A Justice of the Peace is an official within a judicial system who typically holds less legal experience and training, and thus, reduced scope for judicial decision-making and action than that of a full-fledged judge. A Justice of the Peace wedding is one of the legally binding kinds of actions which these kinds of judicial officers are generally empowered to carry out.
Within the United States, the rules surrounding the permissible activities and role of Justices of the Peace, and the basic understanding of what a Justice of the Peace constitutes, can vary on a state-by-state basis.
In this regard, a U.S. Justice of the Peace might be a judge, but one who is empowered specifically to preside over the actions of a court which has been given only limited jurisdiction.
Alternately, Justices of the Peace in the United States might be magistrates, or they might be officials of some other kind who have been appointed in certain kinds of judicial capacities.
In addition to a Justice of the Peace, various legal matters which can be entrusted to the decision-making of Justices of the Peace can include traffic-related legal measures or criminal actions which rise to the level of a misdemeanor and below the felony level.
A Justice of the Peace might also be given power over the bringing of small claims actions against defendants. Lastly, a Justice of the Peace wedding will specifically provide the participants with a civil marriage.