After 15 years of dating, 13 years of living together and 2 years of engagement, we finally did it. Matt and I are married! At the beginning of 2018, we started to plan our wedding. It quickly turned into the wedding we didn’t want and the pressure was building. We decided to skip the whole “big wedding” and cancel it. Not knowing which path we would take, we made a quick decision. Eloping in NYC turned out so much better than we could have expected!
When We Decided
When we decided to cancel the big wedding in June/July of 2018, we had no alternate plan. Matt and I had no clue how, when or where we were going to get married. We knew we wanted to get married before the end of the year but any idea we came up with didn’t excite us. At the end of November, right after Thanksgiving, I casually mentioned eloping in NYC. New York City has always had a special place in my heart, I love the city! Matt knows how much I love NYC but I was a little shocked when he replied “let’s do it, get it booked!”. With just 13 short days to plan, I booked our plane tickets and had to figure out the rest pretty quickly.
We Kept It a Secret
The definition of elopement is: “to run away secretly with the intention of getting married”. We wanted to keep it secret, that is what elopement is. Eloping in NYC was much easier to keep secret since we only had 13 days before we left. We told very few people. It was just Matt and I in eloping in NYC…just us. Knowing how much other peoples opinion affected us the first time around when planning our wedding, we felt it was best to keep it “on the down low”. We wanted to fully enjoy our trip to NYC and the day of our wedding without feeling the guilt from others.
13 Day Countdown to Eloping in NYC
Let the “Eloping in NYC” countdown begin!
Since it was so last minute, I thought that booking a plane ticket and hotel, in the month of December, to New York City was going to be crazy expensive. It wasn’t at all! I booked our hotel in Midtown Manhattan so we would be close to all of the Christmas attractions.
I knew I wanted to wear white. Thankfully, I purchased my wedding dress back in March (from BHLDN) for our original wedding. Our original wedding was planned for August so I purchased a sleeveless dress. There was no way I was going to wear a sleeveless dress in New York City during the month of December. Pinterest to the rescue! I found a picture of a sweater and dress combination that I loved. I went on the hunt for a sweater and found a white one at H&M for $20 that I wore over the top of my dress. For my shoes, I wore white booties (from Target) that I had in my closet. The morning of the wedding, I purchased my faux fur jacket (from Zara). My whole outfit was super easy and less than $300 total!
Again, thankfully Matt has dress clothes. He kept it simple with items he already had; black pants, black shoes, white button up, and a black tie. The only thing we had to purchase for him was a sport jacket. I ordered a sport jacket online and it didn’t arrive until 2 days before we left. He tried it on and it didn’t fit! Panic mode set in so we ran to Macy’s in hopes that they would have that exact suit jacket in his size. They didn’t! With a little luck, we found a different jacket, off the rack, that fit him perfectly.
Tuesday, December 11th, 2018…the day we were married!
Tuesday, December 11th, 2018…we were married! In New York City, you have to wait exactly 24 hours after receiving your marriage license to perform the marriage ceremony. We arrived in New York City on a Sunday, went straight to City Hall (Marriage Bureau) for our marriage license Monday morning and received our marriage license at 12:30pm on Monday. We had to wait until Tuesday at 12:30pm (or after) to check in. On Tuesday, we arrived at 12:45pm and took our number!
While We Were in NYC
My favorite part about eloping in NYC in December…Christmas in the city! It is truly magical. I traveled to NYC last December but I knew Matt has never experienced the city during Christmas. I was so excited to show him everything…I’m sure way more excited than he was! Since we arrived 2 days before the “big day”, I was able to show him all of my favorite things. The night before our wedding, last minute, we squeezed in The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes. It was great and a dream!
The one thing Matt and I knew for sure…we wanted a photographer to document our elopement. Since our wedding ceremony was just going to be him and I, we wanted pictures to show our families and future children. I started my search on Instagram by searching the hashtag #nycelopementphotographer. Within 5 minutes I found a photographer that I loved; Cheyanna De Nicola Photography. I reached out to her and heard back quickly. We set up a phone call to go over the details and she was beyond helpful! She gave us so many good tips and tricks and helped navigate us through the whole process. New York City requires one witness for the marriage ceremony, she offered willingly and with excitement! I couldn’t recommend her enough. She helped ease my nerves. She was our photographer and mini wedding planner all in one, she was great!
The Big Day
The day we’ve been waiting for!
Where We Eloped in NYC
There are a lot of options in NYC in regards to getting married. We decided to get married at the Marriage Bureau of New York City because it was so convenient and felt very “New York”. But I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know if it was going to be an outdated 1980’s building or a shared building where criminals were waiting with us. Literally, I had no idea! Much to my surprise, it was pretty nice. It was a 1920’s art deco building where only marriage licenses were obtained and marriage ceremonies were held. Everyone was in a great mood and happy! It was a very pleasant experience. Since we decided on a Monday (for the license) and Tuesday (for the ceremony), the marriage bureau was not super busy. Each day, the whole process took 30-45 minutes.
My only complaint: the backdrop in our ceremony room was not cute! It was this really weird purplish-blue, construction paper, piece of “art”. They need to update/change this ASAP!
The Morning Of
The morning was so relaxed! We woke up around 9am. Matt went to get his beard trimmed and I headed to Whole Foods for my flower bouquet (pro tip from our photographer, thanks Cheyanna!). I made a pit stop into Zara, found my faux fur jacket and headed back to the hotel. Matt took a little nap while I got ready. I did my own hair and makeup, got dressed and off we went in our Uber to get married.
We arrived to the Marriage Bureau at 12:45pm, took our number and waited for our turn. We waited for about 30 minutes. Cheyanna was able to photograph us throughout the whole process; the waiting, signing of the marriage documents and during our ceremony. I loved that she was able to capture these moments! The ceremony maybe lasted a minute and I’m being generous. It was so quick! They do allow the exchange of rings which was important to us.
After the Ceremony, More Photos
After the ceremony, we headed out to take more photographs. The Marriage Bureau is super close to Chinatown so we headed there first. Prior to arriving in NYC, Cheyanna and I discussed different locations. I let her take the reins on this because I trusted her 100%! Chinatown is one of my favorite spots in New York City so when Cheyanna suggested Chinatown, I was in! While taking photos, we listened to a tour guide tell her group of tourists how much blood has been shed on the street we were standing on. It felt so “New York”, we just laughed! After Chinatown, we walked north where we stopped at different locations along the way to take more photos. Exactly 2 hours after arriving at the Marriage Bureau…ceremony done, photos done! It couldn’t have worked out better.
Matt and I had nothing planned…just the way we like it! We went back to the hotel, changed into more weather appropriate clothing and headed out. We wandered around Midtown and Bryant Park to catch one more glimpse at all the Christmas decor then headed to dinner. Our wedding dinner: tacos and beer! We wanted everything about our “big day” to be calm, relaxed and no pressure. Tacos and beer fit our idea of eloping in NYC perfectly!
One Thing We’ve Learned
Your wedding and your marriage is about YOU! Do not let others interfere in making a decision that you know is best for YOU, as a couple! Unfortunately, we had some backlash from a few people. We let it irritate us, hurt us but quickly snapped out of that and realized what is most important to us….US! The people closest to us were so supportive and happy for us! We received gifts, cards and phone calls. For that, I am very thankful! I wouldn’t have changed a thing and couldn’t be more in love with our decision to elope in my favorite city.
I would recommend eloping in NYC 10,000 times over again!
And they lived happily ever after!