Dale Desmarais - Justice of the PeaceDale Desmarais - Justice of the Peace  
Q & A's

Q.: How do I handle the Marriage License process?

A.: No more than 60 days before your ceremony, you and your fiance go to town hall to apply for your "Marriage Certificate". (You can go to any town in the Commonwealth to get this and I suggest getting it from a town that will be convenient to get another copy from if you ever need another copy.)

You bring that to your rehearsal (or ceremony if you don't have a rehearsal) and give it to me. I will take your marriage certificate and fill out my portion. I then register it in my log book and scan a copy for my records. Next I forward to your town hall and they will usually record it in about a week or so. I suggest calling the town hall about 2 weeks after your ceremony to confirm that they have completed your Marriage License before making the trip in to collect it. You then go to the town hall to pay for and pick up your copy of this license.(Some towns may allow you to prepay for this and leave a postage paid envelope so they can mail it to you when you are ready but you must make arrangements up front if they do allow this.)

You can then use this "Marriage License" to complete tasks like changing your name, updating insurance information, etc.

Do we sign a "contract"?

A.: As I am a servant of the Commonwealth, a "contract" is not required. We will discuss expectations on both sides and communicate via email throughout the process.

I have chosen to do a "sand ceremony" or "candle ceremony". Who is responsible to coordinate this.

A.: We will include the verbiage in your ceremony when we design it but the Bride & Groom are required to purchase any candles, sand, containers, etc. and make arrangements with the representative at the venue for any table, props, etc.

We are extremely happy with the job that our Justice of the Peace did for us. Can we provide a gratuity?

A.: Justice of the Peace are not state employees and therefore can accept a gratuity. In addition, the best reward for me is to receive a written letter of reference that briefly speaks to the service that I provided and anything that I did to make your day better or special.

How early will my JP arrive on the day of my rehearsal or ceremony?

A.: I typically will arrive 15-20 minutes before the ceremony. The first person that I check in with is the bride to discuss any last minute requests and review the plan for the ceremony. Then I do the same with the groom and will wait with the gentlemen until it is time to line up and begin. For the rehearsal, I will typically arrive about 5 minutes prior as often several parties usually run a little later than the start time.

What will my JP wear on the day of my ceremony?

A.: I typically wear a dark blue or black suit. Although I do own the "robes" and can wear them if you prefer, most couples prefer the "suit & tie" option. I have, on occasion, been asked to dress more informally to match the theme of the day and if you let me know in advance, I am happy to try to accommodate such requests.

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