New York City Elopement Photography

Manhattan elopement photographer

"High end, low key." 

That's my motto for elopements (borrowed from the best cocktail bar in Manhattan).

I'm commissioned by couples from all corners of the globe who want an incredible, luxurious New York City elopement experience. My elopements are photographed in classic wedding style, starting at your hotel during hair and makeup, and always with a curated variety of candid photojournalism and classic editorial portraits. 

The way I see it, your tiny wedding deserves nothing less.

A full elopement photography collection in New York City begins at 1845.

Smaller "portrait session elopements" are also available, only during the week, and only for couples eloping outside of City Hall. They're about an hour long.


Regarding horse-drawn carriages in Central Park

Due to the less-than-stellar conditions the horses are kept in, and the fact busy Manhattan streets and horses don’t mix, I (along with many other New Yorkers) believe they should be banned. Until they are, I decline taking photos of couples in or by these carriages; supporting this practice with my art is something I can’t do.

You should jump in a pedicab instead. The guys who drive them are fun, and the seats are tiny and perfect for snuggling.


Common Questions About Eloping in New York City

How do know how many hours of photography we need for our elopement?
Most Marlow elopement clients choose three or four hours. Three hours gives you a perfect tiny wedding day: getting ready, the ceremony, and portraits after. Four hours is good if you want to travel to different parts of the City for photos, or if you want to do something more involved, like go to the top of the Empire State Building.

I have a one hour "portrait session" elopement that is perfect for couples who just want the ceremony and portraits after covered. These are available Monday - Friday, and only if you aren't getting married at City Hall. 

How do you elope in NYC? How does it work?
First, you'll need a marriage license for the Marriage Bureau, located at 141 Worth Street in Manhattan. You'll have to have this in hand at least 24 hours before your ceremony. It's $35 for the license, which you may pay with cash or credit. You'll both need to appear in person, and you'll need to also bring government issued ID (like a passport) for each of you. 

For your ceremony, you can either go back to City Hall 24 hours later (no need to book ahead of time) or hire a private officiant to get married elsewhere in the City. You will need at least one, and up to two witnesses. I'm happy to be your witness if you'd like - at this point my signature is on dozens of marriage certificates all over the planet. 

We need hair and makeup. Know anyone?
Do I ever. I have a whole welcome package that has the best hair and makeup people I know, as well as a ton of other resources for making your elopement perfect - florals, hotels, a hired car... even a planner. Everyone on my list is incredible, and all of them are committed to working with all of my couples, no matter what orientation or gender expression. You'll also want to check out my Pinterest board called "Your New York City Honeymoon".

What's better, City Hall or elsewhere?
It's up to you. I've been photographing elopements in NYC since 2011, and have done dozens of each, and I like both a lot. There are a few things to think about as you consider what's right for the two of you.

  1. Ceremonies at City Hall are a nominal $25; an officiant will charge you a few hundred dollars. My husband, Marley Jay, is a professional writer who occasionally moonlights as officiant for my couples when he's got the time. He charges $300 which is right around the going rate.
     
  2. City Hall wedding ceremonies take about sixty seconds. All you say is "I do." though on a slow day they might invite you to say a few secular words. You will always be allowed to exchange rings. A lot of ny couples really love the quick, no-fuss ceremony, and others are left feeling like hardly anything happened. With a private officiant you can choose your own readings and wording, and make it religious if you'd like. The ceremony will have some depth, personalization, and sentiment. For some people, this is a lot of pressure. You'll have to talk to each other and figure out which sort of couple you are.
     
  3. Weddings at City Hall are in private chapels. You can invite your friends and family, and close the door behind you. If you're getting married at Central Park, you'll draw a crowd. Depending on where you get married, this could be one little old lady off in the corner watching or an entire tour group cheering you on, and this might be your worst nightmare or the best thing ever. Again, it's up to you to determine what sort of couple you are. In my opinion, both are beautiful.
     
  4. If you don't want a City Hall wedding but can't think of where else to go, I can help you pick a spot that is just right for you, or help you find an alternative, private venue (I day dream about perfect elopement itineraries, and have a ton of places in mind.) Oh, and in case you're wondering: no one has ever - ever - heckled one of my same-sex couples.
     
  5. City Hall is a government office, so waiting for your wedding to start can take fifteen minutes, three hours, or anything in between. It's very unpredictable - with the hands down best people watching in the City. With a private officiant, you know exactly what you're going to get and can go on your own schedule and at your own pace.

What if City Hall takes a really long time and cuts into our portrait session?
Not for my couples! I made my own Marlow elopement rule: Any time we spend at City Hall counts as no more than one hour. Say you have my three hour elopement photography collection. We do an hour of getting ready, then arrive at City Hall. There, it takes two and half hours for you to make your way through to get married. After you're done, no worries: we'll still have an hour left for portraits. 

It’s different than the way most elopement photographers work, but lines up with my values: No looking at the time on your wedding day or missing out. I just want you to have great photography. Period. 

Do you offer elopement photo albums?
Most elopement clients get an elopement album included in their collection. It's a linen-bound art book with archival pages. They're 10 x 10 inches / 25 x 25 centimeters, hold 40 images, and they come in 21 good colours. They ship anywhere in the world compliments of my studio.

There are a few optional upgrades for the elopement album, too.

  • Additional images - your album can have up to 100.
  • A larger book. Choose 9 x 12, 12 x 12, or a stunning 11 x 14.
  • Debossing. We can put your name and/or wedding date on the cover either blind deboss (just the imprint of the letters pressed in), or in gold, silver, or rose gold (some colours work better than others for debossing, we can discuss.)

You can opt for any or all combinations of the three things above, or pick a fourth option, new for 2017: swap it out completely for a traditional wedding album, exactly like what I offer to my large wedding clients.

What about permits?
You are responsible for acquiring all photography permits needed on the day of the wedding. If it’s in NYC, I can usually point you in the right direction off the top of my head.

What if something happens to you on the day of our elopement?
I've never missed an elopement. I take shooting your wedding very seriously, of course, and would never "call out sick" unless there was a circumstance so extenuating it could not be helped. Should this happen, your wedding would be photographed by someone who matched my skill level; I have several amazing photographers on speed dial.

Wait, we just changed our minds and we're getting married a plane ride away.
I can come, too! Every year, I photograph weddings big and small all over the world.

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