Kathleen & Axel’s Sweet Surprise Wedding in Central Park


Kathleen is from Canada and Axel is from Sweden. It was going to be difficult to gather all their respective families and friends together so they chose to hold a very intimate ceremony involving just their parents. They took both sets of parents to New York for a group vacation and then surprised them with the good news that they were getting married on the morning of their wedding day!

central park wedding

The oh-so-gorgeous photos on this page are courtesy of the talents of Sarah Tew Photography. Sarah has more details about this lovely little celebration for you:

Kathleen & Axel live in Sweden and planned a trip to meet both their sets of parents in New York City (one family is Canadian, one is Swedish) for a little group vacation. Little did their parents know, they were booking an officiant and photographer (me!) and planning a surprise wedding ceremony to take place on a Wednesday morning at Wagner Cove in Central Park!

That morning they went to the hotel rooms their parents were staying in with a surprise invitation to attend their wedding! Everyone was overjoyed, and by the time they met me at the southeast corner of Central Park the excitement was still buzzing in the air. I shot portraits of the happy couple en route to Wagner Cove which was blocked off due to construction, but Axel and Kathleen had planned for us to jump the fence! They had their hearts set on this location and after worrying about the officiant being able to find her way down to the sweet pond-side gazebo, parents were stationed on various ends of the fence to find her and escort her to the ceremony. Sure enough she turned up shortly after we did and the ceremony got started. After a moving and intimate wedding I made some family portraits with the couple and their parents, and we walked around the park for another round of portraits, hitting some of the spots Axel and Kathleen had admired from afar in pictures of Central Park.

central park wedding

central park wedding

central park wedding

This lovely couple’s love story is one for the books! Luckily Kathleen’s here to tell us all about it:

I am Kathleen and I’m from Canada. The husband is Axel and he is from Sweden. We met in Sweden and after a very movie-like courtship, involving me moving back to Canada. Yet, on my way home, falling off a cliff and having to return to Sweden for medical reasons we are now married. I say that it took me falling off a cliff to fall in love. Everyone that knows the story says it’s hard to ignore the almost “fate-like” situations that brought us together. Were just happy we found each other!

central park wedding

central park wedding

How chic does the bride look in her short blue dress? Here’s Kathleen with the deets:

No label, I bought it a year ago off eBay (14 dollars!) and when we decided on the wedding I thought it was perfect. I had always wanted a blue wedding dress as a child. When my childhood friends all saw the pictures a few said they thought it was cute that I stuck to wearing a blue dress. As for the lace top, I found Sally (FoldedRoses) on Etsy and over a few emails she was able to create exactly what I wanted — at a steal of a price!

I also didn’t have flowers, mostly because I don’t really care for them. (My mother is a flower-fanatic and wasn’t surprised by this.)

central park wedding

central park wedding

The story behind their intimate surprise wedding / elopement:

When we talked about our wedding we had the issue that wherever we chose to have it a lot of important people would be left out. Due to the fact that were from different countries. Also, it didn’t seem that appealing to plan a big wedding when we knew important people wouldn’t be there. At around this time we had already planned to go to NYC with Axel’s parents and had invited my parents from Canada to join us for part of it. I suggested to Axel, why don’t we just get married in NYC. We did some quick research online to make sure it was feasible. And that was it. We chose to surprise our parents — mostly because surprises are more fun. It also made the wedding feel so special because all the planning was just between the two of us. I think sometimes simple is best. And in this case our simple wedding was perfect.

central park wedding

central park wedding

central park wedding

central park wedding

central park wedding

central park wedding

central park wedding

Having only their parents around to witness their wedding already made it solemn and meaningful, but they also infused it with several personal touches that made it extra special:

Because we planned everything in secret, it felt so special. In Sweden the man also has an engagement ring so when we came home from work the first thing we would do was put our rings on, then always take them off before leaving the house again. The planning process was our little secret.

During the ceremony we read personal vows we had written together. We each spoke the same time, first me in English, then him in Swedish. This made it fee like we were having a special little conversation, and this way everyone understood the ceremony.

As the only guests at the wedding were our parents, our mothers signed as witnesses, and our fathers gave the rings to each of us (my Dad gave the ring to Axel, and his Dad gave the ring to me put on his Axel). My wedding ring is my Dad’s mother wedding ring, so this action felt right for us.

There was such excitement (waking our parents up with the news we were getting married in a few hours) and it really carried on through the day. Both our mothers kept saying how much they loved the wedding and how it was just perfect for “us”.

central park wedding

central park wedding

So in love! <3

central park wedding

central park wedding

Kathleen’s thoughts, on hindsight:

Of course a surprise wedding with just parents is not for everyone. But even doing our simple planning I looked at some wedding blogs to get ideas. I just kept coming back to the idea that simple is best. Our wedding was so intimate and it felt just right for us.

central park wedding

Thank you Sarah for sending your breathtaking images my way, and congratulations Kathleen and Axel! Thank you for sharing your sweet wedding with all of us. :)

Photography: Sarah Tew Photography
Location: Central Park, NY
Officiant: Beth Lamont
Make-up: Evy Drew
Venue: Wagner’s Cove, Central Park
Lunch: Boathouse at Central Park
(A note from the bride: Pretty much everything else we already had —  Axel’s suit and shoes etc, my jewelry, shoes and etc.)

Image submission via Two Bright Lights

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