The Value of a JP

More than the Pronouncement

In the beginning, “Yes, I will marry you!”  Then the fun and a lot of fretting began!  You are now planning the wedding of your dreams and everything costs A LOT!  Your rings have been chosen with loving care. You are on the hunt for the perfect venue. The most fabulous wedding dress and/or special outfit has got to be found. At any cost! The flowers…oh the flowers! DJ? Band? Or both? You must have the Venetian dessert table – nothing less will do! You are ready to spare no expense for your perfect day. That is, except when it comes to the one element that is the ultimate necessity to declare you married…your Justice of the Peace!

I am not trying to be a Debbie Downer. However, this is a topic that really needs to be discussed.  What value do couples place on their Justice of the Peace?  Sometimes, too little. I have been contacted by couples who were planning large and lavish weddings. Sadly, they didn’t recognize the value that an officiant brings to the ceremony.  On more than one occasion the first question I was asked is, “How much do you charge?” I prefer, “What do you have to offer us, other than pronouncing us married?”

Professional Officiants

Okay, yes, fees are important. However, please understand that you will be receiving a service provided by skilled practitioners. All of the officiants on abide by a Code of Ethics. As elected or appointed officials, we are professionals. We put forth effort, uphold a set of standards, and invest in training. We purchase the necessary items to help us perform more efficiently and with our own flair!  We discuss the ins and outs, and brainstorm with each other in order to provide the best service to you, our clients. We take great pride and joy in providing our services. In short, the office of Justice of the Peace was not just handed to us. We have earned the privilege of being a Justice of the Peace.

Skills, Abilities and Passion!

Justices of the Peace have knowledge and skills that enhance our abilities to serve our clients better. For instance, knowing how to elicit the subtle qualities of your relationship and weave them into your story is beneficial when crafting vows. Many of us speak different languages and others have specific cultural knowledge. We have relationships with different venues, DJs, bands and florists. We can help you work through problems, and alert you to things that you may not have been thinking about.

Remembering little details, like city hall’s hours of operation during Good Friday is a lifesaver when traveling from out of town. Because navigating the ins and outs of marriage ceremonies is our expertise, you can rely upon your JP to know how to follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines for your wedding ceremony. Stay Home, Stay Safe orders and closed venues are tough. Knowing that your officiant is a trusted resource by your side – priceless.

Selecting Your JP

Think about your JP’s true value. Focus on is whether or not the Justice of the Peace “fits” you and your vision for your special day. What is the JP’s style, and does it compliment yours? Do you click with each other? How well does the JP communicate with you? What special skills does the JP have that may be helpful during the planning process and ceremony?  All of these things make up value. You are looking for competence and commitment.

As you plan your special day, consider how valuable a resource your wedding officiant will be to you. Once you do that, I am sure you will realize that the sum that we charge will be well worth it!

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Sharon M. Cheeks is a Justice of the Peace in Connecticut. She will be retiring from her career with the State of Connecticut on May 1, 2020 and is looking forward to having fun officiating more weddings with her pesky job out of the way!

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