Eloping at NYC Museums (winter wedding ideas)

The temperature is now dipping below thirty degrees here in NYC.  In January, many days are likely to be in the teens, especially with the windshield factor.  February too is typically very cold.

I’ve put a bit of a moratorium of booking any weddings outside between January 2nd through February/early March.  In some cases, I will consider marrying a couple outside: if the temperature will be at least forty degrees with little wind and you want to move your ceremony outside with short-notice, this is fine by me.  Since I’ve been left waiting for an hour in the freezing cold due to lateness, though, I hesitate to book outdoor winter weddings.  All ink in every pen with me will freeze, my hands will freeze despite gloves, and vocal issues will arise as well if I’m in the cold more than an hour.

I’ve posted ideas for indoor wedding ceremony sites before. I’m going to add a few more notes on the subject today.

If you dream of having an intimate wedding in a museum, remember that dressing up in full, glamor is not conducive to a guerrilla style wedding in a museum.  The more casual and non-wedding your attire, the better your chances.  Secondly, the smaller the wedding, the better.  Elopements are ideal.  Thirdly, I would keep the ceremony to a standard ceremony no longer than five minutes that I can recite by memory; of course, couples are still free to exchange personal vows.  And, lastly, do pick a weekday, as weekends come with serious congestion.

Rumors indicate that American Indian Museum at Bowling Green, which is near the cool fort structure and Battery Gardens, looks the other way when couples come in for engagement photos.  The rotunda areas are lovely.  Other ideas include the NYC transit Museum, City Museum of New York (which does formal weddings), NYC Historical Society, and Museum of Sex, which is smaller.

A wedding at Grant Memorial (“Grant’s Tomb”) at Riverside Drive and 122nd Street may seem bizarre.  But it is very picturesque, and couples can easily have a very small wedding indoors or outdoors here.  Eloping couples may even want to cross Riverside, slip into a pew, and get married at the beautiful Riverside Church, which normally charges upwards of $1000 for space rentals.  Do remember that these places are not open on holidays and have rigid hours — 9AM-5PM.

Besides the obvious obstacle — worries about whether you’ll be kicked out — the second biggest issue is photography.  Any museum with art or older artifacts will not permit flash, and we will abide by this policy for ethical reasons.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Guggenheim, MoMA, Natural History Museum, and Cloister’s Museum (located in my favorite Manhattan park for weddings–Fort Tryon Park) are beautiful.  To this list, you could add some landmarks, such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  But no flash is permissable, except in the gathering entrance areas.  If you have a witness or two and no absolute desires for formal photography, though, these sites are certainly more interesting and feasible.

Or you can stick to the tried and true winter wedding sites — huge hotel lobby or private event’s room in a hotel, Grand Central Terminal (free), restaurant, private home, catering hall, chapel (expect to spend at least $350 for the space), and Top of the Rock (indoor/outdoor).  I’d also love to try the old Post Office building behind Penn Station, which is gorgeous, for an elopement.

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