How to elope in New York City

On October 19th 2017, my husband and I said ‘I DO’ in New York City. Since then, a number of people have asked us how we did it so I thought I would compile all the information and create a guide which will hopefully help others who may want to elope!

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Firstly, decide if you want to marry at City Hall or get an officiant who can marry you anywhere you like.

We chose an Officiant to marry us  who was recommended to us by our photographer.

We booked our Photographer who we found after an extensive Google search. Finding a photographer we liked was probably the most tricky part of all as I had a particular style in mind and as you can imagine New York City has thousands of photographers to choose from. As soon as I came across Nicki’s page I loved her work and got in touch. Nicki was absolutely fantastic from the beginning and throughout; she gave us a list of contacts from officiants she had worked with to florists and hair stylists. Not to mention we had our wedding photo’s back after 2 weeks of getting married and we are over the moon with them! Nicki kindly acted as our witness (we only needed one witness).

Note – You can book a photographer whenever you like, we did this at the same time as booking our officiant to make sure they both had our date and time available.

Once you have found an officiant to marry you, you will need to apply for a marriage license.

APPLY FOR A MARRIAGE LICENSE
We applied for our marriage license a week before travelling to America to save time when we arrived (application can be found here). The marriage license expires after 21 days so don’t apply too far in advance. Applying for the license is free of charge and takes not even 5 minutes to fill in. The application is simple and asks questions such as parents names, places of birth, any previous marriages etc. Upon completion, you will be given a confirmation number to print out and take with you to the City Clerks Office where you will finalize your application in person.

GET YOUR APPLICATION APPROVED
To do this you must both attend the City Clerks Office together. Here you will go through security to reach an information desk where you will be given a form to fill in along with a ticket. Fill in the form, wait for your ticket number to be called and present the application to a clerk alongside your ID (for us, this was our passports as we are overseas visitors). You must then pay $35 via Credit Card or Money Order, payable to the City Clerk. You will then receive your marriage license, wahoo!!! Once you have your marriage license, you must wait 24 hours before you can get married.

This process took us 15 minutes on a Tuesday morning.

OUR CEREMONY
We got married at Wagners Cove, Central Park on October 19th 2017, just the two of us and it truly was the most magical day of our lives.

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AFTER THE CEREMONY
We needed to obtain an Extended Certificate to ensure our marriage was legal in the UK. To do this, go back to the City Clerks office with your Short Certificate which you would have been given on your wedding day, along with both your ID. At reception, ask for an Extended Certificate Request Form and take this to the Records Room which is directly opposite the reception desk. You will be given a ticket number again, wait for your number to be called and your paperwork will be checked. You must then pay another $35 via credit card/money order and your Extended Certificate will be issued.

This process took us approx 30 mins on a Thursday afternoon. You can apply for the Extended Certificate as soon as you are married.

GET THE EXTENDED CERTIFICATE SIGNED
Head over the road to the County Clerks Office which is located in the Supreme Court Building, 60 Centre St, New York, NY 10007. Go through security and take the lift down to Room 141-B in the Basement. Get the certificate signed at the Notary Public Desk for $3 Cash only.

This process took us 5 minutes on a Friday morning at time of opening. We even got there 15mins too early so grabbed a Starbucks and sat on a bench opposite admiring the beautiful buildings.
Note – Our camera was temporarily confiscated after going through metal detectors.

APOSTILLE AUTHENTICATION 
Take your signed Extended Certificate to the Department of State Apostille, 123 William Street, New York, NY 10038. Here you will get an Apostille to authenticate the document. This costs $1 Money Order ONLY. Getting a money order is quick and easy. We used a 7-ELEVEN on 111 John Street, New York, NY, 10038.

You can get a money order from most pharmacies and 7-ELEVEN stores, we chose the one above as this was round the corner.

This process took us 15 minutes on a Friday morning.
Please note – the address given to us on our instructions from City Hall instructed us to go to the New York State Department of State which is next door to the actual building you need.

You may find you have to queue longer in each building if you choose to go at busier times of the day i.e. a Friday afternoon.
If you have been previously divorced you will need a decree absolute as part of your documentation.

The whole process for us was very quick and simple and I can’t recommend it enough. We had our wedding and honeymoon in one of the most amazing cities in the world, what could be more perfect?

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Please bear in mind that all of the above information is a personal guide and as far as I am aware this guidance is still current on today’s date 18.01.18. However, please be sure to check all official information both in the UK and the State of New York.

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