Planning an intimate wedding in Central Park? Here are my top ten favorite scenic to have an intimate wedding ceremony or elopement in Central Park.
In terms of permits - you are only required one for an event in Central Park with 20 or more people (in which case they take 30 days to process the application and there is a $25 non-refundable application fee.) The Conservatory Gardens in the north east of the Park require a permit for both ceremony & photography sessions. While some of the areas are available to reserve, they will not be closed to the public, so I always recommend areas that are a litter quieter and away from the popular areas within the park. One of the best things about getting married in New York City and in particular Central Park, all the random people passing by quickly become your unofficial audience that results in a roar of cheers, clapping and well wishes when you are pronounced married. This is all part of the charm of getting married in the city.
It's one of the most classic views in Central Park. I do not recommend to have a ceremony on the actual bridge (as always busy with tourist walking over it) but choosing a spot along the bank with bridge in view - its very picturesque anytime of the year. It's easily accessible from the south east corner of the park, about a 10 minute walk from The Plaza.
The Mall and Literary Walk
Featured in many movies over the decades and is one of the most recognizable parts of Central Park. While the main thoroughfare is pretty busy with vendors & people walking past, just off to the sides are separate seating areas that can be a perfect backdrop for a ceremony. Particularly useful for guests that may need to sit down for the ceremony & toilets are close by in Bethesda Terrace.
Bethesda Terrace Arcade is the arched, interior walkway that is decorated in beautiful tile work. It links the Mall to Bethesda Fountain and the Central Park Lake. There is often buskers performing jazz in there that sounds amazing with the acoustics of the ceilings.
Wagner Cove Area
It's a less known area of Central Park, its a little rustic shelter with wooden benches and found on a little pathway on the edge of the The Lake. It's a secluded spot and ideal for an intimate wedding ceremony and can be suitable for up to 20 guests standing in the surrounding area. It's close to Strawberry Fields and Bow Bridge.
This is a Victorian pavilion set on the edge of The Lake. Ideal for a ceremony that will provide some shelter from the weather.
A Treehouse for Dreaming / Dene Summerhouse
Perched on top of a small hill near 67th Street & 5th, it is a secluded spot in the park and can be a great location for a few guests to be able to sit during the ceremony. While its a far more private location, I do find other park uses talk loudly walking up the path as they cannot see a ceremony is in progress until they are basically walking into the space.
Glen Span Arch
Suited in the north west corner of the park near W 102nd Street - not many tourists make it this far up into the park so its very quiet. It's one of my favorite spots in the entire park for this reason. You are in the middle of Manhattan but feels like you are also a million miles away.
The Conservatory Garden is the only formal garden within Central Park and is a separate gated area in the very top north east of the park. A permit is required for both taking wedding portraits ($100) and for a ceremony ($400). While there are so many beautiful places to choose within the park that don't require a permit, this section of the park is incredibly quiet & secluded. I love walking through here as often I will only pass one or two other people who are often reading a book on a bench. If you like the idea of having a quiet location in a secluded part of the park, with easy walking access from the entrance on 5th Ave this spot is ideal.
Under a cherry blossom tree
Central Park has many pretty cherry blossoms trees in full bloom generally during late April & early May. If we time it right, it's one of the most secluded ways to get married in Central Park. I recommend taking a walk through Central Park a day or two before your ceremony to pick out the ideal tree. The areas around Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir are a good place to start the hunt for the perfect tree.
Under one of picturesque arch ways in Central Park
Central Park is full of little bridges / arch ways - over 25 to choose from. They can provide an ideal wet weather backup incase it get's a little drizzly. Two favorites of mine are Inscope Arch near the Zoo and Glade Arch near 78th Street. Head to this page to get the full listing.
Other less known areas of Central Park