Getting Married in Massachusetts: A Complete Guide

Planning a wedding in Massachusetts? Learn everything you need to know about officiating a wedding, getting a marriage license, and more in this comprehensive guide.
Table of Contents
  1. Intro

Who can officiate a wedding in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, several individuals are authorized to officiate wedding ceremonies. These include:

  • Duly ordained ministers of the gospel in good standing with their church or denomination
  • Commissioned cantors or duly ordained rabbis of the Jewish faith
  • Justices of the peace who are also city or town clerks, registrars, or assistant registrars, among others
  • Authorized representatives of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is
  • Priests or ministers of the Buddhist religion
  • Ministers in fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association
  • Leaders of Ethical Culture Societies recognized by the American Ethical Union
  • Imams of the Orthodox Islamic religion
  • Nonresident ministers of the gospel who are pastors of duly established churches or denominations in Massachusetts

How to become an officiant in Massachusetts

To officiate a wedding in Massachusetts, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum Age: 18 years old
  • Residency: Not required
  • Document(s) Required: Ordination credential and letter of good standing
  • Online Ordination Recognized: Yes
  • Relevant Office of Registration: Secretary of the Commonwealth

Ministers, regardless of residency, must register with the Secretary of the Commonwealth and provide their ordination credentials and a letter of good standing. Non-residents may have a separate registration process. After registration, ministers receive a certificate of validation, which must be attached to the marriage certificate.

How to Officiate a Wedding in Massachusetts

If you're officiating a wedding in Massachusetts, you must ensure that the couple being married and at least one witness are present. During the ceremony, the couple must declare their intent to marry, and the officiant must pronounce them married. Other than these requirements, the ceremony can be personalized to the couple's preferences.

How to Fill Out a Marriage License in Massachusetts

Here's a step-by-step guide to obtaining and filling out a marriage license in Massachusetts:

  1. Pick up the License: The couple must apply for a marriage license in person at the office of a county or town clerk.
  2. Complete the Application: Submit an application provided by the state registrar of vital records. The application must be completed under oath.
  3. Provide Identification: Present a copy of your birth certificate, passport, or state-issued driver’s license to prove your identity.
  4. Pay the Fees: Couples must pay any required fees, which vary by county.
  5. Wait for the License: There is a mandatory three-day waiting period between applying for the license and the ceremony.
  6. Get Married: The officiant must solemnize the marriage and complete the marriage certificate.
  7. Submit the License: The completed marriage certificate must be returned to the county clerk before it expires.

FAQs

1. Can anyone officiate a wedding in Massachusetts?No, only individuals authorized by Massachusetts law can officiate weddings. This includes ordained ministers, rabbis, justices of the peace, and other religious representatives.

2. Do we need witnesses for our wedding in Massachusetts?While witnesses are not required by law in Massachusetts, it's common for couples to have at least one witness sign the marriage certificate.

3. How long is a Massachusetts marriage license valid?A Massachusetts marriage license is valid for 60 days from the date of issuance. The ceremony must take place within this timeframe.

Conclusion

It’s important to know how to get legally ordained online and officiate a wedding. Ready to plan your perfect wedding ceremony in Massachusetts? Sign up for Provenance.co to create your personalized ceremony script today!

Please Note: State and county marriage certificate requirements often change. The above information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Everyone’s situation is different, and we would always advise that you contact the office of your local marriage authority or a licensed attorney to address any specific questions or concerns you may have. While Provenance will aim to update this information as relevant and as able, you should reach out to the local county clerk for the most up to date information.

Planning a wedding in Massachusetts? Learn everything you need to know about officiating a wedding, getting a marriage license, and more in this comprehensive guide.
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