If you want to get married in NYC this winter, here are my best tips and ideas on how to have a fun and memorable experience. These suggestions are for couples looking to elope or have guests under 20 people. (but I’d really try and keep it under 10 until we know more!) I suspect indoor options will be limited this winter due to the coronavirus and possible restrictions may complicate things further. However, if you don’t mind the cold and want to marry in winter 2021, read on!
Keep it really small (under 10 people) and invite more people last min if conditions allow.
Pick a ceremony location unlikely to be effected by restrictions and outside, like a public park, hotel room with a terrace, your own balcony or backyard or a friend’s. Some location ideas here and below.
For celebrating, plan for multiple scenarios and don’t plan too far out as restrictions to indoor dining can change plans. I suggest having a back-up idea (like ordering fancy take-out at home or to a hotel) instead of planning to dine in restaurant. You can also keep the celebration with guests simple like a champagne toast and cake for now. Or make a reservation at one of these private rooftop dining cabins at Pier 17! Also, check out this article full of tips from the New York Times on managing winter outdoor weddings.
Get a license online with Cupid. Follow the NYC Clerk on Twitter to know the status of appointment openings. Get an appointment for less than 60 days before your preferred wedding date as that is usually the expiration period but it is being waived by executive order 220.20 issued by Governor Cuomo. (and I suspect that will continue for the foreseeable future)
Outside is the safest environment but in the winter it will be cold! Temperatures above freezing (including wind chill) are tolerable for awhile outside with warm attire. Hand and foot warmers help! Below freezing, time is best limited to brief stretches (like 20 mins) with breaks inside a vehicle or building. I suggest having a hired car stick close for warm-ups if the forecast calls for below freezing. There are some public indoor locations like Grand Central that will still be accessible during the winter. It offers some great photos locations and warmth. Even the subway is an option and depending on restrictions, the public areas of stores and malls like Empire Stores in Dumbo.
Government restrictions could limit gatherings in public and shutting of all non essential businesses. That may make even the simplest of arrangements impossible and require postponing. Know vendor cancellation and refund or rescheduling policies and make a back-up plan.
Plan to have the wedding and portraits outside. Dress for the weather! We can always take some without coats. (Bring warm boots in addition to open toe shoes.) Having a friend act as an assistant to hold coats and other items is a fantastic idea in winter! (I can only hold so much and we don’t want to dirty that pretty new white coat you bought!)
Weekdays are generally less busy in public places like Central Park etc.
Livestream the ceremony for those who can’t attend.
If you want to get married in NYC this winter, embrace the weird times! Order matching masks for guests. Have everyone wear a specific color. Order wedding flowers. Bring thermoses of hot beverages for guests or do a Champagne toast. Hire a vintage car or limo. Reserve a fabulous hotel room or suite. Don’t forget the cake or cupcakes!
Winter light is beautiful but the sun sets early. Check your date here and plan to end your photo shoot at sunset in select locations or about an hour before otherwise.
Do: Outdoor ceremony and photos around NYC, 2-6+ hours
Note: The secret to having a safe and fun winter elopement in NYC is keeping warm. Hiring a limo or vintage cab for the day will provide you a place to get warm in between locations and provide additional photo opportunities. Imagine getting married at your favorite hotel’s terrace or in a beautiful winter landscape, then visiting all of the best photo locations around the city. All the while drinking champagne and staying warm!
Select my Soul Mate Collection or an extended elopement session like 4 hours. Should be just the couple or a few guests. Must wear masks in transport!
Do: Brief ceremony and portraits up to 1.5 hours, or add in Grand Central (2 hours) up to 20 guests but may be limited to 10 people by restrictions
Note: As of now there are no indoor locations in the park that off a place to warm-up. If above freezing and with proper attire, this should be fine. If below, adding a warm-up break in a vehicle may be needed. (with masks of course)
Do: Outdoor terrace ceremony and photos around South Street Seaport, 1.5+ hours, may be limited to 10 people or further by hotel
Note: Last February I photographed a lovely intimate wedding at the Mr. C Seaport on the terrace of their Presidential Suite. It was actually quite warm that sunny morning. Perfect for an elopement or intimate wedding. The hotel also has a fabulous in house restaurant and bar so you can have in room dining if in restaurant dining is closed. If conditions limit gatherings, the hotel may not allow gatherings so check when booking what their policies are.
Other hotels with great terraces: Soho Grand, The Whitby, Crosby Street Hotel
Do: Outdoor/indoor terrace ceremony at the Library Hotel and photos around Midtown Grand Central, Public Library (outside), 1.5+ hours, check hotel policies on gatherings when booking
Note: The hotel boasts a lovely rooftop terrace with a glass atrium. I believe the windows can be opened to allow ventilation in addition to keeping it warmer than outside. The hotel also offers food and beverage options. Would be a great location for an intimate gathering and small reception in winter. If kept under 10 people, it should comply with restrictions but again, who knows what we will be dealing with.
Library Hotel Terrace Example Photos
Planning by Meridian Events