2019 was still in its infancy and an email arrived via the Married in Manhattan website, asking if it was possible for a Wedding to be planned...in 30 days time! I knew from experience that this deadline was more than achievable, with my reliable team of service providers and the story behind the couples forthcoming celebration was inspirational and filled me with excitement at the privilege of being allowed to plan their special day.
Ann-Marie and Gary had been happily together for 35 years and had welcomed 2 children and grandchildren into their lives. Gary had proposed to Ann-Marie in their favourite Indian restaurant and approximately 12,775 days later, the time had come to say "I do".
Neither Ann-Marie or Gary had previously visited New York but its allure was too much for them to resist and accompanied by their good friends, Michael and Christine, they knew they had to get Married in Manhattan.
New York weather in February is unpredictable; I've seen snow and sunshine within a day of each other and yet despite the weather, Central Park always offers the perfect locations for such erratic conditions. Bethesda Terrace offered Ann-Marie and Gary the perfect location, with the Arcade providing shelter from inclement weather within exquisite surroundings and with the added bonus of the majestic Fountain, this spot guaranteed perfect photo opportunities for them.
After a video call during which Ann-Marie and Gary shared their ideas for their perfect day, I was provided with examples of bouquets, hair styles and makeup, and the piece de resistance, Ann-Marie's wedding dress, the ultimate in elegance. Gary's outfit also looked suave and debonair!
I always encourage good lines of communication from the outset with all my clients so that we are all working to the same objectives. It makes my job easier and the client remains reassured throughout.
30 days planning flew by and as Ann-Marie and Gary landed in JFK, the weather forecast was confident; cold, rain and a 30% chance of snow. But I believe in dreams coming true and New York weather could do what it wanted, but on 5th February, I just knew the magic would begin.
On the morning of their wedding, photos began arriving on my mobile phone from my hair and makeup stylist for the bride, showing Ann-Marie in the final stages of her pre ceremony preparations. Seeing my client, readying herself for her special day and moments away from heading towards Central Park, filled me with joy and emotion. Their life together so far had culminated in this day, and they both faced a new chapter in their lives. The fact that I had been chosen to play a part in their fairytale consumed me with immense pride and is the continual reason why I plan New York weddings.
As Ann-Marie and Gary alighted from their taxi, they were met by not only their friends, officiant and photographer but also by glorious blue skies and the warmth of the sun, welcoming them all to their special day.
After a brief photo stop at Strawberry Fields, the wedding party made their way through the winding pathways that lead to the the spectacular Bethesda Terrace. But there was a couple of more surprises awaiting them.
A couple of days previous, they had been enjoying a drink in a mid town bar and had struck up a conversation with a patron who was amazed at a couple travelling from the UK for their New York wedding. After an evening of swapping stories, he wished them well in their celebrations and bid them farewell.
As they emerged from the sunlit steps leading into the serene shadows of the Arcade, their friend from the midtown bar suddenly appeared, sporting a new haircut and a patriotic hat. With everyone in place, the ceremony began, with the story of Ann-Marie and Gary being shared amongst the guests.
It was at this point, that the words to "My Girl" suddenly began reverberating throughout the Arcade. A doo-wop ensemble began an impromptu performance of The Temptations classic and unbeknownst to them, this was Ann-Marie and Gary's favourite song and the perfect unscheduled but welcomed musical accompaniment to their perfect day.
Dreams really do come true.