How to Elope in NYC

Everything you need to know to elope in NYC!

As a New York City Hall Elopement Photographer,  I’ve learned that all you need to get married are two people in love and a marriage license…. well technically…two people in love, an officiant, one witness, and a marriage license. I’ve got all the deets on the best locations, whether you are looking to get hitched at City Hall or would prefer to hire your own officiant and do it a bit more personal.

Being New York City Hall Elopement photographer is literally the best job in the world, I love helping couples plan the perfect day! You can check out my elopement portfolio to see more images.

I’ve compiled the guide below to help you through the process of getting married at City Hall in NYC!

New York Elopement Photographer

What you need:

A license ($35USD), an officiant and a witness. In order to receive your New York marriage license, you and your fiance must appear together at the City Clerk’s office to file the application and present proof of age and identity. Acceptable ID must usually include a photograph and be government issued; the most common forms of proof are a driver’s license or passport.

Brooklyn Office
Hours: 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday
Brooklyn Municipal Building
210 Joralemon Street, Room 205
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Manhattan Office
Marriage Bureau Hours: 8:30 am to 3:45 pm, Monday through Friday
Lobbying Bureau Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday Through Friday
(Walk-in hours until 3:45pm)
141 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013

Pro tip:

Fill out the license application online here in advance to save time.

Brooklyn City Hall Elopement Photographer

City Hall weddings:

The basics:
Apply for a marriage license. Fast forward twenty-four hours after you’ve obtained your license and return to city hall to have the ceremony performed. There is not a way reserve a time, so just walk in and take a number and wait until you are called.

You only need one witness but you can have about 15-20 people max with you in the room.

Fridays and Mondays tend to be the busiest days, so keep that in mind when choosing the date. I usually recommend showing up first thing in the morning as it will be less crowded; there is usually a lunch rush, and then it can die down a bit again. It is super hard to predict how long the wait will be, it could be 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

The ceremony is less than 5 minutes,  you can exchange rings however, you can’t say vows or do any special ceremony things. ( you will have a minute or two in the room after the ceremony and you can do quick vows then if you wish, but keep in mind other couples are waiting).

That’s it! boom you’re married!

Brooklyn Elopement Photographer

Non City Hall elopement:

If a City Hall wedding just isn’t your thing or you want something a little more personal….. the great thing about New York City is that you can get married literally anywhere!

The process for a non City Hall wedding is the same as a City Hall wedding. You’ll need to get your marriage license 24 hours in advance, then just bring it along with you on your wedding day. However, in this case you will need an officiant, I am happy to provide some suggestions.

I would the say next to City Hall, the 2nd most popular location for elopements in New York City would be Central Park. Some places in central park require permits, most don’t unless you have more than 20 people. You can apply for a permit here. A special permit is required for weddings and photography in the Conservatory Garden, you can apply for that online here.

Some popular locations in the park are the Ladies Pavilion, The Cop Cot, Wagner Cove, The Dene Shelter, the Ramble, Cat rock, Gapstow bridge and Shakespeare’s Garden. While not required; if you are getting married at one of these spots or if its a busy time of year, it can be a good idea to have the space reserved for you.

If you are not really feeling Central Park there are several other parks and places throughout the city to tie the knot! Some of my favorite locations for NYC elopements: Brooklyn Bridge Park/Dumbo, Grand Central Station (can get a permit (212)-672-1200), Brooklyn Promenade, Governor’s Island, Top of the Rock, Times-Square.

Also, restaurants and hotels often have party rooms, or gardens that can be used for a small ceremony. If you are staying there or planning on having a small lunch or dinner.

Wherever you chose to get married, it’s sure to be an adventure and I’d be super stoked to tag along. If you’d like more information on elopement photography, feel free to drop me a note via my contact page  I’m always happy to help!