I absolutely love being spontaneous! And, an added bonus, it takes the edge off of planning for months and months for an extravagant wedding. As a Justice of the Peace I have been asked to officiate many small, intimate ceremonies, especially during COVID. Many couples need to switch gears and do not want to wait. Frequently, it is a last minute decision. They prefer to keep their original date, and have the ceremony at an uncrowded, open space location. The trick is to be flexible. You are with your love, so just make sure it’s a legal ceremony (don’t forget your license), and of course, make it happen now!
There are numerous locations for couples to have their ceremonies. How about an impromptu, carefree hike to your favorite spot in the woods? Or perhaps a sandy, reef beach early in the morning when few people are around. Maybe a quick gazebo near city hall. Even the privacy of your own back yard. The possibilities are endless!
One of my favorite impromptu sites was along a scenic trail. I was thrilled when the couple asked if I was a hiker, since I always scour new and different spots to bring my dogs. It was the bride, groom, a photographer, their beloved dog and me on a hot, humid early evening. I wore my Teva sandals (even though it didn’t go with my floral dress), in order to make it down the steep and rocky hill. By the time we got to the sparkling lake, my flat ironed hair was a frizzy mess! However, the bride and groom found their perfect location by the water and looked unfrazzled with their handsome dog by their side.
Another couple decided at the very last minute to have their ceremony at a park by their home. They checked it out quickly and thought the perfect time would be prior to sundown, so they could see the fireflies come out. A few passers-by asked, “Is this a wedding?” Why, of course it is! It may not be a long-planned one, but this quick, fun-filled ceremony was ideal.
Even for a last-minute event, more formal venues’ outdoor spaces may be available. Especially if mid-week.
Who to Hire
Of course, no matter where you marry, you’ll need to find an officiant. Just because it is an impromptu ceremony, doesn’t mean you don’t want photos. Hire a photographer. It will be nice to have those professional memories. For a home ceremony, have your favorite DJ play your treasured music! Or, at the beach, bring along a quartet.
During the pandemic when big weddings are on hold, spontaneous weddings provide a low-stress alternative. Pulling together a special, personalized ceremony with a few close family and friends by your side: Magnificent! If your heart is set on a big shindig, then celebrate again later, with the larger crowd.
Most important is to remember that it’s all about your love. The old cliché, love conquers all is truer now, more than ever.
Find your perfect JP at findaJP.com
Heidi C. Keyes is a Justice of the Peace in Connecticut. Heidi’s an educator and has volunteered for over a decade as a Board of Education member. Heidi’s other passion is marrying couples. She specializes in small, intimate ceremonies. See Heidi and our other amazing officiants at findaJP.com.