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T he Wedding Witness (NYC)


Please read this Guide to better understand the importance of why you need a witness to sign your Marriage License and Marriage Certificate in New York City. The information within this Guide is very detailed including a Link to the New York City Clerk's Office website Project Cupid. On this page, there are suggestions on who can sign as a witness, along with other important information.

Getting married in New York City is a two–step process: The first step is obtaining a Marriage License and after 24 hours, you can complete the second step by having a ceremony. It is important to remember to have a witness at your ceremony as they will have to sign your marriage license, as this is a requirement by the New York State.

Click the link here for further information and please take a look at our suggestions below.

Witness Requirement

For a Legal Marriage there must be a Witness to the Ceremony who will then sign the Marriage License affirming that this Wedding did take place.
Some of the laws pertaining to this provision are that only one witness is required, and that person must be of age — eighteen or over.

Family Members

So, if you have several friends or family members present, the only real consideration is to whom you will give this special honor. A sweet custom is to invite one Member of each Family to sign, if this is possible. This can even constitute a first act of loving and tactful conciliatory Family relations for the newly married Couple!

Your Photographer Can Be a Help

Another consideration is with a Couple who are "going it alone," sometimes as an Elopement, where friends and Family don't even know yet, that you are taking this important step. Photographers are great for doing double duty, making beautiful photos of your wedding to take home, and also signing your license at no extra charge.

Back to The Need For A Witness

There have been on many occasions in which a couple, completely alone in the City, without even a photographer, needs to call upon a "Happenstance Witness." This can even be great fun, because New Yorkers and Visitors to New York are amazingly congenial and adventuresome, not to mention romantic!

Honor a Spontaneous Witness!

In any public place where a Wedding is being performed, a passersby will be delighted; they will stop respectfully and become onlookers and then, even participants when the Couple kiss and the Officiant announces to the world…"I present to you these newly minted Partners Forever!" There is always enthusiastic applause! Folks are always eager to sign as witnesses, when asked. If you are in a hotel or a restaurant, there is always a Concierge or a maître d’ to assist with the signing. 

Office of the City Clerk
Attention: Marriage Bureau
141 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013



Simply follow all of these instructions and make sure you make copies of everything, including online forms, all documents, and money orders. Also take notes of dates and times when you submitted everything and who you spoke with. Just an FYI, getting an online appointment with the City Clerk’s Office is not always easy, especially as the City Clerk’s Office does not always post new available dates as fast as one might need. This means that for couples searching for an open date within a desired time frame, finding one can be a tedious task! Such couples can sometimes end up checking their Project Cupid profiles and the calendars there relentlessly in search of an open date that could work for them. This, of course, can be quite stressful, especially if the couple may already have booked a ceremony date!

This is why we recommend trying the following suggestion: The City Clerk's Office now releases new available slots every Thursday at 9am EST, so make sure to check your Project Cupid calendar at this time!)  Additionally, just so you know, to obtain a NY Marriage License online, you have to physically be present in New York. Even if you have a state issued ID, according to the City Clerk’s rules, you have to physically be residing in New York when applying, and your appointment for a license will consist of a video conference in which you will be asked about your location and the City Clerk will verify all the information you provided when registering at Project Cupid. The procedure typically takes about 10-20 minutes. Once, however, you pass the interview with a representative from the Clerk’s Office, your digital marriage license will be available for downloading right from your Project Cupid’s profile.

Be aware, however, of the expiration date on your NY state marriage license and keep in mind, you will have only sixty days to use it before it expires, you will have to apply for a new one.  So, once you have your license, it’s time to book your wedding services! To receive a marriage certificate, the City Clerk’s Office requires that you have a legal ceremony conducted by a registered officiant in the State that your license was issued in. Additionally, at this ceremony you, a witness, and the registered officiant will need to sign your license, and then that form will be forwarded to the City Clerk's Office so you and your new spouse can be registered as a legally married couple.

And, that’s it! It’s all that simple. And, if you have any additional questions that you would like to ask us regarding how to get your marriage certificate, then please feel free to reach out! We’re always happy to help! Hope that was clear and helpful! Let us know if you have any questions. Looking forward to working with you soon!

Marriage Quick Guide (NYC)
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Central Park Conservatory Garden
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Choosing The Right Wedding Ring
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Choosing The Right Bouquet
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