Destination weddings are something that almost every planner wants to get involved in. I’ve been doing more and more destination weddings and absolutely love them. Destination weddings don’t have to be to a warm tropical island. They can be in the town that you grew up in, went to college, or simply love. Recently, I’ve gotten requests from brides to have their weddings in various U.S. cities and today I have Claire from Central Park Weddings guest blogging to show us various ways to have a wedding in Central Park, New York.
I have been planning weddings in Central Park for five years now. My clients come from all over the world; mostly from the UK, Australia and of course the USA. Most of my American clients are from out of town, but I get quite a few New Yorkers who just don’t have the time to search for reliable and good quality people to be involved in their wedding. Some couples bring dozens of their friends and family for a large affair, some bring just a small group of their nearest and dearest, and some elope. I have some couples who are keeping to a strict budget, and some who are looking for a big, lavish event. I see quite a vast range of weddings, and I love that we are all different and all want our own unique wedding, and I love that I am able to provide whatever people desire for their wedding day. New York really does have something for everyone, and here are four weddings to give examples of the kind of wedding a couple can have in Central Park.
Nicola and Marc’s Wedding at Bethesda Terrace
Nicola and Marc brought thirty-seven of their friends and family over from Scotland to get married in Central Park. “We were thrilled so many people chose to come to our wedding and this made it even more special to spend this day with the people we love. Our guests loved our wedding as it unlike any or other wedding they had attended,” said Nicola.
Nicola and Marc stayed at The Ritz Carlton in Battery Park. They chose this hotel in Downtown Manhattan because it is quiet, and has beautiful views of the Statue of Liberty. Like many people, they had watched Chuck and Blair in the TV show Gossip Girl get married under Bethesda Terrace and they had been struck by the beautiful architecture. They agreed that this would be the perfect place for their own wedding. Following their ceremony in front of the arches at Bethesda Terrace, their photographer captured some group shots at the Terrace and Fountain. Afterwards, most of their guests left on a vintage school bus to the reception location while Nicola and Marc stayed in Central Park for more photographs.
The wedding reception was held on board World Yacht at Pier 81. This was a dinner cruise on the Hudson, viewing the landmarks of Manhattan lit up at night. Their guests were wowed by the statue of liberty as they stopped right in front of it, and it gave them some excellent photo opportunities. They said that they had a lovely meal and drinks on board, and the DJ kept the dance floor busy all night.
Danielle and Michael’s Wedding on Belvedere Castle Terrace
Danielle and Michael eloped from their home in Indiana to get married in Central Park. They discussed many wedding locations and style options before deciding on a wedding in Central Park. They talked about a backyard wedding, a courthouse and reception option, a hotel wedding, and various other options. At one point, they thought that they had planned their wedding in Indianapolis until they started considering their anniversary date. Mike is a chef, so his availability is minimal and getting the anniversary date right was important to the couple. “A wedding lasts a day. An anniversary comes every year,” said Danielle. The wedding they had planned would clash with many family events, holidays, and chef “blackout” dates in future years. They tried to find another date that would work for all their guests and they eventually realized that there was no way to make everyone happy, and the options that might have made their families and friends happy did not represent who they are as a couple.
In the end, they decided that finding somewhere for just the two of them to marry alone might be their best option to have both the ceremony date they needed, an authentic honeymoon, and ultimately a wedding that represented them.
Michael and Danielle arrived in New York the day before their wedding day, so they had to pick up their license from City Hall the morning of their wedding and have a judge sign a judicial waiver to allow them to marry on the same day as collecting the license, so they had coffee and breakfast while they waited for that to be done, then they popped over to one of the street vendors selling bouquets outside to couples who are getting married at City Hall.
Their wedding ceremony was at Belvedere Castle. We had arranged their officiant, photographer and videographer. Because it was just the two of them, it was very quick and easy to get around Central Park to take photos in lots of locations. That evening they ate at Le Bernadin, a restaurant with 3 Michelin stars. Michael is a chef so dining at a high quality restaurant was a top priority for the couple.
After they returned from their trip, they shared their video with their loved ones. “Because the videographer captured us arriving and in other candid moments, he was able to edit a truly beautiful retelling of that moment for us,” said Danielle. “Everyone had nothing but nice words to say about the video and the personal touches in the ceremony. After seeing it, I think more people felt involved and felt like we did it perfectly for us,” she said.
Atzin and Stevenson’s Wedding at Wagner Cove
Atzin and Stevenson live together in Manhattan, just a short walk from Central Park. They met in Mexico City ten years ago. Atzin is from Mexico, and Stevenson is from Texas. They got engaged at the Grand Canyon.
Many of Atzin's family speak only Spanish so we wrote a bilingual ceremony for the couple, with the officiant saying a line in English, followed by the same line in Spanish, so that everyone could follow the ceremony. There were some nice Mexican traditions woven in to the ceremony, too.
The couple got married in Wagner Cove, which is down some stone steps on the edge of the lake, a very popular spot for couples who want privacy. Atzin and Stevenson invited around twenty of their closest family and friends. The couple and the officiant stood in the wooden structure and the guests gathered around outside.
They had agreed that they would like a musician to play at their wedding, but had not wanted to go to the expense of booking one. We spotted a cellist playing on the corner at the 72nd Street and Central Park West entrance to the Park, so I asked him if he would like to come along and play at their wedding for a small fee, and as luck would have it, he was delighted.
After the photos were finished it was the cocktail hour, and time to go over to The Leopard at des Artistes, a restaurant close to Central Park on West 67th Street. Some guests walked over there, but some jumped in pedicabs, which was easy because they wait for passengers at Cherry Hill, at the top of the steps to Wagner Cove.
Caroline and Bryan’s Wedding at the Ladies’ Pavilion
Caroline and Bryan are from Harrow in London. Initially they had planned to get married in the UK, and had everything booked, but they said that family politics drove them to a change of heart. New York is their favorite place in the world so they changed their minds and decided that here would be their wedding location instead. In the end eighteen friends and family travelled to New York to be a part of their special day.
They got married in the Ladies’ Pavilion, a lovely art deco structure built in 1871. It is very close to Strawberry Fields, and it overlooks the lake, so couples marrying inside it will have the water, the trees, and the iconic Manhattan skyline in the background.
After their wedding they went to The View Lounge at The Marriot Marquis on Times Square, this restaurant revolves to give you a 360 degree view of the city. Then the entire wedding party went back to their hotel for drinks and wedding cupcakes, ordered specially from Magnolia Bakery.
There are many options for couples interested in getting married in Central Park. Often couples who choose a destination wedding or an elopement have considered the traditional wedding at home with a large group of guests, but have decided against it for various reasons. If choosing to wed in Central Park, Claire can guide you through the planning of a Central Park wedding if you feel that it might suit you for your special day.
If you're choosing to wed in another part of the U.S. or abroad, myself and my team at Enraptured Events will be delighted to assist. Happy planning!