The lovely people at Eloping is Fun asked for love letters to New York and I thought it would be easy, I think about it most days and it’s my favourite place in the world, but actually describing exactly why and how much I love it was far harder than I expected. I’m not a writer and I’m sure others could have put it better but here goes…
I’ve visited New York 10 times and each time I get that warm feeling in my heart as the taxi drives from the airport, past the buildings I’ve come to recognise over the years, Jamaica Hospital on the left and the big apartment block on the right that always has loads of fairy lights in the windows. Then the skyline comes into view, takes my breath away for a second, and makes me so happy that I may have even shed a tear once or twice. Not everyone gets it, but the people, sights, smells and sounds (I live in the countryside so there are a lot more sounds!) are what I look forward to, fire trucks just don’t sound the same here. Sometimes if I’m feeling sad I settle down with a glass of wine and watch a film or TV show set in New York, seeing where I’ve been and remembering what I’ve done will almost always cheer me up.
I first visited in 2002, the city was still recovering and although it clearly had spirit I didn’t fall in love straight away, but I did know I wanted to return. I think the first time I realised I really loved the city was visit number 5, I needed to escape the stresses of my real life and it was where I was drawn to. In October 2012 I booked a last-minute trip on my own, I walked, ate, drank and shopped for 5 days, it sounds cheesy but that trip changed my life. I took 2 more trips on my own over the next few years, each time I came back with my batteries recharged, happier, stronger and more confident in who I was and what I wanted from life.
Then I met Kip, just like with New York it took me a couple of dates to realise how special he is. We’re very different in some ways and I was nervous that he wouldn’t feel the same way about the city as I did, I knew I would continue visiting regardless but I really hoped I could share it with him. A family wedding in 2016 was the reason for his first trip and I remember on the day we arrived he looked shell shocked by it all, but by day two I could see he was falling for the city just as I had. On that first afternoon, I walked us round the sights within a few blocks of our hotel, we visited Grand Central, Bryant Park and then the Top of the Rock, little did we know that 18 months later we would return to those three places on our wedding day.
We thought about a traditional wedding here in the UK but for many reasons it wouldn’t have worked for us and over a bowl of noodles one night we came up with the idea of the two of us eloping to New York. After some serious googling I came across Jenny and the team at Eloping is Fun and instantly knew we wanted them for our wedding, her emails were delightful, the little gift we were sent was adorable and we knew we were in safe hands.
We couldn’t have wished for a better day, the city welcomed us with warm November sunshine, cheers from strangers and an apple as a gift from a taxi driver (we still have no idea why!). Our ceremony with Rev Love was beautiful and so personal it was like he’d known us for years and Jonica was there to capture the moments and enjoy the day with us but without being intrusive. I had said from the start that the only way to share the day with others would be the pictures, so they needed to represent us as a couple and I wanted it to be obvious where we were, she put a massive tick in both of those boxes.
We should have been back in the city at the end of March and despite knowing and understanding why we couldn’t travel it didn’t stop me feeling sad for days, we’re really hoping that we can reschedule our trip and be there in November for our anniversary. Whenever the city is ready we’ll be back, again and again… just thinking about it makes me smile.