Marriage Licenses

Applying for Marriage Licenses

How to Apply for a License

Couples who will be getting married in Massachusetts may file for a Marriage License with any City or Town Clerk in the Commonwealth.

In Leicester, we ask all couples wishing to apply for a Marriage License make an appointment with the Town Clerk’s office.

Appointments are available on the following schedule:

Tuesday nights 4pm, 5pm, or 6pm (by appointment, if you need another time please call to make arrangements)

To contact the Town Clerk’s office to schedule an appointment, please call 508-892-7011 during business hours. 

Typically, both parties must be present to file the intention paperwork, however there are two exceptions:

  • If a person is in the military, intentions may be filed by either party alone, providing one is a Massachusetts resident.
  • If a person is incarcerated in a county house of correction or a state correctional facility, intentions may be filed by either party alone.

A marriage license, once obtained, is valid for 60 days from the date intentions are filed and may be used in any Massachusetts city or town. It is not valid outside the state of Massachusetts.

Waiting Period

There is a mandatory three-day waiting period. Sundays and holidays are included in the three days.

For example, if you apply Monday, your license will be available on Thursday; if you apply on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday your license will be available on Monday.

Once the Marriage License is ready we ask to the couple to review, if there is an issue with any of the information corrections can be made. One party must then pick up the license at the Town Clerk's office prior to the wedding and give it to the officiant.

Obtaining a Waiver of the Waiting Period

For couples looking to get married immediately, you can obtain a court waiver after filing intentions. According to M.G.L Ch. 207 § 30, a couple may do so by applying to the judge of a probate or district court to have the license issued without delay, after filing intentions with the Town Clerk.

To obtain a waiver, you should:

File your intentions with any city or town clerk.

Go to probate or district court and file an application for a waiver. It must be filed by both parties. The court schedules the hearing at their complete discretion and the couple should plan for a possible wait of several hours.

After a hearing, if the court has issued a waiver, return to the Town Clerk's office with the waiver and receive the license.

After a hearing, if the court has NOT issued a waiver, wait the three-days and return to the Town Clerk's office.

Under extraordinary or emergency circumstances, such as if the death of either party is imminent or the female is nearing the end of her pregnancy, an authorized request by a minister or member of the clergy or an attending physician shall suffice and the clerk can issue the license without delay.

Cost of License

The filing fee in Leicester is $40. This fee includes the intention filing fee ($30) and one Certified Copy of the Marriage Certificate ($10). The applicants must include a mailing address for the certificate when they file their intentions.

This fee is payable at the time the intention is filed; card, cash or check payable to the Town of Leicester are acceptable forms of payment.

Age Requirement

A Massachusetts resident may marry if the applicants are 18 years of age or older. 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.

Divorced or Annuled 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 (90 days after the divorce NISI). If you are recently divorced and uncertain as to the absolute date of your divorce, you should contact the court where the divorce was granted.

If a previous marriage was annulled, you will be required to show a copy of the annulment paperwork.

Clergy and Justice of the Peace

The member of the clergy or justice of the peace must complete and sign the original license and return it to the clerk of the city or town where the license was issued. When filing an intention to marry, we will ask for the name and contact phone of the person who will perform the marriage.

If you would like a list of JP please ask and The Town Clerk is able to give you a few options.

If an out-of-state member of the clergy is to perform the marriage, the member of the clergy must obtain a Certificate of Authorization from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth prior to the ceremony. This certificate, which is issued by the Public Records Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, is to be attached to the original license and returned to the Town Clerk's office.

Division of Public Records

Secretary of the Commonwealth

One Ashburton Place, Room 1719

Boston, MA 02108

(617) 727-2836

One-Day Solemnizers

A person who is not a recognized member of the clergy in Massachusetts or a Justice of the Peace, such as a relative or family friend, may obtain one-day special permission from the Governor to perform a marriage. The original certificate must be submitted with the signed marriage license after the ceremony.

Apply online or by mail for a One-Day Solemnization Certificate. Click here more information.

The Solemnizer must complete SECTION 20 ONLY.

Print legibly with permanent black ink only, make no stray marks. Cross-outs will be rejected.

The month must be written out, such as September 30, 2014, not 9/30/14

If the wedding does not take place at a temple, church, synagogue or recognized place of worship, the Solemnizer must write the street address instead of naming the location. For example, in lieu of Leicester Town Hall, it should read 3 Washburn Square, Leicester, MA 01524

After the Solemnizer signature, he/she must enter the word Solemnizer

The address under the Solemnizer signature is the home address of the Solemnizer

Special Requirements for Immigrants

If either of the parties has arrived as an immigrant from a foreign country at least five days before filing the intention application, the application may be filed at any time before the marriage, and the certificate shall be issued at any time after the filing.

Obtaining Certified Copies of the Marriage Certificate

After the marriage is performed, and the Solemnizer (JP, Priest, Rabbi, etc.) has returned the signed marriage license to the Office of the Town Clerk, the marriage is recorded by the State of Massachusetts. Any time after the marriage is recorded, a certified copy of the marriage certificate can be issued. Parties are welcome to telephone the Town Clerk's Office at 508-892-7011 to check on availability of the marriage certificate if time is an issue. Each certified copy is $10.00 and usable for all legal purposes.

As of March 1, 2021, a Certified Copy of the Marriage Certificate is included for any couple filing their intentions. Once the marriage is recorded by the State, the Town Clerk's office will mail the certificate. This process typically takes approximately ten (10) from the day the license is received from the Solemnizer.

Changing Your Name

In addition to being a marriage application form, the marriage intention form also serves as a legal name change document. The document will ask which surname you would like to use after marriage. Both parties may change their last name to whatever they wish at this time. By answering this question, you avoid the probate court fees for initiating a name change.

A certified copy of your marriage certificate will be needed at the following locations and you must appear in person:

Social Security Administration

51 Myrtle St,

Worcester, MA 01608

Registry of Motor Vehicles

50 SW Cutoff,

Worcester, MA 01604

If you have a passport, you correct your name by visiting the passport website here.

You should also make the necessary changes to your work, insurance, health care provider, banks, retirement, etc.