Q: My fiancee and I are hoping to get married in a New York City park (Central, Prospect, we’re open…). How do we go about setting that up?
Great question! I frequently officiate park weddings and here’s how I tell my couples to navigate the process.
If you want to get married in a specific area, you’ll want a general permit, so that if people are hanging out in “your spot” you can (politely) kick them out! If you’re planning to have more than twenty guests, a permit is a must, not a choice.
If you want to get married in the popular Conservatory Garden in Central Park, it’s much more expensive, but of course, your spot is secured. A benefit to this spot is that it holds many more people and is more private, if that’s something you’re looking for.
For weddings in Prospect Park, you’ll need a permit for twenty-five or more guests.
Other things to consider:
-Hire a photographer. Mid-week ceremonies are great for booking a photographer that might otherwise have weekends booked up a year ahead.
-Have a back-up plan for rain (if you’re staying a hotel, they will often allow you to use a space).
-Make a post-ceremony celebration plan.
-Find a florist who will work with smaller events – not all do, but many will.
-Decide who will serve as your witness, if you’re having an elopement. Often people have their photographer serve as a witness; some even have a passerby, which is fun and memorable.
-For live music at the Gapstow Bridge, my couples usually tip the sax player who is often there – he even does some wedding marches!
-If you are traveling to New York City, make SURE to leave a day open to go to City Hall. Do not arrive on a Friday and expect to be married on Saturday unless you’ve allowed for a full 24 hours post-City Hall, pre-ceremony.
-A “day-of” coordinator (such as Tammy Golson) can really help the process for out-of-town elopements.
Enjoy your park wedding!xo, Carissa