Eloping is a romantic and intimate way for couples to get married without the fuss of a bigger traditional wedding. For couples who want to elope in New York City, there are many options available. From City Hall civil ceremonies to exchanging vows in Central Park, this guide will provide information on how to elope in NYC, from the legal requirements to the best locations. Keep on reading to learn how to plan the best NYC elopement.
The first step for couples who want to elope in New York City is to understand the legal requirements. The last thing you want is to show up on the day of your appointment and be greeted with “sorry, you forgot to do xyz!” In order to be legally married in New York City, both partners must be at least 18 years old and have valid identification. Be sure to bring as many ID options as possible: drivers license/state ID, passport, SSN card, etc. Additionally, couples must obtain a marriage license from the City Clerk’s office before they can be legally married. The marriage license is valid for 60 days after it is issued, so be sure to time your ceremony within that timeframe!
Once the legal requirements are taken care of, you can start looking for an officiant who can perform the ceremony. There are many officiants available in NYC who specialize in elopements and small weddings. And if you’re tying the knot in City Hall, this is something they will take care of for you. It’s important to look for someone who is experienced and has good reviews from past clients. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that the officiant is legally authorized to perform marriages in New York City, and will take time to get to know you as individuals and as a couple.
Once you’ve booked your officiant, it’s time to choose a venue or location for the ceremony. There are tons of beautiful locations throughout New York City that are perfect for an intimate wedding ceremony. Here are some locations we recommend:
Couples should consider their budget and preferences when selecting a venue, as well as any permits or restrictions that may apply at certain locations.
Once you have chosen your venue and officiant, it’s time to start planning your elopement ceremony! No matter the size of your wedding, I always recommend having a professional photographer. Even if it’s just for an hour or two, I promise you won’t regret having photos of such a special day. Consider having a local florist make a little bouquet for you, too. You may also want to consider adding special touches such as personalized vows or readings during your ceremony. Finally, don’t forget about the reception! Even if you’re eloping, you can still celebrate with family and friends afterwards by hosting a small gathering or dinner party at a nearby restaurant or bar.
One of the biggest benefits of eloping is that it can save you a lot of money. Traditional weddings can be incredibly expensive — especially in New York — with costs for venues, catering, decorations, and more adding up quickly. Elopements are much more affordable since they don’t require any of these things. You can save even more money by choosing to elope in a place where you don’t need to pay for a venue or other services.
Smaller ceremonies/elopements also offer couples an opportunity for an intimate ceremony that is just about them. This si perfect if you’re someone who doesn’t absolutely *love* all eyes on you. Without all the distractions that come with a large wedding, you are able to focus on your partner fully and your commitment to one another without feeling overwhelmed by guests or expectations. No one else’s opinions or expectations matter.
Another great pro of eloping is that it offers couples much more flexibility than they would have with a traditional wedding. With an elopement, you can choose exactly where and when you want to get married without worrying about finding a venue or dealing with scheduling conflicts. This means that you’re able to tie the knot in your dream location at any time that works best for you without having to worry about accommodating guests or working around other people’s schedules.
When it comes to budgeting for an elopement, there are several things to keep in mind. The first is the size of your wedding party, (if you choose to have one) and your guest list. Usually the ceremony itself has a small crowd of closest friends and family, around 5-15 people. Later in the evening if you’re planning a dinner reception celebration, you can expand the guest count a bit; I would recommend keeping it at 40 people or less. Additionally, if you’re planning a destination elopement, you’ll need to factor in travel expenses as well.
The second thing to consider is the type of ceremony you want. Do you want a traditional ceremony or something more unique? Depending on your choice, there may be additional costs associated with renting a venue or hiring officiants or musicians.
The last factor to consider is the type of photos you want taken during your elopement. Do you want professional photos or videos taken? Or would you rather it be totally private? Obviously, I recommend hiring a photographer. Professional photographers of course come at an additional cost but can provide beautiful memories that you’ll cherish for generations. Think it over!
Now that we’ve discussed some of the factors to consider when budgeting for an elopement, let’s look at some average costs associated with elopement photography. For us here at Sava, the average cost of an elopement photo package ranges from $1,500-$4,000 depending on the duration/specifics of your event. Here is what comes in the average elopement photography package:
There is no wrong way to have a wedding. If you want to have an intimate ceremony and a bigger party down the road, an elopement is perfect for you. Eloping in NYC can be an incredibly special and romantic experience for couples who want something more intimate than a traditional wedding ceremony. By understanding the legal requirements and finding an experienced officiant, choosing the perfect venue, and planning all of the details of your special day, you can create an unforgettable experience that you will cherish forever! Plus, the NYC skyline as your backdrop is iconic.
We're Sava, a small studio of photographers who bonded over our similar educational background, love of art, & general affinity for timeless wedding photos. Based in NYC, will travel, will pick up your coffee order on the way.