Massachusetts Justice of the Peace  - Stoddard H. Melhado -- Massachusetts Wedding Officiant

Frequently Asked Questions:

What elements are usually included in a ceremony?
There is no prescribed form of ceremony in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. At a minimum, the parties must agree to take each other as marital spouses (vows) and I must declare them to be married. Most ceremonies have the following parts:
  • Greeting
  • Reading
  • Statement about marriage
  • Vows
  • Second reading
  • Exchange of rings
  • Declaration of marriage
Can we write our own vows?
Absolutely! I encourage you to do so, and I will help you to get the wording just right.
What special things can we include in our ceremony?
It's up to you. It's your wedding; let's make it the way you want. You can add music, poems, special readings. I truly enjoy adding the wine box and love letters to a ceremony and I am quite fond of the Celtic handfasting ritual. I recently officiated at an outdoor wedding where the bride walked out accompanied by her beloved dog -- it was wonderful -- and I have had numerous other weddings with dogs involved.
Do we need witnesses?
No. Witnesses are not required in Massachusetts
Where can we be married?
Almost anywhere  in Massachusetts -- again, it's up to you and there are many beautiful places in the Commonwealth.  If it is just the two of you, I can marry you in my home, or in warm weather outside by our pond or in our gazebo.
Must we have an initial conference and a rehearsal?
For a basic ceremony, no; however, if I am to personalize your ceremony, I want to get to know you, and we will want to rehearse any special elements that we include. If you have a large wedding party a rehearsal is always a good idea.
When do you need the marriage license?
I prefer to get it at the rehearsal. That way we do not have to worry about it on the day of your wedding. If we do not have a rehearsal, I like to have it at least a day in advance of the ceremony. I cannot marry you without a valid Massachusetts marriage license in my possession..
Will we get the license back?
No. By law I am required to complete it and return it to the town or city clerk who issued it. You can obtain a certified copy from that city or town about a week after the ceremony. I will give you an unofficial marriage certificate with a gold seal to keep.
Do you perform same gender marriages?
I am pleased to perform a wedding ceremony for any two people who are entering into a loving, committed relationship.

What do we do about audio equipment?

I have done too many beautiful weddings, especially outdoors, where half of the guests do not hear the ceremony. I no longer depend on the venue or DJ for audio equipment and can provide, at no cost to you, a completely portable sound system that will guarantee that your guests will hear your ceremony. I use lapel mike for me and a lapel mike on the end of my book for you and any readers so that there is nothing obtrusive like a microphone stand, in your pictures.

What will you wear?

That depends upon you. I can wear a black, blue, or red robe, tuxedo, dark or light suit, or blazer with khakis. Think of the setting, what you are wearing, and the look that you want for your pictures. Actually, I keep hoping for a Hawaiian theme wedding so that I can wear an Aloha shirt and a Lei :) 

Is a gratuity expected?

Never expected, but always appreciated especially as additional help for Greyhound Friends.

Do you have any tips for a successful ceremony?

  • Meet the person who will be officiating. Web sites, e-mail, and phone conversations are useful, but by sitting down with your officiant you will get a good idea of how your ceremony will go.And it will give me the opportunity to learn about you and your relationship, allowing me to add personal touches to your ceremony.
  • Book your officiant early. Often this is left to the last minute and I am usually booked months in advance.
  • Make it personal -- include parents, grandparents, or children if there are any, or something special reflecting your heritage.
  • Add an element that people may have not seen before, like a wine box and love letters, handfasting, or the mystical sounds of my friend Celtic harpist Tristen Hall, pictured below.
  • Have fun -- this is your day.and weddings are meant to be a joyful celebration of your love

Tristian Hall Oak Hill Road Littleton

Oak Hill Road Littleton

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