Blog ~ Elopements
I’m so stoked to finally share the Bethesda Terrace wedding of Sarah & Eric with you! They stayed at the awesome (and awesomely located) Park Central Hotel, then migrated up to Central Park for their wedding ceremony, followed by a brunch reception a short walk away at Tavern on the Green. How do you keep it simple and classy when getting married in NYC? Follow Sarah & Eric’s lead! Get ready somewhere great. Have the ceremony somewhere cool. And go somewhere delicious for a meal with your family and friends.
Getting Ready at The Park Central Hotel
I spent a few minutes with Eric getting ready as he put on his jacket and made sure his pocket square was on point. As he left for the ceremony, I spent some time with Sarah getting some details of her wedding dress and her awesome Betsey Johnson lace bridal shoes. As we walked to their Bethesda Terrace wedding, we caught lots of great candid moments.
Bethesda Terrace Wedding Ceremony
Before the start of their Bethesda Terrace wedding, Sarah stayed back with her dad for a few moments together. As he walked her down the stairs and through Bethesda Terrace, you could see the joy and pride on his face. I love the hug he had with Eric as he handed her off to get married! The rest of the ceremony contained just as many great moments, especially when they exchanged vows.
Tears all around! Great ceremonies like this keep me on my toes, and my head constantly looking around for moments unfolding. Such a great Bethesda Terrace wedding!
I’m a huge fan of all of the hugs and congratulations that happen right after the ceremony. I stick close to the couple and get as many as I can, because they come quick!
Wedding Portraits in Central Park
Bethesda Terrace is a great part of Central Park to start taking wedding portraits. The classic architectural elements show that you’re not just in any park, but one of the most iconic parks in the world. In fact, most of the locations you see in movies and TV shows are from this southern end of the park. Bethesda Terrace and Naumburg Bandshell in particular are two of the most recognizable locations, so why not use them for your wedding photos too?
Sheep Meadow is one of my favorite spots in Central Park. Skyscrapers emerge from the dense greens of the park while a wide clearing opens in front of you. Usually it’s full of locals sunbathing and grabbing a margarita from the cooler guy. Sprinkle in the tourists that have stumbled upon this field and you have a great mix of characters to watch. As Sarah & Eric walked towards Tavern on the Green, it was still pretty empty so the views were extra nice.
Brunch Reception at Tavern on the Green
Tavern on the Green is a classic choice for taking people out for special meal. Brunch after your wedding? Definitely a good call.
Sarah & Eric, thank you for having me along to document your story for you! Stay tuned for another installment, because a month later they hosted a party for their friends and family at a bar in the West Village…
Are you considering eloping in NYC? Wondering where to start? Check out our Essential Guide to Eloping in NYC!
The Best NYC Elopement Vendors
Getting ready hotel – Park Central Hotel
Wedding officiant – Our Wedding Officiant NYC
Florist – Bettlebug
Lunch reception venue – Tavern on the Green
NYC elopement photographer – JC Lemon Photography
Wondering where to eat after saying “I do”? As an NYC elopement photographer, I’ve joined hundreds of couples for their intimate receptions around the city. I’m constantly on the lookout to expand my list of the best elopement restaurants NYC has to offer!
How to select a great post-elopement restaurant in NYC
New York City has no shortage of amazing places to eat, and the limitless options are both a blessing and a curse. I think there are three key questions you need to ask before digging into your choices:
- What’s the guest count?
- What neighborhood do you need to be in?
- What kind of food do you want served?
Once you have it narrowed down to that level, you’ll want to start asking more specific questions that will guide you on where to reach out to:
- What’s the budget?
- Do you want a private or a semi-private space?
- How much do you want to style the space?
Best Elopement Restaurants NYC
While I can’t list every fantastic restaurant option out there, I can name some of the best elopement restaurants NYC has to offer. Here are three really solid choices that might be just what you’re looking for.
Frankies 457 Spuntino
This Carroll Gardens Italian restaurant serves family-style meals in a private carriage house out back that seats around 60 people. The addition of a seasonal tented opening extends the capacity to around 100. The rest of the space behind the restaurant is a patio garden that some couples will use for their ceremony, for cocktail hour mingling, or for an extended setup for dessert and dancing. While the space comes with a lot of charm built in, most couples opt to style it out with floral arrangements, place settings, and other personal touches.
Website: Frankies 457 Spuntino
Best nearby hotel: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Best nearby ceremony location: Brooklyn Bridge Park
I must love old carriage houses, because Haven’s Kitchen is another great restaurant located in one. Near Union Square in Manhattan, this spot is mostly known for its first floor sustainable farm-to-table cooking school and its third floor loft event space. The private dining room on the second floor for up to 40 people is the true hidden gem for anyone eloping, though! A huge bonus to this space is the bar/fireplace area that takes up the rest of the second floor, which makes for a fantastic spot for an intimate ceremony or a laid back mingling over some farm-fresh cocktails.
Website: Haven’s Kitchen
Best nearby hotel: The High Line Hotel
Best nearby ceremony location: The High Line
I recently stumbled into this West Village Italian restaurant on a recent elopement and the private dining room in the back really blew me away. This hip space is definitely for a smaller crowd, maybe up to 14 total, but it has some really great styling and could stand pretty well on its own.
Website: Charlie Bird
Best nearby hotel: The Dominick
Best nearby ceremony location: Manhattan Marriage Bureau (City Hall)
But what about all the other amazing restaurants in NYC? Can they host elopement receptions?
While there are a number of NYC restaurants that are well-known for having an amazing dedicated space for private dining, you don’t need to limit your search to these exclusive setups. Almost any restaurant will entertain the idea of booking out the entire space, even if they’ve never hosted a private event before. So let your taste buds guide you, and don’t be afraid to approach your favorite neighborhood spot!
I’m so happy to finally share the City Hall wedding of Dannii & Reece with y’all! They had such an amazing NYC wedding that started with a City Hall ceremony and continued with portraits all across town. They even opted to ride in style by hiring a classic Checker cab!
City Hall Wedding Photos
Getting married at City Hall may not seem like a luxurious concept at first, but if you put aside a few presumptions you’d be surprised to know that getting classy is not just for big weddings. Dannii & Reece’s NYC elopement is a great example of how a wedding with just the couple can be a fabulous affair.
The excitement is always visible when couples are waiting for their number to be called. Dannii & Reece were sharing lots of laughs and smiles as they talked about what was going to happen in the next few minutes. City Hall wedding photos are always so much fun to capture because of all of these emotions that show while you’re waiting.
Sneaking a photo of the couple signing the marriage license is always a moment of dancing around to get the best angle, and I love this photo that lined up of Reece signing. At first glance the lighting at the Clerk’s Office might seem a little unflattering but it actually makes for these great pockets of light for the couples to be in while signing the marriage license paperwork.
I tend to love a lot of the little moments that happen right before the wedding couple is called in to get married. As Dannii & Reece were waiting, they’d alternate between telling stories and laughing to seriously listening for their names to be called next, making sure they didn’t miss it haha!
The ceremony might be brief at City Hall, but it sure is lovely. It’s a flash of emotions within the two or three minutes that you’re in there, and the next thing you know you’re walking out the doors married!
Dannii & Reece hired Peter with Film Cars to drive us around NYC in a classic Checker cab. I LOVE it when couples include this fun detail in their wedding day. Functional and fashionable! If you want to run around town for portraits on your wedding day, I definitely recommend arranging private transportation, like a Checker cab, ahead of time.
DUMBO Wedding Photos
The Brooklyn waterfront neighborhood of DUMBO is a great place to take wedding photos. In fact, I wrote an article about just that the other week. It was the first stop on a skyline tour of NYC for Dannii & Reece, and we got some great portraits showing off the Brooklyn Bridge Park views.
You know I love exploring back into the neighborhood, so the three of us walked a few blocks in from the waterfront to find some cool backdrops for more wedding photos.
Before we left I had to get them under the span of the Manhattan Bridge, as the scale of it is just nuts. Then it was back in the cab and up to midtown for some more fun.
Top of the Rock Portraits
Top of the Rock is probably my forever favorite place to take portraits in NYC. I’m a sucker for a skyline, I love the drama in the scale of the views, and it’s always a fun time taking photos there. Plus it has some indoor space so if the weather is dicey we can still get great photos. All we need are tickets to the top!
Central Park Elopement Photos
The last stop on our skyline tour was Central Park, where a classic view of The Plaza hotel from the Gapstow Bridge was on a list of must-visits. While the crowds can sometimes be an issue here, it’s always worth a try if we’ll be in the area. This is a classic view at any time of year!
You can still explore the city for portraits if you get married at City Hall!
Are you getting married at City Hall, and want great portraits? City Hall wedding photos are best followed up with exploring NYC for portraits in amazing locations. I’ll bring your story to life, all you need to bring is your love!
The Best NYC Elopement Vendors
Wedding dress – Toni Maticevski
Checker cab rental – Film Cars
Elopement photographer – JC Lemon Photography