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  • Writer's pictureAmy Katz

5 Essential Elements for a NYC Outdoor Wedding

One of the things we absolutely adore about New York City is the sheer variety of incredible wedding venues you find sprinkled throughout the city’s boroughs. Even though it is a major metropolitan hub, that does not mean that you’re limited to indoor spaces when it comes to wedding celebrations. From lush green gardens to contemporary rooftops, if you want an outdoor wedding in New York City, there are lots of breathtaking options to choose from.

Especially with the onset of COVID-19, many New York City brides have opted to take the celebration outdoors, and we’re loving it. While outdoor weddings come with a few more logistics and take some fancy footwork to pull it all together, they are always some of our favorite events to plan.

Here are our AKE top 5 essential elements to consider when you’re planning an NYC outdoor wedding…

Find the Perfect Outdoor NYC Wedding Venue

As we mentioned, the number of outdoor wedding venues in New York City will surprise you once you start your search. One thing to consider is what style and vibe you’re going for on your big day. Do you want it to be whimsical and bohemian, or chic and contemporary? The sky is (literally) the limit when it comes to your outdoor wedding in NYC. Here are a few of our favorites:

Urban Garden Wedding Venue: The William Vale

Specifically, Vale Park at The William Vale Hotel in Brooklyn. This meticulously groomed outdoor garden space spans 15,000 square feet on the property’s second garden level. You can have that lush verdant feel, right in the middle of a concrete jungle. Did we mention the breathtaking Manhattan views?

Industrial Glam Wedding Venue: Liberty Warehouse

Liberty Warehouse’s namesake is the Statue of Liberty – why you ask? Well, this one-of-a-kind warehouse venue has perhaps the most incredible view of Ms. Liberty, face on as she looks towards France. The venue is situated right on the water’s edge with expansive views of New York Harbor, which makes for super stunning and unique wedding shots. The venue dates back to the late-1800s and has been impeccably transformed into a chic event space with panoramic city views and plenty of space to accommodate large celebrations.

Romantic Garden Wedding Venue: The New York Botanical Garden

Perhaps one of the most versatile outdoor venues is The New York Botanical Garden. Whether you want a dreamy and romantic rose garden ceremony, cozy photos as the autumn leaves swirl around you, or a super unique Victorian-area greenhouse in case of rain – this venue has it all.

Whimsical Rooftop NYC Wedding Venue: 620 Loft and Garden

What many don’t know is that the rooftop of the iconic Rockefeller Center is actually an event space, 620 Loft & Garden. The whimsical rooftop boasts breathtaking 360-degree views of the city. You have Rockefeller Plaza and the iconic Prometheus statue down below and St. Patrick’s Cathedral towering above – truly unparalleled city views, as you’re right in the middle of it all. String some romantic globe lights and add cozy luxe seating areas among the lush green space and beautiful blooms and it is a magical backdrop for your big day.

Quintessential NYC Wedding Venue: Central Park

Is there anything more quintessentially NYC than Central Park? It’s one of the most iconic areas of the city, and it’s just generally a gorgeous place to spend time and escape within the bounds of Manhattan. There are a variety of spaces you can use too, so you can choose a spot that is special to you and your fiancée for your big day.

Historic NYC Wedding Venue: Tavern on the Green

Nestled in the heart of Central Park, we thought this beautiful spot deserved its own feature. Tavern on the Green is a restaurant that was built in 1934 and exudes distinctive vintage character. Hidden amongst the lush greenery and trees that make Central Park so special, you can get married among nature, right in the heart of New York City. There’s so much room for creativity, from hanging greenery chandeliers to dreamy lighting – you can make it your own while surrounded by unique architecture and character.

Urban Contemporary NYC Wedding Venue: Tribeca Rooftop

Tribeca Rooftop is one of the largest outdoor rooftop event spaces in the city with over 14,000 square feet of event space that is truly a blank canvas for your big day. Right in the heart of Tribeca, the venue boasts plenty of indoor space in case of rain, but also glass ceilings so you can still have the feeling of being outdoors, dancing the night away under the city sky.

Select the Right Vendors

Now, when choosing vendors for your outdoor wedding in NYC, the one thing you really want to make sure you have on your list of questions is, “Do you have experience with outdoor events?”.

While this may seem like a silly question, there are a lot of vendors who have never worked an event outside of a ballroom, especially in the city.

There are so many elements in an outdoor wedding that a vendor may not have to deal with during an indoor event. For example, how to keep the food at the proper temperature on an outdoor food station, how to snap the best shot with the sun dictating the lighting situation, or how to set up speakers for the perfect acoustics without walls as a sound barrier.

So, just ask! You’re going to be happier on your big day if you have vendors with outdoor event experience.

Have Fun with Design Elements

One of the best parts of an outdoor wedding is how much fun you can have creating your ideal outdoor oasis in terms of wedding floorplan. Here are some outdoor wedding design ideas we love:

Outdoor lounge furniture

This is especially fun for a boho wedding, matching gorgeous rugs with mismatched vintage furniture for guests to enjoy automatically adds a little flair to your décor game.

Stunning draping to create an outdoor “space”

Draping is not only beautiful, but it’s a great way to create a little privacy and break up open spaces at events with a lot of open areas.

Gorgeous outdoor lanterns & dreamy lighting

Lighting is one of the easiest ways to add a little romance and character to any space. Line the aisle with candle-lit lanterns, use string lights to add a little vibrancy when the sun goes down, depending on the venue you may even be able to get away with a hanging chandelier.

Don’t Forget About NYC Wedding Permits & Contracts

When you’re getting married in a place like a public park or outdoor space, there are some logistical things to consider that you may not have to think about with a standard indoor venue.

The main thing is permits to use the space, for example if you’re getting married in Central Park you need to submit and application with a fee for a permit, in some areas like the Conservancy you need permits for that specific area as well. There are a lot of things to navigate here, and we’re happy to help.

Make Sure You Have a Rain Plan

This is a must. If you’re selecting a venue that is out in the elements, you need to make sure there is a backup plan.

If you’re having a minimony or a micro wedding with mostly local guests, you may want to consider a rain date – although that is never anyone’s first choice, some of the outdoor park venues will allow a date change for rain.

More popular is the possibility to move indoors if you must, or have a tent put up at a moment’s notice. All these things need to be worked out and communicated to vendors well before the wedding day.

Let’s Dream Up Your Outdoor Wedding

Right now, outdoor weddings are all the rage for good reason. While we love a good NYC outdoor wedding, we believe anywhere can be a perfect backdrop for an outdoor wedding. We’ve traveled the world to plan outdoor weddings and can help you with logistics and planning regardless of your locale.

Get in touch to chat about how you can plan your perfect outdoor wedding in NYC, or in that beautiful, romantic destination you’ve always dreamed of! We can’t wait to help you bring your vision come to life, stress-free.

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