Getting married

Introduction

Getting married is a big decision and is one of the most significant events in someone's life. However, 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.

Aside from the rules about how and where you can marry, marriage will immediately affect lots of areas of your life. Your legal status, your inheritance rights, and pensions are just some things that will change.

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. 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

If you are getting married in Ireland (whether you are an Irish citizen or a foreign national), you must notify the Registrar of your intention to marry at least 3 months before your wedding day.

You must make this notification in person to any Registrar. When you meet the Registrar, you will sign a declaration stating that you do not know of any legal reason why the marriage cannot happen. If everything is in order, the registrar gives you a marriage registration form (MRF). The MRF gives you authorisation or permission to get married. You give it to the person who will be solemnising your marriage.

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

The requirement to give 3-months' 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.

Notification requirements during COVID-19

If you want to give notice of intention to marry to the Registrar during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should contact your local civil registration service for a postal marriage notification form. Once you have completed the form, you can return it by post or by email. They will let you know that they have received it. You do not need to attend the civil registration service in person.

When normal service resumes, you will need to make an appointment with the Registrar to complete the notification process in person. Find out more in our document notification requirements for marriage.

Postponing your wedding

If you have already started your 3-month notice period but have had to postpone your wedding, your MRF is valid for 6 months after your original wedding date.

If your rescheduled wedding day is within this 6-month period, you can get a new MRF issued at no extra cost after the pandemic. To do this, you should contact the local civil registration service where you originally served notice of your intention to marry.

If your rescheduled wedding day is after this 6-month period, you will need to contact the office where you originally served notice and give them your new date of marriage. They will let you know when to attend their office in person after the COVID-19 pandemic to sign the declaration that there is no legal reason why the marriage cannot happen. You will then be issued with a new MRF at no extra cost.

You must inform the civil registration service (where you originally served your notice) of your new date of marriage at least 3 months in advance.

Different ways of getting married

There are different legal ways of getting married in Ireland. 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 (that is, 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. You cannot get your marriage certificate until the marriage is registered.

Registration of marriage during COVID-19

The timeframe to return your marriage registration form has been extended due to the coronavirus outbreak. This timeframe of 1 month has been removed. You can post the form during the pandemic or you can wait until the pandemic is over. It is advised you send the form by registered or tracked post.

Getting married abroad

If you are an Irish citizen and are planning to marry abroad, 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 legal status following 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.

Further information

Visit the HSE's website for further information on how to get married in Ireland.
Page edited: 21 July 2020