(Closed) Can a friend officiate in NYC?

posted 10 years ago in New York City
Post # 3
754 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2008

Short answer:  yes

Long one:  Still yes.  Link.

To be valid, a marriage ceremony must be performed by any of the individuals specified in Section 11 of the New York State Domestic Relations Law. These include:

  • a member of the clergy or minister who has been officially ordained and granted authority to perform marriage ceremonies from a governing church body in accordance with the rules and regulations of the church body;
  • a member of the clergy or minister who is not authorized by a governing church body but who has been chosen by a spiritual group to preside over their spiritual affairs;
  • other officiants as specified by Section 11 of the Domestic Relations Law.

The person performing the ceremony must be registered with the City of New York in order to perform a ceremony within the New York City limits. The officiant does not have to be a resident of New York State.

For more information, call your county clerk’s office.


Post # 4
212 posts
Helper bee

I would do your homework on this topic.  I read this article (below) and decided I was too lazy to do all the research and figure out what was right and what was wrong so while a friend is marrying us, we’re taking a trip down to city hall a few weeks prior to get officially married, that way, our officiant can still do the personal ceremony and not have to hassle with the paperwork.


"FOR that reason, officials in many states discourage couples from using ministers ordained online, even when they have not been explicitly ruled illegal.

“Err on the side of caution,” said Caren Martin, the deputy in charge of litigation for the marriage license bureau of Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania. “Make sure the person is qualified and don’t take chances.”

New York State, New Jersey and Florida have very broadly worded laws that seem to allow ministers ordained online to perform weddings. Yet it was in New York that a marriage performed by an online minister was invalidated."

Post # 5
52 posts
Worker bee

What you may want to do, is have him officiate the "ceremony", but actually go to city hall and have it done over there. It may feel kind of weird to have a semi "faux" ceremony, but really, it is the sentiments, not the paperwork that matters.

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