Now What? Five Next Steps to Take after Your Wedding Ceremony
Updated: Jul 7
Congratulations! All of your hard work and planning have paid off nicely. You've married the love of your life and the biggest party you will ever throw is now over. Time to life forever in wedded bliss.
But pump the brakes. You're still not legally married. That doesn't happen until all the paperwork is completed and filed. A professional officiant, judge, justice of the peace, or religious celebrant should be able to walk you through what happens next. As an FYI:
The marriage license needs to be completed correctly. In NJ, the officiant or celebrant must complete a portion, as well as two legal witnesses (at least 18 years old). No offense to your friend or cool uncle, but this is extremely important and you should feel confident that the person performing the ceremony is aware of the local laws and requirements.
The license must be filed. In NJ, you have to file your license with the clerk's office of where the ceremony took place, not where you live. Some offices allow for hand-delivery. You may also mail it in. Some officiants will mail it for you, so ask during your consultation. (I send it FedEx or UPS with tracking.)
You must request an official/certified copy of the marriage certificate. It generally takes 2 weeks after the county clerk receives the paperwork for it to be filed. Give the clerk's office a call before you show up to request a copy. Some jurisdictions require you to submit your request online. Ask your officiant and they should be able to walk you though the process.
Don't use your married name yet. In most cases, you cannot even begin the process of a name change before you have your marriage certificate. If you are changing your name, wait until after the honeymoon if you have booked anything. Changing your name before you travel or putting your travel plans in your married name before you have the documentation will only set you up for disaster. Companies like HitchSwitch make it easy and walk you through the process.
Leave a review for your officiant. This will pass along good will for a job well done and officiants LOVE to hear from their couples.