Wedding in New York

Easy, cheap and stress-free: these are not words usually associated with wedding planning. However, an increasing number of British couples find that this Holy Trinity is getting married in one particular city: New York.

Thanks to its iconic panorama and famous landmarks, the Big Apple has an aesthetic appeal that corresponds to its easy access (direct six-hour flight) and even easier logistics; all you need to get married is a license from the City Clerk's Marriage Bureau, which can be picked up at least 24 hours in advance.

Rebecca Balcombe, 24, married her husband Neil in New York last May in front of close friends and family. “We joined Egypt in a hot air balloon. So we don't do things normally! ”She says. Reluctant to spend £ 50 per head in Britain with the obligation to invite a wider range of guests than they would really like, the idea of ​​a wedding abroad turned to them immediately. Once they decided in New York – "We were never and we always wanted to go" – it was just a matter of internet research to get everything ready. "We literally have 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 reception restaurant, and arranged their ceremony to be held in Shakespeare's Garden, Central Park, all without leaving home. “It was incredibly easy to arrange,” says Rebecca.

Alex Bartosiak-Smith and husband John had similar experiences when they got married in Central Park 18 months ago. “It will never be traditional. We wanted to do it for ourselves. It was the most important day for us, not for anyone else, ”John says.

They invited only five guests to New York, a city they already knew and loved, to an intimate ceremony on the Gapstow Bridge in the background of the Plaza Hotel, followed by lunch at Central Park and later cocktails at the rooftop bar on the peninsula.

Couples chose their rings and clothes in Britain, while everything else was arranged over the phone or the Internet. “I just phoned from some restaurants from home and ordered them, just like that. There was no stress, ”says Alex. Hair, makeup and flowers were arranged in New York after the couple arrived a week in advance. They were so determined that they would have stress-free time, even spraying 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 with a little extra work. ”

Both couples who became husband and wife in New York met their expectations in every way. "I wouldn't change anything," Rebecca says. And because the location automatically kept the number of guests low, the total cost was nothing like the average price of £ 21,000 at a wedding in the UK. Rebecca and Neil spent around £ 9,000, including flights and seven nights in New York for three people (their other guests paid their own way). Because some places in the UK charge up to £ 5,000 before adding catering costs, this can explain why many couples are attracted to the benefits of New York. If you really want to keep things simple, you can even hold a civil ceremony in Manhattan's marriage for just $ 25.

Photographer Brian Friedman (www.bfreedweddings.com) has taken wedding photos for over a hundred British couples married in New York in the last two years, and understands the attraction of his hometown. "I think they are as fascinated with New York as I would be in London or Paris. Many people may want a more intimate, strange matter. They don't want to have 200 people, some politics may be involved." that they want a smaller assembly. There's also a little financial advantage. "

After cutting this special niche, Friedman considers it his responsibility as a New Yorker to make sure his British clients have a successful wedding: I felt I wanted to take care of them. "

He adds: “It's a great juxtaposition to get the British into New York's urban landscape, and since I grew up in New York, I think I can. I see things around the corner from my eye, I see a taxi or bus or a sign that I know they will love. It came naturally. "

A marriage over the Atlantic certainly pleased his clients, but what about their families? "Everyone really supported us. If they couldn't come, it was acceptable because it was a lot of money. But we knew important people would be there," Rebecca says. "When we got home, a month later, we had a party for all our friends and family, so we got really the best of both worlds."

From Caroline Bishop

And the best advantage of a wedding in New York? You're on your honeymoon.