How Do I Start Planning a Central Park Wedding, or any Destination Wedding?

by Michelle

Central Park, New York is such a fabulous and iconic location for your wedding and regular readers will no doubt remember an earlier post we published by blog buddy Claire regarding her successful wedding planning business Wed in central Park.

Image Source: Andy Mars Photography

Planning a Central Park wedding, or any destination wedding for that matter, is exciting, but where do you start? What kind of wedding are you planning and what are the practicalities? Well, don’t worry as Claire is back on the blog and has written this great piece for us packed with wise advice and really useful and interesting tips on planning a Central Park, or indeed any destination wedding.

So before you pack those suitcases,  we’ll hand you over to Claire.

Claire writes:

“I have run a wedding planning business, helping couples who want to get married in New York’s Central Park.  I have planned around two hundred weddings to date.  When couples make first contact with me, some might know exactly what kind of wedding they want, with a really clear vision, and some might be in the very first stages of considering a destination wedding.


Image Source: Andy Mars Photography

Many couples contact me looking for advice on where to start.  Here is a brief overview of what I would suggest a couple ask themselves if they were in the early stages of considering a destination wedding.  Whether you think a Central Park wedding would suit you, or you are interested in marrying in another great city, or you are considering getting married on a beach, or somewhere else outdoors I hope this will be of use, and get you thinking.

Planning a Central Park Wedding

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 to celebrate their special day. The weddings I have worked on have ranged in size from just two or three guests up to around fifty.

The part of the trip that I plan is the wedding ceremony in Central Park. I do not book travel arrangements, hotels or restaurants.  I’m not allowed, since this falls under the categorisation of travel agency, which requires certain insurance that I don’t have.

Also, I don’t want to get involved with that side of the trip, everyone has vastly different budgets and needs and tastes and New York City is huge, so I think individuals should handle that themselves.

Key Questions To Consider

If I were advising a couple who are not New Yorkers who had recently started to consider travelling to get married in Central Park 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 City (or the wedding destination)?
  • Who will we invite? (or will we elope?)
  • When do we go? (and what will the flights cost?)
  • Where do we stay? (and what will it cost us?)

Before a couple can ask themselves the questions listed above, they should have some idea about where they want to get married.

Choosing Your Destination

Couples tend to have two main reasons for considering a destination wedding; either they have come to the conclusion that they do not want the big, traditional wedding at home and they are looking for other options, or they know they want to get married somewhere in particular and they have an exact location in mind.

If you fall into the first category, and your mind is open, you just know that you want to be somewhere other than at home; either to save money, to avoid the fuss and hassle of planning a big wedding, or just to make the day as unique and special to you as a couple as you can, then the world is your oyster!

Image Source: Andy Mars Photography

Tied up in this question will be the related issue of when you should go.  If you want a beach wedding in Europe, then you will not want to go during the winter months!  Couples should check the legalities around marrying in their country of choice.  Some will require couples to arrive a certain amount of time before their wedding, and language may be an issue for some countries.

The Cost

The answers to those four questions will help a couple get to the answer to the biggest question of all: what is this whole thing going to cost us?  Then they will have something to compare to the options they have if they stay at home to get married.

Your Central Park Wedding

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.

To answer those four key questions I referred to above, a couple will need to know at least a bit about New York City.  They will have to think about what else they will want to do while visiting, whether they will visit other parts of the US on their trip, and what else they want to do on their wedding day.

The Services Offered By My Company Wed in Central Park

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.

My wedding planning process tends to be to start with the big stuff and work through to the small stuff as we get closer to the date.  This is pretty much what I am suggesting above.

Image Source: Andy Mars

Start big; where do you want to be and who do you want to be there?  The rest will follow on from there.  Do a quick scope on what things will cost at the beginning and keep that in mind as you go through the planning process.

It is important to remember what you are doing as a couple; you are planning the first day of your married lives.  This will be the official and legal joining of the two of you as a couple.  It is an opportunity to celebrate your relationship and your union.  It is about you, and you should be making choices together that reflect you as a couple, keep that in mind at all times.  And try to relax and enjoy it!”

This is a guest post

Images courtesy of Wed in Central Park

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Claire Ady 28th July 2017 - 8:17 pm

Thanks so much for sharing! You picked some lovely photos of our weddings. It’s great to be a part of such a brilliant resource for wedding planning.

Michelle 28th July 2017 - 10:27 pm

Thanks Claire, so lovely to feature you again. Please come back soon to tell us more about weddings in Central Park.


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