The Best Places to Elope in NYC
I’ve been an elopement photographer in NYC now for over 12 years. In that time, I’ve photographed hundreds of couples eloping all over the city! I’ve been from the Top of the Rock to Central Park and City Hall and all the way out to Coney Island with couples. There are SO many amazing locations to elope in New York. Are you looking to get cheered on by a crowd? Would you prefer somewhere more private? Do you want a killer skyline view? I’ve seen it all and am here to let you know the best places to elope in New York City.
I’m outlining a bunch of different places here, but this is by no means an exhaustive list, looking for something different? Let’s chat, I’m sure I can find somewhere perfect for you and the beauty of New York is you can elope pretty much anywhere. Let’s find the best spot for you and your partner!
The Most Popular Spots to Elope in New York City
It goes without saying Central Park is a top destination in New York City and with good reason. The acres of green space have TONS of options for wedding backdrops and as bonus, with the exception of one spot, it’s FREE! Yes, you can apply for a permit to reserve certain popular places, and on busy weekends, this is for sure a good idea. These permits are $25, so still won’t break the bank.
However, a permit isn’t actually required, you can technically show up and get hitched anywhere in the park, except Conservatory Garden, so long as your group is less than 20 people.
Central Park can be overwhelming with options, I’ve written about some of my favorites, and all you need to know in my Central Park Wedding Guide. Some of my favorite spots include: Dene Shelter, Cop Cot, and Wagner Cove.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park and Central Park are probably the two most popular spots to elope in NYC. This park, under its namesake, the Brooklyn Bridge, offers incredible views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and the downtown Manhattan skyline. There are a number of places to elope within the park, check out my guide: Brooklyn Bridge Park Wedding Guide for info on how to elope in Brooklyn Bridge park and a list of the best places to elope in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Brooklyn Bridge Park is like Central Park in that so long as your party is tiny and your ceremony fairly quick, you can pretty much elope wherever you like, no permit required.
City Clerk’s Office
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the City Clerk’s Office under popular places for elopements in NYC. There are offices in every borough, but the Manhattan office is by far the most popular. It’s the quickest of quick ceremonies and you don’t have to hire an officiant. I think it’s incredibly easy to get married outside the office, but if you want as simple as simple can be and also don’t mind a little bit of a wait, this is your choice. If you’d like more information on how to get married in City Hall in NYC, I have all the details in my Guide to City Hall Weddings.
The Best Places for a Private Elopement in NYC
Are you looking for somewhere a bit quieter for your NYC Elopement or tiny wedding? There are still some public places in the city that can offer you a more private wedding ceremony space should that be what you’re looking for.
Here are some of my favorite more secluded spots to elope in New York City. I will mention that time of day is HUGE factor if you’re looking for privacy in the city. The amount of people passing by a ceremony at sunrise could be next to none, whereas a ceremony at the same location later in the day might be super crowded and busy. Early morning is your friend if you’re trying to avoid the crowds (and also has the added bonus of beautiful light!)
6BC Botanic Garden
I adore the 6BC Botanic Garden in Alphabet City. It’s open to the public, but it’s always very quiet and peaceful. There are lots of little paths, a covered arbor in the front, and a little fish pond. It’s a beautiful spot and the surrounding neighborhood can be fun for photos as well! Be sure to check with them beforehand, as it does close during some hours, but a volunteer can usually open it for you.
The Creative Little Garden
Another community garden! There are lots in the this neighborhood, so you can certainly hunt around on google maps if you want to find some place. This garden is super teeny, but it has some very cute backdrops and is usually a peaceful and quiet space in the east village.
Carl Schurz Park
Carl Schurz is my neighborhood park, so of course I’m biased, but I love this hidden gem. Especially early morning, but also at other times of day the Peter Pan Garden area of this park is quiet and peaceful.
This tiny spot in Central Park is secluded in that no one can walk directly by and it’s generally very quiet. Shelters like Dene Shelter or Cop Cot tend to be pretty private feeling as well. More information can be found in my Central Park Wedding Guide on where you can look for a private ceremony in Central Park.
Merchant House Museum
I adored photographing an intimate wedding at the Merchant House Museum last summer. This is such a beautiful venue tucked away in a historic downtown townhome. The court yard is gorgeous for a small ceremony and for photographs and the interior is also really amazing as well.
On a Boat
I find it amazing that I haven’t done more weddings or elopements on boats in NYC! Manhattan is an island after all, so if you’re looking for a place to get married on the water, this is a great town to do it in. I mentioned below a few options.
Your Hotel Room, Rented Space or a Restaurant Private Room
If you want a place that’s actually private, it’s hard to find in NYC. For this I’d always recommend either going with a hotel room, you could get a suite or a room with a terrace, perfect for a tiny wedding; or renting a space. Rental space can be surprisingly affordable on sites like Peer Space and Splacer, and can be really neat option for a creative venue for your wedding. In New York all kinds of venues might have cute courtyards or backs gardens that they rent out for tiny celebrations. Wanderlustre in Cobble Hill is a great example of this. I photographed a wedding there a couple years ago and hidden back garden was perfect for a micro wedding in Brooklyn. There’s also always the option of finding a restaurant with a private back room. If you’re having a small party this can be a great option to roll your ceremony and dinner into one.
The Best Places to Elope With a View in NYC
Are you looking for a skyline view for your NYC elopement backdrop? You can’t get a more iconic skyline then NYC and there are tons of great options to elope with a view in New York.
Top of the Rock
The queen of all spots for an iconic NYC view is going to be Top of the Rock. I love NYC elopements at Top of the Rock. Other observations decks aren’t necessarily as kind to professional photography, but Top of the Rock has always been great! I have had the most luck here with ceremonies right away in the morning when they open. You do have to pay for admission, but you can’t beat the view and we’re very close to other spots like Central Park should you want to switch up the urban with some green space.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Also popular for a view is Brooklyn Bridge Park. As I mentioned above, Brooklyn Bridge Park is a great spot for a ceremony, and there are lots of places within the park that offer amazing views. You have your choice of the downtown Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Manhattan Bridge; and even some spots with an expansive view of all three. The park also allows you to be close to the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood for classic brownstone photos and DUMBO if you’re looking for amazing street art and that ever popular instagram shot with the Manhattan Bridge in the background.
Domino Park and Williamsburg
I have done portraits in Domino Park and the view from here is excellent. I think it would be wonderful for an early morning ceremony. And bonus, you’re right next Williamsburg which has lots of great backdrops and street art for photos. If you’re looking for hipster cool, Williamsburg is your place.
In addition to Domino Park, Williamsburg also has a few other waterfront parks that are quieter and can be great for portraits and ceremonies like Bushwick Inlet Park and a bit farther down in Greenpoint, Transmitter Park could also be great!
Gantry Park and nearby Hunter’s Point South Park are great spots for photos and ceremonies! The view is of the midtown skyline, rather than downtown like at Brooklyn Bridge Park which means you get the iconic Empire State Building and Chrysler Building. There’s also loads of options for portraits along the waterfront.
It’s always worth checking to see if you have a friend who has a rooftop! I’ve done several ceremonies on people’s apartment rooftops or a hotel terrace and the views are always great.
South Street Seaport
Looking for a Brooklyn Bridge view but want to stay on the Manhattan side? South Street Seaport and Pier 17 are what you’re looking for. I love this area for photos and it’s an easy jaunt from City Hall as a bonus! We can also wander a bit into the financial District or Battery Park if you’d like some street shots as well.
Christopher Street Pier
Right on the river on the west side, there’s a great view of the downtown skyline from here and it’s right next to the West Village which is always wonderful for photos.
Inside or weather protected locations for an NYC Elopement
Worried about the rain or the weather? While I am always happy to bring along umbrellas, I definitely understand that people want either a rain backup or a spot they won’t have to worry about the weather. If you’re not willing to rent a hotel room or other space this does get tricky in the city. There are not a ton of options for public indoor space that work for a ceremony. However, the following can help out if needed. See my past blog post about what to do if it rains for other ideas.
While it can be busy, it can also work for a ceremony in a pinch. You won’t be on your own, expect cheers from the crowd, but it is inside and the building is definitely iconic NYC.
NY Public Library Façade
I really love this spot for a ceremony! The white marble is beautiful and the little alcoves on either side of the entrance make for a great ceremony spot. It’s technically outside, but it’s covered by the roof, so you’re out of the rain if needed. I recommend this location if you’re hoping for morning, generally before the library opens. I wouldn’t do a ceremony here with crowds going inside, but a morning or Sunday (when the library is closed) vow exchange here is lovely.
Off the Beaten Path locations for an NYC Elopement
Finally, looking for something different? Want to go a little more off the beaten path for your NYC Elopement? I’m full of ideas, but here a few of the best places to elope in NYC that are a bit more off the beaten path that I’ve photographed.
Staten Island Ferry
Yep, you can get married on the Staten Island Ferry, and the workers are generally delighted by it. You get an amazing view and a free boat trip, win win!
You’d have to pick your time and route wisely, some trips on the ferry are super quick, but if you just want a quick ceremony, you’d have a great view and I’m sure the other passengers would love it!
Fort Tryon Park
I love this park in the northern reaches of Manhattan. Lots of great little garden spots and views of the George Washington Bridge. It’s also usually quiet which is a bonus for ceremonies.
I’m kind of shocked that I don’t do more weddings in Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s answer to Central Park. It’s an amazing green space and perfect for elopement ceremonies and photos.
Randalls Island or Roosevelt Island
The former is a bit of a hike unless you’re coming from the east side, but there are some really cool views of the RFK Bridge, Hells Gate Bridge, and the north east edge of Manhattan if you look south along with some really nice gardens.
Roosevelt Island has some great Midtown views, and bonus! you get to take the tram which is super fun! Also, if you’re here in springtime, the cherry blossoms are amazing!
Wedding on the beach? Yes, please. The Rockaways are a bit of a trek, but a beautiful backdrop for a wedding, especially when they’re deserted in the off season. You’ve got your choice of boardwalks and sand.
First Street Art Park
There are a few graffiti street art areas around the city. If that’s your jam, we can certainly find a mural to get married in front of that you love. This little park always has changing backdrops that are fun for photos, and one of the main ones has usually been love/heart focused for at least the past 5-6 years so can make for a good ceremony backdrop. It’s also right in the East Village/LES/Nolita area which has lots of options for portraits before or after. Other concentrated street art areas can be found in Bushwick and Astoria and could also be fun for elopement photos.
Always an enthusiastic YES from me for weddings or photos in Coney Island! You can’t go wrong with the colors and the energy of a carnival for a wedding. It’s so much fun to take photos here and a quick ceremony on the boardwalk would cap it all off perfectly. Riding the Wonder Wheel after saying your vows on the beach? Let’s do it!
Don’t see a destination you like? Let’s talk! I’m sure we can find a spot that’s perfect for your dream elopement in the city. Hoping for something more in nature? I’m an avid hiker and there are loads of great spots just outside the NYC as well that I would LOVE to do. Hiking elopement in the Catskills or Hudson Valley? Yes please! And as always, you know my passport is always at the ready should you decide an even farther afield spot is in the cards for you. 😉
Do you just have more questions about Eloping in NYC?