Logistical Requirements for Elopements on the Coast of Maine

So you have decided to skip the financial and planning pressures of a big wedding and are going to elope to the coast of Maine.  Take a deep breath, you have already made the biggest decision about the day and the decisions that are left are certainly not overwhelming.

First of all you need to decide where you want to hold the blessed event. We may be biased, but some of the best places to get married in Maine are the quaint bed and breakfasts and inns along the coast that offer regional charm, personal service,

A private ceremony for the two of you - eloping at the Berry Manor Inn.

A private ceremony for the two of you – eloping at the Berry Manor Inn.

and unique elopement packages.  Search through the internet and find the setting that speaks to you.  Perhaps you want to be married inside a grand Victorian mansion, amongst summer flowers in a garden, at the steps of a lighthouse or on a craggy rock ledge with the ocean’s waves behind you.  The great thing about holding your elopement at a B&B or Inn that offers an elopement package is that they have the experience and connections to handle all of the logistics for you and all you really have to worry about is getting the marriage license.

Getting a marriage license in Maine is really pretty straight forward if you are both over the age of 18 years old.  Maine legally recognizes a marriage whether the couple is of the same sex or not.  The paperwork you will be required to show at the City Hall where you get your license will be dependent on whether or one or both of you are residents of Maine and if one or both of you have ever been married before.   If one or both of you are residents of the State of Maine, than you both of you should apply together to the City or Town Hall in the city/town one or both of you reside in.

If both of you are from out of state, than both of you can apply for a license in any city/town in Maine. Although you are not required to apply for your license in the city/town where you are ultimately going to get married, the advantage to applying for the license in the same town where your B&B is located means that you will “know people who know people” if there is any kind of glitch.  Your innkeepers will know the easiest way to get to City Hall, they will know the hours and probably when the clerk goes on lunch break.  The wedding officiate is also required to file the license so if it was taken from the local town than he/she can take it directly to City Hall to have it be processed versus having to mail it.  If you manage to lose the license form 15 minutes after you get it, your innkeepers will probably know how to get another one even City Hall is closed. Not something that you plan on having happen but something that could definitely ruin the day.

Regardless of where you end up getting the license from, in the State of Maine marriage licenses are valid for 90 days from the issue date.  There is no longer any requirement for blood tests or a waiting period to be issued a marriage license in Maine. Assuming both parties are over 18 years of age, you will just be required to show a photo ID and will need to bring a certified copy of a divorce decree (raised seal) or a copy of the death certificate of the last spouse if either of you have been married before.  If you both are out of state residents consider completing the form to receive additional copies of the license and tuck 1 or 2 away in the safety deposit box so you will have a certified copy when you need it.  There are occasions that may arise in your lifetime where you may still be required to produce a marriage license such as to receive spousal Veteran, Social Security or Medicare benefits; legal recognition as being family for inheritance, visitation or determining decisions near the end of life; changing beneficiaries for retirement accounts, etc… and you are going to want to put your hands on it rather than trying to remember where in Maine your license is filed to be able to get another certified copy.  It is worth paying the $5 or so dollars now to have it on hand for the future.

In Maine you can get married by a Notary, Judge, Lawyer or certain religious leaders.  Out of state Notaries or Justices of the Peace are not authorized to perform legal marriages in Maine.  To be official, Maine requires the presence of two witnesses (not including the wedding officiate) to both witness and sign the marriage license. The wedding officiate will also sign the license and will be the one that must file it with the State.  For more information on requirements for getting married in Maine visit Maine.gov.

Celebrating the moment - Jack and Danylle

Celebrating the moment – Jack and Danylle

If you decide to Elope at the Berry Manor Inn, we will guide you through the legalities and send you directions to our City Hall (less than 3 miles away) with a reminder to order extra licenses; set up the wedding officiate and provide the two witnesses for the ceremony so that all of the legal matters are easily addressed.  The rest of the Elopement Package is the magic that we will provide for you for the day with flowers, wedding cake, music, dinner and photos.  Whether it is the first time for both of you or not, check out our Maine Elopement Package and let us play host to your magical day!

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