Wedding in NYC during Coronavirus

UPDATED: May 8th, 2020

The Coronavirus has dramatically changed the world in a matter or a few months. But it can’t stop love or a couple’s desire or need to be legally married. Today NYC launched Project Cupid which allows couples located in New York State to apply for a marriage license online. This is great news! Once the license is obtained, a marriage ceremony can be held in person or virtually by a licensed marriage officiant. All parties must be in New York State and sign the document online via video. Then the license will be uploaded or emailed to the City Clerk’s office and a marriage certificate will be mailed.

What about wedding photography?

While it is possible to photograph (rather, capture) ceremonies via video online, I’m personally not sure that is a great use of your photography budget. I suggest couples who plan or already have had a virtual ceremony do a post wedding portrait session. When it is permissible again to photograph weddings in New York, we can do ceremonies and portraits in locations where we can maintain social distance. (I am hopeful there will be clarification on this in the next few weeks)

Think Small or Micro

As an NYC elopement photographer, I’m use to photographing events with 2-20 people. Having a small wedding guest list allows you to be flexible and focus on the most important thing, marrying the person you love! If need be, it can be as small as the couple, your officiant and a photographer who can be a witness. It will be easier to main social distance when there are less guests. 

Location Ideas

You can have a ceremony outside anywhere public like a park or in a private space like a backyard, hotel terrace, building rooftop etc. as long as you can maintain social distance. I strongly suggest when choosing a location that can get crowded, opt for a morning ceremony or shoot.

Practical Tips

  • I’d suggest hiring a car for a few hours and make sure it is well cleaned before if you want to visit multiple location. Or have a relative or friend offer to drive you around.
  • It may be a better idea to pick a location with many great photo and ceremony locations nearby. Dumbo, Central Park, The West Village and more come to mind.
  • I’d recommend timing the ceremony or session earlier in the day to help maintain social distance.
  • I will NOT be suggesting any photos on the Brooklyn Bridge or other easily crowded locations for the time being. There is not enough space to maintain safety from bikes and social distance. There are many lovely angles from the ground if you’d like to include the bridge.
  • Hand sanitizer and masks are going to be all the rage for 2020 weddings. Customize and make a practical favor to guests.

Still Celebrate!

Consider ordering take-out from a restaurant and having a special meal at your apartment, picnic or hotel instead. Private dining rooms are another option that many restaurants offer if you have enough guests. (Once the Pause order if lifed, this will be an option.)

In edition to celebrating on the day, plan a reception for another time. I’ve done numerous City Hall weddings and then the reception a few months later. You can even rewear the same dress! 

Here is one example.

Use Technology

Couples can live stream their weddings to family back home and this can be a way to not leave anyone out who can’t travel. (or won’t) You can hire a videographer or I can set-up a simple iPhone recording of your ceremony. Professional photos can be shared within a day of your wedding. 

In Good Times and Bad….

It may not be what you were planning, but you can certainly still have a wedding in NYC during the Coronavirus outbreak. Postpone not cancel your plans, your vendors depend on you and value your business, no matter when it takes place.

Considering marrying in NYC in 2020?  Please get in touch! Stay safe, and wash your hands!

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