City Hall Marriage License Bureau | NYC Park Permits | Locations & Ceremony Size
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Size guidelines for outdoor wedding locations 10 - 100 people

We have had a number of people enquire about holding LARGE family wedding (50+) in spots which are more appropriate for eloping. Please understand that most small venues CANNOT hold large groups, as they cannot see and hear, and may impede traffic.

The Parks Department actually has a ""Cheat Sheet" for weddings in Central Park, with sizes. Note that the sizes on this sheet seems to be different than some of the sizes they will quote - They say 10-30 for Cop Cot, though it holds 40 quite comfortably. They say 100 people for Cherry Hill, though I have heard that they may not accept this number, but steer you to the Great Hill or the Harlem Meer.

Here are my own size guidelines for popular spots, with the Central Park rules (CP in parentheses).

Brooklyn Bridge: Optimal size is 8 people. You could go up to a dozen, but that's getting crowded. The bridge is a pedestrian walkway, and cannot accommodate large groups.
Shakespeare Garden, Ladies pavilion, Wagner's Cove: (CP=20). We suggest under 12 people. The garden is quite small and has overhanging trees and a sloping floor.The ladies pavilion can hold 8-10 people inside, with a few more gathered outside. (CP=20). Avoid Saturdays in good weather, as the cheesy folk singer with the amplifier sings bad John Denver songs all day which can be overheard in the pavilion. Wagner's Cove is an intimate space, but can accommodate more people outside the rustic pavilion. The ground is rocky and slopes.
Wagner's Cove is best for about 12 (CP=20). Avoid in high August when the water is low and the mud is a bit smelly. Lovely in Spring. If you have 40 or more, go up the hill to Cherry Hill, which overlooks Wagners, and then go down to Wagners for some pics.
Viewing Platform, Prospect Park: 10 people
Top of the Rock, Rockefeller Center: 4-10 people (each must pay $20 elevator admission)
Merchant's House Museum garden: 10-20 people is best, more in the garden. Delightful.
Wagner Park, under the arch (Battery Park). About 20, don't impede pedestrians. Or book Giginos - same view.
Fulton Ferry Landing: Best for 12 - 30 people in a group, or stretch it a bit to 40 - but you may have to fight other groups.

Larger spaces, for more guests. Remember to BOOK your spot with the parks department over 20 people. Also, they may max out the number allowed, though in practice, you can fit in more people around the edges.
Cop Cot, Central Park: (59th street) Best for 20-40, max. The Parks Dept. says 25 max.
Cedar Hill, Central Park: Can hold 50, spread out.
The Obelisk: Central Park or Cherry Hill Fountain: Central Park: 20-80 people.
Bethesda Fountain: 20-40 (CP=25)(but avoid busy Saturdays in good weather because of the break dancers) Hard to hear over 40 people.
Quaker Hill, Nethermead, inProspect park, up to 100
Madison Park, Flatiron district: can hold up to 80 or more by the fountain, but 40 is better. Don't know what they enforce.
Fort Tryon Park: 20-50, can expand on the terrace to 80.
Battery Park: 10-50. Full of tourists in summer, but nice in off-season.

Note: The Vale of Kasmir in Prospect Park is being redeveloped, they have drained the ponds and turned off the fountain and it's looking very seedy and abandoned. If you like ruins at sunset, it's your place. But the mosquitoes were pretty bad last evening. 12-24 people is about max.


Private dining rooms as wedding locations

We are frequently asked for suggestions for a private wedding and a romantic dinner in a private dining room in NY.

This may be suitable for a small group - but not generally for an eloping couple. I'd recommend a ceremony in your hotel room and a private dinner in your room (with waiter service). We did this at the Hilton, and it was very lovely.

However, here are a few ideas. I don't have any connection to these places - though I've held events in some of them, but for those who have deep pockets, a small intimate wedding in a private dining room may be attractive. Of course a restaurant may require a minimum number of guests, as is the case with the Rainbow Rooms, (the private rooms UNDER the Rainbow room), Tavern on the Green, etc. When enquiring, you may not wish to mention "WEDDING" until you have discovered the base price - The term "private event" is perhaps more suitable than the loaded term "wedding", as a restaurant may assume you are planning a fancier event, (videographers, flower petals, candles, chuppah) instead of a simple quiet civil wedding.

Here are some random choices - these are simply private rooms, and may have minimum guest numbers or charges. For instance, the Ayza Lounge room can hold up to 80, but requires a deposit of 1800 and a minimum net charge of $3600. Remember, "private" may mean up to hundreds of guests - it doesn't mean intimate.

Private dinner for 2 in the wine vault at PhilipMarie in the village.
18th century dining rooms at Bayard's, Wall Street, nice atmosphere. Fireplace room for 12.
The private dining room at MOMA ($$$)
Primitivo Osteria A simple Italian in Chelsea. Not fancy. But they have a room for 15.
A not-so-simple room, the private dining room at Gramercy Tavern. Seats 22.
And another favorite high-end place, Del Posto, starts at 20 people.
Theoretically, TantiBaci in the village has a small little room in the back for romantic dinners. Many other restaurants have nooks and crannies - you probably just have to wander into a few places and look around until you find something you like. Just ASK if they have private dining.

We have listed some very nice small restaurants in the Right Column which we have used for actual weddings. Feel free to write us and ask about them.

You can also bet on well-loved NY institutions for private occasions: - Tavern on the Green, Cafe des Artistes (parlor), One if by Land, Two if by sea (not really private, but romantic). Keen's steakhouse has private rooms we have used for weddings, and so do many Irish pubs - which sometimes have surprisingly good menus. The Landmark Tavern has a back room and very nice upstairs room, and Morans in Chelsea (right by the High Line!) has a number of rooms, including a beautiful small room with a fireplace, suitable for a ceremony. They'll set up other rooms for you in different configurations. We have used many little restaurants in Brooklyn which have small back gardens and upstairs lofts. Restaurants are used to hosting birthday parties and anniversaries and meetings - a wedding is the same, really.