Procedure to Perform Marriages in Massachusetts

Section 38 of Chapter 207 of the Massachusetts General Laws states in relevant part that a marriage may be solemnized according to the usage of any church or religious organization which has filed information relating to persons recognized or licensed as aforesaid and in relation to usage of such organizations in such form and at such times as the Secretary of the Commonwealth may require. Pursuant to this statute, a representative of the church must file the following with the Commissions Section of the Public Records Division:

  • A copy of his/her ordination papers. If ordination is not applicable, a license similar certificate issued by the religious organization will be accepted.
  • A letter of good standing from the leader of the religious organization on church letterhead.
  • Clergy must be a Massachusetts resident.

As of January 1, 2004, all churches and religious organizations must file ANNUALLY information relating to persons recognized or licensed by that entity and information relating to the “usages” of that organization.

Upon receipt of the above information, this office will consider the individual duly recorded to perform marriage ceremonies within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Information must be mailed to the following address:

Secretary of the Commonwealth
Commissions Section
One Ashburton Place, Room 1719
Boston, Massachusetts 02108

If you have any further questions, please contact the Commissions Section at 617-727-2836.