What are my options for getting married in Ireland?
What do I have to do to get married in Ireland?
How to get married in Ireland
For those wishing to marry in Ireland you will need to start with the HSE (The Health Service Executive (Irish: Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte). See link at the end of this page.
The HSE are the people whose job it is to ensure that your paperwork is in order for the legal side of things. You will have to complete a NOIM (Notification of Intent to Marry) form and attend an NOIM meeting with the HSE. You will need to bring along your official papers i.e. Long birth Certificate, Divorce Papers, etc. You will also need to provide the names of 2 witnesses who should be over the age of 18. This should be completed with the HSE a minimum of 3 MONTHS BEFORE the date you intend to marry. If everything is in order, the Registrar will give you a Marriage Registration Form (MRF). A word of caution, some offices are busier than others, so if it is possible to attend the NOIM meeting more than 3 months out, I would recommend that you do so. You also have the option of attending an HSE office that is not as busy.
Everyone, regardless of who will conduct your ceremony, will have to complete the NOIM form and attend the meeting at the HSE. Both the bride and groom will need to attend together in person. There is a fee for completing this process of €200.
Where can I get married? What are my options?
This will depend on whether or not the person conducting your wedding ceremony is listed on the Register of Solemnisers. The HSE will be able to confirm with you when you go for your NOIM meeting who is on this list. Alternatively, this information is available online. See link at the end of the page.
Important Note: You will need to bring your Marriage Registration Form, signed by your Solemniser on your wedding day, to a civil registration service office. This MUST BE DONE within 1 month of the date of your marriage ceremony.
In Ireland, if you want to be legally married, then your Celebrant must be a registered Solemniser whose name appears on the Register of Solemnisers. You can check if somebody is on the Register by clicking on the link at the end of the page.
Independent Celebrant – There are many independent Celebrants to choose from.
If you would like a personal, bespoke ceremony created just for you, then an Independent Celebrant would be a good choice.
In order to be “legally married” you will need to “Register your marriage” with the HSE and then instruct an Independent Celebrant to conduct your wedding ceremony at the venue of your choice.
Your ceremony can take place anywhere you choose, it does not have to take place at a licenced venue. It could take place on the beach, a woodland glade, a local beauty spot, up a mountain, your back garden, a park, the possibilities are endless.
As an Independent Celebrant CANNOT marry you legally, there are no constraints. Your ceremony can reflect precisely who you are and your values. This is the ceremony you share with your family and friends once you have taken care of the legal registration.
People have said to me, “But I don’t want to have to attend the Registry Office and have another ceremony”. If this is the case, then it is likely that one of the options below, using a solemniser, will appeal to you. If, however, you are somebody who wants to create something personal that reflects you and your beliefs and is conducted in a location that has meaning for you, then know that this possibility exists.
Brides and Grooms have asked, “What day will our wedding anniversary fall on?” My response is always:
“When you are born, married or die, these three occasions have to be legally registered. Do you celebrate your birthday on the day your birth was registered or the day that you were born?”
Independent Celebrants can create a deeply personal and meaningful ceremony in any location
A perfect day
To find out more, contact me to discuss the vision you have for your wedding ceremony, whether you want a legal ceremony or a celebrant led ceremony. It’s up to you.
There are 3 main groups of Solemnisers who can conduct a legal marriage ceremony:
- The Church – Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, etc
- Humanists, Interfaith, Spiritualists, Pagans, and other organisations
- Civil Registrars from the HSE
It’s confusing, because all Solemnisers can be called Celebrants/Officiants, but not all Celebrants/Officiants can be called Solemnisers.
You will need to decide what type of ceremony you would like. There are some considerations with each and I have listed some of the main ones.
The Church – Your ceremony will likely be quite traditional. Your ceremony will be conducted in your local church (usually in the church of the parish of the bride). There will be hymns, readings from the bible and a priest/clergyman/woman conducting your ceremony. There are likely to be restraints regarding the decoration of the church and it’s probable that only religious music can be included.
Humanists – A Humanist ceremony can be conducted in a venue that will need to be licenced with the HSE. A Humanist ceremony should be completely secular, i.e. no religion. The Celebrant might include talking about humanism before the ceremony starts.
Interfaith – An Interfaith ceremony can be conducted in a venue that will need to be licenced with the HSE. An Interfaith ceremony can contain religion if you would like or none at all depending on your wishes.
Spiritualists – A spiritualist ceremony can be conducted in a venue that will need to be licenced with the HSE. A Spiritualist ceremony can contain religion or none at all depending on your wishes.
Pagans – A Pagan ceremony is something very personal depending on your beliefs. Modern day Pagans tend to fall into three categories.
- Wiccan – This concentrates on the cycle of the seasons and tends to be orientated towards nature, environmentalism and mother earth. The Wiccan Rede is a statement that lays out their moral system with their main tenet being, “An it harm none, do as thou wilt.”
- Druids – Recreating the ancient Celtic practices with strong focus on storytelling and poetry. One of their tenets being this Celtic triad, “Three things lovable in a person: tranquillity, wisdom and kindness.”
- Asatru – This is becoming much more popular and is a reconstruction of ancient Northern European beliefs, for example, Vikings. Here there are nine Noble Virtues, three of which are courage, honour and truth.
A Pagan ceremony can be conducted in a venue that will need to be licenced with the HSE. A Pagan ceremony will usually contain items associated with any of the three sub-categories detailed above. It would be usual to perhaps have an additional ceremony at an ancient site of particular significance for the couple. This part of the ceremony would not have any legal part in getting married under the HSE rules.
Civil Registrars from the HSE – There are two options here.
- To marry in an office of the HSE – There are usually two types of ceremony available, short version and long version. These offices are civic offices and will usually have a fairly low capacity, so ensure you check how many guests will be allowed at the ceremony. (A venue I attended recently was located in the grounds of a hospital and had a capacity of approximately 40 persons only). You will not necessarily know in advance of your ceremony who your Registrar will be. The ceremony will have to be completely secular, i.e. no religion. As the Registrar might perform more than one ceremony in a day, you will have to ensure you are NOT LATE for the ceremony.
2. Where the HSE conduct the ceremony at a licenced venue – The HSE will send a Registrar to your chosen licensed venue and perform your ceremony there. This can take place on certain days of the week only and not during the weekend. Check with your local HSE office to find out which days and times they are available in your area. You will not necessarily know in advance of your ceremony who your Registrar will be. The ceremony will have to be completely secular, i.e. no religion. As the Registrar might perform more than one ceremony in a day, you will have to ensure you are NOT LATE for the ceremony.
To find out more, contact me to discuss the vision you have for your wedding ceremony whether you want a legal ceremony or a celebrant led ceremony. It’s up to you.