City Hall Marriage License Bureau | NYC Park Permits | Locations & Ceremony Size
Click HERE for our most popular post: a step-by-step guide on How to Elope in New York : how to get a marriage license, find a New York marriage officiant, organize your ceremony, and have your marriage legally registered. See a little more advice HERE,


Impromptu Wedding Locations

Well, if it's only 4-6 of you - you can really truly set out and DECIDE where you want to be married as you go. You need the couple, the officiant, at least ONE witness (the photographer will do, or your two best friends), walking shoes and a nice day.

With Marriage License in hand, agree to meet in the general location: at one of the gates to Central Park (lower, middle or upper park, East or West side), or somewhere on the Brooklyn Promenade, at Riverside Park by Columbia, down on the Waterfront at Battery Park, or on the Hudson promenade/park, on the Red Hook waterfront, at the approach to the Brooklyn Bridge, outside the marriage bureau at 1 Centre Street (head towards City Hall park, probably), and then wander. Central Park is the most fun, but other waterfront areas are also rewarding - despite the fact that so much development has blocked off some of the grittier little beaches and secret places. City Island is mostly paved over, though Pelham Park is vast, and has secret areas. The Highline is no longer the weedy oasis of lost days, and DUMBO is just too cool for school. Highbridge park, though that's still possible - but some of it is closed off ...

But you could hire a carriage, get out and feed the horse a carrot, and pick your spot. You could rent a boat on the lake in Central Park and row yourselves to a quiet nook. You could wander over the Brooklyn Bridge until you find a corner less packed with tourists (or just wait until they pass by). You could go have dinner in a nice little restaurant (esp. with a little garden in the back) order a nice bottle of wine, stand up and .... get married.

You could ride the wonder wheel at Coney Island and say "I do" when it gets to the top and swings back and forth (not recommended, I just wanted to see if you were listening). Get OFF the Wonder Wheel and walk down towards Manhattan Beach and find a nice place by the breakers. Get on the LIRR to Long Beach and walk to the dunes. Or rent a kayak, or go ice skating or roller skating in summer -- you can't ride horses in Central Park any more -- (though the neglected Kensington Stables near Prospect Park offers an option).

Other ideas - Madison Park, by the fountain (in front of the Flatiron building). Avoid the Shake Shack. Wagner Park (by Battery Park City), beautiful view of the Statue of Liberty, also Bowling Green. City Hall park by the Fountain. The boardwalk at the Seaport, with the view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the tall ships.

You could spend the 24 hours after you obtain your license just walking about the city, a good New York tradition. Find a small cafe, find a small park -- And get married. Have fun!


Wedding Chapels in New York

It's difficult to find a reasonable 'wedding chapel' for rent in NY. Some churches will rent out their chapels for weddings for outsiders, but the fees vary enormously. Note that some churches are willing to rent chapels for a non-denominational service, but some require you are married by the church's own clergy.

Here's a little bit from the Locations section of our website:

We have conducted weddings at the Chapel at Columbia University, and at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, and in the chapel, meeting hall of Riverside Church. College and University chapels often require advance paperwork, and some are only available to alumni/students - please ask when booking.

The pretty chapel at All Souls Unitarian Church is available for a modest rental fee. The chapel is in the 'congregational/ new england' style. It is at Lexington and 79th, on the Upper East Side, and holds about 60. They say:

"To help cover operating costs during times when normal church activities are not taking place, many spaces are for rent". To enquire about the small chapel, see

The Masonic Temple at 23th and 7th has just begun to offer their themed chapels for weddings. Each floor has a different theme (Gothic, French, Tudor, American). They are quite remarkable, though they have no windows, in Masonic tradition - I found them rather creepy, actually. They'll give you a free tour.

We use the interdenominational chapel at Church House 777 UN plaza, which is suitable for 25-150 people. It's across from the United Nations. Send me an email if you wish contact info for the booking office.

It never hurts to pop into a local church, and ask if they rent their chapel. Many churches do not advertise online, and you may find a treasure, for a donation. Several people have managed to book small churches by simply asking if a donation would be acceptable. If you do discover somewhere pretty and friendly, let us know!
One idea is to look on
and on to see if churches are advertising their chapels for rentals. My favorite is the Actor's Church, the church of the transfiguration, but it is not clear whether the chapel is available for rental - churches often simply advertise their meeting rooms for events.

Also see the list on this page of Non Profit centers - not necessary chapels, but some meeting rooms which might also work for you.

Good luck location-shopping!


Weddings on the Brooklyn Bridge must be SMALL

Light posting - lots of weddings right now. (And the subway is a MESS this weekend). But someone wrote to ask if they could have a wedding for 100 people on the Brooklyn Bridge. No. The Bridge is a pedestrian path, and a bike path. You can have a SMALL group (a dozen?) stand briefly in one of the alcoves for a wedding, but you cannot use the bridge as a 'park' - it's for walking across the East River, really - and taking pictures.

Please see the discussion of Brooklyn Bridge Parks and DUMBO for other venues for mid-size groups with a view of the bridge. Cheers