In Massachusetts, there is a three-day waiting period for your license. We went to the City Clerk in Salem first thing Friday morning. We were both a little surprised at how easy it was because they did not even require ID. We simply filled out a form, paid the $20 Fee, and picked it up three days later. I did get the impression though that each city may be a little different on fees, ID requirements and the waiting period. Salem counts the weekend days but I am not sure all do so you may want to call ahead. Another very good reason to call ahead is that even though these are city offices the hours they are open vary. In Salem they stay late on Thursday but close early on Friday. This is important to know because nothing would be worse than arriving Friday afternoon to find the office closed and your entire plan dependant on getting the license by Monday.
Early on I didn’t give much thought to finding an officiate and my thinking was that pretty much any J. P. could do the job. Luckily, I asked my friend Becky who had married her and she gave us Priscilla Geaney.
We had talked on the phone a few times and had the date and time set but Priscilla asked us to meet with her before the ceremony so on Saturday morning we set off to meet with Priscilla. She had offered directions but I had the address so I simply Googled it and we were off. Google maps are good if you know where you are going and if all the streets are clearly marked but that doesn’t apply in New England! We got lost repeatedly and after we were already late, I gave up and called for help. Priscilla was wonderful and gave us clear directions that included some stuff about a rotary ( go in at 7 and out at 4) but still we got lost again. Finally, Pricilla stayed on the phone and led us to her door all the while telling me we needed a GPS.
The phone calls had helped though because by the time we finally arrived it seemed as if we were meeting a long lost friend. The Geaney home is beautiful and very welcoming and both Karen and I felt instantly comfortable. We spent a few minutes getting settled and then got down to the planning. We had done some work on our own and had a ceremony of sorts in mind so we turned that all over to Priscilla along with the story of our friendship, not dating and falling in love. We talked about our families and hers. We learned that she had become a JP when same-sex marriage became legal specifically to help provide warm friendly weddings to couples like us. Priscilla is basically the model PFLAG Mom and you can’t help but feel the love and pride she has for her children.
All said we were there for a couple of hours and could have easily sat and visited all day but when we arrived it was obvious Priscilla was busy preparing for a dinner with friends and we knew she probably had a lot of other things to do so we finished our business and prepared to leave.
By now it was afternoon and we hadn’t eaten so Karen (being Karen) asked where the best local places to eat were. Priscilla asked a few questions and told us we should try Kelly’s. She then immediately followed up with I am going that way. You can follow me so you don’t get lost again and after you can go across the street to Target and pick up a GPS. We should have listened but you’ll hear that story later : ) When we got to the restaurant, Priscilla couldn’t pass it by and ended up joining us for lunch.
By the time Tuesday came around it felt like one of our dearest friends was marrying us.
Looking back, I can’t believe I thought it didn’t matter who performed the ceremony because Priscilla made it so special. If any of you are thinking about taking the big step find a good J. P. and get to know them. If you are planning to go to the Boston area let me know and I’ll gladly give you Priscilla’s number.