1. People & Relationships
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in our forum

Applying for a Marriage License in Massachusetts

By

Wedding Registrar
Daniel Sheehan Photographers/Photodisc/Getty Images

The marriage license laws of Massachusetts could create problems in your wedding plans. Here's what you need to know and what documents to bring with you before you apply for a Massachusetts marriage license. We recommend getting this legal aspect of your wedding out of the way about a month before your wedding date.

Congratulations and much happiness as you begin your lifetime journey together!

Requirements may vary as each county in Massachusetts could have their own requirements.

ID Requirement:

Proper identification is necessary in Massachusetts. You will probably be required to show a certified birth certificate and Social Security numbers (SSNs) when you apply for a marriage license.

 

Same Sex Marriages:

Yes, as of May 17, 2004 same-sex couples can get married in Massachusetts.

Residency Requirement:

Previously, in accordance with Gov. Romney's directive, Massachusetts county clerks verified that gay couples were residents of Massachusetts. To avoid the appearance of discrimination, they asked every Massachusetts marriage license applicant where they lived. But on 7/29/2008, the 1913 marriage residency law was repealed.

Previous Marriages:

No special requirements. However, some Massachusetts county web sites state no restriction, others state that you must wait 90 days after your divorce is final before remarrying.

 

Covenant Marriage Option:

No.

Waiting Period:

Massachusetts has a three-day (3) waiting period. You may go to court and obtain a court order to waive the three-day waiting period.

If either of you are close to death, or if the bride is near the end of her pregnancy, a request by your attending physician or clergy person would suffice and the clerk can issue the license immediately without a court order.

 

Fees:

It will cost you between $4 and $50 to get married in Massachusetts. Each Massachusetts community sets their own fees.

Example: The marriage license fee in Boston is $50, cash only.

 

Other Tests:

None. Massachusetts state lawmakers repealed the law requiring blood tests late in 2004. It went into effect on January 28, 2005.

Proxy Marriages:

No. However, if one of you is in the military, or is incarcerated, the other may make application for the marriage license for both of you.

Cousin Marriages:

Yes.

Common Law Marriages:

No.

Under 18:

If you are under 18 years old, you will need a court order from either a probate court or district court in the locale where you live in order to apply for a marriage license.

Officiants:

Any ordained ministers or clergymen, and justices of the peace may perform weddings in Massachusetts. By state law, Justices of the Peace may charge up to $100 for a marriage in a town they live in. They may charge up to $150 if the wedding will be out of town.

Out-of-state clergy need to obtain a Certificate of Authorization from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth before the wedding ceremony.

A non-minister or non-justice of the peace (such as a relative of family friend) may receive from the Governor, for a $25 fee, special one-time permission to perform a marriage. Don't put this off to the last minute -- they ask that the request be made at least six weeks prior to the wedding.

Witnesses:

Witnesses are not required in Massachusetts.

Miscellaneous:

License is valid for sixty (60) days.

Copy of Certificate of Marriage:

Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
Department of Public Health
150 Mt. Vernon Street
Boston, MA 02125-3105
(617) 740-2600

PLEASE NOTE:

Please note that we make every effort to offer you common-sense marriage advice and helpful information about marriage on this website, but we are not attorneys and the articles on the site are not to be construed as legal advice.

The information in this article was accurate when it was published. It is important that you verify all information with your local marriage license office or county clerk before making any wedding or travel plans.

The marriage site has a world-wide audience and marriage laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country. When in doubt, seek legal counsel.

Please notify us of any oversights or errors.

 

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.