NEW JERSEY WEDDING LAWS
1. If the bride lives in NJ, the couple applies in her town, if the bride doesn’t live in New Jersey but the groom does, it’s his town, if neither do, they apply in the town where the marriage is taking place.
2. Call the Registrar of Vital Statistics in the town and make an appointment. Hours are generally between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
3. Both the groom and bride must appear in person, (not necessarily at the same time) and each must be accompanied by the same witness.
4. The bride, groom and the witness bring two forms of identification. Both forms of ID must be government issued (from any government on the planet). One of the following must be a photo identification. If you don’t have a photo ID call the registrar before you go and let them know.
Proper identification is:
a. Photo Driver’s License or Driver’s License without photo
c. Birth Certificate
d. Social Security Card
Visa for staying in the United States (not credit card)
5. If this is a second (or more) marriage for either, if the cause of devolution was death, the death certificate, if legal annulment, the annulment order, or if divorce, bring the first page of the divorce decree showing, jurisdiction, docket number and date of filing. All previous spouses are listed on the application and on the license.
6. The license in New Jersey currently costs $28.
There is a legislatively mandated 72 hour waiting period required between application and issuance. In an emergency (illness, military leave, etc.), a Superior Court Judge (found in County Courthouses) can sign a waiver lifting the 72 hour waiting period. You apply for the License, seek out a Judge to grant the waiver, and then take that paper you receive from the Judge’s office to the town to have the License issued immediately.
7. When you get your license, carefully review every line for errors and have them corrected at once. Erroneous information will require a change order and delay your receipt of your “Proof of Marriage Documents”. The information on the license is used for many purposes, and like Birth and Death certificates, once the “Seal” is placed on the document, you live with that information as a permanent part of your record, SO MAKE SURE IT IS ACCURATE. This information is also given later to Social Security, so it must match what they already have on file. Show any errors to the registrar and have them give you a corrected license immediately.
8. You now have a four part carboned license to be wed. Keep it safe and DO NOT write on it or over it. On the day of the wedding the license is to be handed to the officiant performing the ceremony. We always suggest that even if the bride is very organized and the groom isn’t nervous, give the license to someone else to hand to the officiant, preferably someone who will be there before the ceremony, along with all the envelopes of payments that need to be distributed. Any payment due the officiant, place in the envelope with the license. The bride and groom are best advised to leave the business end of their wedding to someone else on that day and keep the love front and center.
9. After the celebrant and any two adults you choose (18 years or older) sign the license (sometimes it is the Best Man & Maid of Honor ; it can also be any other 2 people you wish to include that day), you are supposed to receive the pink copy of the license.
10. Take the pink copy on your honeymoon, it is your only proof that you are married. The pink copy has no legal force. It’s usual use is as a piece of memorabilia for filing in a draw and waiting for your real “proofs of marriage certificates.”
11. The marriage license must be filed by the officiant to the town where the wedding takes place within 5 days of the ceremony. Make sure your officiant will take care of this. The officiant holds onto the blue copy and sends in the 2 white copies.
12. Now for your proof of marriage. For the bride to take on the groom’s last name (with or without her own last name) on her drivers license, bank, insurance, and Social Security (we’ll go into that in a moment), she needs the “Proof of Marriage” that is obtained from the registrar of town where the wedding took place, or much later, if you are not in a hurry, from the State government in Trenton. Each town has a separate and different fee for each original and requires a “Request for Marriage Certificates” be filled out.
13. An Executive Order was issued in New Jersey on April of 2002. Only the Bride and/or Groom may apply in person or by mail for their Certified Proof(s) of Marriage. You need to obtain the application form from the township where the wedding has taken place. Again, you call the Registrar of Vital Statistics. You cannot obtain the proof until after the marriage license is filed by the officiant who conducted your wedding. If you are local to the town, one of you can walk in with and show the pink copy and a photo identification just as you first did when going for your marriage license.