How to Get a New York City Marriage License & Plan a NYC Wedding

Here's everything you need to know about making it official in the Big Apple.
Rachel Kashdan - The Knot Contributor.
by
Rachel Kashdan
Rachel Kashdan - The Knot Contributor.
Rachel Kashdan
The Knot Contributor
  • Rachel is a freelance writer and contributor to The Knot.
  • Prior to working as a freelance writer, Rachel was a staff writer at Boston magazine covering home design and weddings.
  • Rachel has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University.
Updated Feb 28, 2022

So you've found the one, put a ring on it, and now you're ready to plan your NYC wedding celebration. In addition to securing a venue and vendors like a marriage officiant, florist, and photographer, you'll need to get a New York City marriage license and decide if you'll be making a name change.

Fortunately, the process for getting legally married in New York City is pretty straightforward—provided that you do your homework. We've laid out all the details here for how to get married in New York City and provided answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Pro tip: If you live in New York City, but you're getting married outside of New York State, check out our complete guide to getting a marriage license.

In this article:

How to Get a Marriage License in NYC

So you're ready to tie the knot in NYC, but you're not exactly sure how the process works from a legal standpoint. No worries—you're in the right place! Read up on the marriage license basics below, and visit cityclerk.nyc.gov to get the application process started.

The legal requirements to tie the knot in New York City are what you'd expect. To apply for your marriage license in NYC, you cannot be currently married (meaning divorces, annulments and dissolutions of marriage must already be finalized).

Each prospective spouse must also be 18 years or older to wed. If, however, a 17-year-old wanted to get married in NYC, they could do so with written consent from both parents or legal guardians as well as written approval of a supreme court justice or family court judge. Marriage licenses can not be given to those who are under the age of 17 or blood relatives.

What do you need to get a marriage license in New York City?

The first step in the process is to gather up all the paperwork you'll need in order to apply. The application is an affidavit, and when you and your fianceé(e) sign it, you are making a sworn statement that there are no legal impediments to the marriage (as outlined above).

Before you apply, you need to decide if you will change your name. Should you elect to change your surname (or middle name), you'll need to provide it on the application. The name change takes effect immediately upon the completion of your marriage ceremony.

When filling out the application, you and your fiancé(e) should be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Name and current address
  • Country of birth
  • Date of birth
  • Name and country of birth of your parents
  • Social security number
  • If you have been married before, you'll also need to list your previous marriages
  • If widowed, your former spouse's full name and their date of death (or death certificate)
  • If divorced, the date and location your divorce decree was issued.

Bring with you proper forms of identification including proof of age and photo ID, such as:

  • IDNYC
  • Passport
  • Driver License or Learner Permit with photograph (from the United States of America or any of its territories)
  • Non-Driver Identification Card with photograph (from the United States of America or any of its territories)
  • Active United States Military Identification Card
  • United States Certificate of Naturalization (good for 10 years after date of issue)
  • United States Permanent Resident Card
  • United States Employment Authorization Card

Where do you get a marriage license in NYC?

To get a marriage license in NYC, you will need to schedule an in-person appointment for you and your future spouse to visit an NYC Marriage Bureau at the Office of the City Clerk. There are five locations in New York City.

City Clerk Office Locations and Hours:

Bronx Office
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Supreme Court Building
851 Grand Concourse, Room B131
Bronx, NY 10451

Brooklyn Office
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Brooklyn Municipal Building210 Joralemon Street, Room 205
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Manhattan Office
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
141 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013

Queens Office
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
Borough Hall Building
120-55 Queens Boulevard, Ground Floor, Room G-100
Kew Gardens, NY 11424

Staten Island Office
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Borough Hall Building
10 Richmond Terrace, Room 311,
Staten Island, NY 10301

Can you apply for a marriage license online in New York City?

Yes. You can apply for your marriage license online through the Office of the City Clerk and then complete your application in person. Amid COVID, city hall also launched Project Cupid, an online service allowing couples to secure marriage licenses through virtual appointments with a clerk via video conferencing.

When do you apply for a marriage license in New York City?

New York City marriage licenses are valid for 60 days, so you should plan to start your application no more than two months out from the date of your marriage ceremony. The application process is simple, but you'll need to make sure you have all of your paperwork, payment info, and forms of identification ready when it's time to get started.

Is there a waiting period to get married in New York City?

Yes. Unless you get a judicial waiver there is a 24-hour waiting period after you get your marriage license in the State of New York before your wedding ceremony can be performed.

Who signs the NYC marriage license?

Once you receive your marriage license, bring it to your wedding ceremony. You may arrange a civil or religious marriage ceremony in any location within the State of New York. Your ceremony must be conducted by a marriage officiant who is eligible to solemnize marriage ceremonies under New York State law.

After the marriage ceremony, the couple, witness(es) and the officiant will sign the marriage license. The marriage officiant will mail the signed marriage license to the Manhattan office within five business days after the ceremony. Your marriage record is filed with the City Clerk's Office and the New York Department of Health.

How Much a New York City Marriage License Costs

It costs $35 to fill out a marriage license application, which you'll pay to the New York City Clerk by credit card or money order.

How to Have a Civil Marriage Ceremony in the City Clerk's Office

You can also schedule an appointment for a civil marriage ceremony to take place at one of the City Clerk Office locations. You and your prospective spouse must arrive together with the same identification you used to obtain your marriage license. You must have at least one witness, who must be 18 years of age or over and bring proper identification.

How to Get a Certificate of Marriage Registration

It's a good idea to have a certified copy of your marriage license (a.k.a marriage certificate) on hand as proof of marriage for taxes, insurance, banking, mortgage applications, a name change, etc.

You will receive your certificate of marriage registration in the mail within approximately 20 days from the date when the City Clerk's Office receives and processes your signed marriage license. If you get married in the City Clerk's office, you will receive your certificate of marriage registration at the conclusion of the ceremony.

How to Plan a New York City Wedding

Now that you've got a good grasp on the legal side of things, it's time to have some fun. Let your imagination run wild with NYC as your playground as you plan your dream wedding in the City That Never Sleeps. Read on for what to keep an eye out for as you search for your perfect wedding venue and choose your wedding date.

The Different Areas to Consider for a New York City Wedding

When it comes to saying "I do" in New York City, venue options are practically endless. You might immediately think of searching around Manhattan for your perfect spot to tie the knot, but don't overlook venues in Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, too for even more variety and potentially more privacy.

What to Look For in a New York City Wedding Venue

Much like searching for a venue in any locale, you're going to want to keep in mind the basics like capacity numbers and what's included in each venue's packages. In New York City though, you'll want to give even more thought to location. In a city that spans more than 22 square miles, you'll have plenty of backdrops to choose from for your special event. But it also means that you'll need to really hone in on your unique wedding vision and choose an area of the city that fits your vibe. That might mean opting for an industrial warehouse venue that's near the Brooklyn Bridge so you can take waterfront portraits, or zeroing in on venues in Midtown to experience a bustling environment at the center of all the action. Lastly, think about how much privacy you're hoping for in a wedding venue and narrow your search accordingly. To find quiet and seclusion in a city of nearly 9 million people, you'll need to be strategic when it comes to selecting your venue.

How to Find a New York City Wedding Vendors

Creativity comes in no short supply in New York City, so you'll no doubt be able to find an array of vendors to fit your unique vision. Hiring a wedding planner is a great place to start as that person will be your go-to for finding that dream florist, photographer or wedding DJ. You can also use resources like Instagram, wedding magazines, and online databases like the Knot Marketplace to read up on vendors throughout NYC and see reviews from real couples.

The Best Times of Year to Have a New York City Wedding for Good Weather

Autumn is a popular time to tie the knot in NYC, and for good reason: Between the pleasant temperatures and show-stopping fall foliage, it's truly a romantic time to experience everything the city has to offer. If you're prepared for the heat, summer is also a good time to host a wedding in New York City, especially if you're hoping for a waterfront wedding ceremony, as is spring, when cherry blossoms bloom and hotels and flights are typically slightly lower in cost than in the summer months when tourists flock to the city. Winter weather also brings its own kind of enchantment to New York City, but keep in mind when planning a winter wedding that in addition to snow-dusted backdrops and a festive ambiance, snow and cold might make travel more logistically difficult.

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