NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some lovebirds looking to wed in the Big Apple are finding popping the question is the easy part, but getting the marriage license is a whole other story.

Due to the pandemic, appointments are limited. Couples told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner on Monday they’re scrambling.

When Sravanti Balaji scheduled her December wedding in Mexico, legally she had to get her marriage license within 60 days of that date.

In September, she went online to schedule an appointment with the New York City Clerk’s Office.

“There were no appointments for several weeks. Between meetings at work, I would just keep refreshing,” Balaji said.

By luck, she got in when someone cancelled.

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But Franny Berkowitz and her fiance, Frank, have been very unlucky. Their 2020 wedding was cancelled by the venue due to COVID-19 and now she’s on the verge of giving up on a city ceremony.

“A simple piece of paper is like trying to win the lottery at this point,” Berkowitz said. “I think it’s kind of bs. Excuse me. Like, everything’s open in New York.”

CBS2 found Monday that some appointments are available for licenses roughly three weeks in advance, but appointments for ceremonies are taken for the week with no option to plan ahead.

City Clerk Michael McSweeney said the office can only handle so many people at a time due to COVID restrictions.

“We just ask the people to please be patient and we’ll do the best we can. Please keep sending us emails explaining what that process is,” McSweeney said.

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And he said virtual appointments are being curtailed to prevent bots from snagging and selling appointments, so couples are searching elsewhere in the state.

“Typically, I’ll suggest Yonkers or Long Beach because, you know, there’s an access to trains right there,” Rev. Susanna Stefanchi-Macomb said.

Balaji asked friend Connor McEwen, who was ordained online, to do her ceremony.

“I’m going to be in New York for a while and hopefully have some more friends that I can help marry,” McEwen said.

One couple wanted to wed on their Nov. 6 anniversary, but settled for Oct. 25 because that’s all they could get.

“She’s my best friend to actually to be together so that’s what matters. The date doesn’t matter. Being here, having this moment, matters,” said Jamil Lawrence of Newark, New Jersey.

The clerk’s Twitter account alerts followers of new appointments Mondays and Thursdays at 9 a.m., but the clerk told Rozner he tries to respond to emails of people who are in a time crunch.

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