During the COVID-19 pandemic, people across our nation and throughout Long Island are eating at restaurants curbside, waiting outdoors for a turn to get a haircut, conducting office meetings by conference calls and Face Time, as well as wearing masks everywhere. Adapting to the regulations put forth by New York State regarding social distancing, Hempstead Town Clerk Kate Murray has been an innovator when it comes to meeting the needs of loving couples who wish to get married during this difficult time. Indeed, Murray has begun to offer socially distanced, outdoor wedding ceremonies, uniting couples in wedded bliss as part of the Coronavirus reopening process. Prior to the in-person marriages, Murray initiated the first-in-the-state Zoom weddings, and she also issued curbside marriage licenses.
“We are taking responsible steps in the reopening process as we continue to recover from the Coronavirus,” said Murray. “As part of the process, the Town of Hempstead has begun to offer in person wedding ceremonies again. They will take place outdoors and be socially distanced, but the joy of an in-person wedding ceremony has returned. I am so excited, and the couples are embracing the experience, even during these deeply troubling times.”
As the Coronavirus shutdown began, Murray’s staff reached out to every couple that was scheduled to be married at Town Hall, offering to perform wedding ceremonies with the use of technology instead. In specific, the Clerk’s Office has been uniting couples in matrimony via Face Time and Zoom. What’s more, the office has been issuing marriage licenses curbside to couples who wait in their cars, keeping safe while making sure that town government does not stand in the way of love. Murray noted that all the wedding service innovations at her office were in compliance with the Governor’s Executive Orders.
“It is all about adapting to the circumstances when you are confronted with the devastating impacts of issues like the Coronavirus,” stated Murray. “I was excited to offer the first-in-the-state Zoom and Face Time wedding ceremonies. I also knew we had to meet the need for issuing marriage licenses while conforming with the restrictions set forth by New York State. That was the inspiration behind providing the first curbside marriage licenses on Long Island. I am happy that I can help couples who want to get married, and they don’t want the pandemic to stand in the way.”
“During the COVID-19 shutdown, we at the Town of Hempstead remained hard at work providing essential services and implementing initiatives to help residents during the re-opening and recovery process,” Supervisor Don Clavin said. “Working together with Town Clerk Kate Murray, we’ve applied ‘outside the box’ thinking when it comes to providing marriage licenses and performing wedding ceremonies throughout the pandemic. I encourage couples to take advantage of the innovative, safe and socially distant wedding services offered by Kate Murray and her dedicated Town Clerk staff.”
Since March 16th, the Town Clerk has performed 55 wedding ceremonies. There have also been more than 300 licenses issued via the office’s curbside service. The curbside option has been so popular that there are already 451 appointments booked through August 10th.
Couples who are interested in using the Town’s curbside service are asked to download a marriage license application at https://www.hempsteadny.gov/files/pdfs/EnglishMarriageLicenseApplication.pdf
Now that restrictions have been loosened by the Governor as part of the COVID-19 reopening process, Murray plans to schedule as many outdoor weddings as possible. The town is even setting up a temporary outdoor tent to meet the needs of couples during inclement weather. When Murray was Town Clerk 17 years ago she performed weddings at a Town beach and, recognizing how popular that was, plans to offer that and other options to couples who are seeking to schedule an outdoor wedding. Some of the possible locations for outdoor weddings include: Hempstead Town Hall Patio, Town Park Point Lookout, the Gazebo at Seamans Neck Park in Seaford, Levittown Veterans Memorial Gazebo, Path to the Park in Valley Stream, sunset weddings at Levy Park (either on the fishing pier or at the summit).
“I want to take advantage of the beautiful weather to help couples who want to get married,” concluded Murray. “I encourage those interested in scheduling an outdoor wedding to call 516-812-3014.”