I continue to be amazed at the number of couples who elope to NYC. And with the passage of the Marriage Equality Law a year ago, the number of couples eager to travel to New York has increased exponentially it seems. While most of these eloping couples come to me for a “short and simple ceremony,” over the course of our conversations we are able to brainstorm about all sorts of ways that I can help them in not only customizing the ceremony, but customizing the experience. Since I have a latent “event planning gene” and actually have many professional meeting planner friends, I consider these wedding additions, all in a day’s work. As I am dedicating part of this day to such an event, I thought it might be interesting—particularly for those considering an elopement—to hear about how I work.
Not long ago I was approached by two women from Missouri who wanted to elope to New York. As the wedding entourage seemed to grow on a daily basis, the brides had a good bit of juggling to do, half way across the country.
This morning I rose at 3:30 a.m. to prepare for the 10 a.m. wedding. I had offered to help the ladies provide a little background music for the ceremony as well as tunes for the processional and recessional that they will use as the stroll up and down the stairs of the Belvedere castle. They provided me with about 15 supremely popular and romantic songs including Train’s wedding anthem “Marry Me” and Carrie Underwood’s “for Mama.” As I downloaded the tunes I prepared and checked three different portable speakers for the I Phone, one larger than the next. Obsessive? Perhaps, but I know enough about event planning to know that even with a little ceremony and simple equipment, things go wrong and you have to be ultra-prepared. There’s no such thing as too many disposable batteries and everything needs to be charged up for the ceremony, including the Celebrant.
As the sun came up, I prepared a special gift for the brides, an anniversary album which I had customized for their New York nuptials. I am constantly gathering such items for gift bags and wedding day remembrances. Hopefully in future years, as the brides fill out their anniversary album, my brides will fondly recall their time in New York.
When the clock chimed 7 a.m., I made my way to Two Little Red Hens bakery, to pick up a customized cake for the brides. The bakery, located on 2nd avenue, between 85th and 86th, is my favorite location for little cakes for such celebrations. Their six inch cake is a perfect size for a post wedding cake sharing…..they are beautifully decorated and, according to my recent groom Mike Amburn, “the best I’ve ever had!” As I arrived, I noted that the shop opened at 7:30, not 7….could there be anything sadder than an officiant with her face pressed against the window, begging to come in?
With cake (and coffee) in hand, I returned home to gather up all of the remaining items I needed for the perfect little elopement: Customized copies of the brides’ vows for vow exchange….check. Champagne and glasses for post wedding toast…..check. Bubbles, confetti poppers, flags, and “Just Married” sign for post wedding celebration……check. Umbrellas for the guests….check. And, the personalized ceremony, of course, I set off to Shakespeare Garden, a romantic spot in the Central Park for the wedding. Let the games begin!