A surprise wedding elopement in Jackson, NH! That’s right! This birthday party “family photo shoot” turned wedding had everyone cheering. The couple waited around the corner while I gathered the family outside for a fun winter “family photo” shoot (the couple held back to get their boots on) and then Justice of the Peace Barbara Theriault jumped out from behind the car! She said, “I’m not part of the birthday I’m not jumping out of the cake, but I am here as a Justice of the Peace and you are all invited to the wedding…” and the crowd went wild! All 9 of them :) It was perfect! The kids even made a sign earlier in the day that said, “We finally did it!” and they were sworn to secrecy not to tell anyone what it said, and they didn’t! It truly was a surprise for all! Fingerless gloves from Spruce Hurricane!
Winter is upon us and there are lots of fun things to do in the White Mountains while you are here. Not all “Elopements” are just two people. Sometimes there are witnesses, and sometimes a few extra family members. Whatever the group size, there are many ways to get out and enjoy your time while you are here. That may just entail shopping in one of our many outlet stores and sampling treats from locally owned restaurants, but if you are looking for a little adventure, put your smiles on and head over to Cranmore Mountain for a few hours of tubing!
Another thing of course is skiing. If you know how, or even if you don’t, there are loads of resorts to go to, and all have learn to ski programs.
No matter what the weather, winter weddings and elopements are cozy at the Farm by the River B&B in North Conway. Winter weddings of up to 20 people can be preformed in front of the fire place. You can also elope on your sleigh ride!
This late fall wedding at Glen Ellis Falls with Kim The JP was so much fun. The bride knit the grooms “I Do” socks, they also tied yarn around their fingers for rings as the ones they had made were not ready yet. I loved the fall kale in the bridal bouquet, and the fun “My Humans Are Getting Married” sign! A perfect DYI wedding for a wonderful down to earth couple.
Fall is a beautiful time to escape to tie the knot in the Mount Washington Valley. There is still wonderful fall foliage colors here in the White Mountains. This wedding was at the Notchland Inn on October 8th 2014.
If you are planning an elopement here in the White Mountains be sure to plan your footwear accordingly. If you are celebrating at a local Inn or B&B any type of footwear will suffice. If you are planning to hike in (even 500 feet) to your ceremony location, like here on top of Cathedral Ledge, or nearby at Diana’s Bath or Echo Lake, you may want to plan your walk to the ceremony in something a bit safer and studier. Put your fun pumps in a bag and you can change before the formal ceremony begins. If you plan to walk around the top of a mountain or by a lake or trail it’s helpful to have a safe pair of shoes to walk from location to location. HAVE FUN :)
Avoid the After Bite! If you are coming up for an elopement and you want to head into some more wooded spots for photos, you may want to consider spritzing with some all natural bug spray (as to not discolor your dress or make spots on your suit). Black fly season is usually June and July and depending on if you are in the woods or on top of a mountain with a breeze you may be glad you brought the bug spray.
You can pick up locally made DEET FREE spray at Fields of Ambrosia in North Conway Village or order online in advance. Consider avoiding excessive hair spray or perfume which will also attract some bugs.
With an organic all natural bug oil like Eco Blends Buzz Off, you can dab around ankles or on her like perfume. It actually smells really nice and since it’s all natural, I wear it all the time in the summer.
There are plenty of places to go for great photos that are relatively bug free, and if we get a good breeze on any given day, it’s not much of an issue.
Inspirations Bridal and Formal Wear is the premiere Bridal shop in Northern New England. Planning a small wedding or elopement in the White Mountains doesn’t mean you won’t have top vendors to choose from. Caitlin and team provide exceptional service for your dress shopping needs in a fun and relaxing atmosphere. Inspirations has top designers to choose from and a large selection of Bridal, Bridesmaid, and Formal Wear for many budgets. If you know you are going to plan your elopement or small wedding here in the greater North Conway and Jackson area, it may be worth the trip up to secure your dress here, that way you can have it professionally steamed and ready to go when you arrive. One less thing to worry about. Dress transportation is no joke! To see a funny wedding film about how the dress had to be shuttled from NYC all the way up to Ipswitch, MA in it’s own car – watch this!
Planning an elopement but not sure how long your ceremony should be? I’ve seen elopement ceremonies as quick as 6.5 minutes and as long as 30+ and everything in-between. There is no right or wrong answer. Local expert Kim Steward, “Kim The JP,” has a great website with helpful tips and information and even sample ceremonies! Give her a jingle today! 603-387-9496
A favorite reading of Kim’s… and mine too:
Apache Wedding Blessing -
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years. May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth.
This Spring is a snowy one here in Jackson, NH but don’t let that deter you from setting your elopement plans in motion. It’s a beautiful time of year! The sun shines later, the light can be stunning, and the snow provides a fun backdrop for any mountain setting. I’m not sure if we will see the bare ground by the Wildcat River until the end of April… Jackson Falls is still fully covered! Consider tying the knot on top of one of our local ski resorts during their sunny spring ski season. You can enjoy free entertainment at many local establishments on the weekends. Add that to a romance package from a B&B or Inn and your elopement weekend will be affordable and fun! Browse The Conway Daily Sun online to see local entertainment listings while you are on your way up.
This elopement from last April 7th shows how warm it was. The couple didn’t even need jackets for their Snow White theme wedding that took place on the grounds of The Snowflake Inn. Whatever your plans, I hope you’ll consider documenting it. Photo and video services by the hour for your getaway celebration.
Often times winter elopements are centered around the holiday season with glowy holiday lights and crackling fires. However, do you want all your wedding photos dancing with holiday ornaments and field stone fireplaces? If you do, you picked a great season to wed. If you don’t, you also picked a great season to wed.
Unlike a summer or fall wedding in New England where the sun doesn’t really set until after 7pm winter weddings can be limiting because of daylight constraints. If you don’t get married before 4pm, then all your photos will be taken with flash or external light sources because it will be pitch dark out. You may be restricted to only indoor photos if the venue or location you are at does not have good exterior lighting. If you like the romance and coziness of the season, this is great. You won’t even have to put a coat or boots on.
If you are an outdoorsy person or love to shop, consider this an excuse to by a new outfit. If you love swaddling in scarfs and fun p-coats, then daytime winter weddings can be fashionable and fun – OUTSIDE. Hopefully these few photo comparisons will help show how winter can be fun both day and night.
New coat for him, a cape and ear muffs for her.
A gorgeous knit sweater dress!
Night time by the fire.
If you can brave a few seconds outside, usually there are some fun twinkle lights to be found.
8 questions with a Justice of the Peace: 1. How long have you been a Justice of the Peace and how/why did you become one?
I was a Notary Public as part of my job. I attended a friends wedding in the White Mountains and they had to search for a JP who was willing to hike into the back country. I remember wishing I could have done that for them, and soon after, a couple who worked at the AMC asked me to become a JP and marry them. I became commissioned in 2001 and once I was established, I decided that my niche would be weddings in unusual places around NH.
2. What is the difference between a Notary Public and a Justice of the Peace?
Both are appointed by state governments and share similar responsibilities: Acknowledgements, oaths, affirmations, warrants, depositions, and witnessing signatures. The difference is that a JP may also perform marriage ceremonies.
3. How many weddings have you performed?
As of May 2013, I have performed 430 wedding ceremonies and hope to finish this year around 500.
4. What are some of the most interesting locations or ceremonies you’ve encountered?
Because of my experience, especially with the AMC, places that might seem odd or exciting to others, are actually very normal parts of my life: The summit of Mount Washington, Tuckerman Ravine, any AMC hut, any waterfall or mountain top throughout the White Mountains, etc. The most memorable wedding took place on the shoulder of Mount Washington though. A bagpipe player and I hiked down from the summit to do a wedding at Lakes-of-the-Clouds Hut. Right after the wedding, he and I began to hike back to the summit but we were caught in a lightning storm. By the time we managed to reach the summit and drive back down to the valley, we discovered the gate at the bottom of the road would not open because the power was out in the area. After all that, we were stuck on the other side of a gate!
Other interesting spots include having to take a boat to an island on Lake Winnipesaukee and then take a small raft across an inlet to another island to do the ceremony at sunset. I also did a ceremony at Sandy Island Camp on Winnipesaukee, which happened to be a family camp my grandparents had managed for two decades. I often perform ceremonies at inns and B&B’s around the region and many, including those taking place in winter time, will take place outdoors. Locations such as the Stonehurst Manor have great views of Mt. Washington as a backdrop for the ceremony, leaving the couple with amazing photographs of their special day. I also recommend the laid back nature of a weekday wedding at places like Cathedral Ledge or near the banks of the Saco River, both nearby to my work place.
5. What was your favorite ceremony that you performed?
I can’t say that I can pick just one, as so many have been wonderful.
6. What is the most satisfying part of your job?
Connecting with the couples beyond the business transaction and then staying in touch or visiting them later. I also see people at their happiest.
7. How have you grown your business?
My business took off a few years ago largely due to finally having a website www.kimthejp.com that worked for me as well as a downturn in the economy. Many couples chose to do smaller, more intimate ceremonies in an outdoor setting with just a few guests. Additionally Meghan Simone made a short video of some ceremonies we had done together that I put on my website and that helped couples see and hear what my ceremonies might sound like. Professional associations such as www.findajp.com , www.nhjpa.com, and Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce have been helpful as well as relationships with local hospitality businesses.
8. Are couples free to choose their own vows, etc?
Absolutely! I’m here to provide as much or as little help as desired/needed for the ceremony and they can do just about anything they want. I have samples and helpful hints at www.kimthejp.com for couples to get started.
It’s sad to report that Nestlenok Farm did burn down. I wanted to post here so people do know that they are still slated to open for sleigh rides and winter fun this upcoming season. Lauren + Matt’s engagement took place at Nestlenook Farm February of 2009 and you can see the inn building behind them in this first photo. In preparation for their 2010 wedding at Whitney’s Inn, in Jackson, we took some fun photos “on snow” back in the chapel where Matt proposed. Nestlenook offers romantic sleigh-rides, great for popping the question, ice skating, and hot chocolate! Did I mention the outside fire pit? I can’t help but revisit these photos this year, as Nestlenook is a favorite winter setting for photos, even if the Inn no longer there.
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