Post # 1
Has anyone gotten married at City Hall in New York City? Not just “let’s just married so we can move forward with visa paperwork” but actually GET MARRIED, this is the only wedding we’re having, parents and siblings as witnesses, hire a photographer, go out to dinner afterward get married. If so, I’d LOVE to see your photos or hear about your experiences (or tips!)
I’m having a hard time finding any pictures of the inside or of specific info on how they do the civil ceremonies. I’ve heard you can’t make an appointment – do you just show up and wait your turn? Any tips on which weekday is the best time to go? Thanks guys!!
Post # 3
It’s not my experience but a girl I know got married at NYC city hall and did it like a small wedding. It was super cute, you can read about it in her blog – http://christinamm.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/finally-a-happy-ending/
Post # 4
my friend did this last year. this might be a no brainer but definitely bring ID (my friend had to go back home because his form of ID was expired!)
they got married on a weekday – but because it was 9/9/09 im assuming there were more people there than normal. from what i recall, they got a number and waited their turn to sign the certs, along with their witnesses. then they had to wait again to do the vows and get married. there was a big group waiting together, but each couple (and their guests) are called in separately to get married by the JOP (i think) in a small room. it didn’t last long but it was very sweet and the JOP even took pictures with the couple. she didnt rush us out even though clearly there were more couples waiting.
btw the courthouse steps (across the st from city hall i think) were an amazing place to take pictures. additionally, (also for picture considerations) i think the waiting area was pretty nice, nicer than the room they got married in. congratulations!
Post # 5
I got married in NYC City Hall last November (wedding is in two months, but had to do it for religious reasons) and it was a lot nicer than I expected! They had just moved the marriage bureau from next to the Brooklyn Bridge to the Centre Street location, and it was completely renovated! It used to be just a small courtroom and a dingy waiting area… but now, it’s a whole beautiful hall! There are two chapels (East & West) and a beautiful atrium waiting area between them – you get called in to either one depending on your number.
You can’t make an appointment, and to legally get married takes two trips. First trip is to get your marriage license – you need to have the license for 24 hours minimum before getting married. Second trip, bring your license with you and sign paperwork to get married! Once your paperwork is approved, you’ll wait for them to call you into the chapel.
We went on a Thursday morning and it was pretty quiet, so we took our time with pictures in the chapel and atrium area. There is also a faux backdrop of city hall just for taking pictures! The waiting area of the bureau (where all the counters are) is a long hall with chandeliers down the length of it. It’s really quite nice!
Here is a helpful link: http://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/html/marriage/license.shtml
Post # 6
I had a traditional wedding, but my photographer did a lovely shoot for a couple who opted for a courthouse ceremony.
Post # 7
Thanks everyone! The photos are especially helpful, as is info on waiting time. 🙂 I’m just really worried we’ll have our family in tow and have to sit around for an hour before seeing the JOP. I wanted to get a minibus to shuttle us all over to the restuarant afterwards (My grandmother has difficulty walking long distances – even to the subway) so I’ve been trying to figure out how much time to give ourselves!
@teaadntoast – Amazingggg photos. What a fabulous photographer. Thank you!
Post # 8
@Ms Scrabble: Kate is super, super awesome and a dream to work with. I highly, highly recommend contacting her if you haven’t already booked a photographer.
Post # 9
I know I’m 4 months late, but I just found your post.
I actually JUST photographed a wedding there last Friday. I also got to sign as the witness, which was really cool. There wasn’t a long wait at all, I’d say the whole thing from entering the front door to exiting the front door was 45 minutes. They arrived at 11:55am. I was there since 9am to get a feel of the atmosphere/mood/flow, and the morning is definitely the best time to go. There was a bit of a line around 10:30am, but then it died down again around noon. (This is just one experience, so each day is probably a little different)
The small wait was perfect for catching some moments with the camera, but not too long so we were just sitting around being bored.
(1) You wait in the 1st line for getting forms, paying fees, and receiving a number. (2) You wait for your number to be called to sign the papers, show IDs, etc. (3) You wait for your number to be called to wait in an “on deck” area for the ceremony. (4) You wait for your name to be called to go into the room. (5) You wait in the room for the JOP to arrive to perform the ceremony.
For your grandma, you could have her just sit on a couch until your name is called at #4, while you bounce from counter to counter getting the business aspect taken care of in steps 1-3. There is also a couch in the actual ceremony room that you could situate for a good view of the brief but powerful vow-exchange.
There are two ceremony rooms. They do it “assembly line” style. The JOP hops back and forth, so when she’s leaving one room, she calls the next couple to go in and get ready while she’s marrying the other people. It’s actually quite fun!
I am in the middle of finals, so I have not finished posting the pictures from the wedding, but here is a little preview. Contact me if you have any more questions, and I’ll help if I can.
Post # 10
Pardon for bumping a very old thread, but I would really, really, really love to see any pictures of weddings at NYC city hall. It’s the only sort of wedding that I can imagine myself having, and I have seen some really beautiful little intimate weddings at city hall on a few photographer websites.
Does anyone have any personal stories they’d be willing to share? Was it just the two of you or did you have a small reception with close family/friends? If so, where?
Post # 11
My parents were married at NY City Hall on December 1, 1951. They stayed married for almost 58 years until my mother’s death in 2009. The story was that they were engaged for about a year and decided to elope on a cold Saturday morning. Thanks for sharing and congratulations!
Post # 13
@Newt: I see that I am REALLY tardy to the party here, but I’m getting married at City Hall in NYC on March 29th. It’s the second marriage for both of us and we’re only having a few close friends and family join us. We aren’t having a professional photographer, but I’ll do my best to get some current pictures of the Marriage Bureau for you.
Post # 14
Fiance and I are planning on having a brooklyn courthouse ceremony with close family and would love any information not listed here
For those who have done it- how many guests can the place hold? I know everyone is standing and whatnot but Fiance has a large immediate family with a couple of step brothers and whatnot so we want to plan accordingly and maybe only have parents if we need to.
Post # 15
Post # 16
@Newt– Here you go, love. This was taken @ the Marriage Bureau in NYC–a City Hall wedding, which is actually done at the Clerk’s office. Everyone there was very nice and helpful, both when we went to get the license on Wednesday, and on Friday for the actual marriage. Imagine any sort of government office where everyone is there because they actually WANT to be there, and not because they have to. The whole office is redone in an early 20th century style, with all of the 21st century technology you could want. The wait time to see a clerk to get the license and then for the marriage was about half an hour. The young lady who performed the marriage was wonderful…very soft spoken and seemed genuinely happy to be there. The marriage ceremony took about 2 minutes, but they gave us as long as we wanted in the chapel to take photos and collect our things afterwards. If you decide to come over and do this, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Here is a picture of me and the new husband in front of the mural of the actual City Hall put at the Marriage Bureau strictly for a photo op. It’s not the greatest photo, but not too shabby considering it was taken with a friend’s phone—-