Step 1 GET ORDAINED WITH AMERICAN MARRIAGE MINISTRIES
Getting Ordained with American Marriage Ministries is your first step towards performing marriage in Massachusetts. American Marriage Ministries is the only IRS Certified 501c3 Non-Profit that offers online ordinations. Getting ordained with AMM is free, quick, and easy!
Beyond ordination we provide all the information and resources you need to learn how to prepare for and officiate weddings. Whether it is your minister registration requirements, learning how to write a wedding ceremony script, or making sure you understand your legal responsibilities when completing the marriage license, we have you covered!
We welcome people of all walks of life. As long as you have a sincere desire to bring communities together through marriage, it is not important to us if you are religious or non-religious, gay or straight, black or white, rich or poor. Ordination as an AMM minister is about celebrating our commonalities.
As a Minister of American Marriage Ministries we encourage you to officiate weddings that reflect the values and beliefs of you and the couple. With over 658,818 Ordained Ministers and hundreds of thousands of successful weddings, what are you waiting for?
Apply For Ordination!
Step 2 MASSACHUSETTS MINISTER REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS
ALL MINISTERS ARE REQUIRED TO REGISTER WITH THE MASSACHUSETTS SECRETARY OF THE COMMONWEALTH
All ministers are required to register with the Secretary of the Commonwealth before performing marriage.
Be aware that your state residency status affects the registration process. The Secretary of the Commonwealth offers two registration methods. One is for Massachusetts residents and the other is for Non-Residents.
We will cover the application process for both Massachusetts residents and non-residents below.
HOW TO REGISTER TO PERFORM MARRIAGE AS A MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENT
Applying to perform marriage as a Massachusetts resident is easy. The Secretary of the Commonwealth's website clearly outlines the registration process. In short, you will need to submit the following documents:
● Your Completed Massachusetts Resident Clergy Form
● Your Ordination Certificate
● Your Letter of Good Standing
HOW TO COMPLETE THE MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENT CLERGY FORM
The Resident Clergy Form is a simple one page document. The completed form is included in your Massachusetts Minister Ordination Package. You can also Download a PDF and complete it yourself.
The form asks for basic personal information. You will also be asked for your religious title, ordaining church name, and church address. For clarification, this is what you should enter in those fields:
YOUR CLERGY MEMBER'S TITLE
For your title enter: "Minister".
RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION NAME
For religious organization name enter: "American Marriage Ministries"
RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION ADDRESS
For religious organization address enter our address, which you can find on our Contact Page.
HOW TO OBTAIN YOUR ORDINATION CERTIFICATE AND LETTER OF GOOD STANDING
Order your Massachusetts Minister Ordination Package to receive your Official Ordination Certificate and Letter of Good Standing. Your Letter of Good Standing is signed by a church officer, dated, and notarized, as required by the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Your Minister Ordination Package also includes your Completed Massachusetts Resident Clergy Form for your convenience.
HOW TO FILE YOUR RESIDENT CLERGY APPLICATION WITH THE SECRETARY OF THE COMMONWEALTH
Once you have all your paperwork in order, you can mail, fax, or email it to:
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place, Room 1719
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
APPROVAL OF YOUR MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENT CLERGY APPLICATION
Provided there are no complications, your application should be approved as soon as it is filed with the Secretary's Office. If submitting your application by mail please allow a few days for shipment of your application. You should receive a confirmation email from the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office once your application is approved.
Once you receive confirmation of your application you will have the authority to perform marriage anywhere in Massachusetts!
HOW TO REGISTER TO PERFORM MARRIAGE AS A NON-RESIDENT OF MASSACHUSETTS
The registration procedure for non-residents is slightly more complex, but not difficult. The Secretary's office strongly recommends applying at least 2-4 weeks but no more than 6 weeks prior to the wedding.
Make sure to plan ahead and DO NOT WAIT until the last minute!
PERFORM MARRIAGE AS A NON-RESIDENT OF MASSACHUSETTS IN 4 STEPS
We have broken down the process for non-residents into 4 easy-to-follow steps. These 4 steps encompass your minister registration and ultimate filing of the marriage license after the wedding.
Complete the Out of State Non-Resident Clergy – Petition to Solemnize Marriage Application.
● Your Name & Address
● The Couple's Names & Addresses
● The Date & Location of the Marriage
● Your Signature & Form Completion Date
The name of the application may be a mouthful but it is actually an easy form to complete. For the section with the checkboxes you will want to check the last one marked "Other" and write in "American Marriage Ministries".
The rest of the application consists of entering:
Once completed, mail, fax, or email the application to:
Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place, Room 1719
Boston, Massachusetts 02108
Now you must wait. Within to 2-4 weeks you will receive a “Solemnization Certificate” from the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Make sure to keep your Solemnization Certificate somewhere safe. You will need this after the wedding.
After you officiate the wedding, your Solemnization Certificate must be returned with the marriage license to the City or Town Clerk's office that issued the marriage license.
It is ideal that you do this in person. However if you are traveling to conduct this wedding and not able to appear in person, contact the Probate or District Court that issued the marriage license to the couple. With advance notice they should be able to make accomodations and allow for both documents to be returned by the couple or by mail.
Marriage licenses are issued by the Probate and District Courts.
KEEP RECORDS OF YOUR MINISTRY CREDENTIALS
Though you do not need to submit proof of ordination when applying as a non-resident, we encourage you to order your Minister Ordination Package. It is a good idea to keep official copies of your ministry credentials for your personal records.
Step 3 LEARN HOW TO OFFICIATE WEDDINGS
Chances are good this will be the first wedding you officiate. This undertaking may seem daunting and we are here to guide you through the process. The Wedding Training section of our site will teach you how to officiate weddings like a pro.
We break down the process of preparing for officiating a wedding into simple, easy-to-follow steps. We start with explaining the structure of a wedding ceremony and provide sample wedding ceremonies to help you get an idea of what other people have written.
Once you have the first draft of your wedding ceremony script written, you can follow our guide on officiant best practices for advice on how to polish and practice reading your ceremony script.
ASKED TO OFFICIATE | OFFICIANT TRAINING MANUAL
If you are interested in a thorough resource that covers everything you could ever possibly want to know about officiating a wedding ceremony, we recommend purchasing a copy of our book Asked To Officiate. Originally written by two career wedding officiants, Asked To Officiate draws on their decades of experience officiating hundreds of wedding ceremonies.
Asked To Officiate is also included in our Signature Wedding Officiant Package. This package covers all the bases, including your Ministry Credentials, a Wedding Stole, Asked To Officiate, and your Minister's Manual.
Step 4 OFFICIATE THE WEDDING!
By this point you should be fully prepared to officiate the wedding. Have a fun and memorable wedding ceremony! After you have conducted the wedding you have one last and very important job… to complete the marriage license for the couple.
COMPLETING THE MARRIAGE LICENSE
This is your one legal responsibility. Fortunately, it is also an easy task to fulfill. Completing the marriage license simply involves completing your portion of the license and signing it with the couple in the presence of any required witnesses. That's it!
We understand that you want to do everything correctly. That’s why you are the officiant! If you want to know more about what fields you may have to complete on the marriage license and what you should write, check out our Wedding Officiant Guidelines for Completing Marriage Licenses.
RETURNING THE MARRIAGE LICENSE
After the marriage license is completed it must be returned to its issuance office. This is usually the responsibility of the couple though some states require this to be done by the minister. When the couple receives their marriage license it should also come with instructions as to who must return it and how.
Different states have different deadlines that dictate when the completed marriage license must be returned, so make sure that this duty be done as soon as possible. In most states this is as easy as mailing the marriage license back to the county clerk. Below is more information about Massachusetts marriage licenses.
MASSACHUSETTS MARRIAGE LICENSE INFORMATION
Prior to the wedding ceremony it is the couple’s responsibility to file for their marriage license. The marriage license issuance office is usually located at the county courthouse. Your job as the wedding officiant is to sign and complete your section of the license. Once the marriage license is completed and returned to the office where it was issued, the marriage is recorded and made legal.
Marriage License Issuance Office
City or Town Clerk
Marriage License Fee
Marriage License Waiting Period
3 Days To Receive
Marriage License Expiration
Marriage License Return
What Does Marriage License Waiting Period, Expiration, and Return Mean?