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

Budget
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.

Weather
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.

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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.

If you're having a friend officiate your wedding (yep, you totally can in NYC!), check here for information on how to get ordained in New York.

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

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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.

If your officiant plans on performing a wedding in New York City, they are required to register with the NYC Clerk's Office Marriage Bureau.

Source and more info: American Marriage Ministries

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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 including:

Don't miss our online vendors, too, for honeymoon registries, stationery, gifts, ketubahs, rings, guests books, wedding websites, and more.

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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!

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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!

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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.

Wedding Planning Tools

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

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