Central Park New York – Same Sex Weddings by Wed In Central Park (New York Wedding Officiants)
I am fortunate enough to have an awesome job. I plan weddings for couples who want to get married in New York’s Central Park. I am British, and used to live in Manhattan. I got married in 2011 in Central Park and I did quite a lot research and met lots of great people while planning the wedding. I was looking to start my own business at the time and it occurred to me that I could use what I had learned to help others get married in this beautiful place.
I started the business in 2012 and I have planned an increasing number of weddings each year since then. I estimate around 12% of my clients have been same-sex couples. An internet search told me that around 11% of marriages in New York City are same sex marriages, so my client base seems to reflect the norm for this area. I get a good mix of eloping couples and small groups of between five and twenty people, with a few groups of fifty or more people.
Many couples like the idea of an elopement because it brings the focus on them as a couple. They can plan their wedding solely for them and their own needs, they do not need to think of what guests might want, and many find that a fitting way to begin married life. I have planned larger weddings for couples who are bringing lots of friends and family with them to New York to help them celebrate. Many of them have said that the traditional big wedding at home did not seem right to them, or that the expense of such an event just did not feel worth it. They preferred to spend the same amount of money and have a vacation with their loved ones instead! Also, in an increasing number of cases these days, each person in the couple might be from two different countries, and even live in a third country, so a destination wedding in New York is a great way to get two families together from different sides of the globe.
Each wedding I work on is unique, so I wanted to tell the stories of some of my recent couples, and their reasons for choosing to get married in Central Park, and what their experiences were like.
Rivka and Dani
Rivka and Dani brought their family and friends from pretty much all over the world to get married at in Central Park in August 2016. Rivka is from New Zealand and Dani is from England. They met when Dani was backpacking through New Zealand. They had been living together in Sydney for five years before their wedding. Same-sex marriages are not legally recognized yet in their home of Australia, but Rivka and Dani wanted to formalize their commitment knowing that they wanted to share all parts of their lives with each other.
New York seemed like the obvious choice for a couple with family as spread out as theirs. It is one of Rivka and Dani’s favourite cities and it is accessible for many of their friends and family who they wanted to attend their wedding. I find that this is quite a common reason for couples who are from two distant places; a destination wedding in New York is neutral and feels fair to everyone. They had forty-seven guests, which is a big wedding by my standards. “For many of our guests, especially those from New Zealand, it was a great excuse to come to a city they had always wanted to see,” Rivka told me. “We had Dani’s family from the UK and some of my family from New Zealand, along with friends from the UK, Australia and France,” she said. They were quick to choose Central Park for their ceremony location “because it is so quintessentially New York as well as beautiful,” said Rivka “and as soon as we saw Cop Cot we knew we had found the place,” she added.
Rivka wore a Grecian inspired dress originally designed as a bridesmaid. Dani wore a suit that she had tailored on their last trip to Thailand. Rivka and her bridesmaid carried gerberas in their bouquets and we had spray roses and baby’s breath put into Rivka and the bridal party members’ hair. Their officiant and photographer were a same-sex couple who also come as an awesome wedding team.
Rhiannon and Danielle
Rhiannon and Danielle came from Scotland to New York with two of their friends to get married in Central Park in July 2016. The four friends were on vacation in the US on a road trip and Rhiannon and Danielle had decided to get married while they were away. The friends were Rhiannon’s best friend from school, Alan and his husband Calum. They were their only guests, their official witnesses, their best men, maids of honour, ring bearers, and the ceremony cameramen!
The couple know that they did not want a big wedding, they already had the New York vacation planned, so they thought maybe they could kill two birds with one stone. Rhiannon Googled “get married in New York” and my website for Wed in Central Park came up. They liked what I said on the website, it convinced them that Central Park would be a nice place to have a wedding. They got married in the Shakespeare Garden. There is a small wooden platform at the bottom of the garden that is great for small groups like this.
They certainly got lots of lovely photos all over Central Park. A benefit to having a small group, it is quicker to get around to all the great locations. I asked if they had any favourite photos in particular and Rhiannon said “it’s so hard to choose only a couple as they are all lovely. I especially like the ones with the skyscrapers in the background. The contrast between such an open, green space and the hustle and bustle of one of the biggest cities in the world is spectacular.”
After the wedding and the photos the group went for a beer with the officiant and photographer. “It was a wonderful way to finish up such a lovely experience,” said Rhiannon. “They were absolutely delightful, and really put us at ease throughout the day.” Then after they had Skyped family and friends to tell them that they were officially married and got changed out of their wedding gear, they went to the Top of the Rock for some breathtaking views of the city and their wedding location of Central Park.
Jamie and Paul
Jamie and Paul came over to New York from England to get married in the Ladies’ Pavilion in June 2016. They met through friends exactly ten years to the day before they got married. They got engaged on New Years’ Eve 2015. Jamie surprised Paul with a video illustrating their lives together up to that point, with Lionel Richie’s song Stuck On You playing in the background. The last frame was Jamie holding a board asking Paul to marry him. “After being together for a number of years it felt like marriage was the natural step,” Jamie told me. The couple initially planned a ceremony at home in the UK. As they went through the planning process, they quickly realised that we were planning the day for their guests, based around what they thought they would want and not really what Jamie and Paul wanted. So, they decided to elope. They love New York City, and Central Park in particular. They wanted a destination wedding, so that they could have a holiday at the same time, so this seemed perfect for them.
The ceremony was held in the Ladies’ Pavilion. They chose a beautiful poem by Steven Curtis Chapman, called I Will Be Here as their reading. Jamie’s aunt and uncle were their guests, and they loved the location. “It was a great day, very relaxed,” said Jamie. “We ate breakfast in Central Park, and then went for a boat ride in the sun on the Lake. Then we went for lunch at the Tavern on the Green.” Then they took a pedicab from there to the Ladies’ Pavilion for their wedding.
Mitchell and Brian
Mitchell and Brian brought their close friends and family over from Texas in June 2016 to get married in Central Park. They chose a lesser-known and very lovely location for their ceremony, the Dene Summer House. They got engaged in August the previous year. The couple were taking a walk when Brian popped the question. “I immediately started worrying about logistics; where would we get married, who would we invite, when would we do it, etc,” said Mitchell. Brian had to interrupt him to say “you have to say yes before we can start planning!” Of course Mitchell said yes.
“We never really thought much about marriage for the first fifteen years of our relationship,” said Mitchell. This is because same-sex marriages were not legally recognised in the State of Texas during that part of their relationship. However, once the Supreme Court ruled in favour of marriage equality, they knew that they were ready and excited to make this pledge to each other publicly.
They really struggled to agree on a suitable location for their wedding at first. Brian’s family are in Texas and Oklahoma and Mitchell’s family are in Nebraska, so to begin with they were looking for somewhere in the mid-west of the US and had almost settled on Wichita, Kansas. It seemed like it would be a fitting place since it is central to both their families and it is also where they first met. However, once they began discussing plans with other people it seemed the marriage was quickly going to get out of their control. I hear this many times from couples who just want to escape having too much fuss and choose New York almost as a neutral territory. They already had a trip planned for DC and New York City for Brian to attend a conference in DC and he suggested that they just get married in New York while they were there, and it felt like the right thing for them.
Mitchell and Brian visit New York at least once a year and every time they are in the city they visit Central Park. “It is such a beautiful oasis in the middle of the city that we both love,” said Mitchell. “The location that we chose, the Dene Summer House, we had found by accident several years ago after being trapped under a bridge nearby waiting for the rain to pass,” he said. I am glad that they did find it, because it is a lovely spot.
Laura and Louise
Laura and Louise brought their family and friends from England to New York in August 2015 to get married in the Ladies Pavilion in Central Park. Their wedding date was special to them because it marks twelve years since they first got together. After they got engaged they briefly considered other unique wedding venues, such as woodland centres, and an old factory, but all places in England because they wanted to include all their family and friends. They were sure that they did not want anything conventional, and in the end they decided that their local options did not have the magic that Central Park held for them. They also found that Central Park was not a particularly expensive option compared to the venues at home.
We provided their officiant, and their photographer was one of their guests. They said that their favourite pictures were taken at the Ladies’ Pavilion, where their ceremony was. After the ceremony they all travelled in pedicabs to Bow Bridge and Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, and had more pictures taken there. They loved these locations, too, “they are just so iconic,” said Laura, “people all over the world could see pictures of those places and know that they were Central Park.”
Laura wore a dress by Jenny Packham with Irregular Choice shoes. Louise wore a Vivienne Westwood shirt and tailored trousers. They decided not to carry bouquets or flowers and they did their own hair and makeup, or had a guest help them. Their guests were Laura’s Mum, Dad, brother and cousin, maid of honour and her boyfriend, and one friend from university who happened to be in America at the time.
Laura told me that the people of New York helped to make Laura and Louise’s wedding day special. “One of the best things about the day was how amazing the people were who happened to stumble upon our ceremony, and then afterwards as we took a stroll back through Central Park to our hotel. People were so complimentary, with so many people saying “Congratulations”, comments on our outfits, and people stopping to talk to us about the ceremony and our plans for the rest of the day. It made us feel really special,” said Laura.
There are so many choices available to couples getting married in Central Park. They can choose a quiet or a public location; something rustic and natural or something wrought iron and art deco in style. They can have a big, lavish affair with many guests, or they can have a quiet elopement, with just the one legal witness required to get married. Some break with tradition and see each other before the wedding, to go for brunch, or do something touristy, and some keep all their celebrations for after the wedding. There is an endless choice of bars, restaurants and hotels in New York to suit every taste, and plenty of options that can suit most budgets. I often keep in touch with the couples whose weddings I have planned and nobody ever regrets the decision to get married in such a beautiful place in this incredible city.
For more information on planning your own New York Central Park Same Sex Wedding: view our website: www.wedincentralpark.com, read our blog: http://wedincentralpark.wordpress.com/, like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/CentralParkWedding or follow us on Twitter: @CentralParkWed, or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/centralparkweddingclaire/
Wed in Central Park, 401 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10010, Phone: 646-679-1978