Claire has been running her business, Wed in Central Park, since 2012. She lives in the UK now, but she used to live in New York, and she got married in Central Park while she was living there. She realised that other Brits might want to get married in this fabulous city, so she started the business. She says that it’s far simpler to get married in New York than people think, and she wants to tell our readers all about it.
I have been running my wedding planning business for a few years now, and I have planned around two hundred and fifty weddings now, mostly in Central Park. I’ve also planned weddings in other public parks in New York City, and some indoor locations. The majority of my clients are British. New York is just eight hours away by air, and many airlines offer some great deals on flights, so it’s a popular place for a destination wedding. New York truly has something for everyone, and it’s a great place to get married for couples who want to get married abroad but are seeking something other than a beach wedding.
A huge advantage that New York has as a wedding location over many European places, is that you can arrive one day, easily pick up a marriage license from City Hall with just your passports and $35 in payment, and then get married the next day! It’s that simple! Then City Hall will register your marriage and mail you your marriage certificate and it is legally binding at home in the UK.
Couples tend to have two main reasons for considering a destination wedding. One is that they have decided that they do not want the big, traditional wedding at home and they are looking for other options, usually to avoid stress. The other is that they know that they want to get married in New York – either they’ve been before and they love the city, or they’ve seen it on TV and they want to visit. Some of the couples I work with are visiting New York alone, and eloping for their wedding, some are bringing a group of friends and family with them from home to celebrate their special day, or sometimes they are getting a disparate group of loved ones together from all over the globe, and New York is a place in the middle. The weddings I have worked on have ranged in size from just two or three guests up to around fifty.
So, the wedding is easy-peasy! The complicated part is getting there! If I were advising a British couple starting to think about getting married in New York then I would suggest the travel and accommodation part would be the first area to think about. They should discuss the bigger questions;
- How long do we want to be in New York?
- Who will we invite? (or will we elope?)
- When do we go? (and what will the flights cost?)
- Where shall we stay? (and what will it cost us?)
The answers to those four questions will help a couple get to the answer to the burning question of money: what is this whole thing going to cost? Then they will have something to compare to the options they have if they stay at home to get married. It is possible to get married in Central Park on a fairly frugal budget, and of course it is very easy to have a big, lavish and expensive wedding; New York offers endless choices to all types of couples. Whether a couple intends to bring guests or not, I would recommend discussing plans with close family at this early stage, and they will inevitably ask about cost, too.
Once a couple has got the basic travel plans (and guest list) thought out, then I would suggest getting me or someone like me involved. I can sort out everything a couple needs to get married in Central Park, except for the marriage license, which a couple is legally required to get themselves from City Hall. I can tell a couple all they need to do to get this, though.
I can help a couple consider all the locations in Central Park and decide which spot suits them best for their wedding ceremony. I will apply for their event permit from the Central Park Conservancy and this will secure their date. I will work with the couple to write the ceremony wording for them and secure a suitable officiant, photographer, and anything else they may need for their wedding ceremony.
Many thanks to Claire at Wed In Central Park for this article.