The New York City Marriage Bureau, which has been closed since March 2020, will reopen for appointments, licenses, and in-person ceremonies at the end of this month. There is one marriage bureau in each borough, and their offices can serve as a venue for civil marriage ceremonies. Throughout the past year, New Yorkers hoping to wed at Manhattan’s destination marriage bureau have had to wait out the pandemic (or make other plans).
Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement on Thursday, noting that appointments can be made beginning on Monday, July 19th, and licenses can be obtained in-person starting on Friday, July 23rd (ceremonies can be performed 24 hours after a couple gets their license).
“Love is in the air,” de Blasio said while sharing the news and happily noting he’s been married to Chirlane McCray for 27 years. He also pointed out that July 24th will be the 10-year anniversary of marriage equality in New York State.
The city’s marriage bureaus have remained closed, even though most city employees returned to work in early May. In June, the bureau’s clerk, Michael McSweeney, explained their unique challenges to the Wall Street Journal, saying: “We are the only government office in New York City where, due to the joyousness of the occasion, standard procedure for our visitors is to kiss, hug and huddle together for photos.”
Many couples had postponed their weddings until this year; the WSJ reported that the marriage bureaus across the five boroughs issued 36,142 marriage licenses last year, down from 75,370 in 2019 (just under 50,000 marriages were officiated there in 2019). Some couples, though, improvised and even held sidewalk weddings.