There are several types of Massachusetts marriage documents that you need to obtain when getting married. First, a marriage license is a document you apply for before getting married. In Massachusetts, you must apply for marriage licenses at least three days before your wedding. Second, you must obtain a marriage certificate after you are married to have official proof of your marital status. Some people use the terms for marriage licenses and marriage certificates interchangeably, but it is important to know that these are different documents. There are many reasons you may need a copy of marriage certificate documents after getting married in Massachusetts. After your wedding, it is important to order a marriage certificate so you have an official copy in your records. Below, find out why you need a certified copy of a marriage certificate and learn more about finding a copy of a marriage certificate in Massachusetts.
What Massachusetts wedding records do you need?
Marriage records are useful for a number of reasons in Massachusetts. Most of the time, you only need a marriage certificate copy after your wedding. However, you may also want a marriage license copy for your personal records. Both types of records are easy to obtain. Marriage certificates are required in order to prove your marital status on a number of official forms and applications. Your MA marriage certificate will enable you to complete the following steps after getting married:
- Legally change your name with the Social Security Administration.
- Change the name on your drivers license at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
- Update your passport and other forms of government-issued identification.
- Change your name at your bank or credit union.
- Enroll in a new health insurance plan using the Massachusetts Health Connector.
You are not required to show a Massachusetts marriage certificate copy for every form and application you fill out. For example, MA marriage certificates are usually not required in order to change your voter registration records or file taxes jointly with your new spouse. However, you will want to have several marriage certificate copies on hand in case you need to provide proof of your marital status at multiple locations at the same time.
Having a copy of your own Massachusetts marriage registration information is important. However, there are several reasons that you may wish to perform a marriage license lookup on other couples in Massachusetts. For example, MA marriage license records can be useful when conducting genealogical research or gathering information for a different type of research.
Eligibility for Obtaining Massachusetts Marriage Records
In general, a marriage certificate search can be performed by anyone in Massachusetts. Marriage certificates are open to the public in most cases. The exception to the rule is that you cannot find marriage records for people who were born to unwed parents unless you meet eligibility criteria. Marriage records for people born to unwed parents are only open to the bride or groom or a parent, legal guardian or legal representative of the bride or groom. When doing a marriage record search on a person born to unwed parents, you must provide documentation proving your eligibility to obtain the records.
You can always obtain your own wedding record in Massachusetts if you need a copy for any reason.
How to Obtain a Certified Marriage Certificate in Massachusetts
You can order a Massachusetts marriage certificate from the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics (RVRS) over the phone, by mail or in person. Online marriage certificates are not available directly from the RVRS.
To order a marriage certificate from the Massachusetts RVRS, you may use a form called the Application for a Vital Record. The marriage certificate application is also used for other types of vital records maintained by the RVRS, including birth records and death records. Be sure to fill in the marriage record section when requesting a wedding document. With your application, you will need to include:
- The name of the bride and groom, including the bride’s maiden name.
- The date and city in which the wedding took place.
- Your name, address and contact information.
- Your photo ID card.
- A payment for each copy you have requested.
When applying for a Massachusetts marriage record through the mail, include a photocopy of your ID card as well as a stamped, self-addressed envelope so that your copies can be returned to you.
In the event of a lost marriage certificate in Massachusetts, you can use the above method to get a replacement marriage certificate. Getting a duplicate marriage certificate requires that you pay the same fees that you would pay to obtain an original. It is important to obtain a copy of your marriage certificate as soon as possible after your original certificate is lost or damaged.
How to Search Marriage Certificates in Massachusetts
A Massachusetts marriage license search can be performed by members of the public who need to access records for informational purposes. If you need to perform a marriage certificate search in Massachusetts, then the easiest way to search is by visiting the state Registry of Vital Records office. Wedding records are available from the year 1926 through the present. You are allowed to search marriage records in person during certain hours on business days. Be prepared to pay a fee for each hour you spend searching the archives. Remember that certain MA marriage records, such as records for people whose parents were unwed, are not open to the public.
You can also order a copy of a marriage certificate in Massachusetts using an online service if you want to use the record for informational purposes.