Frequently Asked Questions

What is the procedure for obtaining a Marriage License?

            You can find answers to most of your license questions here on my site.

How far in advance should we book our Justice of the Peace to

Officiant and Solemnize our wedding?

I recommend booking your Justice of the Peace as soon as possible. Even up to a year in advance is not too soon. Doing it sooner rather than later gives you a chance to interview a few different JPs, and gives you the time to choose someone you feel comfortable with. Although I prefer to be contacted early, I am not opposed to working with you if you contact me on relatively short notice.

What sets you apart from other Officiants who can Solemnize

and why should we choose you to perform our Marriage?

There are many excellent Officiants who can Solemnize a marriage  in Massachusetts so, although it's difficult to answer this question, I’ll try to offer some points that distinguish me from other Marriage Officiants:
• Many couples comment on how helpful it was to have someone coordinate their Rehearsal and Ceremony.  I am a very involved Celebrant. Even if it is just a simple, short Ceremony, I believe that my role involves more than just performing the Ceremony. As soon as I arrive my work starts. Before the Ceremony begins, I make sure that your DJ or Musician(s) know all of their cues, and I review the Ceremony with your Photographer so s/he can get the best shots possible. I make sure the Best Man, Maid of Honor, and anyone else who has a role to play knows what they need to do and when. I'll answer any last minute questions anyone may have.   Basically, I help in any way I can. If you have arranged someone else to perform these basic important duties, I will follow their directions and do my part as the Officiants who will Solemnize the marriage.
•Also, although it may not seem like a big point, my couples like the fact that I don't rush through the Ceremony. My style is more laid back - I take my time, and let you know what to do and say every step of the way so that you can just relax and enjoy every minute of your Wedding.
•Finally, I believe the most important things are sometimes intangible. Knowing that you have a Marriage Officiant who enjoys what he does, who’s main goal is to make your wedding day, your way and enjoyable, while assuring it is relaxed for you both, and all who have come to support you on this special day.

Should we meet you before making our decision?

Yes ... I feel that the most important time is the first meeting, so we can get to know each other, and understand what are thoughts are for your special day. Meeting me is not a necessity, but it is an option. If time is an obstacle or your ceremony is to be very basic and short we can email and speak on the phone to set up the day. All meetings can take place where ever your most comfortable.

How much do you charge for meetings?

My fees are reasonable, you can view all fees  here,  the basic fees are dictated by the rules for JP’s in Massachusetts, and any other fees for special services will be discussed and agreed on long before your wedding.
There is a $75 charge for meeting with me in person. (this can serve as your deposit to secure your wedding date) There is no charge for phone or email advice and I welcome any questions you may have. Also, there is no pressure to book me. I like couples to be able to meet me in a stress-free environment where they can make a good evaluation. In fact, I recommend that you go home, think about it, talk it over with each other, and then call me if you'd like me to perform your Marriage. Also, this meeting gives me a chance to make sure that I can provide you with the services you are looking for. I want to make sure that it is a good match all around.

We are interested in one of the Pre-Written Ceremonies,
but we'd like to choose our own vows - is this possible?

Yes. One of my main philosophies is that this is YOUR Wedding, and you should have what you want included in the Ceremony. I encourage this and, if requested, will help you to choose and coordinate your vows, and email you suggestions and information on how to do so. Having your own vows will add greatly to any ceremony.

Where do you perform your Weddings?

I perform wedding anywhere in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the ceremony can be held at any location of your choice. Massachusetts has a variety of great spots! For outdoor Weddings, couples can choose the beach, boats, hill tops, parks, courtyards, and even their own back yards. For indoor Weddings, banquet halls, hotels, restaurants, malls, and their own homes are popular.

On our Wedding day, what time will you arrive

at the site and when do you leave?

I'll usually arrive about 30 to 60 minutes in advance of your Ceremony. I'll leave when the Ceremony is over, unless you'd like me to stay for photos, or any other reason. I have been invited to stay as a guest, and at times asked to bring my wife also celebrate your special day, but this is not expected or required.

What do you wear?

I'll usually wear a suit, with a gown and stole, but really, I'll wear whatever you would like me to wear. My goal is to blend in with the Wedding as best I can, so I'll ask
you if you have a special color theme or themes, and I'll also ask you if there is anything special you'd like me to wear. I will also wear costumes for any type of theme wedding you may have in mind. It is your day and I will do what ever it takes to make it all work perfectly. You can see examples HERE

Can you renew our vows?

Yes, I do Vow Renewal Ceremonies.

What are the provisions of the contract as far as payments

are concerned?

A $75 deposit to reserve your date on my calendar. and I  request the balance due prior to the beginning of the Ceremony. If you elect to have me at your Rehearsal, I usually recommend paying the balance then. (The less you have to remember on the day of your Wedding, the better!)

When I secure your date, in most cases I will have set aside the entire day for you and I'll be investing time in the pleasurable task of preparing for your ceremony. In the event you have to cancel, the non-refundable retainer assures me of a portion of compensation.


Although your deposit is non-refundable, it may be applied to a different day and time (up to 6 months beyond the original date) with no penalty, subject to 72 hours' (3 days) notice.

What do you need to have us bring to the Ceremony?

Bring your Marriage License, some form of ID, the balance of the fee (if needed) and, if you are using them, don't forget your rings and bridal bouquet! After we have set up or rehearsed your ceremony, I will email you a reminder!

What do we do first? How do we begin?

Contact me and I will lead you through the journey...

Justice of the Peace Rick Burtt



Cell# 978-808-7130


A link to state website containing the definitive

Marriage Laws of MA as of the date they were posted here.