Are your best friends getting married and asking you to become a wedding officiant in NYC to marry them? Have you been invited to marry a couple, but you have no idea how to become a marriage officiant? Whether it’s for a large wedding or intimate elopement, couples are increasingly customizing their big day with personal touches — and that includes having a friend or family member officiate their wedding in New York.
But you might have questions about how one becomes a wedding officiant in NYC. Do you have to live in New York? Can one really get ordained online and have the marriage be legal? The answers: no, and yes.
Follow these 3 steps to become a wedding officiant in NYC and legally perform your first wedding.
1. Get ordained online
In order to be eligible to officiate a wedding in NYC, if you’re not already a minister or clergy member, or a federal or state judge, the easiest way to become a wedding officiant is get ordained online. A quick Google search will turn up multiple online “churches” that — surprise! — are actually recognized.
Some popular ones (in no particular order):
If performing the ceremony in New York City, you will need to specifically get ordained to officiate weddings in NYC, not just New York. Most organizations will run you around $35.
2. Register with the NYC City Clerk’s Office
Covid-19 update: As of March 2020, all NYC City Clerk’s Offices are temporarily closed due to coronavirus. However, you can still register to be an officiant online and mail in paperwork. After you are ordained by an accredited online organization, go here to register as an officiant. At the end, there will be an address to send your paperwork by postal mail. You should receive your ordination within a few weeks.
After you get ordained by an accredited online organization, they will mail you a ministry packet. This will include several documents, including a letter of good standing from the church, as well as a copy of the church’s Articles of Incorporation. These are two documents that you will need to send to the NYC City Clerk’s Office to get officially registered.
For those living within the 5 boroughs, you’ll need to make a trip to the NYC City Clerk’s Office at 141 Worth St. in Manhattan. Bring the documents from the church, as well as a government-issued photo ID and a credit card to pay ($15). Wait in the queue, but once your number is called you’ll fill out some paperwork and sign a huge registry book (seriously, it’s big and looks ancient), and then it’s official!
For those not living in New York, you can mail in your notarized paperwork (note that it will take up t0 30 days to get processed).
3. Officiate your first NYC wedding and send back the paperwork
The ceremony is only the first part. As the officiant, you’re also responsible for getting the legal paperwork done. Here’s a visual guide on how to complete a NYC marriage license. The couple will be responsible for providing you their marriage license, obtained at least 24 hours before the wedding, but not later than 60 days. After the ceremony, you, the newlyweds, and a witness will need to complete/sign the marriage license, and then you need to send back the paperwork in the envelope provided to the couple. If they obtained their marriage license online via Project Cupid, they will need to upload the signed paperwork in the Project Cupid portal.
Don’t have time and need to hire an NYC officiant for your wedding?
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