Virtual ceremonies are no longer permitted in New York since the governor's temporary executive order ended in June. However, some city and county clerk's offices are still allowing online applications for marriage licenses and appointments (e.g. Project Cupid).


New York is fully reopened, however, some government offices will have limited hours or be open to online appointments only. Masks and proof of vaccination will be required for indoor gatherings.


At the moment, some Local Registrars in New York are still operating with modified schedules - please plan accordingly. Couples can temporarily apply for a marriage license online or in-person in New York. However, licensing requirements have not changed, and online applicants must show physical copies of ID over videoconference, for visual verification. Couples should contact their Local Registrar's Office to schedule an appointment, whether they plan to apply online or in-person.


In New York City, ministers are required to register with the City Clerk's Marriage Bureau before performing marriage. Officiants are able to apply in-person by appointment only.


For more information, contact your Local Registrar. You can review New York's policy order here:


NYC Marriage Bureau FAQ (August 2021)


COVID-19, social distancing, travel bans, lockdowns… Many couples are being forced to downsize their wedding plans and for many guests, the only way to attend is with their computers and mobile phones.


If your guest list is shrinking to just the couple and officiant, or maybe just the couple, New York marriage laws regulate who must be in attendance, and how the ceremony is conducted. Here are some options to help adapt your wedding plans in New York to celebrate a COVID safe wedding.

Virtual Weddings vs. Livestream Ceremonies in New York

Zoom Wedding

For the sake of clarity, we differentiate virtual wedding ceremonies (or Zoom/Skype ceremonies) from livestream ceremonies by who is in attendance. If the officiant is officiating the vows from another place via video, then we call that a virtual or Zoom ceremony, since the people involved in the ceremony are interacting over whatever video platform is chosen.


However, if the couple and the officiant are present, but guests are watching remotely, we call that a livestream wedding since the ceremony itself is happening in one physical place. You can read more about what distinguishes each option here.

How can we celebrate a legally valid live streamed ceremony in New York

Directing a Zoom Wedding

You can livestream any activity or event, and it doesn't matter where you are in New York, what you're doing or how many people are physically present with you. Some of the most popular platforms include Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facebook Live, and Instagram Live.


As long as you have a tripod and a phone with a good camera on it, your guests will be able to participate remotely. Many of these platforms even allow guests to comment, chat, and interact in other ways.


We realize that this is not always ideal, but ultimately, if couples choose to move forward with scaled down weddings and smaller guests lists, these communications platforms let friends and family around the world know that they are still being thought of.


For folks planning on livestreaming their nuptials, Here's How to Livestream Your Wedding.


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