Responsibilities of the Officiant performing the Ceremony

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) does not have the authority to advise you whether or not an individual or organization qualifies to perform a marriage in New York State. This is a requirement of Article 3, Section 11 of New York State Domestic Relations Law and not under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health. If you have questions, you may wish to consult an attorney familiar with New York State Domestic Relations Law and marriage case law.

After the religious service or ceremony, it is time for official recordkeeping. It is the officiant's responsibility to ensure that the officiant and witness portions of the license are properly completed and accurate. It is the couples responsibility to present their marriage license to the officiant and the witnesses. The officiant's job is to look over the license, confirm that the information is accurate, and complete the officiant's section. Once completed, the officiant must return the original license to the town or city clerk where the license was purchased (usually by mail). Many clerks will supply a self-addressed envelope for this purpose. In New York, completed marriage licenses must be returned within five days of the ceremony. Once the town or city where the license was purchased takes delivery of an accurate and finalized marriage license, a copy of the marriage license is delivered to the NYSDOH to be recorded and filed.

There is no requirement for the officiant to register if the marriage is performed in New York State outside of the five boroughs of New York City. If the marriage is performed within the five boroughs of New York City, the officiant must register with the New York City Clerk's Office. Click the following link to learn about the New York City Marriage Officiant Registration procedure.

For information about getting married in New York State, please visit our web page at Getting married in New York State.

For specific requirements of the town or city Clerk's Office where you intend to purchase your license, we recommend that you contact the office before arriving to purchase your marriage license. You can find links to municipality web sites by visiting > Counties, and selecting the county and then the municipality you wish to visit.