We got Married in NEW YORK CITY!

Well, how do I even begin to start this post, to say this is a dream come true would be a lie, because honestly when we got engaged in July 2007 I don’t think we could have even imagined how amazing our wedding was going to be. They say your wedding day should be the best day of your life, well there is no doubt in our minds when we say that is was the most fun, exciting and special day we have ever had. To get married in our favourite city on earth, it doesn’t get any better than that!!

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We spent 10 days in NYC this time, to read about the trip itself click here: New York City, June 2013!

To look at my 10 FREE things to do in NYC click here: 10 FREE things to do in NYC

We also took a trip to WASHINGTON DC whilst in NYC, that can be found here: A (Mostly FREE) day in Washington DC

Some background:

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My first time in NYC, on a trip with my university in 2008
The planning of the wedding was a strange thing really, we had been engaged since 23 July 2007 (St James Park, London), just before I left for university and until recently we hadn’t really given much thought to the actual wedding. All in all it took around 6 month of planning, most of which was done during my lunch hour with my mum at work! It all just seemed to happen quite quickly, one minute we started talking about weddings, the next we are in full scale planning mode!

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Me and Shorty in NYC 2011 – My second time, his first!
The best thing about it is that from the beginning my parents said to us, just tell us what you would want to do if you could do absolutely anything and we will work from there. When we approached them about New York I was initially a little doubtful that it would happen, it all seemed to good to be true. My parents had saved up and wanted to pay for our wedding, they had a budget and initially we expected that this would come way over. But once we started researching we soon realised that in fact a wedding abroad, flights, accomodation and extras would in fact cost around half the average price it would at home!

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Waiting in line in City Hall to get our paper work for the wedding! Cool to see another side to the city!
Not only that but me, shorty, my mum, dad, brother and grandparents had an unforgettable 7 days in NYC too (we stayed an extra 3 days after they left too!) can’t say better than that in my opinion! It just goes to show you that you should never put up barriers before you even try, go for it and see where you end up, sure there were some compromises along the way, but in the end, we had the wedding we always wanted.

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Shorty, Me, My Grandad, Brother, Mum, Dad, Nan and Liam’s freind at the top of the Rock!
So… here is how the wedding went, in reflection I can honestly say it was the greatest day of my life and if I could I would wake up on that morning again and again. BUT it didn’t all go without a hitch… as is the standard!! It was stressful putting everything into place, at times it seemed like so much to organise, but when it all came together it was something that is quite hard to explain, but it felt amazing!
The wedding itself!

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The morning of the wedding and we wake up to a torrential downpour… It had been so nice the rest of the time we were there. If I am honest, at that moment I was completely gutted and may have even thrown a mini strop over it consisting of bursting into my parents room, throwing my arms in the air and exclaiming “What is the point?!”This resulted in panicked phone calls and emails to and from the wedding organisers looking for a new venue. We had originally booked the Ladies Pavilion in the park but that was no longer an option. :-(.

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Fortunately our registrar was a graduate of Yale and also had some high up contacts in the alumni circle and managed to get us a room inside the prestigious Yale club on Vanderbilt Ave usually only available to graduates and their close families  I was still a little concerned about all those photos I had pictured us getting being totally ruined but in the end I do believe that it all worked out for the best in the end.

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Now it was time to get my hair, make up and dress on. Now, if you have seen many of my other photographs you can probably tell I am not exactly the most feminine of women, in fact, I hate dresses, I hate getting my hair done and make up us usually a big no! But today was my wedding day and I figured if I was going to make an effort on one day today should be the day! I had a dress which I made sure I felt comfortable in and had my hair up as I like it and my mum did my make up for me and kept it pretty low key. The main thing for us really was to have fun and feel comfortable on our big day.

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I think it really started to hit us as we left our room and walked through the hotel reception just how special the day was going to be. Straight away all eyes were on us as we walked towards our black limousine waiting just outside the doors of the 5* Hilton. Initially we thought we would be a little overwhelmed and even embarrassed by this attention as it is not usually something we crave. One of the reasons for a smaller wedding abroad, apart from the obvious  was because I have such a large family and we wanted it to be, again, more comfortable and less nerves. But for that day, we felt like superstars, people were taking photos of us, turning and pointing at us, coming over and congratulating us, it was an amazing feeling!

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Once we arrived at the venue and got talking to the photographer I felt a lot better, sure the room itself could have been better, but the location itself was great. The weather was also starting to clear up and we had the photographer and a car booked for a couple of hours after the actual wedding too. I also realised that grand central was right across the street from the Yale club and was a location we probably wouldn’t have had time to get to had we been in the park.

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The more research I did afterwards on the Yale club the cooler is seemed to actually get married in there. The waiting lists and prices that people pay for some of the other rooms are insane! As a graduate myself and a current grad school student I can also appreciate the nature of this establishment too, I doubt we would have had another opportunity to go inside.

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Douglas Grandgeorge, the man marrying us and also Jerry Springer look a like is a graduate of Yale and a lovely man too. Whilst waiting for the other guests to arrive, mostly shorty’s family who got caught in the storm, he came over and spoke to us and those words really resonated with us, they made us really take a step back from the disappointment of the venue change and put things in perspective.

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We realised that it didn’t matter where we were getting married, I mean we were still in New York anyway, but that we are here and so are the people who care about us and we are making a promise to each other and giving ourselves to one another. He said a few things I really remember. One was about my dad giving me away, which I hadn’t really considered too much as we aren’t that traditional, but my dad had actually got quite emotional about this and at the time I couldn’t really understand why.

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Douglas explained to us that my dad is my next of Kin, he is the one who is expected to always be there for me ( not that this has changed, but symbolically I guess it has) and is responsible for looking after me but that once he gives my hand to shorty then that changes. So now it’s me and shorty, we are a unit together looking out for each other. I know it sounds a little traditional, and that’s kind of weird for me as I never thought I was into that stuff, but it made me realise the significance and how special it was.I guess that also relates to this journey we are about to embark on together across the world, to realise our dreams together.

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Another thing he said to us was about the first kiss, again, something I was looking forward to but didn’t think much into it. But he said to us, when you kiss each other it’s not like any other time you have kissed, you have been together a long time but when Paul kissed you before, he was kissing his girlfriend, but when he kisses you after the wedding he will be kissing his wife for the first time, and you kissing your husband for the first time. Not just boyfriend and girlfriend but as family. It seems really simple and obvious but I think sometimes we can become a little bit wrapped up in all the other bits and forget the simple stuff.

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My Nan and Grandad <3

The ceremony itself was really great, it lasted long enough for us to enjoy it and take it in but not too long that it became overwhelming. Although we were only in a small room with a handful of friends and family I was quite nervous and could feel myself shaking! One of the nice touches after was being able to get photographs with all the family and we also chose for our grandparents to sign as witnesses for us too which is special as my Nan and Grandad mean so much to me and shortys Nan was his closest relative who was able to come.

Photos after the ceremony!!

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The weather by this time had really brightened up and we were looking forward to heading out all over the city for some unforgettable wedding photos. First off we headed over to Grand Central and I was quite excited to be able to get some photos in here, it is such an iconic and beautiful building. What was cool to was that my family was heading into the station to get the subway thinking that we would have been done by then but ran into us and so we ended up getting some great family photos in there too!

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We were a little nervous at first going into such a busy place and had expected before to be a little self-conscious about taking photos in front of so many people. In the end it was just so much fun, all over the city where ever we went people came up to us shaking hands with us, congratulating us, taking photos, we felt like celebrities! Fuss is something I usually hate but it was nice to feel special!

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In the end getting married in the Yale club felt like a bonus as we were able to get some great photos in Grand Central and we also headed over to the park too anyway! We then cut through the Grand Hyatt for a few more photos and to our waiting Sedan to take us on our photo tour! Our photographer Lina was great and we had a laugh with her, she even took some fun photos incorporating my tattoos which highlighted what a great choice she was for us.

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Even just driving around the city was great fun, seeing it from another level and chatting to the driver, photographer and our organiser who accompanied us. We headed over to the park next and were keen to get to the Ladies Pavilion where the original ceremony was due to take place. In the park we again got so much attention it was crazy, so many well wishers!

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On our way into the park we stopped by the John Lennon memorial and Strawberry fields as “Imagine” is a song which really means a lot to us. What was also so much fun was when we noticed some lads on skateboards and asked to borrow them for some photos which really allowed us to get those personal wedding photos we wanted and again was so much fun, we even did a bit of rock climbing in the park too!!

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The lake and the Ladies Pavilion is a really wonderful location and of course I was still a little disappointed the wedding itself didn’t take place here, but to get the photos anyway meant a lot. We ended up returning the day after with the family to show them the location too and agreed that we should renew our vows here on our 10th wedding anniversary!

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We had such fun running around taking photos it really extended the day and wasn’t just like going through the motions of taking the photos but was actually one of our favourite parts of the day. It allowed us to enjoy just being bridge and groom for much longer and was nice to do that out and about too.

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Next up it was to Times Square where we knew the energy and crowds would be electric  it was great really to finish off here as by this time we were really into the swing of things and didn’t feel at all fazed by the location! Times square… what better place to have your wedding photos! Jumping up and down here and there, it was truly an unforgettable experience!

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After 2/3 hours of photos we headed back to the hotel, man had I had enough of those shoes by then. We had around an hour to wait before we set off for the meal and it was nice to relax for a while and kind of try and take in what had just happened!

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Ok, so they spelt my name wrong but I think American’s are easily confused when it comes to spelling!!
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We ended up staying in our wedding clothes for the meal instead of getting changed as it felt like it was again extending the day a little and we wanted it to still feel like part of the wedding. We got a cab over to “The View” at the Marriott Marques on Times Square for our amazing meal in the revolving restaurant!

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This place was amazing, everything about it was perfect. We had just enough privacy but could see all around in the revolving restaurant above New York, it did take a little bit of time to get used to that though! The service was amazing and really did make you feel like a VIP. The food, Oh my god, the food! I can honestly say this is the nicest meal I have ever eaten, and we enjoy eating out!

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This is exactly what we wanted for our wedding meal, it was all cooked to perfection and presented like works of art I couldn’t have asked for anything more. To say the portions looked small and I hadn’t eaten anything all day, I thought my dress was going to burst I was that full!! All in all, the best day of my life!! (Note: funnily enough we are now vegetarians and this was probably the last steak we had, not a bad one to finish on! But there is no way I could eat it now!)

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I remember waking up the day after and shorty saying to me… I wish we could get married again today! What a cutie! But that’s how I felt too!

Thank you especially to my parents who made it all possible, to all our guests who travelled over with us. To dream weddings who helped up plan it all out and especially Andrea. To Lina Jang photography for some amazing photos of our day and to Josephine and Orysia for making everything run smoothly on the day, and of course Douglas for officiating for us and sorting out the new venue! What a day!

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Nicola Hilditch-Short

Nic is one half of the Roaming Renegades, a passionate traveller, climber, adventurer, photographer and artist who has a B.A in Fine Art and M.A in Design & Art Direction.