New York Wedding: Things to Know
New York weddings are highly desired, and for good reason. Getting married in one of the most romantic places in the world is certainly in every couple’s bucket list. With a diverse array of stunning destinations, New York is the ultimate wedding venue. From the exciting urban landscapes of The Big Apple to the breathtaking sceneries of the countryside, New York is an irresistible wedding destination.
If you’re planning on a romantic New York Wedding but don’t know where to start, here are things you need to know before you take the plunge.
New York Wedding Venues
Choosing the wedding venue can be challenging because New York has all these spectacular locations that are a perfect backdrop for a romantic wedding. Before you book a venue, you must first decide on what theme or style you want your wedding to be. It’s always a great starting point because it can dictate how other elements of the wedding would come together.
More often than not, couples choose the location because it holds a special meaning to their relationship. For others, it’s the allure of the place or the historical significance. Once you’ve decided on your theme or motif, you can narrow down your list of venues to a manageable number which makes the selection process much easier.
New York City offers some of the best venues for a wedding, big or small. Central Park is one of the most popular wedding locations in the city as it offers a variety of amazing outdoor venues. You can have a quiet wedding in the charming little gazebo by the Lake over at the Wagner Cove. Or you can have a garden wedding in either north or south of the park. If you want the city skyline as your wedding backdrop, you can have your romantic wedding at the Belvedere Castle Terrace where you can have panoramic views of the city.
You will need to get a permit to get married in Central Park if you’ll have more than 20 guests. Most of the parks in New York City are strict about the hours for the wedding ceremony as well as the number of guests. The parks are there as a wedding venue and not a reception area so they don’t allow catering and amplified sounds.
New York City parks accept requests for permits six months in advance, so to make sure no one else gets the spot you want, request a permit ahead of time. If you don’t want any of the hassles, you’d be pleased to know that some areas in the park where you can always have your ceremony without a permit so you and your partner can just turn up together with a few of your guests. Park areas that don’t require permits include Chambers Landing, West Boat Landing, Bow Bridge, Bethesda Terrace, and Gapstow Bridge.
Other parks outside of NYC may limit the issuance of permits per day, so you have to take that into consideration if you want your wedding to be held at a park.
The city is also replete with indoor wedding venues, some of which are iconic city landmarks such as the New York City Public Library, American Museum of Natural History, The Frick Collection, The Weylin, and The Foundry, to name just a few. Of course, numerous hotels can also be fantastic venues to say your “I do’s”.
If you want an idyllic wedding venue outside of the concrete jungle, the countryside offers a lot of options. You can have a wedding in a farmhouse, a campsite, in a historic barn, a 19th century factory space, in a vineyard, in a century-old estate, or in a sprawling garden. You just have to determine your theme and then find the best venue that will achieve your desired outcome.
Best Time for a New York Wedding
It’s not uncommon for couples to set a specific date for their wedding because it has significance to them. For example, they want to get married on the anniversary of their first date or their engagement. If you want to get married on a specific date, you’d have to book the venue weeks or months in advance.
When choosing a date for your New York wedding, you must factor in the peak and lean periods as well as the season and calendar of activities of cities and towns. Keep in mind that the date is critical because it will affect other aspects of the wedding preparation. During the peak season, booking the venue and finding vendors may be a little more challenging. And when your wedding coincides with festivals, holidays, and big events, your guests may have difficulty booking flights or making hotel reservations. When there’s a major event happening, the place may be too busy that getting around wouldn’t be as enjoyable as envisioned.
The peak season for weddings in the state of New York is during the months of September, October, and November. These are some of the most wonderful months in New York City when the weather is cool but the sun shines frequently. It can get very cold in November when temperatures drop to below freezing in the evenings. Most weddings happen during the fall because the weather is just right. The downside is rates charged by vendors, venues, and hotels may be a little higher than other months.
The summer months of June, July, and August are considered the best time to tie the knot because the weather is warm and largely predictable. It’s a lot cheaper to get married in these months because hotels, wedding vendors, and airfares offer affordable rates.
Many couples choose to get married in the months of March, April, May because they can avoid the peak during the fall and the stifling heat of summer. You can expect more affordable rates from wedding vendors, venues, and accommodations during this period.
The winter months of December, January, and February are not very popular for wedding events because the weather is too cold. Unless you’re keen on doing a winter wonderland wedding, this may not be a good time to get married. But if you don’t mind the freezing weather, then go for it. The upside is that it’ll be a lot easier to book the date that you want as well as the venue and wedding vendors may just offer more affordable rates.
New York has a lot of events scheduled throughout the year. Being a popular tourist destination, you can expect the deluge of tourists in all directions. Popular events and big holidays attract large crowds so you have to take this into consideration when planning your wedding.
Events that attract huge crowds include New Year’s Eve countdown, St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Great New York State Fair, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and Empire State Winter Games, to name just a few. It will be a little more difficult to book hotels and venues during the events so it’s best to avoid choosing a wedding date around these times.
Foods and Favors
Food that are served in the wedding are based on the couple’s selection of favorite foods to eat so it can be a mix of different cuisines. If you’re going for a particular theme, it would add to the ambiance if you curate your wedding food menu based on the theme. Let’s say you decided for a barn wedding, it would be a great opportunity to offer food sourced from the local area and showcase rustic countryside cooking.
For a more avant-garde wedding reception, you might want to treat your guests to an interactive food experience. For instance, a wine vineyard wedding would have a wine tasting station with food pairing or a contemporary wedding would have cocktail stations.
The same concept can be applied to your wedding favors. Typically, wedding favors showcase the bride and groom’s interests. It’s an opportunity for couples to honor their shared hobbies, interests, or passion. But more and more couples are taking a more stress-free (but still personalized) wedding favors that are straightforward and practical items that guests can actually use. Examples are pure honey minis, compass souvenirs, heart-shaped tea infuser spoon, and mini mason jars, to name a few.
New York Wedding Trends
Weddings in New York vary widely in terms of themes, motifs, and creativity. No wedding is ever the same because couples really work hard to make their wedding as unique as possible. Sometimes, ideas are so unique that it borders on strange and eccentric. Every year there are wedding trends that really elevate the overall wedding celebrations. Of course, there are also trends that we’re pretty sure would not stand the test of time.
Here are some of the New York wedding trends that may just catch your fancy:
- Sustainable Wedding
This is perhaps one of the best wedding trends that has ever been thought of. Sustainable weddings are those that support local vendors and use eco-friendly supplies. Food ingredients are sourced locally as a way to support local businesses. Wedding favors are made from eco-friendly materials. Flowers are purchased from local florists who grow their own flowers and those flowers are repurposed after the wedding.
- Considerate Menus
Having more food options available for guests is always a plus. You’ll likely have guests who are allergic to certain foods or are under strict dietary restrictions and couldn’t enjoy the food served. By having “considerate menus”, the guests can eat and enjoy the food served at the wedding and will appreciate the kind gesture.
- Donations Instead of Wedding Gifts
Many couples are now doing away with the wedding registry and instead requesting guests to donate to the couple’s chosen charity. This wedding for a cause theme creates a positive impact on local charities and communities.
- Non-traditional Wedding Gowns
Saying yes to the traditional dress is fading as brides are embracing more contemporary styles that fit the wedding venue and theme they are going for. This allows the bride to choose the dress that they are comfortable wearing and not be limited by what tradition dictates.
- Mix and Match Bridesmaid Dresses
There is a growing preference for more eclectic outfits for the wedding entourage. Bridesmaids are embracing the idea and loving how the different dresses are designed to fit their body, shape, style, and personality. More designers are catching on this trend and are finding ways to create varying designs but remain on point with the overall theme of the wedding.
- Micro Weddings
Couples are now moving away from large weddings with a massive guest list. They are now preferring to have their wedding ceremony with only their family and close friends in attendance because they want a more intimate celebration. Typically, micro weddings have less than 50 guests. Some couples are taking it to the extreme and eloping with zero guests. The reasons to hold small weddings vary among couples, but practicality is most likely one of them.
- Drink Stations and Roaming Food Bars
While food stations and food bars at weddings are nothing new, people are finding ways to give them a modern flair. It’s not unusual to find dessert bars, raw food bars, grazing tables, bubble bars, oyster stations, taco bars, cocktail bars, cereal bars, or interactive culinary kiosks. You can create your own station based on the style and theme you’re going for. It would be a great experience for the guests because the stations are scattered around and the guests are encouraged to roam around and interact with others.
New York Wedding Rates
Wedding costs depend on a lot of factors including the number of guests, location (wedding venue and reception), accommodations, food and favors, photographer, flowers and décor, wedding cake, wedding gown, and wedding planner.
The rates would vary across wedding vendors depending on the location. It’s safe to say that it’s much more expensive to get married in the Manhattan and Long Island areas compared to Upstate New York or the outer boroughs. The average American spends north of $30,000 on a wedding, but in New York City, expect to double your wedding budget. A Manhattan wedding can set you back more than $75,000. But the great thing is that New York has a lot of wedding venues that cater to different budgets. You can spend less or you can spend more and you’re still guaranteed an unforgettable New York wedding experience. Rates for the marriage license in New York can be found on their website here.
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