How to obtain your marriage license

 

You do not have to live in Massachusetts in order to get married here.  To apply for a marriage license, both parties must appear in person together at the city/town clerk's office.

 

Each must be at least 18 years of age.

 

You will need proper identification to file your intentions.

 

You can file your intentions in any city or town in Massachusetts.

 

When one party is in the military and cannot apply in person for the license the other party can file alone as long as he/she can provide proof that the other party is on active duty in the military. 

 

There is a mandatory three day waiting period from the date the "intention" is filed. You are however, able to waive the waiting period with a court order. There may be a fee in order to do this. 

 

The intention is valid for sixty (60) days from the date you filed, not the date you picked up your marriage license.

 

Your license can be used to marry in any city or town in Massachusetts.

 

There is no requirement in Massachusetts to have witnesses present for your marriage to be valid or legal.  The officiant is sufficient.

 

No blood tests are required to obtain a marriage license.

 

Keep in mind

 

You should file your intentions 4 - 6 weeks prior to your wedding day.



Filing fees vary from city to city so you should contact the clerk's office to verify the cost in advance.

 

If one or both of you have been divorced you may want to contact the town clerk's office to find out if proof of divorce is required when you file your intentions.

 

Be sure to provide your marriage license to your officiant prior to your wedding as he/she is unable to perform your ceremony without it in his/her possession.

 

Your officiant is the only person who can submit your executed marriage license to the city/town for filing. 

Who can conduct my wedding in Massachusetts

In-state Clergy Member - If you'd like to be married by a member of the clergy who lives in Massachusetts, they are most likely already authorized to perform the ceremony. However, if they haven't performed a marriage in the state before, they'll need to file 3 forms with the Commissions Section of the Public Records Division

In-State Justice of the Peace - Justices of the Peace are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Executive Council, and some are authorized to perform marriages. Contact your city or town clerk for more information if you'd like to be married by a Justice of the Peace. 

Out-of-state Clergy Member of Justice of the Peace - Clergy members or Justices of the Peace who are authorized in other states to perform marriages have to file the non-resident,out of state clergy petition to get a certificate to officiate your ceremony. They shouldn't file the application more than 6 weeks before your wedding day. Once your officiant-to-be gets the certificate  which is usually about 2-4 weeks after applying, they have to file it with the city or town clerk that will issue your marriage license within 10 days of the ceremony. 

Anyone with a 1-day Designation - If you'd like a friend or a family member to officiate your wedding, they can apply for a 1-day designation. They must fill out an application online or by mail from 6 months to 1 week before your wedding date. There is no residency requirements for 1-day designations. 

All of this information and more, can be found on the Mass.gov website