Over the years, we’ve featured plenty of Central Park weddings and engagement shoots, so we were thrilled when Claire got in touch with us to share Laura and Louise’s story. After her planning her own Central Park wedding, Claire started a whole business devoted to helping couples who want to tie the knot in the park. Here, she fills us in on English couple Laura and Louise’s big day.
From Claire, Laura & Louise’s wedding planner: Laura and Louise are from Sheffield in the North of England. They met around fourteen years ago. They were in the same hockey club and knew each other only a little at first, then they ended up playing on the same team and they got to know each other better. This friendship became a romance, although love is often never as smooth as it should be: they spent some time apart as their lives took different courses for a while, but there was never a day when they would not be in touch in some way.
They got engaged in the middle of a fireworks display. Louise asked Laura, with the aid of a ring Louise and Laura’s brother had made for the occasion. Then they went together to get a proper one made specially. They knew that they did not want a conventional wedding, so they looked in to several options of unique and unusual places to get married in England, such as a woodland center and an old factory. Then they started to consider going abroad, and Laura casually suggested getting married in Central Park after she had remembered seeing it in a film. After thinking it through more seriously, and comparing prices of venues at home to the cost of a destination wedding with built-in vacation, it seemed like no contest! They contacted me, and we started to discuss their options.
We always get an event permit from the Central Park Conservancy for a wedding to ensure that there are no other wedding parties at the time and place where we want to hold a ceremony. They chose the Ladies’ Pavilion, a lovely spot by the Lake on the West side of Central Park. The closest entrance to the Ladies’ Pavilion is the one right by John Lennon’s old home, the Dakota, at Central Park West and 72nd Street.
It is a very popular wedding location. There are seats inside and it has charming art deco cast-iron details. It really matched their 1920s style outfits. The Ladies’ Pavilion was originally built in the 1870s and used as a shelter for trolley passengers and was at Central Park’s 8th Avenue and 59th Street entrance, but it has been relocated to its current location. During the Winter the Ladies would change into their ice skates here, before skating on the lake, hence the name. Laura and Louise had a lovely an iconic backdrop to the wedding, with the lake and the Manhattan skyline in the background.
There were seven guests in attendance at the wedding. They had Laura’s Mum, Dad, brother and cousin, maid of honour and her boyfriend, and one friend from university who happened to be in America at the time. We wrote a ceremony especially for the couple, and they wrote their own personal vows to read out to each other during the ceremony. Laura’s brother, Adam, was their photographer. After the ceremony they all travelled in the pedicabs to Bow Bridge and then on to Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, and had more pictures taken there.
Laura wore a Joy by Jenny Packham dress with Irregular Choice shoes. Laura’s saw the dress on an episode of Don’t Tell the Bride. She contacted the shop in the show, and found out the name and designer of the dress and stockists in her home town. She never even looked at or tried on another dress! Louise wore a Vivienne Westwood shirt and tailored trousers. There were no flowers, although the boys in the group all wore waistcoats with some fab boutonnieres made from buttons. Laura did her own makeup and hair after tutorials back home in England, Louise’s hair was styled by Laura, and their make-up was done by one of their guests.
The wedding ceremony took place at 1pm so the morning was spent enjoying a hearty breakfast and then getting ready. After the ceremony, the party spent some time in Central Park taking photos, stopping off for a quick hot dog and snow cone from a vendor. They then walked back through Central Park to their nearby hotel. They were congratulated as they walked. In the evening they all went for a celebratory meal to Sarabeth’s on Central Park South, which they tell me was amazing food with great service. They had been notified that it was a wedding breakfast and they made a huge effort to make it special. They finished off the day by changing into their pajamas and drinking champagne on the rooftop terrace of their hotel. The next morning Laura and Louise enjoyed a helicopter tour of the city, which had paid for by some of their family as a wedding gift.
Laura told me that one of the most amazing things about the day was how amazing the people were who happened to stumble upon their ceremony, and then afterwards as they took a stroll back through Central Park to their hotel. They said that people were very friendly and complimentary, with so many people saying “Congratulations”, making nice comments on their outfits, and people stopping to talk to them about the ceremony and their plans for the rest of the day. They said that it made them feel really special.