Victoria and Sean’s Wedding, Sheltered from the Rain Underneath Bethesda Terrace

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Victoria and Sean came over to New York form their home in Glasgow this December to get married in Central Park. They have been together for four years and they have a two year old son together. Having their son was a major reason why they wanted to get married, they wanted to make their union official with a wedding.

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They got engaged in November 2015 in Central Park, while taking a horse and carriage ride. Originally the plans for their wedding were a large-scale affair at Walt Disney World in Florida. Victoria started her communications with them but she found that the wedding planners there were adding to her wedding planning stresses, not helping. In the end she cancelled those big plans and reconsidered. “We realized that were marrying for love, not for a big show off day,” said Victoria, so they made the decision to elope to New York. Since they had got engaged there a year previously it was a special place for them. I find it quite common that couples who got engaged somewhere in New York want to get married there too.

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I asked them if they had had any worries about getting married in Central Park. Theirs was the same as many couples’ – the weather. They were getting married outdoors in December, there was a risk of rain or indeed snow. They did have rain so they changed their ceremony location. They had originally chosen the lovely Dene Summer House, known as the Treehouse for Dreaming, but this is at the top of a hill that would have been very slippy in the wet, and provided no shelter from the rain. So, they changed their location to underneath Bethesda Terrace. This is a fully covered area and is famous for being the location where Chuck and Blair got married in the TV show Gossip Girl. It has grand arches with a view out to the Bethesda Fountain and often there are musicians under there playing for visitors. It is a lovely spot, but of course the rain affected their chances of getting photos in lots of locations in Central Park. “We didn’t let it ruin our day,” said Victoria, and they got some beautiful photos in the Bethesda Terrace area.

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They were in New York for a week, and they stayed in the Paramount Hotel at Times Square. “The hotel was lovely but the location was just too busy,” said Victoria. “It was a fight of the crowds when we were coming and going from the hotel,” she added. I totally agree with this. As someone who has lived in Manhattan and visited as a tourist too I always recommend the Upper West Side as a great area to stay to couples who are getting married in Central Park. I know that Times Square is such a popular place to stay for tourists, but on the few occasions when I have had to walk through it I am always glad that I do not have to do it too often.

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Victoria’s makeup was done by Bre Kali and her hair was done by Keila Sone. “Both of them went above and beyond to give me the look I was looking for,” said Victoria. She carried an artificial bouquet that she had brought from home, which stood up very well in the rain.

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Their photographer was Gianna Leo Falcon. After their ceremony and their photographs they went back to the hotel and changed their clothes for some dry ones. Then went out for dinner and drinks to celebrate.

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Despite the weather Victoria and Sean loved their wedding in Central Park. “I think wherever you get married in Central Park it will be beautiful,” Victoria said. “At first I was upset that we had to change location but we had a magical ceremony and our pictures turned out amazing because all of Central Park is stunning, so regardless of the ceremony location you are guaranteed a magical day.”

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Thank you for sharing your story with us, Victoria and Sean, I wish you the best of luck for your futures together with your little family. For more information on planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook for photos and more inspiring stories.

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Mallory and Adam’s Christmas Central Park Wedding

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Mallory had always loved Christmas and New York City, so the idea of a wedding at this time of year in this incredible city was her dream, although she never really thought it would happen for her. In the end not only did she make this happen, but she planned it in only twenty-four days!

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Mallory and Adam are from Atlanta, Georgia and they met through mutual friends in August 2014. When they met, Adam had just started his Master’s Program to become a nurse practitioner and Mallory was enrolled to begin her Master’s Program in Educational Instructional Technology in January 2015. Adam, at the time, was an ICU nurse, working nights and Mallory was and still is a special education teacher at an elementary school. The couple found out quickly that they had so much in common and clicked straight away.

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Mallory loves Christmas time, in fact her friends call her Miss Merry Christmas. “I love the spirit of Christmas, all the decorations, the music, and of course my Elf on the Shelf, Tommy,” she told me. On the evening of November 9th 2015, Adam came over to Mallory’s house and they sat by her Christmas tree chatting about their day and he suggested that she go and find Tommy the elf. Mallory searched high and low for him and finally found him the bookshelf by the Christmas tree with a little box in his lap. She opened the box and there was an engagement ring! She turned around and Adam was on his knee and asked her to marry him.

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As soon as they were officially engaged, they began planning their wedding. They were originally aiming for a wedding near to their home in Atlanta in June 2016. They had decided on a theme of skeletons keys, which had meaning to them personally throughout their relationship. They visited venues, contacted caterers, and even found a beautiful dress in the Black Friday sale just weeks after their engagement. It had long lace sleeves so Mallory intended to have them altered for her summer wedding. But after a little while of wedding planning Mallory started to become frustrated that quite a few things were not quite working out as she had hoped, and the process that she had expected to be fun was becoming stressful.

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In early December Mallory and her family had been to see Elf, the Musical and at the intermission, her father jokingly said, “why don’t you have a Christmas wedding in NYC?” They all laughed at the impossibility, but a few hours later, Mallory was starting to seriously consider it and not long after that, she was doing some serious research. Within a few days, the decision was made, the flights were booked, and rooms were rented and the date was set. “I chose Central Park because I wanted to be right in the city,” said Mallory. “I wanted to be surrounded by the city streets, the buildings, and all the cars. I wanted our pictures to clearly show that we got married in New York City,” she enthused.

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Mallory knew New York and Central Park quite well, but, like many people who get married in Central Park as a destination wedding, they had to choose their ceremony location without being completely familiar with the location. They chose Cop Cot because they liked the look of it in pictures, but they didn’t know for sure how it would look in person. “The pictures did not do it justice,” said Mallory. They worried a little about the weather, and the possibility of rain, and how busy or noisy it might be in the area. In the end they loved Cop Cot, and it’s rustic simplicity. “I loved it even more in the winter because the entire top was clear and the skyscrapers showed through the branches,” Mallory said. Their photographer was Kristina Williamson. “We took pictures inside and outside of the gazebo, on the rocks with beautiful buildings in the background, and my favorite shot, in the street,” Mallory told me.

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Mallory knew New York City well, and had visited several times before, including a trip there at Christmas time in 2008. Adam and his family had never been before. Adam’s father, who is a Southern Baptist Preacher, had one wish while in New York; to see the Statue of Liberty. They did see it, and ate at the Merchant’s River House which they tell me that they highly recommend and it had amazing views of the Statue of Liberty. They were in New York from the 26th until the 30th December. For the most of the trip they stayed at the Grand Hyatt and the bride and groom stayed at The Pierre after the wedding.

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Mallory wore a beautiful dress by Mori Lee purchased from Bravura Fashion, a boutique in Atlanta. The bridesmaids wore a black or charcoal dress of their choice. They also wore different fur coats. Mallory carried a boutique of Christmassy red roses with the stems wrapped in lace from her mother’s wedding dress and had a skeleton key attached to it, which had been their original idea for a theme. Adam wore a single red rose with a small skeleton key attached to it. The ladies did their hair and makeup themselves. “Lucky for me, one of my brothers’ girlfriends does hair and my other brothers’ girlfriend does makeup,” Mallory said.

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They had fourteen guests in attendance. It was just family and close friends. They said that some people in their wider social circle raised their eyebrows at a quick and out of state wedding, but their close friends and family understood why they wanted to get married this way and they were excited about the special occasion. “I do wish the family members unable to attend had been able to come,” she said. This is a common problem with the destination wedding. It can’t be helped. Adam’s father is a pastor so he was able to officiate their wedding, which must have been very special for him to be able to do as a father.

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The ceremony was held at 2pm so they had the morning to prepare for it. “The ladies and mothers had an intimate bible study in the morning where we shared blessings and tears,” said Mallory. Before the ceremony, the men had pictures taken at The Pierre, where Mallory and Adam were staying on their wedding night. The men then had lunch in a hidden room at The Pierre while the ladies took their turn taking pictures. Mallory, her father, and Jan, the Maid of Honor, then took a taxi over to the ceremony.

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After the ceremony, they had the reception dinner at Asiate, a signature restaurant within the Mandarin Oriental. They ate in their private dining room, which overlooks the city and the south-west corner of Central Park. “The food was delicious and the view was absolutely beautiful,” Mallory told me.

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They got married in 2015 and it was a year later that we spoke, so I was able to ask if Mallory had any thoughts on their Central Park wedding a year later. “I wish I had booked my photographer for more time,” she said. “There are so many amazing spots for pictures in Central Park but we ran out of time for all the locations I wanted to visit, she added. Also, she said that it was very cold in December. Which of course she expected and she doesn’t mind the cold, but she was aware of her guests being cold and this made her feel a little rushed. In general, though, they have no regrets about their rather snap decision to get married in Central Park. “I love that we did something unique and different and we have a special place that we can visit years from now,” she said.

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Thank you for sharing your story with us, Mallory and Adam, I wish you the best of luck for your futures together. For more information on planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook for photos and more inspiring stories.

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Rafael’s Marriage Proposal to Becca at the Wollman Rink in Central Park

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Rafael and Becca met on October 2014 at the engagement party of Becca’s brother and Rafael’s cousin.  Both of their families had suggested that Rafael and Becca would get along and had played matchmakers a little.  Their families were right and there were sparks from the moment they met, they started dating and eventually found that they were perfect for each other.  They were born and raised in Massachusetts and are currently living together there.  At the time that they met, though, Rafael was living and working in New York City and Becca was in Massachusetts.  They traveled on weekends and holidays to see each other so many of their first dates were in New York City.  They have lots of special memories together in NYC and in particular they both have fond memories of going to the Wollman Rink quite early on in their relationship in January 2015.

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Rafael decided that it was time to ask Becca to marry him.  “For me, marriage is the ultimate sign of commitment between two people that love each other unconditionally.  My parents personify the meaning of marriage to me, their love, devotion, faith and commitment to each other and their family has been one of the strongest influences in my life. These are the things that I feel and want when I’m with Becca,” he told me.  Rafael felt that it was time to get engaged, and he wanted to do it in the city that had such special meaning for them both.  He contacted me for some help with planning the proposal, to ensure that it all went smoothly on the day, and for my help with booking a photographer for him.

 

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He planned a trip not just for himself and Becca, but also for many of their friends and family.  Becca’s best friend and mom and brothers came along, and of course the cousin of Rafael’s who eventually married Becca’s brother, and whose engagement party was instrumental in Rafael and Becca meeting.  Rafael’s parents came, and his brother and sister.  Rafael’s sister was quite involved in the planning of the proposal and she was very important in helping us make the plan happen on the day.  Lots of friends and aunts and uncles and cousins came along, too.  It was a lovely, big family celebration.  Some might think this put a little pressure on Rafael and that we would be nervous that Becca would say yes but Rafael was confident.  “It was so great to have everyone there, their love and support were felt all weekend,” Rafael said.  “They all loved the idea of my proposal and were excited and grateful to be a part of the moment. They knew how much Becca and I loved NYC and were excited for a mini weekend getaway in the city,” he added.

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The couple are both good skaters so Rafael decided that they could go skating together on the Wollman Rink.  I contacted the manager of the rink and he agreed to play a couple of songs that are special to the couple on the speakers at a pre-agreed time.  I arranged for my photographer to hang out nearby and take a few photos of them skating from the side of the rink, hidden from Becca’s view.  Then the plan was for Rafael to get down on one knee when he heard their special song, ask Becca to marry him, then she would say yes (of course!) and then he would surprise her with announcing that so many of their friends and family were there, and then the photographer could take some posed photographs of them.  It all went very smoothly to plan.

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Getting engaged is a big step in a couple’s relationship.  They are making a promise to each other that one day soon they will be making some very big promises, about love and respect and unity for the rest of their lives together.  “This was certainly a big step in our relationship,” said Rafael.  They had been discussing the future for some time and they knew that they both felt the same way, this was putting the official stamp on things.  “I had decided a while ago that I wanted to commit myself to her and me proposing and her saying yes solidified that commitment. There is certainly a renewed excitement now since our relationship is advancing to a new stage,” he said.  “We are already in full wedding-planning mode,” he enthused.

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Rafael was brave enough to make the grand gesture of this proposal but he had not wanted to go ring shopping alone.  As an extremely fussy person, I think he made the right decision.  My husband and I bought our wedding and engagement rings together and my rings are completely perfect for me, which I think is important when you are going to wear something forever.  Rafael and Becca went ring shopping a few times so that he could get an idea of what she liked, and he also got advice from both their moms, and his sister, sister-in-law and his cousin (Becca’s sister-in-law, remember?) but in the end he made the final decision.  I love Rafael’s way of doing things – he involves the family in all the important stuff.

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So, Becca kind of knew this was coming.  It was brave of Rafael to propose in such a public place, and it was a lovely gesture to do something so romantic with the setting and the special music and the photos, but he was confident that Becca would say yes.  She knew she was going to be proposed to soon, so she had had the chance to think about what she would say, but Rafael wanted the occasion to be a surprise.  He had said that he wanted to go ring shopping again after they got back from their New York trip so that Becca wouldn’t guess that he planned to ask her in NYC.  “I also surprised her the day before with Lion King on Broadway tickets, so she thought that was my only surprise of the weekend,” he said. “Luckily it worked and she was totally surprised,” he added.

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The morning of the proposal they went over to Queens to visit where Rafael used to live. This was partly because he wanted to get Becca far away from all those friends and family in town to celebrate their engagement who were staying nearby.  Rafael’s sister was heavily involved in the plan and he kept her updated with their movements and she in turn updated others.  They returned around noon to go to the Rockefeller Center to see them put up the Christmas tree.  Then they went back to their hotel to get ready to go ice skating.  We had planned carefully to get the whole group to the skating rink in advance of Rafael and Becca arriving, but kept them hidden while the couple got their skates.  After the proposal, Rafael’s parents and siblings had arranged for a space at a restaurant right next to the couple’s hotel for some food and a celebration.  Later, they all went to the rooftop bar at the hotel and continued their celebrations there.

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I asked him how I did, since I am a lot less experienced with planning proposals than I am with weddings, “I can’t stress enough how much having someone to bounce ideas off of and coordinate everything was a huge weight off my shoulders and allowed me to enjoy the moment even more, he said.  “I highly recommend using Wed in Central Park for any proposal in Central Park.  This is the only moment that any future groom has full control over and can make a memorable experience.  Whether you have a large or small idea, having someone in your corner is priceless,” he added.

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They got engaged in early November and by the time Rafael and I talked again they had set a date.  They started discussing the wedding on the ride back home the very next morning, and have made lots of plans already, including setting the date for October of this year in Playa Mujeres, Mexico on October 10, 2017!  Thanks so much for sharing your story, Rafael and Becca!  I am honoured to have been a part of your marriage proposal.  I wish you both lots of luck for your wedding and your future together. For more information on planning your own Central Park wedding or proposal, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook for photos and more inspiring stories.

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Amy and Garry’s October Wagner Cove Wedding

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Amy and Garry came over to New York from their home in Greenock, near Glasgow, Scotland this October to get married in Central Park. They met eight years ago at a local nightclub when Amy was 18 and Garry was 22. After four years of dating they bought their first flat together. They got engaged last August while on holiday in Mallorca in Spain, Garry proposed while they were walking along the beach.

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Whenever they talked about getting married, they agreed that they would have a destination wedding. They knew they did not want to get married at home, but they had always thought it might be somewhere like Spain; somewhere sunny in Europe.  Then they started to think about it a little more once they were engaged.

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They happened to already have a trip to New York planned for Garry’s thirtieth birthday, so they started to think about getting married while they were there. They searched online for inspiration for weddings in New York, and lots of images of Central Park came up in their searches. They loved the look of it and decided that it would be perfect for their wedding.

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I asked them if they had any worries about getting married so far from home, and Amy said that they did want to feel sure that they had found a legitimate and reliable company to organize it for them. “As soon as we found Claire she put us at ease and made it a fairly straightforward and stress free process for us,” she said.

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They got to New York three days before their wedding and they stayed at the Tryp Hotel. They had a wedding party of twenty-three, close friends and family. They all said that they loved the idea of getting married in Central Park, and they all agreed that the trip in general as a group was great fun.

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The ceremony was held at Wagner Cove. They had loved it’s rustic charm in the photos they saw of it, and they wanted somewhere private. I arranged for them to have the photographer for an hour longer than usual. We usually suggest two hours, but they wanted a little longer. They had pictures taken at lots of locations in Central Park and really made the most of their time with the photographer. They said their favorite photos were taken on Bow Bridge. “The weather was beautiful that day and on the bridge the pictures just captured it all,” said Amy.

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I arranged for a bagpiper to meet Amy, her dad and her bridesmaids at the entrance to Central Park, and he played the bagpipes as they walked through the Park, and down the steps to Wagner Cove.

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Amy’s classic white gown was purchased from a Eleganza Sposa in Glasgow and her bridesmaids’ dresses were from Coast.

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Amy’s three bridesmaids wore lilac, and the color theme of the wedding was in keeping with this. Amy had customized artificial flowers made for her and her party at home in Scotland, which they brought over with them. They looked fantastic, and are a perfectly apt Scottish bouquet of thistles, heather and roses. The buttonholes also had a rose and a thistle, too.

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Amy is a hairdresser, so she knew exactly what she wanted for her hair. She spent the morning doing her wedding party’s and her own hair, and she said that was good to keep her occupied! We can see from the photos that she did a brilliant job. I recommended the wonderful Metro Look to do their makeup in their hotel room. “They where great, everyone was happy with their makeup,” said Amy.

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After the ceremony at Wagner Cove, which we made a video of for them to show to extended family and friends at home, they had photographs around Central Park. After that they went on to their reception at a steak house called Gallaghers. The photographer went along, too, since they had him for that hour of extra time, so he was able to capture their celebrations there, too.

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“I absolutely loved every minute of my wedding and wouldn’t change any of it,” said Amy. “I wish I could do it all again. Central Park was beautiful such a gorgeous place to get married,” she added.

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“Claire was just great, she made the organisation of my wedding so easy and stress free and was always available to answer any questions that I had, I couldn’t recommend her enough,” Amy said. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Amy and Garry, I wish you the best of luck for your futures together. For more information on planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook for photos and more inspiring stories.

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Why you need Wed in Central Park to plan your Central Park wedding

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Reliability and Quality

The main purpose of this blog is to provide some assurance that this is a real and trustworthy business.  I want couples to feel comfortable handing their money over to me, when I may be in a different country from them, and at the beginning of the process, just a website on the internet, which could be controlled by anyone.  This blog, and the Facebook page are intended to show that we are a genuine and fully operational, energetic wedding planning business.  I average one wedding per week at the moment, although of course Summer months are busier than Winter months.  Several of the couples I have worked with have left me a review on Facebook, and this very public, uncensored system should show that people are happy with the service I provide.

I always ask for feedback from the couples I work with.  And I listen to what they say.  These days I get really happy people telling me how they felt relaxed in the lead-up to their wedding and that they could trust in me that I would deliver the wedding day they asked for.  In many cases they tell me that the people I book for their wedding day are even better than they expected.  There have been times when I get some great suggestions from couples on how to improve, and where possible I take those suggestions on board and make changes.

I work with several City Hall registered officiants.  Many of them have been celebrating and leading weddings for several years, and know New York City and Central Park very well.  I will ask a couple at the very beginning of our planning process if there is anything in particular they want from an officiant and I will match the officiant to the couple from the group I work with.  Everyone I work with is an excellent communicator and a reliable, cordial person with a great enthusiasm for celebrating love and marriage.  I have been asked to provide officiants who can perform a wedding in two languages, gay officiants, ordained officiants, and an officiant who can also provide public notary services and I have been able to provide them.

The photographers I work with know Central Park and New York City very well.  They are creative and artistic and know the spots to get those perfect iconic shots of Central Park.  They are all friendly and easy-going people and couples tell me that this really helps to make their wedding day special, since they spend two or even more hours with the photographer, getting those beautiful photos of the couple with the striking backdrop of Central Park, that will be hanging on their walls for the rest of their lives together.

I work with two videographers who have been doing the job for many years.  We can produce the video pretty much however you want it, if you let us know in advance.  We can also put any special music you request in the soundtrack.

I recommend an excellent hair and make-up team, who are great fun and extremely talented people who also regularly work on models and celebrities and New York City.  Many brides have told me that their bubbly energy has helped them to relax before the wedding.  And the photos prove what a great job they did on helping the brides look incredible on their special day, and well in to the evening.

Our Manhattan-based florist is renowned for her dexterity, innate artistry, and impeccable design sense.  She is a favorite among New York brides and event planners and has been featured in several national media outlets.  We have a great working relationship and she has always provided amazing bouquets, in many cases just from a couple of photos provided by the bride.  She is always ready and able to procure the requested flowers, and to make any changes we need if a bride changes her mind.

The musicians I work with are talented and amiable people, also they really enjoy being involved in weddings.  I will pass on their repertoire list to couples so that they can choose which pieces they would like to be played before, during and after their wedding ceremony.  There have been many occasions where the couple want a piece that is special to them and not on the list of pieces the musician knows.  With enough notice, our musicians can learn a specially requested piece for a wedding.

I have worked through plans for each wedding in as much detail as the couple needs.  Some are happy with the bare bones of a plan and can go with the expertise of our people on the day.  Some need a detailed plan of timings, with instructions on where to be and when for all involved.  For example, the photographer might need to know keep the bride out of sight of the groom and guests, and to give a sign to the musician and officiant so that the bride can be announced and the musician can play a special piece of music for the bride to walk down the pathway to the ceremony location to.  That extra-special big entrance can be perfectly planned and co-ordinated.

I have a process that broadly guides me in how I plan each wedding, that process has been developed, practiced and enhanced through the years I have been planning weddings in Central Park.  That said, each couple is different, and my position as the sole owner of this business, means that I can decide whether it is possible to do whatever a couple asks for their wedding day, and usually I can find a way to do it.  The process involves a method of developing the ceremony wording with the couple, using a list of questions that allows me to write something that is unique to each couple, while keeping within the traditional structure of a wedding ceremony in many cases.  I have done weddings that are not in Central Park, where some couples have requested it, and made various last-minute changes to accommodate couples.  I like to be as obliging and accommodating as possible.

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Flexibility

I agree exactly what I will provide for a wedding with a couple in advance of taking a deposit from them.  I write out a contract between them and Wed in Central Park which clearly states what they have told me that they want me to provide for their wedding day.  But things can change.  Couples might want a little longer with the photographer, they might want extra flowers added to their order, they may want to get married at a different time, or even a different day.  I have been able to accommodate these changes in the vast majority of cases.

I have a team of great people whom I have been working with for several years.  If a couple were to book an officiant or photographer themselves and they had any kind of emergency that stopped them from being able to do the wedding then, unless that person could find anyone else to do it at the last minute, they would be stuck.  In all the weddings I have planned, we have not had this happen very often, but one of my officiants had a very sick family member some time ago and she had to go and care for them.  We had a couple of weddings scheduled but I was able to cover them without any disruption to the couples because I work with plenty of other people who can cover it.

I do have a great team of people, but the most important thing in my mind when planning all weddings is that it should all be just as the couple wants it to be.  So, that means that I am happy for couples to have me arrange part of it and for them to arrange part of it if they want.  For example, they might have a very specific idea of what kind of photographer they want, and they may want to select from the vast choice that New York City offers and book their own photographer, which is fine with me.  They may have a particular musician they want to play at the ceremony, and that is fine, too.  We can tailor each of the packages that are listed on the website to fit with any couple’s needs.  We have also been able to be very flexible with the ceremony itself, and have very heavy involvement from the wedding guests, which the officiant can be there to witness for legal reasons and assist with their expertise.

The biggest hazard of having an outdoor wedding is how difficult it is to predict the weather.  I have had to reschedule a few weddings due to bad weather, mostly during the Spring and Autumn months when rain can come as a surprise.  The people I work with value their relationship with me and will often make themselves available to reschedule a wedding where possible.  Many of them do work more than one job, though, and will have other commitments, so this will not always be possible.  This would be true of any officiant or photographer that may have been booked privately by a couple.  With us, though, if a service provider cannot reschedule, then I am able to call on the many other contacts I have to quickly find someone else to replace them, which I have done a few times now, and this allows us to reschedule weddings in case of bad weather.

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Knowledge

Every couple has different needs, but I have a process that broadly guides me in how I plan each wedding.  Whenever something new comes up that I haven’t known before then that might get added in to the process.  This is to make sure that everyone is very clear on what is expected of each other before we sign the contract, and then to guide the couple through a logical and easy route of planning their wedding, starting with the bigger issues and moving on to the smaller details as we get closer to the date.

I have been asked lots of questions about the paperwork required to get married.  I have been to City Hall to get my own marriage license.  I have also been to City Hall to pick up my own short license, long license and Apostille, and I have also picked up the same paperwork for other couples.  I know the process.  I can answer all questions relating to getting this paperwork, but I can not tell you what your country requires for you to be legally married.  This differs from country to country.  Different couples will have different needs and I keep getting feedback from couples about other City Halls besides Manhattan, how to find a public notary, what to do if you are struggling to get the license 24 hours before the ceremony, and various other things, so in many cases I can help with any issues that crop up.

Wed in Central Park has applied for almost two hundred event permits for weddings in Central Park.  I know the process and I have lots of experience in dealing with the staff at the Central Park Conservancy.  I can usually predict how long it will take to process any applications, and what a couple’s chances are of getting their first choice of date, time and location depending on how much notice they have left to get their permit.

I know the park, I used to live nearby and I got married there myself.  I have attended lots of weddings there and aided many couples getting married there, and got lots of feedback.  I can listen to a couple describe the kind of location in which they would like to have their wedding ceremony, in terms of its size, views, privacy, distance from other locations, shelter and amenities.  We can work together to choose the right locations in Central Park for their ceremony and for their photographs.

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Experience

I have been planning weddings for couples getting married in Central Park since 2012 when I started Wed in Central Park.  As I write this at the end of 2016 I have done around one hundred and eighty weddings.  I have got quite good at it, even if I do say so myself.  Most questions are easy for me to answer because most questions have been asked before by other couples.  I have been asked to recommend various service providers, such as florists and hair and makeup people and bakers and car companies.  I have a great working relationship with many of the people I recommend, and I do not recommend anyone that I do not get impressive feedback about.

I can talk about the intricacies of your wedding day plan for as long as you like.  How long will it take to get a cab from your hotel to the particular Central Park entrance that you’ll need to walk in from?  What route should you or your guests take through Central Park after the ceremony, either to get the best photos for you, or to take the easiest route to where those guests will be enjoying a cocktail while the couple have more photos taken?

My four years of planning weddings has helped me to develop a process that broadly guides me in how I plan each wedding.  I use this tried and tested process to guide the couples through their wedding planning in a structured and well-defined manner.  Couples tell me that this keeps them feeling organised, in control and relaxed in the run-up to their wedding.

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Have a look at the Wed in Central Park website, check out the reviews on Facebook and have a look through some of our beautiful photos of couples whose weddings we have been involved in.

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Ideas for Honeymoon Experiences in New York City

This guest post is written by Gemma Grange.  Many of the couples who get married in Central Park also stay in New York City for their honeymoon.  Gemma shares her suggestions of some great honeymoon experiences in New York.

Couples from all around the world head to New York for the wedding of a lifetime­… for few things can be quite as romantic as Central Park in the Spring time – think the picturesque Wagner Cove, with its bevy of couples falling in love all over again as they row beneath the gracefully arched bridge, Bow Bridge (one of the most photographed sites in Central Park), or the elegant Conservatory Gardens, with their imposing iron gates and verdant canopy. Of course, after your wedding ceremony, there is so much to do in the city that doesn’t sleep. The best thing about New York is that you can get discover a bevy of scenic spots, and return home with a wealth of memories of one of the most vibrant, exciting cities in the world. If you are planning on making New York your choice for a honeymoon as well as a wedding, consider indulging in these romantic experiences:

  • Take a night cruise and see Manhattan at its most brilliant: Enjoy a luxury dinner as you sail along the Hudson River, aboard a luxury yacht. The New York Lights City Dinner Cruise will delight connoisseurs with a four-course dinner (featuring delights such as filet mignon, wild salmon etc.), as you sail past some of the City’s most iconic monuments (including the impressive Statue of Liberty).
  • Take a romantic stroll through The Met Cloisters: These gorgeous gardens, ensconced in Fort Tryon Park, is the part of the Met Museum which is dedicated to medieval European gardens, as well as art and architecture. Tapestries, illuminated manuscripts and stained glass will fascinate you for hours. A must-see work in the Cloisters is the series of tapestries donated by John D. Rockefeller Jr. Known as The Hunt of the Unicorn, the tapestries are made of metallic thread, wool and silk and they are famed for their detailed depiction of medieval flowers.
  • Take a carriage ride: Romantic carriage rides have been featured in a host of Hollywood films, and they make for great photographic opportunities. Carriage rides can be enjoyed in Central Park as well as outside the Park, and they run from early in the morning until around midnight.
  • Skating in the Rockefeller Center: This skating rink is arguable one of the most famous in the world, once again because of the starring role it has played in many films. There are many other things to do after skating, since the Rockefeller Center is home to famous statues (such as Atlas and Prometheus), and of course, the imposing Christmas tree that lights up the city with its magic and mystery.
  • Experience an adrenalin rush at the Brooklyn Boulders rock climbing facility: Not all couples want to just hold hands and have a romantic picnic; for some couples, a honeymoon would be nothing without a little adventure! Head for Brooklyn Boulders if climbing is your thing – take part in everything from bouldering to auto-belay, top-roping and lead climbing, or take a fitness, capoeira, yoga or acroyoga class. The center is supervised and completely safe, though if you are worried about a possible injury, just make sure you are covered for any possible accidents. The center is built for beginners and advanced climbers alike, though, so this experience is really all about fun rather than fear.
  • Enjoy the view from the top of the Empire State Building: It is difficult to think of the Empire State without our minds conjuring up images of films like An Affair to Remember, in which the building plays such an important role in the relationship between the two main characters (played by Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant). The building itself is a beautiful exponent of architecture, but the view it offers makes it easy to fall in love with New York over and over again.

There are so many romantic things to do in New York that it would be impossible to come up with a definitive list of must-see sites. It all ultimately depends on your mood – how active or relaxed you wish to be, and on your idea of what romance involves. A simple walk through Central Park, or a quiet picnic can be all you need, for ultimately, where there is love, every place is filled with romance.

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Hayley and Mike’s Wedding in the Ladies’ Pavilion

Hayley and Mike got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in Central Park in 2012. I talked to them about it and their feelings about their decision to get married in Central Park four years after their wedding.

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Mike proposed to Hayley on her thirtieth birthday while they were on vacation in the Spanish city of Barcelona. The trip was a surprise gift for her birthday and the proposal was a surprise, too! They had discussed getting married beforehand, though, and they had agreed that they wanted to do something different from the traditional ceremony and getting married near their home. They had the idea about getting married in New York, and once they started looking at it in any detail they didn’t consider anything else, they knew this was the place for them. They had visited New York back in 2010 and had fallen in love with Central Park then, and it seemed like a fairy tale come true for them to get married in such an iconic venue.

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At first they were a bit worried that none of their friends and family would want to come with them. But, as many couples find, lots of people are very excited about a destination wedding, and pleased to have the excuse for a holiday. Thirteen guests fly over with them for the wedding, Hayley’s dad and step mum, her sister and brother in law, Mike’s brother and his partner, Hayley’s best friend and her husband and three family friends. Hayley sadly lost her mum to cancer many years ago. Mike’s parents couldn’t travel the distance, which is a common drawback of the destination wedding, unfortunately. They were missed at the wedding, but they were able to celebrate with them on their return.

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They had some general worries about how to organize the wedding from the UK, but luckily they had a wedding planner. It was not me! I had only recently started planning weddings in Central Park when they got married. Their wedding planner sorted out all the paperwork, expect the part that the couple are legally obliged to do; going to City Hall in person, together, to obtain their license, check out my blog for more information about that.

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They stayed in New York for a week in the Hotel Affinia in Midtown which they liked and said was in a good central location. All the guests stayed for a week, too, and the group had a great time. For many of their guests it was their first time in New York.

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Hayley and Mike’s wedding ceremony was conducted in the Ladies Pavilion. They had hired a guitarist to play for the guests before the bride arrived and again after the ceremony. I asked Hayley where her favorite photos were taken, she said that she could not pick a favorite place! They had photos taken in and around the Pavilion, and on Bow Bridge, on The Mall and at Bethesda Terrace, and lots of other lovely spots.

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Hayley wore a traditional wedding dress by Jenny Packham with a matching antique silver headband. Her flowers were a classic bunch of cream seasonal flowers and the bridesmaids carried two small posies purchased from a florist near to their hotel. The bridesmaids got their dresses from Coast in the UK. Hayley had not chosen a color scheme for the wedding, so when they went shopping for the bridesmaid dresses they were just able to choose what suited them, which I think is a lovely way of doing it.

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The ladies in the wedding party had their hair done professionally on the morning of the wedding. While they did that the gentlemen in the party had their breakfast out in Chelsea, picking up a copy of the New York Times on the way as a souvenir. Once the ceremony was complete the couple had some photographs taken with the guests, then they all left to go for drinks at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel near Columbus Circle, while the couple had longer taking more pictures in Central Park. After that they met them at the hotel bar for champagne. They had pre-booked the table and the hotel staff were aware that it was their wedding day, and were very accommodating, even bringing the group complimentary strawberries and chocolates. They had their dinner at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park. “This was lovely,” said Hayley, “we sat right beside the lake as the sun was setting. It was beautiful and a favourite moment of mine.” After their meal, as evening fell, they took a carriage ride to The Roosevelt Hotel where they had booked a table at their roof top bar, Mad46. “It was a lovely way to end our wedding day; drinking cocktails overlooking the city at night,” Hayley said.

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I asked Hayley if she had any regrets four years on, and whether she would change anything about her wedding now. “I would not change a single thing about my wedding in Central Park,” she said. “We talk about it all the time, even now. We cannot wait to return, maybe for our fifth anniversary next summer!”

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Thanks for sharing your story with us, Hayley and Mike, I wish you lots of luck for your future together, and I hope you do make it back next Summer! Thanks for sharing your photos with us, too. For more information on planning your own Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebook for photos and more inspiring stories.

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