Getting Married in the Berkshires

Wow!  It's so hard to believe that wedding season is once again upon us!  It seems like just yesterday we were finishing up with our 2016 events.  Of course, planning two corporate retreats in November and December (New Year's weekend, to be exact) did kind of draw it out a bit longer!

Now that our 2017 weddings are just around the corner, I wanted to take a minute to answer one of the most popular, recurring questions I receive from my couples...

"How do we get our marriage license?"

Every state is a bit different, and sometimes the rules even vary from town-to-town.  But if you're planning your wedding in the Berkshires, it's really pretty straight-forward, as long as you pay attention to your timing (and a couple of odd MUSTS).  Let me break it down for you:

  • You DO NOT need to be a resident of MA to apply for a marriage license.
  • You DO NOT need to apply for the marriage license in the same town in which you're getting married (i.e. if you're from Boston and you're planning a destination wedding in the Berkshires, you can still just apply for your license in Boston).
  • You DO need to file your "intent to marry" form within a specific time frame:
    • No more than 60 days before your wedding, BUT
    • No later than the Tuesday before your wedding (if marrying on a Saturday...there is a mandatory THREE DAY waiting period between filing and picking up your license).
  • Once you have your license in hand, bring it to the wedding with you and hand it over to your officiant.  He or she will need to sign the marriage license and bring it to the town hall (along with their solemnizer form if they received a 1-day license to marry--different blog post!) on the Monday after the wedding (a family member can also bring the signed document to the town hall if the officiant is from out of town).

Now here come the two "little" rules that every couple MUST follow...and trust me, you're going to want to be sure you do...people have been known to be on their honeymoon and find out they're not technically married (AWKWARD!):

  • The marriage license MUST be completed and signed--by all parties--in BLACK INK.
  • The date on the license must be SPELLED OUT (i.e. instead of 05/28/17, write out May 28, 2017).

And that's basically it!  Pretty simple if you just follow these steps.  Be sure to reach out to our office if you have any questions...we're happy to help!  And in our next post, we'll give you a list of WHO can marry you and what the requirements are for each option.

And because this was a post about marriage licenses--and because I found these through an Ancestry search not long ago--I thought I'd share with you both of my grandparents' marriage licenses from way back in 1941 and 1942!