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Getting Married Sunday? Here's What You Need to Know

By Jill Colvin | July 23, 2011 7:11pm

MANHATTAN — Get the throwing rice ready.

Wedding bells will chime Sunday for hundreds of gay couples across the city, as New York celebrates the state’s first day of legal same-sex marriage.

Wedding-dress and tuxedo-clad couples who were accepted in the city's lottery for marriage licenses are expected to start lining up outside the Manhattan City Clerk’s Office at 141 Worth Street on Sunday morning, where they will be taken on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Officials will live telecast the ceremonies of the first six couples, who have already been chosen, and are advising the rest of the couples to show up no earlier than 7:30 a.m.

No one will be permitted into the Clerk’s Office after 3:45 p.m., but the city has vowed to remain open until all of the selected couples are served.

All couples will have to bring valid, government-issued identification to validate that they are the ones on the lottery registration, as well as to receive their license.

They will also have to have a witness over the age of 18, who has valid ID, accompanying them.

Bloomberg warned couples to be prepared to wait, which could be a challenge for those in delicate dresses or three-piece suits amid the city’s ongoing heat wave. Temperatures are expected to reach near 90 degrees on Sunday – but they’ll feel like close to 100 — before an evening thunderstorm cools things off.

"If they’re in a bad mood that day, they've got a problem. Maybe they should rethink this whole thing," he said during during his weekly radio interview on WOR.

"It's going to be hot. And, you know, you have a lot of fun. And you joke about the lines and that sort of thing."

Once inside the clerk’s office, the actual process will take only about 5 minutes.

Couples will go through a three-step process. First they'll get a license from the city. Then, if they want to get married that day, they need a waiver from a judge to speed up the city’s 24-hour waiting period. Couples should bring their waiver form filled out but not signed, according to the Clerk’s Office.

Then couples can have their marriage ceremony conducted inside the Clerk’s Office by a judge, or they can opt out and can leave the office to have their ceremony elsewhere. There are three chapel rooms inside the building, and there will also be clergy outside the Clerk’s Office volunteering to marry couples once they have their licenses if they want to be married by a pastor or rabbi instead.

Couples who did not enter the lottery will not be permitted to be married Sunday.

They can come back to the Clerk’s Office on Monday morning, when the Clerk's office will be open for extended hours.

Mayor Bloomberg will be officiating the marriage ceremony of Jonathan Mintz and John Feinblatt at 6:30 p.m. at Gracie Mansion. This is the third marriage he's performed since becoming mayor; his earlier ceremonies being for his oldest daughter and former mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Couples should bring their application confirmation number so staffers can quickly locate their file.

Both members of the marriage must appear in person to the City Clerk's office to obtain their license.

The marriage license costs $35 and the optional marriage ceremony at the Clerk's office costs $25. The Clerk’s Office takes money orders and credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express). Cash and personal checks are not accepted.

Couples are also encouraged to bring proof of any previously terminated marriage or marriages.