Welcome To New Jersey, Home of Weddings on Demand

Call me old-fashioned, but I knew my husband for 10 years before marrying him. We'd been together forever before our professional and love lives aligned one gorgeous spring morning at Old St. Joseph's Church in Society Hill.

I've heard of speed dating, but speed weddings always seemed like plot lines for lame movies or stunts to be pulled by Britney Spears. Now, thanks to Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden), my daughter will be able to marry on demand if we still live in the Garden State when she makes the mistake of a lifetime.

ca. 2000 --- Bride and Groom Outside a Drive-in Church --- Image by � Royalty-Free/Corbis

Greenwald's bill (A-4366) purports to boost New Jersey's tourism industry. How? By eliminating that pesky 72-hour waiting period and streamlining residency requirements for those itching to get hitched. (Theoretically, the rules are "cumbersome" for out-of-state couples who then abandon plans to wed in Cape May.)

"This bill provides New Jersey's small weddings market with a shot in the arm," Greenwald boasted in a press release. "By gaining a competitive edge over our neighboring states, we will create jobs and jump-start the small businesses that make up New Jersey's wedding and tourism industry."

The bill, which appears to be sailing to a legislative honeymoon, also seeks to position New Jersey as the preferred wedding hot spot for impatient lovers in the Northeast.

Pennsylvania, alas, has a 72-hour cooling off period. Maryland makes couples wait two days while New York and Delaware give giddy guys and gals 24 hours to change their minds. Soon, New Jersey will only have Connecticut and Rhode Island as conjugal competition.

As for me? Still happily wed after 11 years and two kids. But I have softened on the issue of who vacuums and when.

Should any of these speed brides not fare as well, take heed: New Jersey remains home of the $399 divorce.

-- Monica Yant Kinney


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