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Getting Married in Ireland
Below is a complete legal copy of the requirements that must be met to be married in Ireland. There are no exceptions to the residency requirements for either of you, even for a Catholic or other religious wedding.

Once your residency requirement has been met (9 days minimum as the day you arrive and the day you file do not count) and the 22 day wait after filing has past you can marry at any time. So if you file your written 3 month notice of intent to marry, then you come to Ireland on holiday and spend 10 days, you can serve notice with the registrar then return home until the wedding, even if it is a year or more later.

The only other option is to have the civil or legal part done at home right before your trip to Ireland then have the actual formal wedding ceremony here. Irish couples will often have a civil wedding before the registrar then the formal wedding if the church they are members of is not licensed for weddings or does not handle the civil paperwork that must be done.

If you want to go for the residency and either of you has been married before there is another set of rules and requirements that must be met. It is then decided whether the divorce would be acceptable for marriage in the Irish State. This can take two to three weeks for a decision to be made.

ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: You can come to Ireland and be married in the Catholic Church, with all the arrangements made through your own priest and the civil paperwork done at the ceremony. You can even get a certificate of marriage BUT the marriage will NOT be valid and could be challenged at a later date if all the residency and civil requirements of Irish law have not been met.

The following information is supplied by the Marriage Registrar of the Republic of Ireland



This includes changes to the law following passing of the Family Law Act ,1995
1. Requirement to give three months notification of intention to marry:
Any person marrying either by religious or civil ceremony must give three months notice to the Registrar for the district in which the marriage is to take place or have obtained an exemption as explained below. Failure to comply with this makes the marriage invalid in civil law.

2. How notification may be given.

Notification of a Marriage may be given in two ways.
i) Both parties may write jointly (or separately) to the Registar for the district in which the marriage is to be solemnised giving the following information.
- name and address of the parties to the marriage.
- name and address of the church, or place, where the marriage will take place.
- the date on which the marriage is to take place.
- the ages of the parties, or confirmation that the parties are over eighteen.

ii) A pre-printed form may be obtained from the Registrar.
If only one letter or form is sent to the Registrar it must be signed by both parties .
The Registrar will issue each party to the intended marriage with an acknowledgement confirming the date of receipt of the notification. You must retain this document and produce it, when requested, to the person solemnising the marriage.

It should be noted that these acknowledgements are for record only and are not intended to be a licence or certificate signifying the approval of the registrar concerned in any proposed marriage. the other legally required marriage preliminaries, if any, appropriate to the form of marriage, must also be complied with.

Main Provisions

Marriages by civil ceremony is a civil contract. Marriage by certain religious ceremonies is also recognised by the Civil Law as being a civil contract. Persons wishing to get married by religious ceremony should approach the authorities of the religious denomination concerned for advice on how to proceed. Those wishing to get married by civil ceremony should seek advice from the Registrar of civil marriages for the district in which they reside, or in which they wish to get married. A list of these Registrars, with names and telephone numbers is available from the General Register Office (address at the end).

The following is a broad summary of the procedure for marriages in the Republic of Ireland. It applies to both Irish citizens and non-Irish citizens.

Both of the parties to a marriage must be over eighteen years of age on the day of their marriage (or have obtained a Court exemption Order in advance of their marriage) and must have given three months written notification of their intention to so marry to the appropriate Registrar for the district in which the marriage is to take place (or have obtained a Court exemption Order in advance of their marriage).

Marriage bv Civil Ceremony.

Marriages may be solemnised in the office of a Registrar of Civil Marriages by Registrars licence or by Registrars certificate. Persons wishing to be married in the office of a Registrar either by Registrars Licence or certificate must serve notice in person upon the Registrar of the district in which they reside. If the parties intending marriage reside in different districts, notice must be served on the Registrar of each district. (N.B. If the marriage is to take place in the Republic of Ireland, one of these districts may be in the United Kingdom).
Marriage by Registrars Licence requires that ONE OF THE PARTIES TO THE MARRIAGE SHOULD HAVE RESIDED IN THE REGISTRARS DISTRICT IN WHICH THE MARRIAGE IS TO TAKE PLACE FOR AT LEAST FIFTEEN DAYS IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE SERVICE OF NOTICE. If the other party to the marriage resides in the same registrars district, a MINIMUM RESIDENCE OF SEVEN DAYS by that party is necessary before the service of notice. IF THE PARTIES RESIDE IN DIFFERENT DISTRICTS A RESIDENCE OF FIFTEEN DAYS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE DISTRICTS IS REQUIRED. The marriage may not take place until the eighth day, at the earliest, after entry of notice by the registrar. One of the parties must also have resided in the Registrars district in which the marriage is to take place for at least fifteen days before the marriage licence is granted.

Marriage by Registrars Certificate requires A PRIOR RESIDENCE OF SEVEN DAYS BY EACH OF THE PARTIES BEFORE SERVICE OF NOTICE, WHETHER THEY RESIDE IN THE SAME REGISTRARS DISTRICT OR IN DIFFERENT DISTRICTS. Marriage by certificate may not take place until the TWENTY SECOND DAY, at the earliest, after entry of notice of marriage. Certain other requirements have to be fulfilled between the service of notice and the issue of the registrars licence or certificate.

Marriage by registrars licence or certificate in a church or registered building requires that notice be served on the Registrar or Registrars of Civil Marriages in person, and that the same preliminary steps be taken as if the marriages were to be solemnised in the office of the Registrar.
The licence or certificate ultimately issued by the Registrar to the parties must then be produced by them to the officiating Minister.

If either party has been married previously, it is necessary for that party to produce either a Divorce Decree Absolute or a Death Certificate, as appropriate.If the Divorce Decree is in a foreign language, an English translation of the same should be provided, duly certified by a relevant official body or recognised translation agency. In the case of a divorce, consideration is given to the question of whether the divorce would be acceptable for marriage in this State. In this connection certain information as to place of birth, countries of residence and other relevant facts must be supplied. The information is then forwarded to the Registrar-General, whose consent must be obtained before the ceremony can take place. This may take two or three weeks.

Marriages by Civil Ceremony must take place in the office of a Registrar of Marriages, except in very exceptional cases of illness on the part of one of the parties, when the Registrar-General has power to grant a special licence for the marriage to be conducted elsewhere.

Religious Ceremonv of Marriage.

Roman Catholic. Marriages according to the rites and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic Church are governed mainly by the ecclesiastical laws of that church. Roman Catholic marriages may be celebrated

by Episcopal licence or
after publication of banns or
by ordinary ecclesiastical licence or
on production of a certificate from a Registrar of Civil Marriages.

Church of Ireland Marriages according to the rites and Ceremonies of the Church of Ireland may be celebrated,
by special licence (granted by the Bishops of the Church of Ireland) or
after publication of banns or
by ordinary ecclesiastical licence or
on production of a certificate from a Register of Civil Marriages.
Presbyterian Church

Marriages according to the form and discipline of the Presbyterian Church may be celebrated,

  • by special licence (granted by the Moderators of the Presbyterian Church) or
  • after publication of banns or
  • by ordinary ecclesiastical licence.

    Other Religious Bodies

    Marriages according to the usage's of certain other Religious Bodies may be celebrated,

  • by special licence (granted, where applicable, by the Head of the Religious Body) or
  • on production of a certificate or licence from a Registrar of Civil Marriages (in a building registered for the purpose, see page four).

    Society of Friends

    Marriages according to the usage's of the Society of Friends may be celebrated

  • by special licence (granted by the Clerk to the yearly meeting) or
  • on production of a certificate from a Registrar of Civil Marriages.

    Jewish Communities

    Marriages according to the usage's of persons professing the Jewish religion may be celebrated

  • by special licence (granted by the Chief Rabbi) or
  • on production of a certificate from a Register of Civil Marriage.

    Special Licences authorise marriage at any convenient time or place.

    Marriage by Ordinary Ecclesiastical Licence requires that notice be served by one of the contracting parties on the Licenser of Marriages of the district in which the marriage is to be solemnised, and is subject to the fulfilment of other statutory requirements, among them, residence by one or both parties in the Licensers District (Church of Ireland) or within the Presbytery (Presbyterian) within which marriage is to be solemnised for a specified period before the granting of the licence. One of the parties must me a member of the same church as the person who grants the licence.

    Marriages celebrated according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of Ireland after the publication of banns require that both parties must be Protestant Episcopalians. Again, marriages celebrated according to the form and discipline of the Presbyterian Church after publication of banns require that both parties must be Presbyterians.

    Registration and licensing of Churches and Buildings for Marriage Purposes.

    Marriages by religious ceremony, other than Roman Catholic Marriages and those by special licence, must be celebrated in a church or building licensed, certified or registered for the purpose of marriage.

    Churches of the Church of Ireland are licensed for marriages by the Bishops of the Church of Ireland with the approval of the Minister for Health. Presbyterian Churches are certified by their Ministers and registered by the Registrar-General.

    Buildings used by other bodies (not Roman Catholics) as places of public religious worship and certified as such are registered by the Registrar-General for the purposes of marriage. In some cases registration is effected for marriage in the presence of the Registrar of Civil Marriages only.

    Muslim Marriages.

    There is at present no provisions for the Civil Registration of Muslim Marriage Ceremonies solemnised in the State.

    Registrar office in Dublin, general points
    A new purpose built registry office has recently opened in Dublin. The room where the marriage takes place has seating for approx. 70 people. There are no flowers in the room however there are no objections to bringing floral arrangements into the room. There is a full CD and PA system in the room. Regarding music the only stipulation if that it must be non-religious. This also applies to any readings or reflections.
    In the Dublin office Friday appears to be the most popular day, however marriages are preformed Monday to Friday. The first appointment is at 10.30 in the morning. The first after lunch is at 2.30 p.m. and the last marriage in the day is at 4 p.m. in the afternoon.

    There are two sets of registrars, one for Roman Catholic marriages and another for Protestant and civil marriages. A list of registrars for the former is obtained from the health board of the area concerned, while the other is made up of a list of solicitors in each county. (Ask for form FLA.1.96.) Both lists are available from:

    General Register Office (Oifig an Ard-Chlaraitheora),
    Joyce House,
    8/11 Lombard Street East,
    Dublin 2.

    Each district has their own registry office and all civil weddings must take place within the designated buildings.

    Requirements for marriages in the Catholic Church in the Republic of Ireland

    Booking The Church
    Decide first where you want to be married. Usually it will be in the bride's parish, but you can arrange otherwise simply by getting a note from her Parish Priest. This is because he or one of his curates will eventually be responsible for all the papers. Don't assume that the church will be free. It's always wiser to check the availability of the church for the date you want before you go booking hotels, and paying deposits. If you are being married outside your own parish, you may be asked to bring a Priest with you to celebrate your marriage. If you have someone in mind, don't forget to let him know before it's too late.

    The Papers
    There are a number of documents you will need in order to be married. It can seem very complicated but there are various reasons behind all of them.
    Baptismal Certificate

    This should be a recent copy, i.e. issued not more than six months before the date of marriage. Obviously only a Christian can enter into a Christian marriage, and a Baptismal Certificate proves that you are a Christian. The time factor here is because whenever a person is married the parish where he/she was baptised is notified and this would be included on any certs issued in the future. It's a simple way of covering the legal obligation of making sure that neither person is married to someone else. You will get the Baptismal Certificate from the parish in which you were baptised.

    Pre-Nuptial Enquiry

    This form is like a small booklet. It has two main purposes.
    a. The first purpose is to get some basic details about you as a couple, (name, address, parents, etc.) and to establish that you are legally free to marry.
    b. The second purpose is to enable the Priest in your parish to make sure that you have a reasonable understanding of the meaning of Christian marriage, and that you are willing to make a commitment to it.

    Once you choose to be married in church your Priest has a share of the responsibility for giving you as good a start as possible. Each person will have the Pre-Nuptial enquiry form filled by the priest in his/her own parish.

    Letter of Freedom

    A Letter of Freedom is required only if you have lived in a parish other than the present one, for a period of six months or more, since your early teens. The letter of freedom is simply a form stating that there is no record of you having contracted marriage during the period you lived there. It should normally be possible to get this document by post. In general the bride's priest is responsible for all the papers, because the marriage normally takes place in her parish. In the event of the marriage taking place elsewhere, the bride's priest takes responsibility for forwarding the papers to the place of marriage.

    Nihil Obstat

    In the case of a marriage involving nationals of two different countries, the Church papers should be sent to the local Diocesan Chancellery in the country of origin, and from there to the Diocesan Chancellery in the Diocese where the wedding will take place. A document called a Nihil Obstat will then be issued, stating that everything is in order.

    Giving Notice

    Couples wishing to marry in a Catholic Church in Ireland (North or South) are required to give a minimum of three months notice. This is not so that the papers can be prepared in time, or to be sure that the Church will be available. The idea is to ensure that couples entering marriage have been seriously considering it for at least that length of time, and that nobody makes the mistake of marrying under pressure or under impulse. In the case of couples where one partner is under eighteen, the notice required, for the same reason, is six months.

    Papal Blessing

    A papal blessing is a certificate of the Pope blessing of your Marriage in the Catholic church. These certificates are signed for the Pope in Rome and can be obtained from stores which specialise in religious goods.

    Inter Church Marriages

    Some additional thought is required in the case of an inter-church marriage. Since marriage involves sharing one's life with another person in a very close and intimate kind of way, special consideration needs to be given to aspects of this sharing which may not be as easy as in most other marriages. To this end, the Association of Inter-Church Families organises special pre-marriage preparation courses. In addition to the documents ordinarily required, the Catholic partner requests Dispensation only from the local Bishop to marry a Baptised Christian of another religious denomination. In making this request, the applicant should indicate whether the marriage will take place in a Catholic Church, or in the Church of the other partner. The celebrant will be a minister of the Church in which the ceremony takes place, but he can be assisted by a minister of the other denomination.

    The Catholic partner in an Inter-Church marriage makes a verbal undertaking to do everything possible, so far as in me lies, to have the children of our marriage baptised and brought up in the Catholic Church. There is no promise required from the person who is not a Catholic. The Catholic Church recognises that the other partner to the marriage may feel an equal obligation to hand his/her faith to the children, and this also has to be taken into account in the practical decisions which the couple take. At first sight this approach may seem far from ideal, until one looks at the alternatives. One positive aspect of the approach is that it requires that the couple discuss what might be a difficult issue for them, before the marriage takes place, rather than leaving it until perhaps it becomes contentious.

    Inter-Faith Ceremony

    On the day of your wedding, the inter-faith marriage ceremony is especially yours. Within fairly broad limits, you can plan it for yourself.

    • Obviously, it is important to do your planning in consultation with the celebrant, so that he can offer his advice, and so that he knows what you want.
    • Normally there will be a Mass, though it is not absolutely necessary that there should be. The celebration of your marriage could be done within a service of prayers and scripture readings. It is appropriate, however, to have the Mass, because it is a celebration of self-giving, and the Communion is particularly a symbol of love and unity.
    • Couples sometimes choose not to have a Mass, because the non-Catholic partner and his/her family would not be able to participate fully through the reception of Communion. In this case, it is possible for each partner to have a Mass/Eucharist separately (e.g. earlier in the day), and then to have the marriage service later on.
    • In the case of a Mass, there are normally two or three Scripture readings. If there are three, it would normally be one each from the Old and New Testaments, and one passage from the Gospel. The arrangement would be much the same in the case of a marriage service outside of Mass.

    Catholic Wedding Mass

    The Wedding Mass is falls into five main sections:

    1. The Introductory Rites
    2. Liturgy of the Word Readings
    3. The Rite of Marriage
    4. The Liturgy of the Eucharist
    5. Concluding Rite & Blessing

    Each of these is divided into sub-sections, which are listed here. In each case you can select your favourite from 3 or more alternative forms or options. The full text of all your options and other aspects of the wedding ceremony can be found in
    The Complete Massbook Guide available at �1.99 (+50p p&p) from I.M.S., 62 Castle Byrne Park, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Tel. 01-288-7578,
    or from IMS (H.O.), 3 Beaumont Place, Ballintemple, Cork, Tel. 021-295208

    The overall structure is as follows:

    1. The Introductory Rites

    Entrance Antiphon (3 forms)
    Candle Ceremony - 1 (Optional)
    Greeting (3 forms)
    Penitential Rite (3 forms)
    Opening Prayer (4 forms)

    2. Liturgy of the Word

    (i.e. The Readings)
    Old Testament Reading (12+ forms)
    Responsorial Psalm (12+ forms)
    New Testament Reading (13 forms)
    Alleluia Acclamation (3 forms)
    The Gospel Reading (15 forms)
    (followed by the Sermon or Homily).

    3. The Rite of Marriage

    The Address (3 forms)
    Declaration of Consent (3 forms)
    Blessing of the Rings (4 forms)
    Exchange of Gifts (Optional)
    Candle Ceremony -2 (Optional)
    Prayer of the Newly Married Couple (Optional)
    Prayers of the Faithful (Select 5/6 of 21 forms)

    4. The Liturgy of the Eucharist

    Prayer over the Gifts (3 forms)
    The Preface (3 forms)
    Acclamation of the People (4 forms)
    Nuptial Blessing (4 forms)
    Communion Antiphon (3 forms)
    Prayer After Communion (3 forms)

    5. Concluding Rite

    Blessing (3 forms)
    Dismissal (3 forms)