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    Provincetown: Where Marriage Equality Began

    Provincetown Marriage
    June 6, 2023

    While everybody in the US is—for now—onboard with marriage equality, there’s still something special about the place where it all started, Massachusetts, and in particular about getting married in Provincetown. Couples flock here all year round to tie the knot and as a première gay resort town, it’s the perfect place for a honeymoon too!

    Getting Married

    The fine print
    The legal requirement for getting married in Ptown is a marriage license, and you need to know that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a three-day waiting period. What this means is that you must apply together and in person for your license three business days before the ceremony is to take place, and then pick up the license at the same place you applied for it. Massachusetts does not require witnesses to the ceremony, nor do you need to be citizens of the United States.

    You can get a waiver for the three-day waiting period either at Orleans District Court or at Barnstable Country Probate Court.

    Location, location, location!
    Where can you get married? Just about anywhere you want! We have lovely beaches, from Herring Cove (where you can see the sun set into the water) to Race Point (with a working lighthouse in the background) to Provincetown harbor (fishing boats, anyone?)—or even out to wilder spots on the National Seashore. You can have your wedding itself in any of those places… or the whole wedding party, as well!

    As you might imagine, getting married on the beach is a popular choice here. Herring Cove provides beautiful sunset backgrounds to weddings, and just about any evening in the summer you’ll see couples taking advantage of its beauty.

    Most, if not all of Provincetown’s finer restaurants are happy to host weddings and/or receptions, if the great outdoors doesn’t appeal to you… and there truly is nothing like an intimate ceremony in the parlor of one of our inns.

    You can also be married in a landmark building, including lighthouses, or in a museum; Provincetown offers some of the most unusual and beautiful options imaginable, and many couples choose to be married in a memorable spot.

    If you’re a member of a church that permits gay marriages, you can be married in church; you already know if yours is one of them. Inns and guesthouses are particularly popular venues in the off-season, especially when there’s not a large wedding party, and they can be extraordinarily charming.

    Who will marry you?
    There are any number of independent clergypeople in the area who specialize in celebrating weddings, and they’ll be delighted to talk with you and see if you’re a good fit for each other. (ptownie tip: we love they’ll do wedding planning and organization as well as officiating!) In addition, justices of the peace and clergy associated with local churches are available.

    What about the ceremony itself?
    Because we don’t need to follow tradition (though many of us may choose to), you can make your wedding exactly what you want it to be! You can consult with your celebrant ahead of time to create just the right ceremony for you as a unique couple. Most area officiants are happy to share a sample ceremony with you that you can use as a starting-point for talking about what you want, and you can adapt it to include extras like the lighting of a unity candle, sharing a chalice of wine, or the wedding sand ceremony.

    Extra, extra!
    Year-round, you’ll be able to find just about anything you want or need to complement your ceremony. Local artisans are delighted to work with you to fashion unique wedding rings, while several florists in town will create the perfect bouquets or boutonnières.

    The Honeymoon

    What better place to honeymoon than by the ocean in a gay resort town offering just about any activity you can imagine? Once you’ve watched the sun set into the water at Herring Cove, you’ll be hooked. This has to be one of the most romantic honeymoon venues in the world!

    If just walking on the beach and watching the sun set isn’t enough, we can offer as much—or as little—activity as you could possibly desire.

    Provincetown’s many art galleries and art museums appeal to art lovers; other local museums delight history buffs. You can go on whale watches to see the humpbacks and dolphins rise and fall just off your bows; if you’d prefer to charter a boat and go out without other tourists around, you can do that too. You can wander through the beech forest or take an exciting trip across our famous sand dunes.

    Or you may prefer to spend your honeymoon here more quietly. A day at a spa, Reiki and massage sessions, afternoon tea, a dip in a pool, or a meal overlooking the harbor.

    When should you come? If you’re the kind of couple that likes an active lifestyle, then a summer honeymoon here is perfect. You can fill your days with whale watching, parasailing, swimming, and more. Try a romantic sunset cruise, head out to one of Provincetown’s award-winning restaurants, then on to dance the night away.

    Speaking of which, Provincetown restaurants are invariably romantic. Some offer views of the water, others have beautiful interior décor, fireplaces, or extensive wine lists; and you’ll be delighted with the amazingly fresh seafood and produce.

    However you choose to be married, and whatever you choose to do on your honeymoon, we hope that you’ll do it all here, in Provincetown … where it all started. So come get married in Ptown!

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