It's winter in NYC.
While most couples who elope to New York City do so in the spring and autumn, that hasn’t quite stopped folks from coming to the greatest city on earth from all corners of the globe, even as the temperatures in Manhattan dip below freezing. There are concessions to make to eloping here in the winter, of course - four hours taking wedding photos in Central Park will make you go numb, for one - but with a few wintery tips, you can still have a magical experience on your wedding day.
The perfect winter elopement hotel: The Ludlow | 180 Ludlow Street, Manhattan
Fantastic all year round, but during the winter, the Ludlow stands out for two big reasons: 1. the roaring fireplace in the lobby is the perfect spot to curl up and have a cocktail with your new spouse. I’m a gin drinker, so I recommend the Ludlow Gimlet, made with two kinds of gin, cinnamon, crème d’apricot, and lime. 2. The Skybox Loft rooms that give you a 180-degree view of Manhattan get pretty hot in the summer with all those windows, but during the winter, it’s perfectly warm and sunny.
Getting around: Pride Limo
Waiting for an Uber is fine when standing on the sidewalk isn’t bone-crushingly cold. In the winter, however, getting a private driver to take you around to your ceremony spot and lunch or dinner reservation after is much easier. I got tipped off to Pride Limo by an event planner friend who had worked with them in the past. I'm going to be completely honest with you here: their website isn't totally polished, and you're better off calling. However, when recent clients of mine used them, we were sent a friendly driver and sleek, spotless black SUV that fit my couple, me, and my assistant perfectly. I highly recommend them.
Having your ceremony
Outdoors isn’t out of the question! If you’re feeling brave and don’t mind photos while wearing a coat, tourists in the back of your photos will be at a minimum. Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to get a new coat, like faux fur Michael Kors number Eileen rocked on her wedding day. For gentlemen, and those masculine-of-center, you can't go wrong with a classic black pea coat.
Otherwise, get a big hotel room that has space for your ceremony. They're often not much more expensive than a normal hotel room. Recommended: the Broome Penthouse . Book early, though - they only have 14 rooms.
If you want to go all out, snag a big suite, the the terrace suit at 11 Howard, or a suite at the Gansevoort Hotel. They’re expensive, but they'll give you swanky elopement photos and a ceremony that you never have to leave the hotel for. And you’re eloping. That means that instead of paying for the “chicken or beef” option for all of your second cousins, you’re splurging on a once-in-a-lifetime experience on the occasion of starting a new family.
If you want to go totally wild, the Four Seasons just opened a downtown Manhattan property in September of 2016, and holy hell, look at the Royal Suite. It can accommodate ten for a dinner party in case you have friends and family with you. They don't say how much it costs, but I'm betting a lot, being one of the listed amenities included in the suite is "limo or helicopter transportation to local airports". (Side note: how on earth is this a even a question? Helicopter, obviously.)
For free, we can duck into Grand Central Terminal if the snow is blowing, or inexpensively visit Top of the Rock and get married indoors, but beware: you’ll definitely attract a crowd! You can also ask your hotel if there’s a place that you can have a ceremony, which my clients Kym and Melissa did on Christmas Eve. They were given access to their hotel's event space for 30 minutes, which was just right for their ceremony and photos afterward. The light was amazing there. Thanks, Rivington Hotel!
Suggesting Per Se seems a bit obvious for a celebratory meal, of course, but I had to mention it because of the giant fireplace they have going the the middle.
The Writing Room, too, is, in this photographer's opinion, one of NYC’s coziest restaurants (when you call to make reservations, ask specifically for a room in the study). This is the perfect place to have your first meal as newlyweds. They serve high-end, laid back meals which, of course, is the aesthetic all of my clients hope for on their elopement days. The food is hearty, familiar, and perfectly executed.
If you do venture outdoors for photos, here are some tips for staying sane:
- Get a gown that is easy to gather up and carry around so you don't get soggy.
- Pack some handwarmers in your pockets.
- Shop for a coat you don't mind being in photos. Taking it on and off will be exhausting. Sue, pictured below, did this well at her elopement, choosing a mint green pea coat from J. Crew.
- Give up the fancy shoes if it's going to be snowy, or has been snowy within the past week. I knoooow. But trust this New Yorker: you need boots to deal with the icky NYC winter slush.