How to get married in New York City
Getting married in New York City is super popular and it's easy to see why. The city (and state of New York in general) is FULL of gorgeous venues, lots of transportation options into the city and around it, exciting places to fill out a whole wedding weekend, and tons of excitement for your guests. But it can also be super pricey, super crowded, and you'll need to know how to navigate all the legal requirements for making it official in New York.
We've got everything from the nitty-gritty of how to get legally married in New York City, to a few of our favorite New York City weddings, to special tips for how to save money in New York City.
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Tips for planning a wedding in New York City
Budgeting efficiently in New York is key as New York City is the most expensive city in the United States to get married. But you can totally cut your costs by limiting your guest list, choosing off-season dates, and avoiding heavily trafficked weekends like the New York City Marathon in November and New York Fashion Week in February and September. Check with your venue AND local hotels to see if there any big events that could cause you issues with pricing, parking, and hotel block rates.
Ways to save in your New York wedding budget:
- Look into non-traditional venues like restaurants for hosting smaller and more affordable gatherings.
- Choose in-season flowers for your decor OR opt for no flowers and decorate with items that mean something to you and your partner instead (board games? Funko Pop?)
- Prioritize what's important to you and minimize the rest: if great food and a good photographer are important, see if you can skip things like a limo, a huge cake, and expensive favors.
NYC wedding weather is unpredictable in any season. Rain is particularly challenging, especially for outdoor and rooftop weddings. Check here for some of our favorite tips for making the most of a rainy wedding day. Summer months and early fall can also be sizzling. If you're worried about beating the heat, click here for some tips on staying cool and looking cool in the heat.
How to get legally married in New York
All couples who want to get married in New York must obtain a marriage license. You'll want to see all of the documents and requirements you'll need to fulfill at the Office of the City Clerk. You can begin your application online and will need to complete it in person at the City Clerk’s office. There is a small fee payable to the city clerk and your license is valid for 60 days.
You must wait a minimum of 24 hours after obtaining your marriage license before you can have your wedding. But once the 24 hours have passed, you can either have your ceremony at the Office of the City Clerk's Marriage Bureau or you can have your wedding conducted by a registered marriage officiant.
Changing your name in New York
If you're planning to change your name after the wedding, get a few copies of your license to have on hand when obtaining your new documents. Hit up your local Social Security office to get a new card with your new name. After that, you can update your U.S. Passport which can usually be done via mail. Finally, head to your local DMV to change your name on your driver’s license and update your voter registration. After that, it's all about making a list of accounts to change like banking, your job, etc.
Source: City Clerk of NYC
New York wedding officiant requirements
In New York, most cities and towns do not require minister registration before performing a marriage, though it varies by town. You should always check with the local city or town clerk to check that your officiant can perform the wedding in that jurisdiction. Call the city or town clerk’s office where you intend to get married.
Offbeat New York wedding vendors
You may think finding skilled wedding vendors in New York is easy — it's NYC after all! But you may be overwhelmed with options and might have to do some research to find vendors who work with all budgets and all styles. You can find offbeat-friendly NYC wedding vendors in our Vendor Guide. Don't miss our online vendors, too, for honeymoon registries, stationery, gifts, ketubahs, rings, guestbooks, wedding websites, and more.
Some of our favorite New York City weddings
Take a peek at some of the most fun offbeat weddings in New York City. Don't forget to scroll to the bottom of each to find out who they chose for their NYC vendors!
- This Brooklyn art museum wedding was so stunning, I may have ugly cried
Disco balls, balloons, silver booties, a silver reception dress, awesome “do a favor” table, and an amazingly lit art museum space.
- A queer sequined Monday morning microwedding with a monster milkshake
A small elopement in New York City full of sparkles, sequins, the best of friends, a mini dance party in the park.
- This chic Brooklyn wedding had a tattoo artist & tarot reader
A chic Brooklyn wedding within a gorgeous pre-WWI rope factory turned loft space.
- A sweet, simple, & gorgeous Sweden -> DUMBO, Brooklyn elopement
A simple, lovely, and distinctly NYC elopement in the Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO.
- A chic Manhattan brunch wedding with two grooms & lots of greenery
Chic blue suits, lots of greenery, and their favorite people at their brunch wedding in Chelsea.
- A sweet family boho elopement redo in Prospect Park in Brooklyn
A gorgeous and colorful vow renewal at New York's Prospect Park followed by a picnic of traditional Dominican and Chinese sweets.
- A New York City hall wedding with chic roaring '20s Chinatown reception
A panoramic view on top of The James Hotel and a New York City Hall ceremony in their chic and retro-inspired outfits.
- Our full archive of NYC weddings
Some of our favorite Greater New York weddings
We've also featured some of the best offbeat weddings in greater New York and upstate New York. Don't forget to scroll to the bottom of each to find out who they chose for their New York area vendors!
- A New York confectionery wedding with smoke bombs, viking horns, & a haunted paintball field
Large batches of mead abounded for their wedding and anniversaries to come.
- It's a rustic meets rock ‘n' roll glam wedding in the Hudson Valley
An amazing rock ‘n' roll glam wedding in New York with pink glittery hair, a leather jacket, and loads of stars.
- This tiny upstate New York wedding had private vows, prayer flags, & so many sentimental moments
A super sweet, small, and DIYed wedding in upstate New York.
- Bookworms and gamer girls marry in style in New York
A vintage/library feel with escort cards that were library due date cards and the centerpieces were books.
- Our full archive of New York weddings
What did we miss about getting married in New York City?
Email us your wedding planning tips and favorite New York vendors!
Ready to start planning a NYC wedding? Head to our Tools page for wedding planning resources, our big planning checklist, editable planning spreadsheets, and TONS of wedding planning help and info.
Photo credits: Eloping is Fun, Kevin Lanceplaine, Nicole Nero Studio, Impressenshi, Danielle Bennink Photography, Kate Alison Photography, Everly Studios, Krystal Pratt Productions, Elizabeth Gibbs Photo