New Jersey has always been a great state to elope to, but the legislature may make this easier today! My friend and colleague Marilyn Lockwood, an officiant in south Jersey wrote about this in her blog today. It is time for New Jersey to get with the program, and let people elope to New Jersey without a waiting period!
NJ’s Pending Marriage Proposal
Soon, NJ may be one of 28 states to no longer require a 3 day waiting period after applying for a marriage or civil union license.
This proposition by democrats Sen. Nicholas Scutari of Union County and Assemblyman Lou Greenwald of Camden is great news for spontaneous couples looking to tie the knot along the Jersey coast. It also gives Atlantic City, in particular, a bit more of an edge in luring couples who might otherwise have gone to Vegas.
Anyone familiar with Atlantic City’s rich history knows that this measure is in keeping with Atlantic City’s appeal as a fun and anything goes city. And it will also benefit those couples who get bitten by the love bug while visiting one of the countless other coastal communities that NJ has to offer.
This will undoubtedly appeal to couples who prefer spontaneity and like being able to say, “Today’s the day,” and really be able to get the job done without hassle.
Obviously, the passing of this law pleases me. I love weddings and beachfront weddings hold a special place in my heart because they are usually very special to the couples who identify with the ocean as a sacred location. Churches and Temples traditionally played the role in housing wedding ceremonies, but with more and more secular couples, and couples of mixed faith looking for neutral territory, couples are identifying locations of natural beauty as their new sacred ground. NJ’s scenic coastal towns offer a perfect backdrop for couples saying their “I do’s” in a natural setting that for many of them, invokes a sense that they are at home, in a peaceful and naturally beautiful setting.
There is also a provision of a thirty day, no questions asked, annulment period which accompanies this proposal, just in case some couples get too swept up and get in over their heads. I don’t think is a bad thing for anyone. You can live with someone for years, but it is not the same as being married, I don’t care what anyone says. Being legally and morally bound to another human being is truly only something you can understand when you fully realize you’ve made that commitment to them. A built in grace period following any marriage or civil union is a merciful asset. I’m hoping and would be very interested to see, if over the long haul, that this thirty day grace period doesn’t help reduce the number of divorces of couples who invest years in a situation that they knew was a mistake even after only a few days.
This opinion may come as a surprise since I am a wedding minister. Obviously, I want all my couples to live happily ever after. But I think psychologically, that this thirty day period gives a sense of ease to couples and alleviates the initial stress of the first few weeks of marriage, until they can settle into their forever reality of devotion to one another.