Vendor Spotlight: Officiant JP Payne
Meet JP Payne, a court-appointment Wedding Officiant in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Each and every wedding she’s a part of is unique and special to her. With customized vows for each and every ceremony, JP adds that personal, special touch to any big day!
Tell us a little about your company
I’m a court- appointed Wedding Officiant in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I perform wedding ceremonies that are typically non-denominational, but will honor religious affiliations upon request. I write customized vows for each and every ceremony. As a published writer, I truly enjoy using words to capture each couple’s unique love story.
How did you get started in this business?
I requested to be appointed an Officiant on several occasions. I had such interest and passion in doing so. I kept being told they were not appointing any more officiants in Hanover County. I didn’t take “no” for an answer. I kept asking court officials at every meeting and opportunity, and was given an introduction to an appointing judge. After an extensive interview, I was appointed an Officiant for the Commonwealth. I could not contain my enthusiasm. I so enjoy celebrating love!
What’s your favorite wedding story?
My friend, Charles, asked if two of his dear friends could get married on my riverfront farm nicknamed “The Hill.” At the time, I was an Officiant, but I was not interested in having weddings at my residence. Then, I met the couple. They were adorable! I couldn’t refuse the request! They dressed casually and we all rode down to the river in my Kawasaki Mule. Immediately after the ceremony, he smiled at me and said, “JP, can I jump in your river? I just took the plunge!” I nodded and he dove right in. With arms outstretched, he invited his bride into the chilly water. She dove into his arms and they shared a precious kiss.
Why do you like working with weddings?
For me, life is all about relationships. I love people and I love helping them honor the love they know. As an Officiant, I get to remind my couples about the preciousness of love, and I get to know them as individuals and as a couple, and learn about their special stories. I incorporate this knowledge into my vows and the ceremony. Its really simple: I am a Celebrant who very happily celebrates love and life! Being an Officiant is such an amazing honor for me.
What is the most difficult situation you have faced with a couple and how did you resolve it?
The most difficult situation was with a couple who were renewing vows and had argued right before I arrived. She was fully dressed, but his tie was missing and folded on the coffee table. I asked if they were ready and both looked at me with wide eyes. I asked if we could talk, and was able to help them untangle a miscommunication after a few gentle questions. They hugged in agreement after our brief chat, and we proceeded with the ceremony. It was magical!
From a vendor’s perspective, what is the one best piece of advice you can offer to engaged couples?
My best advice it to decide to either plan ahead or be totally spontaneous! The middle road doesn’t seem to be as much fun for my couples.
How far in advance should couples book your services?
I can be booked well in advance, or available within an hour–depending on my schedule. I am a writer and editor by profession, and I am self-employed.
What inspires you the most / where do you find inspiration?
What do you like to do when you are away from work?
When I am away from work, I like to hike in the woods with my three labs: Bettis, Eunice, and Lilly. I enjoy gardening, photography, reading, attending concerts and live theatre, and playing the guitar or piano. I love art shows and artists. I am a nature lover and an environmentalist. I think music is like oxygen and love is always the answer.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
I call myself a nerd! I love to learn.
You can learn more about JP Payne and JP Payne and Associates, Inc. on her website.