A Treehouse for Dreaming

Sarah Ritchie location, NYC Insiders Tips, Real Stories, wedding venue

During the summer, the most popular wedding spots in Central Park are jam packed with couples from all over the world. Locations such as the Ladies Pavilion, Shakespeare Garden and Wagner Cove may seem like revolving doors on weekend afternoons. However, there is a secret “Treehouse for Dreaming,” known also as the Dene Summerhouse. 

Around 5th Avenue at about 67th Street, one can gaze atop a little hill in Central Park to find a perfect gazebo, which is much the same style as the very popular Cop Cot Gazebo in the south side of the park. The elevated sweet spot features beautiful views all around, with some stunning 5th Avenue properties on the east side of the structure, offering an iconic New York City photo opportunity.  It is lovely in every season:  in the summer it is luxuriously covered with trumpet vines and their beautiful orange blossoms.  In the autumn it is a perfect area to capture the stunning fall foliage.  And, if lucky enough to have a winter ceremony during a snow storm, it is literally magical. 

Like Cop Cot, the Dene Summerhouse provides ample seating for wedding guests in need of a rest. This tree house, of sorts, is nearly always empty, so it is perfect for a secret elopement or small ceremony. I was first introduced to the location, years ago, by a young New York couple who scouted out the area for their spring 2011 wedding.  Since then I’ve done scores of ceremonies there—for private elopements to micro-weddings with around 30 guests.

Our Treehouse for Dreaming is accessible from the 67th and Fifth Avenue entrance to the park, as well as 69th and Fifth Avenue.  Both the north and south entrances to the structure offer an ideal set up for a processional and first look.  The location also has the added benefit of being close to other landmarks inside the park (the Bethesda Fountain and Bow Bridge for instance), while being steps away from Fifth Avenue, where photographers can catch the energy of New York’s Upper East Side.