Below is a complete legal copy of the requirements that must be met to be
married in Ireland. There are no exceptions to the residency requirements for
either of you, even for a Catholic or other religious wedding.
Once your residency requirement has been met (9 days minimum as the day you
arrive and the day you file do not count) and the 22 day wait after filing has
past you can marry at any time. So if you file your written 3 month notice of
intent to marry, then you come to Ireland on holiday and spend 10 days, you can
serve notice with the registrar then return home until the wedding, even if it
is a year or more later.
The only other option is to have the civil or legal part done at home right
before your trip to Ireland then have the actual formal wedding ceremony here.
Irish couples will often have a civil wedding before the registrar then the
formal wedding if the church they are members of is not licensed for weddings
or does not handle the civil paperwork that must be done.
If you want to go for the residency and either of you has been married before
there is another set of rules and requirements that must be met. It is then
decided whether the divorce would be acceptable for marriage in the Irish
State. This can take two to three weeks for a decision to be made.
ONE IMPORTANT NOTE:
You can come to Ireland and be married in the Catholic Church, with all the
arrangements made through your own priest and the civil paperwork done at the
ceremony. You can even get a certificate of marriage BUT the marriage will NOT
be valid and could be challenged at a later date if all the residency and civil
requirements of Irish law have not been met.
The following information is supplied by the
Marriage Registrar of the Republic of Ireland
MARRIAGE IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
TO CONTRACT A VALID MARRIAGE 1N THE STATE, THE PARTIES MUST
HAVE THE CAPACITY TO MARRY EACH OTHER, THEY MUST FREELY CONSENT TO HAVE THE
MARRIAGE, AND THEY MUST OBSERVE THE NECESSARY FORMALITIES AS REQUIRED BY THE
LAWS OF THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND.
This includes changes to the law following passing of
the Family Law Act ,1995
1. Requirement to give three
months notification of intention to marry:
Any person marrying
either by religious or civil ceremony
must give three months notice to
the Registrar for the district in which the marriage is to take place or have
obtained an exemption as explained below. Failure to comply with this makes the
marriage invalid in civil law.
2. How notification may be given.
Notification of a Marriage may be given in two ways.
i) Both parties may
write jointly (or separately) to the Registar for the district in which the
marriage is to be solemnised giving the following information.
- name and
address of the parties to the marriage.
- name and address of the church, or
place, where the marriage will take place.
- the date on which the marriage
is to take place.
- the ages of the parties, or confirmation that the parties
are over eighteen.
ii) A pre-printed form may be obtained from the Registrar.
letter or form is sent to the Registrar it must be
signed by both parties
The Registrar will issue each party to
the intended marriage with an acknowledgement confirming the date of receipt of
You must retain this document and produce it, when
requested, to the person solemnising the marriage.
It should be noted that these acknowledgements are for record only and are
not intended to be a licence or certificate signifying the approval of the
registrar concerned in any proposed marriage. the other legally required
marriage preliminaries, if any, appropriate to the form of marriage, must also
be complied with.
Marriages by civil ceremony is a civil contract. Marriage by certain
religious ceremonies is also recognised by the Civil Law as being a civil
contract. Persons wishing to get married by religious ceremony should approach
the authorities of the religious denomination concerned for advice on how to
proceed. Those wishing to get married by civil ceremony should seek advice from
the Registrar of civil marriages for the district in which they reside, or in
which they wish to get married. A list of these Registrars, with names and
telephone numbers is available from the General Register Office (address at the
The following is a broad summary of the procedure for marriages in the
Republic of Ireland. It applies to both Irish citizens and non-Irish citizens.
Both of the parties to a marriage must be over eighteen years of age on the
day of their marriage (or have obtained a Court exemption Order in advance of
their marriage) and must have given three months written notification of their
intention to so marry to the appropriate Registrar for the district in which
marriage is to take place (or have obtained a Court exemption Order in advance
of their marriage).
Marriage bv Civil Ceremony.
Marriages may be solemnised in the office of a Registrar of Civil Marriages
by Registrars licence or by Registrars certificate. Persons wishing to be
married in the office of a Registrar either by Registrars Licence or
must serve notice in person upon the Registrar of the district in which they
reside. If the parties intending marriage reside in different districts, notice
must be served on the Registrar of each district. (N.B. If the marriage is to
take place in the Republic of Ireland, one of these districts may be in the
Marriage by Registrars Licence requires that ONE OF THE
PARTIES TO THE MARRIAGE SHOULD HAVE RESIDED IN THE REGISTRARS DISTRICT IN WHICH
THE MARRIAGE IS TO TAKE PLACE FOR AT LEAST FIFTEEN DAYS IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING
THE SERVICE OF NOTICE. If the other party to the marriage resides in the same
registrars district, a MINIMUM RESIDENCE OF SEVEN DAYS by that party is
necessary before the service of notice. IF THE PARTIES RESIDE IN DIFFERENT
DISTRICTS A RESIDENCE OF FIFTEEN DAYS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE DISTRICTS IS
The marriage may not take place until the eighth day, at the earliest, after
entry of notice by the registrar. One of the parties must also have resided in
the Registrars district in which the marriage is to take place for at least
fifteen days before the marriage licence is granted.
Marriage by Registrars Certificate requires A PRIOR RESIDENCE OF SEVEN DAYS
BY EACH OF THE PARTIES BEFORE SERVICE OF NOTICE, WHETHER THEY RESIDE IN THE
REGISTRARS DISTRICT OR IN DIFFERENT DISTRICTS. Marriage by certificate may not
take place until the TWENTY SECOND DAY, at the earliest, after entry of notice
of marriage. Certain other requirements have to be fulfilled between the
of notice and the issue of the registrars licence or certificate.
Marriage by registrars licence or certificate in a church or registered
building requires that notice be served on the Registrar or Registrars of Civil
Marriages in person, and that the same preliminary steps be taken as if the
marriages were to be solemnised in the office of the Registrar.
or certificate ultimately issued by the Registrar to the parties must then be
produced by them to the officiating Minister.
If either party has been married previously, it is necessary for that party
to produce either a Divorce Decree Absolute or a Death Certificate, as
appropriate.If the Divorce Decree is in a foreign language, an English
translation of the same should be provided, duly certified by a relevant
official body or recognised translation agency. In the case of a divorce,
consideration is given to the question of whether the divorce would be
acceptable for marriage in this State. In this connection certain information
to place of birth, countries of residence and other relevant facts must be
supplied. The information is then forwarded to the Registrar-General, whose
consent must be obtained before the ceremony can take place. This may take two
or three weeks.
Marriages by Civil Ceremony must take place in the office of a Registrar of
Marriages, except in very exceptional cases of illness on the part of one of
parties, when the Registrar-General has power to grant a special licence for
marriage to be conducted elsewhere.
Religious Ceremonv of Marriage.
Marriages according to the rites and ceremonies of the
Roman Catholic Church are governed mainly by the ecclesiastical laws of that
church. Roman Catholic marriages may be celebrated
by Episcopal licence or
after publication of banns or
ecclesiastical licence or
on production of a certificate from a Registrar of
Church of Ireland
Marriages according to
the rites and Ceremonies of the Church of Ireland may be celebrated,
special licence (granted by the Bishops of the Church of Ireland) or
publication of banns or
by ordinary ecclesiastical licence or
production of a certificate from a Register of Civil Marriages.
Marriages according to the form and discipline of the Presbyterian Church may
by special licence (granted by the Moderators of the Presbyterian Church)
after publication of banns or
by ordinary ecclesiastical licence.
Other Religious Bodies
Marriages according to the usage's of certain other Religious Bodies may be
by special licence (granted, where applicable, by the Head of the Religious
on production of a certificate or licence from a Registrar of
Civil Marriages (in a building registered for the purpose, see page four).
Society of Friends
Marriages according to the usage's of the Society of Friends may be
by special licence (granted by the Clerk to the yearly meeting)
on production of a certificate from a Registrar of Civil Marriages.
Marriages according to the usage's of persons professing the Jewish religion
may be celebrated
by special licence (granted by the Chief Rabbi) or
on production of a certificate from a Register of Civil Marriage.
Special Licences authorise marriage at any convenient time or place.
Marriage by Ordinary Ecclesiastical Licence requires that notice be served by
one of the contracting parties on the Licenser of Marriages of the district in
which the marriage is to be solemnised, and is subject to the fulfilment of
other statutory requirements, among them, residence by one or both parties in
the Licensers District (Church of Ireland) or within the Presbytery
(Presbyterian) within which marriage is to be solemnised for a specified period
before the granting of the licence. One of the parties must me a member of the
same church as the person who grants the licence.
Marriages celebrated according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of
Ireland after the publication of banns require that both parties must be
Protestant Episcopalians. Again, marriages celebrated according to the form and
discipline of the Presbyterian Church after publication of banns require that
both parties must be Presbyterians.
Registration and licensing of Churches and
Buildings for Marriage Purposes.
Marriages by religious ceremony, other than Roman Catholic Marriages and
those by special licence, must be celebrated in a church or building licensed,
certified or registered for the purpose of marriage.
Churches of the Church of Ireland are licensed for marriages by the Bishops
of the Church of Ireland with the approval of the Minister for Health.
Presbyterian Churches are certified by their Ministers and registered by the
Buildings used by other bodies (not Roman Catholics) as places of public
religious worship and certified as such are registered by the Registrar-General
for the purposes of marriage. In some cases registration is effected for
marriage in the presence of the Registrar of Civil Marriages only.
There is at present no provisions for the Civil Registration of Muslim
Marriage Ceremonies solemnised in the State.
Registrar office in Dublin, general points
A new purpose built registry office has recently opened in Dublin.
The room where the marriage takes place has seating for approx. 70 people.
There are no flowers in the room however there are no objections to bringing
arrangements into the room.
There is a full CD and PA system in the room. Regarding music the only
stipulation if that
it must be non-religious. This also applies to any readings or reflections.
In the Dublin office Friday appears to be the most popular day, however
preformed Monday to Friday. The first appointment is at 10.30 in the morning.
after lunch is at 2.30 p.m. and the last marriage in the day is at 4 p.m. in
There are two sets of registrars,
one for Roman Catholic marriages and another for Protestant and civil
marriages. A list of registrars for the former is obtained from the health
board of the area concerned, while the other is made up of a list of
solicitors in each county. (Ask for form FLA.1.96.) Both lists are available
General Register Office (Oifig an Ard-Chlaraitheora),
8/11 Lombard Street East,
Each district has their own registry office and all civil weddings must take
place within the designated buildings.
Requirements for marriages in the Catholic Church in the Republic of Ireland
Booking The Church
Decide first where you want to be married. Usually it will be in the bride's
parish, but you can arrange otherwise simply by getting a note from her Parish
Priest. This is because he or one of his curates will eventually be responsible
for all the papers. Don't assume that the church will be free. It's always
wiser to check the availability of the church for the date you want before you
go booking hotels, and paying deposits. If you are being married outside your
own parish, you may be asked to bring a Priest with you to celebrate your
marriage. If you have someone in mind, don't forget to let him know before it's
There are a number of documents you will need in order to be married. It can
seem very complicated but there are various reasons behind all of them.
This should be a recent copy, i.e. issued not more than six months before the
date of marriage. Obviously only a Christian can enter into a Christian
marriage, and a Baptismal Certificate proves that you are a Christian. The time
factor here is because whenever a person is married the parish where he/she was
baptised is notified and this would be included on any certs issued in the
future. It's a simple way of covering the legal obligation of making sure that
neither person is married to someone else. You will get the Baptismal
Certificate from the parish in which you were baptised.
This form is like a small booklet. It has two main purposes.
a. The first purpose is to get some basic details about you as a couple,
(name, address, parents, etc.) and to establish that you are legally free to
b. The second purpose is to enable the Priest in your parish to make sure that
you have a reasonable understanding of the meaning of Christian marriage, and
that you are willing to make a commitment to it.
Once you choose to be married in church your Priest has a share of the
responsibility for giving you as good a start as possible. Each person will
have the Pre-Nuptial enquiry form filled by the priest in his/her own parish.
Letter of Freedom
A Letter of Freedom is required only if you have lived in a parish other than
the present one, for a period of
six months or more, since your early teens. The letter of freedom is simply a
form stating that there is no
record of you having contracted marriage during the period you lived there. It
should normally be possible
to get this document by post. In general the bride's priest is responsible for
all the papers, because the
marriage normally takes place in her parish. In the event of the marriage
taking place elsewhere, the bride's
priest takes responsibility for forwarding the papers to the place of marriage.
In the case of a marriage involving nationals of two different countries, the
Church papers should be sent to
the local Diocesan Chancellery in the country of origin, and from there to the
Diocesan Chancellery in the
Diocese where the wedding will take place. A document called a Nihil Obstat
will then be issued, stating that
everything is in order.
Couples wishing to marry in a Catholic Church in Ireland (North or South) are
required to give a minimum of
three months notice. This is not so that the papers can be prepared in time, or
to be sure that the Church
will be available. The idea is to ensure that couples entering marriage have
been seriously considering it for
at least that length of time, and that nobody makes the mistake of marrying
under pressure or under impulse.
In the case of couples where one partner is under eighteen, the notice
required, for the same reason, is six
A papal blessing is a certificate of the Pope blessing of your Marriage in the
Catholic church. These
certificates are signed for the Pope in Rome and can be obtained from stores
which specialise in religious
Inter Church Marriages
Some additional thought is required in the case of an inter-church marriage.
Since marriage involves sharing one's life with another person in a very close
and intimate kind of way, special consideration needs to be given to aspects of
this sharing which may not be as easy as in most other marriages. To this end,
the Association of Inter-Church Families organises special pre-marriage
In addition to the documents ordinarily required, the Catholic partner
requests Dispensation only from the local Bishop to marry a Baptised Christian
of another religious denomination. In making this request, the applicant should
indicate whether the marriage will take place in a Catholic Church, or in the
Church of the other partner.
The celebrant will be a minister of the Church in which the ceremony takes
place, but he can be assisted by a minister of the other denomination.
The Catholic partner in an Inter-Church marriage makes a verbal undertaking
to do everything possible, so far as in me lies, to have the children of our
marriage baptised and brought up in the Catholic Church. There is no promise
required from the person who is not a Catholic.
The Catholic Church recognises that the other partner to the marriage may
feel an equal obligation to hand his/her faith to the children, and this also
has to be taken into account in the practical decisions which the couple take.
At first sight this approach may seem far from ideal, until one looks at the
alternatives. One positive aspect of the approach is that it requires that the
couple discuss what might be a difficult issue for them, before the marriage
takes place, rather than leaving it until perhaps it becomes contentious.
On the day of your wedding, the inter-faith marriage ceremony is especially
yours. Within fairly broad limits,
you can plan it for yourself.
Obviously, it is important to do your planning in consultation with the
celebrant, so that he can offer his
advice, and so that he knows what you want.
Normally there will be a Mass, though it is not absolutely necessary that
there should be. The celebration
of your marriage could be done within a service of prayers and scripture
readings. It is appropriate, however,
to have the Mass, because it is a celebration of self-giving, and the
Communion is particularly a symbol of love
Couples sometimes choose not to have a Mass, because the non-Catholic partner
and his/her family
would not be able to participate fully through the reception of Communion. In
this case, it is possible for each
partner to have a Mass/Eucharist separately (e.g. earlier in the day), and then
to have the marriage service
In the case of a Mass, there are normally two or three Scripture readings. If
there are three, it would
normally be one each from the Old and New Testaments, and one passage from the
Gospel. The arrangement
would be much the same in the case of a marriage service outside of Mass.
Catholic Wedding Mass
The Wedding Mass is falls into five main sections:
1. The Introductory Rites
2. Liturgy of the Word Readings
3. The Rite of Marriage
4. The Liturgy of the Eucharist
5. Concluding Rite & Blessing
Each of these is divided into sub-sections, which are listed here. In each case
you can select your favourite from
3 or more alternative forms or options. The full text of all your options and
other aspects of the wedding
ceremony can be found in
The Complete Massbook Guide available at �1.99 (+50p p&p) from I.M.S., 62
Castle Byrne Park, Blackrock, Co.
Dublin, Tel. 01-288-7578,
or from IMS (H.O.), 3 Beaumont Place, Ballintemple, Cork, Tel. 021-295208
The overall structure is as follows:
1. The Introductory Rites
Entrance Antiphon (3 forms)
Candle Ceremony - 1 (Optional)
Greeting (3 forms)
Penitential Rite (3 forms)
Opening Prayer (4 forms)
2. Liturgy of the Word
(i.e. The Readings)
Old Testament Reading (12+ forms)
Responsorial Psalm (12+ forms)
New Testament Reading (13 forms)
Alleluia Acclamation (3 forms)
The Gospel Reading (15 forms)
(followed by the Sermon or Homily).
3. The Rite of Marriage
The Address (3 forms)
Declaration of Consent (3 forms)
Blessing of the Rings (4 forms)
Exchange of Gifts (Optional)
Candle Ceremony -2 (Optional)
Prayer of the Newly Married Couple (Optional)
Prayers of the Faithful (Select 5/6 of 21 forms)
4. The Liturgy of the Eucharist
Prayer over the Gifts (3 forms)
The Preface (3 forms)
Acclamation of the People (4 forms)
Nuptial Blessing (4 forms)
Communion Antiphon (3 forms)
Prayer After Communion (3 forms)
5. Concluding Rite
Blessing (3 forms)
Dismissal (3 forms)