My fees include filing the license with the issuing clerk.
Registered with the Clerk of the City of New York as a Marriage Officant.
Registered with the State of Ohio as a Marriage Officiant.
Registered with the State of Arkansas as a Marriage Officiant.
I do not officiate Zoom or any other video conferencing format. Ceremonies are officiated in person only.
Information on Obtaining A Marriage License in New York State
The world has changed during the pandemic. The way we are officiating weddings is no different.
A New York State marriage license is required to be married in our state. Under New York State Domestic Relations Law, one of my duties as a marriage officiant is to file your license with the clerk’s office that you obtained it from.
Most clerks’ offices are still issuing the traditional marriage license. This means they will physically hand you a paper license with their raised seal. The front of the certificate has your information, while the back has helpful information for you. The raised seal shows it is officially issued by their office.
Upon completion of the ceremony, your witness and I sign the document. I then return it to the clerk by the United States Postal Service using Certified Mail with Return Receipt. This shows proof that your license was sent, provides tracking information, and a signature of who received it. Your license is an important document and this process acts as a safeguard.
Understandably, some clerks are offering a “virtual” marriage license. Due to the nature of the pandemic, there was no statewide procedure put in place. The few clerks that are using the virtual certificate, each has their own process. At this time, I will no longer accept any virtual license, Project Cupid, or marriage licenses issued from New York City or Syracuse. Not until there is a universal process agreed upon by New York State.
The reason for this is because there is no way to prove delivery or receipt of the document. Programs like Project Cupid do not provide a way for the officiant to electronically deliver the license. By emailing the document to the clerk as an attachment does not show proof of delivery, and the clerks have often not responded to me as to whether they have received it.
Sending the document by Certified Mail protects both you as the couple and me, as I am subject to severe penalties if the document is not filed correctly.
Information on getting married in New York State
A marriage license may be obtained at any city or town clerk’s office within New York State. It must be a New York State issued marriage license, but does not need to be issued from the town you are getting married in. Despite what anyone may tell you, marriage licenses from another state or country cannot be accepted for marriages officiated in New York State.
Minimum age is 18.
Couple must appear together in person before the issuing clerk with government issued identification.
Fee imposed by New York State is $40.
If there are any previous marriages, proof of divorce, annulment, or death of spouse must be provided.
No blood test is required.
Depending on the clerk, they may ask for a birth certificate. Call ahead to the clerk you plan on using to ask if they require a birth certificate. Photocopies or scans of birth certificates are not acceptable. Certificates with raised seal must be used. (The City of Niagara Falls Clerk often does not ask for birth certificates. If you cannot find or obtain one, you may try them. However, this is no guarantee that they will not ask.)
License is valid for sixty (60) days, but a minimum of twenty-four (24) hours must be waited prior to the ceremony.
New York State only requires one (1) witness. Two (2) spaces are provided as it is tradition to have the best man and maid/matron of honor sign. However, anyone present at the ceremony may be a witness.
Marriage license must be brought to the ceremony. (The clerk will also provide an envelope. Please bring the envelope, unsealed, to the ceremony. Also, please do not affix postage on the envelope.) After the ceremony, the officiant and witnesses sign. If the license is not brought to the ceremony, I will plan to sign it for you at a later date. There is a fee of $50.00 to meet with you after the ceremony to sign the license. New York State Domestic Relations Law requires the date that your license is signed by the officiant and witnesses is the date of your marriage, not then the date of the ceremony. Please do not ask to have the license backdated.
Officiant is responsible for returning the license to the issuing clerk. I must take the application after the ceremony and return it to the issuing clerk. New York State will issue your official certificate of marriage. Upon request, I will email a scanned copy of the application. Copies of the application may not be acceptable proof of marriage. I recommend waiting for the official certificate of marriage from the state for anything you may need official proof for. Please allow fifteen (15) business days from the day the license is submitted to the clerk’s office for your certificate of marriage. I return the license by United States Postal Service by Certified Mail with return receipt. The allows for tracking and proof that it arrived, and who received it.
The clerk will fill out the top half of the certificate, will affix with their official seal, and will ask you to sign it. After the ceremony, I will fill out the bottom half, which includes the date, time, and location of the ceremony. I also will have the witness(s) sign. This portion is to be completed strictly by the officiant. Please do not pre-fill it out or allow the reception hall staff to complete it. The marriage license is an official document, and ultimately, I am responsible for it. Also, please do not affix any postage to the envelope.
Please relinquish the certificate to me at the time of the rehearsal, not to the reception hall staff. If there is no rehearsal, please provide it directly to me prior to the ceremony. The reception hall staff should not be requesting copies of your marriage license. It contains personal information which is in no way required for your reception.
Please verify all the information on your license is correct prior to leaving the clerk’s office. Your certificate of marriage may not be processed, or may cause a delay, if your information is incorrect. If you already have your license, please review it thoroughly. This includes their official seal. If the clerk forgets the seal, which sometimes happens, this may also delay your marriage certificate.
The official website for further information is https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/4210/