The Best Places to Get Married in Central Park | NY Local Series

A little about the the NY Local Series… As so many of my couples are eloping from out of town, I often find myself fielding all sorts of questions from how to elope in NYC, what are the best neighborhoods for photos or what to do if it rains. After 7 years in the city, I’m using this series to share all my local NYC knowledge along with other helpful tips for clients getting married in New York.

(I also have updated an FAQ page, for any other questions you might have! In case you missed it, previous posts in this series can be found here.)

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The Best Places to Get Married in Central Park

Central Park is one of my favorite places in the city. As a resident of the Upper East Side, it’s one of my favorite places to run, bike and relax. I’m in the park on a near daily basis. As a photographer, during busy season, I’m shooting in the park at least once a week.

It’s no wonder that the park is a popular place for weddings, and I’m always getting clients asking what the best spots are for photos. I love just wandering the park and am always stumbling upon new paths, tunnels and archways and photo spots.

The following is a list of a few of what I consider some of the best places to get married in Central Park, some more off the beaten path then others. Regarding permits for weddings: You only technically need a permit if your event is over 20 people unless you’re in the Conservatory Garden. However, it’s always handy to have a permit if you’re looking to get married in one of the more popular spots like Ladies Pavilion. This gives you reservation to the space and “first dibs” so to speak if someone else happens to arrive. More information about Central Park wedding permits can be found here. I’ve also written a full Guide to Central Park Weddings and Elopements to help in your planning!

Central Park Wedding Ceremony Locations at Shelters or Pavilions:

Dene Shelter:

The Dene Shelter (also known as the Treehouse for Dreaming) is one of my very favorite spots
for wedding ceremonies. It’s on the east side around 65th Street. This beautiful shelter is almost always quiet and up on a boulder filled ledge that makes it super picturesque. It also has benches if you happen to have older guests who’d prefer to sit. It’s very close to beautiful meadows, arched tunnels, and a short walk from The Mall and popular Bethesda Terrace area.

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Cop Cot:

A larger shelter close to the southern end of the park. This area is nice if you have a larger group, and there are a few benches surrounding the space. It’s also a convenient walk to Gapstow Bridge, The Pond, and Cat Rock.

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Ladies Pavilion:

A very popular spot for elopements on the west side of the park near 79th street. The pavilion offers a roof in case of inclement weather, though is quite small and is best for very small weddings. If you’re looking for a pretty view of the lake and the skyline, the area around the pavilion is also perfect for that. You could even actually get married on the rocks behind the structure if you’re willing to be adventurous and would like something a bit different.

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 Wagner Cove:

I’m SO pleased that this is again a spot to get married in Central Park. This tiny hidden pavilion had been closed because of vandalism for a few years but just re-opened in winter of 2016! If you’re having a private elopement and don’t have a lot of guests, Wagner Cove is ideal. It’s tucked away in a corner of the lake and is as quiet as can be for a public park. Wagner Cove is located just down a stone path behind Cherry Hill.

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Central Park Ceremony Locations with a Great View:

Turtle Pond:

There’s a spot at this little pond that offers a backdrop of the Belvedere Castle which can be beautiful at sunrise or sunset. It’s quite crowded at mid-day, so I’d stick to early morning or just before sunset if this is where you’d like to be married.

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Gapstow Bridge:

While I wouldn’t recommend actually getting married on the bridge, the pond in front of or behind it is a great place to catch a view of the skyline. The bridge itself is also lovely year round, but especially when it’s covered in ivy in the spring, summer and fall.

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Cat Rock:

This is one of the most popular spots to get a view of the Central Park South skyline. It’s brilliant for photos at sunrise or sunset, though gets crowded as the day goes on. It’s just above Wollman Rink and is an easy walk from both Gapstow Bridge or Bethesda Terrace.

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Central Park Wedding Cermony Locations in Manicured Gardens:

Shakespeare Garden:

One of my favorite spots in the park close to 79th Street on the west side. There are cobbled stone paths and in season the garden has beautiful blooms. I love this space, but there is no real shade or shelter so keep that in mind when planning. It’s an especially good spot for sunrise or sunset but can get overly bright during mid-afternoon. It’s a short walk to Belvedere Castle or Turtle Pond, along with a nice green overlook and huge round stone bench just above it.

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Conservatory Garden:

This garden is straight out of a European palace. It’s beautifully landscaped with a fountain, icy covered terraces, lilly ponds and roses. It’s also quite close to the Harlem Meer which is a more off the beaten path area of Central Park. However, keep in mind it is the one spot in the park that is VERY strict about permits. Whether you plan to get married here or just take portraits, make sure your paperwork is in order.

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Off the beaten path Wedding Locations in Central Park:

Glenspan Arch and the North Woods:

I LOVE this area. It’s in the northern reaches of the park so is often neglected by tourists. However, you’ve got waterfalls, weeping willows, a beautiful archway, the pool and peaceful wooded paths that you can have all to yourself. It’s wonderful if you’re looking for more of a wilderness vibe in the city.

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The Ramble:

A perhaps much lesser wandered area of the park for tourists. The Ramble is location between Bethesda Terrace and Turtle Pond in the central part of the park. There are winding paths, hidden meadows, and a few rocky outcrops that overlook the Bethesda Fountain area that I think would be lovely for a tiny ceremony.

If you’re looking for more examples of Central Park Weddings and Elopements click through to the blog archives for all kinds of photos. As a Central Park Wedding Photographer, I’m always happy to help with any questions you might have. Send me an email through my contact page and we can discuss all the details!

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