Guide

HOW TO GET MARRIED IN NYC

A GUIDE TO GETTING MARRIED IN NYC FROM AN NYC WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

NYC elopement in Brooklyn Bridge Park

FEELING OVERWHELMED IN THE PINTEREST RABBIT HOLE? HERE'S A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO HELP YOU GET STARTED WHILE STAYING SANE.

MEET JOCELYN

Why should you hear me out? In addition to the fact that I've personally navigated the process (boy, do you learn a lot going through it!), I’ve also been an NYC wedding photographer for nearly a decade, capturing memories for every kind of couple.

For me, wedding photography — whether there’s 200 guests or just two people total — is about capturing a feeling. It’s that wave of crazy-in-love relief washing over the groom’s face the moment he first sees his bride. It’s how post-ceremony newlyweds can’t stop sneaking little grins at each other. It’s how there’s nary a butt in the seats when the band cranks it up to 11. That stuff? Yeah, that’s the good stuff. And I hope that when you look at your wedding photos way off in the future, you’ll remember exactly how you felt at that moment.

Everly Studios: New York wedding photographer, NYC elopement photographer, NYC City Hall photographer
TESTIMONIALS

“Jocelyn was fantastic from start to finish in photographing our Brooklyn wedding:

1. She was flexible on hours and timing
2. She helped us think through and plan out the schedule for our wedding day, as we had some general event windows to schedule around but hadn't actually figured out who was going to do what at which time
3. We explained the aesthetic (hip + classy) and a couple locations we were looking for, and she nailed it with ease on a tight timeline.
4. Pricing was reasonable
5. Jocelyn was a stable presence on the big day - helping to shepherd family members around for the group photos, giving us some calm instructions to loosen us up as we both despise having our photo taken, etc.

Most importantly, the photos came out awesome! Couldn't recommend her services more enthusiastically to anyone looking for a great wedding photographer.”

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Corey & Julie

“I was very happy with everyone who helped make my wedding happen, but I have to say Jocelyn was at the very top of the list. We found Jocelyn because she had previously photographed a wedding at our venue and the photos were incredible. We wanted beautiful pictures but ones that seemed natural and not cliche or staged 'wedding photos.' From the moment I met Jocelyn, I knew she was the right photographer for our wedding.

Our experience on the day of our wedding was wonderful. Jocelyn was so professional and fun to hang out with and knew all the best spots in Brooklyn to take photos. I didn't realize how fun the photo shoot part of the day was going to be! Many of my favorite shots were her candids. I adored the photos that she took and so did everyone else. The photos were also ready very quickly and we look at them all the time to relive the day!”

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Rachel & Andy

“Booking Jocelyn as our wedding photographer was such an excellent decision! My wife and I knew we wanted to do a small wedding, so it was super important that we got the right person to document the day for all the people who wouldn't be there with us. Jocelyn was the first on a list of several photographers we planned to talk to, but after our first conversation with her, my wife and I both agreed - we didn't need to talk to anybody else. Jocelyn was the photographer for us. We bounced all over the city taking photos, and Jocelyn kept things running smoothly all day. And of course, there's the actual photos - which are incredible! She captured moments big and small throughout the day and nailed the documentary style approach we were looking for. On top of that, she turned around a sneak peek album in days and our full photo album in weeks. Overall, if you're in New York and you need a wedding photographer, Jocelyn should be your first call.”

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Charles & Marie

The First Step: How to Get a Marriage License in NYC

Regardless if you’re having a big shebang wedding or a two-person elopement, you’ll need a New York marriage license if you’re getting married in NYC. Note that you can get the marriage license anywhere in New York state (hello, upstate New Yorkers!) and still get married in New York City.

You can apply for the NYC marriage license online or in person at one of the New York Marriage Bureau offices; the Manhattan location is located at 141 Worth St., but every borough has a marriage bureau. After obtaining the license, you will need to physically show up at the marriage bureau to complete the process.

Here’s the full step-by-step instructions on the procedure. It costs $35 (credit card or money order), you both need some form of valid photo ID (like a passport or driver’s license), and you must obtain the license at least 24 hours before getting married. Licenses are valid for 60 days. If you are not a U.S. citizen, I recommend calling your consulate to confirm that NYC marriages are valid in your country.

NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT THE GOOD STUFF: YOUR WEDDING DAY

A Sample Wedding Day Timeline

Most full-day weddings last 8-10 hours, which is typically long enough to capture getting ready, bride and groom details, ceremony, portraits and reception. To come up with an accurate schedule, we’ll work off your fixed events — for instance, your ceremony start time, or what time sunset is for portraits.

A sample 10-hour timeline might look like this:

1-2:30 pm: getting ready and detail shots
2:30-2:45: first look
2:45-3:45: solo portraits
3:45-4:30: bridal party and family portraits
4:30-5: down time before ceremony (photographer takes venue detail shots)
5-5:30: ceremony
5:30-6:30: cocktail hour
6:30-11: reception

An 8 hour timeline would typically shorten the getting ready and reception coverage.

For couples who don’t necessarily need documentation of their full day, I also offer an abbreviated 6-hour package, which would typically omit the reception or getting ready portion entirely.

NYC Wedding Portrait Locations

NYC cocktail bar wedding
ICONIC NYC PHOTO LOCATIONS

We’re fortunate in that wedding photography in NYC has an abundance of iconic structures, interesting architecture as well as beautiful nature, all reachable with a quick taxi ride. Some of the most popular locations, in no particular order, include:

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Central Park (and its dozens of spots within!)
  • Grand Central
  • Top of the Rock
  • New York Public Library exterior

MORE UNIQUE NYC PHOTO LOCATIONS

“But Jocelyn,” you say, “we live in New York. We don’t necessarily want to go to tourist spots.” No problem. Some of my favorite less-trafficked spots:

  • Fancy cocktail bars (or dive bars) and fun eateries
  • Quiet cobblestone streets in the West Village
  • Chelsea art galleries
  • Jersey City waterfront (yes, Jersey!) and Liberty State Park
  • Anything involving an activity: bookstore browsing, dim sum-eating, tarot card-reading, tattoo-getting… Don’t think of portraits as “cheesing in front of a pretty backdrop,” think of it as an opportunity to do something classically you, something that reflects your personality in real life.

And if it’s raining? No worries — here’s some recommended indoor NYC photo locations.