Finding the right location for your wedding ceremony in Central Park
Claire from Wed in Central Park will be exhibiting at the Destination Wedding Show this October. She has been planning weddings for couples who want to get married in New York’s stunningly beautiful Central Park since 2012. It is a popular location for Brits to get married, because a wedding there is legally binding, and it’s so easy to get married there! Central Park covers 843 acres so there are lots of lovely spots to choose from when considering where in Central Park that you might get married.
Each location has a guest limit dictated by its size. Some are more private than others, some have amazing views, some have a roof or seating to make things more comfortable for your guests. Each location has pros and cons. Couples vary in what they want from a wedding ceremony location, and of course some will choose a location because they just like the way it looks!
The Ladies’ Pavilion is perhaps the most popular location for a wedding in Central Park. Perhaps because it has a roof to protect from the sun or rain and some seating, or perhaps it is because of the stunning view it has over the Lake. Weddings here will have the water in the background, framed by the trees all around, and then the skyscrapers of Manhattan behind the trees – a very iconic Central Park scene.
Cop Cot is a large rustic wooden structure at the south end of Central Park. It is popular for larger weddings because of its size. Because the walls and roof are not solid it keeps a strong feeling of being outdoors while keeping some privacy. It has plenty of benches, and in the summer it is covered in foliage.
Bethesda Terrace and Fountain are right in the middle of Central Park. The fountain is very well-known, with its iconic Angel of the Waters statues on top. Weddings can take place beside the fountain, on some grass nearby, overlooking the courtyard, or underneath the terrace. In the event of rain a large group can be sheltered underneath Bethesda Terrace.
Belvedere Castle is the highest point in Central Park, so it provides some stunning views of Central Park and the buildings surrounding it. The castle terrace has two covered areas so guests would be protected from some of the elements here!
Wagner Cove is a lovely, private spot for a wedding. It has a wooden structure, which often the couple and officiant stand in for the ceremony, and guests can stand around it. It is beside the Lake, with the wooden structure right on the water. You get to it by some stones steps, so may not be accessible to all, but that is why it is so private.
The Shakespeare Garden is a beautiful flower garden four acres in size. It is named after the great playwright because all the flowers in the garden are mentioned in his plays and poems. Because of this, the garden looks its best during spring and summer when the flowers are blooming. The garden has a wooden platform at the bottom, suitable for a small wedding, and a large stone curved bench at the top, which is suitable for a slightly larger group.
Bow Bridge might be the most famous spot in Central Park, known for its stunning view and role in many movies. It is not the most private area for a wedding ceremony, although many couples do not notice passers-by once they start to say their vows! A small group can get married right on the bridge, and enjoy that view of the rowboats out on the Lake with the trees and Manhattan skyline behind them.
The Conservatory Gardens are in the north end of Central Park, with their main entrance by 105th Street, through the striking Vanderbilt Gate. The gardens are divided in to three areas, each with a distinct style; Italian, French and English. It is a quiet setting for a wedding, because it’s further from the major sights of Central Park. This is a great location for a very large group.
Claire can obtain an event permit for you from the Central Park Conservancy for your wedding ceremony. She suggests to keep in mind that you will be able to take photos at many of the locations in Central Park, so when choosing your ceremony location, think in particular about where you want to say your vows to each other.
Claire will make a detailed plan of timings with you for the day, to ensure that all goes smoothly to plan. She will write your ceremony just for you, and arrange for a New York State registered officiant for your ceremony. The couple can collect a marriage license themselves from City Hall, and Claire and her team can deal with the rest to make your marriage legal! She can also book skilled people to play music at or photograph your wedding, to create and edited video or a live stream of the event so people back home can watch, as well as arrange hair and makeup and flowers for your wedding. Come and meet her at the Destination Wedding Show this October to start planning your own wedding in Central Park!