New York New York, so good they named it twice! We asked wedding planner Claire why Central Park New York is her favourite wedding destination.
How did you decide to become a wedding planner? / What inspired you to start your business?
I had worked for ten years in a heavily analytical role in energy trading, and was looking for a career change. I’m British, but I was living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, not far from Central Park when then boyfriend and I decided to get married in Central Park. That was 2011. It occurred to me while planning our wedding, that I could help other couples to do the same. So, I made a website and started planning weddings for others in this beautiful place. I’ve planned over 250 weddings since then.
What's the best part about being a wedding planner?
I love helping couples to make the first day of their marriage go exactly how they want it to. Sometimes couples come to me with a very clear idea of what they want from their wedding day, and New York has always been their dream location for their wedding. Sometimes couples come to me, just knowing that they don’t want the traditional big affair close to home, but they’re not quite sure what they do want. What I enjoy is guiding couples through the decision-making process which will get them to the wedding that suits them as a couple, rather than ticking the boxes and working their way down a list of things that they must do.
Which areas of New York do you enjoy organising weddings in, and why?
I specialise in a rather special 1.3 square miles in the middle of an island in New York! I focus on Central Park, initially because I got married there myself, and I know the park very well, but now just because I love it so much. I have helped to plan weddings in other public parks in New York, such as the lovely Fort Tryon Park overlooking the Hudson River and Brooklyn Bridge Park, which overlooks the East River. Central Park is world-famous, and it’s so very beautiful. It has many and varied lovely spots; greenery, gardens, structures that are art deco or rustic in style, wide open spaces, secluded corners, stunning masonry and that iconic skyline. It very rarely disappoints any visitors.
What's the most unusual wedding you've organised?
Each wedding I have worked on has been unique, and that is one thing I really love about my job. What makes them unusual is that they take place in this stunningly beautiful, iconic and historical public park in the centre of one of the world’s most exciting cities. We see lots of different weddings in Central Park. There are elopements, of the couple alone, with the photographer as their witness, or we have small ones with just a handful of guests, or quite big ones with maybe fifty or sixty people. I have planned weddings which are very low budget, and ones which are huge and lavish affairs with huge celebrations in fancy and expensive New York establishments. We do gay weddings and straight weddings. We do short and sweet ceremonies, ceremonies where couples write long lists of promises for each other, we do traditional ceremonies, ceremonies where a guest sings or reads a poem, ceremonies with a surprise for one or both of the couple, and one wedding this year where the whole thing was a complete surprise for the groom! We do dressed-up super-fancy weddings, through to weddings where the couple have both worn jeans. I have planned weddings for very young couples, some who have been together for less than a year, couples who have recently had children together, and those who have older grown-up children together, and for those who have been married before.
What's the most popular type of wedding you organise?
The most common size of wedding for me has five to fifteen guests, and the most popular locations are the Ladies’ Pavilion, Cop Cot and Wagner Cove. I really see such a range of different couples and different weddings, though. That’s what keeps it from getting dull.
What advice would you give couples wanting to get married in New York?
If I was advising my fellow Brits about getting married in the US, I’d certainly recommend it. Compared to what I’ve been told about getting married in the UK and other European countries, it’s so easy to get a license and to do the legalities around getting married in the US. I know I’m biased but I really do recommend hiring me or someone like me to help you to plan the wedding. I’ve planned lots, so I can ask the right questions and make the right preparations to be thorough in arranging a day that you can feel confident will go as planned. Couples can relax knowing that myself and the people I work with are reliable. I have plenty of online reviews, and the people I book for weddings want to keep a good relationship with me to get repeat work with me, so couples can be confident that everyone will show up when they said they will and all will go to plan. New York is truly a city with something for everyone, so couples find that their guests are happy to make the journey there, and Central Park is beautiful all through the year, will provide a stunning backdrop as you say "I do"!
Claire runs Wed in Central ParkVisit Wed in Central Park Website
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