Edwin S. Little JP - Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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A valid marriage license, referred to as a "Massachusetts Certificate of Marriage" is required for marriage. A marriage license issued by another state is not valid for a Massachusetts wedding ceremony and vice versa. 
Each city or town sets its own marriage license fee.  The fee varies... usually from $15 to $50.  However,  couples can shop around and apply for a license at any city hall or town hall in Massachusetts; it doesn’t have to be where you live or where you are getting married.  Regardless,  both persons must appear in person, together;  a relative or friend cannot apply for your license... excepting  that military personnel may have the other party file for the license, provided one is a Massachusetts resident.
Couples must bring identification and valid proofs of age. A driver’s license or a birth certificate will suffice. If you are a widow/widower, you do not have to bring a death certificate; if you are divorced, you do not have to bring a divorce decree, but should be certain that their divorce is absolute.

No Discrimination
Justices of the Peace are public officials who have sworn by oath to "bear true faith and allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and to support the constitution thereof." In Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, 440 Mass. 309 (2003), the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts decided that denying marriage to couples based on their sexual orientation violates the Massachusetts Constitution. As such, Justices of the Peace may not refuse to marry same sex couples based on their sexual orientation, and may face personal liability if they do refuse to marry a couple based solely on sexual orientation. In addition, refusing the marry a same sex couple solely based on their race, sexual orientation, or other protected status may constitute cause for removal of a Justice of the Peace's commission.

Questions & Answers
Question:  How 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 the Commonwealth.

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 the Commonwealth. 

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.
Question: Can 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 acts.
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.
Question:  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.