UPDATED September 15th 2019
What’s So Special About City Hall Weddings?
What if I told you how easy and inexpensive it is and located in a prime New York City area? You also don’t have to invite a whole ton of people. Just the two of you and your witness is all you need. Well if I’ve got your attention, then you need to consider an NYC City Hall Wedding.
I have photographed a countless number of weddings as a City Hall Wedding Photographer. I feel like I know everyone there by name and they recognize me every time I stroll through the hallway! This experience means I also know all the best places to shoot around the surrounding area. From the beautiful historic stone steps that lead up to the front doors of the Marriage Bureau to the large pillars surrounding the entrance, there are many backdrops that can be used to set the tone of your love story.
Not only can I be your City Hall Wedding Photographer, I can even act as your witness when it’s time for your quick ceremony. I’m also happy to help you plan the important elements that go into your NYC City Hall Wedding. I can help 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. You won’t find anyone that knows New York City better than me!
How Does the Marriage Process Work for City Hall Weddings?
Your actual NYC City Hall Wedding ceremony doesn’t take place at City Hall, it takes place at the City Clerk’s Office. Before you go through with the ceremony, you must file for a marriage license. The bureau opens at 8:30am and you can bet couples are standing in line waiting this early! Last couple taken is at 3:45pm sharp and no later! This is a 24-hour process, which technically means you can get married within 24 hours of getting your license. It costs $35 dollars to obtain this registration. Truly, City Hall Weddings are the fastest kinds of weddings.
What If We Are International And Want To Marry In NYC?
After your City Hall Ceremony, you do have to return again the following day to receive your “short” extended certificate. Here you have to pay another $35 dollars so you can receive this “short” certificate. With this certificate, you head across the street to the Supreme Court Building 60 Centre St, to the basement, and get this certificate notarized. There is a $3 fee for this signature. Once it is signed, then you have to go to another office which is a 15 minute walk, at 123 William Street. Once you are there, you need to buy a money order from the first floor office, or across the street at a Duane Reade, and that money order is $10 with a $1 fee for processing. The Apostille that accepts this “short” certificate with authenticate it after you give them the money order.
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, I think one week trip for this joyous occasion is perfect!
How Much Time Should I Dedicate To an NYC City Hall Wedding?
The waiting time can take as little as 20 minutes and as long as three hours. So give yourself a solid three hours just in case, but be ready to move in and out quickly. The actual City Hall Wedding Ceremony is 2 minutes. The best days of the week to go is Tuesday through Thursday and mid day to avoid long wait times. Mondays and Fridays have always been the BUSIEST! The long weekend holidays are also to hold back a lot of the wait times too.
How Much Do Marriage License’s Cost for City Hall Weddings?
Good news here! A Marriage License will only run you $35.00 and the actual ceremony to be paid 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 City Hall?
Super easy! I always recommend downloading Google Maps when navigating through New York City. You can simply type in your Origin and your Destination. In this case, your destination will be 141 Worth Street for the City Clerk’s Office, or if you’re going directly to City Hall then the address is City Hall Park, New York, NY 10007. Also consider getting an Uber, Lyft, or Taxi to your destination. Nobody wants to take a subway on the day of their wedding.
What Do We Do About Flowers?
Lucky enough, you can purchase flowers inside City Hall. They do cost a lot more though, so I recommend getting from a local florist or even one of the outside street vendors. The street vendor George is AWESOME and super friendly. He is directly outside of the city hall marriage bureau and can give you a great last minute deal, and make you a beautiful arrangement on the fly.
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 though. I would recommend bringing your own if you plan on waiting a long time.
What can we do after our ceremony?
I recommend taking some photos after in different locations around City Hall or we can even take some time to go to other locations. I can recommend a few. Also I can recommend places to eat for lunch or dinner to celebrate your marriage!
Susan Shek is an NYC Wedding Photographer who is considered the following: New York Wedding Photographer, City Hall Wedding Photographer, Brooklyn Wedding Photographer, Destination Wedding Photographer. She has shot an abundant amount of City Hall Weddings. Pricing starts at $1500 for city hall or small intimate elopements.