Whether you’re a seasoned New Yorker or just visiting, New York City warmly opens its arms to any elopement story. Each neighborhood offers a unique combination of culture and energy. These electrifying environments create a thousand customizable dream spots for small weddings. For the couples looking to tie the knot among the buzz of The Big Apple, here is a helpful guide on how to elope in NYC.
Choose a Date
Picking a date in advance is paramount in a big city. It allows you time to reserve venues, register for permits, and plan around big events that will hinder travel time. When picking a date, be sure to consider the weather/season. Understanding the background and routines of the city will help you immensely.
There is a reason you hear so much about New York in the fall! Late September through mid-November is prime season for stunning photos and comfortable temperatures. Crowds are also a bit calmer just before the holidays. With that said, spring, and early summer have their benefits as well. Just be sure to take a thorough look at the forecast for the week of your preferred date.
NYC is also packed with fun—and often free—activities in the summer and around the holidays. Small wedding parties could easily time their celebrations around these extra perks! Be aware that weather extremes of summer and winter months could affect travel times.
Find an Officiant
One of the best perks of getting married in such a diverse city is designing a personalized ceremony. Friends and family can seek out online ordination—The New York City Clerks office has a more detailed breakdown of this. A professional officiant will also be able to shape and guide the traditions, spirituality, and structure of your ceremony. Officiants can also assist with the paperwork leading up to the day, so take advantage of their experience! Remember: they want your wedding to go as smoothly as you do.
Choose Your Favorite Vendors
NYC is the land of freelancers and trained, dynamic artists. Photographers, florists, and chefs are in high demand, opening the door to ultimate customization. Although a major incentive of eloping is cutting out extra expenses, honing in on fewer details allows greater focus on the items you do choose. Dive into NYC’s rich vintage scene to find a one-of-a-kind dress, or hunt through the garment district to build your own unique accessories! And with an unparalleled array of food available, you can plan your ceremony around where you want to drink or dine afterwards.
Pick a Venue
The beautiful sprawl of Central Park is an excellent place to begin. If your group is smaller than 20 people, there is no need to apply for a permit (though without one, you do risk encountering crowds). Only steps from the famous Strawberry Fields, Wagner Cove is a lovely gazebo-covered spot with the glistening lake as your background. One of the most famous spots to exchange vows is Bow Bridge, a 90-foot stone bridge that is the oldest bridge of its kind in America. Other famous spots include the Bethesda Fountain and the Treehouse for Dreaming by 67th and 5th. For a more private ceremony, check out the morning availability at The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens(check with them for times).
What to Remember
Because elopements happen frequently in NYC, the clerk’s office is well-informed and ready for your elopement questions. From the information on their website, we’ve broken down the 4 W’s of eloping in New York for you to remember:
Who: New York City requires a registered officiant (unless you’re getting married in city hall), one witness, and, of course, you and your partner.
What: You will need $35 dollars for a marriage license, $25 for a city hall ceremony, and proper identification for all parties. These payments must be cash or money orders. For extra security, make copies of your marriage license.
Where: If your venue requires a permit, make sure you get it well in advance. You can get started at the City Marriage office, located at 141 Worth. If you’re taking public transit, taxi or subway, remember to keep an eye on the train changes and leave ample traffic time.
When: Leave yourself at least 24 hours after registering for your marriage license. This is mandatory, unless you receive a judicial waiver from a judge. The office is open 8:30am-3:45pm, Monday-Friday.
New York City if full of glitz, glamour and romance. With these tools, you’re well on your way to your perfect, metropolitan wedding. Simply Eloped offers elopement packages in 12 special locations within New York City —check out our website for more details.
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Article written by
Victoria Ward is a writer at Simply Eloped as well as a Keats Marginalia scholar and Storyfort finalist for her fiction and creative nonfiction. When she is not writing about elopements, she writes grants for her research and non-profit work.
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