All about a Wedding with Justice of the Peace


More and more people are opting for civil ceremonies for weddings. This has made hiring a justice of peace quite a common practice in a few states of US. In some states, Justice of the Peace is a designation with comparatively lesser legal authority. Normally their jurisdiction is confined to the city, county or township. Performing marriages in his/her locality is one of his/her various tasks. Let’s see what a Justice of the Peace marriage is all about.

What You Should Know about a Wedding with Justice of Peace

The office of a J.P. wedding is not available in each and every state of US. There are some states that have simply excluded a Justice of the Peace position. But, states like Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas, and Vermont are freely utilizing this position.

How Is It Different from a Traditional Wedding?

A traditional church wedding officiant is bound to follow the laws and rules defined by that particular church. So, the individuals who follow that specific church would go for the religion-based wedding service officiated by the church minister.

A wedding with a Justice of the Peace is basically a civil marriage, officiated by a court officer (also known as magistrate, solicitor general, district judge or squire), and it’s quite limited in terms of location and schedule. Couples who want nothing excepta simple marriage certificate are more likely to look for this option.

What to Expect in a Justice of Peace Marriage Ceremony

A J.P. wedding is simpler and shorter in comparison to a traditional church wedding. Unlike traditional weddings, a J.P. wedding has very short guest list, no bridal party, no extra bucks spent on wedding accessories, etc.. After setting the date and applying for a wedding license, all that can be expected is a short and sweet civil ceremony (mostly in a courthouse) in the presence of a few closely related people. As the wedding vows are done, the couple simply leaves for their place.

How Can You Make a JP Wedding Special?

J.P. weddings are comparatively simple. Normally they are held in your backyard, some park or in the courthouse. Still, you can make it a special one. Here are some tips to make your day special.

Send in Invites!

Though a simple wedding with a less guests (especially if it’s being held in a courthouse with hardly a space for 10), try your best to send invitations. Whether on phone call or an email, choose whatever suits you.


Send in Invites!

A wedding with a Justice of the Peace doesn’t mean to dress simply. It’s your big day! Get the best dress for the special occasion- jjustyou can even get one just like the ones in traditional weddings.


Get a Bridal Bouquet

No bride is complete without a bridal bouquet. Though a simple wedding, you should not think of skipping a bouquet. Just get it! And, get the one that you always wanted!


Consider Photography Services

We highly recommend hiring a professionally-equipped wedding photographer to capturethe sweet memories of your day.


You Need a Host!

Assign the host duty to a reliable family member or friend to be at the venue before time to welcome the guests (if invited).


Have a Reception Party!

After performing a simple wedding with a Justice of the Peace, you should arrange a cool reception party at your place or at a friend’s. You can call and include all who were not invited to the earlier ceremony.


Set Up Your Wedding Registry!

Just like the traditional weddings, you can still create a wedding registry for wedding gifts. Though you have not invited many guests, there might be some surprise gifts for you.


Romantic Ride!

End your simple wedding splendidly and ride out in style. Get the services from some wedding rental rides and leave the venue in horse carriage or limo etc. to the place selected for your first night as newly-weds.

Wedding with Justice of Peace Vows

J.P. wedding vows could be both traditional and contemporary (sometimes written by the couple themselves).

Traditional Vows in JP Wedding

In civil marriages, traditional vows are quite rare. Some couples choose to have some traditional lines added to their vows. For example: ‘I, William Russel, in the presence of dear guests, take you, Mariah, as my lawfully wedded wife. From this day to all the years to come, for good, for bad, in sickness and health, for richer, for poorer, until the time death do us part.’

Contemporary Vows

In weddings with a Justice of the Peace, a couple often makes their owntheir vows to recite in their own way. The vows may be written in the form of a poem or written romantically to declare their pure feelings of love for each other. For example: ‘I am so blessed to have someone as special and precious as you, Mariah, as my wife. Here we are to make a lifelong commitment to love, support and respect each other throughout our lives.’

Role of a Justice of the Peace

As the couple exchanges the ring, J.P. asks the couple to hold each other’s hands and asks them individually about their willingness to get married.ThenT, he officially declares them as husband and wife by saying something like,‘By joining hands here, you are showing your consent for spending the rest of the lives as husband and wife. By the authority that I hold and under the law of the state, I declare you husband and wife.’

Tips for Hiring a Justice of Peace for Wedding

Not every J.P. offers the same services and costs. Sometimes they have different criteria for prices for the services. Before you selectone for your wedding, here are few things that you should clarify with the J.P.

  • Ask him whether he would charge something extra for the very initial meeting. And , also finalize the overall charges as the charges may vary.

  • The cost of hiring a J.P. varies according to the states. A simple civil ceremony in J.P.’s locality may start from $50 to $100. If it’s not his home community, he may include travel charges, making it range from $150 to $350 approximately. (The cost given here is what is commonly observed and not a guaranteed price).

  • Each J.P. will have his/her own limits. You must discuss and share your type of event. If you want to customize your event in any special way like music, dancing etc., inform him early. If his reply is affirmative, he will surely charge you extra for it.

  • Ask him whether he will be available for wedding rehearsals or not.

  • If you find the suitable officiant, pay him a deposit to lock in his services.