Thinking of eloping in Atlantic City, NJ? As a NJ business owner, it breaks my heart to say it, but Atlantic City, NJ is not an elopement friendly destination in the way that Las Vegas is.
It should be, but it isn’t, and if you are among the many visitors attracted to Atlantic City from out of town, looking for a little nightlife, a little gambling, beaches and a boardwalk, with a beach wedding and a built in honeymoon, there are a few things you need to know:
When you land at the Atlantic International City Airport, you will not be in Atlantic City. You will be in Egg Harbor Twp., NJ which is about 12 miles outside of AC. I strongly advise that you rent a car for your visit as a car rental would more than likely be less expensive than taxi fares to and from the area and any driving in between. Parking in AC is not expensive IF after checking into your hotel, you get their rewards or casino card. Most casino parking is only $5.00 with use of their preferred customer card which is free.
New Jersey has a three day waiting period between the time you apply for your marriage license and when you may retrieve it and be married. And it’s to the hour. So if you plan on a weekend wedding, Tuesday is the last day of the week you may apply and still retrieve it in time for a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday wedding. For detailed information on what you need to bring with you at the time of your application, I refer you to this link . (And I highly recommend that you read it and print it out as reference.)
It IS possible to get a waiver on the three day waiting period, but it takes an Atlantic County Superior Court Judge to make it happen, and they aren’t necessarily going to be available on the day that you plan on applying for your license and they may not be located in Atlantic City. (Another reason you should consider renting a car.) If you are lucky enough to make contact with the office of a Superior Court Judge, you need a compelling reason to be granted a waiver. Work on your case before you get them on the phone. Judges might be more sympathetic if one of the partners is being deployed (you’ll need proof of that), or for other extenuating circumstances. It has been my experience that out-of-state couples have had greater success with obtaining the waiver pleading that they were not made aware of the three day waiting requirement, and now they have one hundred and fifty guests gathering to see them get married and a lot of money will be lost, etc. Here is a list of the Superior Court Judges in the vicinity: Good luck with your case.
Now here’s the biggest glitch and perhaps the biggest deal breaker of all. Unlike every other NJ beach town, getting married on the beach or any outdoor public location in Atlantic City, requires that the couple insures the city of Atlantic City for one million dollars for the day. No, I’m not kidding, and yes, they mean it. Every other beach town requires a permit for a beach wedding, and permits are usually free or for nominal cost. Most municipalities require permits to regulate and keep track of how many weddings are taking place, and ensuring that only one wedding at a time will be happening at any given location. But AC takes it a step further, and in order to get the permit, you must also provide proof that you have insured the city for the amount I mentioned. Since this costs somewhere in the vicinity of $300.00, most couples skip the idea of an AC beach wedding altogether. Those couples who still want a beach wedding are better served by contacting either Margate or Ventnor (nearby beach towns), to obtain a beach permit there. (Margate: 609-822-2605. Ventnor: 609-823-7904) But remember, if you apply for a beach permit in another town, and if you are an out-of-state couple, then you must also apply in that municipality for your marriage license and not just the beach permit. Out-of-State couples must be married in the municipality where they applied or the marriage will be voided. No exceptions, even in the case of hurricanes or other extenuating circumstances. It is worth asking the hotel or casino where you will be staying if they have a terrace or view of the ocean or beach on their premises that will not require a fee. Though most establishments will prefer to cash in on your nuptials, if you are staying at their establishment, they might be agreeable to allow you access for a very small elopement ceremony.
If you do decide to go through with your Atlantic City elopement, and you need an officiant, I’d be delighted to help you, provided you have addressed and resolved the aforementioned details.