Who can perform a marriage ceremony?

To be valid, a marriage ceremony must be performed by any of the individuals specified in Section 11 of the New York State Domestic Relations Law. These include:

  • The mayor of a city or village
  • The former mayor, the city clerk, or one of the deputy city clerks of a city of more than one million inhabitants
  • A marriage officer appointed by the town or village board or the city common council
  • A justice or judge of the following courts: the U.S. Court of appeals for the second circuit, the u.s. District courts for the northern, southern, eastern, or western districts of New York, the New York State Court of Appeals, the appellate division of the new york state supreme court, the new york state supreme court, the court of claims, the family court, a surrogates court, the civil and criminal courts of new york city (including housing judges of the civil court) and other courts of record
  • A village, town, or county justice
  • A member of the clergy or minister who has been officially ordained and granted authority to perform marriage ceremonies from a governing church body in accordance with the rules and regulations of the church body
  • A member of the clergy or minister who is not authorized by a governing church body but who has been chosen by a spiritual group to preside over their spiritual affairs
  • Other officiants as specified by section 11 of the domestic relations law

A person performing a ceremony in New York City must be registered with the City of New York in order to perform a ceremony within the New York City limits. The officiant does not have to be a resident of New York State.

Ship captains are not authorized to perform marriage ceremonies in New York State. A ship must be docked if a certified official is performing a ceremony on a boat.

View a list of Officials and Ministers who Perform Civil Marriage Ceremonies (PDF).

Show All Answers

1. Is there a waiting period?
2. How long is the license valid?
3. Is a pre-marital physical exam required?
4. Where can a marriage take place?
5. What about the ceremony?
6. Who can perform a marriage ceremony?
7. Where can I get copies of my records?
8. What are the age and consent requirements for minors?
9. What are the surname options?