Civil marriage ceremonies
Following the commencement of Part 6 of the Civil Registration Act 2004 on 5 November 2007, to legally marry you require a Marriage Registration Form (MRF) from a Registrar and whoever is solemnising your marriage must be on the Register of Solemnisers (pdf). The Registrar issues the MRF when you give your 3 month notification to the Registrar.
It is also now possible to get married by civil ceremony in the office of a Registrar of Civil Marriages or in some other venue that is approved by a Registrar.
If you are getting married by civil ceremony in a Registry Office or other approved place, you should approach the Registrar of Civil Marriages for the district in which you intend to marry for information on how to proceed. There is no requirement to live in the district where you want to get married.
As well as arranging your civil marriage ceremony there is also a requirement to give 3 months notification to a Registrar. This does not have to be the same Registrar.
A civil ceremony can be held in a Registry Office or some other venue that is approved by a Registrar. A Registrar will also have to be available to solemnise the marriage.
If you want to get married in a venue other than the Registry Office you should contact the Registry Office for the district the venue is located in to arrange to have it approved. This may involve the Registrar inspecting the venue.
According to the legislation the place where the solemnisation takes place must be open to the public. The Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014 amended the legislation to clarify that a place that is open to the public means:
- A building that is open to the public or
- A courtyard, garden, yard, field or piece of ground that is open to the public and is near to and usually enjoyed with a building that is open to the public
The guidelines for marriage venues are available on the General Registrar's website. To ensure the venue is approved in time for your wedding you should arrange for the approval well in advance of notifying the Registrar.
There will be an additional fee for a civil ceremony held in a venue other than a Registry Office.
Marriage Registration Form
If you fulfill the 3 months notification requirements and there is no impediment to you getting married, the Registrar will issue you with a Marriage Registration Form (MRF) giving you permission to marry. You should give the MRF to the Registrar who will be solemnising the marriage before the marriage ceremony.
Immediately after the marriage ceremony, the MRF should be signed by you and your spouse, the two witnesses and the Registrar. The Registrar will register the marriage as soon as possible after the marriage.
The marriage ceremony is solemnised by the Registrar, who is on the Register of Solemnisers. The ceremony must be performed in the presence of two witnesses aged 18 or over. During the ceremony you and your intended spouse must make two declarations:
- That you do not know of any impediment to the marriage
- That you accept each other as husband/wife/spouse
If either you, your intended spouse or either of the two witnesses does not have sufficient knowledge of the language in which the ceremony is being held to understand the ceremony, then the services of an interpreter must be provided. It is your responsibility to provide the services.
There are additional fees for civil ceremonies held in venues other than Registry Offices.
Where to apply
You should serve notice on the Registrar of Civil Marriages for the district where you intend getting married. You can book an appointment with a Registrar online at crsappointments.ie. Contact details for your local Civil Registrar are also available from your Local Health Office in the Health Service Executive (HSE).