Five Reasons Why a JP is Right for You

Engaged to be Married? Looking for that perfect officiant? We’ve got five reasons why a JP is the way to go!

Deciding on what type of wedding officiant to solemnize your marriage can feel overwhelming. There is the religious route – but that isn’t for everyone. A friend? Nah. We’ve written about the many problems when an amateur gets involved. But a Justice of the Peace? Indeed, they offer the best of all worlds.

These are the five most common reasons couples choose a JP as their wedding officiant. Read on, to know for sure if a JP ceremony is right for you.

You want a flexible ceremony.

You both are creative and want more control over the wording and content of your wedding ceremony. Your clergy tells you there’s not much wiggle-room in the traditional wedding:  No acrobats, nor your pet beagle.  No place for a reading by E.E. Cummings. Not even your personal vows. Well, there is room for all if you select a JP as you wedding officiant. The only rules that JP-officiated weddings follow are those set by you. JPs are dedicated to achieving your vision for your day!

You want an inclusive ceremony.

As civil officiants, JPs and notaries follow the laws of the state. And, all the JPs listed on abide by our Code of Ethics. In fact, inclusivity is our mantra. Intercultural or different religions? Yup. Same sex ceremonies? JPs are there! Furthermore, JPs will happily involve your family and friends.  For example, JPs can help you incorporate unity ceremonies or readings that will bring the family together.

You want to honor religious traditions without rigidity. 

Both of you value your religious customs and would like to honor these traditions by integrating elements of each into the ceremony. Churches and synagogues often have established rules, and want things their way; no wiggle room allowed. JPs  don’t have such restrictions. Instead, they can help you design a spiritually-centered ceremony that reflects the two of you.

You want family harmony, not drama.

The priest, the rabbi, the parents, the would-be bridesmaid, the frat brothers (and the rest of the madding crowd) are giving you and your partner a major headache. You know one thing for certain: you love each other and wish to join your lives together. A JP can marry you without fanfare, guests, or any mention of religion, if you choose. Then again, JPs can officiate marriages before hundreds of your closest friends and family at fancy venues, too. And even help navigate the family dynamics.

You want simple and quick.

Finding a JP who can preside over a simple wedding at your town hall or local park for a modest fee is easy. If you wake up one morning with a sudden impulse to elope, no problem! In many states you can apply for a license, hire a JP and exchange vows within a few hours.

Isn’t it time to call a Justice of the Peace?

After all, what is really important is that the two of you have the marriage ceremony that is right for you. Quiet and simple or elaborate and elegant. The JPs on are there for you, so you can launch your life together.

This article was modified from Is A JP Right For You? Five Reasons To Say YES by Carolyn Egan, originally posted on findaJP on April 29, 2014.

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Loretta Jay is the Managing Member of the Justice of the Peace Association. This is the membership organization for professional marriage officiants. All officiants’ profiles are searchable at, the place where Couples who Click can find their perfect JP. 

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