Blog ~ NYC wedding
Unless you’re getting married at City Hall, selecting your elopement officiant will be one of the biggest decisions you’ll make for your intimate wedding day. Even if you’re stripping away most other parts of a traditional wedding, the ceremony will still be a significant portion of your elopement day. And your officiant will be leading you and your guests through this critical part of the day, so choosing the right fit is key! Thankfully there are many great officiants to choose from in NYC that specialize in elopements.
Here are some of our top tips when it comes to selecting the right wedding officiant for your elopement!
How to select your elopement officiant
There can be a number of factors at play that influence for whom you’ll hire as your elopement officiant. If you’re from NYC, you might have a local church that will perform your ceremony because you go there. Or maybe you’re coming from Australia and want to have a very private ceremony that feels a bit like home, so you hire an Aussie officiant (shoutout to the awesome Bettina of Weddings by Bettina). Or maybe you have a friend that will get ordained, register as an officiant in NYC, and then lay down an amazingly personal ceremony for the two of you.
While there may be many personal factors that will guide your decision, here are some key questions you should be asking to start to sketch out what your perfect elopement officiant might look like.
Do you want to have a religious ceremony?
This is obviously a big guiding post of how you’ll narrow down your officiant options. If you’re looking to have a religious ceremony and you’re local, the head of your church or synagogue or other religious institution likely makes sense. If you’ll be having a destination elopement here in NYC then you’ll have to do a little research. Searching for “Catholic wedding officiant NYC” or other similar variations will be a great place to start. Hiring an interfaith minister is another great option, such as the wonderful Annie of Rev Annie NYC.
Do you want your ceremony to be formal or laid back?
If you’re looking to set up a more formal elopement environment, then you’ll want an officiant that can be equally as formal. The whole team at Officiant NYC is amazing at running a very sophisticated ceremony no matter the location or number of guests.
If you skipped the previous paragraph after seeing the word “formal,” then hiring someone that can inject a bit of fun into the elopement ceremony while still being heartfelt is what you’re looking for! Daniela at Once Upon a Vow is exactly that kind of officiant, and she’s one of the first people I think of for elopements that are looking for a laid back vibe with heart.
Will you have any guests in attendance?
If you’ll have some guests along, you’ll want an officiant that can take the reigns during the ceremony and ensure everyone has an amazing experience. Think about it like stage presence. You’ll want someone that can pull you and your guests in closer before the ceremony starts, making sure that everyone is present and ready to give you their full attention and love. If you’ll be having the ceremony outside, you’ll need someone that can speak over the dull roar of traffic nearby, or the N train rumbling across the Manhattan Bridge overhead. And most importantly, you’ll want someone who can pronounce you married with gusto!
Set up calls and get to know them
My last tip to finding the perfect elopement officiant is to get on the phone and chat in depth. Once you have a few options bookmarked, go through and book a phone consultation with each one. You should feel completely comfortable with your elopement officiant and fully trust that they can create the experience you’re looking for. It’s of course helpful to check out their website and read reviews, but hopping on the phone and having a conversation with someone will usually tell you all you need to know.
Some of my favorite NYC elopement officiants
Looking for more great elopement information? Check out my essential guide to eloping in NYC!
Shantal and Brian eloped on September 29th, with a first look in Long Island City followed by a ceremony at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau.
The couple met at LIC Bar on a Saturday afternoon in a totally random chance encounter. Shantal traditionally had not gone to bars, and certainly not alone. But, for some reason, that was the case on the day she saw Brian with his head down eating a sandwich. A friend of his started chatting with her and pointed Brian out to her. Although it took a few tries to get his attention, Brian and Shantal eventually got to talking—about food.
They share a passion for food, and once Brian mentioned that he had gone to CIA (the Culinary Institute of America) after Shantal brought up her culinary adventure in Ireland, she was instantly smitten. She asked him how someone who went to CIA could eat such a sad-looking sandwich. He laughed and said that he simply needed something in his stomach. Once again, Shantal was smitten, this time with his smile.
Brian and Shantal talked for hours and didn’t want the night to end, so they headed to a pizza place nearby. That’s where Brian asked if he could kiss Shantal. According to Brian, there was “such a spark I’m surprised the pizza place didn’t catch fire.” After dinner, they went to a creperie, even though neither of them like dessert. But they both wanted the night to keep going and going. They closed the place down, and Brian asked when he could see her again.
They made plans for the next day, and then the next. The two have been inseparable ever since.
The couple got engaged over coffee on May 28. Brian told Shantal how much he loved her and how happy they were before presenting her with a ring with a diamond from his own grandmother’s ring. He worked with a jeweler to design it. Shantal knew instantly how meaningful it was because of how much he loved his grandmother. Brian often spoke fondly of the love she had with his grandfather.
They had “it,” he said. Growing up and seeing the way his grandmother and grandfather were so in love was how he knew he and Shantal also had “it.”
On the day these two eloped, I met up with Brian first on the rooftop of their building in Long Island City. We were able to stage a first look there, with beautiful photographs of the rooftop view before the wedding.
After the first look, we hopped into a classic NYC Checker cab for the ride down to City Hall. I love working with Peter at Film Cars—they are always a great addition to a wedding day. They were married at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau, and after that, it was just a matter of celebrating the day together.
Brian & Shantal, thank you for asking me to be your wedding photographer. I loved spending time with you and hearing your amazing love story.
Kika and Brian eloped on September 15th, with a ceremony at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau.
These two came to New York all the way from Berlin, where Kika works as an artist doing large-scale drawings and Brian works as a director of design for Blacklane.com, a startup transportation company. They wanted their wedding to have a vintage, relaxed sort of feeling to it, and that was reflected in the photographs we were able to take around New York City. This city is a setting that definitely fits both of their personalities and the modern-yet-timeless style that they were looking for.
Kika and Brian met as they were both flying through Newark Airport (EWR). He had just finished a conference in Portland, and she was headed back to Berlin from San Francisco. Brian noticed that Kika had her cat, Penny Lane, on a leash. He approached her to ask how she had managed to train her cat to do that, since his own cat, Sushi, definitely didn’t cooperate when he tried to train her to do the same. The ended up chatting about cats for a while before boarding their flight, and they met up again at the baggage claim to talk some more.
During their conversation, Kika found out that Brian had just moved to Berlin from her hometown of San Francisco. So, to welcome him to town, she invited him to a galactic-themed Halloween party. According to Kika, he spent months after that only able to refer to her friends by the costumes they had worn at the party: “Oh… that was the girl dressed as Nebula? Was that the guy dressed up like Darth Maul?”
Brian proposed to Kika in June of 2016, after they had talked for months about getting married. They had picked out a ring together in May, so a month later, when they were out on a walk, they stopped by the edge of their favorite canal by their house—which is also one of their favorite places to read and relax under the trees. Right after Brian proposed, one of the rare Berlin beavers swam by, which they took as a sign of good things to come.
Brian & Kika: thank you for letting me be part of your intimate and beautiful wedding day. I loved hearing your story and photographing you around New York City. I sincerely hope that you enjoy your images and the memories of your beautiful day for years to come.