In order to prevent unnecessary confusion and disappointment, New York City officials will limit the number of marriages to 764 on Sunday, the first day the state's same-sex marriage law takes effect.
We are going to make history on Sunday, with the eyes of the nation once again turning to New York City, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Due to an overwhelming number of applications, 764 marriage licenses will be distributed through a lottery. The fairest way to determine who gets the chance to wed on Sunday and ensure everyone can properly plan for their own big day is through an even-handed lottery system. Nobody puts on big events like New York, and we will be ready on Sunday for what will no doubt be an historic and unforgettable moment, Bloomberg said.
Over the past two weeks, the city clerk's office had received 2,661 license applications online, and an estimated 1,728 of those were from same-sex couples, reported the New York Times. A lot more couples were expected to show up on Sunday without online application.
The lottery for marriage licenses opened on Tuesday and will close at 12 p.m. on Thursday. Winners will be notified by noon on Friday. Applications are accepted on the city clerk's website.
There will be 400 slots available in Manhattan, 112 in Brooklyn and Queens, 98 in the Bronx; and 42 in the Staten Island.
Each borough will hold a separate lottery, and couples can enter only one, according to the Associated Press. Winners can show up for their wedding at any time on Sunday, and the marriage should take around an hour later. Couples who wish to say their vows elsewhere can enter the lottery and receive the license and waiver on Sunday, then leave for their ceremony, said AP.
The 764 weddings on Sunday will exceed the city's current single-day record by 20 percent, said the Post.
The current record was set on Valentine's Day in 2003, when 621 couples were married.
This coming Sunday is expected to be the busiest day in history for the City Clerk's Office. Judges will perform three steps all at once: granting a marriage license, granting (on a case-by-case basis) a waiver of the waiting period, and performing a ceremony, reports AP.
Starting Monday, the couples who could not make the historical day as their anniversary will receive marriage licenses on a first-come, first-served basis.
Bloomberg said he would not expect people to be camping out overnight for marriage licenses.
It's not buying an iPad 2, said the Mayor.