What Do I Do Next?

Before you can be married, You'll need a valid Marriage License (Massachusetts Certificate of Marriage). A marriage license issued by another state cannot be used for wedding ceremonies in Massachusetts. Similarly, a Massachusetts marriage license is not valid in any other state. Each city or town sets its own fee for a marriage license and this fee can vary from $15.00 to as much as $50.00!

You can apply for a license at any city hall or town hall in Massachusetts (it doesn’t have to be where you live or where you are getting married). Both the Bride & Groom will need to appear in person. You cannot have someone else apply for the license for you. Military Personnel may have the another party file for the license, as long as one is a Massachusetts resident.

Blood tests are not required, but you will need to bring Identification and a valid Proof of Age. A valid driver’s license or a birth certificate will suffice. If you are a widow or widower, you do not need to bring a death certificate. Persons who are divorced, however, may have to bring a divorce decree, and should be certain that their divorce is absolute.

There is a Three (3) Day Waiting Period before you can pick up the license. Weekends and holidays are included in the three days, but the day of the application is not. Thus, if you apply on a Monday you can pick up the license on Thursday, or if you apply on a Friday you can pick up the license on Monday. If for some reason, you cannot wait the three days, you can apply for a Waiver, allowing you to get married the next Day! You can be presented to a “court of competent jurisdiction” for approval, but this can be very expensive, (sometimes over $200).

The Marriage License will be valid for 60 days from the day you applied.

When you first pick up your license, make sure that all the information on it is correct - especially the date shown under the heading "Not Valid After." It should contain a date that is on or after your planned wedding day.

Once you have a valid license, all you need is an Officiant to make your marriage “Official.”  The Officiant will perform your ceremony, sign the Marriage License and send it into the city or town where it was obtained.

After the Wedding Ceremony, you're all done. There is nothing more for you to do or sign.

PLEASE NOTE: In MA, you will NO Longer receive any documents (even though you are legally married). MA No longer sends out copies of the Certificate of Marriage to the couple.

If you need copies of your Certificate of Marriage, you will have to apply for them with the Town Clerk or City Clerk where you applied for your license. There is usually a nominal charge ($10.00 to $15.00, depending on the town) for each copy.

Officiants are not permitted (by law), to give you a copy. Instead, we are required to complete the Certificate of Marriage and mail it back to the Town Clerk or City Clerk from whom you obtained your license.

I recommend you to obtain a copy of your Certificate of Marriage after the wedding and file it away with your other important papers (such as your Birth Certificates). You may need it for legal name changes or Social Security.