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.

Requirements for marriage

Couples of the same sex or opposite sexes can marry in Ireland. The minimum age for getting married in Ireland is 18 years of age. If you are ordinarily resident in Ireland and you wish to get married abroad, you must be aged at least 18. However, there are some exceptions to this in the age requirements for marriage. 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 the legal requirements for marriage in Ireland.

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. If civil partners choose to marry, their civil partnership is automatically dissolved.

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

Different ways of getting married

We provide a guide to the legal ways of getting married in Ireland only. These include civil marriage ceremonies and religious and secular marriage ceremonies. 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 the person who 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. You can read information for Irish citizens planning to marry abroad.

Changes to your status following your marriage

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.

Getting married is an exciting time in life and a serious commitment. It is important to be aware of the various formalities and procedures in advance to help you to plan and organise your wedding. It is also very important to be aware of how marriage will affect your legal status and understand how this change in your life will affect your rights and entitlements.

Page edited: 16 November 2015