Why a Central Park Wedding Might Be for You!
I’m Claire. I’m British, and I moved to New York with my boyfriend at the time in January 2011. I was looking for a change of career. After I got married in Central Park that July, I had the idea to start a business helping others to do the same. Since then I’ve planned over two hundred weddings for couples from all around the world. All marrying in this beautiful, iconic and world-famous park.
Why is Central Park a great wedding destination?
Have you seen it?!? It’s beautiful! It makes my job so very easy because who could be disappointed with Central Park? There are wide open green spaces, tucked away rustic structures, and bridges with stunning views of the skyline. Plus lovely restaurants, beautiful water features, private wrought iron structures, an array of wildlife, and striking classic stonework masonry.
There’s nowhere else like Central Park on earth, and that’s why it is so famous. And, as a bonus, it is in the center of one of the world’s greatest cities. New York truly has something for everyone.
Why do couples choose Central Park as a destination to wed?
Lots of couples from all over the world are choosing a destination wedding. There are so many reasons for this. Introverted couples prefer a smaller wedding with less fuss. They see the planning of a big, traditional wedding as a hassle that they don’t need. Extroverted couples see it as an opportunity to get a group of their nearest and dearest together for several days. It makes a much bigger celebration than one day would have been.
A destination wedding provides a beautiful and unique backdrop for wedding celebrations and photos for everyone. For British couples, New York isn’t too far away, and there are lots of flights over there. In many ways, it is easier than mainland Europe for a destination wedding because there is no language barrier. (Well, maybe a little one!) Also, it’s very easy to have a legally binding wedding in the US, unlike many European countries, which might have complicated laws and rules.
Do Central Park brides have bridesmaids?
Of course, eloping brides don’t have a bridesmaid at the wedding. A few of my brides who have eloped return home and have a reception with bridesmaids. Some of my couples elope, most bring a small group under a dozen of very close family and/or friends. Some bring a big group. Big for us is around 50-60. Often, they turn it into a several-day long celebration, and the newly-joined family really bonds during the trip.
I tend to see brides having one, two or three bridesmaids (sometimes including a maid of honor). Even if the wedding party is ten people, at least one tends to be a bridesmaid or maid of honor. Brides need their girls with them!
Tell us about the Bachelorette and Bachelor Parties.
Some brides have their bachelorette party before they leave home. Often the party will have some sort of US or New York theme to it. If the couple has a big enough group with them in New York, then they might split one night into groups. The men and women will then have their bachelor and bachelorette parties in New York City.
The lucky ones have one party at home and one in New York! Some couples have a small wedding in New York, and a reception with friends and family on their return home. So, there are a lot of opportunities for celebrations!
When bridesmaids are involved, what is their main role for the day?
95% of the time, one or both of the couple plan their wedding with me. On some occasions, the mother of the bride or a bridesmaid is given specific tasks. This might include discussions with me about certain aspects of the wedding. Often, the bridesmaid might help find a great place for a reception. Or for a ladies’ brunch on the morning of the wedding (another popular thing for my brides).
They do all the standard getting ready stuff, like help the bride into the dress and provide general moral support. When you get married in a public park, it’s pretty difficult to avoid leaves and dirt on the ground. The traditional bridesmaid duty of holding the train or the bottom of the dress is very important in Central Park.
Do you have an advice for those filling the bridesmaid role?
My main piece of advice is to do as you’re told. If you are asked to be a bridesmaid then be sure up front what will be required of you. Say the bride is asking you to fly to New York with them and be their right-hand girl for everything. You need a serious think about whether you want to do it, and of course, if you can afford it.
Ask frequently what you can do to help. It might not be immediately obvious and the bride may not want to keep asking for things. She’s your friend and you know her, so keep an eye out for when she might be stressed or overwhelmed. Keep in mind that this isn’t your day, it’s the couple’s day. You have to go with their flow and be the support the bride needs when she needs it. And enjoy it!
What is your best advice for someone wanting to elope?
I would suggest discussing things early on with your close family and friends. They might have had expectations about your wedding day, and you’ll have to manage their feelings about that. Be sure of what you want, and your reasons for choosing this option, in case you need to defend your choices. You must be in agreement as a couple before you talk to anyone else. Several of my clients have told me that they planned to elope and then when they told their family they wanted to come along too. So be ready for that!
What do you think of having a Central Park wedding? Share with us in the comments.