OPENING WORDS OF JP AND WELCOMING ("Dearly Beloved we are gathered here today, etc...")
THE GIVING IN MARRIAGE (Here the JP asks who is giving Bride away)
ADMONITION AND DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE (Here the JP offers advice/insight on the institution of marriage)
A READING (Can be read by JP or someone else)
VOWS (You say your "I do's" and recite your vows)
VOCAL SOLO (Appropriate here if desired)
EXCHANGE OF RINGS (you say your ring vows and exchange rings)
LIGHTING OF UNITY CANDLE (JP says a few words about you becoming a family as you light the candle.)
VOCAL SOLO OR SECOND READING.
CLOSING PRAYER OR BLESSING.
DECLARATION OF MARRIAGE (JP pronounces you married and you kiss)
INTRODUCTION OF NEWLYWEDS (JP introduces you as a couple to your guests)
The most important thing to keep in mind is that it is your Special Day and you can create your ceremony by adding, deleting or changing any of the above items with one exception.
The ONLY required part of the ceremony is the Declaration of Marriage. Under Massachusetts law, you must be pronounced married by your Officiant in order for the marriage to be legal. Every other part of the ceremony is optional.
When you select your Justice of the Peace, make sure you choose one who will work closely with you and design a ceremony that best reflects who you are as a couple and a ceremony that you are comfortable with. For example, if you wish to write your own vows make sure the Justice you choose is receptive to that. Likewise, if you are not comfortable with speaking in front of an audience, make sure your Officiant understands that and keeps your verbage to a minimum. If you follow this advice, your ceremony will flow smoothly.