How to Elope in New York

Whether you want to get married in the city that never sleeps, or somewhere more quiet, New York State can offer all types of romantic locations for your wedding or elopement.
Outline map of New York State

Why is New York great for an elopement?

New York is such a varied state that there is something for every couple. If you fancy the glitz and glamor of New York City then there are plenty of options, from saying “I do,” in Times Square in front of the many visitors, at Top of the Rock with a stunning view of the skyline, or how about in the world famous Central Park? There are no shortage of super romantic locations to choose from. For those who prefer a little more solitude and privacy, the rest of the state has some amazing locations too, with rustic old barns and farms, gorgeous vineyards, and glamorous country clubs. North Country, Southern Tier and Western New York offer some of the more rural locations.

Like other states in the area, New York has seasonal weather with summer being hot and humid, and winters potentially very cold with snow. Whichever you prefer, New York can provide it!


All states require a marriage license, so you need to ensure that you understand all of the requirements very early in the planning process. Luckily, it’s fairly straightforward in most cases as long as you meet the criteria and follow the state requirements.

Here is what you need to know about getting a marriage license in New York.

Is Same Sex Marriage Recognized?

Yes! Same sex marriage is recognized in all states, and at a federal level, under the Respect for Marriage Act which was signed into law in December 2022.

Will I Need to take a blood test?

No. Blood tests have been abolished as part of marriage license applications in all 50 states, so don’t worry if you’re afraid of needles!

Who Issues Marriage Licenses in New York?

Marriage licenses in New York are issued by town or city Clerk

Do I Need to be a Resident of New York?

Both residents and non-residents may apply for a marriage license in New York.

Is there a waiting period to get married?

There is a waiting period of 24 hours from the exact time that the license was issued.

How long will my marriage license be valid for?

A marriage license issued in New York is valid for 60 days from the day after it was issued.


Couples must be aged 18 years or older to get married in New York. New York forbids marriages of any minor aged below 18.


Proof of age is required for marriage license applications in New York. Eligible documents that you may present include: a certified copy of a birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, baptismal record, school record, employment certificate, an immigration or naturalization record, or any court record or other document issued by the government which shows a date of birth.


There is a fee of $35 for marriage license applications in New York City, and everywhere else in the state has a fee of $40.

On Your Wedding Day

Once you’ve gotten the admin out of the way, you can get to the part you’ve been dreaming of: the wedding ceremony!

As you’d expect, each state has different requirements to make a marriage legal. Make sure you follow the guide below to get your marriage legally recognized.

Will i need witnesses to the marriage?

New York requires one witness to a marriage.


An officiant is required to get married in New York. Eligible individuals include: the current or former governor, the may or former mayor of a city or village, the city clerk, a marriage officer, a member of the New York state legislature, a judge or county village, town or county justice, or any member of the clergy or a minister who has been ordained. Those wishing to be an officiant at a wedding in New York must register with the state.

Those ordained by online ministries may perform the role of officiant at your wedding.


So that’s it, everything you need to know about eloping in New York. And if you think that it could be the place to host your special day, why not give me a call to chat about your wedding? I’m an experienced elopement photographer, and an ordained minister, so in most cases I can be your officiant too!

Eloping in New York City

A bride poses in New York after her wedding

Planning to elope in New York City, but need an affordable ceremony location? Let me help!

If you’re interested in spicing up your day with the glamour of the big city (even without the huge crowds) then look no further. There are TONS of amazing places in NYC that can offer you the elopement of your dreams.

Central Park

A bride and groom kiss during their elopement in central park, new york city.

There are some stunning ceremony / photo locations throughout NYC. One of the most popular and well-known is Central Park. Even if you’ve never been, you’ve seen Central Park before: the water fountain from the Friends intro, the snowball fight in Elf, or the Pigeon Lady from Home Alone 2 are some of the most famous scenes in cinema. This offers up the chance to take some epic photos near famous locations, or maybe even recreate those scenes if you’re feeling playful.

One of the best things about Central Park is the variety it offers. Spanning 2.5 miles, there are plenty of places where you can have a quieter, more private ceremony, if you’d prefer. Good locations for privacy are: Cop Cot, Ladies Pavilion, Gapstow Bridge, the Conservatory Garden or Belvedere Castle just to name a few.

It is free to elope in Central Park for groups smaller than 20. For groups of more than 20, and a maximum of 50, you will need to obtain a $25 permit. However be sure to read and understand the legalities of a New York elopement, outline above, before you do anything.


Hearst Tower, New York City

New York City is famous for its cityscapes, with its skyline being recognized by people all around the world. If you want to incorporate NYC’s famous buildings into your elopement then a city hall or courthouse elopement could be for you. After your ceremony, you can have a photo session around the city incorporating some of the famous locations. You can even find a place with some city views in the background that would be much less crowded, like Pebble Beach or Gantry Plaza.

Traditional Weddings

For those opting for a more traditional wedding that may have a larger number of guests, a good option may be a hotel space or rooftop overlooking the city. The options for this are endless, but The Sophia, The Bowery Garden or Rooftop are a few amazing locations.