Universal Life Church

Massachusetts Wedding Laws

Welcome to the marriage laws guide for Massachusetts. Officiating a wedding is an incredible honor, but as one might expect, presiding over this important ceremony also comes with plenty of responsibility. That's why we've created this page - to give both couples and ministers an idea of what will need to happen to make the big day a success. Below we'll cover how to become a wedding minister, how to marry someone, and how to make sure the ceremony is legal in Massachusetts.

Here are the five basic steps to officiate a wedding:

  1. How Do I Become Ordained to Marry in Massachusetts

    Getting ordained as a marriage officiant is a surprisingly simple process. Online ordination with the Universal Life Church is not only fast - it's completely free! Once you obtain your minister license, officiating a wedding is easy. In fact legally licensed ministers of the ULC perform tons of marriages in Massachusetts each year. Just click the button below to get started.

  2. How Do You Perform a Wedding in Massachusetts

    The first step is to contact the county clerk's office in the county where the wedding will be held. Call them up, explain that you are a minister planning to officiate a wedding, and inquire about what documents the officials will need to see from you. You may be asked to show any number of items to verify your ordination status. Be advised that these requirement can vary from county to county. Any materials or documents you might require are available in the Minister Store here on our website.

    Important note: Massachusetts requires all out-of-state ministers to fill out an application in order to officiate marriages. If this applies to you, make sure to mention it over the phone so you can begin the application process.

    Select a county to see contact information for each office:

  3. What Do You Need to Officiate a Wedding in Massachusetts

    Once you've spoken with Massachusetts officials to determine what you need, simply place an order for those items through our website. Most of our ministers in Massachusetts decide to order a Classic Wedding Set and an Official Letter of Good Standing.

    The primary reason for obtaining these documents (aside from showing off to your friends, of course) is to provide proof of ordination to county marriage officials. However, having a certified copy of your ordination certificate on hand will also give some much-deserved peace of mind to the couple. We recommend order your materials well in advance of the ceremony to make sure they arrive on time.

  4. How to Get a Massachusetts Marriage License

    Massachusetts marriage licenses are issued by the county clerk's office. While it is the responsibility of the couple to obtain this license, a wedding minister should understand all the rules governing marriage licenses in Massachusetts and its individual counties. If, for example, the couple is planning to get a Middlesex County marriage license, the minister ought to do some research and see if there are any specific rules that apply only to Middlesex County.

    Massachusetts marriage licenses are valid for up to 60 days. However, the couple must wait a minimum of 3 days after receiving the license before a ceremony can legally be performed. After the wedding, the signed marriage license must be returned before the listed expiration date.

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  5. How Do You Officiate a Wedding?

    Once the paperwork has been squared away, you're ready to perform the wedding! We realize this can be a daunting task, so don't hesitate to utilize the tools linked below. These specially-tailored resources provide information and tips on all aspects of performing a wedding ceremony. Created especially for ULC wedding officiants, they contain everything you'll need to craft the perfect ceremony.

  6. Finalizing the Marriage

    Now for the final and most important step! After performing the wedding, you and the couple must sign the marriage license. Some licenses have an "officiant" section; if this is the case, follow these pointers when filling it out: Your official title will be "Minister"; for ceremony type, list "Religious"; under denomination, write "Non-Denominational". If it ask for an address of ministry, list your personal ministry or home address. Do not put the address of ULC. Lastly, don't forget that the signed license must be turned in to the marriage office before the deadline!

Massachusetts Marriage Laws

Marriage laws are governed by Chapter 207 of Title III of the state code. This section explains who is legally authorized to officiate weddings in the State of Massachusetts; among those with authorization are ordained ministers of the Universal Life Church. The relevant excerpt is displayed 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."