Get Married in Maine!

Weddings by Frances Reed, Wedding Guide Photo 1

FRANCES’ Guide to Marriage in Maine. Call Frances at 207 337 4191 or email 

1.  You will need to get a marriage license not more than 90 days before your planned ceremony. You can do this at any town office if you are not residents of Maine, however, I suggest that you do it in the town in which you are planning to marry for the convenience of the officiant (the officiant is the person who will perform your ceremony). Both of you will need to go together to get the license, and present IDs (government issued photo IDs).  If either of you has been married before, you will also need to bring a divorce decree (or death certificate of former spouse, as applicable). There is a $40 fee that the town clerk will charge. The process of getting the license will take you 20-30 minutes. You will need to bring the license to the officiant, who will then ensure that the license is returned (hence the preference of town office) in order for your marriage to be officially recognized. If you are a resident of Maine, you must go to the town hall where at least one of you resides. Note: if you have valid ID and proof that you are eligible to marry, you will have no trouble getting a license. You can confidently plan your ceremony from home on the assumption to you will receive a license when you arrive in Ogunquit. Maine does not require waiting periods or blood tests.
2. You need to decide on a location for the ceremony. Ogunquit has several beautiful locations, including the beach and several spots on the Marginal Way, traditional public parks, or any of many lovely private areas and buildings. The town clerk or your officiant can answer questions about which locations would be appropriate based on the size of your wedding party, and your vision of the ceremony. If you chose to get married outdoors, I would suggest that you also consider a back-up indoor location in case of rain. Seaside locations can be very cold and miserable in the rain, even during summer.
3. You will need to choose an officiant. In Maine, ordained religious officials are able to conduct ceremonies, as can Notaries Public for the state of Maine.  The difference in your ceremony is in the end, when a Notary Public would say, “by the power vested in me by the State of Maine,” while an ordained minister, priest, or rabbi would say, “by the power vested in me by God.” Of course only someone ordained in your church can perform sacraments, but you can have traditional religious wording in your ceremony with a Notary.
4. You will need to meet with the officiant to give him/her your marriage license and show your IDs. The officiant will keep your marriage license until after the ceremony.
5. You need to have two official witnesses at the ceremony. They do not need to be adults, but they do need to understand the importance of the wedding ceremony. If you do not have two witnesses, your officiant can provide two for you – everybody loves a wedding! The officiant will need to meet with the witnesses – to get their photo ID and other information, and then after the ceremony, for them to sign the marriage certificate saying that they did in fact witness the vows. Both of these elements are required by law.
6. And speaking of laws, there is one that can trip you up the day of the ceremony. By law, an officiant is not allowed to perform the ceremony if it seems that any participant (bride, groom, or official witness) is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Because this is a legal proceeding, everyone involved must be fully aware.
7. After the ceremony, the officiant will ensure that the witnesses sign the license, fill out the appropriate sections regarding the ceremony, and will return it to the appropriate town hall for processing. You can request an official copy of your license from the town hall that issued it. There is a small fee to the town clerk for an official copy.
There are several Notaries Public in the area who perform weddings. You may choose to contact a few before you decide on one. Ask about their fees, and make sure that the person is someone with whom you feel comfortable – referrals are a great way to choose someone. Keep in mind that this person is sharing one of the most important moments in your life with you. Make sure that you know what the officiant’s fees are, and what is included.
As an example, my basic fee includes:
• Performing the wedding within 15 miles of Ogunquit
• Unlimited emails back and forth prior to the ceremony to answer any of your questions and to make sure that the wordings for your ceremony are exactly as you would like them to be
• A meeting with you by phone or in person prior to the wedding (again within 15 miles of Ogunquit)  to make sure that there are no questions or concerns, and even to go with you to find the exact wedding location (particularly important if you are choosing to marry on the beach or Marginal Way)
• Basic logistical planning, like making sure that you are not planning to wed on the beach during high tide, ensuring you plan for the health of your friends and family (water and seats for the elderly on a hot summer day), and contingency planning for the unexpected (what if the wind blows your handwritten vows down the beach before you’ve read them)
• Ensuring that the license is returned to the appropriate town hall after the wedding, either by hand-delivery or by certified mail (there is no additional fee for postage)
• While I am not a wedding planner per se, I am familiar with many reputable restaurants, lodging establishments, photographers, bakers, florists, and transportation providers; I am able to offer advice and contact information for these services based on your needs.
Also available for an additional fee:
• Wedding rehearsal
• If your wedding is to take place farther than 15 miles from Ogunquit, there would also be a charge for gas, at the appropriate IRS standard mileage rate. (Please note, as a Maine Notary, I only perform weddings within the state of Maine.)
If you would like additional information on my fees or availability, or just have questions that I haven’t addressed here, please contact me at