Lots of people have been contacting us about this meme lately (NBC, WSJ, EMPIRE NEWS)
. Some people even called this a "gorilla wedding". Hah! We decided to write some RULES!
1) If you've invited over 20 people, ALWAYS try to get a permit for a location, or talk to Security IN ADVANCE. Check out the location on the same day of the week ahead of time, and see who you will be bothering. NEVER try to do a large wedding without a permit, or the poor security guards will have to act. It's their JOB, and your wedding will be ruined. DO NOT SWARM museums, stores, monuments.
2) DO NOT BLOCK public thoroughfares - streets or pedestrian walkways, like the Brooklyn Bridge, The Highline, The Piers. Take your wed PIX on those places, but don't tell 50 people to crash it and be obnoxious.
3) For a crowd, consider holding a "surprise" wedding, not a guerilla / flashmob. Invite people to a bar, club, your house, your condo party room, to a restaurant, for drinks, an engagement party, whatever. Then invite us in, we'll ask people to gather round the bar, and we'll have a lovely fun surprise wedding. BUT ALWAYS TELL YOUR MOTHER. You don't want her to faint, or go to the washroom crying because you didn't care enough to tell her.
4) If you're outside, it's NATURE. Don't bring chairs, high heels, gazebos, balloons, amps. It's not a theme park, it's real. Stand in a circle, be respectful, take nothing, leave nothing. remember Smokey the Bear.
5) Rent a double-decker bus, and you can take the wedding party with you, get married on the top, get off for pix. Don't swarm.
6) Just go have a picnic on Coney Island. Then, pop out the flowers, play some live guitar, whip out your wildflower bouquet, change into your polkadot party dress and get married. Then play badminton.
7) Black tie? Rent a private dining room in a restaurant. Tell them it's a 'private party' (don't say "wedding"), ask for champagne, ask everyone to stand, ask the Officiant to come to the front table and 'ta da' - "May I have your attention? Would you all now rise for the -- wedding of Miles and Morris!"
8) Rent a tourboat. Or rent some rowboats in the park and row to the middle and watch from the boat.
9) Or rent roller skates or ice skates and do a deal with the rink people between the zambonis to have a little 10 minute centre ice event. Then, you'd better skate!
10) For a larger, surprise wedding, we do a lot of weddings at existing public events - holidays, birthday parties, festivals where people have already assembled to celebrate. Just ADD a wedding. We have married couples on public holidays before the fireworks, at halloween parties, at dawn on a holiday morning when the traffic is zero and the mist is rising on the Brooklyn bridge. Those are times when people are off work, and ready to GO somewhere for an event anyway. So make use of existing gatherings -- Getting the drift? Don't be a flashmob queen. You aren't IMPROV EVERYWHERE. This isn't a Youtube video. Think of others. Don't abuse public spaces. Don't make the poor security schmuck have to intervene. Don't impose your party on other people. If it's a crowd, then either RENT a space, outside or inside (be creative!) and you don't have to tell people the spot in advance, if you want to be mysterious. And you can still be casual and use card-tables and beach blankets and a pickup band and sparklers and jam jars of flowers - but don't TAKE OVER public spaces with your mob.
And for a guerilla ELOPEMENT, be discreet and fun. Speak quietly. Stand in a circle, away from the rush. Concentrate on each other and what you are saying. Choose your words and vows carefully. It's your wedding - not a punk'd prank. Enjoy, and be happy.
When we're planning a ceremony, we frequently encounter couples who insist on "bare bones" - they usually say "we're shy", or "we don't like fuss", or "we don't like public speaking". Of course we try and follow the couples wishes, and create a ceremony that they want. We have 'bare bones' ceremonies you can use, and we can design a very simple, quick ceremony for you. I have also timed out how fast a ceremony goes, just so you can get an idea.
However, I often get a comment that "the ceremony went by just too fast". I'm not surprised. When you're trying to AVOID those long weddings you've been at where the talking is interminable, it seems like a good idea to cut everything but the essentials - 'do you?, yep,I do', then 'take this ring, I pronounce, kiss, hello new couple, and let's open the wine...'
However, here is a post from other bridal blog, where the bride discusses her surprise that wedding may have been 'too short', and it lacked the involvement of the people who had been invited:
Something that really surprised me about our wedding, is that the ceremony went by waaaaay too fast. This is because it was short-short-short. Intentionally. Ben and I are not terribly sentimental people. We find that our love and commitment is expressed on a daily basis, and while it was important to us to make this commitment in the eyes of our community of friends and family, we did not want it to be a big production. Short and sweet and on to the party pu-lease. BUT, I found that because it went by so fast, it was hard to take it in. I did not have time to look out at the faces of my guests, of our families and take in these little joys. [I was too busy crying like a baby and trying to get through my vows!] I suppose some sort of audience [is that the right word?] interaction part of the ceremony might have helped that."
We often suggest that the ideal length for an informal, stand-up small wedding is about 16-18 minutes. That includes the introduction and welcome, a reading or two (lighthearted and simple), a mention of those present and those who could not be there, and usually, an offer for the guests to support the couple and wish them well. In fact, this sequence often takes the place of giving away which is an antiquated tradition.
Even if your wedding is small and informal, it's still your MARRIAGE ceremony. Take a moment, and think about what you would like. Your officiant will be able to take care of the writing and speaking, so you really don't have to memorize anything or do any public talking that is difficult. But consider what you would like to say or have said, who you would like to mention, how to include any friends or family in your brief ceremony (presenting the rings? reading a short passage or letter from an absent guest? holding your rings to 'warm them with their love' before presenting them? offering a short musical piece, either a cappella singing or instrumental, signing the license and marriage certificate as part of the ceremony, etc.). You can always edit the ceremony BACK, but you can't extend it once you're set - and give yourself time to breathe and focus and enjoy the ceremony and make it meaningful to YOU as well as to your guests. That's what it's all about.
".....My husband and I got married on the beach back in September with all of our friends and family in attendance. After mailing in our license, we learned that our officiant was not registered in the State of New York and so our marriage was not legally recognized. Now we need to get married legally and are looking for a registered officiant to perform the required ceremony and sign the paper work.
All the wedding grannies are registered officiants in New York City AND New York State, and we're happy to confirm this -
It's simple. These are ballpark figures for a simple Central park wedding (or Brooklyn Bridge, etc.) We have heard HORROR STORIES of simple park weddings that are far above these rates. Be watchful. All you really need to do is pay an officiant's fee, and a $25 permit. DON'T PAY MORE!
Park Permit - Apply Online, $25. You can often have this mailed to your officiant's address.
You just go down and pick it up together 24 hours before the wedding. Simple. No-one needs to GO WITH YOU. All you are doing is showing your ID and purchasing the license.
Marriage Officiant - Fee varies, generally $300-400 depending on requirements, time, location. Photographer - Fee varies, depending on amount of time and how pictures are processed and delivered. Shop around! Ask your officiant for a photographer they have worked with.
Flowers: Pick them up at corner florist or go down to Chelsea.
If you go up to the Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center, you will need to pay the admission/elevator fee for your wedding party, and the officiant. The Conservatory Garden and the Brooklyn Bridge Park (parts of it) may be more expensive. But the permit for all others parks is only $25.00
And yes, a tip is always appreciated.
Permits: Brooklyn Bridge Park
OK everyone, I guess too many people starting following us
Please note: As of December 1, 2011, there is a new non-refundable fee of $400 for wedding ceremonies held at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Please see details below.
- Wedding ceremonies can be held at the Pier 1 Waterfront Promenade/Granite Prospect, Empire Fulton Ferry boardwalk, and Main Street pebble beach only.
- Fees: there is a $400 non-refundable site fee for all wedding ceremonies, in addition to the $25 non-refundable application fee.
- 2 wedding permits are issued per location per day: one between 8am and 2pm, another between 2pm and 8pm.
- No equipment can be used for weddings at Brooklyn Bridge Park (i.e., staging, microphones, tables, podiums, tents, amplified music).
- A maximum of 5 folding chairs can be brought for elderly or infirm guests.
- Wedding ceremonies cannot exceed 1.5 hours and may have a maximum of 100 guests.
- Pier 1 waterfront promenade: weddings must occur as a standing event and may only be held on the southern section of the Granite Prospect. At all times a path must be maintained on the waterfront promenade that allows for through access by the general public.