Eloping in New York City
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Eloping in New York City – The Ultimate Guide (2024)

Eloping in New York City is a dream come true for many couples.

The city’s iconic landmarks, bustling streets, and charming neighborhoods offer the perfect backdrop for an intimate ceremony.

From the picturesque Central Park to the Brooklyn Bridge, there are countless stunning locations for eloping couples to choose from.

Eloping in NYC also offers a hassle-free alternative to traditional weddings, allowing couples to avoid the stress and expense that often come with planning a big wedding.

In this ultimate guide to eloping in New York City, we cover everything from how to elope in New York City, to the best NYC elopement locations, to covering the cost of an elopement in NYC.

Whether you’re a local New Yorker or visiting from afar, eloping in the city that never sleeps is an unforgettable experience that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Let’s get to it!

The Pros and Cons of eloping in New York City

New York is an amazing city with an energy you just don’t get in other places.

There’s no doubt it would be amazing to have a New York wedding.

But eloping in the Big Apple might not be for everyone.

We’ve covered the pros and cons below:

The Pros of an elopement in NYC

  • Stunning backdrops

New York City offers some of the most breathtaking backdrops for your elopement.

From the iconic skyscrapers to Central Park, you are truly spoilt for choice.

We cover the best locations for you to elope in further down.

  • Save money

Eloping in New York City is significantly cheaper than having a traditional wedding.

You can save a lot of money on things like venue rental, catering, and decorations.

  • Intimate and private

Eloping in NYC offers a more intimate and private experience.

You don’t have to worry about having hundreds of guests or dealing with any family drama.

  • Hassle-free

An elopement-style wedding is much less stressful than having a traditional wedding.

You won’t have to deal with vendors, seating arrangements, or timelines.

  • Make it your own

With an elopement, you have complete control over the ceremony and can make it as unique as you want.

You can choose the location, the vows, and the style of the ceremony.

  • Activities to do before and after the wedding day

NCY is full of fun activities that you are your guests can do before and after the elopement.

Whether it’s taking a ride through Central Park, riding canoes in the Hudson, or climbing the Empire State Building, there is plenty you can do to celebrate your day.

The Cons of getting eloped in New York City

  • Limited guest list

Eloping means that you won’t be able to celebrate with all of your family and friends.

This can be difficult if you have close relationships with many people.

Some couples choose to have no guests, and some choose to have only a few.

Either way, you may have to make some difficult choices.

  • Limited reception

Although you may have some guests, any reception you have after the ceremony will likely be a small one.

You won’t be having the traditional wedding party with all your friends.

Of course, this might be part of the reason you are considering eloping.

  • New York is expensive

Although eloping is cheaper than a traditional wedding, New York is still a very expensive city.

No matter what venue you choose, what hotel you choose, or what restaurant you might go to after the ceremony, it will be expensive compared to some other possible places you could elope in.

  • Weather

New York City can have unpredictable weather, which can be a concern if you’re planning an outdoor elopement.

Winters are cold and summers are hot, so you will have to plan well.

  • Legalities

Elopements often require you to handle paperwork and legalities quickly, which can be frustrating and nerve-wracking.

Of course, this paperwork is needed no matter what style of wedding you have, it just may have to come together more quickly with an elopement.

How do you elope in New York City? A Step-by-Step guide

Eloping in New York City does not have to be stressful if you know what steps to take.

That’s why we’ve made you this step-by-step guide on how to elope in NYC.

We go in to more detail on some of the main points after.

  • Pick a date and time

Choose a date and time that works best for you and your partner.

Keep in mind the weather conditions, the availability of the location, and the time of day.

You may also want to consider the availability of any guests you might have.

  • Set a budget

Decide on a budget that works for you and stick to it.

Remember to include the cost of travel, accommodation, permits, vendors, and any other expenses.

It’s important to have this budget so you don’t overspend in areas you did not intend to.

  • Legal requirements

Obtain a marriage license from the City Clerk’s Office at least 24 hours before your ceremony.

You will also need to pay a fee and provide identification.

If you are tying the knot somewhere public, check the New York City Parks website for any permits required for your chosen location.

  • Choose a location

New York City offers a variety of locations for an elopement, from Central Park to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Consider the size of the location, the backdrop, and the accessibility.

  • Find an officiant

Look for an officiant who can perform your ceremony.

You can find registered officiants online or ask for recommendations from people you know.

Be sure to read reviews and interview the officiants you are interested in.

It’s important to find a New York elopement officiant that understands your personalities and style of ceremony.

  • Guest list

Decide on the number of guests you want to invite.

Keep in mind that some locations may have a limit on the number of people that can attend.

  • Hire vendors

Consider hiring vendors like elopement photographers, hair and makeup artists, and florists to enhance your experience.

The only vendor you need is an NYC elopement officiant, but you should strongly consider an elopement photographer too.

  • Plan the ceremony

Choose the style, music, and vows for your ceremony.

Include elements that make it personal to you and your partner.

You could also have guests do readings as a way to honor them.

  • Plan the reception (if any)

Plan your reception, whether it’s a dinner at a restaurant or a picnic in the park.

There is no pressure to have one, but it is a nice thing to do, even if it is a simple meal.

  • Book accommodation and travel

Find a place to stay that is close to your location, and book your travel arrangements in advance.

New York City hotels book out far in advance, and the closer you get to your wedding date, the more expensive they will be.

If you want your guests to stay in the same hotel as you, make sure there is room and that it would fit in to everyone’s budgets.

  • Plan what happens after the wedding

Decide on how you will celebrate your union after the elopement day!

You can explore the city, go out for dinner, or plan a romantic activity.

New York is full of fun and interesting things to do.

You could ride the famous yellow taxis around midtown, go see the cats at the Cat Sanctuary, head to the bustle of Times Square and see a Broadway show, or head to one of New York’s many museums.

This is one of the main benefits of eloping in NYC!-There is so much to do!

  • Have fun

Remember to enjoy the experience and have fun! Take lots of photos, make memories, and celebrate your love in the city that never sleeps.

If, after reading these steps, you think it might be too much for you to plan and arrange your own elopement, you could also consider getting an NYC elopement package to take the stress of planning away, whilst also giving you a fixed price.

How do I plan an elopement in NYC? In-depth pointers

We’ve covered the basic steps on how to plan an NYC elopement.

Let’s now get in to some in-depth points and answer questions you may be having.

How much does it cost to elope in NYC?

The cost of eloping in New York City can vary depending on a number of factors such as the location, the season, and the services you require.

It really does depend on the tastes and preferences of the couple.

All in all, the average cost of eloping in New York City can range from $800 to $4,000 or more.

The lower figure includes the NYC marriage permit, elopement officiant, and an inexperienced elopement photographer.

The higher end adds a basic venue hire, an experienced NYC elopement photographer, a dinner afterwards, and some additional vendors such as hair and makeup.

If you want to make sure your New York elopement stays on budget, you cold consider getting a New York City elopement package.

These packages will give you most or all of what you need for a set price and take the stress out of planning your special day.

Budgeting an NYC elopement

Here is a breakdown of some common expenses you might encounter, as well as some more optional ones.

  • Marriage License

To get married in New York City, you need to obtain a marriage license which costs $35.

This fee can be paid by credit card, money order, or check.

  • Officiant

If you’re not having a friend or family member officiate your ceremony, you’ll need to hire an officiant.

The cost of an officiant can vary widely, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $600.

  • Venue

There are many beautiful and iconic locations in New York City where you can elope, such as Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, or the Empire State Building.

Many of these locations are free, but some may require a permit or reservation fee, which can range from $25 to $400.

  • Photography

If you want to capture your elopement with professional photographs, you’ll need to hire a photographer.

The cost of a photographer can vary, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,500.

Some higher-end photographers can be in the region of $4000.

  • Flowers and Decorations

If you want to add some special touches to your elopement, such as a bouquet or some decorations, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500.

  • Hair and Makeup

If you want to have your hair and makeup professionally done, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $500.

  • Transportation

Depending on the location of your elopement, you may need to pay for transportation to and from the venue.

This can include a taxi, Uber or Lyft, or even a limousine.

The cost of transportation depends on where you are starting and where you are going to.

But know this – NYC taxis are not cheap!

  • Accommodation

If you’re coming from out of town or want to make your elopement a special weekend getaway, you’ll need to budget for accommodation.

The cost of accommodation can vary widely depending on the location and the type of accommodation you choose.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $500 per night for a hotel room or vacation rental in the city.

  • Food and Beverages

If you want to celebrate your elopement with a meal or some drinks, you’ll need to budget for food and beverages.

The cost of food and beverages really depends where you go and what you order.

You can expect to pay anywhere a minimum of $50 per head for a basic meal and drinks.

Of course, the sky’s the limit with NCY restaurants!

  • Wedding Rings

If you want to exchange wedding rings during your elopement, you’ll need to budget for them.

The cost of wedding rings can vary widely depending on the materials and style you choose.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 for a pewter ring to $5,000 or more for a platinum ring with diamonds.

Remember, these are just some of the potential costs associated with eloping in New York City.

Your actual costs may vary depending on your choices and preferences.

Tips to reduce costs when eloping in NYC

Weddings in general can be expensive, and although elopements are usually less, the costs can still creep up.

Here are some tips on saving money on your New York elopement.

  • Choose an off-peak season

New York City is a popular destination for tourists, which means prices can be higher during peak season.

Consider getting married during the off-peak season to save money on accommodations, vendors, and travel.

  • Opt for a weekday wedding

Venues and vendors often charge more for weekend weddings

Consider getting married on a weekday to save money on venue rentals, photography, and other services.

  • Keep the guest list small

One of the biggest expenses of a wedding is the number of guests. Keep your guest list small and intimate to save money on catering, decor, and other expenses.

  • Choose a public location

Public locations like Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge are free to use for elopements.

You may need to obtain a permit, but it’s still more cost-effective than renting a private venue.

  • DIY your decor

Instead of hiring a decorator, consider doing the decor yourself.

You can create a beautiful ambiance with candles, flowers, and other inexpensive items.

You can even ask your guests to help as their wedding gift to you!

  • Get a less experienced photographer.

Photographers charge based on their experience and results.

If you don’t need world-class photos, you could seek out a less experienced photographer, who might charge less for the day.

  • Get creative with your reception

Instead of booking a fancy restaurant for your reception, consider a picnic in the park or a food truck.

You can also bring your own wine or champagne to save money on drinks.

  • Use public transportation

Skip the expensive taxis and Ubers and use the subway or bus system to get around the city.

It’s a more affordable and authentic way to experience New York City.

Plus, riding the subway in your wedding dress or tux would be a great story to tell!

  • Borrow or rent your attire

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a wedding dress or suit.

Consider borrowing from a friend or renting your attire to save money.

  • Keep it simple

Remember, the beauty of an elopement is its simplicity.

Focus on the love between you and your partner, and let the rest fall into place.

Keep it simple, and make it your own.

How to have a legal elopement in New York City

Here are the steps to have a legal elopement in New York City,

  • Obtain a Marriage License

The first step to having a legal elopement in New York City is to obtain a marriage license from the City Clerk’s office.

You and your partner will both need to be present and provide identification, such as a driver’s license or passport.

The cost of a marriage license in New York City is $35.

The license is valid for 60 days.

  • Choose an Officiant

In New York City, you can have a judge, justice of the peace, or a registered officiant perform your ceremony.

If you don’t have someone in mind, you can search for registered officiants on the New York City Clerk’s website.

The cost of an officiant can vary, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $600.

  • Get a permit for the location if it’s needed

New York City has many iconic locations where you can elope, such as Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, or the Empire State Building.

Many of these locations are free, but some may require a permit or reservation fee, which can range from $25 to $400.

  • Get a witness

In NYC, you are required to have at least one witness present during your ceremony to make it legal.

  • Exchange your vows.

That’s the easy part!

After the ceremony, the officiant must sign the marriage license and return it to the City Clerk’s Office within 5 days.

  • Obtain a Marriage Certificate

After the signed marriage license is returned to the City Clerk’s Office and processed, you’ll receive a marriage certificate in the mail.

Is eloping legal in New York?

Yes, eloping is legal in New York. Couples can choose to get married in New York City without having a traditional wedding ceremony.

Couples must obtain a marriage license from the City Clerk’s Office at least 24 hours before their ceremony. 

Can Brits get married in New York?

Yes, Brits can get married in New York City.

However, there are some requirements and additional steps Brits eloping in New York City need to take to make sure their marriage is legally recognized in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

First, British citizens will need to obtain a marriage license from the City Clerk’s office in New York City, just like any other couple.

They will need to bring their passport as proof of identification, and they may also need to provide other documentation, such as proof of divorce or a death certificate if they have been previously married.

After the wedding ceremony, the couple will need to obtain a marriage certificate from the City Clerk’s office.

This document will be necessary to prove their marriage to various government agencies and institutions.

To ensure that their marriage is legally recognized in the United Kingdom, British citizens will need to have their marriage certificate “apostilled.”

An apostille is a special seal that confirms the authenticity of a document and allows it to be used in foreign countries.

British citizens can obtain an apostille from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in the UK.

Of course, everyone’s situation is different, and couples should consult with a legal professional or the appropriate government agency to ensure that they meet all the necessary requirements.

Do you need a witness to elope in New York?

Yes, in New York State, you are required to have at least one witness present during your elopement ceremony to make it legally binding.

The witness must be at least 18 years old and can be any person of your choosing, as long as they are not related to you or your partner by blood or marriage.

If you don’t have a witness, you can ask your officiant if they can provide one for you, or you can ask someone at the location where you are eloping if they would be willing to act as your witness.

It’s important to note that if you’re eloping in a location that requires a permit or reservation, such as a public park, there may be additional rules or requirements regarding witnesses.

You should check with the relevant authorities to ensure that you’re complying with all necessary regulations.

Where can I elope in New York City? – The best NYC elopement locations

NYC is a huge city and, as such, there are many possible elopement locations you can choose from.

We’ve narrowed-down the list to save you on research.

Cheap or free elopement spots

If you’re looking for a simple and affordable elopement, City Hall is a great option.

You can get married in the Marriage Bureau for just $35, and there are several beautiful spots within City Hall for photos.

While it’s not the most glamorous location, it’s a great choice for couples who want a no-frills elopement.

The Brooklyn Heights Promenade is a scenic walkway that offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline.

It’s a popular spot for photos and is a great option for a free elopement location.

You can have your ceremony on the promenade or at nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The High Line is a unique and scenic location for an elopement in New York City. This elevated park runs along a former railroad line, offering stunning views of the city and plenty of greenery. Some of the best spots for elopements on the High Line include the Gansevoort Woodland and the 23rd Street Lawn. The High Line is free to visit and doesn’t require a permit for elopements.

Carl Schurz Park is a beautiful and tranquil park located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

It features stunning views of the East River and the Roosevelt Island tramway.

The park is free to visit and offers several picturesque spots for elopements, including the Gracie Mansion and the East River Esplanade.

The Brooklyn Bridge is another popular location for elopements in New York City.

With its sweeping views of the city skyline and iconic architecture, it provides a breathtaking backdrop for your special day.

There are a few different locations along the bridge that are great for elopements, such as the pedestrian walkway or one of the overlooks.

There’s no fee to get married on the Brooklyn Bridge, but you should be prepared for crowds and potential traffic disruptions.

Washington Square Park is a bustling and vibrant park located in Greenwich Village.

It’s a popular spot for photos and offers several beautiful locations for elopements, including the Washington Square Arch and the central fountain.

The park is free to visit and is a great option for couples who want a lively and energetic atmosphere.

Battery Park is a beautiful and historic park located at the southern tip of Manhattan.

It offers stunning views of the Statue of Liberty and the harbor.

The park is free to visit and offers several locations for elopements, including the Battery Bosque and the Castle Clinton National Monument.

Central Park is one of the most popular locations for elopements in New York City.

With its beautiful greenery, winding paths, and scenic views, it’s easy to see why.

Some of the most popular spots within Central Park for elopements include the Bethesda Fountain, the Conservatory Garden, and the Bow Bridge.

The cost of getting married in Central Park is relatively low, with permits ranging from $25 to $400, depending on the location.

For couples who want a simple and no-frills elopement, the New York City Marriage Bureau is a great option.

Located in downtown Manhattan, it’s a government office where you can get married for just $35.

While it’s not the most glamorous location, it’s a great choice for couples who want a quick and easy elopement without any fuss.

Moderately-priced NYC elopement venues

The Empire State Building is one of the most iconic buildings in New York City, and it’s also a popular location for elopements.

The building’s observation deck offers sweeping views of the city, making for a dramatic and romantic backdrop.

The Empire State Building offers several different wedding packages, including options for small elopements. Prices start at $1,500.

The New York Botanical Garden is a lush and expansive garden located in the Bronx.

With over 50 acres of flowers, plants, and trees, it’s a beautiful and serene location for an elopement.

There are several locations within the garden that are perfect for weddings, including the Stone Mill, the Azalea Garden, and the Native Plant Garden.

The cost of getting married at the New York Botanical Garden starts at $3,500.

The Top of the Rock is an observation deck located at the top of Rockefeller Center.

With 360-degree views of the city, it’s a stunning location for an elopement in. The Top of the Rock offers several different wedding packages, including options for small elopements.

Prices start at $2,500.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is another beautiful and serene location for an elopement in New York City.

With over 50 acres of gardens and greenery, it offers a range of picturesque spots for your ceremony.

Some of the best locations for elopements at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden include the Cherry Esplanade and the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.

The cost of getting married at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden starts at $3,000.

More expensive New York City elopement locations

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a world-renowned museum located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Its grand halls, stunning artwork, and architectural details make for a unique and memorable setting for an elopement.

The museum offers several different spaces for weddings, including the Great Hall Balcony and the Medieval Sculpture Hall.

The cost of getting married at the Metropolitan Museum of Art starts at $25,000.

The New York Public Library has many stunning and historic buildings for an elopement in New York City.

The flagship Stephen A. Schwarzman Building has grand architecture, beautiful reading rooms, and iconic lion statues that make for a truly memorable setting.

The library offers several different spaces for weddings and elopements, including the Rose Main Reading Room and the Celeste Bartos Forum.

The cost of getting married at the New York Public Library starts at $25,000.

What is the best month for eloping in New York City?

The time of year to elope in New York City can depend on a few different factors, such as your preferred weather, budget, and availability.

September and October

Many couples choose to elope in New York City during the fall months, particularly September and October.

During this time, the weather is usually mild and pleasant, with comfortable temperatures and lower humidity.

The fall foliage also adds a beautiful backdrop to your photos, with colorful leaves on the trees and crisp blue skies.

April and May

Another popular time for eloping in New York City is during the spring months, particularly April and May.

The weather is also mild and pleasant during this time, and the city is starting to come alive after the winter months.

The cherry blossoms in Central Park and other parks also make for a beautiful setting for your elopement.

Keep in mind that these are also some of the most popular times for tourism in New York City, which can make prices for venues and accommodations higher.

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider eloping during the winter months or early spring, when prices are usually lower and crowds are thinner.

Is NYC a good place to get married and elope?

Yes, New York City is a great place to get married and elope!

The city offers a wide variety of venues and locations for couples to choose from, whether you’re looking for something glamorous and upscale or simple and intimate.

New York City is also a popular destination for elopements because of its vibrant culture, beautiful landmarks, and romantic atmosphere.

Whether you’re strolling through Central Park, taking in the city skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge, or having a picnic in one of the city’s many parks, there are countless options for making your elopement day special and memorable.

Additionally, New York City is a diverse and inclusive city, welcoming couples from all backgrounds and orientations.

You can easily find vendors who specialize in LGBTQ+ weddings and elopements, as well as those who can help you incorporate cultural traditions and customs into your ceremony.

Overall, eloping in New York City is a great way to get married, offering a unique and unforgettable experience that you’ll cherish for years to come.

So why wait? Start planning our NYC elopement today!

Other Resources

For more tips on planning your elopement day, including the ceremony and reception, check our guide here on exactly how to elope.

Check this guide to read more about the costs associated with eloping.

And if you are looking for more inspiration on where to elope, see all our elopement location guides here, or why not consider…

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