New York Weddings:
Everything You Need to Know
New York has far more to offer than Broadway and Times Square, especially when it comes to getting married. The state is the home of lovely hidden gardens, grand estates and incredible restaurants, all of which make for fantastic wedding venues. As one of the top five states to tie the knot, New York hosted more than 60,000 weddings in 2020 alone. With so many options to choose from, we're here to help you plan your dream ceremony and reception with the following New York wedding guide. Here, we’ll share how to find your perfect New York wedding date, venue, and vendors, plus how to simplify travel for your guests. Even better, you can see real weddings in your area in our wedding library, for all the New York wedding inspiration you need.
What’s the best month for New York weddings?
Once you’ve said “yes,” the next step for your wedding in New York is setting the date. Of course, you can have a wedding in New York year-round, but it’s important that you choose the best month for you. Here are some important factors to consider before choosing a New York wedding date:
Are you planning an outdoor or indoor wedding?
Weather is a critical factor when choosing a date for outdoor New York weddings. May, June, September and October typically have the mildest temperatures of the year in New York, with highs averaging between 60 and 70 degrees F.
July and August may be at the height of wedding season, but they also have the highest daytime temperatures, with the mercury often topping 80 degrees. If you are planning an outdoor New York wedding reception, your cake (and your guests) may be at risk of melting in the heat. You and your guests may be more comfortable in some of the more upstate New York venues in the height of summer, rather than sweltering in Manhattan's notorious August stickiness.
Another thing to consider for an outdoor New York wedding is rain. November is one of the driest months, but with an average temperature of 47 degrees F., it may be too chilly for guests. On the other hand, the weather is far less of a factor for indoor New York weddings. A high-rise venue with a fabulous view of the holiday lights can make a December wedding date magical. Similarly, a wedding in New York on New Year’s Eve might feature a view of fireworks, while a July ceremony in an air-conditioned or beachside Hamptons wedding venue could be seasonal and stunning.
Is your New York wedding venue flexible?
New York is a very popular place to get married, so keep in mind that some of the most in-demand wedding venues in NYC are often booked well in advance. In fact, some of the most popular wedding venues in NYC and reception locations may be booked up two or three years ahead of time. This is especially true for dates during the busy May-to-September timeframe.
For instance, if you have your heart set on a New York Public Library wedding, and you want to tie the knot in June, you may find that there aren’t any dates available—for this year or the next. However, if your date is flexible, you might find openings at your preferred New York wedding venue during the winter or early spring.
Are you getting married during the high or low season for weddings in New York?
Before you finalize a date, discuss your wedding budget. New York weddings cost more during high season, like so many other events. With the high season for New York weddings coinciding with tourist season, expect the price for weddings in New York to be at their peak. A high season wedding also means peak hotel pricing for any out-of-town guests who are traveling in for your event.
One thing to consider is planning your wedding during New York's shoulder season. These are the months that flank the high season. You’re likely to save significantly on prices—i.e. for that New York Public Library wedding you’re planning, and most other New York wedding venues too. As a bonus, the city is less crowded for sightseeing, and the weather tends to be more mild. (Plus, there are always things to do in New York!)
Also keep in mind that the end of November through February is the holiday season, and costs go back up for weddings in New York. And be aware that holiday weekends like Memorial Day and Labor Day tend to be booked out far in advance—and more costly—when it comes to the best wedding venues in New York State.
What are the venue options for a wedding in New York?
Indoor Wedding Venues
As the most populous city in the U.S., there are seemingly endless indoor venues for New York weddings. About one-fourth of engaged couples get married in a place of worship, while plenty of others choose among the other best wedding venues in New York state. Banquet halls, loft spaces and private clubs are all fantastic options, and the experienced staff at many venues provide services from event planning to catering to New York wedding florist arrangements. Other sites, like private homes, are often strictly DIY.
Outdoor Wedding Venues
When it comes to outdoor wedding venues in New York state, farm and barn weddings continue to be popular, especially for weddings outside of New York City. There are dozens of outdoor Upstate New York wedding venues, as well as the Hamptons for a beach wedding. In many cases, couples arrange ceremonies at outdoor wedding venues in New York state, then the party heads indoors for the reception.
Large vs. Small Wedding Venues
The size of your guest list will be an important factor in choosing the best NYC wedding venues for your event. Wedding venues in New York City are available for all sizes of events, large and small.
If you have hundreds of names on your guest list, you’ll need an extra-large venue. New York wedding sites like parks, farms, vineyards and grand ballrooms will likely be your top options. The famous St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan can accommodate large groups, too.
On the flip side, small weddings can be anywhere from City Hall to restaurants or rooftops. Wedding venues outside of New York City, and intimate Brooklyn wedding venues are also great options for smaller gatherings.
What are the different types of venues for a wedding in New York?
Not sure where you want to get married? These options scream “wedding reception New York.”
New York Vineyard Wedding Venues
The state’s robust wine country, in Long Island as well as the Hudson River and the Finger Lakes regions, are natural settings for a picturesque wedding in New York. New York vineyard wedding venues offer the added benefit of a great wine selection for your reception.
New York Estate Wedding Venues
These are some of the best wedding venues in New York state for large weddings, and often offer both indoor and outdoor spaces. Plus, they make a great setting for photos, and are incredible to explore!
New York Hotel Wedding Venues
Ubiquitous in New York City, they make up some of the best NYC wedding venues. For upstate or Long Island weddings, there are incredible hotel options that can both host your wedding as well as most if not all of your guests.
New York Zoo Wedding Venues
While seemingly quirky wedding venue choices, many of the area’s zoos are increasingly popular as New York wedding venues because they offer wonderful event facilities in an unexpected, but elegant setting. The Bronx Zoo, for instance, features picturesque indoor and outdoor settings for weddings just outside of Manhattan.
New York Museum Wedding Venues
The state’s museums are one of the reasons people from around the globe visit New York, and they are in high demand as venues, both in NYC and for weddings outside of New York City.
New York Mountaintop Wedding Venues
While these destinations may not be the first thought for New Yorkers, there are plenty of mountains in New York state that make for scenic wedding backdrops. Both the Catskills and the Adirondacks deliver the rustic atmosphere, fresh air and mountain views you’ll love.
New York Library Wedding Venues
These iconic sites are forever some of the best wedding venues in New York City. The main New York City Public Library is a popular choice for a wedding in New York. Stunning architectural details create a sense of grandeur that works well for solemn occasions and celebrations alike.
New York Country Club Wedding Venues
Whether you’re surrounded by golf greens in East Hampton or in a high-ceilinged private club on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, these institutions have an elegant quality, and are an option for both New York City wedding venues and wedding venues outside of New York City too.
New York Ballroom Wedding Venues
These large, elegant spaces are a natural choice for big celebrations. They work equally when well filled with seating for your ceremony as they do with tables for your wedding reception in New York.
New York Garden Wedding Venues
Whether it’s one of the famous botanical gardens or an intimate backyard, garden wedding venues are in good supply, especially as New York City wedding venues, and provide a lush backdrop for photos.
New York Park Wedding Venues
With 215 parks across the state of New York, and recreational facilities in the five boroughs of NYC numbering over 1,700, there are plenty of options to have your New York wedding in a park. One of the top options for your wedding in New York? One of the most popular Brooklyn wedding venues, the Brooklyn Bridge Park.
New York Courthouse Wedding Venues
For the couple looking to elope at an iconic location, Manhattan’s famous courthouses in particular are great for intimate weddings in New York. Take it from us: Weddings at New York City Hall can be just as romantic as those at the grandest event space!
New York Restaurant Wedding Venues
With a thriving culinary scene that extends way beyond the boundaries of the city, and out into Long Island and the Hudson Valley, many of the best restaurants have private spaces that are also popular wedding venues in New York. Not only do some offer full-service weddings, but the restaurant you choose will naturally cater your New York wedding reception as well.
New York Religious Wedding Venues
Church and synagogues, as well as mosques and other places of worship, are prolific across the state, many with historic architecture, and are excellent options for religious weddings in New York. If you want a Brooklyn wedding, check out the gothic arches of St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church. An intimate Hamptons wedding at one of the location’s picturesque chapels is a lovely choice, too. Whether you plan to have a Brooklyn wedding, a Hamptons wedding, a Long Island wedding or a Finger Lakes wedding, you naturally want to select the house of worship that reflects your religious beliefs. Many couples wed at the church they attend regularly.
How much do weddings in New York cost?
The big question for a lot of couples: How much does a wedding cost in New York? In 2020, the average cost of weddings in New York was approximately $27,533. This figure may skew somewhat low, however, due to the pandemic. The average wedding cost in NYC normally is closer to $33,435.
So how much does a wedding cost in New York State today? Well, the average pre-pandemic Westchester wedding cost was about $55,000. To compare, the national average wedding cost in 2019 was $28,000. The average wedding cost in NYC is among the top five most expensive nationwide.
How much should you expect to pay New York wedding vendors?
Some wedding vendors in New York charge a premium, especially for NYC, Long Island and Westchester weddings. However, there are some average costs for wedding services to compare, ranging from your cake to your flowers.
On average, the wedding photography cost will be between $1,000 and $2,000. It depends upon the number of hours you book and the number of photo settings you request (as well as the specific wedding photographer, of course).
If you only need a New York wedding photographer for one hour on your wedding day at the venue, you’ll pay under $1,000. On the other hand, if you reserve your photographers for a four or eight-hour package that spans your entire Brooklyn wedding or New York reception, you’ll easily pay more than $2,500. New York wedding photographers charge about 27 percent more than the national average for these services.
When it comes to florals, the average wedding flowers cost at New York weddings is about $3,100. The national average is less than the cost of New York flowers. Nationwide, people pay between $700 and $2,500 for their flowers.
New York wedding planners offer different service packages, including start to finish, month-of-wedding or wedding day coordination. The standard wedding planner cost may be upwards of a few thousand dollars, or a percentage of the grand total—including New York wedding flowers, New York wedding photographers, New York wedding venue rental and so on—for full-time planning services.
What are the hidden costs for weddings in New York?
Sometimes, it’s the unexpected added costs that can increase your wedding budget. For example, postage for save-the-dates and invitations can get pricey. An open bar at your New York reception can really add up. Taxis, tips and taxes are also costs you may not have considered when setting an initial wedding budget.
Sticking to a schedule is also important; if your New York wedding and New York reception do not go like clockwork, you’ll be facing overtime charges. The band, the DJ, the caterer, the bartender and other wedding vendors are each contracted for a specific period of time, for a specific fee, and overtime charges apply. Last-minute requests and revisions—say, for your New York wedding flowers order or New York wedding photographer—could also increase costs.
Other miscellaneous costs that might surprise you when it's time to settle up:
- Tips for vendors
- Service fees
- Rentals that aren’t built in to the venue cost
- Cleaning and breakdown charges
How can you make your New York weddings more affordable?
The location and scale of the event is the main thing that makes a difference when planning a New York wedding. One way to pare down the average wedding cost in New York is to take on a good bit of the planning yourself. If you are an organized couple with a can-do attitude, there are many tasks you can DIY, although you will likely still want a wedding planner to handle logistics and the day of the event.
When you speak with vendors like New York wedding florists and photographers, ask about customizing your package. For instance, you may be able to cut some costs by transferring your floral arrangements from the ceremony to the wedding reception in New York. Also, make a list of specific shots you want from your New York photographer to eliminate the expense of too many unwanted poses.
What are the best areas for New York weddings?
Although people often consider “the City'' to be Manhattan, New York City officially includes five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. While this area can be the most convenient for out-of-town guests to travel to, there are many other fantastic New York wedding options in the greater metropolitan region, as well as wedding venues outside of New York City:
New York City Wedding Venues
The most popular option because they are easy for people to travel to, and there are always things to do in New York. Plus, the city has tons of venue options, for any style of wedding.
Westchester Wedding Venues
This area encompasses the Hudson River Valley north of the city. This suburban area offers plenty of outdoor venues for weddings outside of New York City (although just barely).
Long Island Wedding Venues
This peninsula extends from New York City to the east and along the Atlantic coast, and includes the Hamptons and the North Fork. If you’re interested in a ceremony by the water, you might look into a Long Island wedding.
Buffalo Wedding Venues
Buffalo is the second-largest urban area in the state, and nestles on the eastern shores of Lake Erie near Niagara Falls, which were once one of the most popular venues for weddings in New York.
Rochester/Finger Lakes Wedding Venues
This area is the home of 11 slender lakes in the western part of the state. It’s a popular tourist destination and one of the world’s leading wine grape growing regions. Finger Lakes wedding venues are increasing in popularity.
Syracuse Wedding Venues
Syracuse is famous for its annual snowfalls, which are greater than in any other US city. As the home of Syracuse University, some alumni choose to get married here.
Albany Wedding Venues
Albany is the capital of New York State, and also has many historic and scenic wedding venue options.
How do you get to New York?
Whether you are planning a destination wedding in New York, or you are simply welcoming out-of-state guests, it’s good to know the best routes for getting to your wedding venue. As an epicenter of world travel, New York City offers visitors a variety of transportation options, and the greater New York state area has several additional travel options.
Three international airports serve the New York metropolitan area. LaGuardia Airport is a hub for most domestic carriers, with the exception of Continental Airlines. Many flights also fly into John F. Kennedy International Airport, including most international flights. Both domestic and international travelers can also fly into Newark International Airport in New Jersey. Outside the city, there is also Long Island MacArthur Airport, as well as airports in Buffalo, Albany, Rochester, White Plains (Westchester County), and Syracuse.
Rail services include Amtrak, the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North Railroad. The Long Island Railroad connects Long Island and Manhattan’s Penn Station while Metro-North travels between Manhattan and Connecticut.
Long-distance coaches arrive and depart from the city’s Port Authority bus terminal, and can take you and your guests to Upstate New York wedding venues as well as Finger Lakes wedding venues.
How do you find New York wedding vendors?
Our wedding vendor directory is your first stop when you embark on the search for New York wedding vendors. You can search our site in several different ways to find New York wedding planners, florists, photographers, caterers, DJ/band, and wedding cakes that fit your style and budget.
We recommend spending some time viewing photos of real New York weddings. This way, you can see the exact vendors who created the event, if you see something you love. Another way to search is via the various categories. Let us help you on your wedding journey! We’ve already done the footwork to get the information you need, so the next step is making your dream New York wedding a reality.