NYC Elopement Photographer Kristy May
I’m so glad you are in need of a New York City elopement or micro wedding photographer because that is exactly what I do! For over 7 years now, my speciality is guiding couples from the Tri-State area, the United States and around the world as they marry in NYC.
I know the ins and outs of getting married at the NYC Marriage Bureaus, Central Park and a host of other locations perfect for small, micro or intimate weddings. And of course, I know all the best locations for portraits that show off the iconic and subtle scenes of New York!
Let me guide you to a memorable and fun wedding in NYC
This page will tell you everything you need to know about getting married (on a small scale) in NYC. Let’s dive in!
WHAT ARE MODREN ELOPEMENTS AND MICRO WEDDINGS?
Gone are the days when couples would run off all alone to get married in secret. (OK, some people still do that! Old school elopements are sooo romantic and fun!) You believe in quality over quantity and want a wedding experience focused on the people and places you love.
I define elopements and micro weddings with 2-20 people with ceremonies in places like NYC City Hall’s Marriage Bureau, Central Park, luxury hotel suites, chapels, private restaurant dining rooms, etc. The focus typically is on the ceremony and portraits. However, couples may also have getting ready, a meal, small reception or more photographed. It is your day!
You will be provided with a stress-free experience from the moment you inquire. I am here to answer any questions you have (set-up a video chat here) and am eager to solve any problems that arise before, during or after your wedding day. Your experience deeply matters to me!
- You will be guided through planning out portrait locations in NYC that reflect your desires/needs
- You will be provided with a timeline of your wedding day plans
- You will be assisted in posing to make you comfortable when being photographed or
- You can have an entirely unposed session if desired!
- You will look BEAUTIFUL, relaxed and happy in your portraits
- You can have your photos in color and black and white, even add retouching
- You won't get images with stylized filters or altered beyond basic processing
- You can make your own prints, or use my full-service printing and heirloom design album service
"We had the best elopement ever thanks to Kristy May! She was super professional, fantastic photos, and a joy to spend time with on such a spectacular day - sweet, easygoing, and thoughtful. She made the day a smooth and super enjoyable ride that we will never forget!"
-Camille and Henning, May 2019
See what more clients have been saying about their experiences here.
All collections include:
- Highlights slideshow
- Hi-res jpgs with print release
- One year online print ordering and gallery
- Wedding photography by Kristy (1-10 hours)
- Optional ceremony video and or audio recording
- Optional albums
- Kristy can serve as a witness or as an NYC officiant and preform a simple ceremony and sign your marriage license
Starting at $850, learn more here.
See my FAQ for specifics on processing and retouching.
GET THE GUIDE
All my best tips and resources for small weddings in a handy pdf.
WE'RE NOT GREAT AT HAVING OUR PHOTOS TAKEN
Fear not, you aren’t alone. It is my job to capture beautiful images in a flattering and authentic way. During portraits, I will guide you. For candids, just pretend I’m not there. I promise, I will catch you experiencing the emotions of the day and edit out any unflattering images.
If need be, I can retouch out any skin issues or apply additional work in Photoshop if you have a body concern. (I will not make these adjustments without being asked and there may be a fee depending on the work.) However, you should love your wedding photos!
See my FAQ for specifics on retouching.
"As a couple who really don't enjoy having our pictures taken, Kristy was excellent in making us feel at ease on the day. We're really delighted with the pictures of our elopement but we also loved spending a few hours wandering through New York with Kristy."
-Bethan and Antony, December 2019
TIP: Get professional hair and make-up because it will last longer, looks better in photos, and because it will make you feel awesome! Find a hair and make-up artist here.
HOW TO GET MARRIED IN NYC
(Temporarily closed, but online licensing has begun!)
For couples wishing to marry anywhere in New York State, you must get a marriage license in New York. (It isn’t applicable in another state.) The Marriage Bureaus in Manhattan and Brooklyn (as well as any other entities around the state) issue licenses. A marriage license is $35 and it is valid for 60 days. (Licenses don't expire during the pandemic.)
Learn more about getting a license or married at City Hall in NYC.
CITY HALL CEREMONY
(Temporarily closed, but online licensing has begun!)
The Marriage Bureaus of NYC offer a relatively quick and easy way to tie the knot in New York City for $25. Wait times can vary from 30 minutes to over 2 hours on popular days. The ceremony itself is roughly 90 seconds!
Located at 131 Worth Street, the Manhattan location, with its art deco vibe, is by far the most popular. The Brooklyn location can save you time, but it only has one ceremony room and the background is a '60s/'70s style stained glass piece.
Read more about how to get married at NYC City Hall Marriage Bureaus here.
CENTRAL PARK CEREMONY
Central Park offers many unique locations for elopements or micro weddings.
There is the Ladies Pavilion, Bethesda Terrace, Bow Bridge, Wagner Cove, Dene Summer House, Cop Cot, The Conservancy Gardens and more. I’ve complied a list of my favorite locations here.
You do not need a permit to marry with fewer than 20 people in the park. You can literally marry anywhere! Get a permit for popular locations to avoid being asked to leave. Note: Clients have told me they aren't accepting permits for 2021 at the moment. Check back in November.
To marry anywhere other than the marriage bureaus, you'll need an officiant to marry you. They can conduct a short and sweet ceremony to something more elaborate or religious. You can also have a friend or family member get ordained.
For full details on how to get married in Central Park and my recommended officiants list, see this page.
ADDITIONAL CEREMONY LOCATIONS
With an elopement or micro wedding, you have a unique opportunity to marry or celebrate in spaces otherwise too small for large weddings. During the pandemic many of these locations are outdoors or ideal for small groups with social distancing.
The sky is the limit once you hire an officiant -- you can marry anywhere. I’ve had ceremonies in hotel lobbies, restaurants, chapels, the Brooklyn waterfront, hotel suites, gardens of a cafe, private homes, Top of the Rock, etc. Even the middle of Times-Square.
I’d love to photograph a wedding at a rollerskating rink, in a zoo, sculpture garden, or any historic location!
Learn More: Intimate Wedding Location Ideas
P ORTRAIT LOCATIONS
When deciding on a location for your wedding portraits, you have many choices in NYC! Some of my favorite spots include:
Brooklyn Bridge (either side)
Top Of the Rock
Lower East Side
City Hall area
View my elopement gallery for ideas!
WHO CAN MARRY YOU?
A licensed NYC officiant! There are many different officiant options for your wedding. (I recommend a few here)
You can also have a friend or family member become an officiant and register in NYC. I have also had clergy or even embassy staff perform weddings. Or a clerk can officiate at an NYC Marriage Bureau for $25.
WHEN SHOULD WE ELOPE OR WHAT ELSE TO CONSIDER?
I put together a video to discuss the top 5 questions to consider when planning your NYC elopement or intimate wedding.
Please check it out and let me know if you have any questions!
Topics covered include:
- Timing (when to avoid)
- Ceremony locations
- Photo locations
- Personalize it
SAME SEX WEDDINGS
Same-sex weddings are legal in New York and the entire United States. (Woohoo!)
I’ve been photographing same-sex weddings since before they were legal and am thrilled to take part in these weddings. So yes, I photograph same-sex weddings and transgender weddings. Love is love.
Read the FAQ on the City Clerk’s website regarding same-sex weddings here.
HOW DO I BOOK YOU?
Once we agree on the amount of time needed for your elopement or wedding, I’ll send a booking proposal, which we both sign. After that, I will send an invoice via PayPal for the non-refundable deposit.
What other vendors might you be looking to hire for an elopement or intimate wedding? Hair and make-up, officiant, cakes, flowers, etc. There are quite a few vendors I work with regularly on elopements and I’ve listed all their contact info here.
At a minimum, I highly suggest professional hair and make-up and a small bouquet. I like having a bouquet, but it needn’t be fancy! The florist outside City Hall, George, makes simple seasonal wedding bouquets for as low at $35.
I’m happy to provide additional vendor info on request!
- Bring snacks and water
- Bring comfy shoes (and a small bag for changing out the nice ones)
- Don’t forget the license or your IDs!
- Wear clothing appropriate for the event. (Don’t wear a long train dress for a park wedding unless you plan to carry it the whole shoot!)
- Leave extra time for travel
- Plan to be in the city for a few days before and after your wedding date. (This leaves time for flight delays or rescheduling to a day before or after if needed)