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Getting Married in New York

The Empire State -- more formally known as New York -- can be a great place to tie the knot. Upstate areas of New York are famous for their great natural beauty and scenic vistas while no city on earth can come close to matching The Big Apple when it comes to 24/7 night life, living and cosmopolitan experiences. If thinking about getting married in New York is on the minds of more than a few couples who plan on vacationing there, it can hardly come as a shock.

One thing to understand is that state laws and regulations pertaining to most New York marriage licenses or New York marriage applications but county by county rules and regulations might vary just slightly, as will fees and other associated charges for obtaining New York marriage licenses.

It's Great to Get Married in the Empire State


There is no residency requirement in New York, so those who are planning on making the Big Apple the site for a destination wedding need have no worries about that. For the most part, New York State marriage licenses and the laws pertaining to them are pretty clear and easy to understand. The New York State website pertaining to marriage is might be a good resource to use from time to time while in the planning stage, which most marriage experts say should begin at least three weeks out from when the marriage license will be needed.

Photo identification that must be presented when applying for a marriage license in the state of New York can include a driver's license, passport employee identification card as long as it has a photograph or one of several different official immigration forms or documents. Also, it's always a good idea to bring along a certified copy of the birth certificates, as more than a few counties requiring that they be presented in order to get married in New York.

Additionally, there is a 24-hour waiting period from the time the license was issued until the time the marriage ceremony may be performed. This isn't out of line with waiting. Times across the country and actually is less than what other states might require. Those who have been previously married will need to present certified divorce decrees or certified copies of death certificates -- if the marriage ended in that unfortunate way -- in order to obtain New York marriage licenses.

Fees for marriage licenses in New York generally run between $40 and $50, though each municipality or county is allowed to set its own rates. Therefore, expect to pay several dollars more in many counties in the state. Unusually, there are some counties are municipalities that do not accept cash, personal checks or credit cards, instead requiring that a certified check or money order be presented. Check with the particular county in which the marriage license is going to be applied for in order to determine what form of payment will be needed.

There are no blood tests or other public health examinations required for getting married in New York, which is in keeping with most of the rest of the United States except for a couple of notable exceptions. Same-sex marriages are not allowed to be performed in the State; however New York will recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Persons younger than 18 years of age who desire to get married in New York will need to meet a couple of benchmarks or other requirements, including a completed parental consent form filled out by the parents of both parties who are 16 or 17 years of age. New York also allows those 14 and 15 years of age to marry, as long as written consent of both parents has been obtained along with permission from a justice of the local Supreme Court or a judge from the Family Court.

No one under the age of 14 may marry in the state of New York. For those persons who are younger than 18 and who desire to get married that have only one parent or have been under the official custody of one parent, a copy of the custody decree and other assorted paperwork will be required in order to allow the marriage license to be issued.

Persons allowed to perform marriages in the state of New York include authorized and officially ordained members of the clergy or certain public officials in this state. These can include mayors, city clerks, deputy city clerks, designated marriage officers and judges, among others. Any such persons performing marriages in New York City must be registered with the city.

In addition to all the above, getting married in New York will mean coming up with a witness to the ceremony, and New York City -- in particular -- requires such a witness to be at least 18 years of age. Many municipalities and locales will supply a witness if needed and for a nominal fee. New York marriage licenses are valid for 60 days from date of issue and can be used in any county of the state.