Getting Married in Ireland

Getting Married in Ireland

As a wedding photographer I’m often asked various questions about getting married in Ireland. So, based on first hand knowledge and lots of research here’s my answer…

Getting married in Ireland is like many things here, entwined in red tape, procedures, local customs, old wives tales and lots of brown envelopes…

The reality is, getting married in Ireland has changed since the introduction of the Civil Registration Act of 2004 which came into law in 2007. (See what I mean about Red Tape). Asking your mother how to go about it just won’t work anymore unless she’s been checking out the GRO website and has at least a diploma in legalise. My intention here is to explain in plain English the steps required.

I’ve divided this article into four separate sections.

1.     A Church Wedding

2.    A Civil Wedding

3.  The difference between 1 & 2

4.   Same Sex Marriage in Ireland

OK, Let’s get the most common type of marrige in Ireland out of the way first… A Church Wedding. What I mean here is a Catholic Church wedding.

A Church Wedding

Stained Glass Photo - Shay Curran Photography

Stained Glass Photo – Shay Curran Photography

The easiest example here is when both parties are over 18, have never been married before, are both Irish Nationals, intend marrying in the Republic of Ireland, are both Catholic, and are male and female. Phew…

There are three things you must do.

  • Notify the Registrar.
  • Notify the priest.
  • Attend a Pre-marriage course.

Before you do any of the above it will speed up the process (slightly) if you have the correct documents to hand before you arrange a meeting with the Registrar. evidence of your name, address, age, marital status and nationality must be produced in the form of Passport, Birth Certificate and PPS numbers. Additional documentation is needed if either of you is divorced or widowed.

The idea here is to only make one visit to the Registrar, if you forget anything it’ll mean another visit and possible delay. Remember the Registrar needs a minimum three months notice (same applies to the priest)so this should be one of the first things you attend to. But first you need to talk to the priest. Both of you…

The priest ultimately decides on the date, if the church is already booked for some imagined date in your mind, forget it!

The priest/church can be a bit complex if the bride to be is no longer resident in her original parish. A minimum of three forms are needed when going to meet your priest:- Baptismal Certificate, Confirmation Certificate and a Letter of Freedom from every parish you’ve lived in since you were eighteen. These are required for both of you. The priest will also require evidence that you have both recently attended a recognised Pre-Marriage course.  Average cost of a course is €120.

Again additional documents could be required depending on individual circumstances. Often a phone call can establish if a date is free and if not you could consider getting married in some other parish.

If you choose some other parish as your wedding church notice must be given to the local priest of the Bride and the local priest of the Groom (if you are living in different parishes).   The priests will then prepare the couple and the preparation of the Pre-Nuptial enquiry forms.   The pre-nuptial forms are then sent to the priest at the parish where you intend to marry. Did I say RED TAPE?

Irish Civil Wedding Ceremony