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,


Easy steps for a perfect elopement

Planning an elopement or private wedding is pretty simple - but just like a big wedding, you can eliminate some headaches by thinking ahead.

1. Location: Decide whether you want a very private service, or a fun ceremony in a public place where other people might be around on the fringes. For real privacy, you need a hotel room or your home or apartment, or a private room in a restaurant; somewhere with a door. Even in a very secret glade in a park, some tourists will wander by, though they always stay at a distance and are polite. New York is crowded, and we know how to give each other private space - but tourists, not so much! (Pix by Tiffany Hagler)
2. Go to City Hall EARLY and get your license before the lines get long. They close at 3:45 sharp. Don't forget to bring your license the day of the wedding. Make sure you have witnesses for the ceremony, or ask your photographer to be a witness (or the hotel concierge, or of course a friend or family member over age 18).
2. Make 'bad weather' plans. Always have a backup plan for an outdoor ceremony (even if it is your umbrella). You can always have a ceremony in your hotel room, and then go out on the town to visit famous landmarks or even take that romantic carriage ride in the mist or snow.
3. Plan your travel. It's HARD to get a taxi at 5pm, when shifts change. Or in the rain. New Yorkers hop out of cabs and descend to the subway when cross-town traffic gridlocks. Give yourself some 'traffic' wiggle room. If possible, do a dry run the day before to see how long it takes from your hotel to your wedding destination. (Pix by Steve Gerrard)
4. Charge your camera batteries.
5. Take along some cash if you want to ask a park musician to play for you, or to tip the concierge for letting you use an empty penthouse suite.
6. Plan your post-wedding drinks, so you know where you'll go to rest your feet before dinner. This is the time to enjoy famous watering holes (The Algonquin, the Plaza, The Boat House, Cafe Des Artistes - or the magnificent views at Beekman Towers) - then go somewhere else fun for dinner, after all, you're all dressed up!
7. Check sunset times to make sure you leave enough time for post-wedding pictures. Here's a couple cutting sunset a BIT too close!
8. Enjoy yourself! You picked a romantic elopement and a big city experience. Have fun amid the traffic, the tourists, the taxis and the trees. Go with the flow and roll with the funny stuff. Buy your flowers from a local florist or street deli. Go down to Times Square and wave at the folks back home on the Web Cam. Take the ferry, or a horse ride, or just walk through the park arm in arm. Congratulations!