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Different legal ways of getting married

Information

Once you are sure that you have the capacity to marry you can decide how you wish to marry in Ireland. You may choose a civil Registry Office marriage or opt for marriage by religious or secular ceremony. Marriages that take place in Ireland by certain specified religious or secular ceremonies or by civil ceremony (that is, in a Registry Office or other approved place) are equally valid and binding under Irish law.

Whether you decide on a religious, secular or civil ceremony you will require a Marriage Registration Form which you obtain by fulfilling the notification requirements.

Please note that this section deals only with the legal requirements for a legally valid marriage. If you are marrying through a religious or secular ceremony then you should discuss their requirements with the celebrant of your marriage.

The following procedures apply to anyone getting married in Ireland, whether you are an Irish citizen or a foreign national.

Rules

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. If you are getting married by religious or secular ceremony, you should approach the authorities of the body concerned for advice on how to proceed. Since November 2007, the General Register Office maintains a Register of Solemnisers of Marriage and anyone solemnising a civil, secular or religious marriage must be on the Register. The Register can be inspected at any Registration Office.

A marriage that is legally binding may be celebrated in Ireland in a civil ceremony, in a secular ceremony or in a religious ceremony which is also recognised by civil law as being a civil contract.

The appropriateness of the venue you choose for a religious or secular marriage ceremony is the responsibility of the body under whose auspices the marriage is being performed. Civil marriage ceremonies are held in a Registry Office or, since November 2007, in any venue, providing the venue has been approved by the Registrar. You need to contact the Registrar to arrange to have the venue inspected.

Renewing your wedding vows

Under the law in Ireland, someone who is already married cannot get married again (even if it is to the same person). This effectively means that you cannot renew your wedding vows in a civil ceremony in Ireland.

However, there is a long tradition of "church blessings" in Ireland. This is where Irish people who have married in civil ceremonies abroad, marry in a religious ceremony the next time they are home. Sometimes, people living in Ireland have their marriage blessed in a religious ceremony, to commemorate a special anniversary or event.

Contact an appropriate local clergyman who should be able to put you in touch with a counterpart in Ireland. If you live in Ireland and would like to have your marriage blessed, you should get in touch with your local clergyman.

Page updated: 7 February 2013

Language

Gaeilge

Related Documents

  • Religious and secular marriage ceremonies
    Procedure for getting married by the rites and ceremonies of a number of different religions in Ireland. (Includes information on marriage by licence, after the banns or by Registrar's Certificate).
  • Civil marriage ceremonies
    Getting married by Civil Ceremony (in a Registry Office) in Ireland, including notification of the Registrar.
  • Registration of marriage
    How marriages are registered in Ireland. Also refers the reader to the other sections which cover this issue in more detail. Instructions on where and how to get a Marriage Certificate and costs.

Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.