How to apply for a marriage license
The couple must apply in person to the Clerk's Office. You must jointly file intentions to marry and you may do so with the city or town clerk in any community in the state. A marriage license is valid for 60 days from the date the intentions are filed and may be used in any Massachusetts city or town. It is not valid outside of Massachusetts.
You do not have to be a state resident to get married in Massachusetts, but you must obtain a valid marriage license issued by a Massachusetts city or town clerk. An out-of-state marriage license cannot be used. Wherever you file your intentions will be where you must return to get copies of your marriage certificate later.
If a person is in the military, intentions may be filed by either party, providing one is a Massachusetts resident. If a person is incarcerated in a county house of correction or a state correctional facility, intentions may be filed by either party.
Is there a waiting period?
There is a mandatory three day waiting period from the date of application to the date the license is issued. Sundays and holidays are included in the three days, however, the day the application is made is not. The license cannot be picked up on Saturday or Sunday at the City Clerk's Office because City Hall is closed on the weekends.
May you marry before the three day waiting period for good reason?
Yes, you can apply for a court waiver after filing intentions. According to M.G.L. Ch 207:30, if both parties are residents, or non-residents, they may do so by applying to the judge of a probate or district court to have the license issued without delay, after filing intentions with the clerk.
Are medical certificates required before a license can be issued?
No, medical certificates are no longer required before a license can be issued.
Do the parties have to be a certain age?
A Massachusetts resident may marry at the age of 18 years or older. You may need evidence of proof of age.
If either party is under 18, a court order from a probate or district court where the minor resides must be obtained before the marriage intentions can be filed.
What is the fee?
The fee is $40.00 and includes one original marriage certificate which will be mailed to the couple once it is filed with the City Clerk's Office. The City Clerk's Office currently can only accept cash or check.
What if one or both parties are divorced?
You are not required to present a divorce certificate when filing intentions to marry. However, it is extremely important that an individual who has been divorced be certain that the divorce is absolutely final. If you are uncertain as to the final date of your divorce, you should contact the court where the divorce was granted.
What are the responsibilities of the Officiant (member of the clergy or justice of the peace)?
The Officiant must complete and sign the original marriage license and return it to the clerk of the city or town where the license was issued.
What if the Officiant is from out of state?
An out of state Officiant must obtain a Certificate of Authorization from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth prior to the ceremony. The Officiant must attach this certificate to the original license and returned to the clerk of the city or town where the license is issued. For further information, contact: Division of Public Records, Secretary of the Commonwealth, One Ashburton Place, Room 1719, Boston, MA 02108 or (617) 727-2836 or click here.
Is it possible for a layperson to solemnize a wedding?
Yes, the layperson (non-clergy member, non-justice of the peace) would need to obtain a special one-time permission to perform a marriage. Information about a One Day Designation and an application can be obtained from the Office of the Governor, State House, Room 280, Boston, MA 02133 Attn: Appointments Office or contact the Commissions office at (617) 727-2836. For more information, click here.
Information is also available at mass.gov.