Today we are speaking with one of A Central Park Wedding’s preferred wedding professionals – Interfaith Wedding Minister, Reverend Annie Lawrence. Rev. Annie marries dozens of couples every year in Central Park and tailors each ceremony to reflect the couple’s personality and love story. Read more about how Rev. Annie got started and her experience with Central Park weddings.
What inspired you to become a wedding officiant?
I went to Interfaith seminary out of curiosity about world religions, beliefs, and rituals from ancient to modern times. In school we had to write ceremonies and rituals of all kinds, and present them in class. I’ve always been a writer, and I come from a theatre & dance background, so I was really comfortable and creatively inspired, and confident about public speaking. A friend knew I was being ordained and asked me if I would do a family wedding for him. I said yes, had a great experience, and just kept saying yes to weddings until it eventually became my full-time job!
Can you describe your approach to working with each wedding couple?
I like to learn a little bit about each couples personalities, what is important to them individually and in their relationship, and the feeling they want to create in their wedding ceremony. If a couple is shy, I will respect that and make suggestions that help them feel safe and protected. If a couple is outgoing and have a lot of ideas, I’ll offer ways to include all their inspirations. Some couples want “the basics” and others say “we want a very unique and personal ceremony.” I honor all requests!
Photo Credit: Jared Slater
What do you enjoy about officiating weddings in Central Park?
I love weddings in Central Park! It’s the very heart of New York City, a place of peace and quiet in the middle of all the stimulation and excitement that surrounds us here. Central Park scenery is so familiar to us from movies, TV, and pop culture—couples get very excited about taking pictures in these iconic locations! After a ceremony it’s not unusual for a couple to be wished congratulations in many languages by friendly tourists visiting from around the world.
Tell me about some of your most memorable Central Park weddings.
How do I choose? In ten years, I’ve done hundreds of weddings, and probably about half of them in Central Park. The Ladies Pavilion is kind of “my office!” I’ve done ceremonies in rain and shine and every season—in the height of summer, and in winter snowfalls. Central Park is always changing—not only every month, but every week brings changes in the leaves, flowers, and foliage. Central Park is a treasure not only for the New Yorkers who live here, but for everyone who visits us from around the world.
What is your favorite Central Park wedding location and what do you love about it?
My top Central Park locations are The Ladies Pavilion, Wagner’s Cove, The Bow Bridge, Bethesda Fountain, The Shakespeare Garden, Belvedere Castle, Cop Cot, and The Gap Stow Bridge. Each has it’s own draw—Ladies Pavilion and Bethesda Fountain/Plaza are gorgeous, and great if you are concerned about weather and want to be under a roof. I love the symbolism of “crossing a bridge” as you cross the threshold of marriage, so Bow Bridge & Gap Stow Bridge are wonderful symbolic locations. Belvedere Castle & Cop Cot are scenic and great for larger wedding parties. The Shakespeare Garden and Wagner’s Cove are my first choices for an intimate elopement. And I love when couples say “meet us at the corner of____” and then we walk to a location I’ve never seen before, like a waterfall in The Ramble!