How to Officiate Weddings in New York
A guide for officiating weddings and planning ceremonies in the Big Apple
If you plan on performing a wedding ceremony in New York City, there are registration steps that you need to follow. You will need to register with the New York City Clerk’s Office Marriage Bureau, which handles Marriage Licenses, Domestic Partnerships, civil Marriage Ceremonies, copies of Marriage Records, and amendments of Marriage Records. But don’t worry.
We’ve broken the process down into two easy-to-follow steps, and then answered your most commonly asked questions about performing weddings in New York City. This will allow you to nail the bureaucratic stuff if a few hours, and let you concentrate on creating the perfect wedding ceremony in one of the most iconic cities in the world!
Step 1: Order your credentials and complete your NYC marriage officiant registration:
To start out with, you will need to complete a New York City Marriage Officiant Registration Application. You can begin the process with the Clerk's online application however you will have to finish the application in person at the Clerk's office. You will also need to submit:
a) Ordination Certificate
b) Letter of Consent (addressed to the NYC Clerk)
c) NYC Marriage Officiant Registration Form
d) Valid ID
We recommend that you begin the online process well in advance of the wedding, and order your New York Minister Ordination Package. Your package contains all the required paperwork, detailed instructions to guide you through the process, and wedding training materials to help you perform a memorable wedding ceremony.
Step Two: Submit your application.
Once you receive your package, or have assembled the materials on your own, bring your completed forms and necessary documents to the city Clerk at:
City Clerk Marriage Bureau
141 Worth St
New York, New York 10013
Based on past precedent, the registration process with the City Clerk should take not more than an hour. If you have further questions, you can contact the Marriage Bureau at:
Phone: (212) 669-8090
The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30am - 3:45pm.
Step Three: Plan for the ceremony in New York City:
Now that the easy part is out of the way, let us help you prepare for the wedding ceremony itself. If you want to go above and beyond your duties as an officiant, check out our wedding training pages, which will help you prepare for your first ceremony and ensure that it goes smoothly.
Here you can find everything from sample wedding ceremony scripts, to brainstorming prompts, tips for preparation, and more.
STEP 3: Officiate the Wedding and Complete the Marriage License
When it comes time to sign the marriage license, it’s the couple’s responsibility to obtain and complete the marriage license, but just be sure to double check that they have a valid marriage license before the ceremony.
Once you have performed the ceremony and notarized the marriage license, you have performed all of your functions as the wedding officiant. Make sure that the wedding license is returned to the city clerk for filing before it expires!▲ TOP
The couple is responsible for filing for their marriage license. Below are the steps required to apply:
You can start the process online via "City Clerk Online" however the it must be completed in person at the Office of the City Clerk. Both spouses must complete the process by appearing in person at the Office of the City Clerk, together and at the same time.
Make sure to review your Marriage License to make sure there are no mistakes.
Remember to get started early. The couple must wait a full 24 hours before the Marriage Ceremony can be performed.
Listed below is the information you will need to fill out the Marriage License Application:
- The application is an affidavit. Both spouses must list their name; current address; city, state, ZIP code and country; country of birth; date of birth; name and country of birth of your parents; Social Security number; and marital history.
- If you were married before, you must list all prior marriages. You must include your previous spouse's full name; the date the divorce decree was granted; and the city, state, and country where the divorce was issued.
- All divorces, annulments, and dissolutions must be finalized before you apply for a new Marriage License.
- If your spouse is deceased, you must provide such spouse's full name and date of death.
Below is important information pertaining to marriage licenses issued in New York City. For clarification on what this information means you can check out our Marriage License Laws Explained page.
Issuance Office: NYC Marriage Bureau
Waiting Period: 1 Day
Expiration: 60 Days
Return: Before Expiration
The Basics -- New York City is the most expensive city in the US for weddings, according to Wedding Wire. That means start planning early, and make sure your budget accounts for additional costs that may pop up. With the right planning, it is still possible to hold a memorable celebration, for all budgets.
It's also a busy city, with events taking place pretty much every day of the yera. Be aware of events like the New York City Marathon in November, New York Fashion Week in February and September, the Thanksgiving Day Parade and New Year’s Eve, and more. These events attract huge crowds and drive up hotel costs.
Getting There and Getting Around -- Big city = lots of transport options. LaGuardia Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport, and Newark International Airport are the three major airports in the area (note that LaGuardia only handles domestic flights).
Want to cut those carbon emmisions? It's easy to get into town via train or bus travel. Guests can take Amtrak into Penn Station or a bus into the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Once on the ground, it's easy to get around even if the city is a bit disorienting. The subway can get a bit crazy but it's great for people watching, and it can be an excellent way for your guests to get a feel for the city.