Manhattan Marriage Bureau

Erin O’Hara

The Manhattan Marriage Bureau, located at 141 Worth Street, combines the best of the Jazz Age and the Information Age. Throughout the 24,000-square-foot space, original 1920s marble and bronze design details meet such 21st century technology and comforts as computer kiosks and chic, comfortable couches.

Expect the state-of-the-art facility to get busier soon; New York City now officially recognizes and grants same-sex marriages. New York is the sixth (and largest) state to enact marriage equality, and as of June 24, 2011, gay couples may legally exchange vows statewide, including in NYC—a welcome development for a city that's known for its diversity and renowned as a leading wedding destination. For more information, visit the NYC I Do frequently asked questions page. Brides and grooms from all over the boroughs and the world come together here. But no matter how far couples travel to tie the knot in New York, the Manhattan Marriage Bureau is a beautiful place to begin the journey.

A City Store on the premises offers couples all they’ll need for the big event, from fresh bouquets and costume wedding bands to disposable digital cameras, hairspray and tissues. Brides can glam up in a large dressing room, which is equipped with soft lighting, a vanity and full-length mirrors. Two pastel-hued chapel rooms host the intimate marriage ceremonies, complete with design flourishes like paintings from the Brooklyn Museum, couches for guests and a sound system that lets couples set their vows to tunes from their iPods. Afterward, newlyweds can pose for a classic New York photo op in front of a majestic backdrop of City Hall.

In addition, obtaining a marriage license or domestic partnership has become easier, allowing intendeds to savor the special moment sans stress. Consolidated lines and self-serve computer kiosks speed up the process, while a comfortable seating area with video screens providing wait times make the experience an enjoyable one. Eager spouses-to-be can also now pay by credit card, and non-English speakers need not fret—the new service windows are equipped with a telephone translator for service in 170 languages.