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jpus logo Justice of the Peace


Vol. 9 Issue 7          

December 2011


happy holidays

If you prefer, read the newsletter on the Web.

In This Issue:

JP Conference Recap

My First Wedding

Reality TV Wedding

This JP Has an IPad!

Two Stories from the NY Times: Interim Survey Report

Join the JP Association

mock wedding

       Over 90 JPs from Conecticut were joined by  Massachusetts JP Maria Taylor and New Hampshire JPs Bobbie Wilkins and Pat Cook at the Fall JP Association conference in Hartford. Guest speakers included CT Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Registrar of Vital Records Jane Purtill, and Jason Shusterman of Advanced Lighting & Sound Solutions. Renowned wedding guru Peter Merry came the farthest (Dallas) and did double duty as the groom in a mock ceremony and as afternoon entertainer/educator.

        Peter involved the audience in games and discussions to build self-confidence in their important role at a wedding -- and its value. 'Don't sell yourself short' was his message. As the person who orchestrates the ceremony, the JP/officiant has the ability to make a special day in the couple's lives extraordinary. Huge thanks for their presentations to jpUS members Bettie-Jeanne Rivard-Darby, Shelley Schulman and Ernest Adams.  For more about the conference, see Bettie and Jim Darby's photos and the Justice of the Peace Association's Facebook page.
    We were lucky that the Conference was scheduled on a Friday between two freak snowfalls. Saturday's storm wreaked havoc for New Englanders, some of whom lost power for a week or more. One happy outcome of both the Conference and the storm resulted in the next story.
     It's not even Valentine's Day yet, but this newsletter is all about love... and weddings. Not a bad way to begin a New Year!

My First Wedding
  simsbury shelter

"As the Simsbury state representative dealing with public safety and other issues, I was very glad I attended the workshop last week.  On November 1, I performed my first wedding at our town's storm shelter (because it was the only warm place in town!) and it got tons of news coverage as a feel good story in an otherwise bleak day. 

       I used what I learned about personalizing the ceremony and I held a black three-ring binder like the mock wedding JP [Shelley Schulman] did.  That was very helpful.The couple was delighted with the personalized wedding service I created for them and with the support of the 300 shelter residents who looked on, even though they were complete strangers! It was a hoot!"   Linda Schofield , Simsbury CT JP

Reality TV: A Same-Sex Wedding in New York
conan obrien

Another wedding with an unusual audience took place that first week of November. This one was in New York City and performed by late-night TV host Conan O'Brien -- on the show.  Watch it here.

Who Says JPs aren't Up-to-Date?
chiljean wedding"Thanks for offering the JP Pocket Calendar, but I don't really use them," writes JP and Captain Gary Chiljean of Bridgewater Massachusetts.
      "I've gone high tech with my weddings now, by reading the ceremony from my iPad. This way I can also video tape the bride as she comes down the aisle." Wow!
      In the video at left, Gary captures a precious moment in a ceremony at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge.
     Did he really want to share his secret weapon with other JPs?
      "I have no secrets," he replied via email. "I've always been willing to share my ideas with anyone willing to listen."

Any low-tech Justice of the Peace Association members out there who can still use a 2012 pocket calendar, let us know.   

from the N.Y. Times...
Making a Judgment on Love

A judge makes an exception and conducts a rush wedding for a couple of 38 years.  Read this poignant story from the NY Times "Modern Love" series.

Marriage Renewals Are In!

An NYT article about the popularity of marriage renewal ceremonies -- religious, secular, multi-couple.  Are marriage renewals a growing part of your JP business? Share your stories.

 Interim Survey Report

The JP Survey revealed so many facets of the practices of responding JPs  that we plan to devote a future issue of the JP Newsletter to it!
     A quick snapshot: Survey respondents were from CT, MA, NH and VT. More than three-quarters are over 50 years old, and twice as many women responded than men.
     Here's a sampling of the results showing that many JPs already have taken control of the wedding ceremony, as Peter Merry encouraged us to do. Asked what services they offer to couples (other than as the officiant), responses were:

survey sample

Findings also offered insight into how JPs market themselves and where they are looking for a little extra support. Fortunately, that's what the JP Association does! If you're not already a member, why not start the New Year off right?  Join the JP Association and get listed on If you join in January, we'll send new members a JP canvas tote bag. We all can use a little extra support!   Happy New Year, everyone.

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