Recently, we have had a number of older greyhounds returned
to the kennel. Dogs are returned for a variety of reasons – their owner may be
sick or have passed away, may be moving and unable or unwilling to take the
dog, life circumstances may have changed, or the owner may be unwilling to deal
with the issue of having an older dog. Whatever the reason, I am glad that Greyhound Friends is there to provide a safe haven for these dogs.
Often these dogs are bewildered and depressed by their
return to a kennel, but we give them extra love and care and try to get them
readopted as soon as possible.
I hate to say no, but it seems that I am saying that a lot
these days. “I’m sorry, but no, I am not available for that date.”
I am often asked how
soon one should book a Justice of the Peace. The simple answer is as soon as
you have selected a date and determined a venue. Too often the JP is the last
person booked, behind the photographer, DJ, caterer, and even the florist. Yet
the person who is marrying you is keystone in your wedding ceremony. Don’t you
want to have the person who is your first choice rather than the person you
have to take?
During a busy July when not doing weddings and meeting with
prospective clients, I spend time watching the Tour de France on television. I
have always been a fan of this three week long spectacle, but it has had an
even more special meaning since my visit to the tour eight years ago.
In 2003 I traveled to France with four of my closest friends
and our bikes. We were initially centered in Alps at the base of the famed L’
Alpe d’ Huez, one of the legendary climbs of the tour with its 21 switchbacks.
To be successful, your wedding does not have to be in the
swankiest, and most expensive, hotel in Boston. Thankfully, there are many
beautiful venues throughout Massachusetts, some free, to hold your wedding. Following,
in no particular order, are a few of my favorite non hotel venues, some well-known,
some not, some geared for large ceremonies, some only for small, some
expensive, some inexpensive or free. Most can be seen on my website on the FAQ page
The Fruitlands Museum, Harvard – gorgeous views of the
My friends often ask me, “Why do you do the JP stuff?” My
answer is always the same,” What’s not to like.”
I explain that I meet many, many interesting people. I
become involved with them at one of the happiest times of their lives and work
hard to make certain that their wedding ceremony is special and memorable. I continue
to use my skills as a former English teacher and counselor through writing and
helping them deal with the stresses that sometimes, unfortunately, accompany
wedding planning – more on that in a later post.
An increasing trend in weddings is to include a beloved pet, especially a dog, in the marriage ceremony. Many people frown on this practice, but I embrace it. I spend my day surrounded by beautiful greyhounds at home and at the kennel -- as I write this two are sleeping at my feet -- and well know the importance that your dog plays in your life. Why not include him or her on your special day?
Some brides and grooms have walked with their dog to the place for the ceremony then handed him off to the best man.
The best part of a meeting for me comes at the end. That is when I'll find out about you and your relationship. I'll learn about the journey that has brought you to this exciting time in your lives. I'll try to find out what makes your relationship unique and learn some of the special stories that characterize your relationship. These stories could be about your how you met, your first date, an interesting proposal, or something funny or important that has happened to you together.
I particularly enjoy this aspect of being a Justice of the Peace, for it takes me back to my roots as a counselor, learning and understanding about people.
I usually meet with couples at our home in Littleton. In
warm weather we sit outside in the gazebo overlooking our waterfall and ponds,
accompanied by a greyhound or two if you are comfortable with dogs; in cold
weather we sit indoors in our living room.
I start by finding out your wedding plans. Normally I’ll
know the date and location, but I’ll want to learn the specifics – the time,
whether you are planning a rehearsal, the size and makeup of the wedding party,
the anticipated number of guests, and anything special that you are planning such as the mentioning of important people in your lives who will not be there.
I am often asked whether a consultation (meeting) is necessary before the wedding. The simple answer is that no, it is not necessary. Officiants often arrive at a ceremony never having met the couple and always try to make their wedding beautiful.
But to have a truly special ceremony, meeting with your officiant is definitely advisable. The meeting allows us to get to know each other, to begin to plan your ceremony, and to answer any questions that you may have. Most importantly, it allows me to learn about you and the special aspects of your relationship.
I apologize to those of you trying to access my web site recently. The host, Vistaprint, has been having difficulties and is attempting to resolve them. The assure me that it will be up and running soon.
Thank you for your patience; I know I am having difficulty keeping mine. You can always e-mail me
Stoddard@jpstoddardmelhado.com or call my cell 978-857-9698.