I got married in NYC! That’s right, after a few months of planning and numerous hen do’s, I am finally Mrs P! I am obviously bursting to tell you all about the amazing things that we got up to in NYC (and I will do over the next few posts!), but I thought that a couple of posts rounding off my wedding series would be a good place to start! So here it is Wedding News: Getting Married in NYC, why we did it, why we loved it and how you can do it too!
Why did you choose to get married in NYC?
I’ve been in a relationship with my Mister for fourteen years and living with him for ten, and I was never in a hurry to get married, even though I always knew that we would. Although we weren’t in a hurry, we both knew that we wouldn’t want a traditional wedding; we both hate being the centre of attention and were both quite open with our families from the start that we’d probably just go off and elope. After getting engaged in the South of France two years ago, we’d always thought we’d get hitched there, but French marriage laws are tricky and to get married in France we’d have to be legally married in the UK first in order to be able to have our ceremony there (a lot of fuss when you just want to elope without a wedding party in tow!). So we started to think about NYC, a place we’d always dreamed of visiting and planned to have our elopement and honeymoon all in one!
Although I had some initial reservations about marrying in a place that held no real meaning to us as a couple, I’m a firm believer in that fact that you can have fun anywhere as long as you’re in good company, so I knew that even if I didn’t fall in love with New York, it wouldn’t matter as I’d be there with the man I’d fell in love with, so it would be an amazing time no matter what! I didn’t need to worry-I totally fell in love with NYC too!
How easy is it to get married in NYC?
In all honestly, it’s the easiest thing ever and perfect for couples that don’t really want a lot of fuss! The process goes like this:
Step one: Visit the City Clerk’s Office and register for your marriage license
You must visit the Office of the City Clerk (Manhattan’s City Clerks Office is open 830am-345pm Monday-Friday and is located on 141 Worth Street) at least 24hours before you wish to get married to register for your marriage licence. If you want to get ahead, you can start the application for your marriage licence online before visiting the office, by visiting the link here (although online applications expire after 21 days). Marriage licenses are valid for 60 days after your appointment and are $35 dollars payable by credit card or money order payable to the City Clerk. You must remember to take your confirmation number with you (if you started your application online) and proper identification such as your passport to complete your application. We started our process online just before we left the UK and visited the City Clerk’s Office early on a Thursday morning in August to complete our marriage license (we got married the following Monday, 26th August). We were given a ticket and probably waited just over an hour for our appointment, which lasted about ten minutes. Wait times vary, so bear this in mind when visiting. We’d also recommend that you take a bottle of water with you too, as there aren’t any refreshments available once you’re inside.
Step two: Choose where you want to get married
Yep, you can get married anywhere in New York, as long as you have your valid marriage license and an officiant to perform your ceremony, or you can get married in the City Clerk’s Office where an officiant will be supplied for you. You also need to have at least one witness for your ceremony and they must also have proper identification with them. My Mister and I chose the City Clerk’s Office for our ceremony (which costs $25 dollars) and found a lovely Ukrainian couple applying for their wedding license, who kindly agreed to be our witnesses (we even went back to be their witnesses two days later!).
Step 3: Getting married at The Office of the City Clerk Marriage Bureau
Getting married at the City Clerk’s Office is a breeze! We arrived with our marriage license and our witnesses and had our license checked alongside our witnesses ID. We then paid $25 dollars by credit card (money order is also accepted) for our ceremony and were given a number to wait for our turn to go into the chapel. We had our official wedding photographs taken before our ceremony (I’ll do a separate post on this), so arrived at the City Clerk’s Office around lunchtime on Monday 26th August. We had quite a long wait of around an hour and a half for our ceremony, which lasted around 90 seconds! For us, it was absolutely perfect and our officiant was lovely! Once it’s over, you are presented with your marriage certificate by your officiant. If you live outside of the USA, you need to apply for an extended marriage certificate after your ceremony. The first step requires you to get another ticket at the City Clerks Office after the ceremony and to pay a fee for your full duplicate certificate (I think it was around $35). I’d recommend doing this on the same day as it’s the only other step you need to complete at the Clerk’s Office, the other two steps take place in different buildings.
After our ceremony and acquiring our full marriage certificate, we decided to enjoy ourselves and complete out extended certificate on a different day, as we were tired, thirsty and hungry from a morning filled with fun, photography, a ceremony and lots of waiting around!
Step 4: Completing your Extended Marriage Certificate so it’s valid outside of the USA
If you have your full certificate from the City Clerk’s Office, you need to get this verified by the County Clerk. The County Clerk’s Office is situated in the Supreme Court building, opposite Office of the City Clerk. After a security check at the entrance (most official buildings have this), you will be pointed in the direction of the Notary Public Desk on the lower ground floor (from memory!), where your certificate will be signed for a fee of $3 (payable by cash or credit card).
From there, you need to head to the New York State Department of State (123 Williams Street-a short walk away) for the final step in your marriage process, where an Apostille will authenticate your document. For this part, you need a money order of $10 as a credit card or cash will not be accepted. This will cost you $11 and can be obtained from the 7/11 just over the road from the Department of State building. After this final step, your marriage certificate will be valid abroad (in our case, the UK).
What should I wear?
One of the beautiful things about eloping in New York City is that you can make your own dress code rules! The Office of the City Clerk is a wonderful place to people-watch, and the dress code ranges from casual and office wear, to full wedding attire, so really, anything goes! We wanted to be dressed up in occasion attire, but I didn’t want a traditional wedding dress so I wore navy instead of white! As we both love fashion, my Mister was head-to-toe in Paul Smith and my dress was an ASOS pick. I teamed it with my beautiful J’adior Wedding Shoes and a navy beaded headpiece and made myself a bouquet of false peonies, hand-tied with a pink Dior ribbon! You can buy or rent flowers in the Marriage Bureau and you can even buy I got hitched in NYC t-shirts, but we chose a slightly more traditional route than that!!
I passed on my something blue to my witness Natali for her own wedding ceremony, and I gave my flowers to another lady who was about to be wed, I guess you could say that I was sharing the love on my wedding day!
Wedding News: Getting Married in NYC, any more tips?
If I could do it again, I definitely would and I wouldn’t change a thing! As long as you’re prepared that you might have to wait and that you’re happy to go with the flow, it’s an amazing experience! I met some really lovely people in the Office of the City Clerk and it’s fun to share your surreal and special day with others that you wouldn’t probably ever meet unless you were getting married this way!
My next post will talk about my beautiful wedding photos, but just as a heads up, I’d like to recommend our amazing photographer Sascha Reinking Photography and if you are looking for an officiant, his lovely wife Jackie, who will provide you with the perfect elopement package, should you choose to get hitched outside of the City Clerk’s Office…you’re welcome!
Until next time,