Jon & I had a dear friend officiate our wedding. This was something we always dreamed of because she had known us before and during our dating life. We truly felt that she would be able to offer a unique perspective on our relationship. Ideally, she would have been internet-ordained in order to sign and process our Marriage Certificate at the wedding. Unfortunately, Westchester County (where we got married) doesn’t recognize an online officiant as a valid officiant for Marriage Certificate processing purposes… hence, we went to NYC City Hall a week before our wedding to seal the deal!
The day of our City Hall Ceremony, Jon woke up early and handmade my bouquet from flowers we bought at Whole Foods. Our sisters came to be our witnesses and moral support. Our photographer friend joined to perfectly capture the day and help make the moment feel special.
REAL TALK: Although it was a bit of a hassle to make time to go to City Hall twice and wait for hours just to sign a piece of paper, it made for fun memories. It also took the pressure off our actual wedding day because no one had to be responsible for keeping track of the Marriage Certificate and mailing it back to the City Clerk… because we all know that could’ve ended poorly.
Getting Married at City Hall takes 2 separate trips. First, you have to go to submit your Marriage License Application, and then you have to go back for the actual ceremony by a city clerk.
Start by filling out your Marriage License Application online HERE. City Hall has computers so that you can fill out the forms when you arrive, but you will save loads of time by filling it out online & bringing a printed copy with you. **After you fill this out you have 21 days to visit City Hall to get the application processed.
Go to City Hall with your printed Marriage License Application, your fiancé, a valid form of ID, and a form of payment ($35). You’ll get a number, like at the deli, and when your number is called, you’ll go up to the desk to submit the application and receive an official License. **Once you receive your Marriage License, it is valid for 60 days and can be used anywhere in the State of NY.
Wait 24 hours to go back to City Hall for the Marriage Ceremony.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
Your Marriage License
A Witness (18+ years old)
Valid form of ID for all 3 of you
Form of Payment ($25)
Rings - if you’re going to do a ring exchange
Decision made about your last names *Don’t worry, you can always change your names after too!
WHAT HAPPENS: During your second trip, there are two waiting periods. First is waiting for you both and your witness to sign your Marriage License. The second waiting period is for the City Clerk to perform the ceremony. When you’re called, you go into a back room, say your “I do’s” in a 10 minute ceremony and receive an official Marriage Certificate.
Manhattan City Hall Address: 141 Worth Street - Officially called “City Clerks Office - Marriage Bureau”
Marriage Bureau Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 am to 3:45 pm (Walk-in hours until 3:45pm)
Additional NYC Locations: Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island (full details)
Wait times range from 30 minutes to 3+ hours. Try to arrive right at 8:30am to be first in line and avoid long waits.
While we were prepping for the City Hall portion of our wedding, I had to ask my recently married friends lots of questions. It was so helpful but a bit overwhelming to research the seemingly small details. I thought it would be nice to gather our story in one spot for other prospective couples. Hope this helps give you insight into the process.
Congrats!! You’re getting married soon!!