From the very first glimpse of its iconic skyline, through our taxi window as we approached New York back in 2010, we totally fell in love with the Big Apple! We have returned many times thereafter with every visit being different as there is forever something new – so much to see, discover, explore and of course eat! And when it came to deciding where we wanted to get married it was obvious – just the two of us, 73 floors up, outside on the amazing 360 viewing deck of Top of the Rock … and on a beautiful Spring day on 10 May 2012 all our plans came together and it was perfect!
TIP 1. It couldn’t be easier to get married in NYC as once you have gotten your marriage licence, in person from the City Clerk, it is valid after 24 hours and you have 60 days to use it! We had so much fun getting our licence as it involves a fair bit of hanging around at City Hall and so you see couple after couple, who have chosen to get married on the premises, come and go. Truly fascinating! Firstly everyone in the building is in good spirits and ready to celebrate so a happy, party mood is there from the get go. Secondly with a constant stream of bride & grooms parading by – alone or with varying numbers of guests – we really did witness the whole spectrum of personal tastes in wedding attire, wedding etiquette and wedding photo poses – an eye opener and a lesson in ‘each to their own’! Entertaining, poignant, joyful and touching it was wonderful to experience the celebrations around us! TIP 2. But you don’t have to get married at City Hall as in New York you are free to marry wherever you fancy (in Central park, at any venue, in any indoor or outdoor space you choose) which is unlike the UK where you can only marry in licensed venues/rooms.
And so it was the viewing deck on top of the Rockefeller Centre for us! An important TIP 3. you do not need a wedding planner or agency to get married at Top of the Rock, as much as you may be told by said planners who charge big money for organising it! If you are a small party – we were the two of us plus our celebrant and photographer – then you just buy a standard ticket, take the lift up, choose your spot (we wanted to overlook the Empire State) and get married – perfect and simple!
TIP 4. whoever you book first – your photographer, celebrant, make up artist, hairdresser, driver – it’s more than likely that they have contacts and recommendations of people they have often worked weddings with and this was the very handy and helpful case when we come across the photography of Brian Friedman – as soon as we saw his contemporary, reportage styled images we knew we wanted him and thankfully he was available on our date! He was so friendly, calm and helpful and his love of New York just shone through in his photos. He also put us in touch with the very patient and kind Celebrant Julie Laudicina who he had worked with on many a wedding … an added bonus too – as staff at Top of the Rock recognise regular wedding celebrants and photographers – so we were ushered past the queues and security to a private lift which was not pre-arranged but very much appreciated!
One thing we also had in mind was to ride in a vintage yellow taxi cab and again Brian put us in touch with the brilliant Peter Yannello at Film Cars who was great fun, super knowledgable of Manhattan and Brooklyn as he drove us to the best landscapes and view points for our photographs … along with playing Sinatra and lots of wonderful Rat Pack tunes – as we drove from one iconic location to another – it was wonderful! Peter has loads of fantastic vintage cars and has hired them out and driven them in many a famous film shot on the streets of New York. As you can imagine he had lots of stories and insight to tell, he was the perfect host!
The variety of backdrops that New York has to offer is vast and varied – busy, bustling street scenes / quiet, picturesque green spaces / funky, graffiti walled areas / iconic skyline views / taxi lined city avenues / atmospheric cobbled streets downtown / framed vistas on the Highline / panoramic views from rooftop bars … whatever you are after it’s there! TIP 5. We stayed at Ink48 which is a fabulous boutique hotel Midtown and overlooking the Hudson River and in our opinion has the best and most extraordinary views of the skyline from it’s roof top terrace bar – not to be missed! So be your wedding day big or small, simple or extravagant, traditional or unconventional – go with your heart and have your day however a crazy idea or dream you may have! And if that includes New York as a destination then we highly recommend it!
You might also be interested in out post about New York food … just click here NYC food tips
And check out our ‘spotted’ image also from the ever fascinating New York … just click here SPOTTED #1
All images are Copyright © 2012 Brian Friedman