Even though you might have said “I do,” your marriage isn’t official without a marriage license. Every state has different regulations when it comes to who can officiate a ceremony and issue a marriage license. Sometimes this process can be a bit confusing, especially since nowadays more and more couples are choosing to have a friend or relative perform their nuptials who may not be familiar with the process. According to the Knot’s Real Weddings Study 40% of couples who were married in 2015 went this route. Although this does add a personal touch to a ceremony, opting to have a non-professional entrusted with this important job can be an added stressor on your wedding day. For this reason, we encourage couples to hire a professional celebrant whenever possible (check out our Preferred Vendors page for suggestions).
When you are choosing who to officiate your ceremony remember that the following individuals are authorized to solemnize marriages in Maine:
· Ordained ministers
· A person licensed to preach by an association of ministers, religious seminary, or ecclesiastical body
· Judges or justices (Maine residents only)
· Lawyers admitted to the Maine Bar (Maine residents only)
· Maine Notaries
Before your wedding date the first step to obtain a marriage license is to fill out the State of Maine Intentions of Marriage form, which you can find here. If applicants are residents of Maine they should return the Intentions of Marriage form to the municipality in which one of them resides. If neither applicant is a resident of Maine the form may be submitted to any Municipal Office in Maine.
Other requirements to obtain a marriage license:
· Photo ID
· Record of Social Security Numbers form may be required
· If this is not the first marriage for one of you, bring a certified copy (raised seal) of the divorce from or death certificate of the last spouse.
· Applicants must be over 18 years old. Written parental consent is required for an applicant under 18. Written parental consent and written consent of a judge are required for an applicant under 16.
· No blood test is required.
· Always check with the municipal clerk where you are filing before-hand to find out what that municipality's policies are.
Once the Intentions of Marriage are filed the clerk will issue your marriage license on the same day. The marriage license doesn't mean you are married just yet, it's what gives you permission to do so. Once you receive the license this allows you to marry anywhere in the State of Maine within ninety days.
After the ceremony, your officiant must return the license to the clerk who issued it with your signatures, their signature, and the signatures of two witnesses; you may then obtain a Certified Marriage Certificate. The Marriage Certificate is a government and public record that proves a couple is legally married, and which will be needed to change your social security status, name on driver’s license, etc.