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Photographer’s Tips for the Perfect City Hall Elopement in NYC

Are you planning to elope in New York City? Well, you made the right decision! Fall in love in the “city that never sleeps,” a city filled with bright lights, skyscrapers, and at the same time full of history. One popular option for elopement here is heading straight to New York City Hall. It is because getting formally hitched here is a breeze and inexpensive too. Sounds good? Now read along for some tips on how to have the perfect NYC City Hall elopement

The happy bride is going out of a New York taxi cab, escorted by her groom. Image by Jenny Fu Studio

Secure your Marriage License ahead of time

You’ll be needing at least 24 hours (but no more than 60 days) to secure a marriage license before you can go to New York City Hall for your wedding. You can apply for a Marriage License in person or online. In-person applications are by appointment only, and couples must arrive on time. You may not be admitted if you arrive late. So it’s better to plan your itinerary ahead of time if you’re traveling from outside of New York. The fee is $35 by credit card or money order payable to the City Clerk.

The bride and the groom are happily staring at each other in front of the NYC Office of the City Clerk. Image by Jenny Fu Studio

Arrive early and bring a friend

On your big day, it’s recommended to arrive early because NYC City Hall is such a popular venue. Early hours work best so you can take advantage of the rising sun’s light doing magic to your photos. At the same time, fewer people are around. It’s also best to bring a friend so they can fall in line for you while you and your photographer do some photoshoots while waiting. And your friend can also carry stuff for you during the ceremony.

Half body shot of the bride wearing red shoes, crossing the pedestrian lane, while holding her red flower bouquet. Image by Jenny Fu Studio

Avoid busy days

It’s usually busy on Mondays and Fridays. But mostly, the busiest day is Friday because most couples tend to head straight to their honeymoons come weekend. You wouldn’t know how long you will have to wait during this day, but it could be up to two hours! So it’s always great to plan ahead.

The bride and the groom are happily sitting on a mint green couch inside the New York City Hall. Image by Jenny Fu Studio

Plan for at least two hours for the photoshoot

The actual ceremony lasts for just a minute. It’s that quick! But the photo session could last up to two hours or more, depending on the waiting time and your preferences. Some photographers start to shoot through the waiting time, on the actual ceremony, upon exit, then on the outdoor wedding area. You can always book for additional hours if you want to have more portraits at different locations in NYC, which are meaningful to you as a couple.

The bride and the groom are happily sitting on a bench under the cherry blossom tree in New York City. Image by Jenny Fu Studio

Hire an experienced City Hall Elopement Photographer

It’s always a relief when someone is there to guide you through the whole elopement process in NYC, especially if you are not a local. So if you hire an experienced City Hall Elopement Photographer, not only will you have beautiful photos capturing the most precious moments of your Big day, but you will also have someone to suggest things to do to maximize your time and best places for portraits. As a bonus, your photographer can be your witness too!

The groom takes the bride by the hand as they climb up the stairs of the New York City Hall Building entrance.