Well, it’s official – you’re getting married! Congratulations, you guys. Honestly, you’re about to embark on one of the best experiences of your life, and we’re so excited for you. If you’re reading this, then we guess you’re looking at places in NYC to tie the knot in a low-key way. When scouting for locations in New York to get married, planning a Central Park elopement is a great idea.
There’s so much scope and so many beautiful locations to choose from. So, we’ve put this post together to show you the best locations for a Central Park elopement. We hope it gives you plenty of inspiration for your special day! As experienced NYC elopement photographers, we’ve seen some stunning celebrations in this beautiful park. Rich with history, you couldn’t ask for a more iconic location to say your vows.
So, you’ve decided on Central Park to host your elopement. We bet you’ve picked it for its beautiful natural scenery, backed by that stunning New York architecture and incredible buildings. But there’s a lot more to the park than you might already know! Here are a few fun facts we’ve found to share with you about the park.
Central Park cost the country more to develop than it did to buy the entire state of Alaska! The state cost a cool $7.2 million, but the park, which was expected to be about a million, cost $7.39 million! We’d say it was well worth it, though, wouldn’t you?
The park was once covered in glaciers, which is where all those interesting rock formations come from. Just think, if you have a beautiful photograph of the two of you on those rocks on your wedding day, that’s a serious amount of history right under your feet. Ok, we’re putting our inner nerds away now!
Central Park has been the backdrop for so many movies. Beautiful romances like the original Romeo and Juliet – the first movie filmed there in 1908. Or there’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, When Harry Met Sally, and An Affair To Remember. Buuuuut, if action is more your thing, The Avengers, Spiderman 3 and The Incredible Hulk were also filmed there!
To have an elopement in NYC, you’ll need an officiant to perform the ceremony. That could be a friend or relative if you’d like. But if you’d prefer for them to sit back and enjoy the day, get a professional to do it. We have plenty of people we can recommend!
Like any other location in New York City, you’ll need to apply for a marriage license at least 24 hours before your wedding. You can find all the details about how to do that on the City Clerk website. Getting your license can be tricky, so check with your officiant on any tips and tricks they may have for a stress-free experience. Since NYC City Hall weddings aren’t happening in-person anymore, a spot like Brooklyn Bridge Park or Central Park is perfect for your elopement.
You’ll need at least one witness, although this won’t be a problem if you’re bringing guests along. If it’s just the two of you, grab a willing volunteer passing by. Or, of course, ask us – we’d be happy to do it for you if you choose not to bring any friends or family members.
You can get married pretty much anywhere in the park without a permit if there are going to be less than 20 people there. However, there are no guarantees that the space will be available, or you won’t get moved on to make room for someone who does have a permit. A permit is required to reserve the space and for New York City elopements and weddings with more than 20 people involved. We recommend getting one, to be safe, as it’ll guarantee the area is yours when you want it, and it’s not a huge spend at $25.
Ok, now you’ve got all the essential details, let’s talk about the best locations for a Central Park elopement! From Cop Cot to the Conservatory Gardens, your options are limitless in this gorgeous park. When it comes to elopement photography, we’ve put together some of the most beautiful spots – but that doesn’t even come close to the amount of choices you have! Let’s go through a few of our favorite spots for a Central Park elopement.
Tucked away in a tiny inlet on The Lake is the adorable Wagner Cove. A pretty, rustic shelter, we think it’s reminiscent of something you’d find in The Shire. It’s a secluded and private area, which is great if you don’t want to be overlooked by passing tourists and visitors as you exchange your vows.
Leading down to the cove, there’s a staircase, giving you the perfect grand entrance on your wedding day. We can picture it already! And, as far as photography goes, you can’t be more surrounded by nature than in this charming spot.
The shelter itself is tiny and will only fit a few people underneath it – like you two and your celebrant. The area is perfect for a smaller celebration of around 20-25 people, so this might not be the spot for you if you’re planning to invite a much bigger crowd.
It’s also worth noting that, other than the shelter, there isn’t any cover if it starts to rain, so if there’s any doubt, get your guests to bring their umbrellas!
When it comes to your elopement, we can’t think of a grander location in Central Park than Bethesda Terrace. It’s an excellent choice for exchanging your vows. It has that beauty and elegance of a church or a luxury hotel and, yet, you’ve got the space and freedom of the park a few steps away!
The Terrace is a popular choice for couples to get married in, though, so we’d recommend getting a permit if this is where you want to get wed.
It’s another smaller location, suitable for around 25 people, but remember, the foot traffic in this area is incredibly high. It’s a very popular spot with visitors to the city so, unless you’re getting married pretty early in the day, there’s a good chance you’ll have a large audience.
It is, however, the perfect choice for a wet weather kind of day, as it’s undercover.
Whether you choose to have your ceremony here or not, we’d always recommend stopping by for some photos here in your wedding attire. It really is such a beautiful place for some couple shots.
Located right in the middle of Central Park, Cherry Hill is a beautiful spot to consider getting married in. It overlooks the Bethesda Fountain & Terrace and Bow Bridge and is surrounded by beautiful foliage. In the springtime, the surrounding cherry blossom trees are in full bloom making this a glorious spot to celebrate your union. And in the Fall, well, those warm Fall colours are the perfect decor.
There’s a lot of space here, so if you’re planning a larger wedding, this would be an ideal choice. It’ll hold around 100 people.
Like many grassy areas of the park, though, it is uncovered, so do bear that in mind. And it’s also worth knowing that there’s no dedicated seating here. We’d recommend bringing along a few chairs if you have any guests who can’t stand for long periods.
You’ll get married on one of the grassy areas of the hill, overlooking The Lake. It is a busy spot, though, with a path nearby, so you may well end up with a lot more people watching you get married!
The beautiful curve of the Bow Bridge is an icon here in NYC. As the longest bridge in the park, it’s one of the most beautiful, too. Built-in the classic Greek style, it’s about as romantic as bridges can get!
Being one of the more popular spots to be visited, this isn’t the spot for a private wedding ceremony. The bridge gets a lot of foot traffic, so you’re guaranteed to have an audience as you exchange your vows, or even joggers running right past you both. You could have a weekday ceremony, though, and plan for earlier in the day if you want to reduce the number of people passing by.
Alternatively, take a look at one of the little areas near the bridge instead. It’ll be more private, and you’ll have the beauty of the bridge in the background of your photos.
As with many places in the park, there’s no shelter here, but Bethesda Terrace is a short walk away.
The Ladies Pavilion is a cast-iron structure that is super ornate and has a lovely vintage look about it. It overlooks The Lake and is set in amongst some pretty, cultivated gardens. There are plenty of photo opportunities for this popular Central Park wedding and elopement location.
It’s another small area, so it’s ideal for a smaller wedding, or just perfect for an elopement. And the pavilion itself makes a great shelter if the weather turns a little wet.
Again, it’s a popular spot, like many in the park, for visitors, so the potential for some extra guests witnessing your vows is high!
There is some seating here for those of you with less-abled guests, which would be enough for a few people, which is worth knowing.
After Bow Bridge, Gapstow Bridge is the next most popular bridge in the park. This stone bridge is well placed for views over The Pond and the southern end of the park. You’ll also see The Plaza Hotel from there!
Another busy spot, this bridge is much narrower than Bow Bridge. We’d recommend choosing a time of day where traffic flow will be lighter to avoid distractions during your ceremony.
The changing trees in this location make for a beautiful backdrop all year round. We especially love it for the beautiful colours here in the Fall.
Wherever you choose to hold your elopement, we hope you’ll consider talking to us about capturing it all for you! Do drop us a message, and let’s talk. We’d love to hear about your plans.
Hudson Valley wedding photographers capturing candid, authentic moments. Documenting elopements and wedding days in Westchester, the Catskills, and beyond. Available in Ulster County, Orange County, Dutchess County, and beyond. Wedding photographers based in Beacon, NY serving all throughout the Greater New York Area including Tarrytown, Hudson, Kingston, and more. Proudly serving LGBTQ+ couples.
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