It’s not secret that I love a good wedding – these pages play host to weddings of all shapes and sizes, from boho to modern to traditional, and everything in between. But, as a Friends devotee I have always had a bit of a thing about New York. And more specifically Central Park.
Particularly after I saw an episode of Don’t Tell the Bride with a Central Park wedding. Stick with me here, the groom did good on this occasion.
So when I had an email from Claire asking if I would be interested in a guest post, I jumped at the chance to get her thoughts on planning a Central Park wedding. So here is the lovely Claire, from Central Park Weddings, with her account of her own Big Day in the Big Apple.
Everyone has seen New York City a million times in film and on TV, and some lucky ones have visited the city for themselves. Many visitors spend their time looking up at the iconic skyscrapers, feeling as if they are in a movie themselves. Those who have visited New York know that it never, ever stops. There is so much to see and do there and there is a huge choice of restaurants, bars and clubs. The city is an incredible place for a celebration.
Increasingly, engaged couples are trying to find new and interesting wedding venues. They want their wedding day to stand out, not just in their own memories, but in their guests’ memories, too. They want fabulous photographs, and a celebration somewhere different and unusual. A wedding in Manhattan’s beautiful and photogenic Central Park can fulfil all these desires, and more.
In the current economic climate, many people just don’t have the cash to throw a big party in an expensive venue, if you’re thinking of keeping your costs down, where better than outdoors? The small permit fee goes straight to the Central Park Conservancy, a charity in charge of running the park. Some people choose to “elope” to get married, just the two of them, and prefer to spend their money on their homes or their children. In some cases couples elope to avoid divorced and remarried parents of their own, making what should be a special day, just an emotionally complex one. Of course, getting married in Central Park doesn’t mean you have to elope, but permits are not allowed for more than 100 people, and often weddings in the park tend to be a smaller affair.
As a British woman living in New York City, I spent some time volunteering as a Greensward Guide in Central Park, and came to know the park very well. Me and my husband got married there in July 2011. Central Park is a very liberating location to have a wedding. There is no pressure to conform to a traditional wedding format and the couple can be free to get married in whatever way they choose, and have a completely personalized ceremony. Our guest of honor was our beagle puppy, Rufus!
I had thoroughly investigated the New York officiants available. We had a non-religious ceremony performed by Raquel who had performed a wedding ceremony for a friend in Shakespeare Garden in Central Park a few years ago, and they had recommended her. Raquel is multi-faith ordained, and speaks Spanish as well as English, so can perform many types of ceremonies, and has done, in the past ten years of marrying couples in New York. One of our wedding guests worked in the arts so knew a few local photographers, and I met with a couple before choosing to work with Ande, who has lived and worked in New York for over twenty years, as a wedding and event photographer. Ande’s partner is a videographer, so she was able to make a video of the wedding, to show to all of our family and friends back home.
The bride and groom must both go in person, with photo ID, to City Hall in downtown Manhattan at least 24 hours before their wedding ceremony, to get their marriage license.
It took up quite some time to find out the legal paperwork required to get married in New York, and to find all the right people to make the wedding go smoothly. We spent some time walking Rufus around the park, considering which location would work best for the ceremony we wanted.
After my wedding, I was in the lucky position of having the connections in New York and knowing the park so very well, so I decided to launch Wed in Central Park which offers customisable wedding packages. There is quite a large choice of locations in Central Park that would be fabulous for a wedding. Some couples prefer quieter, more private areas, some prefer to be an iconic location, with the Manhattan skyline in the background. The bigger the party, the more limited you are with choices of location, but there ought to be something for everyone in Central Park.
New York is a incredibly busy and exciting city, and Central Park is the beautiful, serene spot of nature within it, why not choose Central Park for your wedding location and combine a tranquil ceremony with an incredible celebration in the city?
Doesn’t it look like a beautiful day! So if you are thinking of a wedding in New York I would definitely recommend that you contact Claire from Central Park Weddings. And then come back here and tell us all about it….
Love, Aphrodite x