Questions & Answers
do I apply for a marriage license? Answer: By Massachusetts law, you must jointly file intentions to marry with the city or town clerk in any community in
Question: Is there a waiting
period? Answer: Yes there is a mandatory, three day waiting period before you can pick up your 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.
Question: May we marry before
the three day waiting period? Answer: Yes if you obtain a court waiver. A waiver of the three day
waiting period can be applied for at the city or town clerk’s office where you apply and then presented to a “court
of competent jurisdiction” for approval. However, this can be costly. Best to just plan ahead.
Question: Is a blood test
required? Answer: No. Blood tests are no longer required. This is a recent change on the laws of
Question: Is it necessary
to have witnesses present at the ceremony? Answer:Massachusetts statute does not require that witnesses be
present at your ceremony.
Question: At what age may
a person marry? Answer: A Massachusetts resident may marry if he or she is 18 years of age or older.
Question: How long is a marriage
license valid? Answer: A marriage license, once obtained, is valid for 60 days from the date intentions are
filed and may be used in any city or town in the Commonwealth. -- Marriagae licences shoud be checked carefully
to ascertain that all the information listed is correct... especially the date shown under the heading "not valid after."
This entry should contain a date that is on or after your planned wedding day. Also check the year if applying during November
and December to assure that the following year's date is entered.
Question: What do we need
to get married? Answer: The mandatory
requirements for a Massachusetts marriage: 1) a vaild Massachusetts marriage license 2) the same two people who applied present
for the ceremony and 3) a Justice of the Peace or other authorized Massachusetts official.
we select our own vows? Answer: Yes, there are books of sample vows, plus you may write your own.
Question: Do we have to
speak at the ceremony? Answer: Each person must say "I Do." Beyond these two words, in Massachusetts
there is no requirement for more to be said.
Question: Can other people
be included in the ceremony? Answer: Yes. Family and friends can be a part of your ceremony;
they may be a part of the bridal procession, carry rings, perform readings, light candles and perform other dignified
Questions: Rings... Do we
really need rings? Answer: No. Rings are traditions which only embellish the "I Do."
Question: Can we include religious/ethnic
traditions in a civil ceremony? Answer: Yes. Tradition and religion need neither to be included
nor excluded from a Massachusetts civil wedding.
Question: Where and when
can the ceremony be held? Answer: Wherever and whenever, you and your Justice of the Peace can agree
upon, so long as the location is within the legal borders of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
What happens after the ceremony? Answer: Legally, nothing! There is nothing for you
to sign, nor will you receive any documents certifying your marriage. In fact, you will not even receive an official
copy of your Certificate of Marriage from the city or town unless you apply for this document with the Town Clerk or City
Clerk where you applied for your license. There is usually a nominal charge for each copy. Regardless, it is recommended
that you obtain your Certificate of Marriage soon after your ceremony. You may never need to evidence it, but it is prudent to
have a copy on hand. Justices of the Peace are not permitted to give you a copy. Instead, they are required by law to
complete the Certificate of Marriage and mail it back to the City/Town Clerk from whom you obtained your license.
This is a summary of the requirements for
marrying in Massachusetts. It is provided for your convenience. For the official explanation, please go to the website
of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.