Wedding in New York

Easy, cheap, stress-free: these are not normally words related to wedding planning. However, an increasing number of British couples get married in a certain city and find this holy trinity: New York.

With its iconic landscape and famous landmarks, Big Apple has an aesthetic appeal that is matched by easy access (direct six-hour flight) and even easier logistics; To get married, the city secretary is a license that can be obtained at least 24 hours in advance from the marriage bureau.

Rebecca Balcombe, 24, married her husband Neil in New York last May in front of close friends and family. “Egypt and I are engaged in a hot air balloon. So we are not doing normal things!” he says. Not wanting to spend £ 50 on guests in the UK, who were forced to invite a wider circle than they wanted, the idea of ​​getting married abroad immediately appealed to them. Once in New York they decided – “We’ve never been and always wanted to go” – that part of internet research was needed to set things up. “We literally googled New York weddings, and there are so many different wedding sites here.” They found a minister and a photographer, booked a hotel in Times Square, a local restaurant for the reception, and arranged for all the ceremonies to take place in Shakespeare’s Garden, Central Park, without leaving home. “It was incredibly easy to edit,” says Rebecca.

Alex Bartosiak-Smith and his wife John had a similar experience when they got married in Central Park 18 months ago. “It would never be traditional. We wanted to do it for ourselves. It was the most important day for us, not for others,” says John.

In the background of the Plaza Hotel, New York, a city they once knew and loved, invited only five guests to a heartfelt ceremony on the Gapstow Bridge, then dined at Central Park’s Boathouse, then served cocktails at a bar on The Roof. Peninsula.

The couple took their rings and clothes to England, and everything else was fixed by phone or online. “I called some restaurants from home and ordered them so simple. It wasn’t stressful,” says Alex. Hair, makeup and flowers were arranged in New York after the couple arrived a week ago. Determined to spend stress-free time, they even jumped on business class flights.

John adds: “Whenever we go on vacation, Alex does a lot of research. So the wedding was almost a holiday, but we had to do a little extra work.”

For both couples, the prospect of being married in New York was met in every way. “I wouldn’t change anything,” says Rebecca. Since the venue automatically kept guest numbers below, the total cost was nothing like the average price of a wedding in the UK of £ 21,000. Rebecca and Neil spent £ 9,000 for three people, including flights to New York and seven nights (other guests paid their way). Even with some places in the UK holding £ 5,000 before adding a treat, this may explain why many couples are attracted to the benefits New York has to offer. If you really want to keep things simple, you can have a ceremony at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau for just $ 25.

Photographer Brian Friedman ( took wedding photos of more than a hundred British couples who got married in New York in the last two years and understood the charm of his country. “I think they were as impressed with New York as I was in London or Paris. A lot of people probably want to do something closer, more private. They don’t want to be 200 people, there may be some policies about it. We want to come together a little bit. There is also a material advantage. “

Awakening of this special mark, Friedman sees it as his responsibility as a New Yorker to ensure that his British clients have a successful wedding: “When couples do local weddings, you don’t help them as much as other people. But these children come from 3,000 miles away, and I felt I wanted to take care of these people. “

He adds: “It’s a great way to get British people into New York City, and I think I did it because I grew up in New York. I see everything out of the corner of my eye, a sign that I know they’ll look at a cab or a bus or love it. It came naturally.”

Marriage on the Atlantic has pleased customers, but what about their families? “Everyone really supported us. It could have been accepted if they couldn’t come because it was a lot of money. But we knew important people would be there,” Rebecca said. “When we got home, a month later we had a party for all our friends and family, so we got the best of both worlds.”

By Caroline Bishop

The best advantage of getting married in New York? You are already on honeymoon.