How to Perform Marriage in Massachusetts
Minister Licensing Summary
1. Become an Ordained MinisterAmerican Marriage Ministries ordains all people, regardless of belief, who have an honest intent to administer marriage rites and other religious ceremonies according to the values of their congregation and community.
There is no cost to ordination, expiration, or licensing fees. All that we ask is that you take your duties seriously and help support us through donation or a purchase from our store.
Minister Licensing Requirements in MassachusettsIn Massachusetts all ministers are required to register with the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the City or Town Clerk before performing marriage. Ministers must obtain a Solemnization Certificate from the Secretary of the Commonwealth, then present that certificate to the local City or Town Clerk before performing the marriage.
The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth has two application procedures:
Massachusetts Residents – directly contact the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Commissions Section to apply for a license to perform marriage.
Out of State Residents – complete the Non-Resident Clergy – Petition to Solemnize Marriage and contact the Secretary as identified at the bottom of the application.
Please plan ahead: the Secretary asks that you allow 2 – 4 weeks for processing your application, and after processing you must still contact the local City or Town Clerk.
We provide all the necessary ministerial credentials to register when you order a package for “Massachusetts”.
2. Prepare for the WeddingMany of our ministers are performing marriage for the first time and we are here to guide them through the process. We encourage our ministers to register their weddings with us. Once registered, we provide detailed instructions and goals to prepare them for performing marriage.
For a detailed explanation of how a wedding ceremony is conducted, its parts, and samples, visit our Wedding Ceremony Training page.
We recommend that our ministers practice their ceremony aloud prior to the wedding. By the time the big day arrives they should be fully prepared to conduct the ceremony.
3. Perform Marriage!On the wedding day, either preceding or following the ceremony, the couple must present their marriage license to the minister, who must make sure that the license is valid, and that the couple’s information is accurate.
The minister then signs the license, ensuring that it bears any necesarry witness signatures. Once completed, the minister or the couple must return the license to the Town Clerk’s office within applicable deadlines.
For further instructions on how to complete individual forms that may appear on the marriage license, please read how to complete the marriage license.