The ultimate New York City fairytale wedding that of Christine and Ben. From their Central Park garden ceremony and pretzel stand stop-off to literally stopping traffic in Time Square, it was what we imagine Ross and Rachel's big day would have looked like! Captured by the oh-so-talented Tim Frawley, it was a breath-taking day full of love and laughter.
Wedding date: June 3rd 2017
Wedding location: New York City
Number of guests: 54
Bridal Party: One matron of honour, one bridesmaid, two best men
Ceremony time: 2pm
Reception time: 6pm
Tell us about how you met and about the proposal…
Ben and I met at work in August 2011, and started casually dating in September. Ben was a little apprehensive and actually called it off a few weeks in because he was worried about dating someone at work, but after hearing I had been asked out on a date by someone else he came around quickly and asked if we could give it a proper go. We kept things pretty quiet for 3 months because we weren’t sure if it was acceptable at an advertising agency, but everyone was very happy when they found out about us. We worked together for a year before he was poached to work at a competing agency.
We were dating for about 2.5 years before moving in together, and had spoken often of our dream to live and work overseas. Leveraging my tenue at the agency, I asked for a transfer to the New York office, and received one within months.
Fast forward to 2014 and we were on our way to New York City! We lived here for 2 years and a month before our 5th dating anniversary I finally asked Ben if we were going to get married. Little did I know the months ago he’d already arranged for the proposal to happen!
Ben proposed at Yankee Stadium and completely caught me off guard. We had awesome seats right behind home plate, and he went off to buy a drink. While he was gone, I heard cheering and clapping - a guy near where I was sitting had just proposed! Ben comes back and I tell him what had happened, and proceeded to rip into the idea – “its not a very romantic place, are they mega sports fans? Maybe they’re yankees fans? Etc…” He (knowing what was about to happen) starts to panic and try and sublty defend them “Don’t you think it’s iconic New York though? It’s Yankee Stadium!” To no avail.. He knows that the message is about to come up and I look over and notice that I can see his heartbeat in his neck!!! I put my fingers to his racing pulse and look at his face all the while saying “You wouldn’t do that to me would you?” He is looking straight up at the big screen as ‘Christine Watts, wanna get married? Love Ben’ flashes up on to the screen.
We both burst out laughing and can’t stop. While laughing I’m completely mortifed but of course absolutely thrilled at the same time. He pulls out the ring and says “So? Is that a yes?” Of course it was.
Where was the location of your wedding ceremony and reception?
Since moving to New York, and living on the Upper East side, I think I’ve spent more time in Central Park than any other place here (apart from the office, and sleeping). It truly is the most beautiful place and helps to make the craziness of the city much more bareable. Naturally, as Aussies, we wanted to have an outdoor wedding – and Central Park was the perfect place. We didn’t even try to think of anywhere else. We found a gorgeous little wooden structure called the Cop Cot that was one of the original structures from when the park was built that was in a great location and fell in love with it. It was perfect.
Not being the most formal people, we wanted our reception to be relaxed and casual with good food, good drinks and the chance for people to easily chat and mingle. All of the reception venues we found were way too formal and really didn’t have the vibe we were looking for until we found a gorgeous little garden terrace for hire on an event website. It was the first place we saw and decided it was perfect. It was all DIY (apart from the catering) and we only needed to string some fairy lights to make it perfect.
What was the vibe or theme of your wedding?
I would say it was a relaxed summer garden theme – with a Manhattan twist.
How did you find your location?
Central park has a booking system on their site, where each location has a guide of how many people you can fit there. We wanted somewhere cute but within walking distance of the reception. You just needed to fill in a permit form and pay the super small fee and it’s reserved for you!
The garden terrace we found on an event space hire website.
How easy or hard was it to plan your wedding?
It was easy because we wanted it to be relaxed and fun and both didn’t really care about going overboard on decorations etc. Because our family and friends are mostly in Australia, we took it all on ourselves (and didn’t really want to pay for an event planner, as Christine has a small background in that area). Christine (with her digital advertising experience) built a website and designed the digital invitations We thought that would be easiest since so many people were invited from Australia. The hard part was that we had to do everything personally, while working full time and looking after a special needs foster dog we have. Both working in advertising means long hours, so it took up most of the weekends between the engagement and wedding.
Where did the majority of your guests stay?
Most of our guests booked through AirBnb. Manhattan is notoriously expensive – especially in summer, so they booked either on the island or in surrounding boroughs; Queens or New Jersey.
What are you glad you did on your special day?
I’m glad that we set aside a lot of time for photos and also did a scouting mission with Tim (our amazing photographer) beforehand. It made the day so much easier and relaxed. We realized that the original places we had thought would be great (the meatpacking district) were full of roadworks so weren’t going to be an option. Tim also headed down to DUMBO to take a look for some more locations and found some awesome places there that we hadn’t even considered!
We also made sure to collaborate with him on timing to ensure we had enough time to spend in Central park doing photos with the bridal party, then head down to Times square to take some in the street there.
I was also so glad that we didn’t have the ceremony too early so we had enough time to get ready in the morning without feeling rushed – and spending that with our best friends was the absolute best thing in the world. My bridesmaid Jacqui made the most epic spotify playlist that set the day off on the right foot, so we happily jammed into the big day.
Describe the reception space...
It was a private garden terrace, 7 floors up, in Hells Kitchen. It was small enough to feel intimate, but big enough that people could move around and feel comfortable. We strung up fairy lights as the only lighting, and had a wonderful sunset that cast a beautiful glow over the afternoon.
Because of the gorgeous greenery we only had a few flower arrangements as decorations, and as a surprise for the guests (rather than a photobooth) arranged for a New York cariacature artist to sketch their portraits!
What advice would you give a couple planning a destination wedding in this location?
When you’re looking at venues, make sure to ask for the full amount they would charge (i.e icluding tax, grauities etc). Also make sure to do some research into different boroughs like Brooklyn/Queens as you might prefer a view over the city, rather than being in the city itself.
What was your favourite part of your wedding day?
I loved that the weather was perfect. We were so stressed in the lead up as the week before it was forecast to storm all weekend so we went into panic mode 3 days before and bought 30 big white umbrellas and 2 huge white tents. My dad (and the photographer) said not to stress until the day before because the weather always changes, but we had to be prepared just in case – because it was all outside!
Photography: Tim Frawley from Weddings By Tim
Ceremony: The Cop Cot, Central Park
Reception: Private Garden Terrace in Hells Kitchen
Wedding Rings: Bride – Etsy & Groom – Blue Nile
Bride’s gown: Steven Khalil
Bride’s shoes: Badgely Mishka
Bride’s accessories: Earrings – Samantha Wills
Hair stylist: Blow Dry Bar
Makeup artist: The Bride
Bridesmaid dresses: Shona Joy
Bridesmaid accessories: Real Gem earrings, Nine West shoes
Groom’s and groomsmen suit: Ralph Lauren
Groom’s shoes: Ted Baker
Groom’s tie: TieBar
Groom’s watch: Roarcraft (Etsy) – engraved with a special message from the bride
Celebrant: Sophie Peppernell (Groom’s younger sister)
Cinematographer: Ashley Trenkle
Entertainment: Solo Guitarist