It sounds like a no-brainer: Outdoor nuptials set against some of New York’s prettiest backdrops for less than the cost of a seven-day MetroCard. Before you dial 311, though, be aware of the red tape and extra costs involved. The rules vary across boroughs and parks, but here’s what you need to know in order to pull off a hassle-free wedding.
Your $25 permit (apply online at https://nyceventpermits.nyc.gov/parks) entitles you to a gathering of 20 to 500 people, but it doesn’t make the ceremony private, so expect a few uninvited guests. With fewer than 20 people, you don’t need a permit at all.
Pray for sun. You’ll need prior approval to erect a tent, and permission is granted on a severely limited basis.
If your guests want to sit down, you might be allowed a few tables “at best” in Manhattan, says Parks Department rep Meghan Lalor. The rules tend to loosen in the outer boroughs.
To play amplified music, you’ll have to secure the go-ahead from officials in the Parks Department when you file for your permit; then you’ll need a separate sound permit from the NYPD ($45).
Forget about that celebratory cigar or Champagne toast. There’s no smoking or alcohol allowed on park premises. Also banned: throwing rice.
Some of Central Park’s top spots—Sheep’s Meadow, the Great Lawn—are off-limits. At Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Conservatory Garden, the $25 fee jumps to $400 (with a 100-person limit).
Oh, you want pictures too? At the Conservatory Garden, you’ll need a permit for that. A hundred bucks buys you 30 minutes of photo-taking with 25 people.
If you plan on pulling an Occupy Wedding and just show up without a permit, prepare to be bumped if someone else did the paperwork.