Help me find a place to get married
April 7, 2005 7:45 AM   Subscribe

So I think we want to semi-elope, we live in New York. We don't mind traveling somewhere, but are poor and we don't want to go to Vegas.

Can anyone think of a Vegas style place (ie don't have to book in advance too much, have a nasty rubber chicken deal, customized matchbooks and the electric slide dj) where you can get married with not too much notice, without a huge entourage, for a non-bank breaking price?

Extra points for low-key but nice, not too far from the east coast. Or what about some sharpening of my google-fu so I could find the same, I kinda don't know where to begin.

Thanks loves...
posted by Divine_Wino to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (27 answers total)
Niagara Falls?
posted by xo at 8:17 AM on April 7, 2005

There is always Elkton, MD.
posted by remlapm at 8:18 AM on April 7, 2005

Niagara Falls? They have wedding chapels up there (I don't know what the cheese factor is on them though, but you can find cheesy honeymoon hotels).

Also, Poconos (Pennsylvania). Wedding chapels, cheesy honeymoon hotels. Sorry can't recommend anything specific for either, but some Googling yields sites and pics.

If you wanted to splurge a bit more, there's a "cruise" boat called the Grand Lady that does weddings. You can book to get married on the boat by the captain as it goes along the Niagara River, then you get to have your reception right there on the boat with your friends. My aunt did this and it was quite nice!
posted by Melinika at 8:21 AM on April 7, 2005

Try googling "wedding chapel" + names of towns in the areas you're interested in.

There are places that will do a wedding package, often with varying levels of food/decoration/foofiness to suit your tastes and budget. Some of those places are even quite nice on the inside, if a bit strange/iffy/incongruous on the outside.

The notice might be a little farther ahead than near-immediate, but Friday nights, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and Saturday mornings all often come at a discount and fill up less quickly.

I can't speak to the east coast specifically; we did this in Texas, but it seems to be a pretty hopping business all over. Our venue was a wedding chapel and "event facility" - company holiday parties, awards banquets, that kind of thing.

You might also check restaurants that do events, and/or hotels with nice-looking meeting spaces, but beware that once the word "wedding" comes out vendors' prices double or more. If you've got a good poker face, you might try getting prices for a birthday, retirement, or anniversary party instead. Then you can just happen to get married at it.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:22 AM on April 7, 2005

Oooh, NautiLimo!

As fer Googling, just type the name of a location and the word wedding (e.g. Florida Keys wedding, Niagara Falls wedding) and the first few results should have the main wedding-package planners.
posted by xo at 8:25 AM on April 7, 2005

If you want to come to Boston, the Reverend Mayor Curley will marry you for the cost of the filing fee. Seriously.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:28 AM on April 7, 2005

Gatlinburg, TN, is the Vegas of the South with lots of wedding chapels. It's commercial and can be a bit on the redneck side, but if you stay in a cabin in Gatlinburg (or between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge), the mountain views are beautiful, as is the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (great mountain driving!). And Dollywood? Not nearly as cheesy and horrible as you might think. The patrons, yes, but the park itself is actually well-planned,
posted by SashaPT at 8:31 AM on April 7, 2005

Response by poster: You are all lovely people. I will save you each a piece of cake or if things go the way they seem to be, a wedding Oreo.

Thank you Mayor, I've got a lot of family in the area, I think that sounds wicked awesome. Are you like one of them Universal Life jammies?
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:37 AM on April 7, 2005

If you want to come to Vermont, my landlady is a Justice of the Peace and will marry you for the cost of the filing fee and a good bottle of wine. Seriously. Three people have asked me variants on this question in the last week. Here's a page with all the legal requirements for our state. You can pretty much find variants of this boilerplate on every wedding consultant's web page in the US and overseas
posted by jessamyn at 8:39 AM on April 7, 2005 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, thank you. Thanks. I didn't think it would be so straightforward, but of course it is.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:10 AM on April 7, 2005

Generous offers, but I wouldn't choose the destination to save a few bucks. This is an occasion of romance and adventure to remember for the rest of your life.
Quebec City. History, mystery, joie de vivre.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:14 AM on April 7, 2005

New Orleans.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 9:22 AM on April 7, 2005

There's even a French Quarter Wedding Chapel.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 9:23 AM on April 7, 2005

What's wrong with a quick civil ceremony at the county courthouse? You can do that with some parents or friends tagging along if there's not huge numbers of them and then go out for a big dinner somewhere.
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:24 AM on April 7, 2005

I second weapons-grade-pandemonium's sentiment and humbly suggest the most beautiful city in North America as your destination.
posted by docgonzo at 9:36 AM on April 7, 2005

Response by poster: ursus_comiter,
I'm more in the mind of that, because I really care more about being married than getting married, but my better half wants something a little more... uh.. I guess memorable or at least somehow more exotic than a trip to city hall and because I love her, I respect that. Also I think if we go somewhere we don't to get into the whole who gets invited / who doesn't dealie, extended families, friends, this person can't be near that person. It's a whole deal. We're Irish American, sometimes we (our respective families and friends) tend to tear it up and shake it out with a little too much gusto at weddings.

Once again, thanks all.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:52 AM on April 7, 2005

Remember, in NY you have to get the marriage license before you get married. I believe it has to be at least one week in advance.
posted by Kellydamnit at 9:58 AM on April 7, 2005

I'll second Quebec City. The intrigue of a foreign country (...though the closest, most convenient one.)

I stayed at Hotel Dominion 1912 and it was fantastic. Boutique hotel, super-comfy huge bed, river view, lovely room w/Bose CD player, the most sumptuous "continental" breakfast I've ever had. They have a good concierge, and the hotel offers some package-type deals; I'm sure they've helped with weddings. (They scored us last-minute reservations for dinner for my best friend's 30th at a highly-touted restaurant without batting an eyelash.)
posted by desuetude at 10:20 AM on April 7, 2005

In Arlington, Virginia, we applied for and recieved our license in about 15 minutes. Had we chosen to, we could have then walked across the street to an officiant and tied the knot, but we had a specific date in mind, so we waited a week. It's the same in all other jurisdictions in VA, as far as I know.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:28 AM on April 7, 2005

I know you said no Vegas, but I would like to urge you to give it a second thought - there are some really, really amazing and beautiful wedding chapels out there that will provide that somberly romantic wedding without being gauche or glitzy, just because there's a significant market for that.

My wife and I paid $1250 for round-trip airfaire to and from Boston, two nights at the Hilton in a 23rd-floor suite larger than our apartment, and a limo ride to and from the Candlelight chapel, service included. The minister who married us carried off the whole thing with aplomb and dignity. I am not a man given to sentiment of any kind, and he made me tear up. We never gambled once, at all. We merely went there and had a perfect wedding. The only part of the experience that was the least bit imperfect was registering for marriage at 3AM in Vegas the night before when we first arrived - the waiting line was still two hours long and some of the people there were less than entirely sober. As an additional bonus, when we got back our families gave us $3000 in cash/checks for presents.

Going to Vegas to elope gets a very bad rap, and I think undeservedly so. If you're careful about your money and about the wedding chapel you select ahead of time - they have some of the best available out there.
posted by Ryvar at 11:05 AM on April 7, 2005

First thing that crossed my mind was the Poconos. There is even Bushkill Falls- the "Niagara of Pennsylvania". And lots of wedding chapels.
posted by Doohickie at 1:50 PM on April 7, 2005

I third or fourth Niagara Falls: all the rubber chicken & customized matchbooks you can handle. For Added Exoticness come on over to The Canadian Side! There's a casino (for that added touch of Vegasness), wax museums, etc.-- all kinds of Crazy Shit.

And Congratulations, Divine_Wino!

p.s.: any chance of your blog getting an update? I'd love to hear the Divine_Wino take on the joys of Holy Matrimony.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 2:24 PM on April 7, 2005

i'll third Montreal--very romantic. Even somewhere like Newport, RI might be good, or Colonial Williamsburg. I'd advise against the Poconos--those champagne glass hottub places are always being cited for filth.

And Niagara Falls is kitschy fun--definitely the Canadian side, where your money goes farther and there's more to do. There are also winery towns nearby i think.
posted by amberglow at 4:04 PM on April 7, 2005

Most of the Niagara Peninsula is wine country. It's particular famous for ice wine, but produces some very drinkable whites. If you're idea of a good time is wine, food and theatre, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and the surrounding area is a great getaway. Not cheap though.
posted by bonehead at 4:31 PM on April 7, 2005

Well, why not get one of your friends to get ordained at good ol' and make your own ceremony? That'll make for a much more memorable event than going to City Hall. Get your friends together for a picnic, do the thing with the stuff, and that's that.

Yo, Mayor Curley, are you ULC, too? Reverends represent!
posted by RakDaddy at 4:53 PM on April 7, 2005

Response by poster: Well thank you all again. Lovely people all.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:19 AM on April 8, 2005

Remember, in NY you have to get the marriage license before you get married. I believe it has to be at least one week in advance.

According to this official page, in New York you need to get the license at least 24 hours before you have the wedding ceremony, and the license is only good for 60 days (so if you wait too long, you have to pay for another license).
posted by WestCoaster at 10:38 AM on April 8, 2005

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