“Walking down the aisle”
For many years this term meant one thing to me: carrying my trolley to seat 19A of flight XY1234 and feeling the thrill of the plane take off to my next travel destination.
Until last year I didn’t understand what was so special about having a wedding ring when you can wear a ring from a souvenir shop in Tanzania and another one made of seashells from the Philippines. And then one day it hit me – I was engaged and had no idea what to do with this status, which wasn’t a flight status, but instead a mix of gold and deep love. How was I to complete this new kind of journey?
Today I will reveal how to tie the knot when you have a travel bug – this is how to elope in New York City.
1) Just decide
A wedding is a special moment – your moment. In my opinion the most important thing is to have an authentic experience. We knew we wanted to celebrate in a small, intimate circle, but we also loved the buzz of a big city and even more: traveling. So, eight weeks in advance we decided to get married during our trip to New York City, where dreams are made. We told our families and some friends and were lucky that most of them could arrange a few days in NYC.
2) Get some help
There is not too much to organize in advance of an elopement, but you will be happy when you have someone experienced supporting you. From hearsay, we knew that all paperwork in the US is a pain. However, getting married in NYC is super easy. Erol from the travel and wedding company Echt New York is a real expert on foreigners getting married in the city that never sleeps. He knows great photographers, make-up artists, wedding officiants and locations – and he’ll help you with the paperwork.
3) Plan your trip
Getting a good-value flight to NYC is not hard, but finding a hotel with a good price is almost impossible. As we settled on an unconventional wedding, we wanted to stay close to the alternative neighborhood of Bushwick. We decided on an AirBnB apartment with a nice roof top, so we would have enough space to invite our family and friends for a couple of drinks after the ceremony.
4) NYC makes every location dream come true
Yes, the US is still the land of the free – and in New York you can freely choose where to get married. At a dizzy height of 260m on the Rockefeller Center? Amongst the craziness of Times Square? In a lush green surrounding on the High Line? Almost every public place in NYC is possible – in some cases there is a surcharge and permit required. We decided on a romantic place: the antique-styled Ladies Pavilion in the middle of Central Park close to the lake.
5) Warm up the day before
Before it got serious, we wanted to spend a night out with our friends and celebrate our last day as an unmarried couple. We went to East Village and had a few bottles of wine, enormous pizza and US-Italian-style pasta at Lil Frankies. It was a great occasion for our friends to get to know each other and have a chat.
6) Mirror, mirror on the wall
Dear travelette, it’s your wedding day! Even if you are in the most beautiful city of the world you also wanna be pretty. So, treat yourself to some beauty treatments. A manicure you can get almost anywhere around town a few days before your big day. But on your wedding day get yourself a make-up artist who will take care of your hair and make-up – you will feel like a queen. I can really recommend Jessica for any magic you wish for.
7) Seal the deal with a kiss
Best case, this moment will happen once in a lifetime, so, enjoy every second of it! Do it with all your heart and try to absorb these feelings. Our wedding officiant was heartwarming and took away the last bit of nervousness. As my sister-in-law started singing I was absolutely mesmerized by looking in the eyes of my husband and hearing our favorite song „You’ve got the love“.
8) Find the best spots to take your wedding photos
One of my highlights was the photo tour we did after the ceremony. For two hours we cruised as newlyweds around NYC. We felt more like we were on a sightseeing tour and not in a flurry of a photographer’s flashlights – thanks to Fotovolida. I can warmly recommend Central Park as a photo spot where you have great views of the skyline. Also, go to Gansevoort Market and explore the streets of Chelsea; you’ll find beautiful industrial walls as well as the typical cobblestone streets of old New York City. And last but not least, you shouldn’t miss Brooklyn with its amazing views from DUMBO.
9) Celebrate your love
In the evening we went to a special spot for dinner with our wedding party. We chose a place that we wouldn’t find in our hometown and decided on an Uruguayan restaurant as we really love great wine and delicious steaks. Nowadays Tabaré has a separate room if you want a more intimate atmosphere, but as you know by now, we like the buzz.
10) Read the small print
I saved some of the legal things you need to know for the end. Before you get married you must obtain a Marriage License (35$) at the Marriage Bureau. You will need your passport and to fill out a form on site and you are done. The license will be valid after 24 hours up to 60 days. If you get married in the marriage bureau you will need one witness, if you do it on a public spot you’ll need two. Same-sex marriage is also no problem in NYC. Eventually, you will need a document for foreign use in your home country – it’s called Apostille (35$). Read here how to apply one for or ask your wedding planner to assist you.
And don’t forget: It’s not allowed to drink alcohol in public in NYC. So, save your toasts until you are in a bar or restaurant.
Have you ever thought about eloping to New York City? Or have you done it? We’d love to hear your stories!
This is a guest post by Michaela Blum.
Michaela is a travel maniac and started packing her backpack when she was 15 years old. Since then she is taking adventures with her monkey named “Guru”. He is a lucky guy – as he never has to buy a plane ticket. He doesn’t like to be called a soft toy, because he has a soul. When Michaela is not traveling, you can find her in the mountains close to Munich, which she calls home. If you want to follow her and her monkey around the globe, please check out their travel blog shetravelswithamonkey or Instagram @shetravelswithamonkey.