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The Prospect Park Wed-In

We’ve always been fans of romance. In 1967 NYC Parks issued a very special invitation:


Photo courtesy of New York City Parks Photo Archive

“Lovers who would like to plight their troth this June amidst the trees of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park are invited to write to CUPID, c/o the Department of Parks.”


Photo courtesy of New York City Parks Photo Archive

Nine of the 75 couples who responded were promised places in a mass wedding in Prospect Park’s Great Lawn, which took place on July 1. Local businesses contributed flowers, gifts, wedding gowns, paper bridesmaids dresses, a honeymoon in a Long Island hotel, and even a massive wedding cake. As a wedding present, the Abraham and Straus Department Store gifted each couple Corningware and a copy of The New York Times Cookbook.


Photo courtesy of New York City Parks Photo Archive

The music was provided by the hippest of local musicians: the PS 11 glee club traveled from Manhattan to participate, accompanied by an electric piano. A small band called Sergeant Pepper's Friendly Sauerkraut Band also performed before the ceremony began.


Photo courtesy of New York City Parks Photo Archive

The guests? Any fans of romance. The food? Potluck. The event announcement declared that “In keeping with the spirit of love being celebrated, the community will be invited to come bearing flowers, rice, and food for the wedding feast.”


Photo courtesy of New York City Parks Photo Archive

Not everyone thought the Wed-In was a good idea. Articles about the planned ceremony by the New York Times  and the Associated Press quoted Chief City Clerk Herman Katz as saying "They've lost their municipal minds" and that a mass wedding would be nothing more than "a common spectacle." The wedding ceremonies were not without incident — the planned hors d'oeuvres and punch for the reception were devoured by children beforehand, and the judge was delayed in traffic, causing the weddings to take place later than expected.  


Photo courtesy of New York City Parks Photo Archive

A mass wed-in sounds very 1967, but the event was actually inspired by even earlier traditions: the first recorded wedding in Prospect Park took place June 9, 1923. Today, New York City’s parks are beloved wedding sites, and are host to hundreds of weddings each year.

Want to learn how to get married in a park? Check out our Weddings in Parks page. Do you know anyone who was married at the Wed-In? Send us their stories at socialmedia@parks.nyc.gov.

Related Video

Check out this 1967 news footage of the Wed-In.

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