Getting Legally Married in Ireland
There are several ways to become legally married in the Republic of Ireland and each has its advantages.
1) Solemniser - A single legally binding ceremony within your preferred religious or secular tradition
- One ceremony within your preferred belief system that contains both the legal and ceremonial parts
- Must be performed within a stated tradition (eg. Pagan, Roman Catholic, Humanist etc)
- Can only be performed in venues that are publicly accessible such as hotels and churches
2) Registrar and Celebrant - Separating the legal and ceremonial aspects of your wedding
- You can perform the legal and ceremonial parts of your wedding separately at a time that is convenient.
- You can have the ceremonial part of the ceremony at any time and location you wish.
- You can also incorporate aspects of many different traditions in one ceremony.
- You will need two appointments. What some people do is have their registry office appointment on the morning of their main ceremony or the day before.
3) Registrar - Have a single, secular registry office ceremony
- This is the most affordable option as you would only have to pay the €200 for your marriage registration. There is an additional small fee if the registrar is to come to your venue. If you hire a solemniser or celebrant you will need to pay their fees too.
- Registry office ceremonies can only take place during office opening hours, Monday - Friday.
- If spirituality and ceremony is important to you, you have limited options available to you.
Steps to Getting legally married in the Republic of Ireland
The first is to book a notification appointment with the civil registration service at least three months prior to your wedding date. If you are resident in Ireland you must been there in person at that appointment. If you live outside the state, you can arrange to submit the required documentation by post and meet the registrar at least 5 days before the wedding.
The registrar will ask for a number of documents to verify your identity and your legal right to marry. If you are born outside the Republic of Ireland you will need to provide some additional information, for example your birth certificate will need to have an apostille stamp.
The registrar will need to be told the details of when and where your wedding ceremony will take place and who your solemniser is. The registration fee is €200 and you will then be issued with a Marriage Registration Form. If you choose to book a Solemniser, during or shortly after your wedding ceremony you, your witnesses and the solemniser sign that form which you then return to the Registrar who will then be able to issue your marriage certificate.
You will also need to include the information on both your witnesses.
Who Can Solemnise A Marriage?
The person solemnising the marriage must be on the Register of Solemnisers, which is maintained by the General Registrar. It lists both civil registrars and the members of the various religious and secular bodies who have been nominated by the bodies as solemnisers. I am a solemniser with the Pagan Federation Ireland and I have been on the Register of Solemnisers since February 4, 2020. Your marriage cert when issued will say that you were married in the 'Irish Pagan Tradition'.
Our organising body asks that you would be members of the Pagan Federation Ireland at the time of marriage, which costs €17 for an annual membership for a couple. You can read about the tenets of our organisation here.
Getting legally married in the Republic of Ireland can require a lot of paperwork, especially when you don't live here. For couples coming from outside the state to get married, what many choose to do is get the legal side done in their own country and have their ceremony here with a celebrant. Couples I have worked who have done this have also asked to include signing a certificate within their ceremony so they have a certificate to take home with them.
What are the Required Elements in a Legally Binding Ceremony?
The legal part of the marriage ceremony requires just two statements that need to be made by the couple, in the presence of each other, the registered solemniser, and their witnesses:
- that they do not know any impediment to the marriage and
- that they accept each other as husband/wife/spouse
Every other aspect of the ceremony will depend on the tradition of the solemniser and the preferences of the couple being married.
What Other Elements Can We Include?
From before you enter the space until after you leave, every part of the ceremony is important and deserves our attention. This is both to imbue it with meaning and also to ensure both the celebrant and your other service suppliers (photographer, videographers, band, venue staff) know the correct order of service to ensure a professional and relaxed experience for you and your guests.
The key part of your wedding ceremony is your vows to each other, followed by the declaration that you are now married. Every other element that is included should add to the beauty of that ritual by including friends, family, the spirit of the place and your own heritage. One of the questions I will ask you "what does it mean to be married?" and from there we will weave together a ceremony that is special and sacred.
Some ceremonies that I have worked with are:
- sacred and personal readings
- sand ceremony
- elemental blessings
- unity candle
- swearing oaths on a sword
I will have suggestions based on our conversation but I am open to anything you may wish to include.
If you would like some assistance in organising your wedding and sourcing vendors, I recommend reaching out to Cork based wedding planners Petal and Twine
All of the information and contacts you need to arrange for your Marriage Registration can be found on this page.