There are a million and one things to plan when you’re getting married, but they’ll all be pretty useless to you if you haven’t got the legal requirements sorted. And since you're probably doing this for the first time, no one would blame you for not knowing the ins and outs of those. So let's break it down!
In order for your marriage to be valid, there are three conditions to satisfy:
- Firstly, you must have the capacity (be able to) to get married. You have to be over 18 (or under 18 with permission of the Circuit Family Court or High Court), not be already married or in a civil partnership, and not be closely related (by blood or by marriage).
- You must consent to the marriage, i.e. you have to want to get married. For most people, this won’t be an issue, however some people with intellectual disabilities or mental illness are not legally able to consent. If there’s any doubt, the registry office may request a medical report to confirm capacity to consent.
- The final condition often catches people out: you have to give three months’ notice of your intention to marry, in person by appointment, with your local Registrar. Don’t put making this appointment on the long finger as it can be difficult to get an appointment, as the offices often don’t open every day, don’t open weekends, and you both must be available to attend.
What do we bring to our marriage registration appointment?
When the time comes need to bring a heap of paperwork to your appointment, including both of your passports, PPS numbers and birth certificates, and divorce decrees or death certificates of your previous spouse, if necessary. You’ll need both the original (or certified) copies, as well as photocopies of each.
If either of you aren’t Irish citizens, you need an apostille stamp from the relevant embassy on your birth certificate (for everywhere except Denmark, Italy, France, Belgium and Latvia), and documentary evidence of immigration status. You may also be asked to provide a Letter of Freedom to Marry to confirm your civil status from your home country, but you can ask your Registrar if this will be necessary. If any of your documents aren’t written in English or Irish, you’ll need a certified English translation from an independent verifiable translation company, too.
If you find a checklist handy, you can get the full checklist for marriage notification with the Civil Registrar here.
What happens at our marriage registration appointment?
At the appointment, you’ll have to tell the Registrar the following about your intended marriage: whether it will be a civil, secular or religious ceremony; the intended date and location of the marriage; details of your proposed solemniser (You can only be legally married by someone on the Register of Solomnisers - get the up-to-date list here); and the names and dates of birth of your two proposed witnesses. This all has to be filled in in advance on the Data Capture Form, which can be downloaded from the HSE website.
Just as a note at this point, if you plan on hiring a professional celebrant who is not on the solomnisers list, or asking a friend or family member to conduct your ceremony, it won't be legally valid, so you'll have to have a separate legal ceremony - whether you do this with a registered solomniser or at a registered venue etc, or just in a registry office as a formality, you'll have to arrange it separately to your wedding day ceremony.
You will also have to pay the €200 notification fee, and possibly additional fees depending on your Registrar’s requirements if you’re not marrying in the Registry office – ask them what applies for you. You’ll then sign a declaration that there’s no lawful reason why you can’t get married, which hopefully, there is not! Same-sex marriage is legal in Ireland, and has been since 2015. To convert a civil partnership to a marriage, you still need to notify the Civil Registrar of your intention to marry - the fee for this is €50, rather than the usual €200.
If there are no legal impediments to your marriage, they will issue your Marriage Registration Form, which is the authorisation for your marriage to go ahead. Don’t forget this form on your wedding day, as you’ll both be signing it, along with your solemniser! It should then be returned to the Registrar’s office within 30 days, and following that, your marriage will (finally!) be legally registered. If you’re not sick of paperwork, you can then purchase a marriage certificate from the Births, Deaths and Marriages office for €20.
The above requirements and processes relate to getting married in the Republic of Ireland. If you're planning a wedding in Northern Ireland, it's slightly different - you can get more full details from NI Direct's guidelines for marriage in Northern Ireland.
Who you gonna call? Here are the details of all the Registrar Offices in the Republic of Ireland
Carlow: St Dympna's Hospital Campus, Athy Road | Contact: 059 9136542
Dublin: Joyce House, 8/11 Lombard Street East | Contact: 01 8638200
Kildare: Unit 5, Monread Office and Leisure Complex, Monread, Naas | Contact: 045 887660
Kilkenny: Community Services, County Clinic, James Green | Contact: 056 7784756 / 056 7784711 / 056 7784708
or HSE Offices, Lacken, Carlow Road | Contact: 056 7784114
Laois: Health Centre, Dublin Road, Portlaoise | Conatct: 057 8692800
Longford: Health Centre, Dublin Road |Contact: 043 33 32226 / 043 33 32227
Louth: Louth Community Services, Dublin Road, Dundalk | Contact: 042 9385447
or Haymarket Health Centre, John Street, Drogheda | Contact: 041 9875755
Meath: Enterprise Centre, Trim Road, Navan | Contact: 046 9098600 / 046 9098601
Offaly: Health Centre, Arden Road, Tullamore | Contact: 057 93 59534 / 057 9359560
Westmeath: Health Centre, Mullingar | Contact: 044 93 95098 / 04493 95099
Wexford: Enniscorthy Health Centre, Millpark Road, Enniscorthy | Contact: 053 92 43706
or Gorey Health Centre, Hospital Grounds, Gorey | Contact: 053 94 21374
or New Ross Health Centre, Hospital Grounds, New Ross | Contact: 051 440200
Wicklow: Health Centre, Civic Buildings, Main Street, Bray | Contact: 01 2744323
Clare: Sandfield Centre, Ennis | Contact: 065 6868048.
or Health Centre, Ennistymon | Contact: 065 7071143
or Health Centre, Kilkee Road, Kilrush | Contact: 065 9054200
Cork: Adelaide Court, Adelaide Street | Contact: 021 4275126
or 9 Westend, Mallow | Contact: 022 50230
or Community Hospital, Castletownbere | Contact: 027 70004
Kerry: Sister Joseph's Road, Killarney | Contact: 064 6632251
or Health Centre, Community Hospital Grounds, Listowel | Contact: 068 21222
or Community Hospital, Kenmare | Contact: 064 6679504
Limerick: St. Camillus' Hospital, Shelbourne Road | Contact: 061 483760/483763
or Health Centre, Kilmallock | Contact: 063 98192
or Health Centre, Newcastle West | Contact: 069 66661
Tipperary North: Tyrone Health Centre, Nenagh | Contact: 067 46480
or Primary Care Centre, Templemore Road, Roscrea | Contact: 0505 31252
or St. Mary's Health Centre, Parnell Street, Thurles | Contact: 0504 27607
Tipperary South: Community Services, Western Road, Clonmel | Contact: 052 6177204 / 052 6177205
or Health Centre, Pill Rd., Carrick-on-Suir | Contact: 051 645263
or Health Centre, The Green, Cashel | Contact: 062 70477
or Health Centre, St. Vincent's Hospital, Tipperary Town | Contact: 062 82114
Waterford: St. Joseph's Hospital, Dungarvan | Contact: 058 20900
or Community Care Centre, Cork Road | Contact: 051 842824 / 051 842825
Galway: Community Services, 25 Newcastle Road | Contact: 091 546277
Leitrim: Community Care Office, Leitrim Road, Carrick on Shannon | Contact: 071 9650349
Mayo: St. Mary's Headquarters, Castlebar, Co Mayo | Contact: 094 9023249
Roscommon: HSE, Government Buildings, Convent Road | Contact: 090-6637507 / 6637508
Sligo: Community Care Office, Markievicz House | Contact: 071 9155115
Cavan: Gate Lodge, Lisdarn | Contact: 049 4373272
Monaghan: Local Health Care Unit, Rooskey, Monaghan Town | Contact: 047 30444
Donegal: Tirconaill House, (St. Conal's Campus), Letterkenny | Contact: 074 9123771 / 074 9123772
or Primary Care Centre, St. Joseph's Hospital, Stranorlar | Contact: 074 9191729 or 074 9191730
or 12 Ardravan Square, Buncrana | Contact: 074 9362196