Ceremonies

There is no particular form or ceremony required to be married in New York State, except that the parties must state, in the presence of an authorized member of the clergy or public official and at least one other witness, that they take each other as their spouse.

Witnesses
In selecting a witness, choose at least one person who you feel would be competent to testify in a court proceeding as to what he or she witnessed.

Who Can Perform a Ceremony?
To be valid, a marriage ceremony must be performed by any of the individuals specified in Section 11 of the New York State Domestic Relations Law. These include:
  • The mayor of a city or village
  • The city clerk or one of the deputy city clerks of a city of more than one million inhabitants
  • A marriage officer appointed by the town or village board or the city common count
  • A justice or judge of the following courts:
    • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
    • The U.S. District Courts for the Northern,Southern, Eastern, or Western Districts of New York,
    • The New York State Court of Appeals
    • The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court
    • The New York State Supreme Court
    • The Court of Claims, the Family Court
    • A Surrogates' Court
    • The Civil and Criminal Courts of New York City (including Housing Judges of the Civil Court)
    • Other courts of record
  • A village, town, or county justice
  • A member of the clergy or minister who has been officially ordained and granted authority to perform marriage ceremonies from a governing church body in accordance with the rules and regulations of the church body
  • A member of the clergy or minister who is not authorized by a governing church body, but who has been chosen by a spiritual group to preside over their spiritual affairs
  • Other officiants as specified by Section 11 of the Domestic Relations Law
Ship Captains
Ship captains are not authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in New York State.