Member Support

Articles to improve your JPus experience and maximize the power of your membership

Support Topic: Professional Development

Contracts Part 1 – Why they are Needed

There are many reasons why officiants should use a written agreement when working with couples. Yes, even if you think you don't need one. A contract or work agreement gives couples assurance that their marriage officiant won’t bail on them. Moreover, it also provides you with valuable protections. Clarifying Expectations Performing marriage ceremonies is a business, albeit a warm and fuzzy one. Therefore, laying out what each party can expect from the professional relationship sets expectations and avoids disappointments. Detailed suggestions to include in your agreement are available in the third article in this series. Minimize Disputes First of all, . . .

Contracts Part 2 – Presentation

Now that you understand why a written agreement is needed, this article provides tips to know how to present the content. Simple Language When crafting written agreements that you'll use with your couples, it is best to use simple language that everyone understands. A well-written contact will prevent problems, and be the tool to solve differences. NOLO, an organization dedicated to supporting small businesses with legal guidance, says that most contracts need just two components to be legally valid: All parties agree on the terms Something of value is exchanged. For example, money is exchanged for a customized wedding service. . . .

Contracts Part 3 – Content

When creating the written agreement you'll use with your couples, think about the different scenarios that you might encounter. Then, make sure that you incorporate them within the document. To help, this article provides suggested content to include. Consider your agreement a living document. Meaning, revisit it regularly. With time you will think of additional points you'll want to mention. Wait! You don't think you need a written agreement? Check out our article Contracts Part 1 - Why they are Needed. Part 2 of our Contracts series discusses  how to structure the agreement, when to introduce it and different methods . . .

Contracts Part 4 – Retainers

You've connected with the couple and everything went terrific. Or, so you thought. You agreed upon the date and fees. You heard their love story and immediately the ideas started flowing. So, naturally you got right to work. Oh, the excitement. You could anticipate the emotions as the words rolled out. But then - an abrupt, "We've decided on a different officiant." Or worse, silence. Ghosted. When working with couples, it is important to protect your own interests. You are important. You bring skills and passion to your profession. Your time is valuable. Until you receive a signed agreement and . . .

Commitment Ceremonies

There are many reasons a couple may want a commitment ceremony without actually getting married. As a professional who performs all sorts of lifecycle ceremonies, of course you'll oblige. Why Not Tie the Knot? The particular reason a couple chooses not to make their union legally binding is peripheral. Despite that, it is important for officiants to understand some circumstances that could be driving decisions. Marriage is a legal act that may influence child support, alimony, divorce settlements One party is already married to another and for whatever reason cannot or will not end the previous marriage One or both . . .

Avoid Cancelation Crises

One never knows when the unexpected might happen. A family emergency, illness or an accident can interrupt even the most prepared person's plans. Inclement weather can create dangerous driving conditions. Indeed, there is no good answer when forced to choose between between safety and a commitment.  No matter the cause, having a plan will save everyone worry. [wcm_nonmember] This member support information is for JPus members only. If you have a membership, please log in. Purchase a membership here.[/wcm_nonmember][wcm_restrict plans="membership-plan-ultimate, membership-plan-region, membership-plan-neighborhood, membership-plan-hometown, membership-plan-basic"] Create a Network One of the many benefits of a Justice of the Peace Association membership . . .

Marriage is a Legal Contract

Sometimes, when couples become engaged, they are so full of love that they forget that marriage is a legal undertaking. This is an important recognition that sets the professional officiant apart. Along with ensuring that both parties are consenting to the union, it is good to be a knowledgeable resource about the implications of marriage. This doesn't mean that the officiant should be doling out legal or financial advice. Au contraire. Instead, when relevant, introduce the topic and direct the couple to do their own research. The following is a primer. Social Security Benefits The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program . . .

Liability Insurance – Options

Oftentimes, members ask about liability insurance. And they should! In today’s litigious society, having insurance protects you. Plus, some wedding venues are now requiring it. Previously, we covered the different types of liability insurance and what each offers. At that time, membership was polled. In addition, we discussed the importance of insurance. Now, in this second article, we are providing specific resources to help our members secure coverage. Disclaimer The following information is intended to be a helpful resource to our members. With this in mind, users of this material agree to the following: The Justice of the Peace Association makes . . .

Liability Insurance – Who Me?

Updated May 1, 2021 More and more, we are hearing about wedding venues requiring marriage officiants to carry professional liability insurance. “Whaaa? Me? I’m just in-and-out. Barely there,” say some. “What could go wrong?” they ask. Well, really, any number of things could happen. It is wise to be protected. In light of this, following are some insurance basics. First, read through the background information we’ve prepared. JPus is doing the legwork, gathering particulars and checking out insurance providers. Our plan is to give members some more information to help you make the best decision for your circumstances and needs. Please . . .

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 Connecticut No specific words must be said between the couple. Rather, the officiant must make sure that the marriage license has the correct . . .

Collecting Payment

Money can be an uncomfortable topic for some people. Nonetheless, as a professional wedding officiant you are operating a business. You are dedicated to giving your clients the best wedding ceremony they could have imagined. You hone your skills, network with others, stay on top of the latest trends, and you belong to JPus, an organization for pros. Couples are hiring you to perform a service. Naturally, you should be compensated fairly. Set Expectations Spell out verbally, and then in writing, what the payment expectations are. This is good practice, whether or not you use a formal contract. Be friendly. Language . . .

Outdoor Winter Marriages

The advice from healthcare professionals is clear. During the pandemic, if you will be around others, it is best to be outdoors where air circulates freely. For this reason, encourage your clients to have their ceremony at an outdoor location. As the weather gets colder, be prepared for winter elements. Tricks of the Trade Wear a robe, and under it dress warmly! For instance, layer your clothing. Start with a good pair of thermals as a base layer to keep you toasty. No matter what is underneath the robe, it provides a professional, put-together presence. Don appropriate foot wear. Not . . .

Exploring Our Own Implicit Bias

Implicit bias is how our unconscious attitudes, beliefs and stereotypes affect how we think about and treat other people. When we understand these thoughts, we can choose how we process that information.  The spring of 2020 was momentous, and will hopefully be remembered as a reckoning for our country. A time when a majority of our fellow citizens became more alert to racial discrimination and injustice. In this vain, each of us share in the responsibility to make our communities welcoming, safe and respectful for everyone. To expose and confront racism. This includes taking an active role to make change . . .