Getting Married at NYC City Hall: Manhattan or Brooklyn?
Have you decided on getting married at NYC City Hall, but aren’t sure whether to have your wedding at the Manhattan or Brooklyn City Clerk’s Office? They’re only 2.5 miles apart, but there’s significant differences, and pros and cons to both. Here, a quick guide to the differences in getting married at NYC City Hall in Manhattan or Brooklyn.
A Visual Comparison of Manhattan City Hall vs. Brooklyn City Hall:
Manhattan City Hall Wedding
141 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013
Open Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 3:45pm
Pros to Manhattan City Clerk’s Office:
- It’s more picturesque and comfortable. The Manhattan branch has green couches, gold accents and chandeliers, while the Brooklyn branch has hard plastic chairs and glass at their counters where you do paperwork. Manhattan has two chapels in pastel colors, compared to Brooklyn’s blue-and-yellow glass mosaic background.
- You can get a last-minute bouquet if you need it. George, the guy who operates the flower stand right outside the entrance, is there pretty much everyday, rain or shine, for a last-minute bouquet or boutonniere.
- You can do a staged wedding exit, if you wish. When you exit, you’ll likely notice confetti or rose petals on the ground from previous wedding well-wishers. It’s not an uncommon thing to find people staging a festive wedding exit at the Manhattan branch.
Right inside the revolving doors at 141 Worth Street, you’ll find the doors to the Marriage Bureau on the right-hand side. Doors open at 8:30am, and if you arrive earlier, there will be a queue for couples to line up at.
Upon entering the Marriage Bureau, you’ll pass through a metal detector (super romantic, I know) and show your marriage license and government-issued photo IDs to the attendant, who will give you a ticket with a number. Then, find a seat on the green couches and pay attention to what number they’re calling out over the loudspeaker and flashing on the digital board.
When they call your number for the first time, you and your witness will go to designated podium they assign you to do some paperwork. Afterward, you’ll go back to the couches until they call your number again. This time your whole wedding party will go to Station 5, where you’ll present the paperwork you just signed, and then go to the back atrium where you’ll wait for your names to be called.
There are two “chapels” — the East Chapel and West Chapel — where couples get married. These are nearly identical in size and decor, except one has a blue painting and the other has rainbow artwork. Both rooms can fit around 20 people, and have a long bench for you and your guests to put down coats and bags.
When your names are called, you’ll enter either the East or West Chapel (unfortunately you don’t get to choose). There’s a podium at the front where you can place the rings and flowers. The officiant will then begin, the ceremony will last roughly a minute, and that’s it — you’re married!
Afterward, you’re welcome to take portraits at the City Hall backdrop (whether it’s cheesy-good or cheesy-bad is your call), or do a staged exit outside with confetti if you wish. There’s also a designated “wedding garden” across the street from the entrance that’s also primed for photos.
Brooklyn City Hall Wedding
Brooklyn Municipal Building
210 Joralemon Street, Room 205
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Monday through Friday, 8:30am – 4pm
Pros to Brooklyn City Clerk’s Office:
- The wait is frequently shorter. If having the shortest possible queue is important, consider getting married at Brooklyn City Hall.
- Brooklyn has slightly longer hours. Manhattan is open till 3:45pm, whereas Brooklyn closes at 4pm.
- Brooklyn’s ceremony room is larger than Manhattan’s. If you have an extensive guest list, you can fit more people at the Brooklyn location.
Doors to the Brooklyn Municipal building open at 8:30am, and if you arrive earlier, there will be a queue outside the building for you to line up. There is no flower stand for last-minute bouquets.
Upon entering, you’ll pass through a metal detector, then will take the stairs up one flight to the second floor, and follow the sign for the marriage bureau. Once inside, show your marriage license and government-issued photo IDs to the attendant, who will give you a ticket with a number. Then, find a seat and pay attention to what number they’re calling out over the loudspeaker and flashing on the digital board.
When they call your number for the first time, you and your witness will go to designated station and sign some paperwork. Afterward, your whole wedding party will go to the back room where you’ll wait for your names to be called.
There is only one room where couples get married, which has flags flanking the couple and a large multi-colored glass mosaic in the background. The room is larger than the Manhattan chapels, and can fit around 30 people. There’s a podium at the front where you can place the rings and flowers. The officiant will then begin, the ceremony will last roughly a minute, and that’s it — you’re married!
Are children allowed to attend the ceremony?
Yes, children are allowed to attend!
Does if matter where we get our marriage license? ie. If we get our marriage license in Brooklyn, can we get legally married in Manhattan.
A Marriage License issued in New York can be used anywhere within New York State. In your case, if you get your license in Brooklyn, you’re fine to get married in Manhattan.
Hi. Do you know how the marriage bureau in Kew Garden, Queens compares? We have the license so just the ceremony. Thanks.
Congrats on your upcoming wedding! I haven’t personally photographed at the Queens Marriage Bureau, so unfortunately can’t comment.
Any sense of the average wait time for marriages at the manhattan city hall?
Typically Monday-Thursday will be around 60 minutes. On a Friday it’s around 60-90 minutes. On a Friday of a three-day weekend, it may be even busier.
[…] MANHATTAN VS. BROOKLYN CITY HALL […]
Hi which number should I call to get an appointment for marriage??
Hi, if you already have your marriage license from Project Cupid, you can book a time with me for a consultation regarding your online ceremony.
Hello I am so sorry to bother you but I was wondering if my fiance and I could get our marriage license from Manhattan or Brooklyn even though i already paid for the license in cupid website. There are no openings for someone to look at the application so we are stuck. I paid for the license in April and if you look in the calendar it is booked up for several months ahead of time. That’s crazy. Not counting that this is our second time paying for the license because the first time was when it had just started covid and everything shut down. Can someone please help me with a suggestion of what to do. I’ve gone through hell and back for the past 2 years with Cancer. I even ended up getting an ostamy because of the radiation; and this man has gone through it all with me. We really want to get married before something else happens to us. Here is my e-mail add (email@example.com) thank you so much and have a blessed day!
All NYC marriage bureaus are still closed to walk-ins, but they are conducting virtual appointments. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and explain your situation; they may be able to grant you a virtual appointment based on their availability. Good luck!
Do you know what happens with the marriage certificate (not the license) after the ceremony in either Manhattan or Brooklyn? Do we get it on the spot or will they mail it to us?
If you have a City Clerk’s ceremony, you will receive your marriage certificate immediately after the ceremony.
Overall, from entry to exit, how long does it take to get married at the City Clerk’s office in Brooklyn, particularly if you pick a morning wedding at 10 a.m.? Can you expect to be done by 10:30?
Since ceremonies are now by-appointment only due to Covid, you can expect to be in and out within 30-45 minutes.
Hi – do you know if masks are still required inside city hall as of early April 2022?
I am not sure whether masks are still required. As of late February, they were still mandatory, but policies may have changed. I would recommend calling or emailing the specific City Clerk you’re planning to visit to inquire.
“Because of Covid-19 restrictions, they currently only allow one witness and no other guest are permitted.” They said on website, but I have one child, do you know can she go?
I have heard that children are not permitted, as they are not old enough to act as your witness and there are no additional guests allowed.
Do you know if we need to have a witness or if someone at the city hall can be a witness? Thank you
You need to bring your own witness.
How many people are allowed to attend the ceremony? In addition to the bride, groom and the witnesses?
Only one witness is allowed.