Marriage License FAQs

Call Town Clerk’s Office at 978 422 8111 ext 2307 or send email

Recently engaged?

If you are applying to get married, please contact the Town Clerk to make an appointment to file your Intentions. Tel 978 422 8111 ext 2307.  Other questions may be answered below.

Newlyweds or already married and need a copy of your Marriage Certificate?

If you are searching for your marriage certificate, please try to remember WHERE you filed your Intentions BEFORE you were married.  That is the town/city where your record is kept permanently.  The marriage certificate does not move with you.

Fees

Cost to apply for a marriage certificate is $20.  This includes 1 free original marriage certificate.  We only take cash or check and you must apply in person.

Marriages are recorded in the city or town where the couple applies for the marriage license.  If you have applied for a marriage license in Sterling, you will be able to obtain certified copies in the Town Clerk's office after the wedding takes place.

When are you open?

We are open to the public on:
Monday through Thursday:  7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Fridays:  8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Closed Saturdays and Sundays

Where are you located?

We are located in the Mary Ellen Butterick Municipal Building, in the center of town, located at 1 Park St. Parking is available.  In your GPS, enter 37 Main Street which will take you to the bank.  We are located across the street in the red brick Butterick Municipal (old school) Building. Town Clerk’s office is on the left side entrance facing the front.  We are on the 1st floor.

When should we apply?

The marriage license is valid for 60 days from the day you apply (after the 3-day waiting period.) Apply for your license no sooner than 60 days before your planned wedding date.

Do I have to apply where I live?

If the marriage is to take place in Massachusetts, you may apply for your license at any City or Town Clerk's Office in Massachusetts regardless of where you live. Fees and hours vary from office to office. Information on offices in other cities and towns can be obtained from the Commonwealth Communities page on the State of Massachusetts website.

If your marriage is going to take place outside of Massachusetts, you must contact the local officials in the jurisdiction where the marriage will take place. Marriage laws vary from state to state.

Do I need an appointment to apply for a marriage license?

No appointment is necessary. A couple must appear at the Town Clerk's Office together, in person, to file a "Notice of Intention to Marry." This can be done any time during our regular office hours. Please allow approximately fifteen minutes for completion of your application.

Is there a waiting period from the date of application to the date the license is issued?

Yes, there is a three-day waiting period. Your license will be available on the third calendar day after the day that you apply. For example, if you apply on a Friday, your license can be issued on or after Monday.  Please note that licenses are not issued on Saturday or Sunday (when we are closed) unless special arrangements are made with the Town Clerk.

How do we waive the 3-day waiting period?

A couple may apply to a judge of a courthouse to waive the 3-day waiting period particularly if one (or both) are being deployed for active duty.  For information on the nearest courthouse, click here.

The  Clinton District Court is located on 300 Boylston Street, Clinton, MA 01510 and can be reached at. 978-368-7811. Courthouse hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

The  Worcester  County Probate Court is located at 225 Main Street Worcester, MA 01608 and can be reached at 508-831-2200. Courthouse hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday Through Friday. The fee for the waiver should be requested at the courthouse.  For more information click here.

What is the fee for obtaining a marriage license in Sterling?

The fee is $20. This fee includes the license and one original of the marriage certificate after the wedding.

How do I find a Justice of the Peace?

The Town Clerk, Dawn Michanowicz, is qualified as a Justice of the Peace.  Please call for an appointment.

Can a friend be authorized to perform my marriage ceremony?

The Governor's Office may issue a certificate authorizing a citizen to solemnize a specified marriage on a specified day. Click here to visit the State's website for information and an application.  One Day Marriage Designation Instructions.

Is Massachusetts residency required to obtain a marriage license in Massachusetts?

No. Residence is not a requirement for marriage in Massachusetts. According to MGL Ch. 207 §11, however, "No marriage shall be contracted in this Commonwealth by a party residing and intending to continue to reside in another jurisdiction if such marriage would be void if contracted in such other jurisdiction, and every marriage contracted in this commonwealth in violation hereof shall be null and void."

Are same sex couples who reside outside of Massachusetts allowed to be married in Massachusetts?

If a same-sex couple currently does not reside in Massachusetts, but intends to establish a new home or residence in Massachusetts in the near future (even if a specific address or town has not been selected), then a license can be issued in Massachusetts. If a couple currently does not reside in Massachusetts, and intends to continue to reside outside of Massachusetts in a state that does not permit same-sex marriage, then a license cannot be issued in Massachusetts.

Will proof of residency be required?

Documentary proof of residence will not be required in Sterling, but couples will be asked to sign a sworn affidavit, as follows: "I have reviewed a list of impediments to marriage for my place of residence and hereby state that there is an absence of any legal impediment to the marriage and do hereby depose and say that all of the statements as set forth in the above notice whereof I could have knowledge are true and are made under the penalties of perjury." (MGL Ch. 4, §6, Rule 6) The list of impediments for each state will be available in the Town Clerk’s Office.

What if one or both of us has been divorced?

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. In Massachusetts, a divorce does not become absolute until 90 days after the divorce nisi has been granted, regardless of the grounds for divorce.

Are witnesses required to be present at the ceremony?

Massachusetts statute does not require that witnesses be present at your ceremony. The officiant serves as the witness

What if I have further questions?

You may contact the Town Clerk’s Office by telephone during office hours (978-422-8111 ext. 2307), or via email. Our mailing address is: Town Clerk, 1 Park St., Sterling, MA 01564.Butterick Municipal Bldg.