If you aren’t keen on a big wedding, winter is a wonderful time to sneak away and elope or host a tiny wedding. It’s easy, simple, fun, less expensive, and may be a better fit for your personalities. You can always have a big party later with family and friends.
Here are the steps to making it a reality.
What Do You Want?
Talk to your future spouse about what you would like your ceremony to be like. And where it should be. Each of you should write how you imagine your wedding day.
Things to consider:
- Do you want guests?
- What type of venue (style)?
- When – day and time?
- What do you want to wear?
- What other features do you want to make your wedding special?
Then share what you wrote with each other. Hopefully your vision is pretty similar. If it’s different, agree you each get two things important to you.
Discuss how much you would like to spend – and then start planning! Expect to spend between $600 and $1,500. More if you include a meal for your guests after the ceremony, or if you want it to be a whole weekend.
Select the Perfect Venue
Do an online search for the type of wedding style you would like: a modern, fun hotel; a charming, historic Inn; a mountain-top lodge. Many venues will offer great deals for winter weddings because it is the offseason. Ask what they recommend for the best deal.
If you are going to have a weekend escape, it is ideal if the ceremony location and where you sleep is the same. That way you can relax and not worry about road conditions after you check in. It’s important that there is a nice restaurant nearby or on the property, too.
Hire Your Officiant
Once you have your location, it’s time to hire a justice of the peace to officiate your ceremony using findaJP.com. Find someone who fits your style. Most justices of the peace will have a chat over the phone or in person to share information about how their ceremonies flow and their fees.
Your JP can advise you on when and where to purchase a marriage license and the rules for marrying in their state. For example, no witnesses are needed in Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts or Florida. But in Maine two witnesses are required.
Create a Team
Ask your venue’s event coordinator or wedding planner for photographer and florist recommendations. Explain to them the kind of wedding you would like. They can provide you with a list of reputable vendors who can make your vision a reality. After you have explained what you want to the professionals and hired your team, you can relax and enjoy your wedding.
Before your ceremony treat yourself to a massage, have your hair trimmed and styled and look your best. You can go black tie and stunning white gown, or wear red plaid shirts and stone washed blue jeans. Wear what you want. Even if you don’t have guests, select attire that makes the day special. If you are including a few guests, let them know what they should wear.
Marry the Person You Love!
Once you’ve set the stage, your justice of the peace will bring it all together with a joy-filled ceremony. Even if your officiant is in another state, he or she can work with you over the phone or use Skype or Facetime to design the perfect ceremony. If they are in the area, you can meet in person.
Most small weddings are short and sweet. You might be surprised how easy it all comes together. Before you know it you will be marrying the person you love, enjoying your wonderful private, little wedding ceremony!
Find your perfect JP at findaJP.com
Justice of the Peace Carmen George has officiated weddings for over 14 years. She is also a wedding photographer and florist. Based in Burlington, Vermont, she lives with her husband and daughter. As a member of the Justice of the Peace Association, she has a profile on findaJP.com.