I’m Amber Marlow. I’ve been an elopement photographer in New York City for five years, and in that time, over 100 couples have invited me to capture them getting married in this amazing City in this incredible intimate way. Here are my insider tips for ways to have an amazing experience when you elope in NYC.
Please reconsider City Hall.
Sure, if the thought of getting married at City Hall honestly thrills you, go ahead. Just skip the entourage (it gets very crowded and hectic if you have more than one or two friends), and go in understanding this: the ceremonies at the Marriage Bureau are sixty seconds long and all you say is “I do.” There is absolutely no room for personalization. The wait times can vary from twenty minutes to three hours. It’s a lot of uncertainty and waiting around. You’ll have better photos if you spend that time with me taking portraits on these amazing streets.
If you’re not sure where, don’t worry! Thinking of amazing elopement locations in NYC is what I daydream about. If you want a setting that is low-key and quiet, loud and colorful, classical and romantic, or urban chic you can have it! Let me help you find a fabulous location and an officiant that will let you exchange vows in a way that is authentic to you.
Bring flats, snacks, and water.
Ladies, no one loves high heels more than I do, but if we’re doing an extended portrait session, bring flats to get around in. NYC is a pedestrian city, and going on foot is part of the deal here. I never mind stopping for a shoe change so you can rock the stilettos in your photos then switch back to your comfortable shoes. Also bring snacks and water. Getting married is hungry and thirsty business.
Make reservations for dinner.
This has nothing to do with photography, but I thought I should include it anyway: splurge on a stellar NYC restaurant like Per Se, Daniel, or Eleven Madison Park. For vegetarians, I recommend Dirt Candy, one of the most fun all-veggie restaurants in the City. All of these require planning in advance.
Don’t skimp on what’s important to you.
One of the best parts of New York City is that you can get anything, anytime. If you want professional makeup artist, a guitar player for your ceremony, an amazing wedding bouquet, or a glass of champagne after, you can have them. (I happen to have sources for all of these things, too!) For photos, nothing says “wedding” more than flowers. Small bouquets or dapper boutonnieres don’t have to cost much, but make a mega-impact visually.
Get a hotel with great light.
I enjoy shooting elopements as a real wedding, and this includes taking getting ready photos and having a first look. A hotel with gorgeous windows will help with this. Recent favorites of mine are the Standard Hotel and the Ace Hotel.[line]