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Massachusetts Marriage License

Whether you plan a religious or secular ceremony you will need a marriage license. If the wedding is to take place in Massachusetts, the couple can obtain a license from any City or Town Clerk in the same state.

How do I get a marriage license in Massachusetts?

First of all, you need to learn where to get the marriage license. There are four primary institutions that can make your marriage official. These institutions are insisted of a group of people and each group needs to meet various requirements to get licensed:

  • In-state Justice of State: This constitution includes nearly 500 Justices of the Peace from all over the state of Massachusetts. In this case, couples can limit their search to a specific geographical area. Each town/city is authorized to have one Justice of the Peace per 5000 population. Yet, a Justice of the Peace may officiate a wedding anywhere in Massachusetts, as it is not restricted to his/her home city/town.
  • In-state Clergy Member: Many of you would probably like to marry a Clergy member accompany living in MA. But if the church representative has never performed a wedding ceremony in the state before, he/she must file the following three forms with the Commissions Section of the Public Records Division:
    1. A copy of the clergy member’s ordination papers-if ordination is not applicable, a license or similar certificate issued by the religious organization will be accepted.
    2. A letter of good standing from the leader of the religious organization on church letterhead.
    3. A completed Massachusetts Resident Clergy Form which is available to download here
  • Out-of-state Clergy Member: An out-of-state clergy member may also formalize a marriage according to the usage of any church or religious organization. They only have to file the non-resident, out-of-state clergy petition to get the certificate for officiating your ceremony.
  • Anyone with the one-day designation: Would your friend or family member like to officiate your marriage? If yes, they can apply for 1-day designation. You must fill out the application form online or by mail from 6 months to 1 week before your wedding date. And most importantly, there are no residency requirements for 1-day designation.

Age Requirement

Both parties must be 18 years of age or older. If the individual is under the age of 18, he/she needs a court order from a probate or district court.

The couple must bring their birth certificates with them when applying for a license.

If you are under the age of 18 most states, including Massachusetts, will allow you to marry with parental consent and court approval. Massachusetts does not specify a minimum age to marry with permission from the parent.

Before a judge accepts an order, he/she will conduct a hearing and must receive permission from an authorized person as follows:

  • Both parents of the junior child.
  • The parent who is a resident if only one parent lives in Massachusetts or
  • The minor’s legal guardian with custody if neither parent is alive, no parent is a resident of Massachusetts, or the parental rights of both parents have been terminated by a court.
    Witnesses are not required in Massachusetts.

How long does it take to get a marriage certificate in Massachusetts?

The marriage may take place after the three-day waiting period. In case you are unable to wait for three days and need your license issued immediately, the judge of a probate or district court can obtain a waiver of the three-day waiting requirement to have your license without delay. Upon review, the court may issue a certificate. You must bring the certificate back to the City Clerk. Afterward, both parties must apply for a marriage license.

Prior to the ceremony, one of the applicants should pick up the marriage license in person. The individual who picks the license up must verify that all the information on the license is true and real. Therefore the parties may perform the wedding ceremony anywhere in Massachusetts during the sixty days after filing intentions. When you have already filled the “intentions to marry”, a marriage license is issued.

NOTE: You cannot send marriage licenses by mail prior to the ceremony.

Intention of Marriage

For filling out this form you and your future spouse need to visit the Clerk’s Office. You must the following points in this form:

  • Proof of your age (birth certificate or passport)
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Payment for fees (depending on the county)
  • The name you’ll use after the marriage if you’ve decided to change it

Can I apply for a marriage license online in Massachusetts?

You may apply for a marriage license online. The City Clerk’s Office allows you to get the marriage certificate within few days, but this must be completed in person at the City Clerk’s office. This speeds up the application process. The only thing you need to do is to fill out the forms on Vital Record Gov website approving detailed marriage information about you and your spouse.

You can also place an order online with a debit or credit card. You will not pay until the process and confirmation. It usually happens within two or three working days.

How much is a marriage license in MA?

A marriage license may cost between $4 and $50, as each Massachusetts county sets its own fees. One may do payments by cash or by credit card again depending on the county. So if you need your license in online version, contact the nearest Clerk’s Office and get information about all the details.

The Ceremony

Remember that you should “book” the ceremony date by making appointments.

Following the ceremony and marriage, the clerk or Justice of the Peace should provide some proof of marriage. One may not copy the license. The clerk will file the original marriage license in the place where the Clerk’s office will issue it by the tenth day of the next month and then it is possible for the couple to obtain certified copies of their license.

Massachusetts Marriage Records

Massachusetts Marriage Records contain data about somebody’s marriage. These records are fundamental information about the date when two individuals joined together in an official union. These records maintain the names of both parties, even their parents’ names or date of marriage, in short, all filled out in the marriage license application.

You can find marriage records in the state’s online database. But if you need a copy of them, you can get the paper records by mail.

In conclusion, note that Massachusetts allows cousin and same-sex marriages. To avoid the appearance of discrimination, every Massachusetts marriage license applicant must tell where they lived and are still living.

For more information, you can apply…

City Clerk’s Office

City Hall Room 123
36 Court Street
Springfield, MA 01103
Number: 311 or 413-736-3111

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