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When applying for your marriage license you must both be present; WITH THE EXCEPTION of persons who are in the armed services. 


If one person is in the service the other person may apply, if both persons are in the armed services the Town or City Clerk should be consulted as to who, relative or friend, will take the responsibility to apply and pick up the license for the couple.


Nothing is uniform in Massachusetts when it comes to fees for marriage licenses and/or certified copies of the license.  Towns and cities can make changes to fees at their own discretion without permission from other governing authorities.  One town may charge $15 while another may charge $60. 


My suggestion, go where you have a connection OR you will remember in the future. 


If you or your fiancé were brought home from the hospital at birth to reside in let’s say Norwell, a birth certificate would be filed with the Town of Norwell (even though the birth took place in a Boston Hospital). If you applied for your marriage license in Norwell you would then have two identifying documents at the Town Hall of Norwell for future use.  If the couple plans to reside in Norwell, buy a house and raise a family in this town it would be easier to trace documents to this one location especially if a family genealogy search were ever initiated.


If the couple has no ties any particular town or are not residents of Massachusetts apply in the town of city that the marriage will take place. 


You need NO DOCUMENTATION to apply for a marriage license in Massachusetts, no drivers’ license, no divorce decree (if applicable) and NO BLOOD WORK.  You will be asked to swear the statements provided are in fact true. If possible, I do believe it is best to provide the town or city clerk with documentation that spells names and provides correct addresses for clarification purposes.


At the time of application, I strongly suggest the couple inquiry about purchasing a “certified copy” of their marriage license.  This document is essential to change names, beneficiaries, social security and registry of motor vehicle licensing.


Massachusetts Marriage licenses are good for 60 days.  There is a waiting period for example:  Monday (day of application) and a three day waiting period (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday).  The license can be picked up and is legal to be utilized by your officiant on Thursday. 


Please note:  Many smaller towns have adopted closing early during the summer season on Fridays with one evening during the week as a late night.  Times are listed on most town/city web-sites.


If you want the memory of filing for your marriage license to be a “Norman Rockwell”  experience and not “take a number” type of situation go to a more suburban type of location and not a big city.  It will save you parking expenses, and in the future should you require certified copies they are much easier to obtain and are usually less expensive.   




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