Helpful Information

The State of New Jersey Department of Health web site outlines how to apply for a marriage license. From this site you can download the license application form.

This is a quick summary of what you need to do (I go over it in detail when we meet).

  1. Contact the clerk’s office in your municipality and ask if you need an appointment. You can find your clerk’s info here:
  2. Both partners go to the clerk’s office with one witness (over age 18).
  3. All 3 of you fill out the application.
  4. All 3 of you present your ID and sign the application.
  5. Pay the $28 fee.
  6. Either partner returns no sooner than 72 hours after submitting your application to pick up the actual license.

As long as one of you is a resident in the State of New Jersey, your marriage license must be obtained from the registrar in the municipality in which you reside. A license issued in this manner is valid for 30 days and good for use anywhere in the State of New Jersey.

If both of you are not residents of New Jersey, the license may only be obtained from the clerk of the municipality where the ceremony is to be performed. It’s valid for 30 days but is only good for use in that municipality.

Find your clerk.

A marriage ceremony can be performed by any federal, state, municipal judge or magistrate (even if they are retired); any county clerk; any mayor or deputy mayor of a town; chairman of any township committee; and every minister/reverend of every religion, including Internet ministries.

You can submit the marriage license application up to six months prior to your wedding date, although most couples usually go a few weeks before the actual date. The clerk can’t issue a marriage license sooner than 72 hours after the application has been submitted (see example below). Once the license is issued, it is good for 30 days from the date of issuance.

The marriage license application must be completed by both of you and your witness before the license is issued.

Example: If your ceremony is scheduled for a Saturday or Sunday, the latest the application can be submitted is the preceding Tuesday in order to have your license back by Friday. However, waiting until this late is not recommended unless there is no other option. (Clerks are generally not available on Saturday, Sunday or any public holiday.)

Each applicant is required to provide the following, as applicable:

  • Valid identification that establishes your name, age, date of birth and proof of residency (e.g., driver's license, certified copy of a birth certificate, military identification, passport or state/county identification card).
  • Proof of your Social Security Number (state law requires that this be kept confidential).
  • If one or both parties are divorced, have had a previous civil union dissolved or previous domestic partnership terminated, you should bring a copy of the final legal decree(s).
  • If one or both parties have had a marriage legally annulled, you should bring the annulment documents.
  • If one or both parties were in a previous marriage, civil union or domestic partnership where the previous partner is deceased, you should bring a certified copy of the death certificate.
Yes. Your witness must be 18 years or older and have the proper identification. Only one witness is necessary as long as he/she knows both parties.
Yes. There is a $28.00 application fee payable in cash or by check.
Yes. There is a 72-hour (3 business days) waiting period before you can return to pick up your license.
Your officiant must file the license with the clerk of the municipality where the ceremony was performed. The license must be filed within five (5) days after the ceremony.
Your marriage certificate is usually available five (5) days after receipt by the appropriate clerk. You may pick it up from the local clerk in the municipality where the ceremony occurred. Call first to confirm what the cost is for a marriage certificate.

You may submit your information via my Contact Me page, email me at [email protected], or by phone/text/voicemail to (908)208‑6130.

We’ll set a date/time and place to meet that is mutually convenient. If you live outside New Jersey and won’t be here soon, we can set up our initial meeting via Skype or Facetime.

Before we meet, I’ll email you sample ceremonies to review along with some information about the NJ marriage license process.

At our meeting we’ll discuss the details about your bridal party, what type of ceremony you have in mind and whether or not you’ll want any rituals or traditions included, or if you’ll want friends or family members to participate (e.g., readings, unity candle/sand ceremony). We’ll also review in detail the process for obtaining your NJ marriage license.

I’ll leave two copies of my contract with you, pre-signed by me, and ask that you take some time to consider what we’ve discussed and determine if I am the “right” officiant to join you in marriage.

I’m always deeply honored when asked to take on the responsibility of performing a wedding ceremony.

Return one signed contract to me with your retainer check. (The balance is due on or before the day of your ceremony.) We’ll work together via email to develop your ceremony, until we get it exactly the way you envision it.

You can use any of the ceremonies on my samples page or from the group I email you before our meeting. Very often, you’ll find specific words from different sample ceremonies that truly reflect your beliefs and dreams – we can use this content to get your draft started. You’re encouraged to include readings in your own ceremony and any traditions, customs or rituals you have in mind. We’ll work together to achieve our ultimate goal — creating a unique ceremony that you and your guests will agree does, indeed, reflect your personalities and your special love for each other.
Definitely! This is a list of some of the many ideas other couples have included.
Breaking the glass is a custom that dates back many centuries and is usually associated with Jewish wedding ceremonies. There are countless interpretations for the tradition of breaking a glass. Some see it as a reminder of the destruction of the First Temple of Jerusalem. Others say it is meant to remind us that marriage is as fragile as glass. It also has been interpreted to demonstrate how life is so fragile that the couple should enjoy every day as if it were their last together. Today, many couples who are not Jewish include this tradition to symbolize the breaking down of barriers between people of different cultures and faiths.

Filipino weddings reflect the strong traditions of family and generally include these typical Filipino rituals, the coins, veil and cord. Primary and secondary sponsors are also a very important part of a Filipino wedding ceremony.

The Wedding Coins (also known as: Arras) have traditionally symbolized the prosperity that will be shared by the new couple and represent the couple’s commitment to mutually contributing to their relationship.

The Veil & Cord. The Veil is placed over the shoulders of the couple to symbolize their union and being “clothed as one” in unity. The cord is placed over the veiled heads of the couple and rests on their shoulders. It is a symbol of the couple’s bond, that indeed they are no longer two but one in their new life as a couple.

There are many Greek wedding traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. Today, if couples include any of them, it is usually the Stefana (Crowns) and the Ceremonial Walk. In a traditional Greek wedding ceremony, the couple is crowned with Stefana. Stefana are duel crowns linked together with a single length of ribbon, symbolizing the joining of two souls and the creation of a new household. Generally, the Crowns are worn until after their vows and rings have been exchanged. Then, the couple walks around the altar (usually a table with flowers on it) three times. This ceremonial walk symbolizes the first steps of life as a married couple. The Crowns are removed at this point.
In ancient times, the commitment of marriage was signified by binding the couple’s hands together. This Celtic tradition is believed to be the origin of the term “tying the knot.” The couple locks their hands together in a figure 8 (the symbol for infinity) and the cord is wrapped around them, symbolizing the love that unites and binds their hearts and spirits.
This is a ceremony dating back to the 1600s and derived from Africa. It is also thought to have roots in the Welsh, Celtics, Druids, and Gypsy cultures. The jumping of the broom, which generally happens at the end of the marriage ceremony, is symbolic of binding a couple in marriage, signifying their entrance into a new life and their creation of a new family by symbolically “sweeping away” their former single lives, former problems and concerns. They jump over the broom to enter upon a new adventure as a married couple.
The box contains a bottle of wine (or two or three), two glasses, and a love letter from each to the other. The letters describe the good qualities they find in one another, the reasons they fell in love, and their reasons for choosing to marry. The letters are sealed in individual envelopes and each has not seen what the other has written. During the ceremony, the couple places their letters in the box and seals it. It will be opened again to share and celebrate on their 5th anniversary. However, should the couple ever find their marriage facing hardships, they will open this box, sit and drink the wine together, then separate and read the letters they wrote to one another to be reminded of the reasons why they are together.
Love locks are an ancient custom, which is believed to have originated in China. They’re a symbol of love and commitment – where lovers lock a padlock on a chain or gate and then throw away the key, symbolically locking their love forever. Around the world, cities from Moscow to Rome are filled with fences, bridges and poles adorned with padlocks. For purposes of the ceremony, couples substitute the fence with a plaque, or something similar that can be placed on a small easel. The locks are secured to this item. It has been said that if both members of “love’s hand” are not present as the lock locks, the love has been forever jinxed.
One carafe has white wine (sweet) the other has red wine (bitter). Wine from each carafe is poured into a third empty carafe then the blended wine is poured into two glasses. The blended wine has certain properties that are sweet (happiness, joy, love) and holds some bitter properties (disappointment, sorrow, grief). There are usually some questions asked or statements made to which the couple will toast each other and take a sip.
Planting a tree to celebrate a marriage is an ancient tradition that is shared by numerous cultures around the world. The tree planting ceremony not only incorporates a visual of togetherness, but it provides a memorable “take-away” that will continue on with the couple far beyond their wedding day. The tree is not actually planted in the ground during the ceremony. Instead, it is symbolically planted as the couple puts dirt into the potted container. At a later time, they plant the tree at their home or other special place.
Generally, presenting the mothers (aunts, grandmothers, godmothers, etc.) with a rose occurs near the beginning of the ceremony, and is especially sweet and touching when it’s a surprise. A ceremony to honor the mothers of each partner who planted the seed of love in their hearts. The couple takes the roses (usually wrapped in cellophane – your florist will help here) and goes to each mother. The officiant is in the background explaining that giving roses is a universal symbol of love.
This is an old German wedding custom or, more specially, Bavarian. This is the tradition of a couple cutting a log together and represents the first obstacle that the couple must overcome in their marriage. Immediately after the ceremony, the couple has to saw a log in half using a large 2-person saw. This symbolizes that by working together they can accomplish difficult tasks and it also serves as a future reminder for when the couple faces, and must overcome, the difficulties that inevitably arise in a marriage.
The time capsule ceremony is a reminder of the durability of your love and the lifetime commitment of marriage. You select important mementos of your courtship and usually write letters to each other. The time capsule is usually sealed during the wedding ceremony and opened for your five, ten or twenty year anniversary. The time capsule ceremony can also include friends or family who are invited to bring photos, letters, or keepsakes to seal in the time capsule and opened on some future date.
The unity candle ceremony uses two (or more, depending on how many people are involved) taper candles with a large pillar candle (called the “unity candle”) in the center. If family members (usually both mothers) are lighting the taper candles, the explanation leans more toward the idea of joining together the two families, and their love for the couple, into one united family. If just the couple lights the candles, it is to symbolize the union of two individuals, becoming one in commitment, merging their families, friends, individual histories, etc.
The unity glass and unity sand are similar. The biggest difference is that after the unity glass ceremony, you end up with an amazing sculpture to commemorate your wedding day and keep on display. Here’s how it works: you order colored glass crystals (also called frits) in your wedding colors – you can find info online and learn more about the artist you’ll be working with. During your ceremony, you combine the crystals into a vase and then send them back to your artist who will use your colored glass to create a unique sculptural piece that lasts forever.
Similar to other unity ceremonies, the unity sand can include just the couple or be expanded to include other family members. Whether just the couple or more, each person has their own colored sand as part of the permanent reminder of the event. The unity sand gained new attention after 2003 when it was included as part of a wedding ceremony on “The Bachelorette.” Although it may seem like a new fad, it is believed to have its origins in Native American culture, either with Hawaii’s indigenous people or Native Americans from the mainland.
A ring warming ceremony gives wedding guests an opportunity to hold your wedding bands and wish you good luck for your marriage. It is a wonderful way to include your guests and allow them to actively participate in your wedding ceremony. This also makes your wedding bands so much more significant knowing that you are wearing everyone’s blessings on your finger. Generally, early on in the ceremony the officiant explains what a ring warming ceremony is. One ring is handed to a person in the front row on both sides. The rings are passed from guest to guest until needed for the ring vows.
The Wishing Stone Ceremony is a great way of involving all your wedding guests at your wedding ceremony. Small, sometimes polished stones are handed to the wedding guests as they arrive at the ceremony. During the ceremony the guests hold these stones and make a loving wish for the couple’s life and future together, such as love, happiness, health, strength, wealth, success, family, luck, friendship, patience etc. As guests are exiting at the end of the ceremony they drop their stone in the jar or vase.
If you choose to have a rehearsal, and I’m available, I’ll meet with you and any family members and/or friends and we’ll “walk” through the Processional & Recessional, as well as what will happen during the ceremony. (The rehearsal should take under an hour.)
On the day of your ceremony, I’ll arrive approximately 45 minutes early. Your witnesses and I will sign your NJ marriage license and, if there is a balance due, you’ll make final payment to me for my services.
On the next business day after your ceremony, I’ll mail the completed NJ marriage license to the appropriate clerk’s office in the municipality where you were married and confirm this with you by email. In that email, I’ll also provide you with the clerk’s contact information so you can call and arrange to obtain your marriage certificate.