I've helped many couples, both international and local, plan their Central Park wedding in NYC. If you're planning on getting married in Central Park, this is everything you need to know.
Which Central Park wedding locations are the best?
There’s so many different spots within the park, and I can absolutely make recommendations based on what you’re looking for. Want something with water or city views? Do you want something more private? Do you want it to be recognizably New York? How many people are you bringing? These are the some of the things I’d first consider.
A few to browse, based on your group size:
- Cop Cot (max. 50 ppl.): 60th St., close to Central Park South in the center of the park
- Ladies Pavilion (Gazebo, max. 20-25 ppl.): 77nd St. and West Drive
- Wagner Cove (Gazebo, max. 20-25 ppl.): 72nd St. west of Cherry Hill at the edge of the lake
- Cherry Hill (max. 100 ppl.): Off of the 72nd St. Transverse, just east of West Drive
- Harlem Meer (max. 100 ppl.): 110th St. and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd.
- Shakespeare Garden (max. 20-25 ppl.): 79th St. and West Drive
- Bethesda Terrace /Bethesda Fountain (25 ppl.): Off of 72nd St. Tranverse in the center of the park
- Cedar Hill (max. 50 ppl.): 79th St. and 5th Ave. on the east side of the park
- Great Hill (max. 100 ppl.): West 103rd St.
- Gapstow Bridge (max. 20-25 ppl.): 59th St. Pond, off of Central Park West and 5th Ave.
- Belvedere Plaza (max. 20-25 ppl.): No access to castle
- Bow Bridge (max. 20-25 ppl.)
How many people can we bring?
Typically Central Park wedding locations can hold up to 50 guests. The Conservatory Garden is the exception; that location can hold up to 100 guests for the ceremony.
What Central Park wedding packages do you provide?
All of my Central Park wedding packages include both photography and an NYC-licensed officiant performing a personalized ceremony at your location of choice. Additionally, all packages include a pre-wedding consultation, assistance with location and vendor selection, and edited hi-resolution images up to 8″x12″ delivered in an online gallery.
Central Park wedding packages start at $2,300. Custom-designed wedding albums and fine art prints are available a la carte.
Do we need a Central Park wedding permit?
For most of the park, weddings over 20 people will require a permit. The good news: permits are inexpensive ($25) and can be obtained online here (allow at least 30 days for processing). The one exception is the Conservatory Garden, which costs $400 for a permit, and an additional $100 photography fee (see here).
If your desired time slot is already taken, you can select a different location or timeframe. However, I recommend getting a permit for your wedding regardless of your party size in order to “reserve” the time slot at your desired locations. For popular locations, like Cop Cot or Ladies Pavilion, this is particularly recommended.
Are there restrictions? Can we bring chairs? Champagne? A violinist?
There are some restrictions on what you can and cannot bring or do:
- No set-up (includes tents/tables/chairs); chuppahs may be hand-carried in and out with prior permission
- No amplified sound (acoustic music is permitted)
- No vehicles or pedicab drop-off permitted
- No alcohol
- No flowers, balloons, or decorations
- No banners or signs affixed to Park property or trees; no staking into the ground
- The public must always have access to the park
- Cleanup is required; the venue should be in the same condition as it was before the event
Do we need to bring our marriage license?
Yes, definitely bring your marriage license with you; the officiant will complete the necessary paperwork after the ceremony.
In order to obtain a marriage license, you can apply either online or in person at one of the New York Marriage Bureau offices. Here’s the full step-by-step instructions on the procedure. It costs $35 (only by credit card, they do not accept cash), you both need some form of valid photo ID like a passport or driver’s license, and you must obtain the license at least 24 hours before getting married. Licenses are valid for 60 days. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you should confirm that NYC wedding licenses are valid in your country — a quick call to your consulate should clear this up.
The Manhattan Marriage Bureau Office is located at 141 Worth St. This is where you can apply for your license. Other boroughs have different locations.
It’s just the two of us. Can you act as our witness?
Absolutely, I’m happy to do so, and have acted as witnessed for many, many couples.
Do you work with licensed officiants?
Yes, all the officiants I work with are licensed in New York City. You will have an opportunity to chat with them so they can craft a completely personalized ceremony, and will file all necessary paperwork so your marriage is legal.
Can you recommend any hair and makeup artists? Florists? Acoustic musicians? Vintage taxi cabs?
Yes to all of the above, and more. I’ve worked with many talented local vendors and can make recommendations for everything you need.
Will you photograph our same-sex wedding?
Yes! New York has been legally wedding same-sex couples since 2011 when the Marriage Equality Act was passed. See here for more information on having a same-sex civil ceremony in New York City. I am more than happy to photograph any kind of couple getting married.