The Story of Janet, a Justice of the Peace...
Who officiates our elopements? We get this question a lot. So here's a little bit about the Justice of the Peace we use in 99% of our elopements, Janet Benzan (pictured with our former clients Daniel and Karl).
Janet is born and raised in Boston and knows the city by heart. She is retired from Delta Airlines and has been a Justice of the Peace since 1991. Here's a little Q&A with Janet:
Q: Where is your favorite place in the Boston area to perform a wedding?
A: My favorite outdoor place is the Duck's Pond in the Boston Public Garden. There is something peaceful and beautiful about the pond. Whether it is in the middle of spring with the flowers and the trees in full bloom or whether the branches of the trees are blanketed with snow, it is just beautiful.
Q: What do you enjoy so much about officiating same-sex weddings?
A: I have many reasons why I love performing same sex weddings and they have brought some of my best memories.
On May 17, 2004 (the first day of legal gay marriage), I was at Boston City Hall Plaza looking for 2 couples from New York that I was going to marry in 3 days. The excitement, the joy, the love, the laughter and tears that I witnessed firsthand was unbelievable!!!!!
I once married a couple who had been together for 26 years, 7 months and 23 days before saying I do. They were so kind to send me their wedding announcement and at the bottom it reads "Thank you for your patience." Then it hit me....... discrimination! I could not imagine being told no to something so basic as marriage because of who I am! To hear other JPs state boldly that they will not marry any same-sex couple made me angry.
One couple thanked me for being more accepting than their families for their wedding. I may not know every single person that I marry but I am there to support them.
The first time I took my daughter Chloe to a same-sex wedding, I didn't say anything to her prior. After the wedding and we are on our way home, I asked her about her thoughts on the wedding. She had one question: "how come no one wore a white wedding dress?" I wanted her to see not just two women, a man and a woman or two men but love, respect, trust and commitment, and that a family doesn't always consists of a father, mother, son, daughter, dog and cat.
Q: Do couples you work with have to write their own ceremony or vows?
A: No, I have some ceremony scripts and some vows so couples don't have to write their own, but they can. (you can see an example here)
If you are interested in booking an elopement package and meeting Janet, please click here to find out more! Also check out our Frequently Asked Questions about these services.