Meagan and Andrew’s Wedding on the Pond Lawns, Overlooking Gapstow Bridge

Meagan and Andrew got married in May on the Lawns by the Pond at the south end of Central Park, overlooking Gapstow Bridge.  They’re both 25 and Meagan is from Westfield, New Jersey and Andrew is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania originally.  They met in freshman year of college through mutual friends who insisted that they should meet since we were “both short”.  Although this may seem like an odd thing to bond over, their friends were right in their case! 

Meagan and Andrew were together for just over seven years before getting married.  They had been talking about getting married for a very long time but they kept putting it off because life just simply kept getting in the way.  Marriage was always the end goal for them, and they had talked about it after having dated for about a year.  They got engaged on the Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia.  Andrew had wanted to propose on the same day as their first date but due to Meagan’s job he had to pick a different date.  He planned a romantic picnic underneath a heated bubble tent right on the trail. They walked some of the trail until they got to the tent, where Andrew got down on one knee and popped the question.  It was a complete surprise to Meagan!  They spent a couple hours together in the tent and eventually drove over to a romantic dinner and stayed that night at the Four Seasons Hotel atop Philadelphia’s Comcast Tower.

I always ask our couples why getting married is important to them.  Andrew has quite a unique answer to this one.  When he was a third grader in Catholic school he learned about the sacraments, and when matrimony was brought up he was enthralled by the idea of two people being together forever since he did not have that at home.  Meagan has always adored the idea of marriage from watching all the shows about weddings and crying tears of joy when she saw other brides on their special day.  “Marriage to us was never a question,” Meagan told me.

Once they had finally officially gotten engaged, they knew that they wanted to get married in Central Park.  New York, and Central Park in particular, is where they had many of their early dates.  They actually held their wedding ceremony at the very spot where they took their first photo together.  So, the place where their relationship began is where they said “I do.”  They weren’t even sure that it was possible to get married in Central Park but they knew that they wanted to.  So, they got online and found us at Wed in Central Park.  “We were not sure if we could make it a reality until we found Claire,” said Meagan.  “Since we found Claire so early in our plans we never looked elsewhere.”

I asked Meagan if she thinks that smaller, mor intimate weddings are becoming more popular.  “Yes, 100%” she said.  “Our original wedding plan was to have a VERY small wedding with just immediate family but quickly realized that was not going to be the case.  Our wedding ended up being sixty-five people and it could not have been any more perfect for us,” she told me.  “Having a smaller wedding allows you to truly enjoy the presence of all of your guests and have full conversations together.  It felt so intimate and we would do it all over again the same way if we could,” Meagan said, which is the perfect answer!

I always ask our couples if they had any concerns about marrying in Central Park.  Meagan and Andrew had the same worry that the majority of our couples have, and it’s unavoidable when getting married outdoors.  “Rain,” said Meagan.  “We checked the weather obsessively in the weeks leading up to the wedding, and on the day we had clear skies until literally the moment we stepped into the taxi to take us to our reception,” she said.  We had two event permits to try to reduce their worries – one for this space beside Gapstow Bridge and one for underneath Bethesda Terrace.  “One piece of advice though is to be open to the unexpected,” said Meagan.  This is a good point for anyone planning to get married in a huge public park that other members of the public will be using too.  “People will stare and want to take pictures,” she said.  “On our wedding day there was a spin class going on at Wollman Rink with music playing. We don’t know how it happened but right as I made my entrance, the music stopped and we were able to have our ceremony as planned,” Meagan said.  Sometimes our officiants will ask anyone nearby to be quiet for fifteen minutes if necessary, and people d respect a wedding usually, but we can’t take credit for this one!

Meagan and Andrew had hired their own photographer Morgan Taylor Artistry for the whole day, including a first look at The High Line in Chelsea, the ceremony in the park and the reception.  They loved doing the first look in private since they’re both quite shy people.  The ceremony was held on the large patch of grass between Gapstow Bridge and Wollman Rink.  Meagan has anxiety but when she got to Andrew he soothed her and the ceremony proceeded beautifully.  We had the officiant read an introduction with thanks to all of their nearest and dearest and also the story of Meagan and Andrew’s relationship to date.  Meagan’s sister did a reading, and then they exchanged some traditional vows and some more unique vows before exchanging rings.  The couple had written private vows for each other which they wanted to keep between themselves, so they read them out to each other during their honeymoon.

They had invited their closest friends and family that they had interacted with the most during their relationship.  “Everyone was excited that we were getting married in Central Park and absolutely wanted to attend even if it meant venturing into the city and not having a chair to sit in during the ceremony,” said Meagan.  They provided small “welcome bags” during the ceremony which contained bubbles for their exit, a paper fan, Advil, deodorant wipes, chewing gum, a code for a Lyft, and a note that had a few words of appreciation and a QR code to our website.  “Our favorite photos were taken on the opposite side of the bridge by the ducks, geese and turtles where the sky is completely open and you can see the skyline,” said Meagan.

Meagan wore a Pronovias Milady Gown with the matching veil, purchased from Seng Couture in Fanwood, New Jersey.  Her shoes were purchased from Etsy.  She wore tennis bracelet Andrew had given her by the groom and earrings from Olive + Piper.  Her something blue was a sapphire cross given to her by her late grandmother when she was a child.  They hired Miss Harlequin to come to their hotel to do hair and makeup, and Meagan said that she would totally recommend!  Andrew wore a Jos Bank suit with pink tie.  The Meagan’s mom lent him her father’s watch so that they could have a piece of him with them on their wedding day.

The flowers were provided by City Blossoms.  The bridal bouquet was made up of peonies, Juliet roses, ranunculus, and Italian ruscus in hues of cream, pink, and orange.  Attached to the bouquet were rosary beads and a charm with pictures of both sets of grandparents.  Andrew had a boutonnière with a single white rose and accenting greenery.  “They also set up beautiful centerpieces and bar décor with similar florals at our reception,” said Megan. “One thing to note is that bridal bouquets are HEAVY so be prepared if you want to walk around afterwards,” she added, which is certainly worth remembering if you choose an elaborate bouquet for a wedding in Central Park where you can’t really put it down anywhere and there’s lots of walking around.  They held the reception at City Winery, “we danced and drank the night away!” said Megan.

Meagan and Andrew live about 45 minutes outside of the city but decided to stay in Manhattan for the wedding.  They stayed at The Maritime Hotel and then moved over to an airport hotel the night before their honeymoon departure.  Since they’re fairly local they have a few recommendations of places to eat.  “Whenever we go to the city our favorite stops are Ample Hills Creamery, Serafina for Italian food and Doughnut Plant,” Meagan told me.  I asked Meagan and Andrew what they would say to anyone else considering getting married in Central Park.  Meagan’s advice: “Do it, you won’t regret it.”  Andrew’s advice: “Make sure to call for a taxi or ride early to avoid getting caught in traffic.  Also, no matter where you pick in the park it will still look gorgeous.”

I asked Meagan how we did.  “Claire was very easy and flexible to work with,” she said.  “She created a base timeline which we used throughout our entire planning process and kept in constant communication with reminders of due dates and advice.  She added incredible value to our wedding planning process especially with her choice of officiant who was a joy to be around,” she added.  “We would 100% recommend her services to any future brides looking to plan their dream NYC wedding!”  Thanks so much for your kind words, and for sharing your story with us!  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you’re from near or far, 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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Amber and Steve’s Cop Cot Wedding in April

Amber and Steve got married in Cop Cot in April.  They first contacted me in the spring of 2020, when everything was completely shut down due to Covid, but many of us were hoping that life would have returned to normal by 2021, so Amber and Steve had originally hoped to get married then.  In the end they had to postpone by a year and got married in the spring of 2022.

Amber and Steve live in Coventry in England with their two sons.  They are 40 and 41.  They met on a blind date, set up by friends.  They had been together for eight years when they got married.  Their two sons had been born before they got engaged.  “We got engaged on the sixth anniversary of when we met,” Amber told me.  They had planned a trip to Rome to celebrate their anniversary and Steve’s 40th birthday.  “It got cancelled because of the first lockdown due to Covid,” said Amber.  “So, we did a YouTube tour of Rome and Steve proposed in our garden,” Amber told me.   Of course she said yes, but she was surprised, she had thought that he’d bought them a firepit!

Once they started to think about getting married, they knew that they wanted to have a destination wedding.  They also knew that they didn’t want to go anywhere that would be too hot.  “We had both always liked New York, and after Googling options in the city, we fell in love with the idea of getting married in Central Park,” Amber said.  “We have numerous friends and family who have had the big, traditional wedding at home, and many regret the cost and feel that it didn’t live up to expectations,” Amber told me.  “We also know people who have gone away to get married and told us they have no regrets,” she said.  “For us, it was combining a great trip with a wedding.  Plus the cost was nowhere near the cost of a traditional wedding in the UK,” she added.  Of course I’m biased but I love this – taking the focus away from tradition and doing what everyone wants and instead going on an awesome trip with your nearest and dearest and getting married while there! 

“For us getting married was the final piece of the puzzle,” said Amber.  Steve had been married before and was hesitant to marry again, and Amber said that she had never been overly concerned with tradition, but after having the children and various other life events, it began to feel like an important step to them both.  I’m told that all of their guests loved the idea of a wedding in Central Park and really enjoyed the unique experience.  Amber said that they loved all of the photos, but their favorites were taken around Bethesda Terrace and overlooking Bow Bridge.

Amber and Steve were in New York from Monday to Saturday, with the wedding taking place on the Thursday.  They stayed at The Benjamin Hotel in a suite so that their children could sleep in a separate room to them.  “We would recommend our hotel, all the rooms we saw were fairly big by Manhattan standards,” Amber said.  “It wasn’t too far for our taxis to the park on the wedding day and it is super close to a Metro station too.”  I ordered their flowers to be delivered to the hotel on the morning of the wedding.  “The flowers were perfect, given I had not given much detail other than wanting pale coloured.  They arrived in good time to the hotel on the day,” Amber said.

Amber said that they have “absolutely no regrets about our wedding.”  She added that “it was special, intimate and less formal than many weddings.”  She said that everyone who came to their wedding said that it was the best they had been to for all of those reasons. “Being away restricts the details you can stress about,” she said, “which makes it more relaxed.  More is out of your control so there’s no point trying to control it,” she told me.  Amber told me that she thinks that smaller weddings are becoming more popular.  “The intimacy of our wedding was definitely part of making it so special,” she said.  As with all destination weddings there were a few people that weren’t able to make it, but that felt more like a ‘that’s a shame’ feeling rather than a devastating disappointment. 

We made a good weather plan A and a bad weather plan B.  The plan A ceremony location was Cop Cot and the plan B ceremony location, which luckily we didn’t need, was underneath Bethesda Terrace, where all of their guests could have sheltered from the rain if we had seen wet weather.  I arranged for a cellist to be at the ceremony location to play before and after the ceremony, and the bride walked in to him playing Perfect by Ed Sheeran.  We wrote a short introduction to the ceremony, and had a friend read the poem “Maybe”, which I’ll put at the end of this post. 

There were twenty people in attendance in total; mostly friends rather than family, but of course their two sons were there.  They had a vintage trolley bus pick everyone up from the park and take them over to their reception location in Brooklyn.  “The driver of the trolley bus was part of our day too. Reggie was fantastic, he stopped for multiple loo breaks and happily had our music blaring,” said Amber.  “It was a nice fun way of getting everyone downtown and over the bridge together and made more of the day,” she said.

For their reception, they went over to Brooklyn for a meal at The Osprey at The One Hotel.  Amber told me there had been a few dramas with reception booking related to Covid, and the place they had in mind for their reception had closed down a week before their trip.  “It turned out for the best as the food and service at The Osprey were fantastic,” said Amber.  They had timed it to be there for sunset so the view of Manhattan and the East River was beautiful, and they were able to enjoy their rooftop bar after the meal.  They said they would highly recommend it.

Amber purchased her Justin Alexander dress from True Romantica Bridal in Kenilworth, Warwickshire and the two bridesmaids had Maya dresses bought from ASOS.  Amber and her two bridesmaids had professional hair and makeup done by the Metrolook team.  “The girls who came to do it were so lovely and it all added to the day,” said Amber.  Steve wore a lovely light grey suit, and Amber says that he did vaguely consider the colours of the season there.  Their two boys had similar suits too, Amber tells me that it was their choice to be smarty pants like Daddy. 

I asked Amber what she would say to anyone considering getting married in Central Park.  She wondered if maybe some people wouldn’t be keen to get married in a public park with so many passers-by, “but everywhere we went, people happily moved for photos and congratulated us.  They were very kind so we would say that it added to it all for us,” she told me.

I asked how we did.  “We would definitely recommend Claire and the service from Wed in Central Park. Claire is very knowledgeable about all things relating to Central Park and helped us work out the timing of the ceremony to fit with our overall plans for the day with the trolley bus and eating for sunset over in Brooklyn,” she said.  Amber said that they ended up arriving at the park a touch earlier than planned, but they were pleased to see that everyone involved has also arrived early.  So, they got started early.  Amber noted that their photographer finished at the agreed time, so he did a little bit extra for them!  “If you are considering marrying in Central Park and like us are a little unsure where to start, Claire is definitely your answer.  We had all we could have wished for with no stress at all,” said Amber.

Thank you so much for your kind words, it was an absolute pleasure to work with you both, Amber and Steve, and I wish you both lots of luck for your future together.  This spring it has been so lovely to finally see couples married who have been planning for a while but had to put things on hold due to Covid.  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

Maybe.

Maybe we are supposed to meet the wrong people before we meet the right one so when they finally arrive we are truly grateful for the gift we have been given. 

Maybe it’s true that we don’t know what we have lost until we lose it but it is also true that we don’t know what we’re missing until it arrives. 

Maybe the happiest of people don’t have the best of everything, but make the best of everything that comes their way. 

Maybe the best kind of love is the kind where you sit on the sofa together, not saying a word, and walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you ever had. 

Maybe once in a lifetime, you find someone who not only touches your heart but also your soul, someone who loves you for who you are and not what you could be. 

Maybe the art of true love is not about finding the perfect person, but about seeing an imperfect person perfectly. 

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Alyssa and Chris’ May Elopement in Wagner Cove

Alyssa and Chris eloped from their home in London, England to get married in Central Park this May.  They are 34 and 31, and Chris is from Essex in England and Alyssa is originally from the Philippines, but has lived in England for the past seven years.

They met through online dating, just like everyone else these days!  “So, a modern fairy tale romance to a modern way of getting married,” said Chris.  They were together for five and half years before they got married.  They got engaged at home on their second anniversary of being in their house, and also the day that Alyssa passed her driving test, so what an eventful day it was!  Chris asked Alyssa to cover her eyes with an eye-mask and go into the kitchen, where he had prepared an amazing dinner and decorated the kitchen with rose petals.  When he asked her to remove the mask he was down on one knee holding the ring.  

I asked why getting married was important to them.  “We already have a home, wonderful jobs and travel around the world when we can, so this seemed like the next adventure after lockdown,” said Chris.  He said that they had considered a traditional wedding in the UK, and decided that it wasn’t for them.  They also considered getting married in the City Clerk’s office in New York.  Chris said that Covid restrictions made it almost impossible to get the licence and married in the same week.  They had booked the trip to New York, planning to get married at the City Clerk’s Office but found the current system of appointments only for both licenses and ceremonies restrictive for them.  So, they had a little look around online and found Wed in Central Park!

I asked Chris if he thinks destination weddings are becoming more popular.  “Some of our friends got married in islands in the Philippines, some of our friends got married on the river Thames in London and some of our friends got married in traditional weddings in Essex,” he said.  “We got married in New York.  I think you have to do what feels right for you and what you feel in your heart,” he added.  I couldn’t agree more.

Alyssa and Chris stayed in a Hilton hotel near Hell’s Kitchen for eight days.  Chris said that it was great for transport links around the whole of New York.  “We used the bus, train, subway and taxi,” he said, and recommends getting a metro card!

They decided to have the ceremony at Wagner Cove.  “We wanted to be by the water and under the cover of the wooden structure,” said Chris.  “Our officiant Barbara was amazing and lead us through our nervous energy with a calm and relaxed tone,” Chris told me.  We kept the introduction short, but the officiant read the poem To Love Is Not To Possess by James Kavanaugh, which I will put at the end of this post.  It was just the two of them for the ceremony, but they had a live stream for their families in the Philippines and the UK.

After the ceremony, their photographer Jakub Redziniak took them all over Central Park for photos, then on to Grand Central Terminal and then the Manhattan side of Brooklyn Bridge, before going over to Brooklyn for photos with the bridge and the Manhattan skyline in the background.

Since they finished up the photos in Brooklyn, they went to The River Café overlooking Manhattan for dinner afterwards.  They said that they highly recommend The River Café, but also ate at the ever-popular Keens Steakhouse, Ellen’s Stardust Diner and Katz’s Deli that they would also recommend.  Also they liked Levain Bakery cookies, Los Tacos in Chelsea Market, Jin Ramen, and Don Antonio Pizza.

They were very lucky with the weather and had an unseasonably warm day for the time of year.  “When the weather is as perfect as it was for us, there is no better place to get married,” said Chris.  He said that they saw five other weddings that day in other locations in Central Park, and that passers-by greeted and congratulated them throughout the entire day.

I asked Chris how we did.  “Claire did an amazing job; organising the officiant, videographer and photographer.  All were very professional and provided some amazing memories,” he said.  “Claire really helped by organising all of the permits and paperwork required for Central Park and Grand Central.  She also helped with great communication and getting everything organised for the day.  Being 4,000 miles away it helped someone knew the procedures and people to make our day amazing,” Chris said.

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Alyssa and Chris!  I wish you both the best 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’re from near or far, 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

To Love Is Not To Possess by James Kavanaugh

To love is not to possess,
To own or imprison,
Nor to lose one’s self in another.
Love is to join and separate,
To walk alone and together,
To find a laughing freedom
That lonely isolation does not permit.
It is finally to be able
To be who we really are
No longer clinging in childish dependency
Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,
It is to be perfectly one’s self
And perfectly joined in permanent commitment
To another–and to one’s inner self.
Love only endures when it moves like waves,
Receding and returning gently or passionately,
Or moving lovingly like the tide
In the moon’s own predictable harmony,
Because finally, despite a child’s scars
Or an adult’s deepest wounds,
They are openly free to be
Who they really are–and always secretly were,
In the very core of their being
Where true and lasting love can alone abide.

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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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Caroline and Josh’s Vow Renewal in Wagner Cove

Caroline and Josh came to New York from their home in Huddersfield in West Yorkshire in England to renew their marriage vows with us in April.  They are in their early fifties and were marking their thirtieth wedding anniversary.  They met in the late 1980s, when they were teenagers.  Caroline was friends with Josh’s sister when they worked in a riding stable together on weekends.  On Saturday mornings Josh would walk part of the way to work with the girls as he was catching the bus to his own job.  They were together for six years before they got married.

Their wedding back in 1992 was a family affair with a big party – a joint wedding with Josh’s sister and her husband.  “We both come from broken homes and had complicated families with half siblings,” Caroline told me.  “We wanted to build a strong marriage and be able to rely on each other.  We had a shared vision and ambitions for what we wanted our life to be like.  Caroline and Josh have two grown up children; Luke and Ashleigh, who they are very proud of.  “We have worked hard to give them better opportunities in life than we had,” Caroline told me.

Caroline contacted me at the very start of the year with the idea to surprise Josh with the vow renewal.  She told me that she wanted to recognise their commitment to each other, and have a celebration that was private for just the two of them, “we didn’t want anything big or showy,” she said.  I asked Caroline what her advice would be to anyone considering getting married or renewing their vows in Central Park, “think about what you want as a couple and not worry about anyone else, it’s your ceremony so enjoy it your way,” she said.  I couldn’t agree with her more.  “It was a really special way to renew our vows in Central Park and I wouldn’t change anything about it,” she added.

I asked Caroline if she had any concerns about holding the ceremony outdoors in Central Park “No, none at all,” she said.  “Obviously good weather is preferred but a little bit of rain cannot put off us Brits!”  Caroline felt that it would be lovely to be outside while renewing heir vows, but chose Wagner Cove for its privacy and because the small wooden structure would provide some shelter for the two of them and the officiant if they did have rain.  They both follow their local football team avidly (soccer for any Americans reading!), which is Huddersfield Town.  They were playing on the day of the vow renewal and we mentioned this in the ceremony, so their officiant checked in advance of the ceremony how the team had done and happily for Caroline and Josh, they had won!

Caroline told me lots about the challenges that life had thrown at them over their thirty years together so that I could write their ceremony.  In it, the officiant told the edited story of how they had supported each other through the tougher times and shared the joys of the good times.  Newlywed couples do sometimes have a history this long together but it is rare, so both myself and their officiant felt really privileged to have shared in a celebration of such enduring love.  Caroline was happy with how the ceremony turned out.  “The officiant began by talking about our life together and our milestones, it was very moving, but she made us feel relaxed and made it all enjoyable,” she said.

Caroline had planned the vow renewal as a surprise for Josh.  She told him about it on the way over to New York.  So, of course it was a surprise for all of their loved ones when they learnt about it after it had happened.  “Our children were delighted for us,” Caroline told me. They stayed in New York for a week, at the Hotel Riu Plaza, Times Square.  They said that it was well placed for lots of tourist attractions. 

After the ceremony, they took photos around Central Park for a little while.  “My favourite photos are on Bethesda Terrace and by the Fountain,” Caroline said.  “They’re so iconic to Central Park.”  She said that their photographer Florencia made sure that there weren’t too many bystanders in the photos, which gets increasingly difficult as the weather gets better in New York!  “She did very well, considering how many people were in the park,” Caroline said.  I know from talking to the photographers that they use a mixture of standing in the right place, timing the shot well, and good editing!

Caroline said she found us on Google, “and I was very lucky to have found Claire whose communication was brilliant. She clearly explained the service and made planning the ceremony very simple and easy to understand,” she said.  “The officiant made us feel at ease immediately. The photographer was professional and gave us directions clearly and did a fabulous job at our photographs,” she added.  “Our vow renewal was everything we could have asked for and made our anniversary a very special day indeed,” Caroline said.

If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or vow renewal, 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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What is a Wedding in Central Park Really Like? 

Lots of the couples who contact me asking for help with planning their wedding in Central Park have only a vague idea of what their wedding might be like.  Many of us have attended traditional weddings, but not everyone has attended a wedding in Central Park, least of all a couple who might be considering doing it themselves.  This blog post is intended to be a long answer to a frequently asked question and an introduction to how weddings in Central Park generally go. 

All weddings are unique, but our weddings in Central Park tend to have similarities and there are limitations on what we are able to do, so this could be a useful place to start if you are wondering if getting married in Central Park is going to suit you and your partner. 

The first thing to know about a wedding in Central Park is that it’s outdoors.  So, consider the weather when making plans.  There are some popular ceremony locations in Central Park that have a roofed area, so can provide some cover from rain, but if it rains on your wedding day, then you’ll get wet on the way to the ceremony location and while taking photos.  If you especially don’t like very low temperatures or very high temperatures, then keep the season in mind when choosing your date.

Another very important thing to keep in mind about Central Park is that it’s a public place.  It is said that it is a New Yorker’s backyard.  Locals use the park to walk and exercise in and to generally enjoy being outdoors if the weather is good.  There are some ceremony locations that are more private than others, but in general, you will be saying your vows out in the open.  People may be passing by as you get married and they will certainly be passing by as you take photographs around the park.  It is because Central Park is for everyone that amplified sound is not allowed at a wedding in Central Park, so all music must be acoustic, and guest numbers should probably be kept to a minimum, because if your group is too big then there’s a chance that not everyone will be able to hear you say “I do” if you don’t speak up!

I write all of the ceremonies especially for each couple.  I ask a series of questions, and the couples’ answers allow me to write something specifically for them.  We tend to follow a general template for a ceremony, and there’s an order that I usually suggest it should progress through, but other than that a couple can say as much or as little as they would like in a ceremony.  Some might choose to have readings or music, or to say long personal vows to each other, which can add to the length of the ceremony, but some just want to say the bare minimum and be pronounced married.  We can go with whatever suits the couple.  Generally, a ceremony tends to last ten to twenty minutes.  We are not allowed to bring chairs to weddings in Central Park, so if you or any of your guests are unable to stand for very long, then I advise that you choose a location that has a little seating, some do.

Some of our couples are on a tight budget and want to keep things simple and straightforward with nothing too fancy.  Some of our couples have brought a large group and have come a long way and want to make a very big event of their special day.  And we also get everything in between.  So, there are really no rules when it comes to have lavish a wedding in Central Park might be.

We see lots of different sizes of 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 around 60-80 people but that is quite unusual.  Most often, our weddings might have between ten and twenty guests.  I wrote a blog post on how many guests can attend a wedding in Central Park a little while ago.  There are limits on how many guests will be permitted at each ceremony location, and there’s usually good reason for these limits.  Some spots are better suited than others for larger groups.  There’s a part of the website where I summarise the features of the most popular wedding ceremony locations in Central Park.

If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, or if you’d just like to do a little bit more reading of the information that we have on there, 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.  Drop me an email with any questions that you might have about what a wedding in Central Park is really like!

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Sarah and Daniel’s March Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

New Yorkers Sarah and Daniel got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in March.  Sarah, 27, is from Long Island and Daniel, 28, is from Brooklyn.  When Sarah and Daniel first started dating, she was living in Queens and he was living in Brooklyn so New York City was a central hub for their relationship.  They would meet up during lunch at times and take strolls through Central Park.  “To us, it was the most romantic to honor our commitment in the place where it all began,” said Sarah.

The couple met at a bar in Long Island shortly after graduating college.  Daniel noticed Sarah dancing with her friends and so confidently decided to approach her to ask her out.  “Living in such a digital world, I was so impressed by his old fashioned manner and ultimately decided to exchange numbers,” Sarah told me.  It wasn’t too successful, though.  “We went on one date and then lost touch,” Said Sarah.  Years later, they reconnected online and this time, the sparks really flew.  They got married on their third anniversary of being together.

Sarah and Daniel got engaged on Thanksgiving in 2021 at Daniel’s family home.  Daniel had prepared for Sarah’s family to be there to surprise her so that she could share the special moment with all of her nearest and dearest.  “He wrote a beautiful speech and randomly took my hand, stood me up in front of everyone, and started to recite it.  It was the perfect moment!” Sarah told me.

Sarah first contacted me by email on Christmas Eve and we talked on the phone just after Christmas.  They had initially started planning a more traditional wedding at a large venue, “but we quickly started to experience the stress that accompanied planning a wedding of that size,” said Sarah.  “We ultimately decided that was not how we wanted our marriage to start so we moved forward with a more intimate, unconventional ceremony,” she added.  So many couples tell me this; they start to go down the route of tradition, and then wonder why they are causing themselves so much stress! 

They paid me their deposit on New Year’s Day and we got going with planning their low-stress wedding with a little over two months to go until their date!  They choose the Ladies’ Pavilion for their ceremony location, but given that early March does see quite a few rainy days in New York, we made a bad weather backup plan for Bethesda Terrace.  “Our only concern was that New York weather in March is hard to predict, but we decided that whether it’s rain or shine, we would make the most of the day!” said Sarah.  The Ladies’ Pavilion would provide cover in case of rain for maybe six people, ten at a push, but they wanted their guests to be comfortable and dry if they did see wet weather on their wedding day.

I asked Sarah if she thinks smaller weddings are becoming more popular, and she said “especially during Covid, I do believe smaller ceremonies and elopements are becoming more popular. The way we live our lives has changed dramatically and I believe unconventional ceremonies will soon become the mainstream,” I certainly hope she’s right!  And I do agree, many couples are interested in finding a way to make their wedding stand out from the same old stuff.  Also, Sarah made a great point about why couples choose to have a smaller wedding.  “After years of isolation due to Covid, I quickly learned who had the greatest impact on my life and it was those people I wanted to celebrate my special day with,” she said.

Sarah and Daniel had only their immediate family and one friend on each side attend the wedding.  “When we communicated our plans for the wedding, our families were hesitant but ultimately saw the beauty that the day brought and everyone was extremely happy with how it turned out,” Sarah told me.  The whole party arrived together, and we had the videographer and photographer meet them all at the entrance to Central Park.  The photographer hung back with Sarah and her dad while the videographer walked the rest of the group over to the Ladies’ Pavilion, where our violinist played for them while they waited for the bride to arrive.  Sarah walked into the area to the violinist playing “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele.

We kept the ceremony fairly short, with an introduction that summarised their relationship to date, and thanked their loved ones, and then they exchanged traditional vows.  “We had the officiant tell the story of how we met, in which everyone was braking out into laughter,” said Sarah.  After they were pronounced married, they had their first dance in the Ladies’ Pavilion to “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran.  “Some of my favorite pictures were taken at the Ladies’ Pavilion where we had the ceremony, because it was so private and romantic with its beautiful backdrop in front of the water,” said Sarah.  “I also enjoyed the pictures in front of Bethesda Fountain,” she added.  “We were lucky enough to get a horse and buggy in some of the pictures which so perfectly represents New York City.”

Sarah wore a simple sheath dress with a train, purchased from David’s Bridal, “it truly made the pictures SO beautiful” she said.  We order her a standard red rose bouquet, “which brought a very vintage feel to the day!” she told me.  Sarah did her own hair and makeup.  I asked Sarah if she had any regrets about not having that big, traditional wedding that hey had first panned on having.  “I have no regrets!” she said.  “It was the most relaxing and carefree day filled with laughs and love, which is all I could have asked for on my wedding day.”

After the ceremony, the guests made their own way back to the limo while their photographer Jakub Redziniak took Sarah and Daniel around the park to take portrait photos.  “It was so fun walking around Central Park to take pictures,” said Sarah.  “Not to mention, all the park goers were treating us like celebrities which was so fun!” she added.  After that, they met up with their guests at the limo and went home for a catered dinner.  “We would have preferred a restaurant but due to Covid, we decided to stay home,” she said.  It sounds like a lovely way to end the day in keeping with their relaxed, family event.  They used Deborah Miller Catering for their dinner, which they highly recommend.  “The presentation was beautiful and the food, delicious!” Sarah said.


I asked how we did.  “The service was phenomenal,” said Sarah.  “When I decided to elope in Central Park it was because I was looking for a stress free planning experience, and Claire provided just that!” she said.  This is the best feedback I can hope for, because my aim is to deliver the wedding day the couple want at absolute minimal effort from them.  “The day turned out better than I could have ever hoped for and I owe it all to Wed in Central Park.” Said Sarah.

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Sarah and Daniel, it was a pleasure to plan your wedding with you, 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’re from near or far, 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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2020 Clients’ New York Restaurant Recommendations – Where to Eat After you are Married in Central Park

It is quite the understatement to say that 2020 was an unusual year for weddings.  We saw so many unhappy couples having to cancel their plans, postpone their weddings, or change their wedding plans completely! 

To avoid writing a ridiculously long blog post and adding to it each year, this blog post series of client recommendations of restaurants in New York is split up year by year.  I wrote a post summarising where all the couples who featured on the blog in 2019 ate after their wedding, couples from 2018, couples from 2017, couples from 2016, then from 2015, then those from 2014, and also those from 2013.  So there are lots of recommendations to look through, and many of these places are still open, not all of them are. 

A frequently asked question from my couples who are getting married in Central Park, is for a suggestion of where to eat in New York after they get married.  It’s a very difficult question to answer because New York is a huge city with so many awesome places to choose from with every cuisine you can think of to fit a vast range of budgets.  My couples are all so different, too – some are happy to travel to another borough, some want to walk to their reception, and they have varying group sizes, so some want a private room, some just a table. 

Since the question is so difficult to answer, I have looked to my previous clients for their suggestions.  This list contains the places that couples who featured on the blog in 2020 ate and celebrated after their wedding in Central Park

Some time ago I wrote my own list of New York restaurant recommendations, and followed that up with a second list of New York restaurant recommendations, but seem to be getting a little out of date now.  Check out my FAQs page on my website for some of the other questions that I get asked a lot.  Below I summarise the couples’ recommendations who featured on my blog in 2020.  I intend to cover last year’s couples on the blog possibly by the end of this year, and then I’ll be almost caught up!

Laura and Alan – Lots of Places!

Laura and Alan brought twenty guests over from their home in Scotland for their wedding blessing beside Bethesda Fountain last October.  The couple had their legal ceremony at home in Glasgow with just their parents before traveling to New York for a blessing ceremony with friends, due to health limitations of both sets of parents.  Laura had a list of restaurants from the trip that she’d recommend, so I’m just going to post her list and comments here:

Sarabeth’s – near Central Park, very child friendly.

Carmine’s – (Laura recommends the one just off Times Square, and I recommend the one on the Upper West Side). This is child friendly, and was recommended by a friend. The portions are all sharing size, you will not be disappointed if you have a big appetite.

The Rockefeller Centre – the restaurant looks onto the ice rink so is good for people watching. The portion sizes are huge and they do an awesome eggs benedict.

Bill’s Bar and Burger Place, 51st Street – this place offered good American grub, again the portions are huge and very child friendly.

Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Broadway – GREAT for kids, the entertainment is great and service was always with a smile. The menu offered a good selection of food (portions were huge though).

Casa Nonna, 38th Street – lovely Italian restaurant, seemed to get busy very quickly so would recommend booking rather than just turning up.

John and Mark – Joanne Trattoria

John and Mark travelled to New York City from their home in upstate New York to get married at Wagner Cove in December. They had been together for seventeen years before they got married.  As soon as they had finished taking photos in Central Park, they went to a nearby cafe for something warm to drink as it was very cold that day. Then John and Mark went back to their hotel to change for dinner at Joanne Trattoria restaurant, which they highly recommend. “It was very nice and cozy, plus the food was great,” John said. Then they went to some clubs afterwards to celebrate.

Kerry and Mark – Grey Bar and Restaurant

Kerry and Mark brought thirteen of their close friends and family over from their home in Lancashire, UK for their wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion in December.  They got married in the morning, so had the day to enjoy after their wedding.  After Central Park they all went to the Grey Bar and Restaurant for a meal and drinks and then for dinner they went on to take a cruise on the Hudson with a buffet and DJ.

Alwena and Amanda – Tavern on the Green and Gallaghers

Alwena and Amanda came over to New York from their home in England with their close friend Keith to get married in Central Park in December. Alwena first contacted me on the 10th December and they got married on the 19th December, so I think this might be the shortest planning period of any wedding I’ve been involved with!  The temperature was minus 5 so they wore thermal trousers and many layers under their coats! After the ceremony they all went to the Tavern on the Green to warm up and drink champagne. When they left Central Park they took a rickshaw around the city then had a meal at Gallaghers and continued to explore the city.

Alex and Tom – Frankie’s Sputino

Alex and Tom brought eighteen grown up guests and three children over with them from the UK for their destination wedding in the Conservatory Gardens in August.  After the photos in the Conservatory Gardens the guests went over to the reception location of Frankies Spuntino in Brooklyn.  

Sarah and Richard – David Burke Kitchen and Sugarcane

Sarah and Richard got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in August.  They were a party of fifteen in total, all over from the UK.  After taking photos in Central Park, they joined their guests on a vintage trolley bus booked for them all, and went for lunch at the David Burke Kitchen in Soho.  The evening reception was at Sugarcane in Dumbo, so Sarah and Richard had photos taken at Jane’s Carousel and with the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan in the background beforehand, and then at the reception location.

Julie and Christophe – The Painted Lady Saloon

Julie and Christophe got married underneath Bethesda Terrace in October.  Julie is a New Yorker, Christophe is from the South of France.  They got married on the 24th, and Julie first contacted me on the 1st of the month, so we organized it all in a fairly short time.  While the couple took some photos around Central Park, the guests went up to a small reception at The Painted Lady Saloon, a local bar where Julie knows the owners.  They rented out the space for the afternoon and evening.  The couple joined them a little later, after portrait photos in Central Park and a few on the streets on the way to the reception. 

As always with these restaurant recommendation posts, I would be so happy for anyone to comment below with their own suggestions of great New York City restaurants – there are so many to choose from, and although there are some firm favorites that last over time, we’re always seeing new ones!  For more information to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebookfollow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest where you will find lots of beautiful photos and many more inspiring stories of real weddings.

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Leanne and Craig’s Elopement Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion in January

Leanne and Craig got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in January.  Leanne is forty and Craig is fifty, and they eloped alone from their home in Carlisle, Cumbria for their wedding in Central Park.  They met through work and they still work together now.  They had been together for seven years when they got married.

Leanne and Craig already live together, and share a dog, “so getting married was a natural progression for us but we didn’t want to make a huge deal out of it,” said Leanne.  They wanted their wedding day to be just the two of them.  They got engaged on Christmas morning 2020 but they decided not to tell anybody until they had decided what kind of wedding they wanted! 

They knew they wanted to elope, but weren’t sure where to go.  “We did consider an elopement in the Lake District, but I felt that our families might have been a bit upset with us getting married so close to home and not inviting them,” Leanne told me.  I asked Leanne if she had any regrets about not having a “traditional” wedding closer to home, “No regrets at all” she said.  “We did feel a bit guilty about not telling the families but at the end of the day it’s our wedding and nobody else’s!” And I couldn’t agree more with her.

I asked Leanne what she would say to anyone thinking about eloping.  “I would highly recommend eloping to anyone!” she said.  “We had the best day, it was perfect and just what we hoped for.  If couples are looking for a magical day without all the fanfare and drama, just go for it!” of course I think this is great advice!  I asked Leanne for any other advice for anyone considering getting married in Central Park, and she said, “take comfortable shoes!  My only mistake on the day.”

Leanne and Craig arrived on January 25th and got married on January 27th.  They stayed in New York for seven days at Ink48 hotel.  They wanted to get married early on in the trip so that they could have the rest of the trip as their honeymoon.  They had originally booked the Paramount Hotel, but due to the pandemic, it closed until after their trip so their travel agent Virgin Holidays moved them to Ink 48 hotel in Hell’s Kitchen, “and it turned out to be a blessing,” said Leanne.  “The hotel was fabulous and the bars and eateries were miles better than anywhere around Times Square,” she said.  Their favorite breakfast spots were the Westway Diner and Galaxy Diner, their bar recommendations are Rudy’s Bar and Mercury Bar, which are all on the same street.

When considering where to get married, Covid played a part in their decision, so being outdoors felt safer for them.  “Also, Central Park is so iconic and we knew the photos would be amazing,” Leanne said.  I asked if they had any concerns about getting married in New York, and Leanne said, “the only concern I had was how creased my dress was going to be after being in the suitcase!”  I wrote a blog with some tips about flying with your wedding dress.  Other than that, she said they had no concerns at all, “New Yorkers are super cool and congratulated us but then went on with their day,” said Leanne.

The ceremony took place at the Ladies’ Pavilion, with additional photos at Wagner Cove, Bow Bridge and Bethesda Fountain and Terrace.  Since they had no guests, their photographer Florencia also doubled up as the legal witness to their wedding.  Another great thing about an elopement is how easy it is to get around to lots of locations to take lots of photos – it’s much quicker to move two people around the park rather than a large group.  “My favourite photos were taken at Wagner Cove,” said Leanne, “it was quite secluded and there were no other people around.”

We kept the ceremony quite short and straightforward and Leanne and Craig exchanged traditional vows.  “The ceremony was amazing, our officiant Kevin was brilliant,” Leanne said.  She shared concerns about her hearing impairment with me before the ceremony, so I made sure to book Kevin, who has some stage acting experience, so I know his enunciation is spot on!  “Kevin spoke clearly and I had no issues at all on the day, he really put us both at ease and calmed our nerves,” Leanne told me.

Leanne wore an ivory dress with a wool coat.  “It was very, very cold!” Leanne warns anyone else considering getting married in New York in January!  “I had looked for ages for a dress but I could not find anything suitable, so I decided to have one made. Jacquie Kidd was brilliant and she brought to life what I had in my mind!” said Leanne.

Leanne booked her own hair and makeup artist who came to her hotel room to help her get ready.  She said Sharon at SB Beauty was fabulous.  “I had purchased a dried flower button hole from Etsy for Craig, with a matching wrist corsage for myself which I decided not to wear on the day,” Leanne told me.  “I didn’t want a bouquet as I didn’t want to be carrying it around with me for the rest of the day,” she said.  Craig wore a beautiful blue checked tweed suit with orange accessories.

Leanne and Craig arrived at Central Park in a vintage yellow cab, “It which was fantastic!” said Leanne.  I put them in touch with Peter who drove them, “He and his cab were brilliant and was a true highlight of our day.”  After the photos they took a horse and carriage ride, then they went for cocktails at Dolly Varden, then dinner at Gallagher’s Steakhouse, “which was out of this world!” said Leanne.

I asked Leanne for any comments on how we did.  “We would both like to thank Claire and her wonderful team for making our day truly magical, the day went in a flash but it was completely plain sailing and we couldn’t be happier,” she said.  It was a pleasure to plan your wedding with you, Leanne, thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your story with us.  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding or elopement, whether you’re from near or far, 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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What is and isn’t Permitted at Weddings in Central Park

From the smallest birthday party or elopement, to the largest concert, special events take place every day in New York City parks.  If you want to have any activity in a city park with more than twenty people, or where you would like to reserve a specific area within a park, you need to apply for a special event permit.  When couples are planning their wedding in Central Park, they may have a vision of how they would like their wedding to look, but they’re not sure what is permitted in Central Park. 

Right at the top of the permit, it states:  “notice to all park users: smoking will not be allowed within parks and beaches.  No alcoholic beverages permitted.  No vehicles permitted in parks.  No unauthorized vendors.  No BBQ except in designated parks/areas.  No drugs and no alcohol permitted inside park area.  No amplified sound permitted.”

We do get couples asking if they can bring along some champagne and maybe some cake for a champagne toast after they get married.  Alcohol is not permitted inside the park area.  Although I have seen people discretely drinking wine in Central Park and other New York parks.  If you’re getting married in one of the less public spots then you’re unlikely to cause any issues with one glass of champagne each.

Couples also quite often ask if they can play music from their phone using small speakers.  This is not allowed either, although I have certainly seen people playing music from speakers.  It feels quite unfair to tell couples that they can’t play amplified music and then to see people just chilling in the park playing music on speakers.  My worry if a couple does use speakers is that they might be interrupted by a par official and asked to stop, which would interrupt their wedding.  We can provide and acoustic musician to play at your wedding, though.  I can provide an acoustic guitarist, singer, harpist, saxophonist, violinist, cellist, other classical musicians or bagpiper.

At the bottom of the first page of the permit, it states the following:

No vehicles

No amplified sound

No DJ

No speakers

So, with this part above and the part at the very start, that is three times they tell us no speakers or amplified sound, so I guess they really mean it! They do say on their website, if you want to have amplified sound, you’ll need a permit from the local police precinct. 

No set-up including tents/tables/chairs/canopies

Another quite frequently asked question is if we can provide chairs for all of the guests.  This is not permitted.  However, some of the popular ceremony locations in Central Park do have some seating for guests who can’t stand for too long.  Also, I have attended a wedding of a couple who lived quite close to Central Park who were able to bring along a few folding chairs for those who couldn’t stand for too long, including the bride’s grandmother and myself, because I was pregnant at the time.

Park and playground must remain open to the public

Do not block pathways or walkways

Couples also as if we can somehow rope off the area where they want to get married.  The answer I that we cannot.  As you can see from the two items above on the list, all areas must remain open to the public.  So, we can’t tell people not to walk through the area, but in practice, reasonable people wouldn’t do a thing like walk through a wedding!  If you’re getting married in a very open space such as Bow Bridge, then you should leave enough room for passers-by to get across the bridge.  This is why I don’t recommend a big group in these smaller spaces.  If you’re getting married in one of the structures, such as Wagner Cove, Cop Cot or the Ladies’ Pavilion then it’s not necessary to rope the area off.  If there are people hanging out in the area when the guests stat to arrive, it is helpful to have the permit in your hand if you need to politely ask people to move along.

No smoking on parkland

No alcohol, no inflatables, no balloons, no bouncy houses

So, that’s no smoking mentioned twice and no alcohol mentioned three times.  They say no balloons, but we have had a guest nominated to hold some balloons in the past to make it easier to spot the group in an open space, for arriving guests such as Bethesda Terrace.

No water or electrical connections

No banners or signs affixed to park property or trees, no staking into the ground

Couples sometimes ask if they can decorate the structures or affix a sign and the answer is no, we are not allowed.  The officiant can hold a sign before the ceremony begins so that arriving guests know that they’re in the right place.

No cooking/BBQ/openflames

No vendors/no selling

No raindates

As we have found with the huge amount of rescheduling we had to do due to the pandemic, they cannot reschedule a permit due to rain.  Once you purchase your event permit for a set date and time, then that’s your slot.  If you want another slot, then you have to apply for another permit.  We can apply for a permit for a two hour window.  They need at least three weeks’ notice to process a permit, so you can’t get anything under three weeks from the day you apply.

Must clean up during and after event – all event related items and trash must be removed from park

This one is why I tell couples that they can’t throw confetti.  If you throw stuff on the ground in Central Park then it will be viewed as trash.  If you drop confetti or rose petals on the floor, then it is a condition of your event permit that you pick it al up afterwards. 

Permit must be present on site

I always send the permit to the couple in advance of the wedding, and also to the officiant, just to be on the safe side that we have two copies if necessary.  We rarely get asked to see the permit, but it’s sensible to have it on site for the wedding just in case anyone does. 

If you have any further questions on what is and isn’t allowed at a wedding in Central Park, then drop me an email and I will try to help, if I don’t know the answer to your questions, I’ll point you in the direction of the Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.  If you would like me to help you with planning your own Central Park wedding, 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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