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The Rockefeller Center Guide to Wedding Season in New York

By Nina RuggieroMay 10 2024
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Like bright tulips along Park Avenue, love blooms in New York City in the spring. To the romantics among us, warming temperatures act like chapel bells, signaling the arrival of wedding season. Whether you’re living out your own love story or witnessing the bliss of couples around you, there’s no better time of year to get lost in a daydream while strolling the city streets. From You’ve Got Mail to Breakfast at Tiffany’s, there’s a reason so many romcoms are set here.

NYC offers a timeless backdrop for a wedding celebration, guaranteeing a classy affair from start to finish. Just picture it: engagement ring shopping at Tiffany & Co., proposing at Top of the Rock with sweeping skyline views, and exchanging vows in the elegant Rainbow Room.

In between, there will be plenty of champagne toasts with friends and family, shopping for dresses and suits, and maybe even a magazine-worthy engagement shoot. Catering to newlyweds-to-be and excited party guests alike, Rockefeller Center is a one-stop shop for all things wedding-related. From the moment she says “yes” to the moment you both say “I do,” here’s how to make all your Rockefeller Center wedding dreams come true.

Related: Explore wedding venues at Rockefeller Center

Step 1: Buy an engagement ring.

You’ve found your person, and you want to pick out a ring as special as they are. Tiffany & Co. basically invented the engagement ring (no really, Charles Lewis Tiffany created the ever-popular Tiffany Setting in 1886), so there’s no better place to start browsing some classic beauties. If you don’t leave with a little blue box, try Catbird, where you can find an assortment of recycled and lab-grown diamonds on stylish rings designed in Brooklyn. For a personalized approach to this intimate purchase, Louis Martin Jewelers offers a family-owned experience and is known for vintage and custom-made pieces.

Step 2: Pop the question.

How you ask is important, but so is where you ask. For a grand gesture with an assist from the sparkling skyline, propose at Top of the Rock, impressively perched 70 floors above the city streets. You’ll share your moment with other visitors, but your engagement is just the beginning of celebrating your love surrounded by supporters. Why not start big? With 360-degree views, you’ll definitely want to hire a photographer to capture this epic moment. If you’re more comfortable having a private encounter but don’t want to sacrifice a stunning city view, rent out 620 Loft & Garden, where you can totally personalize your approach. This hidden gem rooftop’s lush greenery feels worlds away from the sidewalks below, but you’ll be on one knee right in the shadows of the grand spires of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Step 3: Celebrate with an intimate dinner for two.

Your engagement night is one you’ll both remember forever — so don’t get so caught up in planning the proposal that you forget to make a dinner reservation to celebrate afterward. Handmade pasta and prosecco set the mood at Jupiter, where you can toast with bubbly at the bar before cozying up in a velvet booth. If spritzes and shared plates are more your vibe, Lodi creates that dolce vita feeling at all times of day. And Le Rock, by the team behind Frenchette, serves French brasserie classics that will transport you straight to Paris. Que c'est romantique!

Step 4: Throw an engagement party.

Now that you’ve celebrated together, just the two of you, it’s time to let your friends and family in on the fun. Smith & Mills’ striking oblong bar will draw guests in, but its private dining room is the perfect place to spend the night mingling over cocktails and oysters. Menus are customizable and more extensive than at the beloved Tribeca location. For Korean dishes so flavorful they’ve been awarded two Michelin stars, treat your guests to a tasting menu at NARO; the private dining room seats 20, and cocktail receptions for up to 100 can take over the entire space.

Step 5: Shop for a bridal shower or wedding guest outfit.

Whether you’re the bride or a guest, Hill House Home likely has a bridal shower dress you’ll look great and feel comfortable in (it is the home of the famous Nap Dress, after all). Its prints and colors are perfect for spring and summer, and it’s worth noting there are plenty of white options as well. At Anthropologie, whimsical wedding guests may even find the perfect outfit and accessories for the big day itself. For the guys, Brooks Brothers is a staple for suits, ties, blazers, and dress shirts that look sharp at any special occasion.

Step 6: Take engagement photos.

You’ll want to commemorate this magical time in your relationship, and besides, you’ll need professional photos for your save the dates and wedding website. Rockefeller Center is full of photo-ready backdrops, from 610 and 620 Loft & Garden, well-manicured spaces looking over Rockefeller Plaza, to Radio Park, a green rooftop garden above Radio City Music Hall. For a real pop of color, Channel Gardens’ curated botanical displays always impress this time of year. All of these gardens offer unexpected oases for a city shoot, but nothing sets the scene for a New York wedding quite like photos from Top of the Rock. There’s a reason its observation decks are among the most popular points of interest in Manhattan.

Step 7: Buy a last-minute card for a shower, wedding, or engagement.

We’ve all been there: You’re all dressed up and ready to go, and you realize you’ve forgotten a card for the happy couple. Luckily, you have McNally Jackson, an independent bookstore with a creative selection of cards lining its walls. There’s also Paper Source for fun, colorful picks and last-minute wrapping paper, too.

Step 8: Host a rehearsal dinner.

The night before the wedding, you’ll want to gather both families, closest friends, and perhaps some out-of-town guests and kick off the celebratory mood with a rehearsal dinner. (Of course, you’ll spend more time eating and drinking than actually rehearsing.) In the private dining room at NARO, 20 guests can enjoy innovative, Michelin-star takes on classic South Korean flavors in a sleek space. Le Rock also has a private dining room for 16 that’s perfect for an intimate rehearsal dinner, with sultry dark wood and mood lighting in a brasserie setting.

Step 9: Find the perfect wedding venue.

Months (or even years) of wedding prep comes down to one big day at one incredible venue, and Rockefeller Center is home to the types of wedding venues that leave a lasting impression on every couple and each of their guests. 610 and 620 Loft & Garden are the perfect urban-chic options; you can have the ceremony in the beautifully manicured gardens surrounded by skyscrapers and St. Patrick’s Cathedral and then continue the party in a white loft space with big windows overlooking the city. Also offering a green oasis in the middle of the city is Radio Park, a 24,000-square-foot garden on the roof of Radio City Music Hall, a historic NYC landmark and iconic concert venue. Up to 300 guests can enjoy an outdoor cocktail celebration here, and a warm, brick-walled indoor space holds 175 for a seated dinner. Then, there’s Rainbow Room, an elegant event space that has been hosting glamorous gatherings for dignitaries, socialites, and the like since 1934. Expect crystal chandeliers, Empire State Building views, extravagant menus and entertainment, and most importantly, memories that will last a lifetime.

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