Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Try to Choose a Justice of the Peace in Massachusetts

With the weight of the venue selection off my shoulders I felt a huge sense of, “Phew!  Done!”  And the fact that Adam booked his one-way ticket (and then changed his ticket to come even earlier, but that’s another story) well, I just felt like I was all set.

Of course there’s still PLENTY to do. 

But I told Adam I’m not sure where I want to start?  Flowers?  Hair and makeup?  He suggested finding a Justice of the Peace in Massachusetts.  Always practical!  But I figured why not; it needs to be done. 

The thing is, usually a justice of the peace wants to meet before wedding ceremony.  So while Adam picked the most necessary detail for me to tackle, it’s a tricky one.  I can’t just show Adam a picture and say, “That’s pretty, right?” like I can with the flowers.   And I can’t exactly price shop since the state sets the rates they charge (it looks like the cost of justice of the peace in Massachusetts is $100, but then can tack on another $50 for travel expenses.  Plus a Justice of the Peace in Massachusetts can get around the fixed price by adding on rehearsals, meetings, and so on).  It’s really just a question of their public speaking ability, personality, and professionalism, which is not as easy for me to judge on my own. 

So I looked up “Massachusetts Justice of the Peace” online and got together a list.  It was really nice when they had a complete website with prices and biographies and even sound clips.

Then I looked up tips for choosing a Justice of the Peace.  There were some great tips that were mainly just empowering.  It basically says that the couple should be making the decisions; the wedding officiate shouldn’t insist on his/her way.  That’s important to me since I’ve already got our wedding program completed!  I don’t want someone who has a set repertoire that I need to choose from.  Not after I put in all the work of finding meaningful components.  The site also explains a good wedding JP should also work with the other professionals, and not act like his/her role is more important.  It’s a shame he’s out of Connecticut because I thought he sounded very professional. 

The next site that was helpful for me provided a list of questions to ask a Justice of the Peace.  I especially liked the one that asked for examples of how he has worked with the other vendors.  To me, that’s nice and open ended, and you can really stop and anylize how comfortable or uptight he or she is.  If s/he gets defensive at this question, it speaks volumes.  If he or she gets nervous or vague, it tells me he lacks experience.  If his/her tone is even and calm, s/he’s probably going to act professionally on the big day. 

And lastly I made note of this site which explains how to officiate a wedding ceremony with your OWN JP.  It says that for $35, anyone can become justice of the peace for a day in Massachusetts and marry us.  Which is nice and cost effective, but I can’t think of someone who is so important to Adam and I that I would give them that role who isn’t already on the guest list.  I want all the important people in our lives to be witnesses not working the event.  It is a cool idea though.

So once I got a sizeable list of names and annotated them, I realized that when I start calling and asking questions and answering questions about the kind of wedding we want, I’m going to need to do the talking for Adam AND I.  Which doesn’t seem right.  I really want Adam to be aware of what he’s going to be agreeing to when he says, “I do,” because I know he’ll be too nervous to hear it on our actual wedding day. 

So before I actually call anyone, I decided I need some input from Adam on our ceremony.  So we started going through the program a little bit at a time.

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