Weddings... As you Wish

Changing your Surname

Don't fret if you have decided to change you name after marriage, just remember to contact the following organizations to ensure a smooth transition.

1. County Clerk's Office: Get your marriage license 
Before you can change your name, you'll need the original (or certified) marriage license with the raised seal and your new last name on it. Call the clerk's office where your license was filed to get copies if one wasn't automatically sent to you. You may need more than one copy.
2. Social Security Agency: If you took your spouse’s last name or if both spouses hyphenate their last names, you may run into complications if you don’t notify the SSA. When newlyweds file a tax return using their new last names, IRS computers can’t match the new name with their Social Security Number.
3. DMV: Take a trip to the local Department of Motor Vehicles office to get a new license with your new last name. Bring every form of identification you can lay your hands on -- your old license, your certified marriage license and -- most important -- your new Social Security card.
4. Banks/Credit Card Accounts: This one's a biggie, especially if you're setting up a joint bank account, or if you have one already set up. The fastest way to change your name at your bank is to go into a branch location -- bring your new driver's license and your marriage license. You should request new checks and debit and credit cards on top of changing the name attached to your accounts. Something to note: You might get hit with fees for requesting a new debit card.

Once you have a social security card and driver's license in your married name, other changes should be fairly easy. 
Don't forget to inform:

  • Doctors' offices
  • Electric and other utility companies
  • Employers/payroll
  • Insurance companies (auto, home, life)
  • Investment account providers
  • Landlord or mortgage company
  • Passport office
  • Post office
  • Schools and alumni associations
  • Voter registration office
  • Your attorney (to update legal documents, including your will)

​This New York Times article provides an insightful look at one woman's quest to change her last name.

If you don't want to do all the work yourself, you will find companies that will provide the service for you for a fee.


What type of ceremony is right for you?

Traditional. These are typically faith-based and culled from the tradition the bride and groom were born into.

Non-denominational. A spiritual ceremony that includes reference to God, but does not adhere to any particular religious protocol.

Non-religious. Usually includes no reference to faith and typically does not mention God.

Interfaith. This is a blending of two or more faiths, by including aspect of religion or religious rituals or readings that are symbolic of each faith.

Intercultural. This is a blending of cultures and/or religious aspects such as a Jewish breaking of the glass with a traditional hispanic "Lassoing." 

Pop culture theme. This is usually a ceremony adapted from something that is part of popular culture and close to the hearts of the bride and groom. It may be a full ceremony dress as a knight and lady of the court or a ceremony that includes lines from Star Wars or Disney, or  ceremony based on a favorite romance novel or movie.

Wedding Rings

For thousands of years lovers have exchanged rings as a tangible symbol of their love. Ever wonder what the origins of the most symbolic wedding ritual are?

Getting a License

New York City

New York has no residency requirement for marriage, but you must get your Marriage License from the Marriage Bureau at the City Clerk’s Office, in person, together.  You may use a Marriage License issued by a Town Clerk or City Clerk outside of New York City anywhere within the City of New York.

THERE IS A 24-HOUR WAITING PERIOD from the time you receive your License to the time you may wed and that licenses expire after 60 days of the application date. 

Each borough has its own schedule and hours

You will NOT receive a Certificate of Marriage right after your Ceremony.  It can take up to 20 days for the documentation to be sent to you from the City Clerk's Office.  If you have not received your Certificate of Marriage Registration within a month of your Marriage Ceremony, you should contact the Office of the City Clerk where you obtained your Marriage License.

New Jersey

New Jersey has two residency rules.

  1. The marriage license application is to be made in the New Jersey municipality in which either party resides and the license is valid throughout the State of New Jersey.
  2. If neither applicant is a New Jersey resident, submit the application in the municipality where the marriage ceremony will be performed, the license is ONLY valid in the issuing municipality.

THERE IS A 72-HOUR WAITING PERIOD from the time you receive your License to the time you may wed and that licenses expire after six months after the application is accepted.

It is important to verify current requirements with the county/city/town clerk where you plan to get married.  Please contact the Local Registrar to determine if license applications are handled during business hours or by appointment.

You will NOT receive a Certificate of Marriage right after your Ceremony. You must request it from the New Jersey vital records office. Contact the Local Registrar's office in the municipality where the event occurred.  The fees for copies of vital records vary by municipality. Please contact the municipality where the event took place for more detailed information.

Outdoor Weddings

The NY/NJ area boasts a number of romantic outdoor venues to make any couple feel like they are starring in their own fairy tale wedding. The following links may help you choose one that is right for you.

NYC Parks

From the various botanic gardens to the grandiose parks or quaint playgrounds to landmarks, NYC may provide you with 

This beautifully landscaped vineyard offers breathtaking panoramas and plenty of space for tented receptions of 300 or more. Set your ceremony on a bluff overlooking the entire valley. Host a rehearsal dinner or intimate reception for 40 in the 200-year-old stone barn. A warming kitchen and patio perfect for cocktails are available, along with, of course, the fruits of the vineyard.

Branch Brook Park

The nation's oldest county park was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead in 1895. Paths meander along a large lake and brook in this peaceful four-mile-long park. This park also features a butterfly garden, pedestrian bridges, and an entrance gateway. Prime time for romance here is April, when Branch Brook's 2,000 Japanese cherry trees are covered with pink and white blossoms. Consider holding your ceremony at the magnificent Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, then crossing the street for a garden reception in a cherry tree grove. Call to arrange a permit, tent, catering, and other details. 973-268-3500, ext 254

Keep in mind that if you want to have any activity in a city park with more than 20 people, or would like to reserve a specific area within a park, you need to apply for a special event permit. 

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Happily Ever ​Blissful