Destination Wedding: Central Park, New York

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Yes, you DID read the title correctly, today we are marvelling at the fact you can get married right in the middle of Central Park in New York city! If you have never visited the Big Apple, put it on your To-Do list right now! I have never came across anyone who came home from this unbelievably, amazing city disappointed!

If tying the knot in the city that never sleeps sounds like the dream to you, read on!

Karl Fay lake



We have spoken to Claire Ady from Central Park Weddings about the do’s and don’ts of getting wed in this magical city! As a bride who got married in Central Park, her knowledge of the area, laws and customs is invaluable!


What are the legal requirements for getting married in Central Park, New York?

All couples can marry in New York, same sex weddings were legally recognised as of 2011. Your marriage will be legally recognised all over the world. Same sex weddings will only be recognised in your home country if the law of that country recognises them.


Are ceremonies in NY all religious or can couples have a civil ceremony/civil partnership?

With the weddings I plan, almost all of them tend to be civil ceremonies, although I do work with a fully ordained minister, so we can accommodate religious ceremonies, but we are rarely asked to do them. Because I write the vows with the couple, we can have as much or as little religion in the ceremonies as they like.


How long must a couple be in NY for before they can get married?

The couple must apply for their marriage license in person, together from City Hall. Once they have this license they must wait at least 24 hours before their ceremony.

wagner cove winter

Is there a busy season?

Spring and Autumn or Fall tend to be busiest. Winter is very very cold in New York, and snow will be on the ground for up to three months. July and August are very hot and humid in New York, although Central Park is always the coolest spot in the city. There is a greater risk of storms during the high summer months. Central Park has many trees that blossom in Spring, and flowers gardens that look particularly nice at this time of year. In the Fall, the leaves on the trees turn a beautiful shade of orange, so couples can get some lovely photos.


As a company how much of their wedding can you plan? Are couples advised to book their flights, hotel and dates before approaching you to help with the finer details?

What tends to happen is that couples are looking at flights and so on as they contact me. They will then ask if I can accommodate their date, and usually I can.  I now work with several officiants and photographers in New York, and have many other contacts in florists, video, catering, musicians, and various other services that people ask for. I do not get involved with booking hotels or reception venues. I can offer very little advice on hotels, unless a couple I have worked with previously has stayed there. I can offer quite a lot of advice on restaurants, but that is as far as things go.  I am by no means an expert on the vast choice of eateries in New York City.

Phil Alice tree


How much of the wedding can you plan? 

Once I have discussed the best location for the ceremony with a couple and when I have their deposit, I go ahead and apply for their event permit from the City Parks’ Organisation. I will also secure their date with an officiant, and start to discuss their vows with them, and help them to personalise them. If the couple want me to provide a photographer, and they usually do, then I can do that, and also a videographer to record the ceremony. I work with a talented and trusted florist, and often provide flowers delivered to the bride’s hotel room. I have a hair and makeup duo that I work with regularly, who can come to the bride’s hotel room, or I can recommend salons in the area to keep costs down. In the past I have also arranged musicians, provided a catered picnic in the Park, booked transport and offered general advice about all sorts of things.

I am more than happy to offer advice and suggestions, but I tend not to make any reservations for couples outside of their ceremony.  Some brides need more help than others and I often deal with many questions from brides, and I pride myself at being able to answer them all, but for that to be the case, I need to specialise on providing a service focussed on Central Park, which I know well.  New York is too big and busy a place for me to suggest that I can act as travel agent and arrange any other activities with any degree of certainty.


Do you ever meet the couple before they go to NY for their wedding?

The vast majority of my communication with couples is via email. At first, we will speak over the phone, or Skype, so that we can see each other. Many of my couples are from the UK or Australia, so it makes sense to have so much of our correspondence over email, otherwise we have to schedule conversations. Often, I find that I am dealing with the bride and she needs to take my suggestions back to the groom to think about and discuss, and emails suits that system very well.

Central Park wedding K&G 299

About Claire

I got married in Central Park myself in July 2011.  I realised that I had put a lot of time and effort in to finding good quality and reliable people to be involved with my wedding, and I lived in New York, and had a good network of friends there who were able to make recommendations. I decided that I could help visitors to the city have a stress-free destination wedding with the knowledge I have gathered. So I launched the business at Christmas that year.  I tend to have a wedding per week in busy periods, less so in the quieter months.


Have you any tips you would give to couples thinking of getting married in NY? 

I would suggest a nice but not too fancy hotel, the room doesn’t have to be amazing, you will hardly be in it anyway, because you’re in the city that never sleeps. The most important thing about the hotel is location; stay somewhere Central and close to a Subway stop.  See a show, walk as much as you can, half the fun of New York is spotting sights you saw in a movie, try lots of different food go to high-up bars and restaurants and enjoy the view, visit the Met, it’s incredible.  For newly weds, I would recommend having some pictures taken in Times Square and on Brooklyn Bridge if they have the time.



Do you have a favourite location in the Park that you would recommend?

If you want privacy, go for Wagner Cove. It is very close to the Park entrance at West 72nd Street, and close to all the major sights in the Park for great photos, but the tourists don’t know about it, so you will be left alone. If you are getting married in April or May, consider Cherry Hill, the trees there will be in blossom and you will have nature’s own confetti falling all around you. If you are getting married in July or August, consider the Shakespeare Garden, it’s lovely and shaded and all the roses will be out. My favourite location for a wedding is the Ladies’ Pavilion, though. It is an old steel structure that acts kind of like an altar and provides shelter from the sun if you need it. It is by the Lake and so the view is lovely, you have the rugged rocks, the water, the trees and the New York Skyline, all the iconic sights of Central Park in one spot.


Thanks Claire for your great answers! Now, if you will just excuse me for a minute, I’m away to book a flight to JFK!!

If you are an Irish couple tying the knot in New York, we’d love to hear from you!  


For more information visit Central Park Weddings.

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