PHOTO GUIDE: How to Get Married at City Hall NYC
How to Get Married at City Hall NYC
Wondering how to get married at City Hall NYC? Here’s a photo guide to visually walk you through the New York City Hall wedding process at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau. If you’re planning on getting married in another borough (such as at Brooklyn City Hall), the process will be the same, but the interior spaces will look different.
1. Head to the Manhattan Marriage Bureau
All boroughs in New York have their own Marriage Bureau where you can get married (see here for addresses). The Manhattan Marriage Bureau, located at 141 Worth St. at the corner of Worth St. and Centre St., is the most popular location — and, in my opinion, the most photogenic.
Note that technically “City Hall” is another building, so if you’re inputting it into Google Maps, it may take your to the wrong location. The building you’re looking for is called the Office of the City Clerk, or the Marriage Bureau.
Once you’ve found the City Clerk’s Office, enter through the revolving door and you’ll be inside a lobby. The Marriage Bureau is the first door on your right; look for a small gold sign pointing that way.
The Marriage Bureau opens at 8:30am, and on busy days (typically Friday) there may be a line of people already queueing up at the entrance before doors open. If this is you, just hop in the queue and wait for security to let you in.
Note that though there is a bathroom inside, there is no drinking fountain, so you may want to bring a bottle of water for the wait (there’s typically a hot dog and beverage cart right outside for you to purchase drinks).
If you’ve forgotten flowers, there’s also a flower stand right outside run by a nice guy named George. If you’re looking for a small, simple and affordable bouquet, George can make you one on the spot.
2. Navigate security and get a number.
Next you and your guests will go through security, which includes a metal detector. (Rest assured this will be the least romantic part of your day!)
After the metal detector, you’ll be at the reception desk. Once you’re called, show them your marriage license, your government photos IDs (for example, a passport or driver’s license), and a credit card to pay. Your witness will also need to be present and show their photo ID. Then you will then give you a ticket with a number on it. Keep this handy, as you’ll now be waiting to have your number called for the next step.
As you walk further inside, there will be green couches all along one side, and numbered stations on the other. Take a seat (you’ll typically find more empty room down towards the end of the room), and get comfy. Depending on what time of day you’re entering, your wait could be minimal, or it could last over an hour. Also, keep an eye on the TVs mounted above the numbered stations; when the number on your ticket is flashing, it will tell you which station to go to. Sometimes there is also audio calling out ticket numbers, but this is not always the case.
3. When your number is called, head to the appropriate station with your witness to do paperwork.
You’ll need to hand over your marriage license and photos IDs, and your witness (you are required to have one, but you can have up to two witnesses) will need to provide theirs as well. The bureau employee will then pass a paper to you and indicate where you, your fiancé, and your witness(es) need to sign. This entire process will take only a minute. Afterward, head back to the green couches to do more waiting until your ticket number is called again.
4. When your number is called for the second time, head to Station 5 and go into the back atrium.
Station 5 is the horseshoe-shaped station in the middle of the Marriage Bureau. Hand the employee the paperwork you just completed, and they’ll gesture for you to go to the back atrium.
Here is the last bit of waiting before you get married. There are two doors on either side; both lead to wedding “chapels” where an officiant will marry you. The rooms are virtually identical, except one has a blue painting on the wall and the other room has rainbow artwork.
At this point you can put away all your paperwork, numbered ticket and IDs, and just wait for your name to be called.
5. Once your name is called, follow the officiant inside and get married!
There will be a couch along one side for you to put any bags or coats you may be carrying, and if you have any mobility-challenged guests, they may find it more comfortable to have a seat.
There will be a podium at the front of the room, which the officiant will stand behind. Place your rings and flowers on the podium, face your fiancé and join hands, and take a deep breath. The ceremony itself will last only a minute or two, so try to take it all in.
Thinking of getting married at City Hall?
- FAQs: Guide to Having a City Hall Wedding
- Manhattan vs. Brooklyn City Hall
- Guide to Having an NYC Elopement