One Couple's Peony-Packed Elopement in New York City's Central Park
Karen and Didier originally planned to wed in Montauk, New York, however, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the couple to postpone those plans. With their Montauk wedding off the table, Karen and Didier pivoted to an elopement in Central Park in the heart of New York City. “Getting married in Central Park was an obvious choice for us,” says Karen. “Our wedding reflected our New York City love story through and through. We wanted to say 'I do' in the place that was the backdrop to our relationship, and we looked no further than Central Park. Having lived on Central Park West on the Upper West Side for the first three years of our relationship, we spent countless days and nights enjoying the magic that the Park had to offer. Running around the Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, picnics in Sheep’s Meadow, bike rides around the 6-mile loop of the park… we developed a deep understanding of each other’s hobbies and of each other. Due to the nature of the pandemic, we wanted to keep our wedding small and foster a sense of romanticism and intimacy. Didier and I spent a Friday morning biking through the park to choose our ceremony location, and we settled on a beautiful grassy clearing next to Dene Summerhouse on the Upper East Side. We had our Pastor Gil Hernandez from Saints Church in Glendale, Queens, marry us and infuse significant pillars of Christianity into our ceremony. We held our wedding lunch at Aurora, a rustic Italian eatery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in their stunning outdoor garden, a locale we shared many dates."
"The best part about having our wedding in Central Park was that the location spoke for itself," explains Karen. "Set atop a grassy and boulder-speckled hill, Dene Summerhouse was the idyllic location for our end-of-June wedding ceremony. The colorfully studded Central Park South skyline amidst crystal clear blue skies painted the background for our morning vows. We had a beautiful white and gold handmade acrylic wedding sign that read 'Welcome to Our Forever, June 26th, 2020, Karen & Didier.' Hand-strewn rose petals by my bridesmaids formed our aisle in the open clearing adjacent to Dene Summerhouse. Lastly, the gorgeous and talented harpist Nina Bogomas sat atop the hillside to the left of Didier, with her stunning harp and a flower in her hair, playing 'If I A’int Got You' by Alicia Keys as I walked down the aisle. What more decor could you ask for?"
Looking back on their Central Park elopement, Karen and Didier remark that their "most special moment of the day was absolutely our first look at Bethesda Terrace overlooking the lake at sunrise. My brother escorted me through the park through the entrance on East 72nd, down Terrace Drive, and down the grand steps of the terrace to my now-husband. The experience was surreal and extraordinary. Following our first look, our photographer shot incredible wedding portraits of us prior to our ceremony, which not only helped take the edge off our nerves but allowed us the unique opportunity to spend the morning in our favorite spots in Central Park including Bow Bridge and the arches at Bethesda Terrace Arcade. I will also cherish the moment that my dad saw me for the first time under the gazebo at Dene Summerhouse, and how big his smile was. One of the most iconic New York moments of the day as the bride, however, was walking up Park Avenue with my mom and sister en route to Dene Summerhouse and witnessing the entire block of construction workers stop what they were doing and whistle, congratulate, and cheer us on!"