Central Park, New York, what an iconic location for a wedding. If this is your dream wedding venue and if you’re wondering just how to go about planning your wedding in such a fabulous setting, then read on, as today, we’re delighted to be in conversation with Claire, a wedding planner who specialises in organising weddings in a number of attractive locations within Central Park.
Wed in Central Park is Claire’s business that’s dedicated to providing you with a completely personalised wedding planning service to guide you through everything you need to know and arrange, in order to turn your dream Central Park wedding into reality.
With so many locations within the Park to choose from, together with a full list of packages available, Claire’s Wed in Central Park’s site is packed with really useful info and ideas. Over to Claire now to tell you a little more about planning your dream Central Park wedding.
Tell us a little about yourself and your business
Since 2012 I have been running a small business planning weddings for couples who want to get married in New York’s Central Park. I have two children, aged three years old and eighteen months old, and I run the business around caring for my kids. It works really well because the hours are very flexible.
I offer a choice of wedding packages, from just the basics needed to quite a comprehensive set of services for a wedding ceremony in Central Park. I book the officiant, photographer, videographer, flowers, musician, and so on for the couples, and write their wedding ceremony for them. I have planned around one hundred and eighty weddings to date.
What motivated you to start your business?
I lived in Manhattan for a little while, and I got married in Central Park myself. I did some research on the legalities of a British couple marrying in New York, and I asked my New Yorker friends for suggestions on who could help with our wedding.
I had been looking for a career change and it struck me that perhaps I could start a business helping others do the same. I initially thought I would be working with British couples, but I have clients from all over the world, including the US and some New Yorkers.
Tell us a little more about the day to day activities of your business.
Every day is different for me. I do the vast majority of my communications by email. This is because I am in contact with people from various different time zones, all with different schedules. I will answer queries from clients, book services for them, take payments and make payments, and a huge part of my job; social media and online promotion.
If our readers were to order from you, what can they expect?
A very personal service. Each couple needs something different; they will come to me at different stages in their planning. Some are very clear on what they want, and some need more guidance. Some couples are eloping, some have a big group of friends and family with them. Some couples will spend a huge amount of money on their wedding day, and some will be looking to keep to a budget.
I love that New York is so diverse that it can meet the needs of all different sorts of people, and I try to give everyone the best service I can at the most reasonable price that I can.
How can couples judge if a company is the right fit for their wedding?
It sounds obvious but sometimes it’s hard to get to the point where you can visualise your wedding day as early on in the planning stages as the stage where you are searching for vendors. When you do that, think about how do you want it to feel, and how do you want things to be?
Ask the vendor lots of questions about the process they go through, and the previous weddings they have worked on. If the vendor you are talking to feels right then they probably are right for you.
What are your favourite moments from previous weddings you’ve been involved with?
There are so many favourite things to remember. I have witnessed so many lovely moments. I like it when someone surprises their partner. We have had the bride and groom write their own personal vows to each other and then the first the other person is hearing about it is in the ceremony, that brings on some tears!
One groom surprised his bride by booking a musician that they both loved to play at the ceremony. One bride surprised her groom by having our guitarist play his favourite song. One bride surprised her bride by buying a special ring that she had wanted, but did not expect to get. One couple surprised their guests with a butterfly release at the end of a ceremony. One husband surprised his wife with a vow renewal ceremony for her birthday.
We have also had some weddings feature in their local newspapers, including my own wedding in Central Park, and one of our weddings was filmed for a TV series about New York. My absolute favourite thing about my job, though, is when I am able to keep in touch with the couples whose weddings I have been involved with. This reminds me that I am involved in the first day of a marriage, and quite what a marriage means.
The bigger picture – does your business offer goods/services outside of the wedding world? Tell us more.
I just do weddings, and 99% of them are in Central Park. This allows me to specialise on that area and be knowledgable on that one niche subject. I have planned two weddings in other New York City public parks, but that is as far as I am willing to branch out.
What have you got planned for 2017?
As my children will turn two and four this year I think I will have a little more time to spend on this business. Last year I was focussed on planning weddings and little else about the business, but this year I will have more time to work harder on getting the word out about what I do. I have recently made huge improvements to my website, after a realisation that it really was not very mobile-friendly and I had allowed it to get a bit too wordy.
I will be adding to my blog with lots more information about marrying in Central Park that I have learned along the way. Most importantly I will be planning lots of lovely weddings for happy couples, and taking lots of bookings for 2018 and beyond.
And finally, what or who inspires you and why?
The person who inspired me to start my own business was Tim Ferriss, who wrote the book The Four Hour Work Week. He talks about efficiency, flexibility and the importance of being focussed on valuable output. Day to day, my inspiration comes from the awesome couples who allow me the honour of being involved in such a significant part of their lives.
All images courtesy of: Wed in Central Park