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Getting married


Getting married is a big decision and is one of the most significant events in someone's life. Aside from the excitement involved in planning your big day, there are rules and procedures you must follow in order to marry in Ireland. There are also rules and procedures if you are ordinarily resident here and choose to marry abroad. Here, we start at the beginning and guide you through the various things you need to know.

Aside from the rules about how and where you can marry, marriage will immediately affect lots of areas of your life. You may not be aware but your legal status, your inheritance rights, and pensions are just some things that will change. Many other areas of life will also change and we examine these and other issues in this document.

Marriage Act 2015

Following the commencement of the Marriage Act 2015 on the 16 November 2015, the requirement for a couple to be of opposite sex in order to marry is removed.

Couples already in a civil partnership can apply to marry or remain as they are. If they marry their civil partnership is automatically dissolved.

You can find more information on the Department of Justice and Equality website.

Requirements for marriage

The minimum age for getting married in Ireland is 18 years of age. Also, if you are ordinarily resident in Ireland and you wish to get married abroad, you must be aged at least 18. There are some exceptions to this, so read about age requirements for marriage here. Essentially, the age rule is the same, irrespective of whether or not you get married in a religious, secular or civil ceremony. In addition, you must have the capacity to marry. That is, you must freely consent to the marriage and have the capacity to understand what marriage means. Read more about legal requirements for marriage in Ireland here.

Notification requirements for marriage

Since November 2007 anyone marrying in Ireland (irrespective of whether they are an Irish citizen or a foreign national) must give 3 months' notification before they marry. You must make this notification in person to any Registrar. The requirement to give a 3- month notice does not apply to civil partners whose civil partnership was registered in Ireland.

Find out how to notify the Registrar that you will be getting married in Ireland here.

Different ways of getting married

There are different legal ways of getting married in Ireland, through a religious ceremony, a secular ceremony or a civil ceremony. We provide a guide to the legal ways of getting married in Ireland only. Find out about civil marriage ceremonies in Ireland here. Read general information on religious and secular marriage ceremonies in Ireland here. Requirements of different faiths and secular bodies may differ, so check in advance with the relevant member of the clergy or body for further information.

Since November 2007, no matter how you marry (i.e., through a civil, secular or religious ceremony), the registration process is the same. You are issued with a Marriage Registration Form (MRF) by the Registrar, following notification, which gives you authorisation to get married. You give it to whomever will be solemnising your marriage. Following the marriage ceremony, the completed MRF should be given to a Registrar, within one month of the marriage ceremony, for the marriage to be registered.

Getting married outside of Ireland

If you are an Irish citizen and are planning to marry abroad, you should realise that the legal validity of your marriage is governed, in part, by the laws of the country in which you marry. In most, if not all cases, the legal formalities abroad are very different to those in Ireland. Information for Irish citizens planning to marry abroad is here.

Changes to your status following your marriage.

You may not have been aware, but getting married affects many areas of your life in Ireland. These range from life insurance and pensions, to inheritance, presumption of paternity and even taxation. Find out how marriage affects your legal status here.

Getting married is an exciting time in life and a serious commitment. Being aware of the various formalities and procedures in advance, should help you both to plan and organise your wedding. Being aware of just how much marriage will affect your legal status, will also help you understand how this change in your life will affect your rights and entitlements.

Page edited: 16 November 2015



Related Documents

  • 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.
  • Different legal ways of getting married
    There are different ways you can get legally married in Ireland. Find out about both secular and religious ceremonies that have legal effect in this country.
  • 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).

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.