazing.  If couples do want to spend thousands on a photographer, then I think they should go ahead, and have me sort the rest out for them.  I firmly believe that a couple should have their wedding exactly how they want it, and it’s my job to guide, advise and then make it all happen.

Though we can help to keep the costs of the ceremony down, if you are visiting New York from far away to get married, there are some unavoidable costs, but I do have some ideas on how to keep them as low as possible.

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Flights

Many of my clients are from the UK, Ireland or Australia, and flights between those countries and New York are pretty steady in price all year round.  January is often busy wedding planning season for me, and when I take most bookings.  Also, it is when many airlines have their sales.  So, bag a bargain if you can.  Check when your country and the US has school vacation, or a holiday weekend and try to avoid travelling at these times if you are able to.  There isn’t really a cheaper season to visit New York, although in general the further ahead you book, the better the prices will be.

Many couples come over to New York to get married and then go on to another part of the US for their honeymoon.  I’m going to count this as a cost-saving method because if you were planning on a honeymoon in Mexico or Hawaii or Vegas, then New York is part of the way there.

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Accommodation

This can be the biggest part of the expenditure for a destination wedding, particularly in an expensive city like New York.  So many of my clients stay in hotels near Times Square, and spend hundreds on the place where they sleep.  The hotels there are expensive and there are a lot of restaurants in the area that are poorly quality tourist-trap chains.

Wherever you are in New York, you are probably not far from a Subway.  Think about the things you want to do and the places you want to see and check if you can stay further out and spend 30 mins travelling to save quite a lot of money.

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If a couple asks me for a recommendation on where to stay I always suggest the Upper West Side.  It is in between the Hudson River and Central Park, it is a beautiful area, has a vast choice of restaurants and bars, and great transport links.  The Upper East Side has fewer hotels, but has great bars and restaurants, too.  You could walk to your wedding from a hotel there, and choose a restaurant in this area to celebrate after your wedding, and save on transport costs.  Outside of Manhattan will be cheaper still, but then the couple should consider how much travelling they want to do while they are in New York and on their wedding day.

Ask yourself how important a hotel is to you, and what you are really paying for when you stay in one.  If you don’t mind making your own bed, picking up your own towels, and making your own breakfast, or walking downstairs and maybe down the street to get it then my key tip to save money on a trip to New York, though is to use Airbnb.  The great thing about using Airbnb in New York is that the city is so very built up that people live right next to where many of the hotels are, so wherever you stay, there will be cool things and restaurants and Subway stops nearby.  Most apartments you can rent will have a small kitchen, so if you are really looking to save money, you can prepare some meals yourself.

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The Wedding Ceremony

I work with high quality officiants, photographers, videographers, hair and makeup artists, florists and musicians.  Of course I make a living from doing this, so if you are prepared to do your own searching online then it is completely possible to find some fabulous people to be involved in your wedding all by yourself, just make sure that you check reviews.  It is worth noting that myself, and I expect others like me, will have preferable rates with many vendors, since we pass so much business their way, so it might be difficult to beat my prices.

Some couples want to save money by not hiring a photographer, but I think they are missing out on an opportunity to get photos as a lasting memory of a very important day in your life.  Some couples ask a guest to take the photos, which can work out great and save money if you have someone talented in your wedding party, but can also be disappointing if you don’t.

The other cost of getting married is the marriage license, which must be obtained by the couple, together, in person, from City Hall.  The fee is $35, for more information on how to do this I have written a blog post.

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Music

The Central Park Conservancy do not allow amplified music at events in Central Park, so it is not possible to keep cost down by getting out your phone and speakers!  If you would like music at your Central Park wedding, then it will have to be a live acoustic musician.  We can arrange for a professional musician to attend your wedding ceremony.  Anyone visiting Central Park will notice musicians playing music either on the benches, on the pathways, or under Bethesda Terrace hoping for donations from the public.  On more than one occasion we have asked one of these musicians to come along to a wedding and to play for them for a small fee.  They seem more than happy to do so.

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Video

Some couples want a lasting record of the wedding ceremony, and a video is great to show friends and family who have not been able to attend the wedding.  We can arrange for a professional videographer to be at your wedding, and we can live stream the ceremony to the folks back home, if you wish.  You can produce a basic video of your ceremony yourself by bringing apparatus that allows you to attach your phone or camera to something nearby and record the whole thing that way.  It won’t be up to professional standards but it will be free!  Of course, if you have guests, cameraperson is a role you could bestow on a responsible friend or family member.

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Flowers

I can arrange to have a beautiful bridal bouquet delivered to your hotel room, but of course there is a fee for this.  There are florists all over New York, so if you don’t have a particular bouquet in mind, then you could pop in to one on your arrival in New York and order a bouquet, then nominate a guest or the groom to collect them on the day of the wedding.  Another way to keep costs down that does take more effort, but also allows you to put more a personal stamp on your wedding, is to go to the New York flower market on East 28th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.

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Food

If a couple is eloping them this part is fairly easy to keep to a budget.  There is truly something for everyone in New York, so an eloping couple can enjoy some fabulous budget eateries throughout their whole trip to New York, saving something special for their wedding day itself.  And there are plenty of places to choose from that don’t charge the earth.

If a couple is having a destination wedding with friends and family then this could be the part of the wedding that costs the most for the couple.  If your guests are paying for their own travel and accommodation, I find it common for the couple to pay for the food.  Consider this when making your guest list.  If you have a smaller group, then it would be acceptable to book just a table in a restaurant and pay for everyone’s meal.  If it is a bigger group then you may need to book a private room.  The cost of this varies greatly over New York, and again, location plays a big part in price.  Expect to take some time shopping around to find the restaurant that fits your taste and budget and has a room the right size for you.

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I have helped to plan weddings for a vast range of budgets, and I love to be involved in all sorts of weddings.  But I am more than happy to help a couple to find ways to keep costs down if that is what they want.  Email me, or check out the Wed in Central Park website if you a considering planning a budget wedding in New York, I’d love to help!

Central Park Wedding on a Budget money-saving tips K&J

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Alicia and James’ Wedding Wagner Cove

Real Central Park Wedding Alicia and James

Alicia and James got married in Wagner Cove this July with a small group of close family as their guests. Alicia is 28 and from the Bronx, New York and James is 33 and from London, England. They met in London through a dating app, that they were both just about getting sick of and considering leaving! They were engaged for three months before they got married, and had been together for two years. I was not involved with the planning of Alicia and James’ wedding, but I wanted to ell their story and show their wedding as an example of one of the many weddings that take place in Central Park.

Just like so many of the couples I know who choose a smaller wedding, Alicia and James aren’t the sort to go in for the big, public marriage proposal. They were walking James’ family dog in the woods in England, he asked her to sit down in a meadow just off the pathway and he asked. Getting married felt like the next logical step in their relationship. “We love each other a lot and wanted to move forward in all ways that we could.” After enduring a long-distance relationship, “we were eager to get our start just being together forever and ever,” Alicia said. They also wanted to make a public show of commitment.

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The couple agreed straight away to have a small ceremony in New York later on in the same year as their engagement, they considered going to City Hall for a quick ceremony. Then more of their family said that they wanted to join them than originally planned, so they decided that a bigger space was needed. They considered a couple of indoor locations, such as hotels, “but ultimately they were either too expensive or didn’t have the right vibe,” explained Alicia.

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I asked Alicia what her opinion was on destination weddings and elopements in general. “I think elopements and destination weddings have become more popular and rightfully so,” she said. “Those options can be so much cheaper than spending your life savings or repaying a huge debt,” she added. “The wedding industry has built this fantasy of how grand a wedding should be, and most people don’t have a grand amount of money to spend,” Alicia explained. “Also, I’d much rather splurge on a honeymoon,” she added. I couldn’t agree more.

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Alicia and James’ wedding was relaxed, fun and no-nonsense. I asked if they had any regrets about not having a traditional big wedding. “No, it was our style at the end of the day, and we loved it. And it was beautiful!” she said. Of course, with the bride and groom from opposite sides of the Atlantic, they were always going to have to choose one location closer to the home of one of them than the other! “There’s always the option to have a larger reception party next year in London, which we’re considering,” said Alicia, “but we aren’t the traditional type,” she added!

I asked Alicia is she had any worries about getting married in Central Park. It turns out that New Yorkers have the same worries as visitors. “I always swore I’d never marry outside because I’m a worrier and I didn’t want to worry about the rain,” said Alicia. “I also have allergies!” she added. Luckily, they had great weather for their wedding, despite heatwaves just before and just after their day.

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The wedding ceremony took place in Wagner Cove. Their guests were the groom’s mum and dad, sister and her family and the bride’s mom and dad, siblings, grandma, uncle and aunt and four cousins. Alicia’s family had a much shorter distance to travel than James’ family! They all loved the wedding, and the location. “Most of my favorite photos were taken in front of the little gazebo there, I like them because the background is calming and secluded so there are not many strangers cropping up in the pictures” Alicia said. They kept the ceremony short and sweet. They exchanged traditional vows and didn’t want to share personal promises and vows in front of their families.

 

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Alicia might be a New Yorker, but she bought her dress in England! It was from the Monsoon bridal collection. She did her own makeup and her own hair, but she did have it washed and semi-styled the day before. James wore a suit from Marks and Spencer. After the ceremony, the couple took everyone to a lunch reception downtown at Cuba NYC.

I asked Alicia why they chose Central Park for their wedding ceremony, “it had a grand feel to it, without the grand price,” she said. Which perfectly sums up that a wedding in Central Park can be as lavish as you wish or a quick and informal, fun and relaxed ceremony like Alicia and James’.

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Thanks for sharing your story with us, Alicia and James, we wish you lots of luck for your future together! I was not involved with Alicia and James’ wedding, but if you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, either for a last minute wedding like this one, or for one waaaay in advance, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where we pin like crazy with all things New York or wedding-related.

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Why a destination wedding website will save your sanity

I met Mell from Gettin’ Hitched Rocks through the wedding fair I am co-hosting, the Tiny Weddings Fair (High Wycombe, 30th Sept 2018, if you’re reading this in time, get your tickets now, it’s going to be awesome).  Once in a while I meet another wedding supplier who I think my clients will love, because their thing totally compliments my thing.  Mell is one of those suppliers.  She makes fabulous wedding websites that would be so incredibly useful to anyone planning a wedding in Central Park with 20-50 of their nearest and dearest, many of whom either haven’t been to a destination wedding before, or haven’t been to New York before, or who just need to know all the details of what is going on!  So, I wrote a post for Mell’s blog, all about the unexpected things that crop up when planning a destination wedding, which a wedding website can help to manage, and she wrote a post for my blog, explaining why you need a website to help communicate all your plans to your guests.

save your sanity

I don’t need to tell you that planning a destination wedding takes a lot of organisation, co-ordination, and forethought – but I will.

Planning a destination wedding takes a lot of organisation, co-ordination, and forethought.

You don’t just have a wedding to organise – vetting vendors and venues and v- uh, dinner options – you’ve got a fifteen-person family vacation to sort, too.

You’re planning hen dos, stag dos, group photos, kid-friendly events, kid-unfriendly events…

It’s difficult to co-ordinate that with a big group – or, really, any size of group.

You’re scheduling around people who have never been to this place before and don’t know where anything is. Or how they’d find it if they knew. You’re planning around people with young kids, who have bed times and feeding schedules to work round. You’re co-ordinating with people who want to get in some quick sightseeing – and don’t realise nipping across to the Statue of Liberty requires a return boat trip and two security checks stricter than they have at JFK…

Trying to get everyone on the same page – never mind to the same place at the same time – isn’t easy. The saying ‘it’s like herding cats’ gets repeated for a reason: organising people is difficult. More difficult, in fact, than organising cats, which you can pick up if you need to.

That’s where a wedding website comes in.

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A (beautiful) wedding website on the (beautiful) Hartfield design from (the beautiful) Gettin’ Hitched Rocks.

We’re not in the nineties any more (no matter what Netflix’s trending now section says); most people have an easy way to receive notifications and access the internet in their back pocket. Why not take advantage of it – and take the pressure of organising everyone else’s schedules off your shoulders?

A wedding website can help you…

Organise hotels and travel

Most couples will put information about hotels near the wedding venue on their website. This is for two very good reasons:

  1. A lot of hotels will give a discount for reserving a large number of rooms, so it makes sense to block-off a group of rooms and tell everyone what to ask for to get the cheaper rate.
  2. Half your guest list is going to assume you are – somehow – an expert on the area and will always find the worst possible time to ring up and ask you about every possible hotel. Better to head them off at the pass.

Giving everyone the same links to book nearby hotels is easy – but what if you’re also covering the cost of the wedding party’s hotel rooms? (A cunning ploy that looks like a huge favour, but is actually a clever way to ensure everyone’s where you need them to be at 6am…)

You need to give everyone in the wedding party the details for their room (without giving them to anyone else) and make sure they don’t get confused and book their own, because the website’s telling them to.

At Gettin’ Hitched Rocks, we give every family you invite a unique password so, once they’ve logged in, we know exactly who’s looking at your website. We know how many people are in the family, if they have kids, if they’re in your wedding party, if you’ve booked them a hotel room… And that means we can get really clever with things.

We can show your best man his room reservation details, show your maid of honour hers, and show everyone else information about hotels in the area, with links to reserve a room.

Because no one has to read through anything that doesn’t apply to them or see anything you don’t want them to see, there’s no confusion.

(Someone will still find a way to ring at the worst possible time, though. It’s unavoidable…)

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The same wedding website showing different content for different guests.

Organise your friends

The biggest problem facing anyone planning a wedding – and especially couples planning a destination wedding, where you need to know exact numbers as soon as you possibly can – is getting people to RSVP.

Let’s face it. No one RSVPs as soon as they’re asked to. It’s against human nature. Instead, they:

  • stick the invitation to the fridge.
  • think, ‘Oh, I need to do that,’ every time they make a cup of tea.
  • don’t.
  • only get back to you after your second just-wanted-to-check-it-didn’t-get-lost-in-the-mail phone call, three weeks after the deadline you gave them.

Having an RSVP form on your wedding website helps with this a lot; once people are on your website, it’s quick and easy to RSVP and get it off the to-do list.

And you have tools to help with that, too. At Gettin’ Hitched Rocks, we give you a dashboard where – along with your exact numbers and all the answers to your RSVP questions – you can see who’s RSVP’d, who’s been on the website but not RSVP’d yet, and who’s not yet been on the website.

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The Gettin’ Hitched Rocks dashboard, showing different, useful information.

But the most powerful part of it is: you can send reminders.

You can schedule in emails or SMS messages to be sent on a certain date, and choose who sees them. If you want to remind everyone who hasn’t RSVP’d yet, only the people who haven’t RSVP’d yet will get the message. (And so not striking fear into the hearts of your very responsible, deadline-respecting friends.)

If you want to send reminders to everyone except your Uncle Jeremy, because you wouldn’t mind too much if he didn’t reply in time, you can do that too. (Or send warnings to everyone else when he does reply.)

And it goes beyond RSVP’ing; you can send reminders to get your guests booking flights and hotels, tell your wedding party when the dress or suit fittings are, or just send out a ‘whoo!’ now and then, to celebrate how cool it is you’re getting married. (Whoo! You’re getting married!)

Organise itineraries

You probably have a list as long as your arm of things you want to do and see while you’re abroad with all your favourite people.

And you probably want those people to join you. (Being your favourites and all.) (Maybe not Uncle Jeremy.)

But you don’t have to go back and forth with fifteen people on dates and times and oooh, I don’t know if it’s too expensive to get it organised.

Add a poll to your wedding website, with options for different days or times. If they want to come, each family can indicate which slots will suit them best.

After everyone has answered – or after a set amount of time has passed – you’ll get a notification of what works best for the most people, so you can get it booked.

Or, if there are activities you’re already planning to do at a certain date or time and you just want to ask your friends if they’d like to tag along, you can organise that on your wedding website, too.

At Gettin’ Hitched Rocks, we have a ‘register your interest’ widget we can add to our websites, where your guests can click a button to, well, register their interest in something.

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A register interest widget used to get guests signing up to help with different jobs at the wedding, instead of a traditional gift registry.

It can be locked down, so each family can only register their interest in one thing – useful if you’re trying to get everyone to share rented villas, for example! – or you can let your guests sign-up for different options, ticking down the available spaces in each one – fantastic for pot-luck dinners.

It’s also great for getting your guests to sign-up to different activities. And – because we can hide and show different things on your wedding website, depending on who’s looking at it, we can curate the activity list to suit them.

If you’re having an adults-only brunch, we can tell the family with a seven-year-old that the seven-year-old can’t come. Or we can not tell them anything about the brunch at all.

And, once your guests have signed up for different activities, we can send you a list of everyone who’s coming – and send them a reminder of where they have to be and when they have to be there, a half-hour before you meet. Sorted!

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A (beautiful) Gettin’ Hitched Rocks website on the (beautiful) Magment design.

Wedding websites are, if not a lifesaver, certainly a headache-saver when you’re organising your wedding.

As well as having all the information everyone needs where they can get it any time, anywhere, rather than relying on a paper invitation The Borrowers will inevitably run off with, as well as handling your RSVPs online so you can see them as they come in (and avoid counting and re-counting and wait, I lost track, counting again by hand), as well as being able to update everyone when details change, as well as making your wedding planning easier and something you can do from your bed, on your commute, or – I won’t judge – from the Louvre in Paris, a wedding website can:

  • customise what everyone sees to remove any confusion
  • help you co-ordinate with your guests
  • send email or SMS reminders to the people who need them, when they need them
  • and take the stress out of organising a wedding, a honeymoon, and a group vacation, so you can spend your time with the awesome person you’re marrying – not with (much less awesome) spreadsheets.

And, if you need another reason, until the 31st of March 2019, we’re giving Wed in Central Park readers 10% off our wedding websites with the code ‘CENTRALPARK’. Check out our (gorgeous) collection of designs, or get something (gorgeous) designed bespoke for you at gettinhitched.rocks.

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Gettin’ Hitched Rock on Pinterest, Wed in Central Park on Pinterest.

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Gina and Kyle’s Wedding on Gapstow Bridge

Real Central Park Wedding Gina and Kyle

Gina and Kyle came over to Manhattan from their home in Hamilton Township, New Jersey to get married in Central Park in October of last year. In fact, they deliberately chose the date because it was Friday the 13th!

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Kyle had originally planned a big night out in Philadelphia to propose. They went to a flower show, a museum and then to a fancy dinner, but the city was too busy and it never felt right to pop the question, so in the end he proposed later that week in their living room.

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They looked at hotel venues to consider them for their wedding, but they didn’t like the aesthetics of any of them, and they certainly didn’t like the prices! So, they started to research some more creative options. I asked how they felt about not having a traditional wedding at home almost a year after their wedding in Central Park and Kyle said “we have no regrets whatsoever.”

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So, Gina and Kyle chose Central Park for their wedding location. “Central Park is absolutely gorgeous,” said Kyle. I can’t argue with that! “It’s incredibly iconic and shows up in some of our favorite movies and television shows. That way, we see where we got married all the time,” he said. That’s an excellent point – I love it when I see Central Park on the screen because it means so much to me. “New York City is also one of our favorite places to go for a mini vacation, so now we have an extra excuse to go and celebrate,” Kyle added.

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Even though Gina and Kyle didn’t travel as far as some of our couples do to get married in Central Park, they still had transportation worries. This is a totally justified worry if you know Manhattan well, though! “We didn’t know what we would do if the driver didn’t show up or if we got stuck in traffic,” said Kyle, although everything went smoothly on the day.

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Their wedding ceremony took place on Gapstow Bridge. The ceremony was short and sweet, just how they wanted it. The couple had a small group in attendance – their parents, Gina’s daughter and some close friends. Their photographs were taken by Kyle’s cousin. “Our favorite pictures were taken just in front of the bridge where we got married, on the Plaza side,” Kyle told me.

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Kyle wore a black tux and ivory bow tie. Gina’s dress, purchased from David’s Bridal, was a traditional ivory ball gown coupled with black Doc Martens. Her flowers were a brightly colored seasonal mix. Kyle’s cousin and Gina’s maid of honor is a hairdresser, so she did Gina’s hair for her.

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They went back to Jersey after their wedding ceremony and photos in Central Park and had a big dinner celebration with their friends and family. I asked Kyle what he would say to anyone considering a no-nonsense wedding in Central Park like theirs and he said “it was a great experience and we are both very happy we did it.”

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Thanks for sharing your story with us, Gina and Kyle, we wish you lots of luck for your future together. For more information to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, with photos just about anywhere in New York, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where you will find lots of lovely photos and many more inspiring stories of real weddings.

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Posted in Central Park, New York, real wedding, Weddings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment