I get lots of questions about when is the best time of year to elope in New York. The truth is, and I may be biased, but there are loads of wonderful things about each season. I even wrote a post about the best time of year for a New York wedding, each season has its own special features.
This time of year, all the question come about winter time. What do I think about winter weddings and elopements in NYC? Winter can be wonderful with beautiful snowfall, fewer crowds, holiday twinkle, and nice soft light. However, there are few extra things to think about this time of year. I get asked all the time if you can still take photos outside? Can you still even have an outdoor ceremony? What if it snows? All are excellent questions, and really all are up to you and your comfort with the elements. As someone who grew up in the midwest, working in the cold is something I’m perfectly willing to do. However, I know not everyone feels the same way. I always leave it up to couples if they want to be in the elements, but some tricks can help you along the way if you’re willing to be brave and elope in the winter in New York!
What is the weather like in New York City in winter?
Many of my elopement couples come from abroad, and have questions about what kind of weather to expect for their winter elopement. This is always a tricky question to answer. I have gone for a run on Christmas Eve in NYC in shorts and a t-shirt, and I’ve also seen it basically blizzard on the exact same day. It’s impossible to predict. That said, I would be prepared for it to be chilly, definitely bring a warm jacket and be prepared for possible snowfall or icy rain. If it turns out to be warm, then you can always shed your layers!
Will there be snow for my winter wedding in NYC?
This is the 24 million dollar question. It’s impossible to know. As of late, snow has become less and less common in NYC. I LOVE when we get a fresh coat of snow in the city. However, no matter whether it’s a winter wonderland or just a crisp winter day with no snow, it’ll still be a beautiful, don’t worry.
Where to Elope in New York in Winter:
This is the first thing to consider when planning a winter elopement in NYC. Do you want to brave the weather even if it might be cold? For some folks, this is a clear yes. For others, a resounding no. No judgement either way, but something to consider for yourself.
Something to keep in mind, most elopement ceremonies are quite short. It’s always possible to have your ceremony, then snuggle up in a coat, grab a hot beverage, or I’m always happy to duck into coffee shops or cafes for a warm-up. Bonus, many cafes have cute windows which make for great photo opportunities!
So, back to the question, where to have your winter elopement in NYC? Your options are basically the same as they are at any time of year. Central Park is hugely popular, as is Brooklyn Bridge Park. I might lean slightly towards Central Park in the winter, as we have the chance of a seeing the grounds covered in snow, which is beautiful. There are also a few spaces for a covered ceremony if needed. Secondly, it can get windy on the water in Brooklyn and Central Park can be slightly more protected from the wind in spots. That said, Brooklyn Bridge Park has the great Empire Stores building that is super easy to duck into if needed to warm up at any time.
Around the holidays Top of the Rock is always a top choice. However, with this option just note that A. photos around the tree can be bonkers unless you are there at sunrise, and B. it can get quite windy at the top, so be extra prepared for chilly temps. (The gift shop is always open though, so it’s quite easy to duck in and out to warm up).
If you want something inside, Grand Central is always an option, though can get quite busy during the holiday season. I have done ceremonies at the Museum of Natural History, but if you go this route, no real bridal looks, no flowers, and the ceremony needs to be extra short. Hotels, a nice Airbnb, or something of that nature are always great too. Who doesn’t want the chance to jump on the bed in your wedding clothes?!
More ideas can be found in my what to do if it rains weather post. If you’d like a chapel back drop the Church of All Souls on the Upper East Side allows for non-congregants to get married with their own officiant.
How to Dress for your NYC Winter Elopement:
This obviously depends on if you plan on going the suit or the dress route, or somewhere in between. However, regardless of your fashion choice, be sure to bring a warm coat! At the very least have a shrug of some sort if you’re wearing a dress. If you don’t want to wear your coat for photos, that’s totally fine. You can easily slip in and out of it in between shots. It’s always best to have the option to be warm if you can.
If you have a cute coat and want to wear it? Go for it! I love a good furry shrug/wrap as well. Whatever you want to do to stay warm is cool with me!
Layers! If you’re someone who’s wearing a dress (or even a suit for that matter) make use of warm tights! Keep those legs warm, no one will be the wiser in photos. I had a bride recently tell me she was wearing flannel PJ pants under her dress and no one could tell! It was amazing and she was nice and cozy warm!
Footwear. Warm and dry toes go a long way for happy photos. It’s easy to take on and off boots, and/or just rock the winter footwear look, it can be pretty cute! NYC can get VERY slushy after a snowfall, so this is not the time to be walking the city streets in expensive heels.
What special things can you bring to help with the cold for a winter elopement:
Hot hands! (And feet!) These are the best little things and a life saver for cold outdoor winter elopements. They’re available on amazon or can be purchased from your local outdoor store. I also have a fun little re-chargable hand-warmer I found on amazon. It’s super useful, gets warm fast and even can charge my phone.
A hot beverage. If you want to have a thermos of your favorite hot beverage to warm up, we can certainly bring that along.
Umbrellas. I’m always happy to bring along a big clear golf umbrella if the weather calls for it.
Hats and mittens. Keep those hands and ears warm in between shots!
What time of day should you get married in the winter in New York:
Time of day is a special consideration in the winter as it gets dark SO early this time of year. Sunset can be as early as 4:30pm, so if you’re hoping for something later in the day, be sure to keep that in mind for photos. On the other side of the coin, if you’d been hoping for a sunrise ceremony but never wanted to wake up that early, winter is great, as the sun doesn’t rise until after 7am, so you don’t have to struggle quite as hard for that early morning light.
Overall, winter can be a great time to get married in NYC! Just a bit of planning for a warm coat and a willingness to snuggle your love in the cold and we can get some great photos!
If you’re looking for more information on How to Elope in NYC or Helpful Tips for Clients, be sure to check out my guides below: