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 a one-time designation certificate that allows an individual to officiate (solemnize) a marriage ceremony on a specific date.
The application must be approved by the Governor's office before the Secretary's office can issue the certificate. The application is valid only for ceremonies within Massachusetts, and by a person who is not otherwise authorized to officiate a marriage ceremony. Learn more about marriage requirements by visiting the state's website.
Clergy and others who are authorized to solemnize marriages in other states should obtain the Non-Resident Clergy Petition from the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Ceremony and Residency Requirements
The ceremony must be performed in a city or town within Massachusetts. There is no residency requirement for the applicant, or either party.
You can apply six-months in advance of the wedding date, and up until one week before the ceremony. If you have an urgent request, contact the Commissions office at 617-727-2836 for assistance.
For Couples Married by a Person Using a One-day Designation
For couples being married by a person using a One-Day Designation (Solemnizer) Certificate issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Solemnizer must complete a section on the Certificate of Marriage that is prepared by the Town Clerk after the ceremony.
The Solemnizer must complete section 20 using the following format:
Print legibly with permanent black ink only, make no stray marks. Crossouts will be rejected
The month must be written out, such as September 30, 2021, not 9/30/21
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 Weston Town Hall, it should read11 Town House Road, Weston
After the Solemnizer signature, he/she must enter the word Solemnizer