Justice of the Peace
Your "JP" in New Hampshire
Frequently Asked Questions
Neither one of us is religious. Can you do a non-religious wedding?
Yes. Most of my pre-written ceremonies are secular in nature. Some do have a more spiritual tone, but
all of them speak to the powerful significance of two people committing to sharing the rest of their
Can we have a religious ceremony, even if the wedding's not at a church?
Yes. I often meet couples who come from a faith background or wish to honor a particular religious
tradition, but aren't active members of any church. Although I'm not an ordained minister, I've been
honored to journey with couples in developing ceremonies that incorporate and celebrate a wide
diversity of beliefs, including Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Pagan, and Native American traditions.
What does a typical ceremony include?
While ceremonies vary in length and can include readings or music or special traditions, there are
three basic elements to a wedding: Intentions (the "I do" part ), Vows (an exchange of promises), and
a Pronouncement (where you're declared married). Whether simple or formal (or something
in-between), these three elements are at the heart of all of the wedding ceremonies I've performed.
Do we have to say the same vow to each other?
No. While most couples prefer to exchange the same words, repeating each phrase after the officiant,
it's totally OK for one partner to select or write a vow that is different from the other partner's.
Do you perform same-sex marriages?
Yes! I perform weddings for all couples who may be legally married in the State of New Hampshire,
regardless of gender preference. A committed relationship in which two people promise each other the
love and support necessary for their mutual growth and development as persons is a relationship that I
am happy to affirm in marriage. One of the greatest joys of being a JP has been performing weddings
for members of the LGBTQ community. Click here for a video from Erin & Jen's beautiful wedding!
Can my children be in the ceremony?
Of course. Grandchildren, parents, and siblings are welcome! There are many ways to include family
members and friends in a wedding. Pets, too! A wedding is a celebration, and most people consider it
a great honor to be asked to participate. Your loved one(s) can read poetry, sing, walk one or both of
you down the aisle, carry the rings, or share in special things like cairn building, handfasting, candle
lighting, etc. I have ideas to share, and the possibilities are unlimited.
Can you recommend a place for us to get married?
Absolutely! If you don't already have a venue booked or a special spot picked out, we'll be happy to offer
suggestions. It's wonderful to be able to recommend a place for that special memory. Click here for a
list of just a few of the many public places in New Hampshire where I've officiated!
Is a rehearsal necessary?
If you're planning a simple & informal wedding, a rehearsal may not be necessary. The final version I
provide of your ceremony may be all you need for a simple "run-through" on your own. However, I
strongly recommend a rehearsal if your ceremony involves other participants and/or a formal
processional. Feedback from my couples tells me that their rehearsals with me help put everyone at
ease and helped them be more confident about their roles. (They're also fun!)
What do you wear when officiating?
I usually wear business attire such as a black suit or dress. I also have a vintage black judicial robe for
formal weddings and several options for more casual events, to include hiking gear for weddings on
trails! In all cases, my attire is meant to quietly compliment the setting of the ceremony and to provide
the right background for my couples. I will ask you your preferences when we plan your wedding.
Do we need to invite you to the reception?
The day of your ceremony will be a special one for you and the friends and family members you've
invited. While I always appreciate the courtesy and goodwill of couples who extend an invitation to
share in their celebrations, I will almost always decline.
What happens with our marriage license after the wedding?
After the ceremony, I complete and sign your marriage license at my home, and return the completed document to
the city or town of origin where it will be recorded. You may contact the town for a certified copy, usually within a
week. They will require a small fee. See my contact page for information on obtaining a license.
Do you perform renewal of vows and affirmations?
Yes. The fee schedule for a renewal or reaffirmation ceremony is the same as for a wedding. Please note that I do
not do surprise events -- I'll need to communicate and work with both persons on planning their ceremony.
Just ask! I'll be happy to help. One of my favorite requests was from a couple who wanted to highlight their love of
hiking by having a cairn ceremony as part of their wedding. Together we crafted the words for something that had
deep meaning for them, and it's now something that I happily share with many of my hiking couples.
Jeanne Pounder - Justice of the Peace for New Hampshire
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