How to Get Legally Married in New Jersey and Plan Your NJ Wedding
Nestled between New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, the state of New Jersey is known for its famous shoreline, Jersey City, and the Paterson Great Falls National Park. New Jersey is a cultural hub with major cities which come alive at night, beautiful beaches perfect to lounge on, and unique food trends that could make an appearance on your dinner menu. But before we get ahead of ourselves, you and your future spouse will need to obtain a marriage license from your local registrar before you can be married legally in the state of New Jersey. Continue reading for an overview of the application process so you can have all of the details sorted before you stroll down the boardwalk.
How to Get Married in New Jersey
Is there a waiting period to get married in New Jersey?
There is a short three-day waiting period before you can be married in NJ. A New Jersey marriage license is valid for 6 months unless the Registrar extends the date, in which case your certificate can be valid for a maximum of 12 months. Note: if you are entering a remarriage in NJ, there is no waiting period.
What are the legal requirements to get married in New Jersey?
Under New Jersey law, you may enter into a marriage as long as you are at least 18 years of age and are not already in a marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership.
Who can marry you in the state of New Jersey?
Current or retired judges, mayors, country clerks, and authorized ministers of religion may perform marriage and civil ceremonies.
What's considered a common law marriage in New Jersey?
The state of New Jersey does not recognize a common-law marriage as legal, which means a couple must obtain a marriage license and have a wedding ceremony conducted by an approved officiant in order to be considered married.
New Jersey Marriage License 101
What do you need to get a marriage license in New Jersey?
The first step is completing a marriage application form, which you can also obtain at your local registrar's office. When you and your significant other arrive at the office, make sure you also have the following items on hand:
- Proof of identity (i.e. a driver's license, passport, or a state/federal I.D.)
- Proof of residency (only applicable if you and/or your SO are New Jersey residents)
- Your Social Security Number
- $28 for the application fee
If any of the above documents are written in a foreign language, make sure to bring a certified English translation, as well. In addition to these documents, you will need to bring with you a witness who is at least 18 years or older. Don't worry, you don't have to bring your entire guest list with you to the municipal court, as well.
If you want to reaffirm your civil union or obtain a remarriage license, the process is relatively similar. You and your partner must provide proof of your existing marriage in addition to the typical requirements for a marriage license.
What does a New Jersey marriage license cost?
The application fee for a marriage license in the state of New Jersey is $28.
How long does it take to get a marriage license in New Jersey?
You and your partner will have to wait for three days before your New Jersey marriage license can be formally issued. The 72-hour waiting period begins once the application has been filed by the registrar.
Can you apply for a marriage license online in New Jersey?
You may fill out the marriage license application online, but you and your partner have to be present at your local registrar in order to sign the form under oath. Reminder: do not sign the application before going to the clerk's office.
Another quick note: you can apply for a marriage license in either New Jersey municipality where you or your SO reside. If neither of you is a New Jersey resident, then submit the marriage certificate to the municipality where you plan to be married. The marriage license will only be valid in the town or city where it is issued.
Contact your local registrar for hours of operation and more information.
How do you get a copy of your New Jersey marriage license?
In order to acquire a certified copy of your New Jersey marriage license, you can either contact the clerk's office where you obtained your certificate, or the New Jersey State Office of Vital Statistics and Vital Records. For the latter option, you will also need the following items in addition to your application for the certified copy:
- A certified copy of the proof(s) of identity
- Proof of your relationship to the person listed on the vital record (in this case your partner's name)
- Marriage license (only applicable if your name was changed after the marriage)
- The relevant fee
This may seem a bit tedious just to receive a certified copy of your marriage certificate, but after your trip to the local registrar's office, you can continue the more exciting parts of wedding planning.
How to Plan a New Jersey Wedding
The Different Cities and Areas to Consider for a New Jersey Wedding
With over 100 miles of coastline, you may opt for a beach-themed New Jersey wedding. For a bustling waterfront destination, consider Asbury Park known for its Ocean Avenue Boardwalk where your guests can find entertainment and food options to last a lifetime. Cape May is another beachside area to consider, known for its shops and beautiful beaches. If you want something a bit more intimate, Belmar has the small-town charm you will love.
If your heart beats to the drum of city life rather than crashing waves, Jersey or Atlantic city as well as Newark (not the airport) might be the way to go for your wedding venue. However, if you want a destination in between beachy and city vibes, Morristown and Montclair offer national parks and art museums to entertain during the day, and event venues to dance away the night. And of course, there is the city of Princeton where the Ivy League university is located, along with its historic destinations and quaint downtown area.
What to Look For in a New Jersey Wedding Venue
Speaking of venues, New Jersey has a wide range of glamorous hotels and chateaus, as well as grand estates with a variety of indoor and outdoor options. Whether you want to see the city skyline or a waterfront view as you sip from your champagne, or say your vows on a beach or along a favorite path in a national park, NJ really has it all. If you do opt for a classic beach wedding, remember to contact your beach of choice to check the permit process and fee. The same holds true for national parks.
How to Find New Jersey Wedding Vendors
Did you know that saltwater taffy was invented in the state of New Jersey? Sounds like the perfect goodie bag filler. But don't worry, saltwater taffy and hoagies won't be the only items your caterer can serve. Although mini hoagies do sound like the perfect late-night snack ...
The Knot has a helpful directory of Jersey vendors who will cater to your every need and desire, from beautiful displays of charcuterie with fresh berries to plated seafood dinners. And while NJ may be known for its tomato pies, you can just as well find bakers who will deliver multi-tiered cakes with delicate decorations. Perhaps you will even opt to include the state's flower: the blue violet.
When it comes down to choosing between florists, decor, and entertainment, splurge on a good wedding band because while the group may not include our friend Bruce, they will entertain nonetheless.
The Best Times of Year to Have a New Jersey Wedding for Good Weather
Located in the northeast region of the U.S., New Jersey has warm and humid summers and colder winters. That being said, if you want a beach wedding, opt for the earlier summer months to avoid the hottest temperatures. Similarly, it can be pretty windy in the winter months so a crisp fall wedding may be a good second option.
Another timely factor to keep in mind is the tourist season. Tourism is one of NJ's popular industries and for that reason, the summer months can be packed especially in popular destinations like Cape May. This doesn't mean you can't plan your wedding in June or July, but just keep in mind that you may have to wait in a rather long line for that hoagie.