Gerry Siracusa has been in the wedding industry for over 25 years and became an ordained minister in 1998. As an MC and entertainer, he works hard to make every clients’ weddings fun and special.
The actual ceremony is the most important part of your special day. It should be handled with care and it needs to be exactly what the bride wants (the groom too!). As an ordained, licensed, interfaith minister, he has the flexibility to conduct your ceremony anywhere you would like within New Jersey and would be honored to be the officiant at your wedding ceremony.
The Steps to Your Marriage License in New Jersey
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:
Photo Driver’s License or Driver’s License without photo
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.
How to Change Your Name in New Jersey After Marriage
How to Change Your Name in New Jersey After Marriage
An age old tradition for newlyweds is for the bride to abandon her maiden name in favor of her new husband’s surname. More modernly, however, it is also common for a newly married woman to hyphenate her maiden name and new husband’s name or to make the decision not to take on her husband’s last name at all. For those that wish to change their name after marriage, the process isn’t difficult, but it is time consuming. Once the marriage certificate arrives in the mail, the process begins.
1. Take your marriage certificate to your local New Jersey Social Security Administration (SSA) office to start the name change process by changing the name on your social security card. Fill out form SS-5, which you can obtain and fill out at the SSA office or download from the SSA website and fill out prior to visiting the SSA office. Input your name, address, birth information and the names and social security numbers of the parents listed on your birth certificate. On the correct line, enter the name you want on your new social security card. Submit your application, photo identification and a certified copy of your marriage certificate to obtain a new SS card. Your new card will arrive in the mail seven to 14 business days later.
2. Get a new driver license. Locate your local driver license office, a division of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to apply for a new license. Take your current license and your marriage certificate to the licensing office and request a new license. Pay the fee associated with obtaining a new license, take a new photo and ask to have your voter registration and vehicle registration updated to reflect your new name, as well. Your new license is issued while you wait.
3. Notify your employer and banks that you’ve changed your name. Take copies of your marriage certificate or your new driver license to the Human Resources Department of your employer and the accounts clerk at your bank. Some employers and some banks might require you to sign a form stating that you requested your name change and some will not require this — it all depends on the company policy at your place of employment and your bank.
4. Write to your credit card companies, utility company, insurance company, mortgage company and your car note companies. In your letter explain that you have recently wed and want your name changed on your paperwork. Mail your letters with copies of your marriage certificate and your new driver license. Confirm your name was changed in each companies system when your next billing statement arrives.
5. Change the name on your online accounts, magazine subscriptions and your memberships, such as your frequent flyer mile memberships. These can be done by visiting individual websites and updating your account information.
US Marriage Laws
Wedding Officiant Laws by State
New Jersey Marriage Laws
How to Apply for a Marriage License
How to Apply for a Civil Union License