Posted by NJWedding.com on 10/06/2020

Planning Your New Jersey Wedding: 2021 Edition

Planning Your New Jersey Wedding: 2021 Edition

If you’re planning on getting married in New Jersey (or in parts of New York & Pennsylvania) in 2021 or 2022, you must allow for some flexibility due to the Coronavirus.

According to the New Jersey Department of Public Health (http://covid19.nj.gov) there have been 878,892 COVID-19 cases throughout the 21 counties of New Jersey, resulting in 23,100 confirmed deaths as of May 6, 2021. The Pandemic that we are experiencing in NJ and the Tri-State area is very serious and continued to impacts our daily life along with future plans.

If you've watched press briefings by Governor Phil Murphy, then you're familiar with the phrase "Public Health Creates Economic Health," and that we need to continue to “flatten the curve” and focus on eradicating the virus. Because of the threat to residents by people coming in from other areas, the State of New Jersey strongly discourages all non-essential interstate travel at this time (view travel restriction details and quarantine recommendations here).

When it comes to planning a wedding or special event, the Coronavirus has restricted the ability to have traditional, large gatherings, and couples have been choosing various options for getting married and inviting guests to celebrate.

Learn more below about virtual marriage, elopements / micro-weddings and the status of indoor and outdoor gatherings. 

We at NJWedding.com want to help keep you informed and help you in this wedding planning process...


Weddings: Latest Guidelines

WEDDING CEREMONIES AND VENUES 

Can I still get married? Are wedding venues open? YES, so long as ceremonies and receptions comply with the limits on gatherings and other safety guidelines.

How can people safely get together? What are the limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings? Attending a gathering, ceremony or celebration is permitted, but different limits apply depending on the type gathering and where it is happening.

Below are the current guidelines:

Outdoor wedding ceremonies and receptions may be held while following appropriate gathering limits.
  • Outdoor wedding ceremonies and receptions do not have an attendance limit
Indoor wedding ceremonies and receptions may be held while following appropriate gathering limits.
  • As of Friday, May 7, the limit for all indoor wedding ceremonies will increase to 50% capacity, but no more than 250 individuals. If there is no unexpected surge in COVID-19 numbers, on Wednesday, May 19, indoor wedding ceremonies may be held at 100% of a room's capacity, but no more than 250 individuals, so long as social distancing can be maintained.
  • As of Friday, May 7, indoor wedding receptions and private catered events expand to 50% of a room's indoor capacity, but no more than 250 people, not including staff of the venue. If there is no expected surge in COVID-19 numbers, on Wednesday, May 19, indoor catered events may be held at 100% of a room's capacity, but no more than 250 individuals. 
  • All attendees at indoor gatherings must wear face coverings and socially distance / remain six feet apart.
  • Dance floors will be allowed to open at private catered events with masking and social distancing in place.


In addition to complying with the gatherings limits outlined above, any establishments that serve food or alcohol, including banquet facilities and wedding venues, must comply with the health and safety protocols for indoor and outdoor dining.  The statewide requirement that all bars and restaurants end indoor service as of 10 p.m. has been lifted. However, municipalities or counties may continue to regulate the hours of operation of in-person restaurant service after 8 p.m.

Surrounding states have different guidelines. Visit forward.ny.gov for New York and visit Pennsylvania info at www.governor.pa.gov

To save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing and stay home if you are sick. 

Individuals are currently allowed to tour restaurant and catering facilities for event-planning purposes, but must wear face coverings at all times.

View more details on the general limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings in New Jersey here...


Obtaining Your Marriage License

Those seeking a marriage license should apply for one in the New Jersey municipality where either party resides. The license is valid throughout New Jersey. If neither applicant is a New Jersey resident, submit the application in the municipality where the marriage ceremony will be performed. In this case, the license is only valid in the issuing municipality.

However, due to the public health emergency, please contact your local registrar first to determine if they are still open for business at this time as they may be closed to protect the health of residents and workers against COVID-19.

The Governor has also announced an executive order allows individuals to use videoconferencing technology for the licensing process and the marriage ceremony.

The requirement that a marriage or civil union be solemnized in the physical presence of an officiant and two witnesses can be satisfied through the use of live audio-visual technology, provided certain conditions are met.

The order also suspends the 72-hour waiting period between the license application and issuance, extends the period that a license is valid from 30 to 90 days, and waives fees imposed for the issuance of a second marriage or civil union license if the original has expired.

View more details: www.njwedding.com/marriage or www.njwedding.com/virtualmarriage


Wedding Planning Help and Ideas

In the beginning of March 2020 when news of the Coronavirus was becoming well-known, engaged couples had a difficult decision to make: whether to keep their wedding plans or postpone to a future date. Venues and service providers scrambled to work with clients to postpone weddings and accommodate with available open dates. Local, family owned wedding venue owners, along with the NJ Restaurant and Hospitality Association offered this advice: 

“Don't be afraid of a weekday. Offering couples the ability to consider weekdays like Monday or Tuesday virtually insures venue and vendor availability. Thursdays have already become a popular day for weddings in recent years. Most couples have spent over a year planning their weddings. Many are choosing to move their dates to weekdays to keep their entire plan from venue to photographer and entertainment intact and available to make their special day come together in the way they had originally imagined.” 

In March, we collaborated with local wedding professionals to ask for more advice. The most important takeaway was communication: with your venue, with your travel agent to postpone your travel plans, and with your guests to keep them informed of your future plans. 


Below are some other ideas for you to consider:

Virtual Marriage

During the public health emergency in NJ, the Governor made it possible to get married virtually through video communication technology. Visit www.njwedding.com/virtualmarriage for details and frequently asked questions, as well as links to your local registrar / clerk and a listing of Clergy and Wedding Officiants

Elopements / Micro-Weddings 

Couples have been choosing to get married and follow the guidelines mandated by the State Government. Gatherings of the couple and guests could be indoors or outdoors and include elements of weddings, such as music, flowers and other decorations, formal wear and much more. Also, additional guests could participate in the ceremony through Zoom, Facetime or other communication technology.

Planning For Your Traditional Wedding

You have dreamed of your wedding day in New Jersey or the Tri-State area, where invited guests will travel from throughout the region, and even from International locations to come and celebrate your marriage. Your wedding venue is decorated with beautiful floral centerpieces and accents, the band or DJ is playing your favorite music as you dance with your friends and family, and you, your spouse, your family, your bridal party and guests are enjoying the moments of your wedding, captured by professional photographers and videographers so the memories are preserved forever. While we are still uncertain about the status of public health, we expect you will be able to have the wedding that you plan in the future, and you can find the venue and all services you need on our website, http://www.njwedding.com..


"New Jersey Weddings" Facebook Group & Others

If you would like assistance from other brides and grooms-to-be and members of the weddings community, we set up a group on Facebook called New Jersey Weddings at where you can post questions and concerns and get the feedback you’re looking for! We maintain several Facebook groups at www.njwedding.com/connect which you are welcome to join!

We hope this information helps you in your wedding planning...

-Erik & Beth Kent, Co-Publishers, NJWedding.com

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