Newark, New Jersey Wedding Guide

Become a Wedding Officiant in Newark as an AMM Ordained Minister. Learn more about getting ordained in New Jersey, officiant training, wedding ceremony planning, and more.

How to Officiate a Wedding in Newark, New Jersey

So, you’re getting married in New Jersey! Or perhaps you were asked to officiate a wedding in this lovely part of the country. Either way, the Garden State is truly one of the most diverse in the New England area to plan a wedding. Here, just outside of NYC’s magnetic pull, you can find everything from mountains, to beach towns, to the booze-soaked dives featured in MTV’s Jersey Shore and Atlantic City (not to mention, some of the best pizza on the continent) -- all squished into an area small enough that could fit inside of Texas 31 times. 


Whether you want to soak up the energy of the coastal nightlife or have a peaceful ceremony away from all the noise, NJ’s got you covered.


But before you start planning your Jersey dream wedding, let’s get the logistics of your wedding out of the way first, starting with getting your wedding officiant of choice licensed.

New Jersey Wedding Tips and Tricks

Become a Wedding Officiant

For The
Wedding Officiant

STEP 1: Get ordained with American Marriage Ministries


Let’s start with the ordainment process. According to New Jersey state law, the following persons may perform wedding ceremonies: 


“Each judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, each judge of a federal district court, United States magistrate, judge of a municipal court, judge of the Superior Court, judge of a tax court, retired judge of the Superior Court or Tax Court, or judge of the Superior Court or Tax Court, the former County Court, the former County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, or the former County District Court who has resigned in good standing, surrogate of any county, county clerk and any mayor or the deputy mayor when authorized by the mayor, or chairman of any township committee or village president of this State, and every minister of every religion, are hereby authorized to solemnize marriages or civil unions between such persons as may lawfully enter into the matrimonial relation or civil union; and every religious society, institution or organization in this State may join together in marriage or civil union such persons according to the rules and customs of the society, institution or organization” (Title 37:1-13).


Assuming you’re not a U.S. state magistrate, you’ll need to get ordained to become a minister, which is a lot easier than getting appointed as a judge. The process with AMM is free and takes just a few minutes.


When it comes time to perform your duties as the officiant, Essex County may ask you to present documentation, which AMM provides for a fee. (You can call the county clerk’s office before you perform the ceremony to ask if they will require you to bring the certificate in person.)


STEP 2: Prepare for the Ceremony in Essex County


Now that the easy part is out of the way, we can help you prepare for the wedding ceremony itself. Being asked to officiate a ceremony is an honor, but can feel like a lot of pressure. You will appreciate our wedding training pages, which are a library of information to help you prepare for your first ceremony and ensure that it goes smoothly. 


Here you can find everything from sample wedding ceremony scripts, to  brainstorming prompts, tips for preparation, and more.


STEP 3: Officiate the Wedding and Complete the Marriage License


When it comes time to sign the marriage license, it’s the couple’s responsibility to obtain and complete the marriage license, but you should double check that they have a valid marriage license before the ceremony.


In Newark, the person performing the ceremony must also file the license and certificate with the Registrar of the municipality in which the ceremony was performed. “Since failure to record the certificate may cause considerable inconvenience at a later date when proof of certificate is needed,” you should make sure that this has been done within 30 days of the ceremony, according to Essex County.

New Jersey Wedding

How To Get Married in Newark

For The

Now let’s turn our attention to the couple’s responsibilities. To obtain your marriage license, the couple must apply for the marriage license in the New Jersey municipality where either party resides, if at least one of them is a New Jersey resident. Once obtained, the license is valid throughout New Jersey. If neither applicant is a New Jersey resident, note that the license is only valid in the municipality in which you obtained it.


When you go, just remember to bring:


  • Proof of identity (driver’s license, passport or state/federal I.D.)
  • Proof of residency by one applicant, if a NJ resident
  • Social Security numbers
  • One witness (18 years of age or older)
  • the $28 application fee

Essex County Marriage License Info

Important Facts to know before filing for a marriage license in Newark, New Jersey.

Issuance Office: 465 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Fee: $28 
Waiting Period: 3 days
Expiration: 30 days 
Return: by Officiant

Newark Wedding Tips and Tricks

Wedding Venue and Planning Tips

For The Couple
& Officiant

The Basics


When choosing your wedding date, take into consideration that summer and fall are the most popular seasons to get married in Jersey, so accommodations rates will be at their highest, and there may be a bit of competition in securing your venue of choice. 


You’ll also want to be mindful of the state’s biggest events, which include NJ Seafood Festival and the Firefly Festival, both in early June, and the State Fair Meadowlands, usually in in early July. If your venue is geographically near any of these events within about 30 miles, you’ll want to consider choosing another weekend, as traffic can get pretty intense.


There are some beautiful wedding destinations throughout the state. Cape May, at the southernmost point of the state, is one of the most popular for its wide range of options: from romantic beaches to upscale resorts to charming Victorian houses, like the Southern Mansion, which has been renovated into a charming wedding space. There’s even the Willow Creek Farm & Winery -- the only winery on the island -- which is an utterly picturesque setting for a wedding that embodies the outdoor beauty of the Garden State. 


But if you want to stay close-in to Newark, the surrounding areas of the city have plenty to offer, as well. The Crystal Plaza is an uber-glamorous indoor/outdoor venue that will please your Newark-residing guests, as this property is just 20 minutes from town.


Or, if you want to keep it low-key with a casual, Vegas-style affair, Jersey Shore and Atlantic City have what you need -- both within two hours of Newark.




New Jersey is a fairly small state that’s easy to navigate by car, thanks to the New Jersey Turnpike. If you don’t have a car or you’re flying in from out of town, Lyft and Uber will be your best friends during your stay. You may want to steer clear of the public transit system entirely, which is overcrowded and suffers frequent service disruptions. 


If you’re flying into Newark Airport (on the northern side of the state) and the wedding is set in Atlantic City or Cape May (down in the southern portion of the state) it may be more economical to rent a car rather than utilizing any ride-sharing services.




New Jersey experiences four distinct seasons: cold, snowy winters; fairly cold and rainy springs; hot, humid and sometimes-stormy summers; and crisp, dry falls. The sweet-spot between summer and fall is many New Jerseyans’ favorite time of year. 


The humidity of the summer breaks, the temperature cools a bit, and the thunderstorms subside, making it perfect wedding weather -- but again, this is most couple’s choice for their wedding date, so be prepared to pay top dollar for wedding venues and catering services.

Newark Officiant FAQ

Newark Officiant & Couples FAQ

For The Couple
& Officiant

Where should our marriage record be filed after the ceremony?

The officiant must file the license and certificate with the Registrar of the municipality in which the ceremony was performed. 


If we obtain our marriage license in Newark, can we use it anywhere in New Jersey?

If one or both members of the couple are New Jersey residents, the marriage license is valid throughout the state. If neither applicant is a New Jersey resident, the license is only valid in the issuing municipality. 


In New Jersey, who returns the marriage license to the county clerk’s office -- the officiant, or the couple?

The officiant.


Do I need to bring my social security card in order to apply for a marriage license?

No, but you must know your social security number if you are a U.S. citizen.


Can we use the marriage license the same day we apply for it?

No, in New Jersey there is a three-day waiting period.


New Jersey City Guides

  1. Atlantic City
  2. Jersey City
  3. Newark

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