Notes from a Central Park Wedding Ceremony Officiant

Between couples looking to downsize larger scale weddings, the rising popularity of destination weddings in New York, the desire for great wedding photos, and the folks who want a low-key wedding or vow renewal or commitment ceremony, getting (re) married in Central Park seems to be evolving as “the” choice.

I love Central Park, and I completely respect and understand why so many of my couples — and other couples — opt to marry somewhere among its 800+ acres. It is a beautiful, historic, and urban oasis.

But I have to warn all those considering it.  Unless you marry at 8 a.m. or in a more remote spot (i.e. around the Reservoir), you will face crowds.  Even on a weekday.

It is true that you may get lucky and marry with no crowds watching or snapping pictures on a Wednesday afternoon.  However, even a regular business day can prove a busy day: on a weekday afternoon in April, one of my eloping couples had to wait as another couple married in the site they wanted.

Lesson?  If you plan to marry on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, do get a $25 permit from the NYC Parks’ Department.  No, this will not ensure tourists or locals will not be hanging out in your spot. The permit does allow you to ask them to leave.  And the piece of paper ensures or should ensure that the Park has not booked any other ceremonies in your time slot for your desired location.

Having written the above, note that other spots throughout the city are very popular as well, especially the old Pebbles’ Beach (formerly known as the Brooklyn Bridge Park) and Pier 1.

Therefore, you may also want to consider one of NYC fabulous other parks — you can check out my list on the wedding venues’ page of  this site.

Why I am writing this entry?  Yesterday, while in the park for only a few hours to officiate at wedding ceremonies in the Cop Cot and then Ladies Pavilion, I saw six couples tying the knot and navigating crowds.  Here is the kicker: two had the same dress. 

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