August 29, 2018

Saying “I Do” in Princeton Now Comes With a Cost

By Anne Levin

Princeton Council approved an ordinance at its Monday, August 27 meeting to charge a fee for marriages and civil union ceremonies performed by Mayor Liz Lempert and Council President Jenny Crumiller. The measure was introduced at the August 13 meeting of the governing body.

It will cost $50 for Princeton residents and $200 for non-resident couples to have the ceremony performed by municipal officials. The money will go into an emergency fund that is part of Princeton’s Human Services Department, specifically to be used to fund temporary housing for residents who have been displaced during an emergency.

Lempert said that while the ceremonies have been performed for free in the past, couples have been asked for a donation of their choice to benefit organizations from a list including Princeton Public Library, Friends of Princeton Open Space, and others. The proposal to charge for the service came after officials realized that many couples were not local residents, but were coming from out of town. “This is a beautiful town,” Lempert said. “People like to have it on their certificate.”

Marriage and civil union ceremonies are usually performed by Lempert on Fridays, in her office or at locations around Princeton. Requests were at a peak in 2013, when same sex marriages became legal in New Jersey. While it has slowed down since then, the ceremonies still take time and some expense.

“With couples where neither one was from Princeton, we felt we were providing a free service that was costing the town time and the clerk’s time, and it just seemed like we should be charging for it,” Lempert said.

The measure will go into effect in September.