The Best Day of My Life!
This Sunday, Lee and I celebrated three years of marriage, along with Easter Sunday. I still cannot believe that it’s been three years since we decided to elope in New York City. It was so magical and amazing and I honestly would not change anything about the whole day.
I’ve previously talked about my top tips for how to elope in New York City, but I’ve never actually gone into full detail about how you actually do it. Whenever I mention that we actually eloped rather than going down the traditional wedding route, I always get a ton of questions from brides to be. And whether or not you actually go down that route, I think people are interested in the process, the behind the scenes of it all. I’ve gone into some details and personal thoughts in a recent YouTube video that went live yesterday. However, for those who want a little more detail (a step by step guide) here is our story of how we did it and what you’ll need to do if you want to elope in New York City…
BEFORE YOU TRAVEL.
The first thing you’ve got to establish before you even think about travel is this. CAN you actually get married in New York City? For me, I see no point in travelling to a country if you’ve got to do it all again when you get back to the UK. I cannot speak for all countries, but for the UK, yes. If you get married in New York, your marriage is recognised by the UK government.
Next is how you want to organise it. You could organise it all yourself. But for peace of mind, I cannot recommend using a service to help arrange it all for you. Though you can get married ANYWHERE in NYC, there are certain venues that need forms filling out and licences requested for. For us, we used Virgin Weddings. The team were great and it meant we got everything sorted without losing our minds too much. After you’ve sorted that, now is time for the rest of what I call the holiday admin. Booking flights, hotels, everything else that you might need to actually travel to the USA (do not forget your ESTA!)
Once you’ve completed those things, now is the time for the wedding admin. Working out your outfits, your look, suits, hair, makeup, etc. Wedding looks were fine, Lee wore a navy suit and I picked up my wedding dress from La Redoute. Getting them from the UK to NYC was incredibly anxiety-inducing. Most recommend that you get it boxed and book that onboard but it seemed like a faff. My wedding dress isn’t a traditional one so I felt it was an extra cost not needed. Instead, I decided to put my wedding outfit along with Lee’s in a cabin suitcase (fitted really well) and ensured it didn’t leave my side until we got to the hotel. And security was wondering why I was giving them dirty looks as it went through the x-ray machine. It was my way of ensuring everything vital for the day didn’t get lost.
For hair and makeup, I book for Glamsquad to come to my hotel to do it. I’m not the best when it comes to hair and makeup (back then I wasn’t!). So having people come and pamper me on the day was so luxurious. Flowers wise, I ran into a random florist the day before and asked them very nicely to make up a wedding bouquet. My only requests were that I wanted English flowers, along with hints of blue for tradition. You cannot be short of florist in New York City, and it was a great adventure to go on.
BEFORE THE WEDDING DAY.
In order to elope in New York City, you need to do the following. Both of you need to show up at the City Clerk Office, bring identification (passport or birth certificates). Get your wedding licence 24 hours before you intend to get married. You cannot book an appointment and they are very strict with time. So get there early enough and get it sorted ASAP. You can apply online before you travel so the process is much quicker. However, the application only lasts 21 days. So if you want to do it this way, it’s worth doing a week before you travel.
Once you get there and the clerk checks it all over, you give them the fee ($35) you’re ready to get married. As I said, you need to wait 24 hours, but once you’ve let the timeframe go you’re pretty much ready to I-do. From what I understand, you can get married anywhere, as long as you have your officiant and a witness (you only need one!) Whilst on our trip we witnessed a couple getting married at the top of the empire state building- it was pretty special to watch.
AFTER THE WEDDING DAY.
After the wedding day, you need to get your certificate. Again this is a queuing at City Hall situation (it’s a gorgeous building to be in). Once you get to the desk, hand in your licence signed by your officiant and they will give you your certificate. And that’s all you need over in the UK to confirm your marriage. At this point, I would suggest getting a couple of copies. I found out the hard way that not many businesses accept a copy of your certificate to change your name or status. You need to send in the real thing. And if your only copy gets lost in the post, it’s a long way to go back to get another copy. The UK government cannot give you one as you did not marry in the UK. Please learn from my error.
Once you’ve got your certificate, you’re pretty much sorted! The holiday is yours to enjoy. If you do decide to get eloped I hope the day is as lovely for you as it was for me. It such a special memory for me. If you’re looking for something that’s different to a traditional wedding, this could be the thing for you…
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