New York is one of the most gay-friendly cities on earth that truly has something for everyone, making it the perfect place for same sex weddings! Claire Ady from Wed In Central Park is a New York Wedding planning pro. She decided to start her business just after she got married there in July 2011, which was coincidentally the same month that New York State began to legally recognise same sex weddings. She’s written us a lovely post with her top five tips for planning a wedding in New York, focusing on same sex weddings specifically.
Featured photo by Jakub Redziniak.
About Same Sex Weddings in New York
I have been planning New York weddings with my business Wed in Central Park since 2012. Campaigning for same sex marriage to be legally recognised was very big in New York throughout the first half of that year. LGBT+ people and their allies worked hard to legalise same sex weddings.
My clients come from all over the world to get married in New York. In some cases, the couples who marry in NYC with us may not have a legally recognised marriage in their home country, but they want to get married in a place with marriage equality. There are so many benefits to destination weddings, including that if there are any issues with family members that you don’t want to invite to your wedding, it’s the perfect way to exclude them!
How A New York Wedding Works
All Brits who have New York weddings will have their marriage recognised at home, whether it’s a mixed sex or same sex marriage. All you need to do is go together to City Hall with your passports and $35 to get your license. Then, you must wait 24 hours before you have the ceremony. You can get married in City Hall, or pretty much anywhere – in the US there are not the same restrictions that we have in the UK about where you can say “I do”. All you need to do is find yourself a New York State registered officiant (or you ask someone like me to find one for you) and you can have a wedding ceremony. You then both sign the license along with the officiant and at least one witness, return it to City Hall, and they register your marriage worldwide. Getting married in the US is so much easier than in the UK!
Challenging Wedding Tradition
I’ve read several times that “a same sex wedding is just a wedding.” Whilst I do agree with that, and there are plenty of similarities, I do see some differences in same-sex weddings compared to mixed-sex ones. I think it’s important not to force a hetero-normative idea of traditional weddings on any of my couples. In this modern age, gay and straight people alike are questioning many of the traditions around marriage. Couples are challenging ideas around who should pay for what, whether anyone should get anyone get given away and wether should change their name. So, I’m always careful not to make too many assumptions when planning a wedding.
Some of our couples, gay or straight, might get ready together and arrive together to their wedding. We’ve all seen the traditional wedding where everyone gasps as the bride enters to meet the groom. I’ve seen couples arrive in many ways. Sometimes people to choose to walk down the aisle individually (so they each get their own gasp!), or to walk together holding hands. According to the Gay Wedding Institute, 30% of lesbian couples walk down two aisles or from different directions, and 81% of gay grooms walk together down one central aisle holding hands. If you’re getting married in a park, you’re already breaking some rules, so you can do it however you want to.
incorporating religion into your same sex wedding
The New York Marriage Equality Act says that the State, local courts and governments must not discriminate against any marriages. They cannot refuse to sanctify a marriage on the basis of the sexuality of the couple who are marrying. It does, however, allow religious organisations to decline to officiant same sex wedding ceremonies. If my clients wish to incorporate religion in to their ceremony, then it’s easy enough for me to find the right officiant from my contacts. I write the ceremony wording for each couple individually, so we can include as much or as little tradition, spirituality or religion as they would like. I work with several multi-faith ordained officiants, and everyone I work with is very happy to be involved with same sex weddings.
awesome new York wedding receptions
For a New York same sex wedding, you won’t find choosing your reception location a difficult task – except for the vast array of choice! So many of the venues are extremely gay friendly. The whole of New York City welcomes LGBT+ people. The well-known gay-friendly areas such as Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen and The Village are no longer your only option. If you’re looking for a honeymoon location not far from the city, then the very popular honeymoon destination Niagara Falls is also one of the most LGBT+ supportive areas in New York State. We went for a weekend away in the Catskills after we got married in Central Park and this area is growing in popularity with same sex couples, with several charming gay- and lesbian-owned bed and breakfast inns.
For more New York wedding inspiration, check out Wed In Central Park for all you need to know! Thanks, Claire, for the wonderful words!
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