You’d think that after living in NYC for so long, I’d be sick of photographing the same classic locations, right? Not a chance. New York has some of the most incredible architecture and natural views that are just begging for wedding portraits or small ceremony. Here, five of the best iconic New York wedding locations that boast a postcard-worthy view.
Bonus: almost all of them are free to visit and take portraits at (though it may require a permit and fee if you have a larger ceremony).
5 Iconic New York Wedding Locations With a View
1. Brooklyn Bridge
It doesn’t get more iconic that the towering pylons of the Brooklyn Bridge. You’ll need to enter either from the Manhattan or Brooklyn side, then walk about 10 minutes to get to the center pylons (brides, feel free to wear flats and pack your heels in your bag!). Note that the cable and suspension bridge is often riddled with foot and bicycle traffic, so I highly recommend going as early as possible (sunrise photos, anyone?) to get a clean, isolated look. An added plus: morning light is gentle and typically flattering, so plan ahead and get your coffee to go.
2. Central Park
There are so many places in Central Park that are well-known. Some personal favorites: Bethesda Terrace, Bow Bridge, The Mall, the Conservatory Garden, Ladies’ Pavilion, Cop Cot… there really are numerous locations to suit every party size, not to mention desire for privacy.
Cost: Free (requires a permit if you have over 20 guests in certain locations)
3. Grand Central
If you’re seeking more the hustle and bustle of New York, Grand Central is it. Still a fully functional (and very trafficked!) train station, Grand Central is an elegant indoor wedding lcoation that features classic architecture and old school-looking ticket booths. If you don’t mind a little bit of attention from strangers, this is a great place that I highly recommend (especially if the weather outside isn’t cooperating!).
Cost: Free (note: you can shoot portraits here, but cannot have a ceremony)
4. Brooklyn Bridge Park
Craving a view of the Manhattan skyline? Head to Brooklyn Bridge Park, where you’ll have a front row seat to the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and Midtown skyscrapers towering over the East River. There are numerous spots along the park where you can take portraits, or have an impromptu, guerrilla-style ceremony.
Pro tip: since the park is completely out in the open, I’d recommend avoiding high noon for taking portraits or having your ceremony. The reason for this is because at high noon on a bright and sunny day, the light will be shining directly downward, creating harsh shadows on your faces. Shifting your timing either a little before or after noon will then add directionality to the light, meaning you might be able to find shade from a building or tree, or at least then your faces will be more evenly lit.
Cost: Free (requires a permit if you have over 20 guests)
5. Top of the Rock
Few places besides Top of the Rock allows for the vantage point of looking out into the expanse of New York City. Pick any spot by the glass walls and the view is always superb. If you’re planning to get married here, I’d recommend going right when they open at 8am, and also consider purchasing the VIP tickets, which allow you to skip the queue. Going early in the morning means you can avoid the crowd, which allows you some privacy to say your vows (not to mention get photos without unfamiliar faces obstructing the view).