What do we need to be married?
To marry in Massachusetts, you must be 18 years of age and have a valid marriage license. Your marriage license can be issued by any city or town clerk. Most people obtain their license in the city of town in which they live or plan to be married.
There is a three-day waiting period before the ceremony can be performed legally. You don’t need anything else. You don’t even need to have a witness because the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recognizes the Officiant (me) as the witness.
If you plan to be married in another state, you need to check the requirements in that state and be sure to allow plenty of time to meet them.
Can we elope?
You certainly may elope if you wish. You still need a valid Massachusetts marriage license.
Do we need a blood test?
No, you do not need a blood test to be married in Massachusetts.
Do we need wedding rings?
Wedding rings are a lovely tradition but are not mandatory.
Can we write our own vows?
Of course! You may write your own vows or choose from samples that I have. We will work together to rework the language so that it is special and meaningful for you.
Can we include others in the ceremony?
Family and friends may play an important part in your marriage ceremony—it is up to you to decide. You may ask people to do readings, present your rings, or take part in other ways, such as candle lighting or saying a prayer. We can incorporate traditions from religions or beliefs that are meaningful to you.
We will work together to make your marriage ceremony everything you want it to be.
Where will our ceremony be held?
Anywhere you want – outdoors, at your home, or any venue your choose.
Can you conduct our service in another state?
If you wish to be married outside Massachusetts, we will have to apply for a one-day-one-event permit from the state you choose. Most states allow such permission (I have performed weddings in both Maine and New Hampshire, but can go to any other state). Just be sure to allow plenty of time to meet the other state’s requirements, including that of obtaining the marriage license and special permit.
Do we need a pre-nuptial conference?
We should meet before your wedding. I am happy to get together at a mutually convenient time and location so that we can get to know one another and discuss how to customize your wedding. We will discuss whether you want special readings or meaningful passages, and what vows you would to exchange. Should you decide not to use my services, there is no charge for the pre-nuptial conference.
Should we have a rehearsal?
A rehearsal is important if you are planning anything more than just a basic wedding. It gives everyone—not just you—an opportunity to become familiar with their roles in the wedding ceremony. However, it is not a “must.”
What will you wear?
I will wear whatever attire best suits your event. I usually wear a black judicial robe. I can wear business attire or something more informal—it is really your decision.
After the ceremony
I will complete the Certificate of Marriage and mail it to the city or town clerk where you obtained your license. You should then apply for a Certificate of Marriage from the city or town clerk. There may be a nominal fee for this certificate. It is an important document to have and should be filed in a safe place with other important documents (such as birth certificates and passports).
Your vows may have been spoken in minutes, but your promises to each other will last a lifetime.