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Mayor De Blasio calls out NYC Marriage Bureau

Published Friday, Sep. 10th, 2021

Is it time to get back to business as usual?



Getting a marriage license in New York City is tough right now. Everyone knows it. Everyone’s frustrated. But are longer wait times for an appointment just a part of doing business safely during an ongoing health crisis? 


Mayor de Blasio says no. 


During a media event this week, de Blasio called the Marriage Bureau’s limited availability a “nagging problem” and said it’s time for the Clerk’s Office to get “back to full strength.” (via the Office of the Mayor)


Each week, a finite number of virtual appointments with a city clerk are released online through the City’s Project Cupid portal. These appointments are a couple’s ticket to a marriage license -- without an appointment, they can’t get married. But with fewer slots available than the number of couples who log on each week, those unable to secure one end up frustrated, stressed out, and angry. 


It’s understandable: For couples with a wedding date approaching, a venue booked, and out-of-town family on the way, not being able to get a marriage license in time is a looming disaster. 


The Clerk’s Office originally planned to reopen to the public in all five boroughs back in July, even announcing it widely on Twitter. But that didn’t end up happening -- in large part because of a rise in COVID case numbers shortly after the announcement was made, caused by the highly contagious delta variant. As delta cases continue to rise throughout the city, it’s uncertain whether reopening anytime in the near future is realistic. 


“I'm a little frustrated hearing that because they should be at full strength…” Mayor de Blasio told reporters on Wednesday. 


“It's really important and as we bring this city back fully, that people have the access they need to the Marriage Bureau. So, Paul, thank you for raising that, and this one's been a nagging problem – I want to say to my friends at the Clerk's Office and the Marriage Bureau, come on, guys, everyone else is coming back full strength.”



De Blasio’s ‘back to full strength’ sentiment echoes an Executive Order he issued August 31st, requiring all NY City employees to provide proof of vaccination or begin weekly COVID-19 testing by September 13th. The Mayor’s reopening task force has also asked that nearly 80,000 City employees working from home return to the office full time by the 13th (via the New York Times). 


Prudent or not, it’s very likely that things will shift at the City Clerk’s offices after the September 13th deadline.


In the meantime, New Yorkers will have to continue using the Project Cupid portal online, crossing their fingers for a timely appointment, rolling with the unexpected, and getting creative with small, spontaneous weddings. 


Note: Virtual wedding ceremonies are not currently allowed in New York state. 
To learn more, visit the Office of the City Clerk - NYC Marriage Bureau website. 



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The wedding boom is creating challenges everywhere


Of course, the NY City Marriage Bureau is far from alone in its struggle to keep up with current demand. 


Cities across the country are experiencing a “wedding boom” as couples rush to wed after a year or more of waiting. In Las Vegas, for example, nearly 10,000 marriage licenses were issued in June, outpacing even 2019’s record high numbers. And satellite and mobile offices are opening in multiple cities and suburbs to help with scheduling challenges, including a mobile unit in San Antonio’s Bexar County.








Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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