Love is a miraculous gift, and a wedding is a celebration of that magic, and that's what we're here to do. Our goal at Joyous Unions is to help you realize your perfect Union with your perfect partner. Non-denominational Ordained Ministers, Reverends Matthew S. Bartky and Jack S. Bartky, can legally perform your Wedding or Civil Union in the State of New Jersey, creating a ceremony that suits your tastes, personality, and your own beliefs. Proudly serving all of New Jersey.
Yes! As legally Ordained Ministers of the Universal Life Church, we are recognized by the State of New Jersey as a legal Wedding Officiants.
Do you serve outside of New Jersey?
No. Marriage laws are unique to each state. While we are legally ordained Ministers, some states require registration of Officiants, and other states have other requirements of which we may not be familiar. Being residents of New Jersey, we are only familiar with the laws of this State, and prefer to serve our clients here.
Do you perform Same-Sex Ceremonies or Civil Unions?
Very simply, yes! It is our belief that if two people love each other, that is the ONLY thing that matters. Not gender, race, creed, religions, or orientation. It is that idea that we will always champion. As a matter of fact, effective February 19th, 2006, the State of New Jersey also recognized that fact.
What about a Civil Ceremony?
The State of New Jersey no longer has what was known as a "Justice of the Peace".
According to State Law, those who can officiate a Marriage are:
• Any Federal, State, Municipal judge or magistrate (even if they are retired);
• Any county clerk;
• Any mayor or deputy mayor of a town;
• Chairman of any township committee;
• Any religious minister
As Ministers of the Universal Life Church, we can legally perform your ceremony. Technically, aside from the public officials, there are no "civil ceremonies". However we are here to custom tailor a ceremony to your tastes. That means if you prefer no religious or spiritual aspects to be included in your ceremony, that is certainly not a problem.
Simply put, "Your Day, done Your Way!"
Do you perform Renewal of Vows or Affirmation of Love Ceremonies?
Yes! We would be pleased to help you create a ceremony to show your love for your partner. You can apply for a new marriage license showing proof of your existing marriage to have the renewal on record, if you wish. The 72-hour waiting period is waived for vow renewals. It should be known that Affirmation of Love ceremonies are not legally binding, but rather are meant for those wishing to express their love and dedication without the legal nature of Marriage or Civil Unions.
Do we have to have witnesses?
The State of New Jersey requires by law that two witnesses sign the Marriage or Civil Union Licenses. If you do not have witnesses, they may be provided for you for a small fee.
Is a Handfasting Ceremony Legally Binding?
Yes and No. Traditional handfastings are not viewed as a legally binding ceremony. By Wiccan tradition, a handfasting is more like a betrothal or engagement, where the couple is meant to be joined for one year in order to assess their ability to be joined in marriage. While a handfasting itself is not a legally binding ceremony, it can still be a meaningful and joyous occasion. Also, if you prefer, a wedding or civil union ceremony can be designed in the style of a handfasting.
Can we write our own vows?
Absolutely! We are able to provide pre-written templates, or help you create your own vows, as well as any other portion of the ceremony. It's your day, and you can customize your way!
What about Location?
As long as the location is in New Jersey, and you have all appropriate permissions or permits for the location, where your ceremony is held is entirely up to you. That includes the beach, a park, a rented hall, or your home.
Will we know what you are going to say before the ceremony?
Yes. You have complete control over what goes into your ceremony. The only things required by law are that the couple state their intentions to marry or unite, two witnesses be present and sign, and the Officiant pronounce the union. Everything else is up to you.
Can my or my partner's children participate?
Not only can we incorporate children into the ceremony, we would encourage it. Nothing makes children feel more a part of a union and brings the new family closer than involving all parts of the family.
What about Religions? What is a Non-Denominational Minister?
We are Ministers of the Universal Life Church. We accept people of all Races, Genders, Creeds, Orientations, and Religions. We believe firmly in that, and the freedom of all to practice as they wish. Any religious aspects you wish to include in your ceremony are yours to cherish. If you do not wish to have religious aspects included in your ceremony, and would prefer either a spiritual or totally secular experience, we are happy to be of service. The slogan of the Universal Life Church is "To Live and Help Live".
Do you Require Premarital Counseling or "Pre-Cana"?
Pre-Cana is a tradition of the Catholic Church. It is our belief that if two consenting adults love each other and want to share that love through Marriage or Union, they certainly do not need our or anyone else's permission to do so. It is, however, a good idea for you and your partner to discuss things like finances, household responsibilities, sex, children, spirituality, friends, relocations, and careers before saying your "I Do's". There are many books as well as professionals who can help guide you through the process. But the most important thing, as in all things in marriage, is to have an open mind, and an open heart.
Reservation and Payment Questions
How far in advance should we book your services?
In general, when you book your ceremony site, you should book your officiant next. Popular dates are reserved a year or more ahead of time, and without an officiant, you won't have a wedding. Six to nine months in advance is common, keeping in mind that other couples are also booking ahead. If we can accommodate you on short notice, we will. Don't be afraid to ask.
Do you have a Contract?
Yes, we have a contract in order to protect our clients. The contract specifies when and where services will be performed, the fee, and when fees are due. The deposit is due at the time of contract signing.
What are your terms?
We require at least 50% of the total as a reservation fee, and the balance is due at rehearsal or just before the ceremony. The deposit may be paid in cash, by check, or by money order. We now also accept Visa, Discover and MasterCard payments by phone or onsite. Any payment made within two weeks of the ceremony must be in cash.
What if something happens, and you can't attend the ceremony?
While such an event is highly unlikely and would be avoided at all costs, we can make arrangements for someone else to perform the ceremony. Your ceremony script is finished at least two weeks in advance, so it will still be the ceremony you designed.
Do we need to meet with you before the wedding?
The decision is entirely yours. It is possible for us to orchestrate the ceremony by way of telephone and e-mail contact. But if you prefer a personal meeting, this can be arranged as well. However, due to the continually increasing costs of fuel and travel, we must charge for consultations that require us to travel. That fee is based on the distance needed to travel.
Is it customary to tip the Officiant?
It is not necessary to tip the Officiant, but it is always appreciated! We also very much enjoy a photograph of the bride and groom and/or the offer of a reference. A nice note or card is always appreciated. It is entirely up to you and how you feel.