The 101 of getting married in NYC

As some of you already know (and if not – now you do), we got married during our vacation in NYC! If you’re also thinking of getting hitched while visiting the Big Apple, here’s what you need to know. The whole thing takes less than an hour (2 separate visits). If you want to approve your license for international recognition, there’s step 3, that will take you an additional hour (mainly walking between 2 locations). You can download a mobile version of this post, to open on your mobile device (2-page, Doc or PDF versions), to guide you through the process.

The government office that is responsible for marriage licenses is the City Clerk, a large, renovated building located at the top of the Financial District, close to the Court Buildings and City Hall. Get off at Chambers St station (1,2,3,A,C,J,M,Z) and walk towards the Courts Buildings – City Clerk (Worth st.) is across the street. All the information mentioned here is also available online.

Step 1 – getting the marriage license

Go the the City Clerk’s office at 141 Worth St., both of you, with a valid form of identification (Passport works just fine). Ask the official at the information desk the forms for a marriage license, and receive a number. You can also fill out the forms online (no printing required – you receive a confirmation number) – recommended and saves time. Important: At this stage you have to decide about the bride’s last name – change it or not. Once your number is called, go to the booth with the completed form and your IDs, pay $35 (we used credit card), and the 1st step is over.

Now you need to return after at least 24 hours (this is NOT like Vegas), to finalize the process, and GET MARRIED! You have 60 days before your license (and file) expires.

Step 2 – the marriage ceremony

For the ceremony itself you will need the following:

  • Two rings (anything goes)
  • The marriage license form + IDs you had with you at Step 1 (if you used Passport, you must come with it again)
  • A witness with a valid ID – any witness is good, but the office staff cannot serve as a witness, so come prepared, or ask someone waiting with you (thank you Joelle!)
Signing stuff, we and our witness

Signing stuff, we and our witness

There is no dress-code for the ceremony itself, some came with their gym clothes while others had the full package: white dress and a tux, photographer, family and stuff. Once you arrive (check the office hours for planned holidays) ask the officer at the information desk for a number to the marriage ceremony, presenting the form + IDs (bride, groom, witness). Important: If you need to validate your license for international usage, make sure you mention it to the officer – he’ll give you another form, In Person Request for Marriage Records. Once your number is up, approach the booth (all 3 of you), pay another $25 (credit card) and then wait again for one of the 2 marriage ceremony rooms to be vacant.

The marriage ceremony

The marriage ceremony

A City Clerk’s official conducts the ceremony: 

If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together – let them speak now or forever hold their peace (between the 2 of you and the witness I doubt it, but you can never know), Do you ‘bride’ take ‘groom’ to be your lawful wedded husband…, Place the ring on the groom’s finger, and By the power vested to me by the State of New York, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride!

That’s it – Mazal Tov! You’re married (in the USA). The entire process (both steps) takes under an hour. No rush on doing it at 08:30, the office is open until 15:30 – we came at 12:30 and were out by 13:15.

Our rings

Our rings

Step 3 – International recognition (Apostille)

The longest step of the process, only because you need to visit 2 other office buildings – the Supreme Court and State of New York. Once you receive your marriage certificate, go to the Archives Room (same place, across from the information desk), and say you want your marriage to be recognized internationally. Pay an additional $35 (to issue another marriage certificate, 1 more is enough) and after a few minutes you’ll receive it, with a note instructing what you need to do next, and where.

New York Supreme Court

New York Supreme Court

Step outside, cross the street and walk into the Supreme Court building (60 Centre St., famous from Law and Order), take the elevator down to the basement (B), room 141B. Stand in the ‘Public Notary Desk’ line and say you wish to make your marriage certificate recognized outside the US. Pay $3 (cash preferred) at the cashier (3 steps to the right of where you’re standing now), and receive your marriage certificate signed by the Clerk of the Supreme Court.

Step outside and head downtown (South) to 123 William St (between John and Fulton, 15-20min walk, use a map) – Office of the State of New York. Take the elevator to the 19th floor, head to one of the available booths, with your marriage certificate. Pay $10 (cash again), wait couple of minutes for the certificate to be signed (Apostille), and that’s it!

2 Responses to “The 101 of getting married in NYC”

  1. 1 Back from Lake Maggiore | Dvir Reznik Trackback on September 5, 2010 at 02:20
  2. 2 Tourist Guide to Lake Maggiore, Italy | Dvir Reznik Trackback on July 30, 2011 at 14:32
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Mobile & Media Consultant. I help startup companies launch products to the consumer market. Reach out: dvir.reznik [at]



This is my personal blog. The postings here do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my past employers or of my clients. It is solely my opinion.