UPDATED January 5th, 2019
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, but I can also 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 Weddings. 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 8:30 am and you can bet couples are standing in line waiting for this early! The last couple taken is at 3:45 pm 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 from overseas and we want to elope in NYC?
Eloping in New York is fun. After you elope at the City Hall Marriage Bureau, you do have to go back to the front desk and apply for an extended certificate on the same day or next business day. Here you have to pay another $35 dollars so you can receive this certificate. With this certificate, you head across the street down a ramp on the side entrance to the Supreme Court Building 60 Centre St 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 a 7/11 store, or a Duane Reade, and that money order is $10 to purchase. Or if you have me as your photographer, I can do purchase it for you at a bank and that will save you time and a journey. The Apostille that accepts this “short” certificate with authenticating 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 to elope, 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 midday 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 Licenses Cost for City Hall Weddings?
The 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 Marriage Bureau?
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 marriage bureau. You don’t actually get married at the City Hall Building. It is a clerk’s office nearby. Also consider getting an Uber, Lyft, or Taxi to your destination.
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 to elope.
What can we do after our ceremony?
I recommend taking some photos around the City Hall area or even venture to other places like Central Park or Dumbo by Brooklyn Bridge for some nice portraits! I can also recommend places to eat for lunch or dinner to celebrate your marriage!
How much does a City Hall Elopement cost?
For 3 hours from arriving at the marriage bureau, paperwork, the process, the ceremony, and then for photos after the ceremony in a location of your choice is $1200. I can also be your witness as well if its the two of you. You will receive around 200-300 photos from your day to remember.
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 photographed an abundant amount of City Hall Weddings and elopements.
Couples come from all over such as Asia, Australia, the UK, and New Zealand to elope and be married in New York City’s beautiful location.
Below is the map for the location of the Marriage Bureau in Manhattan from Google Maps. The address is 141 Worth Street. That is where you will go to register and have the ceremony to be married.