Ireland has long been a popular destination for weddings and with plenty of good reason! We are renowned worldwide for our hospitality and our culture, yes for the rain and general bad weather too but for some reason, it doesn’t seem to put many people off! Another major plus in the wedding stakes is that it is relatively straight forward to get legally married in Ireland and with some of the most beautiful castles and old houses in Europe, you are sure to find the perfect Irish wedding venue too. Lets get to it.

Legally married in Ireland

Notification Requirements ✈ Applies to all Legal Weddings in Ireland

Couples must notify the Registry Office of their intent to marry and this applies to all ceremonies, be they civil, religious or spiritual. Both parties to the marriage need to be over the age of 18 to be legally married in Ireland. Foreign National couples must give at a minimum 3 months notice in writing of their intent to marry, whether they are having a civil, religious or spiritual ceremony. They are welcome to contact one of the Civil Registration Service Offices by phone to initiate the process as meeting in person 3 months before the wedding might not be feasible. It is highly advised that more time is given to this process.

The Registrar will usually grant foreign nationals permission to give notice of their intention to marry by post but couples will need to have made contact with the priest / parish or the registered solemniser in the case of a civil or spiritualist ceremony and organised their wedding ceremony date in order to complete their notification of intent to marry.

Official Documentation such as birth and divorce decrees need to bear an Apostille Stamp or equivalent and official translations if not published in English and are as follows;

1 ✈ Valid Passport or national ID card that is accepted as a travel document.
2 ✈ Birth Certificates for both parties of the marriage
3 ✈ Original final divorce decree, decree of nullity accompanied by a court letter stating that no appeal has been lodged, civil partnership dissolutions or spouse’s death certificate accompanied by the previous marriage certificate if appropriate
4 ✈ Information on whether it will be a civil, secular or religious ceremony
5 ✈ The intended date and location of the marriage
6 ✈ Details of the proposed solemniser of the marriage
7 ✈ The names and dates of birth of the two proposed witnesses
8 ✈ Appropriate Fee

If, for some reason you are in a position to make the notification in person, then you can make your declaration of no impediment on the same day. If not, you will need to arrange to meet with the Registrar at least 5 days before the wedding in order to do so.The Registrar will issue an acknowlegement to both of you and the proposed solemniser of the marriage confirming the date of receipt of notification.If all the information required has been supplied and everything is in order, ie there is no impediment to the marriage, the Registrar will issue you with a Marriage Registration Form (MRF)

The MRF is a document that is basically the civil authorization fpr the marriage to proceed. All couples must obtain the MRF in order to be legally married, regardless of the nature of their wedding ceremony. The MRF must be presented to the solemniser in advance of the wedding ceremony so that they too can check that the details are correct. The solemniser must ensure that this form is signed after the ceremony (signing of the register) by him/herself, the couple and their two witnesses


You will need to contact the Civil Registration Service Offices in the area that you would like to be married to book your wedding date and registered officiant/solemniser. You will also need to let the office know of your intent to marry at least 3months before the date. In addition, you will need to book an appointment with them for no less then 5 days before the wedding date so that you can complete the notification process and make your declaration of no impediment in person. Your efficient will be notified and you will also be issued with the MRF to present before the ceremony. A few points to bear in mind;

✈ Civil Weddings can only be performed at the Registry Office or in previously approved indoor locations by a registered solemniser. If your venue is not approved, you can contact the registry office in the district of your venue to have it approved but it might be more hassle than it’s worth. Marquees, private homes and outdoor locations do not meet the guidelines.

✈ Additional Fees will apply to venues other than the registry office

✈ Civil Ceremonies can only take place Mondays to Fridays at specific time, usually 12pm and 3pm but we have heard reports of it being 12.30pm and 3.30pm in some districts to be sure to double check.

✈ The ceremony must take place in the presence of two witnesses, both over the age of 18

✈ The MRF needs to be signed by the bride, groom, solemniser and witnesses after the ceremony
✈ The Registrar will officially register the marriage and you will receive your civil marriage certificate

Legal Wedding in Ireland


Catholicism is the dominant religion in Ireland and you will often find multiple Catholic Churches in each town. This section covers all religions though as in general, the process is the same. You need to make your notification of intent to marry as above and then respect the church’s requirements as you would in your own country but for the purposes of being more specific, we have included the process for a Catholic Wedding Ceremony in Ireland


Catholic Weddings need to be performed in a catholic church by a priest who is on the list of solemnisers. Catholic Ceremonies can take place any day of the week although you will struggle to find a parish that will allow you a ceremony on a Sunday. In any case, you must contact the Parish you want to be married in to book a date and obtain the relevant information for your notification of intent to marry. Some points to make before getting into the required documents;

✈ At least one partner in the couple has to be Catholic and neither can be divorced.
✈ It’s a long process, start well in advance of the 3 months
✈ Paperwork needs to be completed in your home country, usually through the bride’s parish but certain documents such as the grooms baptismal cert will be required .You local priest will get in touch with chosen parish in Ireland and will guide you through the paperwork.
✈ Forms and documents need to be translated into English

In addition to notifying the local registrar of your intent to marry and going through the process, you will have to satisfy the Catholic Church’s marriage requirements and as such, the following information will be requested

1 ✈ Pre-nuptial enquiry
Your local parish will provide you with this and it is required for both of you.
2 ✈ Baptismal, Communion and Confirmation Certificates issued by your parish church and within the last 6 months.
3 ✈ Letter of Freedom to Marry

A formal letter from your parish priest that states that you have fulfilled your Pre – Marital course requirements. This letter should also include permission from the priest that you are free to marry in a Catholic Church elsewhere. The priest will forward this on to the local Archbishop of your Parish who will prepare a cover letter. Along with the rest of the items listed below, your priest or Archbishop will forward these documents on to the local bishop in Ireland (see next point) who in turn will let the church you are to be married in know that everything is in order.

4 ✈ Bishop’s Special Permission
Non-nationals need to have their documents sent to the Bishop of the diocese in which they intend to marry to receive special permission. This can take up to four weeks and should be sent by your local Archbishop or priest.

5 ✈ Other Documentation
Along with the documents above, the Archbishop will also need to send on certificates that might be appropriate such as Death Certificate, a Decree of Nullity, or a dispensation letter if one half of the couple is not Catholic.

Very Important
After the wedding, you must send the MRF to the local Civil Registry Office to legalise them.

wedding in Ireland


For other religious ceremonies, you will have to follow a similar process to the Catholic one as in you will have to notify your intent to marry and also comply with the Church’s rules and regulations. Most Christian faiths allow foreigners to get married legally in Ireland, it’s just a matter of obeying the rules and working out the timeline. We would suggest getting in touch with your local church first before you make contact with the church in Ireland.


Spiritualist ceremonies are becoming very popular in Ireland for a number of reasons. One of those is because of the flexibility to make it your own and another is the fact that you can have one in a location of your choice, including outside and it can be held on a Saturday or a Sunday. A spiritual ceremony is also legally recognised in Ireland if you follow the requirements to notify the state of your intention to marry, make the declaration of no impediment and receive the MRF. This will be signed by the spiritual minister and it’s up to you then to make sure it’s received by the Registry Office for your marriage certificate to be issued.


Humanist Ceremonies in Ireland are about to be legalised also so watch this space – we will be updating it as soon as the news comes in!

All images in this post are by Lisa O’Dwyer Photography and she has some amazing images of Ireland available for sale here.

One Response

  1. Sara

    I recently did some research on weddings in Ireland for a Game of Thrones wedding inspiration board (they film there!) and it’s freaking gorgeous!!!


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