Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve never done this before… what is the normal process?

After you have checked out our website/price range/reviews etc, it’s best to first drop us a quick email or a text to check if we have availability on your date.  Please include your name and best way to contact you, your venue/city and the approximate ceremony starting time (because we might be booked for a shorter ceremony nearby a few hours earlier and thus be safely available on the same date).  This can also be done with our Contact Form.  We’ll get back to you quickly.

If you are open for my date… what next?

Most couples schedule an initial phone call or a FaceTime meeting to compare all the ceremony options, discuss your ideas and preferences and receive an accurate price quote based on your specific needs.  It’s also important to get a feel for your JP’s personality and professionalism, since all officiants are not the same.

What do we need to do before our ceremony?

Ceremonies held in MA require a valid MA Marriage License. Ceremonies held in NH require a NH Certificate of Marriage. It doesn’t matter where you both live, only the state where the ceremony is taking place.

How do we obtain a Marriage License in MA or a Certificate of Marriage in NH?

You must BOTH go to any City or Town Clerk’s office in that state to “File Your Intentions”. The fee will vary from town to town.

We are very impressed but just started our search... will you hold our date for us?

Sorry, but we do not hold dates without a deposit.  We get multiple inquiries for the same dates all the time and some couples need more time to decide than others. We do respect that… but a popular wedding vendor can’t refuse a client who is ready to reserve them with a deposit because another couple who contacted them previously (and didn’t book at that time) may or may not be still be interested.  Our best advice when choosing any of your vendors: If you find a popular vendor who you really like and who meets all your needs… book them with a deposit so you don’t lose them.

Do we have to be residents in the same town/city where we file?

You do not have to be a resident of the town/city and the license/certificate may be used to be married in any other city or town within the same state. It is not valid out of the state.

What do we need to bring when we file for the license?

You must both be over 18 and show a valid ID: (birth certificate, driver’s license, passport etc). If either person is under 18 years old, a court order must be obtained first from the probate court or district court where the minor resides.

Are there any other requirements?

In Massachusetts, there is no blood test required, but after filing, there is a waiting period of 3 days before you can pick up your license from the clerk’s office. The 3-day waiting period may be waived only by a court order. If either or both of you are divorced, divorces must be FINAL before the time of the filing of intentions. Massachusetts does not require any witnesses present at a marriage ceremony.

How long is the License good for?

A MA marriage license is good for 60 days from the date you file for it, so don’t file too early.  6 weeks before is perfect. A NH Certificate of Marriage is good for 90 days.

What do we do after we get the license?

Get it to your Justice of the Peace in advance. A good time is a month before the wedding, since things can get pretty hectic for you in the final few weeks. A Justice of the Peace cannot perform the ceremony without your marriage license. After your marriage ceremony, your JP is required to sign and return your license to the same City/Town Clerk’s Office where you applied for it. After your marriage has been officially recorded by the clerk, certified copies will be available there at a nominal fee set by each town/city hall.

We were at a wedding that offered cocktails before the ceremony. Any thoughts?

A wedding ceremony is usually followed by 5 or more hours of eating , drinking and dancing to help you celebrate your marriage. It is a grave error to permit the drinking of alcohol prior to the ceremony, since it can alter clear judgement and lessen the full, polite attention span of those who drink beforehand. For this reason, we suggest leaving specific instructions with your venue/bartender, wedding party (flasks!), family and guests that you would prefer everyone to respect your wishes to start the party AFTER the ceremony.

How do you handle annoying cell phones and intrusive cameras disrupting a ceremony?

Our customized ceremony offers couples the option of a polite pre-ceremony announcement asking everyone to please power down their cell phones and to allow the professional photographer to capture the pictures while all attendees capture the ceremony with their hearts.  We can offer many other ideas to help you craft your ceremony.

What do you think about having a friend or relative perform the ceremony for us?

Most of the time, it turns out very similar to having a friend with an iPod try to DJ and MC a wedding for the first time. It looks easy until you try to do it yourself.  An experienced, professional wedding officiant who takes pride in his or her work is always your best option if you want everything to be organized correctly and run smoothly.

Can you perform our ceremony in New Hampshire?

Yes. We do ceremonies in Southern NH all the time!  A MA JP can be authorized to perform a specific NH wedding by the State of New Hampshire by simply obtaining a special NH permit.  This allows a Massachusetts Justice of the Peace to legally perform that specific couple’s marriage in New Hampshire. If you are being married in NH, we’ll simply add the $25 NH permit cost and take care of everything else.

What is the proper amount for a gratuity for our officiant?

We get a lot of questions about the proper gratuity amount.  As with all gratuities, they are based on the quality of service and how happy you were with that particular vendor.

Most of the “tipping guidelines” we have seen (in both printed and online wedding publications) suggest a gratuity of about 10% for the officiant. The gratuity is usually placed inside a sealed “thank you note” and given to the officiant at the rehearsal or just prior to the actual ceremony, by either the best man or the father of the bride.

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