1. Introduction: What's your story?
Times have changed and couples want choices about the type of wedding ceremony they wish to have. They also want choices about where they wish to have their wedding. In the past, if a couple wanted a civil, non-denominational ceremony, they had a couple of options. The first was to travel to a courthouse or a Clerk's Office and have a standard, impersonal ceremony or, depending on where the wedding was going to be, they could possibly use someone who received an "on-line" minister's certificate. This second option presents the possibility that in many places, the wedding would not be valid. Neither of these options was ideal for one of the most important and life-changing events of one's life. There had to be a better way and there was.
The decision to create JUDGES FOR LOVE, gave couples a new, unique and wonderful option to have a judge -- a legally authorized and experienced professional, an excellent public speaker and a kind and caring person-- prepare and officiate a custom wedding ceremony, at the venue of the couple's choice. We provide excellent service and attention to detail throughout the wedding preparation process. Our ceremonies are never long and always designed to be the perfect balance of gravitas, good humor, romance and warmth. Here is a remark from one of our recent clients: " Thank you so much for Judge Marrus' incredible and touching ceremony. We were completely awestruck by the sincere words and the thoughtfulness to include such important details that we will honestly - never forget."
My name is Iris Marrus and I am the CEO and President of JUDGES FOR LOVE. I am proud to say that the services of my company ensure that that couples can have the civil ceremony of their dreams, knowing that we are there to guide and assist them and provide the confidence to know that their wedding will be legally valid. I am personally committed to the satisfaction and happiness of every couple who engages our services.
2. What's your experience as a wedding officiant? How many weddings have your officiated?
The New York State Supreme Court Justices in my company have officiated about 600 weddings, each one of them customized for our clients. In the last year alone, since COVID, we have done more than 200 virtual wedding ceremonies. When COVID shut down the wedding industry, I sent a letter to Governor Cuomo suggesting that a virtual ceremony would be the answer to allowing couples to marry without the risk of exposure to the virus. Some weeks later, though I have no idea if my letter was ever read by the Governor, virtual weddings were approved by an Executive order and we began offering our services to couples who had been struggling to find a way to marry. I streamlined the entire process, handling everything by video conference. Couples were able to invite their guests from all over the world to take part in the virtual festivities and we did weddings at all times of the day and night to accommodate them.
Couples were so creative and their weddings so unique!! They created beautiful backdrops for the ceremony replete with flowers and decorations. They added music and shared their first dance as husband and wife as virtual guests looked on. Some couples were formal and dressed in gowns and tuxedos and some decided to be very casual, wearing coordinated tee shirts and some wore coordinating pajamas. What fun!!
We performed the first historic video wedding ceremony for two first responders to the pandemic here in New York City on ABC television's Good Morning America. The ceremony aired live in Times' Square.
As in-person weddings began to be possible, we continue to work with couples to find outdoor locations that would be beautiful where social distancing could be maintained without comprising the sweetness and romance of the day. JUDGES FOR LOVE finds innovative solutions to difficult problems to ensure the happiness of our clients.
3. How far in advance do couples need to secure your services?
It is a good idea to book our services as soon as a date, time and location are decided upon. We are booking as much as two years in advance. The busiest months of the wedding season for us are May-October so booking early is a great idea. This year and next promise to be the busiest ever with the re-opening of many venues previously closed by the pandemic and couples planning vow renewals as well as weddings. The good news is that we have enough judges working with us to make it possible to accommodate couples when other officiant services cannot.
4. How would you describe your officiant style?
Our style reflects the couples' wishes. We never use scripts and always consider the needs and desires of the bride and groom. We offer counseling and advice as needed. Our style can be best summed up by the following review written by one of our clients: "They took the time and effort to get to know us as a couple and learn our story so that they could tailor the best ceremony possible for us. They patiently guided us through the process and provided such helpful guidance. Their genuine care is immediately apparent. They felt like family by the time our wedding day arrived! We received and continue to receive constant compliments on our ceremony, particularly praises for Judge Marrus whose officiating impressed and greatly delighted our guests. Thank you JUDGES FOR LOVE for making our ceremony a dream come true."
5. What are your fees for officiating a wedding?
Our fee for an in-person ceremony is $750. There may also be travel reimbursement charge depending on the distance round trip that the judge, performing the ceremony, would have to travel. This travel reimbursement is based on the Federal rate and will include tolls, if any. Consultations with the judge are included in the fee. I am always available promptly by phone or by email to assist with any questions and concerns.
We take care of completing the marriage license and returning it to the appropriate Clerk in a timely manner as prescribed by law. If couples do not receive their official Marriage Certificate from the Clerk we follow up and provide resources to assist.
As of June 25, 2021 when former Governor Cuomo rescinded his Executive Order, virtual wedding ceremonies are no longer permitted in New York State.
6. What do you wear when you officiate a wedding?
The judge wears judge's robes when officiating a wedding. However, if a couple does not want the judge to wear the judicial robe, the judge will accommodate the couple and dress accordingly.
7. How many pre-wedding sessions will the couple need to have with you?
We begin with a preliminary telephone consultation with the judge to get to know the couple and give them a chance to discuss their desires for the ceremony. This first consultation is free to ensure the couple's comfort and satisfaction. If they wish to go forward with booking, then there will be at least one more consultation before the wedding. However, if the couple needs to or wants to speak again to the judge at any additional time, we always accommodate them.
I am the contact person for all matters pertaining to the wedding ceremony and am able to and happy to help with any questions at any time. Clients can reach out by phone or email, as many times as they wish.
8. Will you be able to create a personalized ceremony?
In a word: ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!! That is what WE DO!!!
9. Are you available to travel if needed?
We travel anywhere in New York State, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Washington DC. Because we have many judges working with us, we have the ability to travel to most areas within these locations.
10. What is your cancellation and/or refund policy?
I provide a contract for our couples which spells out our policy. During the COVID pandemic, we rescheduled more than 200 weddings for couples, at no additional charge, to make things as easy as we could. Our focus is on providing outstanding service to our clients and will work with them to find suitable solutions to problems with cancellation.