Massachusetts Marriage Laws
Congratulations! If you've found yourself at this page it is likely that you are either planning to be married or have been asked to perform a wedding ceremony in Massachusetts. Ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church have successfully performed thousands of legal marriages in Massachusetts. The information provided below will walk you through the steps one must follow to become a minister and perform a valid wedding ceremony in the state of Massachusetts.
- ULC Ordination Accepted: Yes
- Minister Registration Required: Yes
- Minister's Residency: Relevant
- Minister's Minimum Age: 18
- Marriage License Waiting Period: 3 Days
- Marriage License Valid For: 60 Days
- Marriage License Return Within: By Expiration
1 How to Become an Ordained Minister in Massachusetts
If you haven't already, you should get ordained online with the Universal Life Church. Ordination is free and can be completed in just a matter of minutes. Thousands of legally valid marriages are performed by ULC ministers around the world every year. Begin the process by clicking the big blue button below!
2 How to Officiate a Marriage in Massachusetts
Next, you should contact the office of your local marriage authority (typically your county clerk). Let them know that you are a minister of the Universal Life Church in Seattle, and ask what they will require of you to officiate a legal marriage.
Select your county to quickly generate the contact information for your local marriage authority.
Select a county
3 License to Marry in Massachusetts
After you've contacted your marriage authority, you should visit our online store to purchase whatever documentation will be required. We typically advise ministers in Massachusetts to get an Ordination Package. Please attempt to leave at least 3 weeks between the date of the wedding ceremony and your order, to ensure that you receive all of your materials in advance.
All persons who wish to be married in Massachusetts must have a marriage license issued within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Out-of-State marriage licenses cannot be used in Massachusetts. The legal age to marry in Massachusetts is 18 (M.G.L. ch. 207, s. 33A). All people who marry in the state must have a marriage license issued in Massachusetts by any city or town clerk (M.G.L. ch. 207, s. 28). Proper identification is necessary. You may be required to show a certified birth certificate. If you are an out of state minister, you are required to fill out an application that will allow you to perform marriages in this state. To learn more about the out of state minister application, you can visit the SEC Rules and Regulations. The clerk of the county requires a copy of your certificate and a Letter of Good Standing. In certain counties, there may be more stringent guidelines than others. It is important that any minister carefully research the guidelines for the specific area where the ceremony is set to take place well before the wedding ceremony. If you plan to continue performing weddings, you may need to resend your credentials every year.
4 How to Perform a Wedding in Massachusetts
Now that you've done all of the above, you are ready to perform the wedding! Be sure that the couple has picked up their Massachusetts marriage license from the appropriate office. Note that a marriage license in Massachusetts must be signed and returned to the issuing office within 60 days.
At the Universal Life Church we receive several calls from wedding officiants in Massachusetts, after they've received their license to marry by getting ordained online, asking for guidance on how to perform a wedding ceremony. Once the legal matters have been taken care of, officiating a wedding (while a sometimes-daunting task) can be a great deal of fun. We would suggest that new Massachusetts wedding ministers concerned about the ceremony peruse one of our helpful wedding guides. The minister training section of our website should offer a helpful refresher for more experienced ministers.
Massachusetts Marriage CodeMarriage laws in Massachusetts are primarily directed by Chapter 207 of Section 38 of the Massachusetts state code, which defines the persons authorized to perform a marriage in the State of Massachusetts. We've reproduced this item in the state code below.
"A marriage may be solemnized in any place within the commonwealth by the following persons who are residents of the commonwealth: a duly ordained minister of the gospel in good and regular standing with his church or denomination."
View the Massachusetts Statutes on the official state site⇓ Show the rest
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