Marriage Information

Please call the Town Clerk's Office at 508-430-7516, option 5 at the directory, for additional information. 

Our office is currently meeting with couples looking to file their marriage intentions by appointment only. Please contact Town Clerk Emily Mitchell by email at or Assistant Town Clerk Jennifer Clarke at or by phone at 508-430-7516 to schedule!

A marriage license must be obtained prior to any marriage ceremony. The person performing the marriage may not legally marry you without this important document. We suggest you allow for a minimum of 5 business days prior to your ceremony to obtain a marriage license. 

A marriage license may be obtained 3 days following your application and is valid for 60 days after the date of application. You may apply for a marriage license at any town (or city) Clerk's Office in Massachusetts. Just remember that your license will remain on file with that  town or city should you need to return to obtain a certified (official) copies of your license after you are married. 

Both parties must appear together in person for the marriage intention appointment. Both parties must be 18 years of age or older and you will be required to provide valid proof of age (e.g. birth certificate, driver's license, or passport). 

FEE: See the Town of Harwich Town Clerk Schedule of Fees. Fees vary from town to town. 

Waiting Period

Massachusets requires a 3-day waiting period once intentions are filed. The day you apply does not count, but you may pick up the certificate (license) on the third day (e.g. if you file on Tuesday, you may pick up the Certificate on Friday). It is possible to obtain a waiver* of the three-day waiting period. 

After the Three-Day Waiting Period Has Passed

The marriage license will need to be picked up in person prior to the ceremony. The Bride, Groom, Party A, Party B or a person designated by the couple may pick up the license. The individual who picks up the license must verify that all of the information on the license is correct. Marriage certificates cannot be mailed prior to the ceremony. 

*Obtaining a Waiver of the Waiting Period

If you are unable to wait the three days and need your license issued immediately, both parties must apply for their marriage license at the Town Clerk's Office, then they must apply for a waiver at a probate or district court. After a hearing, the court may issue a certificate allowing the marriage license to be issued (which must be brought back to the Town Clerk), who will then issue your marriage license. At that point, the marriage may be performed without delay. 

To waiver a three-day waiting period. 

  • Orleans District Courthouse: 508-255-4700 ext 4
  • Barnstable District Courthouse: 508-375-6771
  • Barnstable Family & Probate Court: 508-375-6710

Blood Test Requirement: Pursuant to Chapter 388 of the Acts of 2004, BLOOD TESTS ARE NO LONGER REQUIRED for any couple applying for their marriage license on or after January 28, 2005. 

Divorced or Widowed Applicants

You are not required to present a divorce certificate when filing intentions to marry. However, it is extremely important that an individual who has been divorced be certain that his/her divorce is absolute. If you are uncertain as to the absolute date of your divorce, you should contact the court where the divorce was granted. In Massachusetts, a divorce does not become absolute until 90 days after the divorce has been granted, regardless of the grounds for divorce. 

There are no special requirements for a widow or widower who is remarrying. 


What are the responsibilities of the Member of the Clergy of the Justice of the Peace?

The person performing the marriage ceremony must complete and sign the original license (in black ink) and return it to the Town Clerk who issued the marriage license. 

What should be done it an out of state member of the Clergy is to perform the marriage?

The clergy person must obtain a Certificate of Authorization from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth prior to the ceremony. This certificate, which is issued by the Public Records Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, is to be returned to the clerk of the city or town where the license was obtained. 

For further information:

Is it Possible For A Layperson To Solemnize A Wedding?

Yes, it is possible for a non-minister or non-justice of the peace (such as a relative or family friend) to obtain special permission to perform a marriage from the Governor.

If you would like more information (or are not a Massachusetts resident), please contact us and we will mail you an informational packet.

For more detailed information, please call us at (508) 945-5101 - or - visit the Secretary of State's website.

Are You Changing Your Last Name After You Are Married?

Don't Forget to Notify the Social Security Administration.

Click here to access the SS-5 form (Social Security webpage).