HOW TO GET MARRIED IN CENTRAL PARK
New York City's iconic Central Park is a wonderful place to get married anytime of the year. There are many different locations in the park to have a ceremony and great options for hotels and restaurants nearby.
To Get Married in Central Park you Need:
- a license issued by the State of New York (can be NYC or another clerk's office)
- a New York City registered marriage officiant
- at least one witness
- a permit (depending on location and size of event)
- and a photographer, of course!
Get a NY Marriage License
During the pandemic: Online marriage licensing called Project Cupid officially opened on May 8th, 2020. At the moment, it is still only accepting applications for licenses. You have to fill out the form and schedule a virtual appointment with a clerk. The couple must be physically located in NY State at the time of the appointment. The system has been backed-up so register now for when they add appointments. You can get the license up to 60 days in advance of your wedding. Follow the NYC Clerk on Twitter for advance notice on appointment releases and more.
Or get a license outside of the city. I'm recommending locations where couples have been successful in getting licenses: Greenburgh, Oyster Bay, Albany, Yonkers, Babylon but check with other towns and verify requirements.
Normal times: At least 24 hours before the ceremony, you must visit a clerk's office in NY State like the New York City Marriage Bureau at 141 Worth Street to procure a license.
See the official site for more details.
Central Park Wedding Permits
It depends on the size of your wedding and location. There are many locations that don't require a permit (or can't be permitted) and if you have less than 20 people, you can show -up and marry. If you have more than 20 guests or want to reserve a specific location, I highly recommend getting a permit. Permits are $25 and can be bought via the park's website with 30 days notice. You can have acoustic but no amplified music with that permit. For more information on locations and fees, see this page.
Where to Have a Central Park ceremony and When?
Some of the most popular locations require a permit to ensure your time won't conflict with another couple. The Ladies Pavilion, The Cop Cot, Wagner Cove, and Shakespeare's Garden are location I'd always recommend getting one. See my ceremony locations guide for the top locations and suggestions on permits.
In terms of picking a date, the park is lovely and different in every season!
However, there is one time of the year I suggest avoiding planning a wedding if you want photos around the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace. The Friends of the Central Park Conservancy typically host an event, The Taste of Summer, in early June. (They do it every year around the first week in June on a weekday) The terrace will be unaccessible the day of, two days before and after the event. If the terrace area isn't important to you, there are plenty of other areas in the park to marry and take portraits.
The Conservatory Garden is another option for a Central Park Wedding. Ceremonies there cost $500, including the photography fee. It is a nice option for the Spring when the flowers are in bloom, but I'm not sure the cost justifies it otherwise. However, it is more private and more quiet than the other locations but it is also far from the most popular areas of the park I tend to shoot in.
Dene Summer Home
What About The Weather?
For inclement weather, the Bethesda Terrace is a great location and I also like the Ladies Pavilion since it is also covered just in case. I have to say, no matter the weather or time of year, Central Park is a beautiful location for an elopement or intimate wedding. I actually love the park in a light rain and I have a clear golf umbrella I bring to weddings where that is needed. In the winter, we can take a break at the coffee shop in the park or visit the gift shop to cool off in summer.
Where to Take Wedding Photos in Central Park?
As for locations, there are so many to choose from! After you select your ceremony location and let me know if you have any plans after and any location preferences, I will make a timeline. We almost always visit the Bethesda Terrace Fountain area and The Mall, but others are more optional and will vary on the time of year, day, weather and how busy the park is.
How Do We Get Around the Park?
By far, the best way to get around Central Park is walking. I highly recommend bringing another pair of shoes if you are wearing high heels or any shoes that will be difficult to walk in. We typically spend at least an hour walking around for my typical weddings. I'm happy to carry a small bag for you if needed while we are shooting.
What about the Coronavirus Pandemic?
These are truly different time, but aside from basic safety (hand washing, masks, social distancing) getting married in Central Park is much like pre-pandemic times. Bathrooms are open, mobile park vendors are there, however Tavern on The Green and Le Pain Quotidien are temporarily closed. (It sounds like The Boathouse won't be reopening at all) If you are concerned with crowds, select a morning or weekday.
OFFICIANTS FOR CENTRAL PARK WEDDINGS
If you are just looking for a simple civil ceremony or license signing, I am now a registered NYC officiant and I can preform that in addition to taking photos. I suggest hiring a dedicated officiant like my friends below if you desire a custom ceremony.
I've had the pleasure of working with Suanne and her associates on numerous occasions and it is always a pleasure! Professional and thoughtful, she and her team deliver unique and meaningful ceremonies in any location. Her website is www.officiantnyc.com.
Officiant - Rev. Annie Lawrence
Rev. Annie knows how to work a room and make even the most nervous couples and their families at ease! Her website is www.revannielawrence.com.
Officiant - Judie Guild
Judie goes above and beyond to make her clients day special. Even if that includes going back to their hotel to get a forgotten marriage license! Her website is www.elopenyc.com.
Mirelle make marrying outside of City Hall a breeze. You'll also want to follow her on Instagram at @honeybreakofficiants. Her website is honeybreakofficiants.com.
A More Perfect Union -Hope Mirlis
In additional to officiating wedding ceremonies of different sizes, Hope also offers pre-marital counseling and wedding yoga. Her website is: www.perfectunionny.com
For additional wedding vendors, click here.