Blog ~ 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
Lauren & Cody came from Minneapolis to New York City to have a Central Park elopement, a simple and classic vibe for the wedding day. I love it when couples want to be out within the city for their ceremonies! Central Park is obviously an easy choice, but then you have to decide where within the park you want to be. HA! Well the good news is that there are lots of spots to choose from and on their wedding day I decided to direct Lauren & Cody to this cozy nook off the pond. This small landing is surrounded by vegetation and has a great view of the San Remo building directly across the way, and on a rainy day like we were having it felt even more secluded. We had a beautifully intimate ceremony officiated by Officiant NYC (they’re always so great to work with!). After the ceremony, we walked a small loop in the park for portraits and then ended up at Bemelmans Bar inside the Carlyle Hotel for a toast!
There’s a lot of things to stress about (and not) before a wedding, but one that almost no one escapes from is worrying about the weather! Lauren & Cody’s wedding day is one of the many examples of why freaking out about the rain can be turned down a notch. Sure, if it’s a hurricane we’ll adjust. But otherwise, a wonderful mood tucks in over the city and it’s usually fine to dip under an umbrella and have some fun with it. After all, I always come ready to be waterproof! (Another hidden bonus: the parks are usually more empty when it’s raining!)