While romantic, just taking a vow with your loved one in front of your friends, family and an officiant unfortunately doesn’t make you married. You need an important document to make it official- the marriage license. Often couples are scrambling last minute to make plans to get their license and many couples don’t even know how to obtain one.
Since laws around marriage licenses are different in every state, we’ll break down New Jersey’s for you and provide links at the end for NY and PA. More information on NJ’s process can be found HERE.
Where to apply:
If you both live in NJ, you’re in luck and can apply in the town that either of you reside in and your license will be valid for anywhere in NJ.
If neither of you are a NJ resident you will need to file for your license in the town where your ceremony is taking place. If your reception is in Manahawkin but your ceremony is in Toms River, you’ll need to file in Toms River.
When filing this way, the license is ONLY valid in the township where you filed.
How to Apply:
You must apply in person!
The Township Clerk is the one who handles marriage license applications. Some townships require you to set up an appointment first, so check your townships website before just popping in.
Here is a list of documents you and your partner will need to apply:
Proof of identity by presenting your driver’s license, passport or state/federal I.D.
Proof of your residency
Your social security card or social security number
A witness, 18 years of age or older
The $28 application fee
There is a 3 day waiting period from when you apply until when your license is ready
The license application is valid for 6 months, but the license itself is only valid for 30 days!
After the wedding:
The signed license (the officiant will fill it out at the wedding, along with a witness) will need to be returned to the office in the town where you were married.
This is often handled by the officiant. It is ok to mail it, but if you are local, dropping it off isn’t the worst idea!
You will then need to request a copy of your certificate in person where it was filed (the city you got married in) or via mail. Check the city's website for more information.