10 New York City Wedding Ideas That Haven’t Been Done to Death


JC Lemon hooks you up with all his best-kept secrets

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

NYC Wedding Ideas

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.)

NewYork-Wedding-APWJCL-28NewYork-Wedding-APWJCL-33NewYork-Wedding-APWJCL-8Portfolio-Elopement-20150710-013NewYork-Wedding-APWJCL-31NewYork-Wedding-APWJCL-40NewYork-Wedding-APWJCL-26

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

NewYork-Wedding-APWJCL-7

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?

NewYork-Wedding-APWJCL-12

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).

YfiFPvhOmXnLNe54Y2DxiJniRXL8w1O1dVT1i1rP99s

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).

NewYork-Wedding-APWJCL-30

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)

NewYork-Wedding-APWJCL-2

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.

NewYork-Wedding-APWJCL-11

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.

NewYork-Wedding-APWJCL-15

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.

NewYork-Wedding-APWJCL-16

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.

NewYork-Wedding-APWJCL-23

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:

Portfolio-Wedding-20150710-007

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.

NewYork-Wedding-APWJCL-18

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.

Book JC LEMON PHOTOGRAPHY before the end of the month and recive 25% off your photography package. click HERE to get in touch with Jon today!

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • Sarah

    The Balloon Saloon picture looks like a Wes Anderson movie :)

  • jhs

    A lot of these are really gorgeous, but am I the only one who thinks taking photos at a famine memorial may not be in the best taste?

  • Annie

    This is a nice list, but I definitely don’t think doing a celebratory photo shoot, however introspective or loving, at the Irish Famine Memorial is at all appropriate. It’s a lovely space at the edge of the island, but it is meant to be a space for reflection and respect for the two million people who died of starvation and disease, or were forced to emigrate. I think posing for wedding photos there would be a little ghoulish, akin to staging a first look at a Holocaust memorial (of which there is also one down the path in Battery Park City) or a civilian war dead tribute. Not good.

    • Amy March

      I often see couples taking photos at our local September 11th memorial. Some seem respectful but most are seemingly just using it because it frames lower Manhattan and makes for a great photo. Not at all appropriate in my book.

      • Maddie Eisenhart

        Hey guys, thank you for the feedback. I had waffled on keeping that tip in there, but after doing some research, it seemed that the memorial was more park-like (kind of like the reflection pool in D.C.) But I hear what you’re saying, and Jon and I decided we’ll take that out. I’ll delete these comments after a bit to avoid any confusion with the change.

        • Amy March

          I can absolutely see it appearing that way, especially if you haven’t visited in person. Plug for it- go! I find the Irish Hunger a Memorial one of the most compelling and effective I’ve seen, especially on a foggy night.

      • jclemon

        Just wanted to echo Maddie’s response here. There’s a whole lot of history in New York City and a lot of it is blended into our cityscape, often seamlessly. This memorial is no exception, as it is mostly a landscaped park. While it may have been in poor taste to actively suggest it as a destination, I have had multiple couples request to shoot there as it’s a visually interesting park and everyone is always super respectful. We’ll be replacing that tip with something else.

  • Eh

    I would like to second guys getting straight razor shaves. My husband got one before our wedding with a couple friends and the photographer took pictures. They are some of my favourite pictures because I wasn’t there. I’m pretty sure there would have been five pictures of my husband getting ready if they had not gone to get shaves (I love our wedding pictures and our photographer was great but I wish he was less bride-centric). So I got nice pictures and my husband had a smooth face!

  • Great article and I love all the places you chose in the city. I don’t see the Irish memorial as being bad taste. As long as everyone is being respectful and tasteful. Even more so if that is their heritage. Nice seeing love all over NYC.

  • Angelajlarsen

    ^^^^^^Some few days to get small deal with on-p-r-a-c-t-i-a-l-w-e-d-i-n-

  • Wow really interesting wedding venues :) http://www.grandeurweddingstudio.com/

  • Williamecornish

    dfgfg

  • Cynthiananderson

    ^^^^^Now Get It -aapprracticalwedding

  • He is such a talented person. He has eyes for his subject and adding elements into the scene makes the wedding photo more appealing. I like the first shot, the couple at the far middle while there are cars moving. It’s quite hard to take a good shot of that. However, I also think that the best wedding planning involves critical thinking of the prewedding photos and the theme wedding itself. For example, if you have wedding garden decoration in Hong Kong, nature related shots are really cool. One Heart Wedding does that all the time.

  • Erica Andrews

    My husband and I got married at the Conservatory Garden and held our reception at City Hall Restaurant in Tribeca, and I highly recommend both venues. We also held a pre-drinks event at Thalassa (also Tribeca). Both restaurants we used did a great job, and we saved a lot of $$$ on not going with a traditional event venue.

  • Lindsay Rae

    Chiming in a little late to say Peter at Film Cars is THE MAN. We used his checker cab (which has been in like every iconic NYC movie.. he’ll give you the list) for portraits in Liberty State Park (Jersey City). We didn’t need it for transportation, but I desperately wanted the photos, and Peter offered a 1-hour rate so that we could use it as a prop! My ceremony started a half hour late.. throwing our whole schedule off by 45 minutes, and I was worried, since I only hired the cab for the hour, that we would only have a few minutes of photos. When we got to Liberty State Park, Peter was showing off the car to curious tourists, and stayed over an hour with us for pictures, even driving it and parking it in a few locations. The photos are STUNNING and people, even strangers, comment on how unique the taxi is. My photographer had never seen anything like it. It was so NYC, so US, and SO AWESOME.