Marriage Intentions & Marriage Licenses
If you intend to marry within the state of Massachusetts, a certificate of marriage (the license) must be obtained prior to the marriage. You can apply (take out an Intention of Marriage) for a license in any Town or City Clerk's office in Massachusetts, regardless of where you live (residency of the state is not a requirement for marriage in Massachusetts, and you do not have to be a resident of the town in which you apply for the license). If you apply in Massachusetts, you must be getting married in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts General Laws require that the two parties must appear together in person at the Town Clerk's Office in order to obtain a marriage license, except in special circumstances as detailed below. You must also be at least 18 years old, not related to the other party, and not currently married.
- Either party is in the military and unable to appear and either party is a resident of Massachusetts
- Either party is ill and the illness is confirmed in writing by a physician
- Either party is incarcerated in a County or State House of Corrections
The fee for filing Marriage Intentions in Grafton is $20.
Pre-Marital Medical Certificates are no longer required, effective January 28, 2005.
Intentions of Marriage
The process of filing your intentions to be married takes about 20 minutes, so please plan accordingly. Appointments with the Town Clerk's Office are not necessary, but we ask that you arrive no later than 4 pm (6:30 pm on Tuesday) to allow ample time for completion of your application. The two parties to the marriage will be asked to complete and sign under oath a Notice of Intention of Marriage. Among other details in the Intention of Marriage, information that is essential to completing this form includes your social security number, your place of birth and your mother's maiden name. Blood tests are no longer required in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Massachusetts does however require a mandatory three-day waiting period from the time the intention is filed before a license can be issued; Saturdays, Sundays and holidays are included in the three days. For example, if you apply on a Friday, your license will be issued on or after Monday. ***If picking up on Monday, licenses will be ready after 10 am*** A waiver from this period may be obtained from the courts. All marriage licenses must be picked up in person at the Town Clerk's office.
Exceptions to both parties appearing in person exist due to special circumstances: If a person is in the military, intentions may be filed by either party, providing one is a Massachusetts resident. If a person is incarcerated in a state or a county house of correction facility, hospitalized or otherwise unable to come to town hall due to medical reasons attested to by a physician, intentions may be filed by either party.
After the three-day waiting period, one of the parties to the marriage may pick up the license from the Town Clerk's Office. It is important that it is checked for spelling, typos, etc. at this stage as we charge $5 per occurrence for any amendments done after the license is picked up! A marriage license must be used for a ceremony in Massachusetts within sixty days from the date of filing the Intention of Marriage. The solemnizer (member of the clergy, Justice of the Peace, etc.) who performs the ceremony must sign the license after the ceremony and return it to the Town Clerk's Office. If the solemnizer is a "One Day Solemnizer", the original certificate must also be submitted to the Town Clerk's Office with the completed marriage intention. Please read the One-Day Solemnizer Information Sheet (PDF) for further details on the process to avoid delays in processing your record. Once the license has been completed and returned, certified copies will be available the next business day, and it will be filed with the State Registry of Vital Records and will be on file in the Town Clerk's office where it was issued.
Marriage Certificate Request
If you previously filed your intentions to be married in the Grafton Town Clerk's Office and would like a certified copy of your marriage license/certificate, please submit a Marriage Certificate Request. Certified copies are not automatically sent to couples, they must be requested. We strive for same-day turnaround of your request, but please note that sometimes it may take up to 10 days to process - and longer if we are mailing it back to you. Certified copies of Marriage Certificates are available upon request for a fee of $10 per copy.
Marriage Certificate Request - Mail-In Application
If you need immediate access to your marriage record, the Registry of Vital Records can provide you with a certified copy if you order online and pay an additional fee. The Registry of Vital Records office can also provide in-person service at:
150 Mt. Vernon Street
Dorchester, MA, 02125
Changing Your Name
In addition to being a marriage application form, the Notice of Intention to Marriage 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 at one of these locations:
- Social Security Administration
51 Myrtle Street
Worcester, MA 01608
- Registry of Motor Vehicles
611 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608
You should also make the necessary changes to your work, insurance, health care provider, banks, retirement, etc.
Additional assistance can be found at:
Mass Registry of Vital Records
150 Mt. Vernon Street
Dorchester, MA 02125-3105
If you are One Day Designee and/or Out of State Non-resident, you must file for a One-Day Solemnization Certificate. This process takes 2 to 4 weeks. Please access Secretary Galvin's website for more information: