Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! I ended my professional year yesterday with the Grand Hyatt Hotel rooftop wedding of Sarah and Chris. This couple from the UK started their romance in New York City, and it was very fitting that we began their wedding day with photos around town that held memories for the couple.
Wedding Portraits in Iconic NYC Locations
The day started at the Soho Grand Hotel. The couple fueled the shoot with a few glasses of bubbly before I even started snapping the shutter. Shooting as unobtrusively as possible, I focused on the couple both in the bar area and in the moody elevator lobby.
Next up was the High Line Park. As everyone knows, the High Line is amazingly popular with tourists. The way to navigate around the tourists is to position the couple on the railings of the High Line, thus making it seem like we had the entire place to ourselves. Patience is always key. (And I think the champagne helped.)
Our next destination was our most problematic location. The couple originally wanted to get married at Lincoln Center. Unfortunately, Lincoln Center is very territorial with its property. Sarah’s white wedding dress was like waving a red flag in front of a bull, and we were quickly spotted by an overeager security guard. He basically chased us off the property.
My tip to any couple wanting to take photos at Lincoln Center is to know that you only have one chance to get the perfect photo. Strategize your trip so that you start your photos around the side of the property (near the pool in the back with the modern sculptures), then go for your shot in front of the fountain. You can take photos of Lincoln Center from the public sidewalk in front of the property, but that’s it.
With daylight fading fast, we headed over to Central Park. Again, this is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. Avoid the high traffic areas such as the Bow Bridge and Bethesda Fountain at all costs. You will never be able to get the photos you want in these spots unless you are there at 8:00 a.m. on a Monday morning. Instead, enter the park at Central Park West and Sixth Avenue, then walk along the lake to Fifth Avenue. You can get some lovely, natural shots of the park that also include the city skyline in the background – the park’s most unique feature.
Grand Hyatt Hotel Rooftop Wedding –
At 4:00 p.m., it was finally time for the ceremony. When Sarah and Chris told me they were getting married on the roof of the Grand Hyatt Hotel, I assumed they meant a bar area in the hotel. Nope, they actually meant the rooftop. The couple serendipitously lucked into booking the space by chatting late last night with Rebecca, one of the bar’s waitresses. Rebecca had heard about the hotel taking guests up to the roof on a case-by-case basis, and she made it her mission to get Sarah and Chris married on the roof.
With Isaiah, our helpful assistant guest services manager leading the way, we took the back route to the roof, and you can see for yourself what an amazing space it is. You feel like you could reach out and touch the Chrysler Building next door. The space used to be a garden, and I believe the Grand Hyatt is working towards using the roof as a wedding venue for future brides. This is definitely a ‘New Yorker-in-the-know’ insider’s tip that everyone with a small wedding should consider as a venue. Rev. Mary-Rose Engle was our intrepid officiant, and she is a delight – both personally and professionally (this marks our four wedding together!).
And by the way, the hotel could not have been more gracious towards Sarah and Chris: they offered the couple a complimentary bottle of champagne, hors d’oeuvres, and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Also, note the rose petals covering the roof entrance. Nice touch, Rebecca and Isaiah!
Portraits in Times Square
Finally, we tackled Times Square for our last photos. I’m thankful this was our last stop as the traffic from tourists and the blockades put up for tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations was a bit overwhelming. A shout out needs to be made to our fearless driver, Richard, from Paris Limousine Service who was outstanding behind the wheel. It was a wonderful end to a wonderful wedding, and I wish Sarah and Chris all the happiness in the world as they start their new lives together. Raise a glass of the bubbly to this couple tonight as you celebrate the new year.
After ‘re-upping’ with some champagne at the Grand Hyatt Hotel bar, we hit our final two destinations. First, some quick photos at Grand Central Terminal. While posing in front of the iconic Grand Central clock, a little girl saw Sarah in her dress and was overcome by how pretty Sarah looked. I’m sure Sarah must have appeared to this little girl like the Frozen princess come to life.
Interested in staging your own epic elopement in NYC? Drop me a line and let’s chat.
Ask for Rebecca at the bar!
Officiant – Rev. Mary-Rose Engle, ph: 646.872.6085, firstname.lastname@example.org
Driver- Richard at Paris Limousine Service, ph: 917.282.8379, email@example.com
If you would like to see more images from my wedding photojournalism portfolio, then please visit my website – KellyWilliamsPhotographer.com