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JP suggests outdoor ceremonies due to COVID-19

WESTFIELD – When a local couple had their hopes dashed for a large wedding at The Ranch Golf Club in September due to state guidelines on COVID-19, Jayne Mulligan answered the call.

“After plans to get married at The Ranch and in Hawaii fell threw due to COVID, our families came together to think of other options,” said Samantha LaFogg, who wed Bradley LaFogg on Sept. 20. “We were determined to get married this year.”

Since their original wedding location plans weren’t an option, it was Bradley’s grandmother, Jeanne Aspinall, who came to the rescue.

“Bradley’s grandmother said she had a friend she knew real well who was a justice of the peace,” said LaFogg. “When we called Jayne, she said she could help us.”

Justice of the Peace Jayne Mulligan officiated at the Sept. 20 wedding of Samantha and Bradley LaFogg at Grandmothers’ Garden in Westfield. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

The couple had decided on a 4:30 p.m. ceremony and worked with Mulligan on different location options.

“We chose Grandmothers’ Garden because we found a nice quiet area to get married,” said LaFogg, adding that on Sept. 20, 2021, they want to gather their friends and family for a large ceremony at Stanley Park so everyone can celebrate the occasion and she can wear the wedding dress she had planned to originally wear.

For Mulligan, she has seen an increase in couples opting out of traditional religious ceremonies and leaning toward civil ceremonies that can be tailored to one’s specific needs, locations and interests.

“If your wedding was canceled due to COVID but you would still like to be married on a special date, contact me,” said Mulligan, adding, “social distancing and all COVID regulations will apply.”

The LaFoggs kept their ceremony to about 30 minutes that featured a candlelight ceremony suggested by Mulligan.

“When we met with Jayne she gave us some package ideas to choose from and one with the candelighting ceremony had everything we wanted,” said LaFogg. “She’s very respectful, professional, and is really good at what she does.”

Mulligan, a certified Justice of the Peace, can perform marriages anywhere in the state, adding all state laws apply including no discrimination regarding religion or same sex marriages.

“If your holiday wedding was canceled due to COVID but you would still like to be married at this festive time of the year, an option to consider is downtown Westfield on the green,” said Mulligan, adding, “it is always beautiful at this time of the year when the Christmas tree goes up and the lights from the Westfield Athenaeum and The Tavern shine brightly.”

Mulligan noted that one of her favorite spots to also recommend to couples is the Half Mile Falls near the Green River Bridges.

“If you are looking for a beautiful spot for a wedding, look no further than Half Mile Falls,” said Mulligan, adding that she is also seeing couples choosing to include their pets in ceremonies.

“Who doesn’t love their dog?” said Mulligan, who had served as animal control officer in the city for 25 years. “I am a pet-friendly JP and should have no problem including your fur baby in the ceremony.”

For the LaFoggs who first met at Westfield Technical Academy six years ago, they were thankful that Mulligan was able to honor their date on such short notice and look forward to a one year renewal ceremony.

“After our wedding ceremony we all went out to The Tavern in Westfield for dinner,” said LaFogg, noting attendees included Jeanne and Ben Aspinall and Bradley’s brothers, Ryen Baudin and Adem Baudin.

While the couple will plan a trip to Hawaii in 2021, they were happy to be able to escape for a weekend out to Rockport to be by the sea.

“We are planning our ceremony for next year now and we will ask Jayne to join us as we redo our vows,” said LaFogg.

Mulligan can be reached via her Facebook page – Jayne Mulligan Justice of the Peace, by calling (413) 330-1189, or sending an email to [email protected]

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