Boston, Massachusetts Wedding Guide
Become a Wedding Officiant in Boston as an AMM Ordained Minister. Learn more about getting ordained in Massachusetts, officiant training, wedding ceremony planning, and more.
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Boston is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a great destination for a wedding on the East Coast. Boston has a thriving downtown and a huge variety of options for sightseeing before your ceremony, such as a boat tour on the Charles River, a walking tour of the Harvard campus or exploring the historical relics of the American revolution.
Boston has plenty of variety for your special day celebrating your love with your partner. If you need help deciding where to host your wedding, we’ve outlined some options below and details about obtaining your marriage license to get your started.
Before you delve into planning the fun stuff, let us help you with the technical details, starting with getting your minister of choice ordained.
According to the Suffolk County Clerk’s website, the wedding must be officiated by a clergy member or a Justice of the Peace. If you’re not ordained by a religious organization, you’re in luck. You can get ordained with AMM -- the process is free and takes just a few minutes. Once you’ve got that box checked, we’ll get to the good stuff.
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. If you live in Massachussets, read the isntructions immediately below this. If not, skip to the part for out of state residents.
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:
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:
For your title enter: "Minister".
For religious organization name enter: "American Marriage Ministries"
For religious organization address enter our address, which you can find on our Contact Page.
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.
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
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!
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!
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.
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.
When it comes time to sign the marriage license, it’s the couple’s responsibility to obtain and complete the marriage license. Suffolk County does require a 3 day waiting period from filing the Marriage Intention form before you can pick up the marriage license. The wedding ceremony must be completed within 60 days of issuance or the marriage license will expire.
Once you have performed the ceremony and signed the marriage license, you have successfully performed all of your functions as the wedding officiant. The officiant will need to return the signed and completed marriage license to the county clerk’s office before 60 days from the date of issuance. Ideally, the license should be returned right away, since that’s when the marriage is recorded into government records.
To get your marriage license, both members of the couple will have to visit the County Clerk’s office to fill out a Marriage Intention form at:
Boston City Hall
1 City Hall Square Room 213
Boston, MA 02201-2006
There is not a requirement by Suffolk County that you are a resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The marriage license is only valid in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
When you go, remember to bring the following:
Once you’ve completed your marriage application and had it signed by your officiant, the officiant will need to return it to the Suffolk County Clerk.
Issuance Office: Boston City Hall 1 City Hall Square Room 213 Boston, MA 02201-2006
Waiting Period: 3 days
Expiration: 60 days
Return: by Officiant
For The Couple
Boston is a beautiful city with a rich history, cultural diversity, and something for everyone. Your guests will have lots of opportunities to explore when they visit Boston. Be sure to take a look at the city’s event pages before you select the date of your wedding, events like playoff games for the Boston Red Soxs will draw crowds and fill up available rooms at hotels.
Boston has some truly spectacular venues in downtown that will impress your guests, like the stunning view 33 floors above the city from The State Room. The breathtaking views from their 20 foot tall glass windows overlooking Boston Harbor and the Boston skyline would be a perfect backdrop for your first dance as a newly married couple.
If you fancy being near the water, Boston Harbor Hotel would be a gorgeous setting as well with room for up to 250 guests and views of the harbor on 3 sides located in one of the most sought after venues in Boston.
If you prefer travelling outside of the city, here are some of the locations we think would be excellent options. A short 30 minute drive north will bring you to the small town of Topsfield and The Commons 1854, a beautiful banquet hall built in 1854. Harrington Farm located 1 hour east of Boston in Princeton, MA, a 60 acre property dating back to 1763 that has been hosting weddings for over 30 years. At the foot of Wachusett Mountain, you get to experience quintessential New England countryside, rolling hills and a one of a kind ceremony in a masterfully crafted oak barn.
Transportation -- Getting around downtown Boston is easy with many options provided by the MBTA or as the locals call it the “T” which includes the subway and bus routes. Buying a CharlieCard is recommended if you intend on public transit as your main resource during your stay in Boston. The commuter rail is a great option for getting in and out of the city. There are also rideshare options as well if guests are staying in downtown.
Boston offers a humid continental climate. Summers in Boston experience good weather ideal for a summer wedding, with high temperatures around 70 to 80 degrees for the months of June, July, and August. Winter will dip into the 20s with average high temperatures barely above 40 degrees, so dress warm if you have not experienced East Coast winters.
Yes, there is a required 3 days waiting period after filling the Marriage Intention form with the clerk before the marriage license is issued. The ceremony needs to take place within 60 days of the issuance of the marriage license.
Yes, a legal ceremony consists of at least four people: the officiant, one witness and the bride and groom.
The Suffolk County clerk may ask details on the date of your divorce or proof of annulment but there is no stated period of time. A general rule of thumb is 90 days.
No, but they do need to be able to provide the social security number.
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