These are the steps on getting a license for a marriage in New York. First, the couple needs to be together to apply for a license to marry. Second, they have to be at the city or town where the wedding will take place. They will have to go to the nearest town or city clerk. Finally, they have to fill out an application form and sign said form in the presence of the clerk. Just a reminder though, the rules are very strict. Only the couples about to be married can fill out the form. This means that the couple can’t use representatives or proxies to sign for them. A special power of attorney or notarized marriage license is not a sufficient substitute for one of the couple. Don’t worry though; the state of New York doesn’t require a blood test or premarital examination so if you can fill out the form you’ll be getting your license soon.
Once the license is issued to the couple, they need to wait 24 hours before they can get married. This isn’t a big issue as most couples have their wedding days scheduled months after getting their licenses. However if the couple wants to be married immediately, the can make a request from the supreme court or county court to waive the 24 hour waiting period. If one of the couple or both are 16 years old and below, the request to waive the 24 hour period can be obtained from the family court instead. The license to wed is valid up to three months or 60 days. For same sex weddings, the rules are the same.
Applying for a marriage license will cost the couple $40 if they live outside of New York City but within the state of New York. The fee already includes the cost of the certificate of marriage registration. Once it is filed, the registration is sent within 15 calendar days to the couple. For couples who want to be wed in New York City, they will have to approach the nearest city clerk for the updated fees in getting a license to wed.
Marriage documents also have other purposes. To many, they are great reference material in recreating their genealogical family tree. Children may also use the documents to prove their legitimacy especially when claiming inheritance. For others, the papers are additional documents that can be submitted when applying for a divorce. Widows and widowers may also need the marriage certificate if they are planning to claim insurance.
To obtain a copy of such papers will cost you about $10. To get a copy of a wedding after 1996, you have to visit the New York City clerk. For weddings during 1930 to 1955, you may have more luck in the Manhattan office. However, obtaining records for genealogical purposes can be costly depending on the search period. The fee starts at $22 for a one to three year period search up to $202 for an 81 to 90 year period search. You can go to the Vital Records department to make a request to obtain the wedding record you need. Just a quick tip, include a self-addressed stamped envelope along with your application form and payment. That way, you’ll get your results via mail and you won’t have to go back to the vital records department just to get your certificates.
Obtaining information on licenses and records can be costly. Good thing there are websites that offer free marriage records. They provide such information via their website or through email and will only bill or charge you if you get a certified copy.