NYC Elopement Photographer Kristy May
Congrats on your engagement!
I’m so glad you are in need of a New York City elopement photographer because that is exactly what I do! For over 6 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 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?
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. Intimacy is the ultimate wedding day luxury!
I define elopements as 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!
There is nothing more luxurious than being able
to celebrate your wedding day
the way YOU want.
ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE
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.
NYC ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY COLLECTIONS
I offer one collection that can be customized to meet your wedding needs.
All collections include:
- Highlights slideshow
- Hi-res jpgs with print release
- One year online print ordering and gallery
- Wedding photography by Kristy (2-10 hours)
- Optional ceremony video and or audio recording
- Optional albums
Starting at $1,100 (weekdays only)
The 2-hour collection would be suitable for a ceremony and portraits in Central Park.
The 3-hour collection would be suitable for City Hall and a nearby portrait location.
I also offer a 6-hour Documentary Day collection, which can cover getting ready and ceremony plus photos at multiple locations around the city.
I also photograph epic elopements with 8+ hours of coverage!
See my FAQ for specifics on processing and retouching.
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
TEMPORARY : The NYC Marriage Bureaus are closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic so getting a license or married there isn't possible at this time. As soon as they reopen, I will be notifying all of my clients. Sign-up below to get updates as well as tips on planning your wedding or elopement!
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.
Please see this website for all the particulars on getting your license.
IMPORTANT: You must get your license at least 24 hours before you wish to marry otherwise you will need a judicial waiver. Try to avoid this if possible. If you can't, I can help.
CITY HALL CEREMONY
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 intimate 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 25 people in the park. You can literally marry anywhere! Get a permit for popular locations to avoid being asked to leave.
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 intimate wedding, you have a unique opportunity to marry or celebrate in spaces otherwise too small for large weddings.
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!
TOP ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHY 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 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. I have also had clergy or even embassy staff perform weddings.
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, $500 for elopements. (Should you need to reschedule your wedding, you may do so to a future date.) See below for special info on the coronavirus.
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!
NYC ELOPEMENT TIPS
- 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)