Massachusetts Justice of the Peace

Stoddard H. Melhado







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My Wedding Blog

At Personalized Marriage Ceremonies in Littleton, Massachusetts, I will help you understand different wedding ceremonies and other things you should know about marriage officiants through my blog. 

Stoddard: Posted on Thursday, November 21, 2013 2:07 PM


UNPLUGGED CEREMONIES


A recent wedding trend is for couples to ask me that their ceremony be an “unplugged” one. What does unplugged mean? It means that when I first come out to start the ceremony, I not only ask that the guests make certain that their cell phones are turned off (which I always do), but I also ask that all phones, cameras, and any recording devices be turned off and put away, adding that the bride and groom have asked that only their official photographer take pictures which they will gladly share after the ceremony.


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Stoddard: Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 10:06 AM


Brides often ask me about the process of changing their name after marriage. Although the process can be daunting, there is a website that makes it easy. Check out https://www.missnowmrs.com/default.aspx to get a feeling for what has to be done and see whether the small cost charged is worth not having to flounder through the maze of agencies and forms. You will need the certified copy of your marriage license issued by the Town or City Clerk after I have completed and returned the original.

Stoddard: Posted on Saturday, April 20, 2013 9:40 AM


Recently I’ve noticed a small trend – couples asking to “elope” this summer in our back yard. By eloping, they mean coming here just by themselves to get married with me to marry them and my wife to take pictures.


There are a number of reasons that couples would like to elope here. Some are doing destination weddings and realize the legal difficulties of getting married in a foreign country. They do the legal marriage here then have the celebration at their destination. Others want to escape from the stress of a large wedding and come here for an intimate, beautiful ceremony.

Stoddard: Posted on Thursday, January 31, 2013 9:55 AM


You have decided to interview a prospective officiant for your wedding. Here are some questions you might want to ask:

  • How will you customize our ceremony to make it uniquely ours?
  • Can we write our own vows?
  • Can we include family members or friends in our ceremony? If so, how can we do it?
  • Are there special options you can add to our ceremony?
  • Do you have your own audio system? Is there an extra cost for using it?
  • What are your thoughts on the length of a ceremony?
  • Will you attend a rehearsal? Will you run the rehearsal?

Posted on Saturday, December 29, 2012 8:03 AM


You have decided to marry – you have a venue and a date, and plan to have a Justice of the Peace marry you. Now you have to find the perfect JP. How do you do that?

  • Start early –as soon as you have booked the venue. Good JP’s, like popular venues, book early, often 12 months or more in advance.
        • Think about any criteria you might have – age, gender, experience.
        • Do a search

Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2012 2:49 PM


As you are planning your wedding for next year, let’s talk about outdoor weddings.

New England is spectacular in the summer and fall, and occasionally in the spring with many, many beautiful outdoor venues suitable for spectacular wedding ceremonies. With mild weather and a soft, cooling breeze, outdoor venues provide stunning settings for your wedding.


However, we live in New England about which Mark Twain said, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.

Stoddard: Posted on Saturday, October 27, 2012 9:06 AM


Earlier I wrote about buying my own sound system so that I would no longer be dependent upon venues or DJ's to make certain that ceremonies would be heard by everyone. I have now used the system in multiple venues throughout the summer and fall, both inside and out and with wedding as large as 300 guests. I have been truly pleased with its performance.


I love the system for many reasons:

It is completely portable and rechargeable – no need to worry about power supplies or long, intrusive extension cords.

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Stoddard: Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2012 6:41 AM


We all know that weddings are expensive and I am always looking for ways to help couples save money. As I have mentioned before, hiring a vendor who is just starting out can be a terrific money saver. In my experience, people starting out take extra care to make certain that you are satisfied with their service and you will pay a fraction of the price with no loss in quality.

My friend Phil and his wife Lorena have started their own baking business, Dulce Amor Cakes. They take extreme pride in their work and have received rave reviews.

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Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2012 7:50 AM


I have become frustrated recently doing beautiful outdoor weddings that many of the guests do not hear. For most outdoor weddings a sound system is necessary, usually provided by the venue or the DJ. But many venues either do not have a system or if they do, can only offer a microphone on a stand and only the best DJ's offer wireless lapel mikes.


I finally decided to buy my own system ensuring that your beautiful wedding will be heard by all your guests. And the best thing about the system is that it will not be visible in any of your wedding pictures.

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Stoddard: Posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 10:45 AM


A wonderful comment I received after a wedding came from the mother of the bride who said to me, “You made it seem as if you have known my daughter all her life.” I had meet with the bride and groom once before the wedding, learned the story behind their relationship, and presented it during my personal remarks section of their wedding ceremony.


There is no secret to doing this well other than to be a good listener. I spent many years as a high school counselor and mediator and quickly learned that the key to being a good counselor is being a good listener, easy to say, but often difficult to do.

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