How to Get Married in New York City

How to Elope in NYC 

So you’ve made the decision to get married in New York City? Awesome! I’ve lived in NYC since 2008 and I have to say, it’s an amazing place. One of the best parts? Literally anyone can get married here, and all you need is 24 hours, $35, a witness, and you’re set to go! But how exactly does it work? How do you get married in NYC? After photographing hundreds of elopements and helping many international couples from around the globe navigate the process of eloping in New York, I’m here to help.

A Bride and Groom kissing on top of the rock in NYC

How to Get married in New York City PART 1: THE MARRIAGE LICENSE.

How to get a Marriage License in New York City

Your NYC Marriage License is the piece of paper you need to make everything legal. Want to just have a ceremony and don’t care if it’s legal? That’s totally fine with me. However, if you want all those sweet marriage benefits, you’ll need to make things official with the clerk.

What do you need to get your New York Marriage License?

•Proper identification (State ID/Passport, an official identification with your photograph and birth date)
•If you have been married before, you will need proof any previous marriage has ended. (Divorce or death certificate)
•$35 fee
•A licensed officiant or clerk 

Two grooms kissing holding up a magnet that says we got married in NYC.

You need to obtain your New York marriage license 24 hours before you hope to get married. After Covid, the process for obtaining a marriage license in New York changed a bit. You now have two options for how to get your New York Marriage License. When you are getting married in NYC, the main online portal you will be going through is called Project Cupid. All of your appointments and fillings will be done online through here. 

A couple cheers after getting married at their NYC City Hall wedding ceremony

            Option 1: Virtually. You can fill out your paperwork and make an appointment via Project Cupid. Once your paperwork is submitted online, you can sign up for a virtual appointment with the clerk. For this appointment both spouses will need to be in the same location in New York State. (Can this be fudged? Rumor has it that yes, with things like VPN’s, but the law states that both spouses must be in New York for the appointment and the clerk will ask if you are in New York.) 

            Option 2: In Person. You can also make an appointment via Project Cupid to complete your marriage license paperwork at any of the 5 Office of the City Clerk’s in New York. You will bring your paperwork, ID and credit card, debit card or money order (no cash accepted) and get the marriage license in the office.

City Clerk’s Offices are in each of the 5 boroughs, but most people end up at the Manhattan office which can be found at 141 Worth Street. The closest subway to this office is the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall station on the 4/5/6 line or the Canal Street Station on the NQR line. (Keep in mind this IS NOT actually City Hall, which is located down the street) You MUST have an appointment to enter the office. There are no walk-in appointments available.

A couple waiting to get married at NYC City Hall sits on a green couch.

How to get married in NYC Part 2: THE CEREMONY

This is the fun part! You actually get married, hurray! There are two options for this, a City Hall ceremony, or outside City Hall elsewhere in the city. I’ve written about which could be best for you on the blog, so if you’re debating which way to go, head over to this post, Where to Elope in NYC , to help figure out your options on if you should get married in City Hall in NYC or elsewhere. 

Bride and Groom in front of a street art mural that says Do Cool Shit.


If you’re looking for a no frills wedding, something simple and budget friendly, a City Hall wedding might be for you. As a City Hall Wedding Photographer, I’d have to say it’s also some of the best people watching in town. I’ve detailed the process below and you can also find all the details on my NYC City Hall Wedding Guidebook page.

A couple exiting City Hall with lots of confetti after their NYC City Hall Elopement.

A couple cheering after getting married at Brooklyn City Hall

How long does the NYC City Hall process take?

It’s very hard to predict, but now since they have created the appointment system, it’s usually fairly efficient. Generally speaking, most couples are in and out within 30 minutes, often less.

How do you get married at NYC City Hall?

The first step is to make an appointment on Project Cupid for your ceremony. There are NO walk-in appointments at City Hall. Appointment times are released 3 weeks in advance, usually Monday morning at 9am. Be sure to make your ceremony appointment for at least 24 hours after you receive your license.

If you are coming from out of town you CAN we make an appointment for a ceremony before you have your marriage license. I have had many couples do this. When filling out the form for the ceremony, just put in the date you plan to get your license.

You’ll receive an email confirmation and be all set to go. The email states you need to arrive 30 minutes beforehand, but I have found this isn’t necessary. You can arrive anytime around your appointment time and be good to go. (Unless your appointment time is around noon or 3:45, then be sure to be prompt! Otherwise you will get locked out) Keep in mind, your appointment time is NOT when you get married. It’s just your ticket in the door. Once you enter you’ll be given a ticket number and it’s first come first serve.

A couple waits outside the Brooklyn City Clerk's Offie for their NYC Elopement

When you arrive at the City Clerk’s Office (assuming you’re going to Manhattan, it’s slightly different at other offices) you’ll check in with the door security. They will check ID’s, your appointment time, and make sure you are within the guest count. As of February 2024 you are allowed to have 4 guests per couple.

Two grooms exiting City Hall with confetti poppers.

Once you’re let in the door, you will pass through security and then check in at the desk. This clerk will check your ID’s (passports if you’re international), make sure you have a witness over 18 with ID (you can have up to two witnesses if you like, and I’m always happy to be a witness), and provide you with a number on a ticket. Don’t lose the ticket, it’s your key to your ceremony!

After a short wait, you’ll be called to one of the desks to sign the license with your witness. You’ll also be asked to pay the $25 ceremony fee. Be sure to have a credit card, they don’t take cash.

Once your license is signed, you’ll either be told to head into Station 5 or to wait until your name is called. Once inside Station 5, they’ll call you by name to one of the two chapels, private rooms where the ceremony is held. Then it’s time to get married! Hurray!

A couple kissing after getting their NYC Marriage license at City Hall

Is the wedding ceremony at City Hall long?

The ceremony is short and sweet. You can exchange rings if you like, but otherwise it’s about a minute in length and you’re all set! Officially married! There are no personal vows allowed.

NYC City Hall wedding couple after their ceremony

Who will marry us?

There are a number of officiants that rotate.  All the officiants are great, but there’s no way to know who will be present on your day and you can not request a particular officiant.

A couple kissing in black and white after their City Hall Elopement

We don’t want to get married in City Hall. We’d love to have a wedding ceremony out in New York City somewhere. Can we do that?

Yes! While City Hall weddings are wonderful, sometimes it’s nice to have something a bit more personal. The fantastic thing about New York City is that you can get married literally anywhere you can think of. I’ve photographed elopements in Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Gantry Park, Coney Island, a small community garden, Top of the Rock , a street corner in the West Village, the Staten Island Ferry, Grand Central, one couple even got married while doing a high falls action stunt! The sky is the limit and there are SO many creative locales to exchange vows. If you’d like suggestions, I’m always happy to help. I have a list of the Best Places to Elope in NYCGuide To NYC Neighborhoods for Wedding Photos, a Central Park Wedding Guide  and a Brooklyn Bridge Park Wedding Guide my site!

Couple getting married in Central Park at sunrise

The process for a non City Hall wedding starts the same as with a City Hall wedding. You’ll get your marriage license 24 hours in advance but then just bring it along with you on your wedding day. You can get married at any time of day, though I always recommend sunrise or sunset for the best light.

The only extra thing you need is an officiant. I regularly work with a number of great officiants, so I’m happy to make recommendations or can add an officiant to any elopement package.

Couple geting married at Brooklyn Bridge Park

A couple laughing in front of a rainbow heart wall in Dumbo Brooklyn

Wherever you chose to get married, it’s sure to be an adventure and I’d be thrilled if you’d like to have me along. If you’d like more information on elopement photography, feel free to drop me a note via my contact page  or check out my Guide to NYC Elopements, I’m always happy to help!

Wedding couple popping a bottle of champagne after their NYC Elopement overlooking the NYC skyline in winter time.

Happy Wedding Planning!

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De Nueva Photography specializes in NYC elopements and weddings. I'm also available for engagements, proposals, and family portraits.


Not having a local wedding or elopement? No worries. Travel is literally my favorite thing and my passport is always ready. I’m available for travel worldwide.





Phone: 347-560-1625