When comes to wedding locations that are iconically New York, Central Park ranks at the top of the list. However, Central Park is actually huge — 843 acres, to be exact. So if you’re planning a small Central Park wedding or elopement, where’s the best location? Here’s some of my personal favorites that are both beautiful and perfectly sized for an intimate wedding.
(Note: for weddings over 20 people, you will need a Special Events permit, which costs $25 and takes 30 days to process. However, regardless if you have 20 people, for popular locations I would recommend applying for a permit.)
5 Small Central Park Wedding Locations
1. Ladies’ Pavilion
Maximum: 25 people
Ladies’ Pavilion is one of Central Park’s most popular wedding locations, and it’s no wonder why. The gothic-style iron gazebo is small and romantic, surrounded by trees. It’s also near the lake for a great post-ceremony photo location. Note that Ladies’ Pavilion is quite small, so you can comfortably fit maybe 8 people inside the gazebo, and the overflow can stand outside the structure. As this is a sought-after location, I would recommend getting a permit, regardless of how many guests you have.
2. Cop Cot
Maximum: 50 people
Cop Cot is a beautiful shaded wooden pergola that can hold more guests than most, with both benches and standing room. The structure is close to the Central Park South and 6th Avenue park entrance, but since it’s perched on top of a hill, you can’t hear the street traffic. Note that there are benches and grassy areas nearby where you may have loiterers, and also note that the shade on this structure depends on the trees covering the top. For this reason, I would recommend Cop Cot for weddings in late spring through summer, especially if you’re planning a midday wedding when the sun is strong.
3. The Mall
Maximum: 25 people
The Mall itself is the main artery through Central park, where you’ve likely seen large, leafy elm trees on both sides forming a gorgeous green archway. However, there’s also a lot of vendors, performers and pedestrians on The Mall. That’s why I recommend going to the area adjacent to The Mall, between The Mall and Naumburg Bandshell. This area has the same leafy green aesthetic, but with less foot traffic — perfect for a romantic ceremony.
4. Wagner Cove
Maximum: 20 people
If you’re looking for something a little more private, Wagner Cove is a small wooden shelter on the Lake. It’s located in a less-trafficked area, making it ideal for private ceremonies. However, the shelter itself is small (only six or so people can comfortably fit inside without crowding), so any additional guests would need to stand outside the structure.
5. Gapstow Bridge
Maximum: 35 people
Located near the southeast corner of Central Park, Gapstow Bridge sits at the head of a quiet, grassy area. The views of the bridge, quiet river and skyscrapers in the distance make this a great spot for a small Central Park wedding. Bonus: while Gapstow Bridge sees its fair share of visitors, this little nook isn’t a formal “destination,” so you can enjoy some added privacy for your ceremony.