Whether you’re having a large wedding or eloping, couples are increasingly customizing their big day with personal touches — and that includes having a friend or family member officiate their wedding in NYC.
But how does one become a wedding officiant in NYC? Can one really get ordained online and have the marriage be legal? The answers: surprisingly easily, and yes. Here’s the easiest way to officiate a wedding officiant in NYC:
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.
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 physically 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). You’ll need to 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.
The ceremony is only one thing — as the officiant, you’re also responsible for the legal paperwork to get done. 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 sign the marriage license, and then you need to send back the paperwork in the envelope provided to the couple.