Down East 2013 ©
The laws governing weddings in Maine are pretty simple — no blood test, no waiting period, not even a state residency requirement. For all the legal rigmarole surrounding getting hitched in the Pine Tree State, we should just change our name to Gretna Green, the popular town in Scotland known as a haven for runaway marriages. In fact, some city clerks have reported a definite increase in the number of out-of-staters putting down their thirty dollars for a Maine marriage license. “It’s becoming very common to get out-of-state people in here buying marriage licenses,” says Pam Gray, deputy city clerk in Bath. “We’re starting to call ourselves Las Vegas East.”
1. Things to bring: Each partner needs photo identification — driver’s license, passport, etc. Those who have been married before need to provide certified copies of the divorce or death certificate of the previous spouse or spouses. Applicants under eighteen years old need written consent from parent, guardian, or a probate court judge. Applicants under sixteen need parental or guardian consent and permission from the probate court.
2. The couple then appears together before a town or city clerk. If both are Maine residents, then both should apply in the town where at least one is a resident. If one is from another state, then they should apply in the town where the Maine resident lives. If both are from outside the state, they can apply in any Maine town office.
3. At the clerk’s office, the couple records their “notice of intentions,” sort of a legal notification that these two people plan to marry each other. At the same time, they pick up their marriage license. Thirty
4. The marriage license is good for ninety days (NOT three months) and can be used only in the state of Maine. There is no longer a waiting period before the wedding, so there’s no time for second thoughts.
5. The officiant can be an ordained minister, preacher licensed by a religious group, Maine judges or justices, lawyers in the Maine Bar, or notaries public. (Maine doesn’t have Justices of the Peace.) After the wedding, the officiant and witnesses sign the marriage license, and the officiant sends it to the town clerk’s office that issued it.
Cool Fact Number One: Witnesses do not have to be adults. If the witness is old enough to sign his or her name, you’re in business.
Cool Fact Number Two: After the wedding, the happy couple can buy a certified copy of their marriage license for ten dollars, with additional copies only five dollars each. Sounds like the perfect gift for family and friends who want a memento beyond those photos from the reception or just to make sure there are plenty of people around to hold you to those vows.