Flickr Photo by Nitis Florist
Flickr Photo by Nitis Florist


So you want to elope in NYC and you want it to be special.  After reading my last post, you realize that City Hall is not what you imagined it to be or perhaps Central Park feels a bit overdone.  You and your partner are exceptional people.  You deserve a wedding just as fantastic.

Also, what if it rains?

Below are some unique locations for a wedding ceremony.  Some are going to require stealth.  If you arrive clearly looking like a wedding party, be prepared to be turned away.

However, if you’re willing to wear a non-traditional (but still fierce!) dress, skip the flowers and bow-tie, and keep your party small (just you two, the officiant and a photographer with a point and shoot camera), then these options could work for you.

7 Unique Ideas for Your NYC Elopement

#1: Your Hotel Suite.  Whether you’re from out of town or local, consider booking a hotel suite in the city.  Some venues have penthouses with great views or even terraces that could make an ideal atmosphere for your ceremony.  Places to consider: Hotel Giraffe, The W Hotel, Waldorf-Astoria, The Plaza, and The Broome Hotel.  Some hotels may even have phenomenal lobbies that you could use.  If you’re already staying as a guest, management may be more likely to accommodate.  Otherwise, if you try a walk-in, be stealthy or risk being turned away.

#2: Museums.   Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA are beautiful locations.  You’ll get awesome photos here. 

High stealth factor involved.  If you look anything like a bridal party, you will be turned away.  Small numbers are crucial here.

#3: Grand Central Terminal.  Grand Central is one of the most spectacular locations in the city.  I had my engagement photos taken here so I can tell you from experience that the security guards are a pain and you can’t take photos on the track.  That being said, my photographers were accustomed to red tape and were more than comfortable continuing to take pictures despite being spoken to a few times.  Clearly, they have never been arrested for this.  So live on the wild side!

Downside:  it’s very crowded and people will stop and photograph you.

#4: Outside the NYPL.  We’re talking about the Stephen A. Schwarzman building.  You know, the one with the lions? Officially, you can’t take photos inside the NYPL unless you’re getting married inside the library and have already secured permission through proper paths.  According to this photographer, you can get married and take photos outside and she has never encountered trouble doing so without a permit or getting permission.  If you want to take photos inside, you have to be stealthy.  Also, it’s possible to get away with a quick ceremony on an upper balcony, just don’t look bridal.

#5: Governors Island.  I’ve never been here but it could be a great location because of the views and it’s peaceful.  No cars allowed which automatically makes it awesome.  Historic architecture and art exhibits make for a lovely ambience.  It could be a great summer option.  The island opened May 28th for the season and is only a 5-minute boat ride from lower Manhattan.

#6: Staten Island Ferry.  It’s free and you get to be out on the water with a sea breeze.  It’s not ideal if you have a large party but could work if it’s just the two of you.  From what I remember, though, the boat is ugly.  You could get some great skyline photos as a backdrop, but expect a lot of black and white photos for your album.

#7: Coney Island.  If boardwalks, carnival rides and Nathan’s hot dog are your idea of a good time, consider it.  You’ll get great photos and after the ceremony you can spend the day there together having fun which is very important.

For more options on privately owned public spaces that you may want to consider for a NYC elopement, check out this site.

What do you think of the options above?  What works for you?  What would be a turn off? 
Comment below or drop me a line at

This post is part of the A Desi New Yorker Intimate Wedding Inspirations series. You can read the first post in the series here.

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