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How to get married at the New York City Hall Marriage Bureau

City Hall Wedding Updates

As of February 2024, the New York City Hall Marriage Bureau is opening to in-person weddings!

You can get your marriage license online or in person before your ceremony, and after you obtain your marriage license, you can get married 24 hours later.
Also, only THREE others are allowed to join you, and one must act as your witness.

Everyone else can wait outside or nearby at one of our recommended locations.
Book now, as our availability is limited on a first-come basis.

Your guide to having your wedding at the City Hall Marriage Bureau.

Getting married in New York City is a dream for many couples. But with the rising costs of everything, it can also seem like an impossible dream. However, there is one intimate and iconic option: getting married at New York City Hall Marriage Bureau.

A ceremony at the marriage bureau near City Hall is a quick way to have an effortless wedding. The marriage license fee is $35 and the ceremony is short and sweet. You can also keep your guest list small and intimate, or elope entirely.

But just because it’s not expensive, doesn’t mean it can’t be special. The marriage bureau and its surroundings is in a beautiful and historic building, and there are plenty of ways to make your ceremony and photos unique.

Here are some tips for planning your wedding at the marriage bureau:

  • Book your appointment in advance. Marriage licenses are issued on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s important to book your appointment in advance, especially if you’re getting married during peak season (May-October).
  • Decide on your ceremony time. Typically it’s better in the mornings. They break for lunch at NOON for an hour, so you don’t want to be stuck waiting around.
  • Hire a photographer. A photographer can capture the special moments of your wedding day, from getting your marriage license to saying your vows. Many talented photographers specialize in City Hall weddings.
  • Get dressed up! Just because you’re having a mini wedding doesn’t mean you can’t dress up for the occasion. Many brides choose to wear white dresses, but there are no rules. You can wear whatever makes you feel special.
  • Make it your own. There are many ways to personalize your wedding at City Hall. You can bring your flowers, music, and readings. You can also have a reception afterward at a restaurant or bar.

Getting married at the marriage bureau at City Hall is a great way to start your married life together. It’s intimate, romantic, and unforgettable. With a little planning, you can have a wedding that is perfect for you.

What if I told you that getting married is pretty easy to do? You are also not required to have many people there with you. It can be the two of you and a witness. As a photographer who has witnessed many weddings, I would be honored to capture them and be your witness, too!

I have photographed countless weddings as a City Hall Wedding Photographer. I know everyone there by name, and they recognize me every time I stroll through the hallway. Having worked here many times means my expertise has led me to find every angle possible for the best photos under any lighting conditions. From the beautiful historic stone steps that lead up to the front doors of the Marriage Bureau to the mosaic tiles that curve around the interior of the gift shop, many backdrops can be used to set the tone of your love story.

Not only can I be your wedding photographer, but I can also help you plan your day around your ceremony.   I can help suggest and arrange your lunch or dinner reservations, transportation (taxi, Uber, limo), floral arrangements, dress/tuxedo rentals, and any other addition to your NYC Wedding Planning needs. As a New York native, you won’t find anyone who knows New York City better than I do!

What if we are from overseas and we want to elope in NYC?

After eloping at the marriage bureau, you must return to the front desk and apply for an extended certificate. Here, you must pay another $35 to receive this certificate. With this certificate, you head across the street to the Supreme Court Building at 60 Centre St. There is a $3 fee for this signature. Once it is signed, you have to go to another office, which is a 15-minute walk, at 123 William Street.

Before you arrive, you have to make a detour to purchase a money order from this Duane Reade, which is $10 to purchase. Or if you have me as your photographer, I can purchase in advance for you at a bank or personal check, saving you time and a journey. The Apostille accepts this “short” certificate with authentication after they accept your money order and the paperwork. The office there is only open till 3 pm, so booking an early appointment for your ceremony, preferably around noon or before, is better.

This is a long process, so I don’t suggest squeezing this all into one day or rushing it because you will want to take photos with your photographer after your ceremony! If you are coming from overseas to elope, I believe a one-week trip for this joyous occasion is perfect!

How Much Time Should I Dedicate to My City Hall Wedding?

The waiting time can take as little as twenty minutes and as long as two hours.  So give yourself a solid three hours in your day just in case, but be ready to move in and out quickly.  The actual City Hall Wedding Ceremony is around two minutes.  The best days of the week are Tuesday through Thursday and midday to avoid long wait times. Mondays and Fridays have always been the BUSIEST! The long weekend holidays also hold back a lot of the wait times.

How Much Do Marriage Licenses Cost?

The good news here!  A City Hall Marriage License NYC will only run you $35.00; the actual ceremony to be paid the day of is $25. 

What Forms of Identification Would We Need to Get a Marriage License?

Thankfully, this isn’t a trip to the DMV.  Only one form of identification is required when applying for your marriage license. Click here for a valid list of identifications.

How Do I Get to the New York City Hall Marriage Bureau?

Super easy!  I always recommend downloading Google Maps when navigating through New York City.  You can type in your origin and destination.  In this case, your destination will be 141 Worth Street for the marriage bureau. It is a clerk’s office nearby. Also, consider getting an Uber, Lyft, or Taxi to your destination. 

What Do We Do About Flowers?

You can purchase them from a local florist, or make your own. I can also help you source some if there’s enough time.

Are there snacks, food, or drinks?

Unfortunately, they do not sell food or drinks inside for safety reasons. You can purchase food or drinks outside on the corner by the stand. I recommend bringing your own if you plan on waiting a long time to elope.

Susan Shek New York Wedding Photography

What can we do after our ceremony?

After your ceremony, we will spend some time taking pictures around the marriage bureau. We can also head to Brooklyn Bridge if the weather is nice, or Dumbo, or City Hall Park. I’m also available to go uptown and take Central Park photos as well.

Some out-of-towners or couples who want a staycation will book places like The Beekman Hotel. If you do book a room there, they allow you one hour of photos in designated areas. (Must be booked in advance and the photographer must have a full COI insurance permit to submit to them) If you do not abide by their rules you can be kicked out and banned from the hotel!

Portraits after City Hall Marriage Bureau Wedding at Beekman Hotel

Inquire for availability below.

Below is the map from Google Maps for the location of the Marriage Bureau in Manhattan. The address is 141 Worth Street. That is where you will go to register and have the ceremony to be married.

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