Alison Pepin, license specialist for the City Clerk’s office in Auburn said, “The first step [when planning your wedding] is to file your intentions with the city; the couple must be free to marry. Then they purchase the license and secure two witnesses to sign the license after the ceremony.” She added that people under the age of 17 must have parental consent to marry.

Maine statute requires that at least one person applying for the marriage license be a resident of the town from which they are purchasing the license. If both parties are from out of state, they may apply for a license anywhere in the state. Both parties must be present to sign for the license.

There are instances in which one party may be unable to be present due to retention at an institution elsewhere. For such situations, the license may be signed by the present party, brought to the person at the facility for signature in the presence of a notary and witness, and returned to city hall.

According to Pepin, the marriage license costs $40; the first certified copy is $15 and $6 for additional copies.

“If there is to be a name change, the couple will need a certified copy of the marriage license,” explained Pepin as to why additional copies may be needed.

Although city hall does not perform ceremonies, they do provide a list of notaries who can. “We’ve had people meet their notary here and get married in the lobby. One day I had a couple purchasing their license and there was a notary at another window doing business. When he heard they needed a notary, he said he was one and he married them out in the parking lot,” said Pepin.

James Parker became a notary specifically so he could marry two friends. Since then, he has conducted several ceremonies including officiating over his son’s wedding ceremony. He has performed services in the simplest of locales – a backyard – to grander venues with sweeping ocean views. Some of his couples have chosen to write their own vows while others have asked him to write a personalized ceremony for them.

“Everyone is different,” said Parker. “Some people want a simple service without any religious overtones; others want to write their own vows. Couples can even find ceremonies and vows on the [Internet].”

At the end of the day, what makes the marriage is the couple’s desire and willingness to commit to one another, the promise to honor one another for a lifetime. Simply, with a license, a notary, and two witnesses, a couple can become husband and wife affordably and as quickly as they can say “I do!”

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