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

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Unplugged Wedding Ceremonies
Changing Your Name After Marriage
Questions To Ask An Officiant


Adding Options to Your Wedding
Being a Justice of the Peace
Changing Your Name After Marriage
Choosing an Officiant
Greyhound Adoption
Small, Intimate Weddings
Web Site Difficulties
Wedding Mistakes
Wedding Tips
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My Wedding Blog

Wedding Tips

Unplugged Wedding 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.

Outdoor Weddings

     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.

Let Your Ceremony Be Heard Part Two

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.

Saving Money on Wedding Cakes

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.

Make Certain Your Ceremony Is Heard by Everyone

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.

A Wonerful Venue for a Wedding

Looking for an unusual, distinctive venue for your wedding? Check out the Methuen Memorial Music Hall, The building houses “The Great Organ”, once the largest organ in the country and is truly spectacular. The hall was designed by the English architect Henry Vaughan, who began the Washington Cathedral, and will impart dignity and grace to your ceremony.

I officiated at a wedding there in October. The acoustics are fabulous and the staff of volunteers does a wonderful job. Your guests are certain to be wowed by the surroundings and having an organist playing for them is special.


I often get asked whether rehearsals are necessary. They are certainly not necessary for me. I am comfortable walking into any venue and performing a is often the case for the small, intimate weddings where I meet the couple for the first time. Earlier this week I performed a lovely wedding at a beautiful horse barn -- no bridal party and with a simple, beautiful ceremony, no rehearsal was necessary.

But for larger weddings I love to have a rehearsal. The rehearsal allows us to accomplish many things, but most importantly, everyone involved is much calmer for the wedding as all know where to go and how to stand.

How Early To Book A JP

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?

Location, location, location

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 Nashoba Valley

What Goes on at a Meeting Part 2

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.
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