*This is a paid post from an APW Sponsor*
There are plenty of good reasons to hire Jon Lemon of JC Lemon Photography for your New York City wedding. Like the fact that he can’t seem to take an unflattering photo of his clients, even if he tries. Or that all of his photos look like they were plucked out of a movie. But perhaps the best reason is, after almost half a decade shooting weddings in and around the city, Jon knows New York like the back of his hand. Which means he’s basically a walking encyclopedia of all the best things to do and places to go for seriously fun, non-cheesy wedding photos. Because let’s get real for a minute, who else does New York wedding photography like this. (I’ll give you a hint. It’s no one.)
For the past few years, JC Lemon Photography has been specializing in city hall elopements, only doing a few big weddings a year. But this year, Jon is getting back into capital-W weddings (with brand new packages and everything), and to honor this transition, he’s sharing some of his best-kept secrets for throwing a kickass New York City wedding, including a ton of unique venues and cool things to do around the city. Plus, JC Lemon Photography is offering a crazy 25% off all wedding packages to any couples who book him before the end of the month. (Which, if you’re doing the math right now, is a whopping $1,000 discount. Maybe you should just email Jon now before he figures that out?) So without further ado, here are some of JC Lemon Photography‘s favorite ideas for New York City weddings, in his own words:
Things To do
1. Rent a Checker Cab: Peter at Film Cars is a phenomenal person to work with, and a Checker cab is just such a classic New York touch. I recommend having transportation arranged ahead of time—unless you plan on taking the subway—so why not go snazzy while you’re at it?
2. Get a Straight Razor Shave Before the Wedding: I think all grooms deserve to treat themselves to a traditional shave at a local barber shop before walking down the aisle A couple of my favorite locations for a good straight shave include Barber Bart (with locations in Manhattan and Williamsburg) and Freemans Sporting Club (located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan).
3. Grab a Treat: There are literally thousands of options for grabbing a treat at some point in the day. Whether it be a ridiculously good coffee at any of our amazing coffee joints (Blue Bottle Coffee is hard to beat), a slamming cupcake (Sugar Sweet Sunshine is a cute shop in the Lower East Side with a great selection), or even a satisfying hot dog from a street vendor. And don’t even get me started on the great cocktail bars you can go to for some amazingly classy drinks (The Daily in SoHo is a winner).
4. Find Striking Locations for Portraits: The city is your playground; it’s worth it to explore some of the really amazing, unique locations that it has to offer. My favorites?
- Williamsburg: A hip section of Brooklyn to explore, with waterfront views and loads of graffiti.
- Four Freedoms Park: A relatively new park on Roosevelt Island, it has a simple, structured look. Accessible by tram (super dope), F line, or car from the Queens side. Permit required.
- Central Park Conservatory Garden: The most landscaped part of Central Park, it’s often overlooked because of its location on the north end of the park. Permit required.
- Gramercy Park Hotel: You have to be staying in the hotel to get access, but the rooftop bar area has an amazing collection of rooms to explore, including one with loads of light bulbs strung across the ceiling.
- Top of the Rock: Hands down, my favorite rooftop view of the city. And mixing some tourists into your photos is never a bad thing.
Places To Go (And Get Married)
5. Get Married in the Woods: There are two venues I’ve worked with before that stood out simply because they offer a wedding experience that you can’t get anywhere else in and around the city—a legit summer camp wedding.
- Cedar Lakes Estate: Run by a powerhouse pair of sisters (one runs logistics and one is chef to some amazing food), this cabin estate is a luxurious escape to the woods. Located in the Delaware Water Gap area, it’s a short two-hour drive from Manhattan and has multiple indoor and outdoor options for setup.
- Club Getaway: A singles getaway camp when not being used for events, this is a true summer camp venue (and just an hour and a half away from the city in Kent, Connecticut). They boast lake activities, archery, a zip line… even a giant trampoline! They offer an outdoor ceremony and tented reception, along with a campfire after party and brunch the following day.
6. Get Married at the Unisphere: An often-forgotten icon, the Unisphere is a great backdrop for a ceremony. It may seem off the beaten path in Queens, but it’s easily accessible by the seven train or by car and is rarely crowded. The visual impact of the Unisphere is hard to argue, and the rest of the park offers some great spots for portraits before or after the ceremony.
7. Get Married in Montauk: Escape the city for a cliffside wedding followed by a house party. Camp Hero State Park has cliffs overlooking the Montauk lighthouse, and Montauk has loads of great rentals to select from on AirBnB and other rental sites.
8. Get Married on a Farm in NYC: You can absolutely get a rustic farm wedding without leaving NYC. The Queens County Farm Museum is located on a forty-seven-acre section of Queens that is actually the longest continually farmed site in New York State, and is still an active farm today.
9. Host the Reception at a Local Restaurant: There is an endless supply of amazing restaurants in NYC to choose from, and pretty much all of them can be arranged to host private events. A few of my favorites include:
10. Find A Truly Unique Venue: The city has an amazing selection of unique venues. A few of the most unique venues I’ve photographed include:
- Jazz at Lincoln Center: Located in Columbus Circle, this venue is a world-class performance space first and thus only available for a few select private events each year. But holy shit.
- New York Athletic Club: Sure, this place is a private club, but with a Central Park South address and a terrace overlooking Seventh Avenue, it might be worth the price of admission.
- Metropolitan Building: Located in Long Island City, this warehouse loft–style building offers multiple floors of unique spaces, along with easy access to incredible waterfront views across the river to Manhattan.
For more of Jon’s tips on getting married in New York, check out How To Get Married in NYC and How To Get Married at New York City Hall. Or go visit Jon’s blog to see more of these weddings in action. But maybe the easiest tip we’ve got for you is that you should hire JC Lemon Photography for your wedding (because, well, did you look at the pictures?). Jon’s elopement rate is $1,600, which includes three hours of coverage with Jon as your primary photographer, plus retouched images in both color and black and white, and one year of cloud backup and a personal image release. Full weddings start at $4,750 for six hours of coverage (or just over $3,500 if you book before the end of the month!). And the best part is, when you hire Jon, all this NYC know-how comes built right in. Not bad for a free gift with purchase.