Marriage Intentions and Marriage Licenses

Massachusetts General Laws requires 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 eighteen years old, not related to the other party, and not currently married.

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 strongly recommended, especially on Wednesday nights and/or if your schedule is limited.  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.  A waiver from this period may be obtained from the courts.

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.

Marriage Licenses

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!  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 after the ceremony. 

Marriage Certificates (1925 - Present)

After a couple has been married and the license is returned to the Town Clerk’s Office by the solemnizer, the Town Clerk records and registers the marriage.  The couple receives a certified copy of the marriage certificate in the mail from the Town Clerk’s Office and a certified copy is also kept on file in the Hanover Town Hall. The original copy is sent to the Registry of Vital Records.

Marriage Certificate Request

If you previously filed your intentions to be married in the Hanover Town Clerk's Office and would like a certified copy of your marriage license/certificate, please submit a Marriage Certificate Request.  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. If you need immediate access to your marriage record, the Registry of Vital Records can provide you with a certified copy if you order on-line 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.

Records Prior to 1925

Please refer to our Genealogical Research for records prior to 1925.


  • Marriage Intention, License and Certificate - $40
  • Marriage Certificate for Previously Recorded and Registered Marriage - $10