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,


Union at Union: Rented Religious Sites for weddings

Here's an update to our earlier discussion of wedding chapels. If you'd like a peaceful, quasi-religious setting for your wedding, but don't have a home church, there are some non-profit places you can look at in New York.

The quadrangle, chapel, refectory and meeting rooms at Union Theological Seminary at Columbia are available for weddings. The prices are reasonable, compared to other sites, and the setting is just lovely.

You can also rent the wood-paneled/stained glass Ceremonial Hall at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, as well as other rooms, and there are lovely facilities at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, right on Prospect Park. I like the garden.

Unitarian Churches in New York City (and other cities!) also rent their spaces, and some are quite unique. I like the Community Church on E 35th (over by the Morgan Library)and you can stay in the wonderful historic Guest Rooms. I also like the All Souls chapel at 80th on the UES. Their small chapel holds 60 and the rent is around $250. More for the large church. But still cheaper than many other spaces.

You can rent Riverside Church (at least part of it), and there are small chapels for rent, from 12-135 people, plus reception spaces as well.

See other non-profit locations at the sidebar, including museums, and, which rents the Ladies Tea Room and the Top of the Times to support it's supportive housing network.

New tip: The Commissioners Room (loft) at the NYC Fire Museum , in a 1904 Firehouse in Soho. Also - Bargemusic rents! They don't say how much.


New York traffic - getting to the wedding on time

New York is a laid out on a grid. Most of the time, you will be moving directly North/South, East/West (except for the older parts of the city down by Wall Street and Greenwich village, where things still wind around upon themselves). It's important to get oriented in the city, and understand commuting times. You also need to get a sense of scale. People often ask us if they should take a taxi from the Ladies Pavilion or Strawberry Fields in Central Park to the Tavern on the Green. No, it's a simple and pleasant stroll. Central Park IS the size of Monaco - but you rarely walk the whole park. You can cross it in 10-12 minutes.

Most of the time, you will be calculating the distance up or down or East and West from the center of the city (Midtown, 42-57 street) and 5th Avenue which demarcates East and West. In many cases, it is MUCH easier and quicker to walk than to take the subway, and usually much faster to walk/subway than taking a taxi. There are many taxi jokes in NY movies, and the Die Harder movie with Bruce Willis is my favourite. They commandeer a taxi, and his partner says - "Are you crazy - how can you get across town at rush hour?" so Bruce simply drives the taxi up on the grass in Central Park and cuts through.

North/South blocks in Manhattan are very short - there are 20 of them to the mile. They are mostly numbered streets - 42nd Street, etc. The numbers increase as you go north. East/West blocks are long, so 5th Avenue to 6th Avenue takes twice as long to walk as 41st to 46th street. The algorithm to find a NY address is simple, it is found in any telephone directory, and here is one Manhattan Street locator, and here is another. Use Googlemaps for walking, and for subway directions. Google now has subway directions (in beta).


Terra firma and flights of fancy

Can you be married in a hot air balloon? (I just got a phone call about this - before you all rush to Central Park to get married this week, all the appointments are booked).
Can you be married in a helicopter?
Can you be married on Liberty Island? or the Staten Island ferry?

Yes -- and no. You can have the wedding ceremony all of these places - but you must SIGN the license in a specific location ON THE GROUND. NY requires a street address for the wedding location. So get out of the balloon gondola, and go over and sign the license on a park bench, with the address 72nd Street and Central Park West -- or the closest intersection. Get out of the helicopter and sign the license at the street nearest the helipad. Get off the ferry and sign the license EITHER on the Staten Island end, or the Manhattan end. Come back from Liberty island and sign the license in Battery park (near a street intersection). You'll always have your memories of saying your vows 500 feet over Central Park - and then signing the legal bits with your wobbly feet back on the ground.