Blog ~ Bethesda Terrace

Wedding Photo Location Guide: Central Park

Central Park is one of the most popular locations for wedding photos in NYC. It’s been featured in countless films and TV shows so it’s a draw for both locals and couples coming in for destination weddings. At 843 acres large, it has a lot of variety to offer while still being easy to get to and explore. So what are some of the best wedding photo locations in Central Park?

In this second Wedding Photo Location Guide I’ll cover what makes New York’s Central Park so great on a wedding day. Let’s dive in!

Why Central Park is Great for Wedding Photos

This is THE park of all parks, where countless films and TV shows from Elf to Law & Order have used it as a backdrop to convey one thing: classic New York City. It has the visual appeal of a great landscaped park while still pulling in the city around itself like a blanket of skylines. And oh, the variety! Need a secluded woodsy location that still has an urban feel? Check! Want an instantly recognizable backdrop for that killer dip & kiss photo? Gotcha covered!

Rocks and sky in Central Park wedding photos

The park also has incredible appeal because it’s very easy to access from multiple points around the city. Stretching from 59th to 110th Streets and 5th to 8th Avenues, the sheer size of the park means there’s a lot of entry points and key points to explore. And considering you can get there easily by car or subway, those are sure to make great photos as well!

What are the best locations inside Central Park?

Narrowing down the park to a few key areas is definitely a hard task, but below are my favorite locations due to visual appeal, ease of access, and proximity to other locations of interest.

Bethesda Terrace and Fountain

This is the photogenic heart of Central Park for wedding photos. There are multiple levels to use, and even on the most crowded days there’s opportunities to make it look like you’re all alone in the space. But sometimes the crowd is a fun thing to use to our advantage! A must stop location for any trip to the park.

Bethesda Terrace wedding photo of bride and groom kissing

Central Park wedding photo with couple kissing by Bethesda Terrace

wedding couple walking Bethesda Terrace stairs

Bethesda Fountain and alternate angles on wedding day

NYC Skyline Views

While the point of wandering into a park might seem to just aim for greenery, the true appeal of Central Park comes from its situation within the NYC landscape. In particular are a few places where the openings in the tree coverage allows for amazing views of the surrounding buildings. Three great spots in particular are the boulder located above Wollman Rink, the south end of The Lake, and the north side of Sheep Meadow.

best wedding photo locations in Central Park

Wedding photo in Central Park with boat pond and skyline

Skyline views in Central Park on wedding day

Naumburg Bandshell

Just south of Bethesda Terrace is the Naumburg Bandshell. It’s not the flashiest structure, but I love its simplicity compared to the heavily trafficked and visually dense spots nearby. It works well as a big large backdrop or as a simple background for up close bride and groom portraits.

Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park with wedding couple

bride and groom celebrating in Naumburg Bandshell after wedding ceremony

bride and groom portraits in Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park NYC

Around the Lake & Just Outside the Park

The loop around Central Park’s Lake contains some great hidden gems. Ladies Pavilion, a structure on the west side, is a great spot to pop by. Wagner Cove is down a set of stairs and offers a really secluded spot to utilize. Some of the iconic archways are also in the area, which offer some unique wedding photo options.

Ladies Pavilion wedding photos with bride and groom

dip kiss in Central Park wedding

Wagner cove bride and groom after wedding ceremony

Central Park is surrounded by some of the most classic NYC architecture, from the private homes to the museums like The Met and Guggenheim. As you make your way into or out of the park, make sure to spend a few moments capturing some wedding photos with these classic backdrops.

bride and groom wedding portraits on 5th Ave

wedding couple in front of the Met museum steps

A few Central Park weddings to dive into

The Bethesda Terrace wedding of Sarah & Eric is a great example of an intimate Central Park wedding. After a short getting ready session at their nearby hotel, we headed to Bethesda Terrace for the ceremony, followed by some portraits as we made our way to Tavern on the Green for their small lunch reception.

Lauren & Cody had a private elopement near The Lake followed by a few portraits inside Central Park. Even in the rain we got some amazing photos by being adventurous and sticking to a great walking loop!

What neighborhood should I feature next?

Do you have a favorite neighborhood you’d like to see featured next? New York is such a wonderful city to explore on your wedding day. Let me know!

The Bethesda Terrace Elopement of Sarah & Eric

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.

Exterior details of Park Central Hotel NYCDetails of groom getting ready at Park Central HotelBridal details styled at Park Central HotelBride getting ready in NYC at the Park Central HotelBetsey Johnson bridal shoes with great lace detailingBride and family walking from Park Central Hotel to Central Park for wedding ceremonyA casual family photo on the way to the wedding

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.

Bride has great moments with father before walking down the aisle at Bethesda Terrace weddingEmotional hug between the groom and father of the brideOne of the flower girls draws the wedding's attention in Bethesda TerraceCandid moments from the Bethesda Terrace weddingAn emotional exchange of vows at this Bethesda Terrace wedding in Central Park

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!

Eloping in Central Park at Bethesda Terrace in NYCBride and groom exchange rings and kiss at their NYC elopementWedding couple celebrates with hugs after their Bethesda Terrace wedding ceremony

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!

A big family group photo of everyone at Bethesda Terrace in Central Park NYC

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?

Bride and groom are all cheers in Central Park after their Bethesda Terrace weddingIntimate portraits of wedding couple in Central ParkWedding photo at Bethesda Terrace in Central Park NYCBride portrait and groom portrait from Bethesda Terrace weddingBethesda Terrace has great architecture details to use for wedding portraits

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.

Bride and groom walking hand in hand through Sheeps Meadow in Central ParkGroom lifting up bride for a kiss in Sheeps Meadow, Central Park NYCLifestyle ring photo from Central Park elopement

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.

Wedding couple at their brunch reception venue Tavern on the GreenBride and groom celebrating at Tavern on the Green for their wedding brunch

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

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