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If You're Having Your Wedding at a...Landmark

  • New York Public Library. Photo: Fred Marcus Photography.
There's something magical about marrying in a setting that transports you to another time-one of those iconic places that exist in history books and give New York its color and intensity. Although the city's cultural institutions, generally speaking, are shared by all its inhabitants, recognized the whole world over, by wedding at one of them, the library, Chelsea gallery, Beaux-Arts museum, or Broadway theater can belong to you alone for just one night. In other words, marry at a landmark and you make its history a part of your own. Of course, along with the magic comes the reality: The cost of taking over such a space can be prohibitive, and because many of these places are open to the public, your wedding will need to revolve around the venue's schedule, from the time you start the setup to the moment when you clear out. Then there are the curious passersby, peering in from the outside-after all, who wouldn't want to see a bride in her magnificent wedding-day gown ascending the steps of the New York Public Library? But these are small inconveniences for the couple determined to stake a claim to one of New York's most beloved sites and become a part of the rich landscape of the city itself forever.

THE LOGISTICS:
Landmarks have many idiosyncratic rules. To avoid surprises, follow these tips: Get a list of regulations up front; you'll discover everything from what flowers are allowed to whether flash photography is permitted. Know the extent to which the space is handicap-accessible, where guests can go, what they can't touch. "The Council on Foreign Relations' ballroom has big portraits of men all over the walls, and you can't easily remove them," says designer Karen Bussen. Also, inquire about curatorial changes. "I designed a party around three huge artworks, and two weeks beforehand, they changed the installation." Ask about restoration projects-or risk drilling and scaffolding the day of. You'll have to pay guardian and insurance fees and submit insurance certificates for each of your vendors. So ask if the venue has a list of preferred vendors and check that they're up to your standards.

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