How Do I Get Legally Married in Ireland?

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When preparing for a wedding, we often tend to think mostly of the ceremonial and social activities of the day. Of course, this is only natural, as these are the elements that make a wedding romantic, fun, and memorable. However, it’s important to remember that marriage is also a legal arrangement. As such, there are important legal considerations to bear in mind as we prepare for the big day.

If you’re planning to get married, there’s a good chance that your thoughts have been preoccupied with the more exciting aspects of your wedding. Perhaps you haven’t yet given much thought to dealing with the legal side of things. In this week’s blog post, we’ll be outlining some of the most important aspects of the legal process of getting married in Ireland. We hope you’ll find it useful.

Capacity to Marry

To contract a legally valid marriage in Ireland, both parties must freely consent to the marriage, observe the necessary formalities, and have the capacity to marry each other. Capacity to marry refers to a legal entitlement to marry, which depends on a somewhat lengthy list of requirements. We’ll link to the full list at the end of this post, but the most important thing to bear in mind is that your capacity to marry must be officially acknowledged by a Registrar of Marriages.

You must give three months notification of your marriage to a Registrar. After providing the Registrar with all the necessary documentation, as well as paying a €200 notification fee, you’ll be provided with a Marriage Registration Form. This is a document which authorises your marriage, and you must have one in order to be legally married in Ireland.

You can find the full list of Registrars here.

Types of Ceremony

In Ireland, you may be married in a civil, religious, or secular marriage ceremony. In a civil marriage ceremony, the ceremony is solemnised by a Registrar, and takes place in a Registry Office or another venue approved by the Registrar. The ceremony must be performed in front of two witnesses aged 18 or over. Both parties to the marriage must declare that they know of no impediment to the marriage, and that they accept each other as spouses. The ceremony must also be solemnised in a venue which is open to the public.

Religious and secular marriage ceremonies are solemnised by someone who is not a Registrar of Marriages, but who is on the Register of Solemnisers. This may be a representative of a church, or other religious or secular body. In addition to any requirements for marriage under the rites of the body concerned, a religious or secular marriage ceremony must satisfy all the same legal requirements as a civil marriage ceremony.

You can find the Register of Solemnisers here.

Registration of Marriage

If you are married in a civil marriage ceremony, the Registrar will register your marriage as soon as possible after the ceremony takes place. If you are married in a religious or secular ceremony, you should return your completed Marriage Registration Form to a Registrar within one month.

Once your marriage has been registered, you are entitled to be issued with a marriage certificate. At this point, you can breath a sigh of relief that all formalities have been observed, and you are now legally married!

The Citizens Information Board has published a comprehensive guide to getting married in Ireland, which goes into greater detail than this post. It can be found here.

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