Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I get married today? Legally, yes. You can get married today if you can obtain a marriage license from any town clerk in NH and find a legal officiant to marry you. I am sometimes available on the same day and can quickly pull together a ceremony for you.
But, but....I saw something on-line that said you needed to get the license three days in advance, IN the town your intend to marry in? This is out of date information and no longer applicable. There are many locations to marry in the State of NH that are in unincorporated townships and therefore have no town halls. Additionally, those traveling from far away to get married are not always able to obtain the license until they arrive at their location. Please disregard this incorrect information and always check with the town you plan to get the license from.
Is there anything religious in your wedding ceremonies? The only time there is anything religious in a ceremony is if the couple has asked for it. A Justice of the Peace is not a clergy person and performs "civil ceremonies" which do not need to include religious wording unless it is desired. Most of my ceremonies speak toward you the couple and your relationship. I am happy to perform weddings for any faith or belief but will need guidance from you as to what is appropriate. I welcome the chance to learn about religious beliefs unfamiliar to me or the customs of another country and have participated in some really special and diverse ceremonies.
What does a ceremony include or need to have? A ceremony can be very simple but usually they include some basic components. A Welcome to assembled guests (if any), Intentions, Vows, Rings, Pronouncement. You can extend the length of the ceremony with readings and you can shorten it by leaving parts out or combining parts. See more at this link
Can we write out own vows? Of course! You can actually write the entire ceremony yourselves but I will need to see it before the ceremony to make sure it works for my speaking style and includes the legal pronouncement at the end.
Do you perform same-sex ceremonies? Yes. I am happy to perform wedding ceremonies for all couples who are legal to be married in New Hampshire.
How far do you travel? Please see this map for a rough idea of where I tend to travel for weddings. Although no point in New Hampshire is off limits, it's more practical and less costly to you if I stay in this general area. There are many fine JP's in the southern part of New Hampshire who would be happy to help you if your wedding is located there.
Do we have to have a rehearsal? No, in fact many of my ceremonies either do not have a rehearsal or the couple will choose to hold it without me. For larger weddings they are quite helpful and will make your wedding day run much more smoothly. For small weddings, they can be skipped and we can hammer out any details ahead of time. With some inns that I work with often, the inn owner/wedding coordinator is more than capable of handling a rehearsal without me, following the script we already planned out. My rehearsal fees are generally half as much as the quoted fee for the wedding.
Do you come to the reception? Generally I do not. I very much appreciate invitations to share in the celebration of your special day but I will most often decline an invitation.
Do you do vow renewals? Yes, I am happy to do this and will work with you to make it special. My fee is the same as it would be for a wedding. Unfortunately, I will not do surprise wedding vow renewals.
Can you do ceremonies outside of New Hampshire? As a Justice of the Peace for New Hampshire, the answer is "yes and no". In the past I have been given special permission to perform weddings in Massachusetts. In Maine and New York I would be able to do so as a Minister with the Universal Life Church Monastery. I have not inquired about doing weddings in other states beyond that but overall the Justice of the Peace certification is not good outside of NH and special permission or adaptation is necessary, such as the online-ordination.
Do you do contracts? Upon request I will do them but they are not automatically issued for each wedding.
How and when do I change my name? When you fill out the marriage license with the town clerk, you will be asked (both of you) to put down the name that you plan to be known as in the future. Even if you do not plan to change your name you will need to put down your current name. This is new as of 2015 and you can see more information at this link.
Can we do this in a hot air balloon/on ice skates/on a mountain top/on skis/with my horse/in a kayak/something else? Probably! Just ask me.
Can we turn the marriage license into the Town Clerk ourselves? For the most part, no you may not. Some clerks may allow it if there are extenuating circumstances and you ask ahead of time but many will not and may even include something like this with the license:
What if we need to cancel or postpone our wedding? In the unfortunate event that you may need to cancel, my refund policy is clearly stated on the home page of my website for all to see. Cancellations are refundable up until 60 days in advance less a 20% fee. No refund within 60 days of the event. If you wish to postpone, I will work with you to find another day or location that suits both our needs and apply your deposit to the new booking, provided I am given reasonable notice of the cancellation.
Why doesn't our marriage license have the the name of the town we thought it would? In many cases in the Mount Washington Valley area or the White Mountain National Forest, the town lines may be confusing. If you are getting married at the top of Cathedral Ledges, you may be surprised to learn it's really in the town of Bartlett. The bottom of the cliffs are actually in North Conway. In Pinkham Notch, the bottom of the Glen Ellis Falls are in Jackson but the top are in the unincorporated township of Pinkham's Grant. If you plan to marry at Nordic Village, the company markets themselves as being in the Town of Jackson but technically they are in Glen, NH which is a subset of the Town of Bartlett. Please note that I am very careful to know where the legal boundaries are of a town or a county before I fill out a marriage license.