Boston is one of America’s most desirable cities, full of history, action and cosmopolitan culture. It is a wonderful place to enjoy a simple City Hall wedding, whether you are a Boston resident, an out-of-towner looking for a hip spot to invite family and friends for a no-frills wedding or for couples who plan to elope.
Boston’s City Hall is a mid-century design, located right in the heart of downtown. This makes it easy to have your City Hall ceremony, followed by a reception lunch or dinner at one of numerous nearby restaurants and reception halls, many of which are within walking distance.
Steps for Planning Your Boston City Hall Wedding
The following steps can help you plan for your civil wedding ceremony in Boston’s City Hall, whether it’s a small, private affair or a celebration with family and friends.
Obtain Your Marriage License. Every city in America requires couples to obtain their marriage license before they can be legally married. Boston is no exception, and couples should be prepared ahead of time because there is a three day waiting period between the time you apply for the marriage license and when it is actually granted and available for pick-up. If you are traveling from out of town, you will want to incorporate this into your timeline so you can have your marriage license in hand when your special day arrives – it’s required for your ceremony to commence!
- Register your Marriage Intention. First, you will need to register your intention to marry. Couples must be 18-years or older and both parties must be present to complete the “Marriage Intention Form for a Marriage License.” This is done in the Registry Division, located at 1 City Hall Square, Rm 213 in Boston. You will need to show a valid, government issued identification (driver’s license, state ID, or passport) and you must know your social security numbers. There is a $50 application fee, payable in cash.
- Pick up your official copy. Once you’ve applied, you will receive a white card that verifies your application is being processed. It is printed with your names and date/time you will be able to pick up the official copy of your marriage license – typically three business days after completing the Marriage Intention Application Process. You or someone you know can return, with the white card, on the date shown to pick up your marriage license. Your marriage license is valid for 60-days.
Once you have your marriage license in hand, you can schedule a City Hall wedding ceremony.
Next, Schedule Your Wedding Ceremony
All of Boston’s City Hall wedding ceremonies take place in room 601. You must schedule your wedding ceremony with the City Clerk, who has access to the Justice of the Peace’s schedule. Wedding ceremonies are available Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays: 10:00AM – 11:30AM, 2:00PM – 3:30PM, all on a first reserve, first serve basis.
You will be required to pay a $60.00 ceremony fee and a $15.00 service fee, for a total of $75. All payments must be made in cash. There is a $25 late fee charged to couples who show up late for their appointment, also payable in cash only.
Things you should know for the City Hall Wedding Ceremony
There a few things that will help you be more prepared for your civil wedding ceremony at Boston’s City Hall.
- Guest space is limited.
Room 601, where the ceremonies take place, is very small. For this reason, we recommend you invite no more than two guests to be present during the ceremony. If you want to celebrate with family or friends, make reservations for a luncheon or dinner reception at one of the nearby hotels or restaurants to honor the occasion.
- Translators are available.
If one of the parties does not speak English, you have the option of bringing your own interpreter OR let the City Clerk know ahead of time so a public interpreter can be made available at no extra charge, and the wedding ceremony can be translated for you.
- It’s short and sweet.
The ceremonies typically last about 10-minutes, and that includes the paperwork that needs to be completed afterwards. Couples are welcome to bring and read their own vows if they would like to personalize the event. Nothing needs to be memorized ahead of time.