Obtaining a License in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:

If you've just set a date for your wedding, this can be an exciting time for the two of you! It's now easier than ever to obtain your Massachusetts marriage license! Premarital blood tests or any other are no longer required by the Commonwealth.

Here's what you need to know and what documents to bring with you before you apply for a Massachusetts marriage license.  I recommend getting this legal aspect of your wedding out of the way at least a month before your wedding date.

All you really need to get married in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a valid marriage license and an officiant! However, below are the most common questions I have been asked.

Where can I obtain a license?
In any town in the Commonwealth (usually where one or both individuals reside). Requirements may vary as each city or town in Massachusetts could have their own requirements. 

What kind of documentation should I bring?
Proper identification is necessary in Massachusetts. You may be required to show a certified birth certificate.  You must be 18 years of age. 

For how long is the license valid?
60 days from date of application.

Are the rules the same for same sex marriages?
Effective May 17, 2004, legislation was passed allowing same-sex couples to wed in Massachusetts.

What about previous marriages?
No special requirements.  However, some Massachusetts counties state no restriction, others state that you must wait 90 days after your divorce is final before remarrying.  If in doubt, call the city or town where your divorce was granted.

Is there a waiting period?
Massachusetts has a three-day (3) waiting period. You may go to court and obtain a court order to waive the three-day waiting period.   If either of you are close to death, or if the bride is near the end of her pregnancy, a request by your attending physician or clergyperson would suffice and the clerk can issue the license immediately without a court order.

What are the fees?
It will cost you between $10 and $50 to get married in Massachusetts. Each Massachusetts community can set their own fees.

Do we need witnesses?           
No. Only the two of you and me are required.

Do we need a rehearsal?
Only if you want to have one.

Can we write our own vows?
Yes. Writing your own vows can be an exciting and good way to make a ceremony even more personal. 

Do we have to speak at the ceremony?
Not unless you want to.  Most couples repeat the vows after me.

Do you need rings for the ceremony?
No. Rings are traditional, but they are not required for the ceremony.

What are your fees?
Fees are set by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts at $100 in the town of jurisdiction of the Justice (mine is Reading) and $150 outside. Most justices, and I include myself, charge additional for preparation, meetings, travel, rehearsals and special requirements. You should be made aware of these charges at the time of booking.