The Officiants at Church of Ancient Ways

Central Park & Weddings in NYC

New York City’s Central Park Weddings are amazing, which is why it’s such a popular ‘destination wedding’ location. Central Park is a natural choice for native New Yorkers to wed, but it’s also a dream come true for romantic couples from from all over the world who wish to elope in this beautiful and romantic setting.

Are you interested in a Central Park Wedding Ceremony? Here’s everything you need to know!

The park has an almost endless number of locations from which to choose. If you have less than 20 people, no permit is needed. However, we strongly recommend getting one if you have a particular spot that you are in love with. Permits are only $25 and they give you the right to ask anyone who might be in your spot to move. This is particularly important if it rains, because everyone tends to seek shelter in the same spots… But only the folks with a permit get to stay.

Here’s a link where to get your: Central Park Permits

The only exception to the above is at the Conservatory Gardens, located at Fifth Ave. & 105th Street, where a permit is always needed. Click here for more info.

My favorite Central Park Weddings have been at Wagner’s Cove, I like the Upper West Side because it has some of the most recognizable and classic Central Park photo opportunities all clustered together. Enter at 72nd & Central Park West in front of the Dakota, where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived, and then walk through Strawberry Fields and see the Imagine mosaic. Next, you pass the Daniel Webster statue. This, in and of itself, isn’t all that WOW! But the inscription reads, “Liberty and Union, One and Inseparable, Now and Forever”, which I think is a lovely prelude to the promises you are off on your way to make. Then you go up the hill and bare left to where Cherry Hill Fountain is. This Fountain can be seen in the opening credits of “Friends”. It’s the one that they’re all splashing around in. The two buildings from “Ghost Busters” are clearly visible from there too, as is the skyline of the upper west side. Right in front of you is the lake, and to the right is Bow Bridge. Getting married on or in front of the bridge is also popular.

The next terrace over is Bethesda Terrace. Bethesda under the stairs is a great space. It features up lighting to illuminate the paintings down there and the acoustics are great. There are often musicians hanging around and would be happy to take a tip to play for you. This is also a great shelter in case of rain. The rest of the terrace features classic central park architecture, the stairs are ornately carved, and the Boathouse Restaurant has the best crab cakes I have ever had.

Belvedere Castle has several covered areas in front of it. Weddings are not permitted inside, but the castle makes an impressive backdrop for the photos! The Shakespeare Garden is right below the castle too; that’s another popular location with an abundance of flowers and herbs in the growing season, wooden benches, meandering paths and Middle Ages feel.

The Ladies Pavilion is at Hearnshead has many advantages, but also a couple of drawbacks. It is close to a park entrance so you’re not making older folks take a long walk and it has a roof and can hold 8 – 10 people if the weather is off. And of course, it is gorgeous! The only downside is that there is foot traffic and it can be a little noisy.

Cop Cot is a lovely Gazebo kind of structure with wisteria climbing, and spraying those purple flowers that hang like clusters of grapes all over it. Check for availability with renovations ongoing there this Spring.

Why do the last three paragraphs mention rain? As the queen of “Just In Case”, I believe in working Murphy’s Law to your advantage. A permit is only $25.00 and having a back up plan that includes shelter in case of rain ensures a beautiful clear day! Or at least it ends the stress of “what if”.

Picking up a horse drawn carriage at the Plaza Hotel (FAO Schwartz is across the street) is another option. The ceremony is performed right in the carriage during the twenty minute circle of the park and of course includes the line that “Marriage is a journey, not a destination.”

Weddings Around New York City

Central Park Weddings are great, yet for the real New York City, hustle and bustle feeling, is outside the park.

The Empire State Building – which no longer hosts weddings other than their Valentines Day Event.

Grand Central Station is loved by designers, architects and historians alike.

The Brooklyn Bridge – Yes there are places on the foot path that are out of the way enough to stand with your guests. Talk about a New York moment!

I have done weddings on the Circle Line as it passed the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island, with the New York City Skyline as a backdrop.

Check out The High Line elevated park and rail trail that runs from near Penn Station all the way to the old Meat Packing District.

Top of the Rock looks out onto the Empire State Building. It also has Rockefeller Plaza, and Radio City Music Hall right in front of the building.

Many of the city’s hotels also have amazing rooftop gardens that can host intimate weddings and dinner receptions. The suites in some of the hotels are perfect for smaller events that require an indoor option.

These suggestions barely scratch the surface. Go explore the park and city on your own! The perfect place will call to you.

If you are coming from out of town don’t forget to take a look at the Marriage License Page. Every state is different and NY has a 24 hour waiting period before a license can be signed. City hall also doesn’t take cash, so bring a money order.

Happy Planning!