How To Get Married in Central Park: Say ‘I Do’ in the Heart of New York City

Getting married in Central Park is a dream come true for many couples! The park is HUGE, and I’m always amazed at the beauty it holds. 

Central Park is very versatile! Whether you are looking to take photos at the lush greenery, visit any of the iconic landmarks, or go for an urban photography vibe with New York’s stunning architecture, Central Park has it all!

In this guide, I will walk you through how to get married in Central Park, from wedding permits to wedding locations and more! So, let’s get to it!

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Central Park wedding

Before We Start: Can you get married in Central Park?

A question I see come up often is whether you can even get married in Central Park and the answer to that is a definite YES! 

Some locations require a paid permit if your whole wedding party (including the photographer and officiant) is larger than 20 people, however, there are also locations that are free to use. 

When going for the free-to-use locations, you must keep in mind that you may need to wait in line!

You should also consider getting a permit even if your wedding party is less than 20 people if your chosen spot is a popular one. A permit allows you to reserve the spot for yourself.

When you choose me as your New York wedding or elopement photographer, I will be happy to help you find the perfect locations and obtain the permits!

Restrictions and Requirements for Getting Married in Central Park

Since Central Park is a busy, public space quite a few restrictions apply! According to the official website, here are the rules in a nutshell:

  • No set-up (includes tents/tables/chairs)
  • No amplified sound (acoustic music is permitted)
  • No vehicles or pedicab drop-off permitted
  • No alcohol
  • No flowers, balloons, or decorations (luckily, Central Park is beautiful on its own!)
  • No banners or signs affixed to Park property or trees; no staking into the ground
  • The public must always have access to the park
  • Cleanup is required; the venue should be in the same condition as it was before the event

Now that all of that is out of the way, let’s get into planning your Central Park elopement or wedding!

My Top 5 Central Park Wedding Locations

  • Conservatory Garden
  • Shakespeare Garden
  • Bethesda Terrace
  • Wagner Cove
  • Cop Cot

Conservatory Garden

The Conservatory Garden in Central Park is New York City’s most significant public garden. This huge, six-acre garden is located at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street, and it’s a very popular wedding location. 

Since it is such a popular choice, you want to make sure to book it a year in advance if possible!

It’s also the most expensive permit to obtain in order to get married in Central Park, with total permit costs adding up to $500. You need to pay $400 dollars for the permit, and an additional $100 for photography.

However, weddings and wedding photography will, unfortunately, not be permitted there in 2023, due to ongoing restorations. You can keep up to date with the information here if you’d still like to get married there next year!

The next spots on the list are a bit less competitive and definitely less pricey!

Shakespeare Garden

Shakespeare Garden is a gorgeous Central Park venue perfect for a small, intimate wedding of up to 25 people. The garden is on the west side of Central Park between 79th and 80th Street.

Its four acres of gorgeousness are densely planted with trees, shrubs and a variety of flowers, making the perfect setting with its nature being the best decor. The scenery is going to look different depending on the season, so you can choose whether you prefer Spring or Fall aesthetic for your wedding.

As you can tell by the title, it’s named after William Shakespeare, making it a meaningful place for literature lovers to get married.

Bethesda Terrace

Bethesda Terrace is one of the most famous and most visited places in NYC, and you can have  a wedding or an elopement of up to 25 people. I absolutely love all the beautiful arches! It really is so pretty, however, it is definitely very touristy, so a private ceremony will be very difficult to arrange. 

The best way to access Bethesda Terrace is by entering 72nd Street and Central Park West.

Wagner Cove

Wagner Cove is one of Central Park’s lesser-known treasures. Again, it’s perfect for an intimate wedding of up to 25 people. It’s located on 72nd Street west of Cherry Hill at the edge of the lake

It’s located on the water and surrounded by nature, perfect for all nature lovers! Plus, it’s one of the more private locations available in Central Park, allowing your wedding to be truly intimate even when the park is busy.

Cop Cot

Cop Cot is a gorgeous wooden gazebo, located near the 6th Avenue entrance. If you’re planning a bigger wedding, this venue is a great fit for a wedding of up to 50 people!

Since Cop Cot is sheltered by trees, it also allows for a more private wedding experience, similar to Wagner Cove.

Another benefit of getting married in Cop Cot is that its canopy and roof offer some protection in case the weather turns sour on your big day.

Nearby Airports

The closest airports to Central Park are and New York-JFK and LaGuardia, however, Newark-Liberty airport offers better public transport links to get to Central Park. You can also rent a car or hop on a taxi, of course, that’s all up to you!

Best Time to Get Married in Central Park

Central Park is a popular location for both, tourists and locals, so I’d recommend getting married on a workday when it’s a bit less crowded.

When it comes to season, it’s always a personal choice for the couple! Each season offers a different and unique aesthetic for your Central Park elopement.

Normally Summer and Winter’s holidays are the more popular tourist seasons, so keep that in mind if you’d like to have an easier time getting married and taking photos at the more iconic locations!

Spring is a great time to get married in Central Park because everything is starting to bloom! In late March and early April, you’d be able to catch cherry blossom trees!

Fall is also a beautiful time of year to get married with all the leaves turning orange and giving you the best Fall vibes and aesthetic for your photos!

Hiba Eddine | New York Wedding Photographer

As you may have noticed already, Central Park is one of my all-time favorite locations! I hope that this guide to getting married in Central Park will help you plan the day of your dreams!

If you are planning your New York wedding or an intimate Central Park elopement, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’d love to meet you and help you create your dream experience! You can reach out to me here, and I will get back to you as soon as possible!

And if you’re looking for more useful resources on getting married in New York and wedding inspiration, check out my blog!

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