New York City

Elopement Guide

Want to know how to elope or get married in NYC?

Are you hoping to elope in New York? Just wondering how to get married in NYC? Then this guide is for you! I'm here to answer all your questions on how to Elope in New York City!

"Nicki was such a joy to work with!"

"She made us feel so comfortable and truly captured our personalities. We both aren't used to taking lots of pictures but she made it so easy."


An NYC Elopement Photographer's Guide to Eloping in NYC

Do you want to know how to get to City Hall? • What do you need to bring for your City Hall Elopement?

Where are the best places to get married in NYC? Is it easy to have an elopement in NYC?

What to wear for your New York elopement? • Should you get your hair and make-up done for your NYC elopement wedding? • How many witnesses can we have? • What time of day is best to get married in New York City? • Where should you take your elopement photos in NYC?


I've got the answer to all these questions and more in this elopement guide!

As an NYC Elopement Photographer, I've been shooting elopements since 2010 and have captured hundreds elopements with couples from across the globe.


Whether you'd like to get married in City Hall or Top of the Rock, I'll be there, cameras in hand. As I know it's stressful to plan a wedding from afar, I'm always happy to offer tips to clients from the perspective of a local New Yorker, from the best NYC neighborhoods for wedding photos to how to tackle transportation on your wedding day. Looking for the best places to elope in New York? I've got you covered with lots of advice.


Elopements are such a great way to celebrate you as a couple. You get the whole day to celebrate getting married however you want without having to worry about the stress of a big wedding day. Want to stroll Central Park, explore some cool street art, make a toast in a beautiful wine bar, head to the Top of the Rock? Or just exchange vows in a tiny park by yourselves? We can do all that, or make the most custom of wedding days just for you! (seriously, I even had a couple do a stunt wedding once where they jumped off 4 stories of scaffolding, it's NYC, you name it, we can probably do it) I have loads of ideas for how to makes sure your NYC elopement is the best, most fun day it can be.

"Nicki is the greatest!"

"We are so happy that we chose to go with Nicki and her team for our wedding. She made us feel so comfortable and definitely brought out all of the love and joy in our relationship through her photos."


First things First...What exactly is an elopement?

The truth? The definition can vary on a case to case basis. That said, the biggest way to define elopements is by size. I usually classify an elopement as having 10 or fewer guests. Elopements generally have a simple ceremony without an elaborate reception. However I'm happy to photograph dinner parties or a small cocktail reception as part of your elopement or intimate wedding. Elopement weddings can be rather spontaneous, but sometimes are planned well in advance. My schedule is booked on a first come, first serve basis. So as soon you make your plan, contact me and we can get you on the calendar.

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Generally speaking in terms of photography, elopements sessions consist of a ceremony, portraits with the couple before or afterwards, and perhaps getting ready photos. However, it's completely up to you. I'm here to capture the story of your elopement wedding day, whatever that means to you.

If you're doing something a bit more complex with dinner, dancing, extended family photos, or all the extras, let's chat and we can work out the details. I'm happy to make anything work, from a quick spin through City Hall to a full tour of New York with a vintage taxi and private driver taking you around and dropping you off for your fancy multi course dinner.


How do we elope in New York?


The Short Version...How To Elope in NYC:


On my blog I have entire post with all the details of how to elope in NYC and have written extensively about How to Elope at NYC City Hall and what you need to know about Elopements in Central Park. These are great places to get you started. The short and sweet version is: make an appointment to get your license at 141 Worth Street, get your license, wait 24 hours, get married!

The long version...How To Elope in NYC:

You will need to obtain your license at least 24 hours before you hope to get married. Currently, as of June 2023, you will also need to have an appointment to get in the door no matter what. Make sure you have an appointment for your license or for your ceremony before you head to 141 Worth Street. You can also get marriage licenses at other bureaus (Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx all have their own offices) and elsewhere in New York State, but the most common place is at 141 Worth Street in Manhattan.


You can fill out your paperwork in advance online by clicking HERE, but you’ll still need to go together with your partner in person to pick it up 24 hours in advance, and you will need an appointment to do so. The City Clerk’s office is open 8:30am – 3:45 pm Monday-Friday. Be sure to check if there are any holidays around your desired date as they will be closed on those days. Remember to bring your photo id or passport. The fee for the marriage license is $35, payable by credit card or money order, NO CASH.


Once you have your license, you can decide if you want to get married in City Hall or elope somewhere else in the city. If you opt for City Hall, even with the new appointment system, plan on at least 30 minutes to get through. I've seen couples get in and out in as fast as 15 minutes and as long as 45 minutes, but it seems to be averaging about 30 minutes. The actual ceremony at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau is about 1 minute in length. You can opt to exchange rings if you like, there are no personal vows. You will leave the office with your marriage license in hand.


If you opt to get married outside City Hall, your next step is to pick your ceremony location and hire an officiant. I'm happy to help with both these areas if you need suggestions. The process is quite straightforward. Check out my post on whether you should opt for a City Hall or Outside City Hall ceremony if you need help deciding.

"Nicki was the best decision that we made for our wedding!"

"She was available to answer every question we had. She is experienced and caring: the full package!"


How Do You Get An Appointment at City Hall for your Wedding or License?

As I mentioned earlier, since Covid, you are now required to get an appointment with the City Clerk's Office. You will need an appointment if you are picking up your marriage license or if you're having a ceremony. Appointment times are released every Monday at 9am 3 weeks in advance. It IS possible to make an appointment for your ceremony before you have your marriage license in hand, which is especially useful if you're coming from out of town. I'm happy to help you through this process if needed. There are also always cancellations, so you keep checking back if you don't get the day you want. The website to make your appointment is here: NYC City Clerk Project Cupid.

NYC City Hall Wedding vs Non City Hall Wedding, which is better?

Both are great. Some folks love a City Hall Elopement. It is hands down some of the best people watching in town. There are couples eloping from around the globe, wearing everything from red carpet ball gowns to jeans and t-shirts. There's no fuss, and it can be kind of a perfect elopement wedding for certain people who want things as simple and straightforward as can be. If you're looking for an economical choice, this is definitely the way to go.


That said, it can involve lots of waiting and the ceremony is very short and sweet. If you'd prefer something a bit more personal and would rather spend time taking photos around town rather than waiting in line, than outside City Hall is for you. I know lots of officiants and can help you pick the perfect spot to get hitched. You can get married with the city as your backdrop which is pretty wonderful.


It's important to note that still as of August 2023, couples in City Hall are only allowed four guests, including a photographer.


If you're looking for more information, I wrote a whole post about where you should elope in NYC.

We want to elope at City Hall in Manhattan. How do we get there?

The first thing you should know: City Hall where you get married is actually the City Clerk's office (aka the Manhattan Marriage Bureau). If you tell a taxi to take you to City Hall, you may end up down the street. The City Clerk's office is very easy to get to on the subway, or you can always take a taxi or an uber/lyft for your elopement.


For the subway, the easiest way is to take the 456 (green colored line) to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall and then walk from there. It's also a short walk from the R train at City Hall, Q train at Canal Street or slightly farther walk from the A/C or 123 at Chambers Street.

If you're taking a cab, you can tell them to take you to the City Clerk's Office at the corner of Worth and Center Street.

Once you arrive, you head up the stairs and head through the first doors on your right.

We want to elope outside of City Hall. Where should we get married in NYC?

NYC is the perfect city to elope for many reasons, but one of the best is that you can get married pretty much anywhere you like. It's also really easy to get married outside of City Hall. Sometimes it's even more simple to elope outside the clerk's office as there is no wait or appointment times to worry about!


There are certainly spaces that are off limits (you're not getting into the Met or the NY Public Library in anything resembling a wedding dress), and some places are more strict then others, generally speaking however, if you're having a tiny ceremony, any place that's a public is fair game. I've photographed ceremonies in many of the parks around town, from Central Park to Brooklyn Bridge Park and tiny neighborhood gardens in between. Top of the Rock to the Staten Island Ferry, the city is your oyster! I have a whole post on my site dedicated to the best places to elope in NYC! Let me know what kind of feel you'd like for your photos and we can find the perfect location.

We are an LGBTQ couple. Can we elope in NYC? Will you take our photos?

Of course! One of the super awesome things about NYC is that everyone can be married and celebrated. Same sex marriage has been legal in NYC since 2011 and legal in the entire US since 2015. I have photographed many elopements for couples who chose to be married in NYC while their wedding was still illegal in their home country. I am incredibly honored to have photographed the weddings of so many LGBTQ couples throughout the years and would love to be a part of your day. All of my client materials and contracts gender neutral and I will ask for pronouns before your session. All of my vendor partners are also supporting of marriage equality and all orientations, backgrounds and genders.

Where should we take our elopement photos in New York after we get married?

All of my elopement packages offer a bit of time for portraits. How much time you'll need is something we can discuss. Some folks just want a couple photos, others want to really get out and capture the city. So where should you go to take your wedding photos? Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park or perhaps somewhere off the beaten path? It all depends on you and your partner and what you both enjoy. The best part of New York is that there are endless options. As a local New Yorker I know lots of cool spots and I'm happy to discuss ideas. Whether we board a ferry on the Hudson, wander a quiet neighborhood park, stroll quaint cobbled streets lined with brownstones, find some great street art, or even head out to Coney Island, we'll find a spot that fits you and your interests and makes for awesome NYC elopement photos. My best suggestion is to pick a neighborhood that suits your interests and we can wander from there. More about the best neighborhoods in NYC for wedding photos is on my blog!

What time of day is best for an elopement ceremony?

One of the reasons elopements are so great is they have a lot more flexibility in timing. My absolute favorite time of day for elopement portraits and wedding ceremonies is sunrise. While I know it makes for an early wake-up call, there are 3 reasons I say this: 1. There are no crowds. The magic thing about early morning is that you have the city to yourself. We will never be fighting tourists and the city is at its most quiet and peaceful for your elopement. 2.The light is divine. Early morning golden hour is perfection for photos. 3. In the hot summer months, it's so much cooler and everyone feels better not being sweaty for photos. If you're going somewhere like Top of the Rock, right away in the morning when they open is generally always the best option to avoid the lines and the crowds.


If sunrise isn't for you, working around sunset can also be wonderful in terms of light. Sunset light is golden and delicious and you can also catch the sky turning all sorts of colors if the weather works out. I wrote an entire post about my favorite time of day for photos, so if you'd like more information, check it out here.

Top of the Rock Elopement
NYC Elopement Photographer

What if it rains or is cold or the weather is terrible for our New York City elopement?

This is probably one of the most common questions I get. I have a post on what to do if it rains, and how to elope in NYC in the winter that offers advice. Essentially, what I tell clients is it's totally up to you and your comfort level. I'm happy to photograph in the elements and will come prepared with hand warmers and armfuls of umbrellas if needed. That said, if you'd rather find an indoor location, I'm happy to help you do that. Grand Central is always a standby, there are covered areas in Central Park and the Highline, there's a great space in Williamsburg that is covered with a brick backdrop near the waterfront and/or you can always look into to your hotel space. Sites like splacer or peerspace are also great options to find neat spots!

What if we need a florist, an officiant, or a hair/make-up artist? Or a recommendation for dinner?

It's totally up to you if you want a New York Elopement with all the extras, but if you want a gorgeous bouquet and to get your hair and make-up done, even at the crack of dawn? I know all the people you need. I'm happy to help you with my trusted listed of NYC Elopement vendors. As a photographer in NYC working with hundreds of eloping couples, I have a several folks that I work with regularly who I trust and connect you with easily. Recs for dinner? I can talk about food in the city all day. Let me know what you have in mind and I can offer loads of options.

What should we wear for our elopement in NYC?

This is one of the fun parts! Elopements have no pressure to meet any guidelines, you can wear whatever makes you feel amazing! I've had couples dressed to the nines in fancy ballgowns and tuxes, brides in pantsuits, folks wear jeans, sequins, lace, satin, cotton dresses, seriously, whatever you look in the mirror and feel best in? Go for it!

Don't be afraid to break to the mold of "typical wedding". Your elopement is your day to be happiest. If that means white dress or bespoke colorful suit, go all out. If it means something totally different, you do you. Elopements can be as fancy or as casual as you like. My number one piece of advice? Wear what you love and bring a pair of comfy shoes to change into as needed. New York is a walking town and we will cover a lot of ground taking photos. We can always stop to switch shoes back and forth. Make sure your feet are happy!

How much does elopement photography cost?

NYC Elopement Photography Packages

Elopement rates start at $875. I'm happy to add an officiant on to any package starting at $575.

I have many different packages available depending on your needs and albums are always available to add on. If you'd like more or less coverage, that's no problem at all. Shoot me an email for all the details. I'm always happy to work out something custom to meet your needs.

What's included in your NYC Elopement Photographer packages?

As your photographer, with over a decade of experience as a wedding photographer and eight years photographing couples eloping in NYC. I've helped hundreds of couples elope in New York!


  • Your photos as fully edited high resolution files with a personal print release via download
  • An online gallery to order prints and share with friends
  • Unlimited help creating a timeline and picking the perfect NYC elopement location
  • A next day sneak peek for friends and family back home
  • Trusted local New York vendor recommendations
  • •A witness who will always offer congratulatory hugs!

Aren't elopements last minute? How soon should we book an elopement photographer?

As soon as you pick your date, let me know. I have booked elopements in New York as far out as a year and as quick as the same day (though I don't recommend this option). Most of my elopement clients usually book around the 1-3 month mark, but it's never too soon or too late. Email me, and if I'm available, I'll let you know!

But what if we want to elope abroad?

Then we should be friends. Travel is what makes my creative heart sing and I would love to capture amazing portraits of you and your partner in awesome places.

Are you looking for an NYC Elopement Photographer?

More elopement questions? Email me and we can set up a time to chat!

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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.