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NYC Wedding Officiants Requirements

Local Officiants

Performing Marriage Ceremonies


New York City Wedding Officiants

 Important Note: The City of New York has significantly different laws and procedures from the rest of the state.

New York City Wedding Officiants for your wedding or vow renewal ceremony. Submit one form to top-rated marriage officiants in your locality. You choose the best NYC Wedding Officiant.

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New York City:   If the address on your Drivers License is within NYC limits, you will need three things to be able to perform marriages within NYC, instead of only one.

They are:

  • Ordination Certificate

  • Founding Document

  • and a Letter signed by one member of your Congregation.

Before performing marriages in New York City, the minister must register his or her name and address in the office of the city clerk of the city of New York and show some documentation.

The Official NYC handbook on the Domestic Relations Law, p. 89., À/Í À/ÍC11:2 (subdivision 1) permits a clergyman or minister of any religion to solemnize marriages. “Clergyman or minister” includes a duly authorized pastor, rector, priest, or rabbi. It also includes any other person having authority from, or in accordance with, the rules and regulations of the governing ecclesiastical body of the denomination or order, if any, to which the church belongs. Persons who otherwise have authority from the church or synagogue to preside over and direct the spiritual affairs of the church or synagogue are likewise included. While the state may act to prevent marriages being solemnized by mere philanderers purporting to officiate under the guise of a pseudo-religious faith, it may not interdict marriage ceremonies having a reverent character performed by a person having ecclesiastical sanction.

To have authority to solemnize marriages, there is no requirement that the church, synagogue, or other religious congregation over which the clergyman presides be affiliated with any denomination or order. Nor is there any requirement that clergy have received formal sanctioning authority from a governing board of a denomination or order or from the church, synagogue, or congregation itself.

The liberality in construction is stretched to the breaking point where the officiating clergyman appears to be a mere philanderer professing a pseudo-religious faith. In Ravenal v. Ravenal, 72 Misc.2d 100, 338 N.Y.S.2d 324 (Sup.Ct.N.Y.County 1972), at issue was the validity of a marriage purportedly solemnized by a person who obtained his minister’s credentials by mail, who did not preside over an actual church or religious organization, whose beliefs did not provide for any form of worship or religious service, and whose accrediting organization professed a willingness to ordain anyone for a modest free will offering. The court concluded that, under these circumstances, the person who performed the ceremony could not be properly viewed, even with the benefit of a liberal construction, as a clergyman or minister of a religion. The Ravenal case represents an extreme situation where the person who purported to solemnize the marriage lacked, at least to the court’s mind, any of the objective manifestations of attributes generally associated with ministers or clergy. The court appears to have been convinced that the solemnizing officer was a charlatan, claiming ecclesiastical authority by virtue of a mail order ordination granted by a corporate entity that would ordain all comers. Where the parties to the marriage and the person who solemnized the marriage belong to, or ascribe to, a genuine religious faith, then the authority of the officiating person must be recognized.

The question of genuineness of religious faith is tested by objective criteria such as the regularity of worship and the existence of tenets or principles. The subjective values of the particular religion or faith are irrelevant, no matter how unconventional or no matter how unschooled in theology the clergyman appears to be.

  1. In cases where the denomination publishes a directory of its clergy, the registrant may show that he or she is listed in that directory. If the registrant’s name does not yet appear in the denominational directory, the registrant claiming membership in that denomination may instead present written confirmation for that membership from the body that puts out the directory. Such confirmation can also consist of a certificate or letter showing that the registrant graduated from the seminary or theological school pertaining to the denomination.

  2. In cases where the denomination does not have such a directory, the registrant must show several pieces of documentary proof of authority. First, the registrant must present an ordination certificate accompanied, if necessary, by an English translation thereof. Ordination certificates issued by the Universal Life Church or its affiliates are not acceptable as evidence of clerical authority based on Ranieri v. Ranieri, New York Law Journal, March 27, 1989. Ravenal v. Ravenal, 72 Misc.2d 100, 338 N.Y.S.2d 324 (Sup.Ct.N.Y.County 1972). In lieu of an ordination certificate, the registrant must present a “license to minister” or a letter of appointment from his or her religious body, i.e. from its hierarch or its board of trustees. Second, the registrant must present a letter from his or her local congregation verifying that he or she is the pastor or associate pastor of that congregation, and that the congregation therefore consents to the registering of that individual. Lastly, if the church is incorporated, the registrant must present a copy of the articles of incorporation. If the church is not incorporated, the registrant must submit a statement as to the location of the house of worship, the reason for its founding, the number of trustees, the approximate size of its congregation, and how often it meets.

  3. In cases where the registrant belongs to a denomination that does not have a directory and does not grant certificates of ordination or licenses to minister, the registrant must present a letter stating that he or she is the recognized spiritual leader of a congregation, and that the congregation therefore consents to the registering of that individual. The registrant must also submit a statement as to the location of the house of worship, the reason for its founding, the number of trustees, the approximate size of its congregation, and how often it meets.

    To be valid, a marriage ceremony must be performed by any of the individuals specified in Section 11 of the New York State Domestic Relations Law. These include: the mayor of a city or village; the city clerk or one of the deputy city clerks of a city of more than one million inhabitants; a marriage officer appointed by the town or village board or the city common council; a justice or judge of the following courts: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern or Western Districts of New York, the NYS Court of Appeals, the Appellate Division of the NYS Supreme Court, the NYS Supreme Court, the Court of Claims, the Family Court, a Surrogates Court, the Civil and Criminal Courts of New York City (including Housing Judges of the Civil Court) and other courts of record; a village, town or county justice.


New York City Wedding Officiants for your wedding or vow renewal ceremony. Submit one form to top-rated marriage officiants in your locality. You choose the best NYC Wedding Officiant.


New York City


Marriage License


  • The fee for a marriage license is $35 in New York City.

  • Minimum age to marry is 14 w/parents consent.

  • There’s a twenty-four (24) hour waiting period before your ceremony an be performed.

  • Both parties must appear in person to apply for a marriage license.

  • Photo ID and Proof of age is required.

  • You do not need to be a New York State resident to get married

  • New York does not require a blood test before marriage.

  • The marriage license in New York is valid for 60 days.


New York City Wedding Officiants for your wedding or vow renewal ceremony. Submit one form to top-rated marriage officiants in your locality. You choose the best NYC Wedding Officiant.


Application:

  • Both you and your intended spouse must appear at the office of the city clerk in person, together and at the same time to obtain a marriage license.

    However, the application can be started online and ready for you when you arrive at the Clerk’s office.

  • Your photo identity documentation must be current and valid.

  • Provide documentation of previous marriages.

  • Decide on your surname.

  • The fee for a marriage license is $35 in New York City. Acceptable form of payment is cash. For guidance on additional methods of payment, please call ahead.


It is important that you verify all information with your local city clerk’s office. before making any wedding or travel plans.


Application Requirements:

Listed below is the information you will need to fill out the Marriage License Application:

  • The application is an affidavit where you and your prospective spouse must list your Name;

  • Current Address;

  • City, State;

  • ZIP code and Country;

  • Country of birth;

  • Date of birth;

  • Name and country of birth of your parents;

  • Social Security number;

  • And marital history.

  • If you were previously married, the date of your divorce or the date of your spouse’s death must be provided. Bring a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate.

  • All divorces, annulments, and dissolutions must be finalized before you apply for a new Marriage License.

  • When you sign the affidavit, you are making a sworn statement that there are no legal impediments to the marriage.


Marriage ID Requirement New York: Get Copy Of Birth Certificate

Eight forms of identification are accepted. Expired identification is not accepted.

  • Driver License with photograph (from the United States of America or any of its territories)

  • Non-Driver Identification Card with photograph (from the United States of America or any of its territories)

  • Learner Permit with photograph (from the United States of America or any of its territories)

  • Active United States Military Identification Card

  • Passport

  • United States Certificate of Naturalization (good for 10 years after date of issue)

  • United States Permanent Resident Card

  • United States Employment Authorization Card


Marriage Residency Requirement:

You do not have to be a resident of New York.


Marriage Waiting Period Requirements New York:

Yes. Once a license is issued, there is a 24-hour waiting period before your wedding ceremony can be performed.

If you and your prospective spouse must marry before the 24 hour waiting period is over, you can request a Judicial Waiver from the County Clerk in the county or borough where you obtained your Marriage License.

When both applicants are 16 years of age or older, the 24-hour waiting period may be waived by an order of a justice of the Supreme Court or a judge of the County Court of the county or borough which either of the applicants resides.

If either person is under 16 years of age, the order must be from the Family Court judge of the county or borough in which the person under 16 years of age resides.


Previous Marriages: ✔ Search Marriage | Divorce Records

  • If you were married before, you must list all prior marriages. You must include your previous spouse's full name; the date the divorce decree was granted; and the city, state, and country where the divorce was issued.

  • All divorces, annulments, and dissolutions must be finalized before you apply for a new Marriage License.

  • You may also be required to show a certified copy of the divorce decree or other dissolution document.


Marriage License Fee:

The fee for a marriage license is $35 in New York City. Acceptable form of payment is cash. For guidance on additional methods of payment, please call ahead.


Blood Test Requirement New York:

No premarital examination or blood test is required to obtain a marriage license in New York State.


Last Name Change:

Just because you have a marriage license with your new last name doesn’t mean you’ve officially changed your name.

  • Surnames do not automatically change after marriage. You must choose your legal surname. One or both parties may choose to change their surnames.

  • You do not have to change your surname to be legally married.

  • In the state of New York, you must choose from the following options for the surname change:

    • one spouse’s surname for both partners

    • a surname that combines elements of both spouses’ surnames

    • both spouses’ surnames, separated by hyphen


Name Change Kit:

Getting a marriage license with your new name on it does not mean your name has automatically changed. If you need to change your last name, you can use an online marriage name change kit.


Marriage Age Requirements: ✔ Get Copy Of Birth Certificate

If either you or your prospective spouse is under the age of 18 years, you are required to have written parental consent to obtain a Marriage License.

  • Provide proof of age.

  • Both of your parents must be present to consent and have proper identification at the time of application for the Marriage License and at the Marriage Ceremony if the ceremony is performed in borough office of the clerk.

  • If one parent is deceased, the surviving parent must appear and a death certificate for the deceased parent must be produced.

  • If both parents are deceased, the legal guardian must appear instead.

  • If either prospective spouse is under the age of sixteen years, in addition to parental consent, the written approval of a Judge of the Supreme Court or Family Court is needed.

  • A person under the age of fourteen years cannot be married.


Proof of Age Identification:

A person is required to establish proof of age and identity by submitting to the issuing clerk one of the following age related documents:

  1. Birth Certificate

  2. Baptismal record

  3. Naturalization record

  4. Census record

And one of the following identity related documents:

  1. Driver's license
  2. Passport
  3. Employment picture ID
  4. Immigration record


Judicial Waiver:

  • A 24 hour waiting period after you and your prospective spouse to obtain your license is required by New York State Law.

  • In the event that you and your prospective spouse must marry before the 24 hour waiting period is over, you can request permission from a Judge to waive this requirement.

  • 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 to enable them to perform the ceremony within the 24 hour waiting period.

  • The Marriage Officiant must attach the Judicial Waiver when returning the Marriage License to the Clerk’s office.


Proxy Marriages:

No. Proxy marriage is not permitted in New York, so no other party may apply on behalf of either spouse.


Cousin Marriages:

Yes.


Common Law Marriages:

No.



Solemnization of Marriage:

A clergyman or minister of any religion, a mayor, city clerk, deputy city clerk, appointed marriage officer, justice, or judge.


Marriage Witnesses

One person must witness your signature and they must be at least 18 years old.


Expiration Date of Marriage License:

  • Marriage licenses are valid for 60 days from the date of issuance.

  • 180 days for active military personnel.

  • A Marriage License issued in New York can be used anywhere within New York State but may not be used outside New York State.


New York City Wedding Officiants for your wedding or vow renewal ceremony. Submit one form to top-rated marriage officiants in your locality. You choose the best NYC Wedding Officiant.



Copy of Certificate of Marriage License

Vital Records Section
New York State Department of Health
Empire State Plaza
Albany, New York 12237-0023




Please Note: State and county marriage license requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Additional information can be found on the New York State Department of Health website.


New York City Wedding Officiants for your wedding or vow renewal ceremony. Submit one form to top-rated marriage officiants in your locality. You choose the best NYC Wedding Officiant.

Ask a Lawyer Online Now! 24 Lawyers Are Online. Ask a Question, Get an Answer ASAP.

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