How to Apply for a Marriage License in Massachusetts

It's time for some Wedding License 101.

He showed his intention by asking you to marry him. You showed your intention by answering “yes.”

But even after these intentions, there are even more intentions. Before you can get married in Massachusetts, you’ll need a marriage license issued in Massachusetts. This necessary process begins with a Marriage Intention.

Here are a few key points from the City of Boston on how to get a marriage license:

You and your spouse-to-be must follow these rules to begin the process:

  1. Both parties must be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Both parties must come in person to the Registry to fill out the ‘Marriage Intention Form for a Marriage License.’ This form is in-person and can’t be processed through the mail (although some special conditions may apply).
  3. Both parties must show valid government-issued photo ID (driver’s license, state ID, or passport).
  4. Both parties must know their social security numbers to complete their Marriage Intention Form.
  5. You must pay a $50 application fee (cash, money order, credit or debit card) at the time of filing the intention form.
  6. There’s a mandatory three calendar-day waiting period between the date intentions are filed and the date the license can be picked up in person.

You will need the following information:

  • Legal first, middle, and last names (and  what surname/last name you’ll use after marriage);
  • Address(es);
  • Date of Birth(s);
  • Occupation(s);
  • Declare if this is the first, second, etc. marriage and the status of the last marriage (widowed, divorced, etc.). If divorced, provide finalized divorce date. If annulled, bring a copy of the papers;
  • Birth place(s) – City/Town, State, Country; and
  • Parents’ names including mother’s maiden/family name, and if their parents were married at the time of their birth

Once you file a Marriage Intention, the Registry Division’s Marriage staff will give you a small white card with your names, the date you can pick up your marriage license, and the date the license will expire (after 60 days). After the three-day waiting period has passed, the marriage license can be picked up in person by you or someone else holding the white card.

Now what to do with your license. Bring the original marriage license to the officiant of your wedding ceremony. To register the marriage, the officiant must complete and sign the license in black ink and return it directly to the City Clerk or Town Clerk that issued the license. He or she must only fill out the sections outlined in the instructions that come with the license.

Once you’ve followed all of the requirements in applying for a Marriage Intention and License, you can marry in any city or town in Massachusetts. Which was your original intention in the first place.


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