Monday, 11 January 2016

how to get married at new york city hall

The highlight of last year for me was getting married at City Hall in New York in August. We couldn't have wished for a more perfect day. I am in the process of writing an e-book on getting married at the city hall which has lots of useful information that we found invaluable on the day.

Our day started at 6am on Thursday 27th August. I had arranged in advance for a hair and make up artist to come to the hotel and make me look wonderful. I had an idea of what I wanted and had sent inspiration photos before hand. I had seen lots of great recommendations on Tripadvisor for SB Beauty and I made a fantastic choice. A great girl named Remi made me look just how I had imagined. She did an amazing job, made me feel totally at ease and was lovely. 

We made our way to the City Hall by subway. We had trialed the journey out the day before when we went to get our marriage licence, which you have to get 24 hours before. The whole process is very easy and cheap to do. The day before, we made sure we were at the City Hall, known, now as the Marriage Bureau, when it opened at 8.30am. There were a few people in line before us, some couples getting married, others getting their licence like us. We didn't have to wait in line long, around 15 minutes. We paid $35 for the licence, signed forms and went exploring for the rest of the day. Simple and pain free!

We had previously arranged for our wedding photographer to meet us at City Hall at 10am. He stepped in to be our witness as you need at least one to be married here. When we arrived there was no queue and the place was practically empty. We paid $25 and basically walked straight into the room where we were to be married.

last minute details

waiting to get married

I was so happy with my hair. Simple but elegant.

The ceremony was lovely, short and sweet, a chance to say how we felt about each other.

I had given much thought to my bouquet and I was unsure for a long time whether to get one when I arrived or to get in touch with a florist and have one made up. I finally decided that looking for a bouquet when we got there would be time consuming. I wanted to spend as much time as possible sightseeing!

I read some great reviews for Gardenia Organic, which was named 'Best Florist' by New York magazine, a few months after opening its doors. I had lots of communication with the lovely Hannah and this beautiful bouquet was the final product. I was so happy that I cried when I saw it. It was just perfect. Hannah sent it to our hotel the day before with two beautiful boutonnieres. The bouquet still looked gorgeous three days later.

We couldn't resist asking this New York police officer for a photo. He kindly obliged. 

The photographer we hired took us to some amazing locations. Again, we turned to Tripadvisor and read good reviews for Jasmine Studios which made our mind up for us. We arranged for three hours which included the ceremony and the photography locations. Three hours was enough time to get married and shoot around the city by taxi to Brooklyn Bridge Park, Grand Central Station and Times Square. The photographer made us feel totally at ease and relaxed throughout the whole shoot.

I have always had a love for carousels. I still ride on them, when I get a chance, so imagine my delight when there was one in Brooklyn Bridge Park! Created in 1922, it is housed in a beautiful glass pavilion. A carousel ride on my wedding day..... the stuff of dreams.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

a dream come true

this photo captures just how breathtaking it all was

Grand Central Station

this is my favourite photo of all

It was while we were having photographs taken in Times Square that people came up to us and asked if we were actors. There are so many different and wonderful things happening there that it could have been possible! Not many people were walking around in a wedding dress!

Times Square

Times Square

Times Square

our last photo in Times Square

After our whistle-stop tour of New York, with our photographer, it was time to celebrate. The only pre-planned part of the day (apart from the photographer, of course) was the wonderful Michelin 3 star French restaurant, Jean Georges, on the corner of Central Park. It has a lovely light and airy room, the perfect setting for the most amazing meal we have ever eaten. Everything was perfect, including the service, and I have simply got to go there again.

Here is a snapshot I took on my IPhone of our desserts.  The lovely dessert in the background was a lovely surprise given to us by the maitre d'.

After our wonderful lunch, we walked into Central Park where we took some of our own photos. It was even better than I had imagined it to be.

As you can see, I changed into my Converse to walk around the park!

After lunch, the fairy-tale continued with boating on the lake in Central Park. 
Great fun was had getting into the boat with my dress on! It definitely got people looking. It was the best afternoon of my life: beautiful weather, people shouting congratulations, I wish I could do it all over again.

happiness is........rowing a boat in Central Park

Bethseda Fountain

so many lovely people offered to take our photo 

Bethseda Terrace

Bethseda Terrace

We spent a good few hours in Central Park, strolling, rowing and talking to lots of people who kept stopping to congratulate us and talk about our day.

As it started to go dark, we got a taxi to the Rockefeller Center for a few Manhattan cocktails in the SixtyFive Bar and Cocktail Lounge, 65 floors above the amazing city.

Nothing prepares you for just how amazing the view is when you first see it. I will never forget it. I will admit to shedding a few tears, good ones of course! We sat there until around 11pm and savoured the view for hours. 

After drinks we were feeling a little bit peckish, so we ended up finishing our day with huge slices of pizza, which must have looked quite funny, sitting in our wedding attire eating pizza at midnight! We loved it.

I wouldn't change one moment of our day. Hundreds of New Yorkers and tourists said congratulations to us throughout our day and they sure helped to make it special. 

Practically perfect in every way!

If you are thinking about getting married abroad, this is definitely the place to do it.


  1. I visited New York nearly one year ago before your wedding. I wish I could be able to come across you on your wedding day and say "congrats"

    1. Isn't it just the most wonderful place? Did you have a favourite bit? Thank you so much for the congratulations lovely xx

  2. These pictures are stunning Rachel! Congratulations.

    1. Awwww, thank you so very much Jill. I'm pleased you like them :-)

  3. What an amazing day! It sounds like everything was just perfect for you. It seems rather too late to say it but Congratulations!

    1. Awww thank you so very much Louise. It was just right :-)