Central park weddings are our specialty. The team at Wedding Packages NYC are experts in elopements in the heart of New York City! If you want your wedding to be truly remarkable, look no further.
I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that Central Park is my favorite venue for elopement
weddings. For those who are truly adventurous, and the idea of unpredictable weather doesn’t
cause anxiety, Central Park is one of the best places for your nuptials. Nothing says New York
City like the most photographed park in the world! It offers a scenic year-round backdrop and a
storied history. It has 842 acres of idyllic settings, including Bethesda Terrace, Bow Bridge,
Wagner Cove, Shakespeare’s Garden, the Ladies’ Pavilion, Belvedere Castle, and Cop Cot.
These are all iconic spots for a beautiful wedding ceremony. (You may recognize these places
from the movies and on television.) You can see turtles swimming and sunbathing in the pond at
Wagner Cove; the West Drive Boat Landing offers a view of the Bow Bridge, and provides
shelter in case of rain and a bit of privacy from curious onlookers.
Veronica’s “I Dos” and “I Don’ts” for planning a Central Park wedding:
● “Do” tell guests with cars to park in a garage. Yes, I know it’s another cost, but it’s
worth it! Scout for parking garages ahead of time and tell everyone with a car to put it in
a garage. You will want people to arrive at the location 45 minutes prior to the ceremony
start time. You don’t want your guests frantically looking for parking spaces in the
streets. Parking in New York City is a competitive sport. Spots are few and far between,
and you can circle for an hour before you score one. If you’re lucky enough to find one, it
could be ten blocks away, and it’s hard to run in heels and a fancy dress. If you want to
be extra proactive, I recommend SpotHero, a really great service that allows you to book
your parking in advance at a discounted price.
● “Do” get a park permit. Getting a park permit isn’t necessary: you are allowed to gather
anywhere you want and no one will stop or fine you. That said, there are certain places
that are extremely popular for weddings. If you don’t have a permit for one of these
locations, you risk running into another eloping couple who does have a permit and can
ask you to leave, even if you are in the middle of your ceremony. Don’t kid yourself: they
will kick you out! Always get a permit for your chosen location. Now, if you are truly
easygoing (I love you already), and you don’t really care what location the ceremony is
held at, then just go ahead, walk inside the park, find your spot, and have a blast! That is
● “Do” remind guests to use the restroom. Remind guests that they should take care of
business before entering the park. Try to find a cafe or a hotel where they can use the
facilities. There are public bathrooms in playgrounds but, even if you find them, they
might be full and/or have a long line.
● “Do” scout out your park location beforehand. I suggest doing a walk-through of the
area 40 minutes prior to the wedding to head off any potential problems. Be as friendly
and polite as possible to people who are hanging out in the area and need to clear out—let
them know that a wedding will be starting soon and thank them for their cooperation
ahead of time. Give yourself time to find a park ranger, who is always somewhere
nearby, in case you need their assistance asking the people to leave.
● “Do” bring bribe money. It’s a good idea to bring some cash in case you need to pay
street performers to leave. This happens quite often at Bethesda Terrace. Many times,
I’ve had to pay someone who is playing music or singing nearby to be quiet during the
ceremony. As I said before, a lot of people are inconsiderate. Even though you have a
permit, they will insist that this is a public park, and they can do whatever they want. So,
while you wait for the park ranger to arrive, you may want to do yourself a favor and
offer them a $20 bill to hit the road faster.
● “Do” wear comfortable shoes. Remember that you will be walking, standing, and
walking some more—now is not the time to break in a new pair of stilettos, and nothing
will turn your day from marvelous to miserable faster than a pair of aching feet and a big
blister. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes. Most brides wear long dresses. You can’t
see your shoes with your long dress, so why wear new shoes? I wore older shoes that had
been broken in for my wedding: They were awesome looking (though no one ever saw
them), and I was comfy! At least bring a spare pair for walking if you need to wear fancy
heels for your ceremony.
Top Three Central Park Wedding Locations
As I said before, there are a few Central Park locations that are very popular for wedding
ceremonies. It is important to consider the size of the venue. Some locations can hold more
guests than others.
There are about 12 wedding locations in Central Park. You can see a thorough description,
videos and photos of each location on our website:
This is everyone’s favorite! It seems like this gazebo was specially designed for weddings. It’s
really cute, and has two benches, which are ideal for grandma and grandpa to sit during the
ceremony. However, I must warn you about spectators. This gazebo can receive visitors from
four directions, making this a bit of a struggle when it comes to privacy. You can have people
accessing the gazebo from the front (which is exactly where the bride makes her big entrance),
from the back (there is a little pebble road that leads to the west side of the park), or from the
sides, as there is a big famous rock to the left of the Pavilion where absolutely everyone must
have their photo taken.
The Ladies Pavilion is a good spot if you have under 20 guests with you.
Nearest Park Entrance: 77 th Street and Central Park West
This intimate and cozy spot on the edge of the lake is punctuated by a rustic shelter with two
wooden benches, and it certainly offers the privacy that Ladies Pavilion lacks. But of course,
everything comes with a price. To access this private gazebo by the lake, you need to go down a
steep set of stairs. Depending on the needs of your or your guests, this may present a problem.
But if a little stairclimbing is not an issue, then this is the ideal place for a truly romantic and
This is my husband’s favorite venue for officiating weddings, and it has become one of my
favorites as well. It offers a level of intimacy that no other location in the park has.
The park rangers are always around, and they do a really good job maintaining the gazebo in
good condition. The park’s department knows this is a popular go-to place for weddings, and
they are very diligent in beautifying the place. Do note, however, that decorations of any kind are
My suggestion is that you don’t have more than 10 guests. The spot where guests can stand is
very narrow, and if you have more guests they will not enjoy the event very much.
Nearest Park Entrance: 72nd Street and Central Park West
My personal favorite! Yes, I know, I know! This is not where I had my wedding. I got married in
Bethesda Terrace, which is very different (more on that later). But Cop Cot is the best choice for
a wedding, especially if you have a large number of people attending. It has a circular shape, and
benches that can seat up to 50 people. There are no stairs, and no long walks. It’s close to the
park entrance, ideal for elderly or for people in wheelchairs.
As an added bonus, it’s very easy to keep private. It even has a door (sort of), where you can
have your Uncle Joe standing guard, to make sure that everyone who enters was actually invited!
We have performed quite a few ceremonies here; some with very few people, others with a fairly
Nearest Park Entrance: Central Park South (59th St.) and 6th Avenue.