Planning a wedding can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience, and one of the practical aspects to consider is the cost of a legal marriage. If you’ve ever wondered about the financial implications of tying the knot in the vibrant state of New York, you’re in the right place. From issuing a marriage license to officiating the ceremony, I’ll walk you through the different expenses involved in legally sealing your love in the Empire State.

Marriage License

Filing Fee

To legally get married in New York, there is a filing fee that needs to be paid. This fee covers the administrative costs of processing the marriage license application. As of 2021, the filing fee in New York City is $35. In other parts of the state, the fee might vary slightly, usually ranging between $40 and $60.

Marriage Equality Act Fee

The Marriage Equality Act Fee is an additional cost for couples who are getting married in New York City. This fee is $3 and helps support the city’s efforts in promoting marriage equality. It is important to note that this fee is specific to New York City and may not be applicable in other parts of the state.

Certified Copy Fee

Once the marriage ceremony has taken place and the marriage license is signed by the officiant and witnesses, couples will receive a marriage certificate. To obtain certified copies of the marriage certificate, there is an additional fee. In New York City, each certified copy costs $15. The number of copies needed may vary depending on individual circumstances, such as name changes or legal documentation requirements.

Translation Fee

In New York, if any of the marriage license documents are in a language other than English, they must be accompanied by a certified translation. Translation services typically come at an additional cost. The price can vary depending on the number of documents that need to be translated and the complexity of the content.

Marriage Ceremony

Officiant Fee

To have a legally recognized marriage ceremony, couples must have an officiant who will perform the ceremony and solemnize the marriage. Officiant fees can vary greatly depending on the experience, reputation, and location of the officiant. On average, the fee for an officiant in New York ranges between $200 and $600. However, it is important to do thorough research and find an officiant who aligns with your values and budget.

Venue Fee

Choosing a venue for the marriage ceremony is an important decision. The venue fee can widely vary depending on factors such as location, size, and amenities offered. In New York City, popular venues can range from $1,000 to $10,000 or more. However, there are also more affordable options available, such as parks or city-owned venues, which may cost less than $500. Outside of New York City, venue fees can be considerably lower, averaging around $1,000 to $3,000.

Photography/Videography Fee

Capturing the special moments of your wedding day is essential. Hiring a professional photographer or videographer ensures high-quality images and videos that will last a lifetime. The cost of photography and videography services can vary depending on the level of experience and the duration of coverage desired. In New York, professional photographers and videographers typically charge between $2,000 and $6,000, depending on the package and services included.

Pre-Marital Counseling


While not a mandatory step, many couples choose to participate in pre-marital counseling as a way to strengthen their relationship and prepare for married life. The cost of pre-marital counseling can vary based on factors such as the duration of the sessions, the credentials of the counselor, and the location. On average, couples can expect to pay between $75 and $200 per session for pre-marital counseling in New York.


Participating in pre-marital counseling can provide valuable guidance and support as couples navigate the transition into married life. It offers an opportunity for open and honest communication, helps identify and address potential issues, and equips couples with tools and strategies to build a strong foundation for their marriage. Pre-marital counseling can enhance relationship satisfaction, improve communication skills, and increase the likelihood of long-term marital success.

Wedding Rings

Engagement Ring

An engagement ring holds significant sentimental and symbolic value, representing the commitment and love shared between partners. The cost of an engagement ring varies depending on factors such as the quality and size of the diamond or gemstone, the metal used for the band, and the overall design. Engagement rings can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.

Wedding Bands

Wedding bands are typically simpler in design compared to engagement rings and are worn by both partners as a symbol of their commitment. The cost of wedding bands also varies depending on factors such as the metal used, the intricacy of the design, and any additional features such as gemstones or engravings. Wedding bands can range from around $100 to several thousand dollars.

Wedding Attire

Bride’s Outfit

The bride’s wedding attire is often one of the most anticipated and cherished aspects of the wedding day. The cost of a bride’s outfit can vary significantly depending on personal preferences, designer brands, customizations, and accessories. Wedding dresses can range from a few hundred dollars for off-the-rack options to several thousand dollars for designer or custom-made gowns.

Groom’s Outfit

The groom’s outfit is typically more straightforward compared to the bride’s attire. However, the cost will still depend on factors such as the style of suit or tuxedo, the brand, and any additional accessories or customizations. Groom’s outfits can range from a couple of hundred dollars for a rental to a few thousand dollars for a high-end purchase.


Accessories complete the wedding day look for both the bride and groom. This includes items such as jewelry, shoes, veils, headpieces, and cufflinks. The cost of accessories can range from relatively affordable options to more extravagant and luxury pieces. It is important to consider personal style, comfort, and budget when selecting accessories to complement the wedding attire.

Bridal Party


Bridesmaids play an important role in the wedding ceremony and are often close friends or family members of the bride. The costs associated with bridesmaids include their dresses or outfits, accessories, hair and makeup, and any gifts or tokens of appreciation. Bridesmaid expenses can vary depending on personal choices, and it is essential to communicate openly with the bridal party about budget expectations.


Groomsmen support the groom throughout the wedding planning process and the wedding day itself. Groomsmen expenses typically include their suits or tuxedos, accessories, and any gifts or tokens of appreciation. Costs can vary depending on whether the groomsmen are renting or purchasing their attire and their personal preferences.

Flower Girl/Ring Bearer

Flower girls and ring bearers add a touch of charm to the wedding ceremony. Their expenses often include their outfits, accessories, and any gifts or tokens of appreciation. Flower girl dresses and ring bearer suits can range from affordable options to more elaborate ensembles, and expenses should be discussed with their parents or guardians.

Wedding Venue


The wedding venue sets the tone and atmosphere for the entire celebration. The cost of renting a wedding venue can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, size, amenities, and the time of year. Popular wedding venues often require advanced bookings and can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.


Decorations are an important aspect of creating a visually appealing and personalized setting for the wedding. The cost of decorations will depend on the chosen theme, style, and level of intricacy. Couples can choose to hire wedding decorators or opt for a more DIY approach. Expenses can include floral arrangements, lighting, table settings, centerpieces, and any additional decor elements desired.


Food and drinks are an essential part of any wedding celebration. The cost of catering services will depend on factors such as the number of guests, the menu selection, and any additional services provided. Couples can choose between different catering options, including buffet-style, plated dinners, or food stations. On average, couples can expect to allocate a significant portion of their wedding budget to catering, usually ranging from $100 to $250 per person.



The reception venue is where the newlyweds and their guests come together to celebrate and enjoy the festivities. The cost of the reception venue can vary depending on location, size, amenities, and popularity. In larger cities, such as New York City, reception venues can range from a few thousand dollars to over $10,000. Outside of major cities, reception venues can be more affordable, averaging between $3,000 and $7,000.

Food and Drinks

Providing a memorable dining experience for guests is a crucial part of any reception. The cost of food and drinks will depend on factors such as the number of guests, menu selection, and any additional services such as open bars or specialty cocktails. Couples can choose between various catering options and should allocate a significant portion of their budget to ensure a delicious and satisfying dining experience.


Entertainment adds excitement, energy, and enjoyment to the wedding reception. The cost of entertainment can vary depending on the type of entertainment chosen, such as live bands, DJs, or other performers. Couples should consider their musical preferences, the size of the venue, and the duration of the entertainment when budgeting for this aspect of the reception.

Wedding Invitations


Wedding invitations set the tone and style of the wedding and provide important details to guests. The cost of designing wedding invitations can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the design, printing techniques, and any additional details or embellishments. Couples can choose from a wide range of pre-designed templates or opt for custom-designed invitations.


After the design phase is complete, wedding invitations need to be printed and assembled. The cost of printing invitations will depend on factors such as the quantity, paper quality, printing techniques, and additional inserts. Printing costs can range from a few hundred dollars for simpler designs to several thousand dollars for more elaborate invitations.


Mailing wedding invitations to guests incurs additional costs for postage. The number of invitations being sent, the weight, and the destination will determine the overall postage expenses. Couples should account for this expense when budgeting for wedding invitations.

Wedding Cake


The wedding cake serves as a centerpiece and sweet treat for guests to enjoy. The cost of a wedding cake will depend on factors such as size, design complexity, flavor choices, and any additional decorations or customization. Couples can opt for a simple and elegant cake or choose a more elaborate design that matches their wedding theme. Wedding cake prices can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

Baker’s Fee

In addition to the cost of the cake itself, couples should consider the baker’s fee for their time and expertise in creating the wedding cake. Factors that may influence the baker’s fee include the complexity of the design, delivery charges, and any additional services such as cake cutting and serving. The baker’s fee is typically included in the overall cost of the wedding cake.

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