Massachusetts Marriage Laws

Created and reviewed for accuracy by researchers at the Universal Life Church Ministries
Massachusetts Outline

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.

Quick Facts
  • 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

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Massachusetts's Top Wedding Spot

America's oldest continuously operating restaurant, the Boston's Union Oyster House

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.

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Massachusetts Marriage Code

Marriage 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
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Barnstable County

367 Main Street
Hyannis, Massachusetts

Phone: (508) 862-4044
Fax: (508) 790-6326
Barnstable County website »

Berkshire County

70 Allen St #103
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Phone: (413) 499-9361
Berkshire County website »

Bristol County

9 Court Street
Taunton, Massachusetts

Phone: (508) 824-9681
Fax: (508) 821-3101
Bristol County website »

Dukes County

City Clerks Office
Edgartown, Massachusetts

Phone: (508) 696-3840
Fax: (508) 696-3841
Dukes County website »

Essex County

30 Martin Street
Essex, Massachusetts

Phone: (978) 768-7111
Essex County website »

Franklin County

14 Court Square
Greenfield, Massachusetts

Phone: (413) 772-1500
Fax: (413) 772-1542
Franklin County website »

Hampden County

625 Main Street
Hampden, Massachusetts

Phone: (413) 566-2151
Fax: (413) 566-3513
Hampden County website »

Hampshire County

19 E. Main Street
Romney, Massachusetts

Phone: (304) 822-5112
Fax: (304) 822-4039
Hampshire County website »

Middlesex County

795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Phone: (617) 349-4000
Middlesex County Marriage Laws »

Norfolk County

614 High Street
Dedham, Massachusetts

Phone: (781) 461-6105
Norfolk County website »

Plymouth County

11 Lincoln Street
Plymouth, Massachusetts

Phone: (508) 747-1620
Fax: (508) 830-4053
Plymouth County website »

Suffolk County

1 City Hall Square Room 213
Boston, Massachusetts

Phone: (617) 635-4175
Suffolk County website »

Town and County of Nantucket

16 Broad Street
Nantucket, Massachusetts

Phone: (508) 228-7216
Town and County of Nantucket website »

Worcester County

455 Main Street
Worcester, Massachusetts

Phone: (508) 929-1300
Worcester County website »