Rev. Garris Williams - Wedding Officiant

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can you perform a ceremony?

I can conduct a ceremony at any location of your choice, your home, a local park, a larger wedding venue, just about anywhere!   

Do you perform same-sex marriages?

Yes!  As of July 24, 2011 it is legal for same-sex couples to marry in the state of New York.  I have waited for this historic occasion for a long time and celebrate this historic recognition of marriage equality.  

When do we pay you?
A non-refundable deposit of one half the quoted fee is due at the time of our first meeting or by mail after our phone consultation. The balance of the fee is due one week before the ceremony. You can pay by personal check or in cash on the day of the ceremony.  I will send you an invoice for the initial deposit and contract once we agree to work together.

Why do you charge more for larger ceremonies?
My decision to charge different rates for smaller and larger weddings is a tough one.  I really should just charge the higher rate to all couples I work with because I put in a significant amount of time to writing the ceremony, helping you think through your ceremony and helping to coordinate the ceremony on your big day.  However, as many couples choose to have a very small wedding due to financial constraints alone, and the slightly lower amount of day-of coordination that is required in very small weddings, for now I am continuing to offer the lower cost ceremony to a small number of couples.  If you are able to hold a ceremony and celebration for twenty or more of your closest friends and family members I hope that my fee will be able to fit into your budget.  If you feel you have extreme circumstances, please do get in touch and we may be able to work something out.

Do you work with couples who are eloping?
Yes!  I am able to come to you, often at short notice.  Out of state visitors are also welcome to marry in New York and we can arrange to meet in a local park or at another location of your choice.  I am available to suggest suitable locations if you need assistance.

What will you wear to the ceremony?
As with all aspects of the ceremony, my goal is to please you.  I am happy to wear a sophisticated and appropriate suit and tie that blends with the color and style of the bridal party.  If you prefer, I will wear a black suit, black shirt and a white or black tie.

Do you have a contract that we must sign?
I will provide a short contract specifying our agreement for me to be your wedding officiant.  The contract is designed so that everyone will understand the scope of my services and our agreed upon fee. 

Do we have to be New York residents to be legally married in New York?
No, as long as your wedding officiant is registered in New York, it is valid.

How much does a New York Marriage License Cost?
A New York Marriage License can be purchased for $35 -- Payable by money order or credit card. PLEASE NOTE - CLERKS ON LONG ISLAND CHARGE $40 and accept any form of payment.
 
Do the bride and groom both have to be present while filing for the Marriage License Application?
Yes, the Affidavit and Application for a marriage license in New York must be signed by both the bride and groom in the presence of the issuing clerk.  For a listing of all of the Clerks in New York State, please click here.

What if a partner was married previously?
If you have previous marriages, make sure you provide all ORIGINAL documentation regarding those previous marriages (i.e. the decree date) when applying.
 
Is a pre-marital physical exam or blood test required?
No, a pre-marital examination or blood test is NOT required to obtain a marriage license in New York State.
 
What is the legal age of consent for two people to wed in New York?
If both applicants are 18 years of age or older, no parental consent is required.
 
How soon can we get married after visiting the City Clerk's Office?
Marriage Licenses are issued to you on the day you purchase them and are valid for 60 DAYS except for active military personnel, for whom the validity runs for 180 days.  PLEASE NOTE:  You must wait at least 24 HOURS from the license's issuance time to get married.

Do you recommend a wedding rehearsal?
Not necessarily.  Many ceremonies go perfectly without the added stress and time of a ceremony rehearsal.  It all depends on the complexity of your wedding, the size of your wedding party and the wedding party's familiarity with the general flow of the wedding ceremony.

Do we need a permit to conduct a wedding ceremony in Central Park?
If you have over 20 people attending your service OR have a professional photographer on site, a permit fee of $25 is required. For any subsequent questions, please consult the City Clerk's Website
 
Can I get married in any other park in NYC?  Or under the Brooklyn Bridge?
Yes you can; you should consult the City Clerk's Website or try searching www.NYC.gov