FAQ 1: why Harborlight Weddings, and what’s it like to work with you?
Check out the about page to learn more about Harborlight and the experience, perspective, and approach of Kurt, Harborlight’s professional officiant. Kurt’s goal is to meet you “where you are” and do the listening and legwork it takes to design a wedding ceremony that fits your style and personal story. To see if we are a good fit for working together, set up a free initial consultation through the contact page.
FAQ 2: how long do your ceremonies typically last?
Ceremony length largely depends on which package you select. The simplest ceremonies take approximately 5-10 minutes. For custom ceremonies, you can count on approximately 10-15 minutes (“DIY” version), or 15-25 minutes (fully customized) – it all depends on how much content (e.g., readings, rituals, etc.) you choose. Signature ceremonies typically last anywhere from 20-40 minutes.
FAQ 3: are your fees cost-conscious?
Yes! Harborlight’s four different ceremony formats are designed to fit different personal styles and budgets. Costs also depend on whether you request additional planning consultations beyond those provided in packages’ base prices, whether you want a separate formal rehearsal, and whether you elect other options. Consult the options and terms page for more details – including information on small wedding and other available discounts.
FAQ 4: vows – can we write our own? Or, what if we have no interest in writing our own vows?
The elopement package offers a variety of pre-written vows you can choose from. For all other packages, the answer to the first question is “yes!” and to the second is “don’t worry!” My aim is to work with you. That means providing guidance, tips, and encouragement if you choose to write your own vows, or working with you to get a sense of what format and tone feels right if you prefer I draft vows for your approval. The same goes with readings or other ceremony content – I’ll work with whatever you already have in mind, and if you need tips, I have resources to share and will be available to coach you through it all.
FAQ 5: what’s your approach to spiritual or religious beliefs, and how do you approach working with a couple with no spiritual or religious beliefs?
My focus is on who you are as a couple and what sort of ceremony will best honor and celebrate what you value. Most couples I work with prefer either an exclusively secular ceremony, or a mostly secular ceremony that includes a light spiritual touch. On the other hand, if you want a ceremony with spiritual or religious elements - whether traditional, eclectic, or inter-religious - I have the expertise to craft something that expresses your background or vision. Whatever your background, I’m committed to crafting a ceremony that hits all the right notes for you.
FAQ 6: can we get married in Central Park, or another New York City Park?
Yes! Countless couples have married in one of New York City’s wonderful public parks – from Manhattan’s classic Central Park or Brooklyn’s vibrant Prospect Park, to iconic locations like Brooklyn Bridge Park or Battery Gardens. I have performed several ceremonies in NYC parks, in different seasons, and am happy to walk you through it. Note that special rules and permit requirements apply for park weddings: consult NYC’s Weddings in the Parks website.
FAQ 7: do you recommend venues, photographers, florists, or other vendors?
Each couple has their own style, and my only recommendation is that you take the time to find the wedding venue and wedding vendors that are right for you. I’ll then work with you to ensure we design a ceremony that complements your overall vision and flows with what your other vendors provide for you. If it’s helpful, I’m happy to share the contact information for venues, photographers, florists, and wedding cake bakeries I have worked with and would recommend!
FAQ 8: we are working with a wedding planner, how does that fit in?
I’m happy to coordinate with a wedding planner if you have one. That means everything from working with your planner on timing and structure for the ceremony, to developing thematic elements that will complement the rest of your celebration. If you don’t have a wedding planner, that’s fine – I’ll work directly with you to craft a ceremony that fits with the style and tone you’re looking for.
FAQ 9: we have a family member or close friend who we want involved in our ceremony, is that possible?
Absolutely. Some couples want a simple ceremony – it’s just them, the officiant, and witnesses who have a formal role. Others want to include friends or family members who offer a reading or participate in some cultural or ritual element of the ceremony. Either way, I’ll work with you to plan a ceremony that is inclusive of those whom you want to have a role.
FAQ 10: what do you wear when you officiate?
I’ll typically wear a suit and tie, and can coordinate that choice so it works with your color scheme or other preferences. But I can just as easily go less formal or more formal, and discuss any other preferences you may have.
FAQ 11: do you attend a rehearsal?
It can be helpful to hold a wedding rehearsal, and many couples traditionally do. But it’s not a necessity, nor something I require of couples I work with because I take an active and collaborative approach in planning your ceremony from day one to day-of. If you forego a formal rehearsal, I can walk key people through the ceremony shortly before it begins. If you prefer to have a formal rehearsal that I attend the evening before, or at some other time, I’m happy to schedule that – note that additional fees apply, except if you choose a Signature Package, which includes a formal rehearsal as part of the overall package pricing.
FAQ 12: how does the marriage license work?
For New York City weddings, a couple must apply for a marriage license at the Office of the City Clerk. Or, this resource offers information about marriage licenses in all states (though always confirm specific rules with the applicable jurisdiction itself).
For a New York marriage license, apply no more than 60 days and no sooner than 24 hours before the ceremony. Then just get the license to me before your ceremony, I’ll sign it along with your witness(es) right after, and file it for you with the clerk’s office.
FAQ 13: what if one or both of us have been divorced?
Not a problem! All couples have their own relationship histories, and I’ll be honored to work with any couple that’s in love and meets the requirements in New York City (or any other applicable jurisdiction) to be issued a valid marriage license.
FAQ 14: will you officiate for LGBTQ couples?
Absolutely! I’m proud to have worked on the marriage equality movement as a lawyer, I'm proudly married to my husband Carlos, and I'd be proud to officiate at your ceremony if you identify as an LGBTQ couple. Meet the requirements for New York City (or any other applicable jurisdiction) to issue you a valid marriage license, and we're good to go! I have lots of ideas to help LGBTQ couples plan a ceremony that either works from “traditional” formats, or breaks free of such formats altogether to craft something uniquely you.
FAQ 15: we are planning to get married very soon, can you work with us?
I’ll do my best! Let’s face it, you wouldn’t be the first couple to say, “let’s elope to New York!” Because I live and work in New York City, I can often provide wedding services on short notice (I recently was able to do a wedding on 2 hours’ notice for a couple whose plans got scrambled last minute!), and the Elopement Package is particularly suited for this. Just note that New York law requires you to wait at least 24 hours after receiving your marriage license before marrying, unless you obtain a judicial waiver.
FAQ 16: do you officiate at ceremonies outside New York City?
Yes! My work is primarily NYC-based, but I’ve officiated at ceremonies in a number of states and even internationally. Whether you plan to get married in New York City, Long Island or Upstate New York, Connecticut or New Jersey, or someplace else, let’s discuss whether I’m the right officiant for you. Travel, incidentals, and any necessary accommodations costs apply for services provided outside the five boroughs of New York City.
FAQ 17: do you offer bilingual ceremonies?
Depending on the language, yes! While not quite fluent, I have sufficient command of written and spoken Spanish that I have successfully officiated at a number of English/Spanish ceremonies. My spoken French is also good enough that, provided a translation of content, I could officiate an English/French ceremony as well.
Reach out through the contact page. Or: