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Complete Guide on How To Plan A New York City Elopement Intimate or NYC intimate wedding

NYC Elopement photographer

NYC wedding photographer: Brooklyn engagement photosNYC Elopement Photographer: Brooklin Bridge Park

Increasing numbers of couples are choosing to elope or have an intimate wedding in the New York City area. For couples who do not live in New York or are traveling abroad, it is still challenging to plan a wedding in the city. A number of reasons make New York City a great place to get married. You will find all the answers to all the questions you may have regarding your elopement or intimate wedding in New York City in this guide

My approach to wedding photography and elopement photography, regardless of their size, whether an elopement for two or a wedding for 100, is the same, using an editorial modern style to document couple stories.

Basic Wedding Planning Tips For NYC Elopements And Intimate Weddings

Who: Newly engaged couples, couples without time to plan, those who want a secret wedding, couples who’ve always dreamed of an intimate wedding or don’t like traditions, couples who want to save money, couples who have always dreamed of getting married in a scenic location in New York City.

The benefit of an intimate wedding or elopement is that you also get to have all of your favorite people there as well. Elopements and small weddings can sometimes be a sensitive topic with family members or loved ones who want to be included.

When: Weekdays because why not? Take into account the possibility of holding your wedding on a weekday, since most of the events in Central Park occur on weekends. A good way to ensure increased privacy and fewer crowds are to schedule your ceremony to take place during the week. A micro-wedding or elopement is a great way to save money, which is often important to couples just starting out.

In New York City, spring and autumn are the most popular wedding seasons. Be creative with your wedding date, and you'll enjoy even better prices during months such as December, January, February, and March.

Where: Manhattan Rooftops and Central Park are the most popular locations for NYC elopements. Having an elopement wedding has many significant advantages, including the ability to have your ceremony at any iconic location in NYC and your wedding reception at any amazing restaurant in Manhattan or Brooklyn. It is a creative approach, and you can take advantage of it when you have a small number of guests.

Be prepared for bad weather with a backup plan

You should plan a backup plan in case of inclement weather if you are planning an outdoor ceremony. Ask your hotel if they can provide a lounge or rooftop for a quick ceremony or first look before booking.

Top Locations for an iconic elopement wedding In NYC

Elopement Photographer NYC: Dumbo Manhattan Bridge ViewNYC Elopement Photographer: Manhattan Bridge View Dumbo

Top Locations At Central Park For An Elopement Wedding

Engagement Photographer NYC: Bow Bridge Central ParkNYC Elopement Photographer: Central Park Bow Bridge

  • Bethesda Terrace and Fountain

  • Bow Bridge

  • Belvedere Castle

  • Conservatory Garden

  • Cop Cot

  • Gapstow Bridge

  • Shakespeare Garden

  • Summerhouse at the Dene

  • Ladies Pavilion

What Do You Need To Know About Getting Married In Central Park?

In order to get married in Central park with more than 20 guests, couples must apply for a Special Events permit with the Manhattan Borough Office. It takes 30 days to process a permit.

There are often events at the park that can create undesired traffic or crowds on your special day, even though the park is very spacious and holds plenty of people. Take note of any walks, marathons, concerts, festivals, or other events that are taking place and plan accordingly. You might be better off going to a permit-only area of Central Park if you are worried about tourists and crowds, such as the Conservatory Garden.

Elopement or intimate wedding planning in NYC: Our Top Tips

The Intimate Wedding: What Is It?

An intimate wedding is a smaller-scale celebration that typically has a guest count of 20 or fewer people. It also has a shorter and much more simplistic timeline. Intimate weddings will have a quick ceremony and a more casual and relaxed reception (if the couple opts for one at all).

NYC intimate weddings are trending because this style of ceremony can be catered to fit the couple’s location preferences. Whether you want an intimate Manhattan Rooftop ceremony, a Tie the Knot at Central Park, or a Daytime ceremony at Rockefeller Center's 260 Loft, one of NYC's most historic and iconic rooftop venues, an intimate wedding or elopement can easily be adapted to suit your needs.

Because it focuses primarily on the wedding itself, it can be handled on a smaller, more manageable scale. In contrast, micro-weddings usually place less emphasis on the guests and reception, while larger weddings place a greater emphasis on these aspects.

The Benefits of An Intimate Wedding (Micro-Wedding)

Couples who choose micro-weddings say they provide the same memories of a traditional wedding but are less stressful and more affordable. With its completely customizable nature, this unique event is an ideal way to personalize your celebrations.

Now, the traditional marriage format is evolving so rapidly that there are more names you may be hearing thrown around as you begin to plan. While some people are planning micro-weddings purposefully, others are spontaneously throwing together a “Mini-mony” (mini ceremony)

What Is The Difference Between An Intimate Wedding And An Elopement?

The intimate or micro-wedding remains more similar to a traditional wedding – just on a smaller and more manageable scale. Elopements are typically for couples who want more freedom to choose their location, guests, and details.

Your original impression of an elopement is a Vegas-style celebration. The couple has an intimate and slightly spontaneous wedding with (maybe) a handful of guests and no real planning. But this isn’t always the case. An elopement can blend traditional and non-traditional elements and become an elopement wedding – even if this contradicts your initial idea.

An elopement places all of its emphasis on the unity of the couple. It provides freedom for the couple to choose what they want at a fraction of the price and stress that either traditional or micro-weddings provide. That said, all of these types of ceremonies are ways to celebrate love and are focused on your happiness (your wallet may just be the happiest with an elopement!).

Pros And Cons Of Having An Intimate Wedding And Elopement

PROS: NYC Intimate Wedding

  • Lower Cost Than Traditional Wedding

  • Selective guestlist

  • Customizable

  • Micro-wedding packages (new at many venues as it becomes trendier!)

  • COVID-19 friendly

  • Relaxed feel

  • Intimate

  • Two different locations for the wedding ceremony and reception

CONS: NYC Intimate Wedding

  • Unable to invite everyone

PROS: NYC Elopement

  • Lowest cost of all wedding options

  • COVID-19 friendly

  • Creative location choice

  • Intimate

  • Not stressful

CONS: NYC Elopement

  • No reception after / you can still celebrate later a Reception with a friend

  • No wedding registry

  • No bridal party

  • Limited guest count

I can’t wait to bring your vision to life Looking for an Elopement Photographer in NYC

NYC elopement Tips & F.A.Q.

New York City now offers online or in-person marriage licenses.
Please visit for applications.
Couples must arrive on time for their in-person marriage license appointment. Marriage Licenses cost $35 by credit card or money order payable to the City Clerk. Marriage licenses are valid for 60 days from the date of purchase
In New York City Hall, wedding ceremonies have resumed, but only one witness is allowed (which is your photographer). It is required that you apply for your marriage license from the City Clerk in advance (online or in person) and hold the license for at least 24 hours before you can legally get married. The City Clerk releases appointments for marriage licenses and ceremonies every Monday at 9 a.m. EST.
I can help you plan your NYC elopement, provide you with a list of resources, including florists, officiants, and why not vintage taxi or cars, as well as hotel recommendations.
All of our elopement photography collections are fully customizable and starts at $800.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! Everything you need to know about planning an NYC elopement or intimate wedding. These are especially popular right now and will help you walk down the aisle stress-free and on budget.

It doesn’t matter the path that you choose to celebrate your love, photography coverage will remain exactly the same. In the end, we’ll cover every step of a traditional wedding, from getting ready to the getaway with your spouse (yes, you can still have your sparkler exit or use that convertible car!). Emotions will be high, and we’ll all be there for you.

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