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Advice for a legal marriage and wedding in Ireland

Posted by Debbie Skyrme on Friday 1st May 2020
Advice for a legal marriage and wedding in Ireland

So what is the difference between a marriage and a wedding in Ireland? One lovely Irish celebrant gives us her advice for organising a legal wedding ceremony in the beautiful Emerald Isle.

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How To Get Legally Married in Ireland

Marriage ceremonies in Ireland have changed hugely in recent years. With many couples now recognising that they can separate contracting their legal marriage from having the wedding ceremony of their dreams wherever they want, celebrant-led weddings are in great demand.

Ireland has a variety of independent wedding celebrants, each with a different personal style, but all offering highly bespoke ceremonies delivered with love and creative flair.

Ceremony 3

Photo: Lopez Photography

Please be aware that there is a difference between legally contracting your marriage with a registrar and a symbolic wedding ceremony led by a celebrant.

So, if you choose an independent celebrant for your wedding in Ireland, how do you get legally married?

Marriage process in Ireland

All couples have to register their intention to marry three months in advance of their wedding with the Health Service Executive (HSE). This is called a marriage notification appointment.
You then make another appointment to sign the marriage register, when you are legally married in the eyes of the State.

You can make your appointment for your legal signing at the same time as you make your marriage notification appointment. Or you can organise it at the marriage notification appointment itself.

The registrar will ask you where and when you are getting married, and you tell them you want to be married in the registry office or at an approved premises.

Handfasting Ceremony

Photo: Lopez Photography

The legal signing of a register in Ireland

Your legal ceremony can be very short, fifteen minutes at most. You are required to attend the registry office with two witnesses. Please check relevant fees with your registrar.

The registrar will ask you to confirm your personal information. The ceremony can be as simple then as declaring  that you are free to marry, saying the contracting words and signing the register.


 Photo: Toni Bonet

Afterwards, you can enjoy a drink or a slap-up lunch, safe in the knowledge that you are now legally married.

You can then enjoy your perfect wedding ceremony led by your independent celebrant at your ideal Irish location.


For more information about marriage and weddings in Ireland please visit the HSE website

For more detailed advice about the difference between contracting your marriage with a registrar and having a celebrant officiate your symbolic wedding ceremony read our info-packed blog: No registrar available! What are my options?

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Featured Celebrant Derbhile Graham

Featured Celebrant Derbhile Graham

Derbhile is an independent celebrant accredited by the Irish Institute of Celebrants (IIOC) who lives in the seaside town of Tramore, South-East Ireland, with her husband and dog.

Read Derbhile's profile here

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