Ceremony Requirement FAQs
What do we need to do before our ceremony?
You will need a valid Marriage License in order to be married in Massachusetts.
How do we obtain a Marriage License in Massachusetts?
You must BOTH go to any City or Town Clerk’s office to “File Your Intentions”.
What does it cost to file for the marriage license?
Fees will vary depending on the city or town within the commonwealth.
Do we have to be residents in the town/city where we file?
You do not have to be a resident of the town/city and the license may be used to be married in any other city or town within Massachusetts. It is not valid out of the state.
What do we need to bring when we file for the license?
You must both be over 18 and show valid IDs: (birth certificate, driver’s license, passport etc). If either person is under 18 years old, a court order must be obtained first from the probate court or district court where the minor resides.
Are there any other requirements?
In Massachusetts, there is no blood test required, but after filing, there is a waiting period of 3 days before you can pick up your license from the clerk’s office. The 3-day waiting period may be waived only by a court order. If either or both of you are divorced, divorces must be FINAL before the time of the filing of intentions. Massachusetts does not require any witnesses present at a marriage ceremony.
How long is the License good for?
It is good for 60 days from the date you file for it, so don’t file too early. A month before is perfect.
What do we do after we get the license?
Give it to your Justice of the Peace in advance. A good time is at your rehearsal or earlier. A Justice of the Peace cannot perform the ceremony without your marriage license. After your marriage ceremony, your JP is required to sign and return your license to the City/Town Clerk’s Office where you applied for it. After it has been recorded there, that is the only place where certified copies will be available, at a fee. Each town/city hall will set the fee for the official copy.
“We were at a wedding that offered cocktails before the ceremony. Any thoughts?
A wedding ceremony is usually followed by 5 or more hours of eating , drinking and dancing to help you celebrate your marriage. It is a grave error to permit the drinking of alcohol prior to the ceremony, since it can alter clear judgement and lessen the full, polite attention span of those who drink beforehand. For this reason, we suggest leaving specific instructions with your venue/bartender, wedding party (flasks!), family and guests that you would prefer everyone to respect your wishes to start the party AFTER the ceremony.
“How do you handle annoying cell phones and intrusive cameras disrupting a ceremony?
Our customized ceremony offers couples the option of a polite pre-ceremony announcement asking everyone to please power down their cell phones and to allow the professional photographer to capture the pictures while all attendees capture the ceremony with their hearts. We can offer many other ideas to help you craft your ceremony.
“What do you think about having a friend or relative perform the ceremony for us?”
Most of the time, it turns out very similar to having a friend with an iPod try to DJ and MC a wedding for the first time. It looks easy until you try to do it yourself. An experienced, professional wedding officiant who takes pride in his or her work is always your best option if you want everything to be organized correctly and run smoothly.
Can you perform our ceremony in New Hampshire?
Yes, but I will need to apply in advance for a special permit that allows a Massachusetts Justice of the Peace to legally perform a marriage in New Hampshire. A small surcharge is added to cover the NH fee involved.