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Photo: kyler kwock, Flickr Creative Commons
New York City is a full of stunning wedding venues, often drawing out-of-state couples looking for a unique ceremony. But if you are planning a destination wedding, you will need to keep in mind that New York’s marriage laws may differ from your own state’s laws.
The good news is that you do not have to be a New York state resident to obtain a license. However, New York has a 24-hour waiting period after the license is issued before your ceremony can be performed. If you can’t arrange to obtain your license before then and need to get married within the waiting period, you can request a Judicial Waiver from the County Clerk in the county or borough where you obtained your marriage license. There is no fee to obtain a Judicial Waiver. Give the Judicial Waiver to your Marriage Officiant, and they must attach the Judicial Waiver when returning the marriage license to the Clerk’s office.
If you have relatives in New York City, it may be tempting to ask them to get your marriage license for you. However, New York does not allow proxy marriages. This means you and your future spouse must appear in person, together, to apply for your New York City marriage license.
If you live fairly close to New York City, another option would be to obtain a marriage license earlier. New York City marriage licenses are valid for 60 days from date of issuance, or 180 days for active military personnel.
When applying for a marriage license in New York City, you will need:
Photo ID (Driver’s License, Passport, or Non-Driver Identification card are accepted)
Proof of age (birth certificate)
$35 marriage license fee
Documentation of previous marriages (including certified copies of divorce decrees or death certificates)
You will also be asked if you are changing your last name. You do not have to change your surname to be legally married, and one or both parties may choose to change their surnames. New York allows the following options for surname change:
One spouse’s surname for both partners
A surname that combines elements of both spouses’ surnames
Both spouses’ surnames, separated by a hyphen
Be advised that your name will not automatically change after marriage. You will have to change your name on all necessary documents (Driver’s License, Social Security card, Passport, etc.).
If you have more questions about obtaining a New York City marriage license, visit our New York City marriage laws page. You will find all the information you need, including:
Accepted forms of ID
Contact information for clerks’ offices