Getting married legally in Ireland

There are lots of choices to get married legally in the republic of Ireland. Not everyone knows the ins and outs of it so today I will share with you the specific requirements to have your wedding legally recognized so that you know how much time you need to prepare before choosing the all important wedding date.

How to get married legally in Ireland

It is relatively straightforward get married legally in Ireland however there are some requirements that need to be fulfilled before you are eligible to be legally married in Ireland and are subject to the same conditions whether you are getting married in a civil capacity, a religious capacity or a spiritual capacity. If you are getting married symbolically and it will not be legally registered, these do not apply.

  1. Both parties must be over the age of 18 years 
  2.  You must notify the the Registrar’s Office a minimum of Three Months in advance of you Intention to Marry.
  3. If either of you are living abroad or are unable to attend a Registration Office due to serious illness, you can contact a Registrar of Marriages to obtain agreement to make your 3 month notification by post. The Registrar will send you the relevant form which you must complete and return.
  4. Official Documentation such as your birth and divorce decrees need to bear an Apostille Stamp or equivalent from the Embassy of origin and official translations if not published in English.  Each person must bring the following:
  5. Passport (must be in date), or Refugee/Asylum card issued by the Department of Justice and Law Reform (must be in date), or National ID card from those EU countries where they are an accepted form of travel document (must be in date)
  6. If either party was born outside of Ireland, a Birth Certificate bearing an Apostille Stamp from the Embassy of origin is required. If an Apostille stamp is not obtainable, then a letter from that Embassy attesting the authenticity of the certificate should be supplied. The following countries are exempted from the requirement to have their birth certificates stamped or authenticated: Denmark, Italy, France, Belgium and Latvia.
  7. Nature of Ceremony (Civil/Religious).
  8. Name of Registered Solemniser
  9. Name & Date of Birth of both witnesses (must be over 18 years of age)
  10. If you are from Ireland or intend to live in Ireland in future and have obtained a PPS number from the state, this will also be required.
  11. If you or your partner are not a member of an EU state or a citizen of Ireland you will also need:
    1. Documentary evidence of immigration status
    2. If the language used to communicate with each other is not English or Irish, You must provide an independent interpreter in that language. This is in addition to the need for an interpreter to give notice of intention to marry/enter into a civil partnership to the registrar. Interpreters must be from an independent verifiable translation /interpretation provider.
  12. If you or your partner are divorced, you will need the following:
    1. Irish Divorce will require an original or a certified copy, granted under Section 5 (1) of the Family Law Divorce Act 1996, stamped by the relevant Court or Solicitor, and photocopy of same. If there is a stay on the Court Order of the Divorce Decree provide a copy of the Court Order to the Registrar.
    2. Outside of the republic of Ireland divorce you will need to contact the Registrar prior to your appointment.
  13. If you are widowed
    1. Original civil marriage certificate, and photocopy of same.
    2. Original civil death certificate of late spouse, and photocopy of same.
  14. If you have had a Civil Annulment
    1. Original civil annulment court order, and photocopy of same.
    2. A letter from the relevant Court, confirming that no appeal has been lodged against the Nullity Order
  15. Your notification fee of €200 (non refundable), If you are getting married in an outside venue, additional charges may apply.

If you are able to attend your appointment 3 months in advance (as opposed to postal) you can give a declaration on that day that there is no impediment to you getting married. The registrar will then issue you with a MRF form (marriage registration form) which gives you permission to marry. This form is to be given to the person who will be solemnizing the marriage in advance of the wedding ceremony. It is to be signed immediately after the marriage ceremony by, you, your spouse, your witnesses and the person who solemnized the marriage and to be sent within one month to a registrar for your wedding to be registered.

If you physically cannot  this meeting 3 months in advance, you can set up a meeting with the registrar at a maximum of 5 days in advance of your ceremony to complete the notification process and declaration of no impediment in person.


Getting married in a religious setting.

Ireland has a large selection of Catholic churches and they are by far, the most popular venue to have your ceremony however if you plan to get married in a church in Ireland there are certain requirements beyond what I’ve detailed above.

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Catholic weddings

A catholic wedding needs to be performed by a Catholic priest in a Catholic church. The priest needs to be listed on the list of registered solemnizers in order to perform the ceremony legally.  One of the couple getting married needs to be catholic and neither of the couple can be previously divorced, nor from the same sex, in order to be approved for a Catholic Church wedding. It  also needs approval from the priest of the church you wish to get married in regardless of whether or not you are bringing your own priest to perform the service.  Some churches will also not perform weddings on a Sunday or major Catholic holidays (Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas day etc.)  so ensure you confirm with the church in question before booking the date.  A list of Irish churches are available here.

In addition to the criteria required by the state, there are certain requirements by the church that also need to be fulfilled such as the following

  1. A Baptism Certificate. This can be obtained from the parish where you were baptised. It must be issued within 6 months of your wedding as older are not accepted
  2. A confirmation certificate. It can be obtained from the local parish office of where you were confirmed. This also needs to be issued within 6 months of your wedding.
  3. Freedom to marry. This is called a letter of freedom and as a rule it needs to be obtained from every parish you have lived in for more than six months since the age of 18.  If this proves difficult, some parishes are happy to take a letter from someone who has known you for most of your life and can testify that to the best of their knowledge, you have never been married. If all else fails, you can swear an affidavit before a Commissioner of Oaths stating that you have never been married.
  4. Pre-Nuptial enquiry. It is a pre-requisite that everyone getting married in the Catholic Church must have a ‘Pre-Nuptial Enquiry’. This has nothing to do with the famous pre-nups you hear so much about, but what happens with a Pre-Nuptial Enquiry is a a form is completed by the priest of your local parish stating that you are free to marry and understand the sacrament of marriage. All forms regarding your freedom to marry, confirmation, baptism and cert confirming you attending a pre-marriage course (see below) will be shown to the priest during this meeting.
  5. Pre-Marriage course: Getting married in a Catholic Church in Ireland may also require you to attend a Pre-Marriage course. Discuss with your priest to see if this is a requirement
  6. Dispensation: If your partner is not catholic, they will require some other information. If your partner comes from a religion that involves baptism, they can write to their local parish for permission to be married in a Catholic Church. Discuss with your priest as this depends on the parish. If your partner has not been baptised, is atheist or from a religion that does not recognise baptism, they must receive a special ‘dispensation’ from the local bishop.

After these are fulfilled, you, your witnesses and the priest will be signing your MRF usually at the church after the ceremony.


Church of Ireland/Protestant weddings


Presbyterian Weddings

As well as the state civil requirements, you should notify your minister of your intention to marry as soon as possible.  As with Catholic ceremonies, marriage preparation courses exist however there is no requirement for them to be taken before the marriage.

Some scenarios exist however that may have to be taken into consideration.

  1. Some ministers, if you’ve been living together as a couple, may require you to separate until the wedding day. (depending on circumstances -children etc.)
  2. If one or both of the couple have been divorced, while it does not prevent you from getting married in a Presbyterian church, you may have to attend a ” re-marriage panel” to discuss your ideas and past experiences of marriage.
  3. If you are getting married in another church that is not your local one, you will need to meet with the minister before your wedding and satisfy him of your sincerity and freedom to marry.
  4. Same sex marriages are not eligible to get married in a Presbyterian church.

If you are from abroad and wish to get married in a Presbyterian Church in Ireland, it is best to discuss with your local minister and they can advise you more.

Spiritualist Ceremonies

Having a spiritialist ceremony offers a great deal of flexability in terms of where they can be performed and also what the ceremony contains.  Everything from a sand ceremony to the tying of hands can be performed and can include your own vows, poems or even prayers. They offer a completely blank sheet in terms of what can be offered. Booking a spiritualist ceremony in Ireland is relatively straightforward and there are some companies that provide such a service in Ireland such as spiritualist ceremonies or you can visit the Spiritual Union of Ireland for more details. Having your ceremony being legally recognized requires the same procedures as a Civil Ceremony list above.


Hand fastening ceremony with Erin and Robert

Jewish Weddings

To be married in Ireland in the Orthodox Jewish faith, both parties involved in the marriage must be Jewish. The permission to marry is given by the Chief Rabbi

The Jewish faith consists of three main strands the Reform, Orthodox and Liberal, the Orthodox adhere strictly to tradition, Orthodox Rabbi’s will not marry inter denominational couples as it’s required under Jewish religious law that the non Jewish person convert to Judaism. A Jewish wedding ceremony combines the legal and religious requirements of marriage.

In a Jewish Orthodox wedding as long as the bride (Kallah) and the groom (Chatan) are standing under the Chuppah (A Canopy) the ceremony can take place almost anywhere. The place of worship is usually a Synagogue, but it can also be in any of the couples homes or in a hotel.

The requirements for a Orthodox wedding are very strict, your parents must have been married in the faith. The couples have to have a Ketubah (Jewish marriage licence.) The celebrant has to be an authorised Rabbi, and there must be at least ten males present at the ceremony. This group is known as the Minyan

The format of the ceremony must be strictly adhered to. The Ceremony consists of singing and readings from the Psalms, it can last for anything up to an hour or longer.

Before the ceremony:

A few months before you intend to get married, you must register with a synagogue and Rabbi at the Chief Rabbi’s office based in Dublin. You can contact the Irish Jewish Community Office Tel: + 353-(0)1-4923751

Two weeks before the Orthodox wedding, the groom must obtain a Ketubah from the Chief Rabbi’s office. Written in English and Aramaic, this is the Jewish marriage certificate. By Jewish rule, the groom must accept certain responsibilities for the maintenance of his bride and these responsibilities are spelt out in detail in the Ketubah. His principal obligations are to provide food, clothing and shelter for his wife and be attentive to her needs. The document also stipulates the minimum settlement to be received by his wife in the event of the marriage being dissolved.

The couple are required to meet the Rabbi a number of times before they marry, so he can offer advice about the meaning of marriage, provide them with religious texts to read and answer any questions. There is also a meeting between the bride and the Rabbi’s wife who will explain what is expected of each partner in a marriage.

On the eve of the wedding, the Chuppah or canopy is constructed from four vertical poles, linked by a frame and traditionally covered by velvet embroidered cloth. It represents the new home being established. As it is open on all four sides, it symbolises the unconditional hospitality to be extended to all who enter.

Unless you’re getting married on Rosh Chodesh (the New Moon and beginning of the Jewish month), you’ll have to fast for 24 hours before the ceremony. This period is known as a personal Yom Kippur – a day of atonement – when the couple repent of their sins so that they can begin their new life together with a ‘clean slate’.

It is traditional for the bride and groom not to see each other a week before the wedding.

The Jewish Ceremony

The men, including the ushers, arrive first. This is known as the groom’s Tish – the time when the groom, ushers and male family members gather for song and prayers before the ceremony.

The fathers of the bride and groom and the ushers enter with the groom. The bride arrives with her mother, mother-in-law and the bridesmaids.

The next step is the Bedeken (the veiling of the bride), which is carried out immediately before the processional of the bride, groom and their ‘unterfuhrers’ or attendants to the Chuppah. This takes place in another room, while most of the guests are being seated. This can be a very private time with just the rabbi, bride and groom and both sets of parents present. However, some couples like to include their close family too – aunts, uncles and siblings. The fathers bless the bride and groom and the groom veils his bride. This is an ancient custom and serves as the first of many actions by which the groom signals his commitment to clothe and protect his wife. 

The ceremony itself lasts 20-30 minutes and is made up of the Kiddushin and the Nisuin. The former involves the bride walking around the groom seven times on her arrival under the Chuppah, to show this is the man she wishes to marry. This action also represents the role she will play in creating an all-embracing, religious warmth within their new home. She settles on her groom’s right-hand side with her unterfuhrers to her right, the groom’s to his left. Two pre-nuptial blessings are recited over wine, a symbol of sanctification and joy, and the couple drink.

The groom now takes the wedding ring in his hand and declares to his wife: “Behold, you are sanctified to me with this ring, according to the law of Moses and of Israel”. He places the ring on his bride’s finger. Bride and groom are now legally married, but according to Jewish law, not yet permitted to live together as man and wife.

The Rabbi then reads the Ketuba certificate of marriage to the couple and guests in English and Hebrew, says more prayers and blesses the couple. Following this, he performs a short speech in which he talks about the bride and groom’s family histories.

The Nisuin that follows completes the ceremony. It is conducted under the Chuppah and symbolises the act of the husband bringing his new wife into his home. The bride and groom recite the seven marriage blessings (sheva brakhos). They talk of the themes of the greatness of God as creator of all, the happiness of bride and groom and the wellbeing of the eternally inspiring source of religious strength, the city of Jerusalem. These blessings are recited over a second cup of wine and at their conclusion, bride and groom again drink some of the wine.

During the service, the Eshet Chail is sung. This is a special song to the bride, which celebrates her new role as a wife.

There can be a Jewish choir and musicians in attendance. They will perform music from prayers and psalms, as well as traditional Jewish folk music.

To mark the end of the ceremony, there is a traditional breaking of the glass under foot. This  serves as a reminder to all concerned that the forthcoming celebration and merry-making must be in accordance with what is considered appropriate and respectable behaviour.

The bride and groom sign the marriage documents with two witnesses – normally a sibling, bridesmaid, best man or usher. The couple then spend a few minutes alone together in a private room in the venue. This is known as the Yichud and must be undisturbed time. They normally break their fast at this point. The Rabbi will guard the door and the guests do not leave the ceremony venue until they reappear. Once the time is over, the guests wave the couple off, so they are the first to make their way directly to the reception.

The reception party follows – usually a large, lavish dinner. The meal concludes with grace and a repetition of the seven marriage blessings.

Speeches are made by the Rabbi, the father of the groom and the bridegroom. Afterwards, guests dance to the accompaniment of Jewish folk music and or any other music of their choice.

Indian Weddings

The majority faith practiced in India is Hindu followed by Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and the Bahá’í Faith.

Indian wedding traditions - get married legally in irelandHindu

Currently in Ireland, Hinduism marriage is not recognised as a Civil Marriage so therefore you will need to hire a Civil celebrant or have the legal marriage in another location, (church/courthouse etc).  In terms of the ceremony itself  currently, there is no central place of worship/Temple in the republic of Ireland, however you can have the ceremony almost anywhere you so wish.  Apart from the Civil arrangements above for the legal aspect, 1 month’s notice is required and a wedding (currently) can only take place in Dublin locations on all days but non-dublin locations on week/ends are unavailable due to regular temple commitments and time constraints on week/ends. The priest will be available outside temple opening hours only. Please check for opening hours.

Other requirements include forbidding of meat in or around where the wedding is performed and there is no restriction if neither one or both of those wishing to get married in the Hindu faith practice or come from Hinduism.

The Hindu ceremony consists of:

Sequence of rituals that can be performed at the wedding as per priest . Some of the below might vary based on your family rituals which you can choose to make a decision on :
  1. Jaimala (Exchange of Garlands) – The couple exchanges garlands as a gesture of acceptance of one another and a pledge to respect one another as partners
  2. Vigneshwara/Ganesha Pooja – Before the ceremony begins, the panditji invokes Lord Ganesh who removes all obstacles, as a precursor to nuptials about to take place. This Puja,is performed for good luck to be bestowed onto the married couple and their families, so that whatever obstacles they may face will be destroyed. All auspicious ceremonies in the Hindu religion commence with a prayer to Lord Ganesh.
  3. Punyavachanam – (A purification ceremony, reciting Vedic Mantras, to purify the body and mind of the couple.
  4. Kalasha Pooja – To invite Parvati & Parameshwar to the wedding.
  5. Parvati & Parameshwar Homam/Havan(Lighting of the Sacred Fire) – The couple invokes Agni, the god of Fire, to witness their commitment to each other
  6. Kankana Kattu – The bride ties a string fastened to a piece of turmeric around the wrist of the bridegroom to bind themselves by a religious vow. It is only after tying the kankanam that the bridegroom gets the right to touch the bride. A little later, the bridegroom ties a kankanam to the bride’s wrist
  7. Kanyadaanam / Kanyadaan (Giving Away of the Bride) – The father of the bride places her hand in the groom’s hand requesting him to accept her as an equal partner. The concept behind Kanyadan is that the bride is a form of the goddess Lamxi and the groom is Lord Narayana. The parents are facilitating their union.
  8. Panigrahana – a ritual in presence of fire, where the groom takes the bride’s hand as a sign of their union
  9. Gath Bandhan (Tying of the Nuptial Knot) – The scarves placed around the bride and groom are tied together symbolizing their eternal bond. This signifies their pledge before God to love each other and remain faithful.
  10. Mangalya Dharanam (Thread of Goodwill) – A necklace worn specifically by married women as a symbol of their marriage.
  11. Mangalphera(Walk Around the Fire) – The couple makes four Mangalpheras around the fire in a clockwise direction representing four goals in life: Dharma, religious and moral duties; Artha, prosperity; Kama, earthly pleasures; Moksha, spiritual salvation and liberation. The bride leads the Pheras first, signifying her determination to stand first beside her husband in all happiness and sorrow.
  12. Saptapadi(Seven Steps Together) – The bride and groom walk seven steps togehr to signify the beginning of their journey through life together. Each step represents a marital vow:First step: To respect and honor each other
    Second step: To share each other’s joy and sorrow
    Third step: To trust and be loyal to each other
    Fourth step: To cultivate appreciation for knowledge, values, sacrifice and service
    Fifth step: To reconfirm their vow of purity, love family duties and spiritual growth
    Sixth step: To follow principles of Dharma (righteousness) Seventh step: To nurture an eternal bond of friendship and love
  13. Shanti Homam – The couple invokes Agni, the god of Fire, to seek blessings of all holy gods and goddess to shower them with right positive influence of planets of our solar system
  14. Aashirvad (Parental Blessing) – The parents of the bride and groom give their blessings to the couple. The couple touches the feet of their parents as a sign of respect.
It will likely take between 3 to 4 hours for all the wedding rituals above to be performed. You can decide on any of them to be taken out if you are in time pressure.
The couple getting married need to make arrangements for priest to be picked up from temple in Rathfarnham or he can make it himself for which you need to re-imburse associated cost separately. He needs to be back at temple by 4 pm to be well in time for our evening temple opening hours.
Following are the Terms & Conditions under which Ireland Vinayaka Temple agree to perform a wedding 
- €351 to be paid as fee to temple no later than the day of pooja.
- Minimum €101 to be paid as dakshina to poojari/priest after the wedding on the day.
- Receipt of your payment to be collected by you or your delegate no later than the day of pooja.
- Keep all pooja items ready before the day of wedding.
- Prasadam(food) offered to god should be pure vegetarian even without garlic and ginger.
- Fire safety procedures should be adhered as the pooja involves lighting up of fire (lamps, etc.,). IVT will not be responsible for any unfortunate fire incidents(triggering fire alarms, etc.,). You need to inform hotel and get their approval.
- Any items borrowed from temple(ex: havan) must be returned next day of pooja
- Pooja can be cancelled by either party by notifying before pooja.
List of items required required :
  1. Mangala Sootram (Holy thread)
  2. Garlands – 4 ( plus more for immediate family members )
  3. Turmeric Powder – 100 grams
  4. Kumkum – 100 grams
  5. Paan Leaves – 20
  6. Bettel Nuts – 10
  7. Five different fruits – 10 each
  8. Panchamritham ( Milk – 2 litre, Honey – 200 grams, Yogurt – 200 grams, Ghee – 100 grams, Sugar – 200 grams )
  9. Coconuts (with tail) – 2
  10. Flower bouquets – 4 (prefarably chrysanthemum)
  11. Incense Sticks packet – 1
  12. Blouse pieces – 2 (except black and white color)
  13. Rice – 1 kg
  14. Navadhanyam
  15. Gandham / Chandanam / Sandalwood Powder – 100 grams
  16. Kalasham – 1
  17. Ghee – 1 kg
  18. Strong thread – 3 small rolls
  19.  Deepam ( Oil, Cotton Wick, Match box )
  20. Puffed Rice – 100 grams
  21. Flattened Rice – 100 grams
  22. Firewood Kindles
  23. Havan Kund ( Panditji will bring it along with him )
  24. Small amount of any prasadam.

Thank you to Amar of for providing the information. 


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