Getting married in NYC also means you’ll have access to all the city has to offer, from world-renowned restaurants to cultural sites, trendy nightlife options, and more. There are tons of other benefits, too, like affordable public transportation that makes getting around a breeze for you and your wedding guests.
All types of love are welcome in The Big Apple: Same-sex couples will find an inclusive community when planning nuptials here. We work with tons of vendors eager to help make everyone’s dream wedding day come true.
Our guide covers everything you need to know about how to get married in NYC, from the marriage license application process to the wedding guest guide and much more. We also discuss COVID-19 restrictions and what that means for planning your New York City wedding.
Use our jump-to links below to navigate to a specific section of interest:
Our pre-screened wedding venues in NYC help you find the ceremony and reception sight of your dreams (and budget). Our database has 118 New York City venues and counting, and you can sort by availability, price, capacity, venue type, and more. The city has spaces for every style, from glamorous hotels to trendy lofts and whimsical gardens. Here are popular venue types in New York City:
COVID-19 Update: All offices of the City Clerk - NYC Marriage Bureau are closed to the general public until further notice. You must obtain your marriage license online through Project Cupid. Additionally, the wedding ceremony must continue to be arranged through a private marriage officiant.
Getting married at New York’s City Hall is the quickest way to receive your marriage certificate (you’ll get it right after you say your I Do’s!). Once you’ve reviewed your application with the City Clerk, you can exchange vows at City Hall in a beautiful and intimate ceremony. Make sure to hire a city hall wedding photographer to capture this special moment!
Due to COVID-19 lockdowns, the NYC Marriage Bureau is closed to the public. If you have your heart set on this particular wedding ceremony site, you’ll likely have to delay your nuptials until the pandemic has ended.
If you intend to get legally married in New York City, you must obtain a Marriage License from the Office of the City Clerk. Currently, all Marriage Licenses are being processed online.
Currently, Marriage Licenses for New York are exclusively available on Project Cupid. This online system launched in May of 2019 to circumvent closures of marriage bureaus due to COVID-19.
Once you obtain a certified copy of your marriage license in New York, there is a 24 hour waiting period before your marriage ceremony can take place. You cannot get married on the same day in NYC unless you obtain a Judicial Waiver.
New York City is a melting pot, and so are the wedding celebrations held here. Whether you want to host a formal event full of old-world glamour or a modern minimalist ceremony and reception with industrial-chic touches, you’ll be able to create your dream wedding day within the five boroughs.
In 2021, wedding planning will require patience and gratitude due to COVID-19. There’s also a big focus on sustainability, statement florals, and unique tablescapes. Read more of our 2021 wedding trend predictions here.
Getting married in a big city is more costly than hosting a ceremony and reception in a rural area — everything from the venue to the catering will run at a higher price tag. In the city that never sleeps, this is especially true. New York City is the most expensive city in the U.S. to get married. The average wedding cost in NYC is $78,600, well above the national average of $34,000. We calculated this average cost of a wedding with 100 guests using real-time data from our NYC vendors.
Check out a cost breakdown in the chart below:
For weddings, the venue is typically the most expensive vendor and costs vary widely. Guestlist size, location, season, and style also play a major role in wedding cost. Since New York plays host to many timeless and lavish venues, it’s not surprising that vendors here are more expensive and competitive than other cities in the U.S.
Choosing what season to host your wedding in will play a role in other big decisions you make around your day, such as your ceremony site and wedding style. Here are some considerations when choosing a wedding month in New York City.
Fall: September, October, November
If you’re dreaming of incorporating crisp, cool air and changing leaves into your wedding details then a fall wedding in NYC is for you — but you’re not alone. This is the most popular time of year for weddings in the city, so keep in mind that vendor availability will be competitive and prices will run higher.
As you get later into fall, winter weather can become an issue for outdoor venues and travel. November wedding dates are best booked earlier in the month to avoid early onslaughts of snow and ice, plus you’ll avoid the holiday rush.
Spring: March, April, May
Start your new life together during the season of rebirth. Springtime brings longer days, blooming flowers, and warmer weather to the Island of Manhattan. Traditionally, flights and accommodations are more affordable this time of year.
If you host your event in April, the cherry blossoms will be in peak bloom, providing a dreamy backdrop for wedding photos. It’s also a great time of year for garden weddings and other outdoor spaces throughout the city.
Summer: June, July, August
Summertime in the city is a great time to take the reception indoors, where AC can make humidity and heatwaves more bearable. In the dead heat of summer, temperatures can run 100+, so even an outdoor ceremony on the waterfront may feel unbearable come July or August. If you are dreaming of a bold color palette and energetic summer nights, try to book earlier into the season if possible.
Winter: December, January, February
Looking to save on costs and cut down on competition? Winter may be your best bet for a wedding in New York — although the weeks leading up to Christmas are notably costly for travel. Holiday decorations transform the city into a winter village with iconic sites such as the Rockefeller Tree, providing dreamy backdrops for photos. Your wedding guests will also have plenty of festive activities to take part in, such as trying their hands (and feet) at ice skating while hundreds of onlookers watch on. Keep in mind that indoor venues this season are a safer bet due to inclement winter weather, but are currently more restrictive due to COVID-19.
We’ll be honest: It’s hard to find a quiet weekend in the city. But you’ll still want to pay attention to the calendar when selecting your wedding dates, especially if you want to avoid sky high hotel prices and even more hustle and bustle.
Here are key events held annually that bring more foot traffic to the Big Apple:
The coronavirus pandemic is an ever-evolving situation impacting weddings around the world with some resorting to a virtual wedding. New York State has imposed various restrictions on wedding activities to help slow the spread of the virus. Indoor dining services, for example, are currently prohibited for all gatherings, including weddings. There’s also a maximum guest limit for all ceremonies of 50 people or less, and indoor ceremony venues must be at 50% occupancy.
If your perfect day can be created within current restrictions, you can start planning right away. A longer engagement may work better for couples envisioning a bigger celebration or indoor dining options.
Looking for more real wedding inspiration? Head over to Zola's Real Weddings gallery.
Another perk of getting married in NYC is the dreamy urban landscapes and awe-inspiring architecture to capture in your wedding photos. Here are some notable spots around the city for your wedding photographer to keep in mind:
Gay marriages in New York City are special celebrations. The metropolis is home to one of the world’s largest LGBTQIA populations in the world and many landmarks of gay history, such as The Stonewall Inn and The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.
The state has recognized same-sex marriage equality since 2011 when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Marriage Equality Act. This law provides same-sex couples the same rights, responsibilities, and benefits under State and local law enjoyed by opposite-sex couples.
Now that you’ve decided on New York City as your wedding location, it’s time to check other important wedding to-dos off your list. Choosing a wedding date and venue are essential next steps so you can start reaching out to other wedding-planning professionals. Vendors in the city are in high demand so the earlier you start planning, the better.
Here’s a list of local vendors you’ll need to plan your perfect day. You can sort each category by price, venue style, wedding theme, and more:
In addition to vendor decisions, there’s also the guest experience to consider when planning a wedding in the city. Our section below features helpful information for travelers and a list of can’t-miss attractions. Link it on your wedding website so guests have easy access to all the information they need.
If you’ve been invited to a wedding in New York City, there’s a lot to do before you arrive. To get the most out of your trip, carefully plan out logistical details ahead of time so you can have more time to celebrate with loved ones and explore the city that never sleeps.
We’ve got you covered with tips on how to get here, where to stay, and what to do.
New York City welcomed 65.2 million visitors in 2019. With so many travelers coming in and out of the city, there are a ton of ways to get here and the best option depends on where you’re traveling from.
Now that you’ve figured out how to get here, it’s time to book a place to stay. Many areas of the city are walkable and the subway makes traveling to sites easy, so there are plenty of different neighborhood options to get the most out of your trip.
New York City is home to five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island. Manhattan is the best for sightseeing since most of the city’s attractions are here. Other boroughs tend to offer cheaper stay options but with a longer commute factored in.
Here are our top recommendations for neighborhoods in New York City:
Midtown: If you book a hotel in Midtown, you’ll be within walking distance to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the MoMa museum, and more. This is a great option if you’re looking for a true tourist experience in New York City, full of bright lights and other travelers.
Chelsea & Greenwich Village: If you’re interested in a more authentic city experience, head to the curvy neighborhoods of Chelsea or Greenwich Village on the west side of the island. You’ll find great local restaurants and hangouts, beautiful city streets, parks buzzing with live musicians, and boutique hotel options here. You’re also just a short subway ride away from notable sights in the South end of the island.
SoHo & Lower East Side: These young and funky districts are the perfect place for travelers looking for nightlife options during their stay. There are tons of bars, restaurants, and independent stores in both neighborhoods. Stop by the Orchard Street Sunday Market to haggle with locals as you peruse unique finds. You’ll also be close to Chinatown and Lower Manhattan.
Upper East Side: Further north, you’ll find the luxurious neighborhood of the Upper East Side. Here, you’ll find quieter streets, boutique shopping, and plenty of museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, making it a great stay option for couples and families.
Brooklyn: Across the Brooklyn Bridge you’ll find cheaper hotel fares and an eclectic flair. Brooklyn is great for creatives and travelers on a budget, and despite not being located on the island of Manhattan, it’s only 3 subway stops away from all that New York has to offer, plus it has its own bar and restaurant districts to explore.
If you’re in town for a wedding, you’ll want to take advantage of any free time to get out and explore the concrete jungle — bonus points if you can book an extra day or two to spend sightseeing. Here are 10 of the top attractions to see:
Now that you and your guests have everything you need to plan the perfect New York wedding weekend, it’s time to get to work. Zola is here to help every step of the way, with more Expert Advice, plus free tools to simplify and streamline every step of the process.
If you’re planning your New York City wedding from afar, check out our ultimate destination wedding checklist for more tips.
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