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Are Vows Required?

A common question we receive from JPus members is about the vows. Couples don’t want to say them. “Just sign the license”, they may say. They just want to be — married. So, what’s an officiant to do? The answer depends on the state. But, none of the states that JPus/findaJP is active in requires any specific language to be used.

Review the Requirements in:

Connecticut | Florida | Maine | Massachusetts | New Hampshire | Vermont


No specific words must be said between the couple. Rather, the officiant must make sure that the marriage license has the correct information on it, and verify the couple’s identification and that their signatures match.


The couple must state their intentions to make a legally binding commitment to each other. However, no specific language is required – for the couple, nor the officiant. First, before the notary solemnizes any marriage, he or she shall require a marriage license issued according to the requirements of Florida’s S 741.01. Then, within 10 days after solemnizing the marriage, the notary shall certify the license. Finally, they must transmit the license to the office of the county court judge or clerk of the circuit court from which it was issued.


There are no specific words that must be said during a wedding ceremony. The notary must make sure that both parties understand the significance of marriage and express their will to be married at the marriage ceremony.


Couples do not need to say any particular words during the ceremony, but they must demonstrate a present marriage contract. At the least, there must be an affirmation between the couple that they want to marry each other, and a pronouncement by the JP. We encourage you to have a conversation with the couple to determine what language they would like you to use when you make the declaration (married, husband, wife, spouse, partner…).

New Hampshire

No particular ceremony is required for a marriage in New Hampshire.


Vermont law is silent on the mechanics of wedding ceremonies. Within 10 days of the ceremony, a JP or other officiant must complete the license form and return it to the town clerk (18 V.S.A. § 5131). Then, the JP must sign the form and include his or her official title, “Justice of the Peace.” By signing the license, the JP is certifying that the parties entered into the marriage with mutual consent.

Related Links

★ What to do if the couple changes their mind
★ How to perform a prison wedding
★ Share our blog article about vows with your couples