It’s idyllic, lush, classic, majestic, quaint, and romantic; a whole other world of color, flora, and fauna in the middle of the concrete jungle that is New York City. If it wasn’t real, it would seem to have been conjured up in a dream. That’s what makes Central Park so special, and it’s what makes it one of the most magical places to get married. In no particular order, here are our top 12 favorite spots in Central Park to tie the knot.
To help you out with your planning, we’ve gone ahead and rated each of them on a scale of 1-5 for beauty, privacy, and weather (meaning, how likely you are to feel the rain or snow/how far of a trek it is from the street or shelter). A rating of a 1 being not-so-great-at-all in the given category, and a 5 being holy-awesome-wow-amazing.
1. Ladies’ Pavilion
The quaintest pastel pavilion you ever did see, just off the main path of the park at the 77th street entrance, nestled behind tall trees and flowering bushes, and overlooking the lake where you’ll spot lots of turtles sunning themselves. It’s the prettiest little shelter that can fit up to 20 guests. Plus, it’s absolute perfection when you can get married outdoors without the worry of rain. We’ve officiated close to 300 weddings here in all four seasons and it always rocks the look.
Just behind the pavilion itself is this ancient rock expanse that can fit a small group. If you’re with the right crew and feeling daring, it’s a really special spot. And if you hire the right photographer *shoutout to Karen Obrist for this gem pictured below* you’ll get some gorgeous photos of where the water meets land and where the trees meet the sky.
Note: if you’re feeling like THIS is it, jump on it fast with a $26 park permit application. With a quick and easy application, you can reserve a spot in the park for your wedding day, and this is one that gets scooped up fast. So, apply early. Another note, you must have a U.S. address to apply for a park permit but if you don’t have one, no worries, we will happily apply on your behalf.
Beauty: 5 Privacy: 4 Weather: 5
2. Wagner Cove
This sweet little gazebo is an absolute Central Park treasure. While Wagner is in a central location, close to Central Park West, Bethesda Terrace, and Loeb Boathouse, among other park icons, it’s actually pretty hidden so privacy is high here. You actually have to walk down quite a few stone steps to get to it and your ceremony will be out of view of the general public – especially when the trees are in bloom. Since the entrance to the staircase is so narrow, we’ve actually seen a few of our couples tie a ribbon across it with a “wedding in progress” sign.
The actual pavilion is pretty small, just enough room for the two of you and your officiant, however guests can easily gather in the wide space around the entrance.
*Pro tip: If you’re exchanging rings, keep them in a pretty lace or mesh drawstring bag as opposed to a spring box, because there is literally nothing between you and the edge of the lake!
Beauty: 5 Privacy: 5 Weather: 3
3. Conservatory Gardens
English charm meets Upper East Side elegance, the well-tended Conservatory Gardens do not disappoint. There are lots of places within the gardens to get married, like under the wisteria pergola in the Italian garden, under the magnolia trees in the English garden, or beside the beautiful lily pond and Three Dancing Maidens sculpture in the French Garden.
*Pro tip: At $400, the permit application is a bit pricier for this location, and the process is a little different. Read up on that here.
Beauty: 5 Privacy: 4 Weather: 4
4. Bow Bridge
We refer to Bow as the unicorn bridge because its architecture and design is unlike any other in the park and the striking contrast of its cream-colored façade against the forest-y backdrop makes us catch our breath, not unlike if we were to stumble across a unicorn in the middle of Central Park. Hey, anything is possible right?
Not only is this a gorgeous place to get married, but there is almost always a saxophone player positioned at the entrance, playing love songs. This is one of the busier spots, however, if you get here early in the morning you may be able to have the unicorn bridge all to yourself. If it’s too crowded for your taste, worry not, because there are so many little hidden gems where you can get married with a lot more privacy (see our next feature fave).
Beauty: 5 Privacy: 1 Weather: 2
5. Secret spots around Shakespeare’s Garden, Bow Bridge, and Bethesda Fountain.
Not the technical names but, you know what we mean! These hidden nooks are so special – almost no one is in the know about them so you won’t have to compete with another couple, many are centrally located so you’ll have access to lots of photo opportunities, and a few of them even look out onto Bow Bridge, Bethesda Fountain, and the tree line set against the old-school architecture of the Upper West Side.
Beauty: 4 Privacy: 5 Weather: 2
6. Bethesda Fountain & Terrace
Enchanting and artsy, dramatic and iconic. This famous location has so many excellent options for the backdrop of your wedding ceremony—whether it’s right below the angel statue, adjacent to the water overlooking Loeb Boathouse, off to the side on one of the majestic stone staircases, under the tall and decorative ceilings of Bethesda Terrace, or at the very top overlooking it all.
Rain or snow? You won’t feel a drop, when you duck under the expanse of the Terrace.
Beauty: 5 Privacy: 1 Weather: 5
7. The Mall
Shrouded by hundreds of towering American Elm trees, The Mall is famously shown in many Central Park movie scenes, from the likes of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Devil Wears Prada, and Friends with Benefits. It’s the ultimate Central Park icon. There are several different spots along the path that are perfect for a ceremony. You’re also right by the Naumburg Bandshell which is a unique and authentic location as well.
Beauty: 5 Privacy: 2 Weather: 1
8. Gapstow Bridge
With a more rustic look and feel than Bow Bridge, Gapstow is where you’d imagine Cinderella’s horse-drawn carriage crossing to get to the ball. It’s straight out of a fairytale, especially if you can make it here during Spring or Fall when the foliage peaks. There are stunning views everywhere you turn, musicians playing, artists painting, and couples marrying. Gapstow Bridge is also surrounded by lots of sweet little unnamed nooks to have your ceremony if the bridge itself feels too crowded.
Beauty: 5 Privacy: 3 Weather: 2
9. Cop Cot
All the charm you never knew you needed but definitely always wanted! Even the name is adorable. The Cop Cot is an enclosed structure made entirely of twisty branches, the roof entwined in climbing vines. Inside are two semi-circular wooden benches that have been built into The Cop Cot; they can fit about 12-15 people seated comfortably. When the sun shines through the openings in the gazebo, it dances on the floor below. Depending on the season, which affects how lush the plant growth is around the rooftop, some rain does get through but it provides pretty decent coverage.
The Cop Cot is one of the few Central Park locations that we recommend for larger parties of 20 or more. Definitely put in an application early for this spot, it gets reserved quickly, especially on the weekends.
Beauty: 4 Privacy: 3 Weather: 4
10. Treehouse for Dreaming
Another really special gazebo with a similar look and feel to Cop Cot but slightly smaller and less central. You’ll walk up a steep path, and take some stairs until you arrive under the dreamy (pun-intended) covering. If you can’t snag a permit for Cop Cot, the Treehouse for Dreaming is an incredible alternative, with perhaps a bit more privacy.
Beauty: 4 Privacy: 4 Weather: 4
11. The Pond
Say your vows under the swaying branches of majestic willow trees, overlooking a pond that’s often accompanied by resident herons and cranes, and beside a magical winding path that’s perfect for your first look or a private moment before the ceremony begins. Further uptown than the other spots, and a short walk from Central Park West, this location is a bit quieter and definitely lesser known to tourists. June, September, and October are our favorite months for weddings at The Pond.
Beauty: 4 Privacy: 4 Weather: 2
12. Shakespeare’s Garden
Straight out of a storybook, at the foot of a castle, and a stone’s throw from the famous Delacorte Theater, this garden is full of seasonal flowers, herbs, and blooming trees. Whether you get married at the top of the stone steps, in the garden, or up on the balcony, this spot will inspire wonder and romance around every turn. The Great Lawn is right around the bend, and is an excellent spot for a picnic and people-watching.
Beauty: 5 Privacy: 3 Weather: 2