Marriage License Information
You may apply for a Marriage License (called Filing Intentions to Marry) at any Town or City Clerk's Office in Massachusetts and marry anywhere in Massachusetts Note: the town or city where you apply is where your license will be filed, not the town or city where the marriage is performed.
Both parties come to the office together to fill out the paperwork. We do recommend calling ahead, although appointments are not necessary.
The fee for a Marriage License in Orleans is $40. Fees vary from town to town. The Marriage License is valid for 60 days from the date of application
Massachusetts requires a three-day waiting period once intentions are filed. The day you apply does not count, but you may pick up the certificate (license) on the third day (e.g. if you file on Tuesday, you may pick the Certificate up on Friday). It is possible to obtain a waiver of the three-day waiting period (see note).
After the Three-Day Waiting Period Has Passed
Prior to the ceremony, the marriage license will need to be picked up in person. Either Party or a person designated by the couple may pick up the license. The individual who picks up the license must verify that all of the information on the license is correct. We do not mail marriage certificates prior to the ceremony. (Sorry, no exceptions).
Please remember that you must pick up the license before your marriage ceremony; the person performing the marriage may not legally marry you without this important document (see note).
Obtaining a Waiver of the Waiting Period
If you are unable to wait the three days and need your license issued immediately, both parties must apply for their marriage license at the Town Clerk's Office, then they must apply for a waiver at a probate or district court. After a hearing, the court may issue a certificate allowing the marriage license to be issued (which must be brought back to the Town Clerk), who will then issue your marriage license. At that point, the marriage may then be performed without delay.
If you need to waive the three-day waiting period, you will need to contact one of the following (see note):
- Orleans District Courthouse: 508-255-4700, ext. 4
- Barnstable District Courthouse: 508-375-6648
- Barnstable Family and Probate Court: 508-375-6710
Pursuant to Chapter 388 of the Acts of 2004, blood tests are no longer required for any couple applying for their Marriage License on or after January 28, 2005.
Divorced & Widowed Applicants
You are not required to present a divorce certificate when filing intentions to marry. However, it is extremely important that an individual who has been divorced be certain that his/her divorce is absolute. If you are uncertain as to the absolute date of your divorce, you should contact the court where the divorce was granted. In Massachusetts, a divorce does not become absolute until 90 days after the divorce nisi has been granted, regardless of the grounds for divorce.
There are no special requirements for a widow or widower who is remarrying.
Are You Changing Your Last Name After You're Married?
Don't Forget to Notify the Social Security Administration! Find the SS-5 Form (PDF) on the Social Security webpage.
Note: If either party looks to be under 18, a birth certificate may be required to show proof of age. If either party is under 18, a court order from a probate or district court where the minor resides must be obtained before the marriage intentions can be filed.