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Marriage in Ireland

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With its beautiful cathedrals, castles, and landscapes, Ireland is an idyllic spot for a wedding. Whether you’re a resident or just visiting, getting married in the Emerald Isle is a straightforward process open to anyone.

Registering your marriage

You can make the Irish wedding of your dreams a reality with a little bit of preparation and paperwork. The process is the same whether you are a local or foreign couple, same-sex or heterosexual, religious or secular. The only legal requirements are that both members of the couple are age 18 or above, not currently married to anyone else, and the relationship must be genuine (i.e. not intended for visa purposes only).

Once you have decided to marry, you must notify any Irish Registrar in person three months in advance of the planned marriage date. During the meeting the couple must be present, and if needed, an interpreter can also attend. Notice can be given to any Registrar; however, if you plan to marry in a civil ceremony with a different Registrar, they will also need to be contacted. You can make your registrar appointment online at the Health Service Executive website.

 Good to know:

Ireland is the first, and so far the only country in the world, to legalise same-sex marriage by a public vote. Gay marriage was declared legal on 16 November 2015.

 Important:

Book well in advance to guarantee an appointment on time.

Procedures for registration

At the appointment both parties will need to provide originals and photocopies of the following documents, and approved English translations of the documents if applicable:

  • Valid passport
  • Birth certificate – If you were not born in Ireland, Denmark, Italy, France, Belgium, or Latvia then this will need an apostille stamp from the appropriate embassy, or a letter from the embassy proving it is authentic
  • Divorce/dissolution/nullification certificates if you were previously married
  • Death certificate if you are widowed
  • Immigration status proof if you are not an Irish or EU citizen
  • Non-Irish citizens may also be asked to provide a Letter of Freedom to Marry from your home country

You will also need to provide the Registrar with the following information:

  • Type of ceremony, i.e. civil, religious, or secular
  • Date and location of the marriage
  • The officiant/solemniser’s details
  • Names and dates of birth of your two witnesses
  • Your PPS numbers if you have a current or future home address within Ireland

You will pay a fee of €200 on the day, and sign a declaration that there is no reason you know of that would make your marriage unlawful. If everything is approved, the Registrar will issue an acknowledgement to both you and the solemniser that the marriage has been registered. He or she may also immediately issue the Marriage Registration Form (MRF). The MRF is the equivalent of a marriage license, allowing you to marry. You must marry within six months of it being issued, otherwise, you will need to re-register the marriage. Registrars are allowed to delay issuance of the MRF and investigate the relationship if, after your meeting, they feel you are intending to carry out a disingenuous marriage of convenience.

If one or both members of the couple live outside of Ireland and there is absolutely no way for you to register your wedding in person, you can call a Registrar and get permission to make a postal notification. If they give permission, a form will be sent to you to complete and return. You must still meet with them as a couple in person five days before the wedding to be granted your Marriage Registration Form.

 Good to know:

Same-sex couples who previously registered a civil partnership in Ireland, but would now like to get married, incur a reduced registration fee of €50.

Celebrating your marriage

The location of your marriage will likely be determined by whether you want a civil, religious, or secular ceremony. Civil weddings must take place at a Registry Office or an approved, registered location. Registry Office ceremonies tend to take place during the weekday work hours, while outside locations may perform them on evenings and weekends. If you prefer a religious ceremony, you will need to book the appropriate church and there may be additional rules and declarations to be made. For example, Catholic ceremonies may require that neither of you has been divorced.

Civil marriages are celebrated at the Civil Status Office or at any other venue that has been approved by both parties in advance. In the case of a religious or secular marriage, you must contact a recognised and approved celebrant. Thereafter, you will have to register your marriage in the Marriage Celebration Register.

 Good to know:

Humanist ceremonies are not yet legally binding, but they are in the process of being made official.

Name change

If one of you wants to adopt the other’s surname, then all you have to do is begin using your married name, and use your marriage certificate to officially change passport, bank account, drivers license, etc. with the proper authorities. If you want to double-barrel your names, use a different surname entirely, or make your maiden name your middle name, then you will need to go through the process of a name change application. This process costs €30, and is a paper application that must be filed in person with an attesting witness. If you are a non-EU national, you will first need to get a change of name license from INIS to execute a name change with Deed Poll.

 Useful links:

Irish Department of Social Protection
Citizens Information – Getting married

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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