What are the legal requirements for marriage in Ireland?

What are the legal requirements for marriage in Ireland?

Getting married may also not be as easy as you thought it would be. Weddings are one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Before you get married, there are many things you need to consider. How many people are going to be attending the wedding? What are the legal requirements for getting married? Are you having a traditional or a modern wedding? Religious, civil, or secular? Were we really ready to commit to be with this person for the rest of our lives? We could go on and on… Plus, there are a few legal snags to deal with before hitting Ireland for the big day.

You have to be 18 or older

Irish law prohibits a marriage to take place if one person is under 18 years of age and the other is between 18 and 25 years of age.If you get married either in Ireland or outside of Ireland, this rule will apply to both of you

Three months’ notice

Three months before they plan to get married, couples have to tell the government. Regardless of whether you want to be married in a religious ceremony, a secular ceremony, or in a civil ceremony, you must give notice in person to any Registrar (the official responsible for keeping records).It is also important to notify these offices well in advance of the three-month mark if you expect to get married within the then-next three months, as sometimes these offices are very busy at certain times of the year, and it may not be possible to get an appointment immediately.


Organize your documents

As soon as you have scheduled an appointment with a Registrar, you and your partner will need to prepare all the necessary documents.

In general, it will be explained to you what documents you need to bring with you, but you can expect them to include your PPS number, a passport, and a birth certificate which may be in either English or  Irish. The additional documents you will need to provide if you had a previous marriage that was annulled, dissolved, or if you were divorced from your previous spouse. 

Taking the necessary steps to register your marriage (MRF)

The Marriage Registration Form (MRF) will be given to you if all your documents are in order. You are going to need this form if you are planning on tying the knot in Ireland, and it basically functions the same way as a marriage license.

We suggest booking your wedding date as soon as possible

A very important thing to make sure of when you want your wedding is the availability of that day. In general, Catholic weddings are not likely to be held on a Sunday, but can usually be held any other day of the week. Ceremonies for civil purposes can take place at any time during the week but not at the weekends. It is acceptable for spiritualists and secularists to tie the knot on Saturdays and Sundays.

Please make sure your venue (civil or secular) is approved before you begin the planning 

You will need to check with the Health and Safety Executive to make sure that your venue meets the requirements, even if you are not getting married in a church or registry office.It is your responsibility to check with your Registrar before you arrange any other aspects of the ceremony if you are unsure whether your ceremony can be held at the location you have selected. In order for the venue to hold the number of attendees, it must be able to accommodate them all.

As stated in the HSE guidelines, a marriage cannot take place in an outdoor area, such as a “private dwelling, courtyard, garden, yard, or field,” although in recent years, it has become legal to exchange vows in certain, approved outdoor locations.

You can find out more about HSE guidelines by reading the following: 



You need to complete a premarital course to prepare for your marriage

In cases where you wish to have a Catholic wedding, you may not have to worry too much about getting your venue approved, but you’ll most likely need to take a premarital course before the wedding.

Ideally, premarital courses should be booked well in advance of the wedding. Afterward, you will need a formal letter signed by your parish priest informing you that you and your partner are allowed to get married in a church. When you come into communion with Jesus Christ, or later on, and when you and your partner are both Catholic, neither of you have been divorced, and you provide your parish priest with your baptismal, communion, and confirmation certificates, you will receive your baptismal, communion, and confirmation certificates. It is essential that these documents are confirmed by your parish church within the past six months. Those who are not Irish citizens will have to have their marriage approved by a bishop before their marriage can take place.

Pay your fee 

In Ireland, the standard fee for getting married is 200 euro, given that it is a legal ceremony. There is a small increase in the fee if, however, you don’t have the ceremony at a registry office.

To learn more about the documentation you will need to get married in Ireland, you can read about it on our documentation page. 


A certain number of documents are required by everyone

You will be required to bring the Original and a color copy of one of the following documents on registration day.

  • Passport
  • An asylum or refugee card that is issued by the Department of Justice and  Equality
  • A national identity card accepted as a travel document in an EU country

A photo ID document must be up to date.

Additionally, you will need:

  • Birth certificates, originals and photocopies
  • A photocopy and original of your address within the last 3 months
  • Public Service Numbers (PPS)

Authentication of documents and translations

It is required to provide translations of documents whose original language is not English or Irish. A UK public document containing English must adhere to a number of legal requirements. The document should be accompanied by a Multilingual Standard Form (MSF).

Your birth certificate needs to be validated if you were born outside Europe and do not have a valid photo ID (like a passport, Public Service Card, etc.). An apostille stamp or a letter from your Embassy or Consulate will do the trick.

As well as these:

  • Utility bill – original and copy of proof of address
  • You will require a Personal Public Service (PPS) Number if you live in Ireland or will shortly
  • Ceremony type – civil, religious, or secular
  • Name of solemniser
  • Address and name of the proposed venue
  • Date of birth and name of both witnesses

If neither of you is a citizen of the EU

Your immigration status must be current.

It is necessary to provide an interpreter if your conversation is in a language other than English or Irish. You will also need to do this at the ceremony.

The ceremony details

Please provide the following information about your ceremony:

  • What type of service is provided
  • Address and name of the proposed venue
  • Solicitor’s name
  • Two witnesses’ names and birthdates

In case you’re divorced

The original divorce decree, a certified copy, and a photocopy are required. Be sure to bring the divorce decree, if there is one.

In the event of a divorce in another country, you should contact the civil registration office.

In order for a foreign divorce to be recognized by the State, it must be reviewed by the General Register Office.

If you are widowed or widower

The following items are required:

  • A copy of the original civil marriage certificate and the original
  • A copy and the original of the deceased spouse’s death certificate

In the case of civil partnerships

If you want to get married, you should contact a civil registration service.


You will need both the original and copy of the certificate in order to file this application.

Former civil partnership

A final decree of dissolution will be needed for a former civil partnership.

If you’re the surviving civil partner of an absent partner

It is necessary that you have the following:

  • Certificates of civil partnership original and copy
  • The original and a photocopy of a civil death certificate for a late civil partner

In the case of an annulment

The following will be needed:

  • Civil annulment court order, original and photocopy
  • Letter and photocopy from the court confirming there was no appeal filed.



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