So You Want to Officiate at a Wedding: How to Get a One-Day Designation Certificate in Massachusetts
June 7, 2018 10:28 am
Ah, June, one of the most popular months for weddings. A couple of years ago, I attended a memorable wedding at a beautiful ocean-side setting in a neighboring state. To my surprise, the person officiating at the ceremony was the groom’s aunt. I asked if she had become a Justice of the Peace or a minister since I last saw her. No, she replied, she had obtained a temporary license to solemnize the marriage. It was quite touching that she knew the couple so well, and her presentation was heart-felt.
Massachusetts offers One-Day Designation Certificates to private individuals who want to officiate at a wedding ceremony in the Commonwealth. Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 207, Section 39, “the governor may designate any other person to solemnize a particular marriage on a particular day and in a particular city or town . . .” The key point here is that the Certificate is valid only for a specific wedding to be held in Massachusetts. And the Certificate is available only to individuals who are not already authorized to officiate.
The mechanics of obtaining a Certificate are straightforward. You may apply up to six months in advance, but no later than one week before the wedding date. The Governor’s Office reviews the application, and the Secretary of the Commonwealth issues the Certificate.
You’ll find the application form on the website for the Secretary of the Commonwealth. There are two ways to apply: (i) submit a completed application by mail with a fee of $25, with an expected processing time of four to six weeks, or (ii) apply directly online for $20, plus a $3.50 expedited fee. The Certificate will be ready in five business days. Now all you need is a lovely, poignant speech!
Legal Notice: The content of the Mountain Dearborn and Whiting Side Bar Blog page may be considered advertising for legal services under the laws and rules of professional conduct of the jurisdictions in which we practice.
The materials on this website have been prepared by Mountain Dearborn & Whiting, LLP, for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer/client relationship. Any information you submit to us via this website will not be treated as confidential or privileged as a lawyer/client communication unless we have previously sent you an engagement letter, making you a client of the firm.
We attempt to ensure that the information on this site is accurate and current. Despite our efforts, the information on this site may occasionally contain inaccuracies or be out of date. Internet users and on-line readers should not act upon information on this site without seeking professional.
Image Credit: Sweet Ice Cream Photography