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Getting Married in Ireland

Wedding Party, by moOn_uNit

Wedding Party, by moOn_uNit

Many people dream of a wedding in Ireland but are unsure about whether it is possible.

The answer is usually yes, but with certain provisos.

This article gives brief answers to common questions about marrying in Ireland and includes useful links to set you on the way to making your dream a reality.

It’s not an exhaustive article, but should point you in the right direction, and there are links to more information.

Main images: Wedding party on beach by Lochinvar1

Requirements for a Wedding in Ireland

A couple getting married in Ireland must give notice of their intention to marry to a Registrar at least 3 months before the date of the wedding. This applies to all marriage, religious or civil no matter where they will take place.

Notice of intention to marry can be made to any registrar, not necessarily the one in the area where you live or where you will get married. However it must be made in person, costs €150 and you will need to provide the following to the registrar:

  • Passports and Birth Certificates
  • Original final divorce decree if either of you is divorced.
  • Death certificate and previous marriage certificate if either of you is widowed
  • The date and location of the wedding
  • Name, address and other details about the person who will perform the marriage
  • Names and dates of birth of your two witnesses

You will also have to make and sign a legal declaration of no impediment, stating that you know of no legal reason why you should not be married.

If every thing is in order, the Registrar will issue you with a Marriage Registration Form.

Marriage Registration Form

This like a marriage licence and gives permission for a couple to marry.  You need this form to get married in Ireland, no matter where the wedding will take place.

Once the form is issued, the marriage can take place at any time over the following 6 months. After that time, if you are still not married, you need to repeat the whole process.

Where can a Wedding be Held?

Until November 5th 2007 it was only possible to either get married in a church or to have a civil wedding in a registry office. The latter are not exactly beautiful places to marry – most are in standard office buildings and lack, well, pretty much everything!

Since November 5th 2007 you can now get married in other locations, with the agreement of the registrar. Not just anywhere though:

  • weddings must take place in a building to which the public has access
  • they must be celebrated indoors
  • the registrar must be willing to classify the location as an approved one.

Essentially this means that the places which get approval are generally either churches, hotels and public buildings. You will not get permission to marry in a private home.

Who can marry you?

The person solemnising the marriage must be on the Register of Solemnisers, which will be available at the Registry Office.

There are very strict regulations about who can be a solemniser, and in practice the list is comprised of either civil registrars and clergy of various religious bodies.

Civil Wedding in Ireland

Note first of all that the process of serving notice of your intention to marry, and acquiring your Marriage Registration Form, is entirely separate from arranging your civil marriage with a registrar.

A civil ceremony can be booked to take place in the Registry Office or some other venue that is approved by a Registrar.

You are advised to contact the registrar in the area where you will get married as soon as possible. This is particularly important if you are getting married in an approved venue, as a Registrar will have to be available to solemnise the marriage and they do not have limitless numbers of people available to perform marriages.

Registry offices and their staff operate from 9-5, Monday to Friday only, so it is not always possible to have a civil wedding at the weekend, though some registrars are more flexible than other on this.

Church Weddings in Ireland

Gougane Barra Church by Bernd Brägelmann

Gougane Barra Church by Bernd Brägelmann

You do NOT need to have a civil ceremony in addition to a religious one.

You will need to have your Marriage Registration form with you on the day of the wedding. Following the ceremony the solemniser will complete it and your marriage is then legal.

The details below are just a very brief overview of some particular requirements of various religions.

This can be a pretty complex area, with rules changing from time to time, and you would do well to contact the church where you wish to marry well in advance for detailed guidance.

Roman Catholic Church

If both parties are Catholic and are marrying for the first time or have been widowed, getting married in a Catholic Church is relatively straightforward. The requirements are similar whether you are getting married in your home parish or at the other side of the world.

You will need “letters of freedom” from every parish in which you have previously lived. The bulk of the paperwork is completed in your home parish, not in the parish where you will marry.

Church of Ireland

At least one party to the marriage must be Anglican or Episcopalian. If you meet this requirement you need to contact the vicar in the parish in which you plan to marry, who will advise you on other requirements.

Presbyterian/Methodist Churches

Marriage in either of these churches is at the discretion of the local minister, religious affiliation is not always required, though you will have to meet with and satisfy the minister of your sincerity and of your freedom to marry.

Jewish Weddings

Both parties to the marriage must be Jewish and permission to marry is at the discretion of the Chief Rabbi. You will be required to meet in person with the Rabbi at the Synagogue at which you wish to marry before permission is granted and to bring with you letters of introduction from your own Rabbi.

Society of Friends (Quakers)

Both parties must be members of the Society of Friends, be free to marry and of age. You will be required to meet in person with the elders in the area in which you wish to marry.

Other Religions

If you are a member of any religion other that those listed above, whether you can marry or not depends on whether there are any registered solemnisers available to perform the ceremony. Making early contact with the place where you wish to get married is essential.

What if one of us has been married before?

If either of you has been married previously, you will have to produce a Divorce Decree Absolute or a Death Certificate, as appropriate, in order to marry in a either a registry office or in those churches that permit remarriage of divorced persons.

In the case of Catholic weddings, marriage of divorced persons who previously married in the Catholic church is not possible, even if the civil marriage has been dissolved. The Roman Catholic church does not recognise divorce, you can only remarry if a previous marriage was annulled by the Church AND you have had a civil divorce.

The Jewish religion does recognise divorce and permission to marry will therefore, as in any other case, be at the discretion of the Chief Rabbi. Quakers too recognise divorce.

Many couples who because of their personal circumstances are not allowed to marry in a church choose to have a civil marriage, either in Ireland or in their own country, and then have a Church Blessing in Ireland.

Can we marry on a cliff/in a castle/by a dolman?

The short answer is no. While the law in Ireland changed on November 5th 2007 to allow a legal marriage in Ireland to be performed other than in a registry office or a church, the places where such wedding can take place are subject to some restrictions. One of these is that weddings cannot be held outdoors.

However many people choose to have a legal ceremony in a registry office and then have a blessing in a location of their choosing. This is perfectly possible.

It is of course possible to have alternative type weddings, for example humanist or pagan weddings, in any location you choose, subject to the necessary permissions from the owner of your chosen location. They will have no legal standing however.

More Information

The following links may be of assistance to those considering a wedding in Ireland.

Both Co-Me and Waterlily Weddings are excellent wedding planners with particular expertise in helping to arrange weddings in Ireland for non-resident couples. Getting help is a very good option to consider.

You can search for wedding venues that are available on your preferred dates, and contact the venues that appeal to you, at WeddingDates.ie

Registrar of Marriages
You can contact the Office of the General Registrar in Ireland here. They will be able to advice you on the forms you require to set things in motion.

You can also call local registrars offices directly. If calling from outside Ireland, prefix each number with the country code for Ireland (00353) and then drop the initial ’0′ from the numbers given below.

County Telephone number
Carlow 0509 9131664
Cavan 049 4331530
Clare 064 6821041
Cork 021 270508/276558
Donegal 074 918711
Dublin 01 8725555 Ext.4806
Galway 091 562340
Kerry 066 7121998
Kildare 045 897348
Kilkenny 056 7751702
Laois 0502 21340
Leitrim 061 414655
Longford 043 46410
Louth 042 34066
Mayo 094 9021522
Meath 046 9097833
Monaghan 047 82388
Offaly 0506 21205
Roscommon 090 6626132
Sligo 071 9142228
Tipperary 052 21195
Waterford 051 874144
Westmeath 044 48315
Wexford 053 22329
Wicklow 0404 67361
 

What Others Say

  1. Declan Evans Mar 11, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you, this site is very useful.

    It is succinct, but provides all the necessary information required.

    Declan

  2. Jenny Apr 6, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Thanks for your advice.  I found it really useful.  I’m Irish, living in England with my English fiance and we weren’t sure what the story was with residency before the wedding.  We regularily spend time in Ireland so should easily be there for 8 consecutive days some time before we get married. Thanks for your advice.

  3. Ron Kirby Jul 5, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Hi
     We seem to be a little confused, as we have been informed by the Registrar at Killarney that we must wait 3 months before we can get married in Ireland. They are sending the appropraite application forms to us and our 3 month countdown to a date will only start after they have recieved the completed forms back ?
    This does not comply with your comments.
    We are a mature couple living in the North East of England and were both born in the UK of English parentage. I mentioned we were on Holiday in Cyprus earlier this year and it was the same requirement there 8 days , this being an EEC country also , so I mentioned this to theregistrar and she said it is incorrect for Ireland !! Still confused I am afraid , when I said we would be in Ireland in a couple of weeks she said she was too busy to see us to discuss it !!

  4. jesse Apr 29, 2011 at 10:37 am

    im wondering.my partner is a divorced catholic and does anyone know if we can marry in church of ireland church..im church of ireland..all this wedding stuff confuses me!!

  5. Nicola Haverty May 13, 2011 at 8:46 am

    My divorce will begin in October this year.  It is amicable and neither my ex or I see any problems with it.  My new partner and I want to get married as soon as it is through.  Is it possible to get married in a civil ceremony in a registry office and then get married in a big ceremony in a roman catholic church afterwards?  There will be a gap in time between the two events.

    • admin May 19, 2011 at 12:47 pm

      It isn’t possible for someone who has been divorced to get married in a Catholic church. You may be able to find a priest who will do a blessing, but I’m doubtful that even that would be possible.

  6. Naomi Jun 16, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Looking for some advice? Do you have to be confirmed in order to marry in the church of ireland?

  7. laura Jun 25, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    If we get married in the USA in a Methodist ceremony, can we have our wedding blessed by a Catholic priest while in Ireland?

    • Katherine Jun 26, 2011 at 10:26 am

      That’s not going to happen. I could go into detail about why, but this is not the place for it. My advice is abandon the idea, because it is a non-runner.

  8. Frances Jul 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Hi im just wiondreing in what counties in ireland is it possible to marry on a sunday?

    • Katherine Jul 4, 2011 at 11:59 pm

      The same rules apply in all counties in Ireland – there are no local differences.

      Civil weddings are not held on Sundays nor are Catholic, Anglican or other protestant church weddings. I don’t know about other faiths, but I’d imagine that those whose Sabbaths do not fall on a Sunday would hold weddings that day.

    • kathleen Dec 4, 2012 at 3:18 am

      Hi 
      Yes you can get married on Sunday.
      I was married on a Sunday in Adare Limerick.
      We flew over from the states. We were maried 10/10/10. 

      • Grace May 11, 2013 at 12:35 am

        Hi Kathleen,
        We are planning to get married on a Sunday as well but having a lot of difficulty finding someone to lead the ceremony. We have already done our legal signing of the wedding register. Can you advise who did you use?
        Appreciate it

  9. Heather Jul 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Is it possible to get married in Ireland without seeing a registrar 3 months prior to the wedding. We live in the U.S. and will only be in Ireland for 10 days and would like to get married when we are there.

    • Jill Oct 10, 2011 at 7:37 pm

      I’m in the same boat as you…live in the U.S. and want to get married in Ireland but only make one trip over (i.e. for the actual wedding/honeymoon). Did you find out if that is possible?

  10. karen Aug 4, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    hi.. can you tell me will a south african divorce decree be accepted in ireland.. my fiance is south african was married in south africa and had a legal seperation in ireland his e moved back to south africa few years ago and got divorce done there in 2009 ..we have our appointment with the registrar this month and are worried they wont accept his divorce..any help would be great..:)

  11. Lonyfad Aug 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I am not an Irish resident but my wife is legally resident for over 9 years. Can I have my marriage legally carried out in Ireland? What are the procedures?

  12. confusedandanxious Oct 24, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    So I am Irish and my husband is American. We got civilly married in Arizona in 2008. Now we want to have a big Roman Catholic wedding in Ireland. Is it possible? I have been told that the fact that I married once I am not “free” to marry again.
    What is a Catholic Blessing that everyone talks about? Is it like a normal wedding just without the signing of the register?
    Thanks!!

    • Katherine Oct 24, 2011 at 2:32 pm

      That is exactly what it is. The advantage is that because it is not strictly speaking a wedding, you have much more freedom to design the service yourselves. The downside is that not all priests will officiate at such blessings, so you’ll need to approach the local parish where you want the service held well in advance. One person who has a LOT of experience in organising events like this is Kate Deegan, and it might be worth getting in touch with her.

  13. Reverend Gary KEOGH Jul 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I am a pastor who is licensed to marry in Ireland, I am included on the register of solemisers,if you need any information feel free to contact me at gkvodub@gmail.com

  14. sharonne Jan 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    hi, i am from mauritius and my boyfriend who is an irish proposed me :). but the thing here is that we dont have any clue about where we should go, what documents i need to bring along, what is the process. we choose to do it on my birthday and it is only in 7months. if somebody could help us that would be great.
    thank you 

  15. ron attwooll Feb 16, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    my son , protestant, and his fiancee, roman catholic, are both living in new zealand. they hope to come home to galway to get married are ,in catholic church. do they need any special forms from clergy on both sides or even from clergy in new zealand?

  16. Norm Harrigan Jul 21, 2013 at 3:36 am

    My Wife and I are Catholic.  Can we have our marriage blessed in a catholic church? 

  17. Rob Jul 31, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Hi, im an atheist my partner was brought up catholic, though she is not practicing, she does have a desire to have a blessing from a priest at a humanist ceremony. Is this possible?

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