Want to be married among the gorgeous greenery and old castles of Ireland but unsure of the legal requirements?
Well, you’re in luck (and not just because of the luck of the Irish!). Getting married in Ireland is relatively straightforward once you know the steps. You can put everything into place in advance so you don’t have to worry about a thing once your celebrations roll around.
To make it easy on you, we’ve put together a list of all the Irish wedding laws you need to know to prepare for your destination wedding. Just follow these guidelines and you’ll be all set to make your wedding dreams come true.
Legal Notification Requirements – All Weddings in Ireland
No matter if you’re having a civil, religious, or spiritualist ceremony, you will need to notify the Registry Office with the intent to marry at least 3 months in advance. While 3 months is the minimum, we highly recommend allowing yourself more time for the process.
Our recommendation for destination weddings is notifying the Office at least 6 months in advance to ensure a smooth, stress-free process.
For a list of Registrars, visit Ireland’s Health Service Executive website. Notification of intent to marry can be done in person or by mail (if you are living abroad). Once your initial permission has been granted, the Registry Office will send you a form to complete and return.
Requirements for Marrying in Ireland:
- Both individuals must be over the age of 18
- Both individuals must have no impediment to marry (i.e. not being currently married, freely consenting to marriage)
- Notification at least 3 months in advance of wedding date
- Initial contact with the priest or registered officiant of a civil or spiritual ceremony
The general fee for notification of intent to marry in Ireland is €200. However, for same-sex couples already in a registered civil partnership in Ireland, the fee is only €50.
In-Person Meeting Before the Wedding
You will need to meet with a registrar prior to your wedding date to complete and sign the official Marriage Registration Form. Due to this required in-person meeting, be sure to ask your Registrar’s office of when this will likely take place.
You’ll need to make your travel arrangements based on these guidelines, as it’s required to meet in person with a registrant several days before your wedding (unless you initially registered in person).
The Marriage Registration Form (MRF) and Required Documents
The Marriage Registration Form (MRF) is similar to a marriage license. You’ll need an officially issued MRF before your wedding takes place (no matter your type of ceremony), because the MRF gives you authorization to marry in Ireland.
To complete the process of obtaining an MRF, the following documents and information are required for non-Irish citizens.
- Wedding date, venue name, and ceremony type (i.e. religious, civil, spiritualist)
- Names of officiants and two witnesses over the age of 18
- Valid passport or national ID card (both parties)
- Birth Certificates (both parties)
- Divorce decrees or civil partnership dissolutions (if applicable)
- Death certificates of previous spouse or civil partner along with previous marriage certifications (if applicable)
- Current contact information including address and phone number
- Marriage certificate fees (€20)
Please note that official documents like birth and divorce decrees will need an Apostille Stamp or equivalent along with official translations if the documents are not published in English. Apostille Stamps for U.S. citizens are obtained through the Department of State in which you were born. If you have a Certificate of Birth Abroad you must get your Apostille through the Federal Government at the U.S. Department of State Passport and Vital Records Section.
Next Steps – After the Marriage Registration Form (MRF)
Once you’ve obtained your MRF, give it to your wedding officiant before the wedding, so they can verify everything’s in line.
After the ceremony, you, your officiant, and two witnesses over the age of 18 must sign the document.
Once everything is signed and sealed, the MRF must be sent to the Civil Registry Office to make the marriage legal in Ireland. If your marriage doesn’t occur within 6 months of the wedding date listed on the MRF, you’ll have to repeat the notification and application process.
In Ireland, you can be married outside, in churches, castles, registry offices, and other buildings. If you’re doing a religious ceremony, be sure the venue meets the requirements of your religion. To make the paperwork process smoother, reserve your venue months in advance, but not before you secure an approved officiant for your ceremony.
Civil Wedding Ceremonies in Ireland
For a civil wedding in Ireland, contact the Civil Registration Service Office in the county you wish to be married. An approved venue will be needed in order to marry in a location other than the Registry Office. Fees for having your ceremony in a locale other than the Registry Office may apply.
Ask the office for the days and times that civil ceremonies can take place in the district where you are marrying. If you’re interested in a non-approved venue, ask the Registry Office for instructions on how to get it approved.
Religious Wedding Ceremonies in Ireland
Depending on your religion, different requirements will be necessary in order to make your marriage valid within that faith’s practices and rules. To be certain your wedding will meet all requirements, contact your religious organization in your home country and confirm details with your venue in Ireland.
Spiritualist Wedding Ceremonies in Ireland
Spiritualist ceremonies offer flexibility and personalization, because you can choose your own location (including the outdoors). Just be sure to follow the above guidelines about notifying the Registrar’s office at least 3 months in advance and properly obtaining a Marriage Registration Form.
Make your wedding process seamless and stress-free by finding a wedding venue, package, or wedding planner. Having a connection in Ireland will be especially helpful during the planning of your destination wedding. If you’re interested in a great group of people who plan everything down to the detail, consider the folks at Ballybeg House located in County Wicklow.
We recommend doing research or speaking with specialists before booking a wedding abroad. As such, this article is a guide and intended for informational purposes only.
More legal information can be found at Ireland’s Citizens Information website.
D’antonio, J. (2009). Old World Weddings: How to Marry in Europe – Ireland. Retrieved December 17, 2016, from
Fly Away Bride (2015). How to Get Legally Married in Ireland. Retrieved December 17, 2016, from http://flyawaybride.com/getting-legally-married-in-ireland/
My Ireland Tour Limited (2016). The Insider’s Guide to getting Married in Ireland. Retrieved December 17, 2016, from http://www.myirelandtour.com/about-ireland/weddings-and-honeymoons-in-ireland.php
Schwanke, C. (2016). Getting Married in Ireland. Retrieved December 17, 2016, from http://weddings.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Getting_Married_Ireland