While I always love photographing weddings in City Hall or Central Park, sometimes it’s fun to branch out a little bit and pick a ceremony spot for your elopement that’s a little off the beaten path. Here are five places I think you should consider getting married. (And y’know… letting me photograph them.)
(DISCLAIMER: I don’t know any of the rules/regulations for getting married at any of these places, so you may want to look into it before you make solid plans. OR you can just show up and get married and hope for the best – I’m a big believer in asking for forgiveness, not permission, when it comes to photography.)
1. The Roosevelt Island Tramway: I have never actually been on the tram, and I can’t think of a better excuse to go than for an elopement. I would probably do a little research and pick a time of day when the tram is least crowded, so we’ll have a little space. How amazing would it be to get married as you float over the East River with all of Manhattan spread out around you? Pretty amazing. One caveat – you have to hire Judie Guild as your officiant for this one, since I know she’s dying to officiate a wedding on the tram. The other thing to think about is that the tram ride only lasts three minutes long, so you’ll either need to have a really short ceremony, or maybe the nice tram-workers will let us stay on for a few rides until the ceremony is over. Although there are logistics to work out with this one, I think it would be amazing, and I think you should do it.
2. The Empire State Building at Midnight: During the day, the lines at the Empire State Building are way too long, and the upstairs way too crowded. (The better place to get married for an amazing view during the day is Top of the Rock.) But I’ve been on the ESB late at night and it’s so peaceful. You go straight up, hardly anyone is there, and below you the city twinkles happily below. It’s such an incredible place late at night. I think a midnight elopement on the Empire State Building would be absolutely spectacular.
3. The Staten Island Ferry: Clearly I have a thing for unique modes of transportation as ceremony sites. I really think the Staten Island Ferry would be such an interesting place to get married. No, it’s not exactly the prettiest boat in the world, but the views from the ferry are unbelievable – lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Statue of Liberty. Also – the ferry is free and the ride is 25 minutes long, so you’ll have plenty of time for the ceremony you want. I would avoid rush hour, and pick a time in the middle of the day when the ferry is least crowded. I actually think it would make the most sense to meet in Staten Island, do the ceremony on the ride back from Staten Island to Manhattan, and that way once the ceremony is over, we can hop off the boat and take portraits in lower Manhattan.
4. Governor’s Island: I LOVE Governor’s Island. It’s not only beautiful but the history is just amazing. It’s only a ten minute ferry ride from lower Manhattan, but when you arrive, it’s not like you’re in the city at all. It feels like this sweet, small town. You just can’t believe all these beautiful, old houses are sitting (mostly) empty in New York Harbor. There are so many unique spots for a ceremony and portraits there. Governor’s Island is only open weekends and holiday Mondays, from May 26th to September 30th. I would recommend a weekend in September, when it’s not quite as hot out and the island is usually a little less crowded than in the middle of the summer. To be honest, this is the place I want to photograph an elopement more than anywhere else in New York City, so let’s make it happen.
5. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: This one is seriously tricky, but I believe it can be done. The Met, it goes without saying, is gorgeous. It is full of beautiful art in beautiful rooms, and I believe it would be easy to find a quiet spot for an intimate two person ceremony. (This is not one for big groups.) But the Met employees are – understandably – finicky. I’ve been kicked off the stairs outside for shooting portraits, so I’d imagine inside would be a thousand times more difficult. But worth it. You just need some serious ninja skills, and to do some reconnaissance beforehand. I think to pull this off, you’d need to pick a weekday. The week prior to your wedding, go to the Met on the same day/time as your ceremony will be the following week and see what the crowds are like. See if you can find a quiet corner without security guards lurking around – this will be our ceremony spot. The next week we’ll all meet at the appointed day/time – but I don’t think you can be wearing a big, obvious wedding dress, and you probably shouldn’t bring any flowers. And I definitely won’t be pulling out my camera until we arrive at the ceremony spot you picked out the week before. The ceremony should be short and sweet, and then we can sneak around taking portraits. Clearly, I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I’m not going to lie – I sort of want revenge for them kicking my bride and groom off the stairs outside last year, and I think photographing a wedding inside is the way to get it. (I have problems. I’m sorry.)
Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas for thinking outside the box when it comes to picking a spot to get married. I also always encourage you to pick a place that just feels like you, and if you’re really more of a Central Park person, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! Central Park is beautiful. But I think getting married in any of these spots would make a pretty amazing story and make for some beautiful wedding photography.