How to Apply for a Marriage License in Massachusetts

Bride signing marriage license


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The marriage license laws of Massachusetts could create problems in your wedding plans. Here's what you need to know and what documents to bring with you before you apply for a Massachusetts marriage license. We recommend getting this legal aspect of your wedding out of the way about a month before your wedding date. Requirements may vary as each county in Massachusetts could have their own requirements. Marriage licenses are given in the County Clerk's office.

ID Requirement

Proper identification is necessary for Massachusetts. You will probably be required to show a certified birth certificate and Social Security numbers (SSNs) when you apply for a marriage license.

Same-Sex Marriages

As of May 17, 2004, same-sex couples can get married in Massachusetts.

Residency Requirement

Previously, in accordance with Gov. Romney's directive, Massachusetts county clerks verified that gay couples were residents of Massachusetts. To avoid the appearance of discrimination, they asked every Massachusetts marriage license applicant where they lived, but on 7/29/2008, the 1913 marriage residency law was repealed.

Previous Marriages

No special requirements. However, some Massachusetts county websites state no restriction, others state that you must wait 90 days after your divorce is final before remarrying.

Covenant Marriage Option

Massachusettes does not have the option of electing to enter a covenant marriage. In the United State, only Alaska, Arizona, and Louisianna allow covenant marriages.

Waiting Period

After obtaining your marriage license, Massachusetts has a three-day (3) waiting period before you can marry. If necessary, you may go to court and obtain a court order to waive the three-day waiting period.

If either of you is close to death, or if the bride is near the end of her pregnancy, a request by your attending physician or clergy person would suffice and the clerk can issue the license immediately without a court order.


It will cost you between $4 and $50 to get married in Massachusetts. Each Massachusetts community sets their own fees.

Example: The marriage license fee in Boston is $50, cash only.

Other Tests

None. Massachusetts state lawmakers repealed the law requiring blood tests late in 2004. It went into effect on January 28, 2005.

Proxy Marriages

No. However, if one of you is in the military, or is incarcerated, the other may make application for the marriage license for both of you.

Cousin Marriages

Massachusettes allows cousins to marry.

Common Law Marriages

Massachusettes doesn't allow common law marriages.

Under 18

If you are under 18 years old, you will need a court order from either a probate court or district court in the locale where you live in order to apply for a marriage license.


Any ordained ministers or clergymen, and justices of the peace may perform weddings in Massachusetts. By state law, Justices of the Peace may charge up to $100 for a marriage in a town they live in. They may charge up to $150 if the wedding will be out of town.

Out-of-state clergy needs to obtain a Certificate of Authorization from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth before the wedding ceremony.

A non-minister or non-justice of the peace (such as a relative or family friend) may receive from the Governor, for a $25 fee, special one-time permission to perform a marriage. Don't put this off to the last minute -- they ask that the request is made at least six weeks prior to the wedding.


Witnesses are not required in Massachusetts.


The license is valid for sixty (60) days.

Copy of Certificate of Marriage

Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
Department of Public Health
150 Mt. Vernon Street
Boston, MA 02125-3105
(617) 740-2600

Note: The information in this article was accurate when it was published. It is important that you verify all information with your local marriage license office or county clerk before making any wedding or travel plans. When in doubt, seek legal counsel.

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