By far the most popular spot in New York for elopements or small ceremonies is Central Park. It is a treasured public garden among New Yorkers and familiar to those from other states and countries. The Park is filled with seemingly limitless areas for ceremonies meeting the preferences of any couple. Favorite wedding landmarks include the Gapstow Bridge, Ladies Pavilion, and Cop Cot Gazebo, among many others. A sometimes overlooked wedding spot is the Wagner Cove.
In many respects Wagner Cove is an ideal location for a wedding ceremony or vow renewal. It is easily accessible to the street and not too far “embedded” in the Park, meaning brides and grooms and their guests won’t need to hike great distances in wedding attire. The easiest point of entry is 72nd street and Central Park West. Yet, despite being in the “middle of it all,” it is relatively secluded. It is discretely marked with a small stone and plaque, with a set of stone stairs leading to a little shelter on the water. With a dozen or more steps, fashioned in a “L-shape,” it is an awesome entrance for a wedding processional. The tiny covering is open, but may provide some bit of covering should the summer rains appear. The Wagner Cove is surrounded by the pond, keeping onlookers away from the area. And because of the way it is situated on the pond, slightly below the main road, it provides terrific backdrops for beautiful photographs, with a variety of backdrops.
According to the Central Park Conservancy, Wagner Cove, named for famed New York politician Robert Wagner, is one of the oldest locations in the Park. It was erected in a long ago era, when boats ferried passengers between locations in the Park. Like the other areas in the Park, a permit is required for wedding gatherings of more than about two dozen individuals. However, with some flexibility and a willingness to consider “off times” (morning or early afternoon ceremonies or weddings during the week), the strategic bride and groom can use the facility for free! Even during popular times, like a Saturday evening during “high” wedding season, if a couple has some flexibility and is willing to accommodate those with Park permits, they can shoe horn their ceremonies between those in which permits are secured.
Take a look at some of the fun pictures of ceremonies that I have conducted there over the past several weeks—a young couple eloping from California, a “surprise” wedding vow renewal given to a Canadian wife by her beloved husband, and a long-awaited union for a gay couple from Louisiana. Each and every couple adored this spot. Consider it for your event during any season of the year!