Blog ~ NYC wedding photographer

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 620 Loft and Garden Elopement of Natalie & Peter

I’m really excited to share this 620 Loft and Garden wedding! From the classy getting ready location to the rooftop ceremony, to the skyline views from Brooklyn..this elopement was a smashing intimate wedding day. Natalie & Peter came all the way from Australia to get married on a rooftop and they chose one of the best ones to do it on. Located in Rockefeller Center, having a 620 Loft & Garden wedding is an amazing way to get a dreamy scene amongst the skyscrapers of midtown. Amazing views became the running theme of Natalie & Peter’s wedding day as we were using another amazing rooftop terrace just a few blocks away at The Whitby Hotel for their getting ready, and then the iconic waterfront views from Brooklyn for some portraits.

620 Loft and Garden Wedding

I LOVED starting Natalie & Peter’s wedding day at The Whitby Hotel, a very elegant spot in midtown that offers some amazing terrace options. (They even made our recent roundup of three great hotels to stay in while eloping in New York City!) If you’re looking for your wedding hotel to be near all of the bars, restaurants, and attractions that midtown has to offer, then this is definitely my highest recommendation.

Details of The Whitby Hotel in midtownGroom getting ready at The Whitby HotelPortraits of the groom on his Whitby Hotel terrace

Even though they were staying in the same hotel room, Natalie ducked into one side of the room while Peter got ready on the other. After sneaking Peter out onto the terrace for a few portraits, he was off to get set for the ceremony…and their first look! As I turned my attention back to Natalie, the floor to ceiling windows were just begging for a photo of her checking out her dress. I think that’s just such a classic photo. Once Natalie was dressed in her stunning Lover wedding dress, we popped out onto the terrace for some portraits and then we made the short walk to 620 Loft & Gardens just a few blocks away.

Bride getting ready at The Whitby HotelBridal portraits on a terrace at The Whitby Hotel

It was an incredibly warm day with the sun shining, and the couple just couldn’t hold their smiles back as Natalie made her way out onto the amazing rooftop terrace. Larissa of Weddings by Larissa ran a beautiful ceremony with the subtle sound of midtown traffic buzzing below. This is of the most iconic rooftop scenes in the city, where you’re facing the incredible front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral just across the way and loads of skyscrapers are on top of you. I love it!

The first look at 620 Loft & GardenA beautiful ceremony atop 620 Loft & Garden in midtownCeremony close-ups of the bride and groomThe wedding couple exchanging rings and kissing at their rooftop ceremonyBride and groom make it official by signing their paperworkWedding portraits atop 620 Loft & GardenThe 620 Loft and Garden wedding couple just after their rooftop ceremonyRooftop wedding portraits at 620 Loft & Garden are always greatThe wedding couple heads out onto 5th Avenue

After popping onto 5th Avenue, it was a hop in a cab down to Brooklyn Bridge Park to catch some skyline views from across the water. DUMBO is definitely still one of the hottest destinations for wedding portraits, and for good reason. Look at those views, people! Day or night, it’s a classic scene that will always look amazing.

The bride and groom with the Manhattan skyline behind them from Brooklyn Bridge ParkSome intimate moments below the Brooklyn Bridge on their wedding dayWalking hand in hand after their wedding ceremonyFinding a bit of greenery along the waterfront in DUMBO Brooklyn with the wedding coupleThe industrial feel of DUMBO is always great to explore with a bride and groom

Natalie and Peter, it was such a pleasure to document your wedding story!

Are you planning a rooftop elopement in NYC? I’d love to document your day. Let’s chat!

The Best NYC Elopement Vendors

Getting ready hotel – The Whitby Hotel

Elopement venue – 620 Loft & Garden

Wedding officiant – Weddings by Larissa

Wedding dress – Lover

Bridal shoes – Jimmy Choo

Elopement photographer – JC Lemon Photography

The City Hall Elopement of Ruth & Ricky

Simply put, I love being a City Hall wedding photographer in New York. It’s always exciting to walk out of my house, hop on the subway, and then emerge in Manhattan to start telling my couple’s wedding day story. And while getting married at City Hall might seem like the most simple of weddings, it still comes with all of the excitement of any other wedding day. Ruth & Ricky had an amazing elopement by embracing just that. As a recent graduate of West Point, Ricky was looking dapper in his Army blues while Ruth looked amazing in her flowing backless dress.

City Hall Wedding Photographer

Our day started in the gorgeous entryway of The Marmara Park Avenue in Midtown, and after a short Uber ride down to the City Clerk’s Office on Worth St we were in line to get married! It’s always great to sink back into the crowd at City Hall and document my couple waiting to be called up. Especially when it’s just the two of them waiting with each other, there’s a great sense of anticipation that builds up as the number being called gets closer and closer to theirs.

The Marmara Park Avenue is a great place to stay on your wedding dayThe entryway to The Marmara in midtown made the perfect spot to grab a few quick portraits of the bride & groomI love capturing the wedding couple exiting their car upon arriving at City Hall!The bride & groom waiting at City Hall for their marriage ceremonyGroom looking sharp in his Army blues as he leads his bride into City HallThe wedding couple signing their paperwork at City HallJust before going into their wedding ceremony at the Marriage BureauA vignette of carried items to this West Point City Hall weddingThe groom slipping the ring on his bride's handThe bride trying to slide the ring onto her groom's handCity Hall wedding photographerArmy groom and bride exiting City Hall in Manhattan immediately after their wedding ceremony

It was all smiles out the door as we hopped across the way to get some portraits amongst the classic architecture of the Civic Center area of downtown Manhattan. For the shortest of wedding days, this is a great area to explore as it has some really great spots within a short walking distance of the City Clerk’s Office.

Wedding couple on the Law & Order stepsPhotographing in downtown Manhattan provides some great backdrops for wedding portraitsA dramatic portrait of an Army groom and his bride in ManhattanThe classic architecture of the Civic Center makes for classic wedding portraitsThe wedding rings along with a lucky penny

Ruth & Ricky, thank you so much for having me along for such a beautiful and intimate wedding day. Are you planning a wedding at New York’s City Hall? I’d love to document your wedding day!

The Best Elopement Vendors

Getting ready hotel – The Marmara

NYC elopement photographer – JC Lemon Photography