Maine is known for being one of the quitest states in New England, but once you set foot in its most populous city, Portland, it’s like entering another world: events almost every day of the week, a multicultural community, tons of amazing restaurants, and the most microbreweries per capita in the U.S. Yes, Portland has everything you could want in a place to live, and a place to plan a wedding. So, if you’re getting hitched in Forest City, we think you’ve made a great choice.
We have all the need-to-know info on getting married in Portland, including how to get your officiant-of-choice ordained, how to complete your marriage license, and some wedding-planning tips you’ll be glad you read. So, without further ado, let’s get into the guide!
Let’s start with the ordainment process. According to Maine.gov, “a person licensed to preach by an association of ministers, religious seminary or ecclesiastical body” may perform wedding ceremonies.
You don’t have to go through seminary school to qualify. You can get ordained with AMM to become a recognized minister. The process is free and takes just a few minutes.
Once you’ve completed the process, you’re all set! There is no requirement in Maine to register your ministerial credentials with any state authority.
Now that the easy part is out of the way, we can help you prepare for the wedding ceremony itself. Being asked to officiate a ceremony is an honor, but can feel like a lot of pressure. You will appreciate our wedding training pages, which are a library of information to help you prepare for your first ceremony and ensure that it goes smoothly.
Here you can find everything from sample wedding ceremony scripts, to brainstorming prompts, tips for preparation, and more.
When it comes time to sign the marriage license, it’s the couple’s responsibility to obtain it. The officiant (that’s you!) doesn’t need to be present for this part.
Your role is to help complete the ceremony section and make sure there are two witnesses who are physically present during the ceremony to also provide their signatures.
But your job isn’t done just yet! You must also return the completed marriage license to the authority who issued the license within seven days after the ceremony was performed. If the couple obtained it from the Cumberland County clerk’s office, the address is 389 Congress Street.
After the office has filed it, you’re all done -- congratulations!
Normally, both applicants of the marriage license must go down to the office of the clerk of the municipality in which at least one of them resides. In Portland, that’s the Cumberland County clerk’s office, which is located at 389 Congress Street Portland, ME.
With the current closure of City Hall due to COVID-19, this part of the process must be done via mail. The parties must file the Intentions of Marriage Forms with their signatures notarized with a $40 license fee.
To see the most up to date information, visit the county clerk’s marriage license page here, or contact the office at 207-874-8610 or [email protected]
Once your marriage license has been issued to you, there is no waiting period to use it -- you are all set to hold your ceremony! Your officiant will help you take care of the rest.
Issuance Office: 389 Congress Street Portland, ME
Waiting Period: None
Expiration: 90 days
Return: by Officiant
When choosing your wedding date, be mindful of the city’s major events that draw crowds and create traffic, like the Old Port Festival on the second Sunday of June, Harvest on the Harbor in late October, and the Christmas Boat Parade in early December. It’s best to avoid these dates if you don’t want your wedding guests to get stuck in traffic and compete for parking spots on your special day.
As far as choosing your actual venue, there is no shortage of amazing locations to get married both in Portland and in the surrounding area. Maine is home to some of New England’s most gorgeous coastlines, mountains, and thousands of acres of pristine forests. Your Cumberland marriage license is valid anywhere in the state, so the sky’s the limit! But if you want to stay close to the convenience of the city, there are plenty of options right in Portland.
The Italian Heritage Center is a great old standby. It has a classic grand ballroom lit by beautiful crystal chandeliers, amazing food, plenty of parking, and stellar ratings from guests. Another option is the Portland Marriott. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing it for being a hotel chain -- the Sable Oaks location is really something special. Its outdoor gazebo makes for a romantic spot to say I do, and its banquet rooms are ideal for a large gathering. Last but not least, if you’re dreaming of a beach wedding and a dose of New England charm, check out the Black Point Inn -- the whole property is downright picturesque.
Portland has excellent public transportation, which your out-of-town guest’s may find useful to navigate the city. The transit system’s website has route maps, a trip planner and a link to its mobile app. Lyft and Uber are also available in the area, so it’s also a good idea to have those apps handy. Of course, there are also private transportation companies that provide limos, party buses and even private cruises that are a fun option if you have room in the budget.
Spring, summer and fall are all lovely seasons for a wedding in Maine, but the downside of living in the Pine Tree State is the long cold winter. November through February, the temperature can drop well below zero at night, and hover around freezing during the day. Temperatures start to thaw in June and heat up significantly in July, which is the peak hottest month in the state. September brings the start of the beautiful foliage while the weather stays nice and warm, around 70 degrees, before cooling down significantly in November. We recommend choosing a wedding in late spring or early fall, but if you want to embrace the beautiful white winter, there are certainly venues that accomodate you (and give you a great rate!)
Nope! Maine is not a state in which minister registration is required, so once you’re registered with us, you’re good to start performing marriages.
Yes, they just need to file their intentions in any municipal office in the state. It doesn’t have to be the same town that you’re planning to have your ceremony.
That’s the officiant’s job. They have seven days from the date in which the ceremony took place to do so.
You sure can! You just need to provide them with a month’s notice, bring your own officiant and pay a small fee. Call the clerk’s office for more info.
Yes, you can have your ceremony anywhere in Maine, but your officiant must return the marriage license to the office in which it was obtained.
The marriage license must be returned to the office in which it was obtained by the officiant within seven days of the ceremony.