How to Obtain your Marriage License.

How to Obtain your Marriage License

Whether you are planning a civil marriage ceremony or a religious one, getting a marriage license beforehand is a necessary step. The marriage license is a legal document for the public records stating that you and your partner are free and eligible to marry one another. Trust me, It is SUPER easy to forget that you need to legally get married on paper Amid the blur of organizing your wedding and honeymoon plans. To avoid that, I suggest grabbing my FREE wedding planning checklist ( link at the bottom of the blog!) as well as setting the date and time in your calendar!

So now that you’ve done that, what do you need? Below, you’ll find a breakdown of all the things you’ll need to know about applying for your marriage license. 

Please note that these are the terms here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts! If you are reading this and are out-of-state and/or not getting married in Massachusetts, first of all, WELCOME! And Thank you for reading this blog! And second of all, you’ll want to head on over to your states/commonwealths website or the city/town where you are planning to marry to find out more! Here we go!

The Basics

  • 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 their wedding date. There are no residency requirements for 1-day designations.

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

Don’t forget your freebie!

Happy Planning!! xx

Von Marie

Wife and mother of two young children, Von Marie Moniz is the Wedding Planner and Owner of Von Marie Co. Clients love her bubbly personality and attention to detail. Planning is what she does, relaxing and enjoying yourself is what you will be doing when you hire Von Marie for your next event.

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