Sorry I’ve been absent for a while, I’ve been busy growing a baby! I’m finally back and ready to get cracking (between feeds!) and today I’m lucky enough to post this interview with Claire from Wed in Central Park, who is a fellow finalist in the UK Blog Awards, alongside this humble little blog. Steven and I looked at getting married in New York as it’s one of our favourite places, but we knew not everyone we love could come with it being so far away, so I think we’ll end up doing a vow renewal there in a few years!
Tell us a little bit about what you do.
I help couples to get married in New York’s beautiful Central Park. Couples from all over the world contact me to guide them through the process of planning a wedding in New York. I have planned wedding in various locations in the city, but the overwhelming majority have been in Central Park. Firstly, couples might need a little help choosing which area in Central Park they want to have their ceremony, then I get the couples an event permit for their wedding (or vow renewal) wherever they choose. We write the ceremony together, just for them, so they can have their wedding exactly how they want it. I book all the people they need to make their ceremony happen – the officiant, or celebrant, photographer, videographer, flowers, musician, and various other people they may need, from my list of reliable contacts. We make a plan of timings for the day, and work out where everybody needs to be and when, to make sure that the day goes smoothly and they manage to capture photos in all the places they want, and spend quality time in this incredible place with their guests and their new spouse.
And the people behind it?
I work with several officiants, several photographers, and so on. This is because they will take their own bookings as well as taking wedding bookings from me, and many of them have more than one job. Also, sometimes I have more than one wedding in a day and so I need a contact list to be able to cover them. I work with a variety of musicians – if you want a violin, cello, flute, saxophone, guitar, harp or bagpipes at your wedding then I can help! I love being able to choose who I work with. Everyone I work with is a great communicator, very passionate about what they do, and very reliable. I always ask for feedback from couples, and if I don’t get good feedback about someone, then I stop working with them.
Why Central Park?
I’m British, but I lived in Manhattan for a while, and I got married in Central Park. The cliché about it being New Yorkers’ back yard is completely true. We walked our dog there, hung out there, went running there, walked through it on the way to somewhere else – the park was a big part of our lives. So, when we decided to get married it seemed like the obvious choice for us. The vast majority of the weddings I’ve been involved in have taken place in Central Park, but I’ve also planned weddings in other places in New York, such as Grand Central and Brooklyn Bridge Park, overlooking the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline.
I love the architecture and landscaping of Central Park. It is designed to have different sections that look completely different, so there’s a part of Central Park that everyone will love. It is an oasis of calm in the middle of this hectic and exciting city with so much to do, so a trip there for a wedding will create memories that the couple and guests alike will treasure forever.
What wedding trends do you love?
I think smaller weddings are on the increase. Lots of couples nowadays are choosing not spend on a big, traditional do close to home. Perhaps they are spending the money on a house deposit instead, or other ordinary costs of living. In the case of my couples, they’re choosing to travel to an incredible destination to make their wedding truly memorable for all involved. Maybe they have a big party on their return to get the best of both worlds, maybe they bring their nearest and dearest with them to New York. Once you turn away from tradition, you’re free to make up your own rules, and you don’t have to tick any boxes of what is expected, you just do it how you want to do it.
I have also seen a big increase in vow renewals. Couples contact me because they want to renew their wedding vows in Central Park. It might be to celebrate a big anniversary or birthday, or because they had a quick and impersonal wedding and now they want to do something a bit special and with more unique touches (and better photos!). I think it’s a lovely thing to do. Weddings are so awesome, why limit yourself to just one in a lifetime!
Which do you loathe?
I don’t think I loathe anything about weddings. I love to be involved with the first day of a couple’s married life, and to make the day a stress-free and wonderful one for them. I am so fortunate that this in my job. Sometimes couples might make a choice that I wouldn’t personally choose, and I’ve certainly been to several large, traditional weddings where the couple aren’t doing what I’d choose (ours was *very* no-nonsense and quick, and it suited us). But I’ve been involved with weddings for long enough, and I’ve planned over 250, so I know that what other people choose for their wedding day really has nothing to do with me. A couple’s wedding day is their day, and the rest of us should keep our noses out!
What's your favourite wedding you've ever worked on?
I honestly couldn’t choose a favourite. I work with eloping couples, couples who bring a small, close group, couples who get fifty or so friends and family together from different places in the world, or people who bring a huge group all together from the same place. I work on low-budget weddings and big lavish affairs. I have helped couples who have been together for a matter of months, couples who already have kids and want to formalise their relationship, some who have been together for many years and have raised their kids and now it’s time, same-sex couples who have been together for years and waiting for their marriage to be recognised in their country, and of course the vow renewals; where the couple always has a story. I love the variety of life that I see in this business, and the humanity, and the love.
Which famous wedding would you have loved to have worked on?
Maybe that wedding in Central Park that Tom Hanks crashed that was all over the news a couple of years ago. Imagine the publicity!
Why should people choose you to plan their wedding?
After planning more than 250 weddings, I know what I’m doing. It’s rare for me to be asked a question that I haven’t dealt with before. I have a clear and logical process that I go through with each couple when planning their wedding. I work with great people who are passionate about what they do, and they are reliable – they will turn up when they say they will, because they value their relationship with me. I actually wrote a blog about why I’m so great!
How can people hire you?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out my website, http://www.wedincentralpark.com/ or follow me on all the socials for inspiration.
All photos credited to: Jakub Redziniak