9 things you need to do before getting legally married in Ireland
There are plenty of things we need to consider before getting married.
How many people are we going to invite to the big day?
Is it going to be a religious, civil, or secular ceremony?
Do we actually want to commit to spending the rest of our lives with this one person?
The list goes on.
And once you've figured all of that stuff out, there are still a good few legal requirements that you'll need to adhere to before you can actually tie the knot in Ireland.
1. Be over the age of 18
Under Irish law, it is illegal to get married unless both people are over the age of 18.
This rule applies regardless of whether you are getting married in or outside of Ireland. Exceptions can only be made using a court exemption order.
2. Give three months' notice
All couples must give their intention to marry at least three months before they plan to do so.
This notification must be given in person to any Registrar (the official responsible for keeping records), whether you want to be married in a religious, secular, or civil ceremony.
It's also highly recommended that you give your intention to marry well in advance of the three-month mark, as these offices tend to be busy at certain times during the year, and you may not be guaranteed an appointment right away.
3. Get your documents in order
Once you've booked an appointment with a Registrar, you and your partner will need to get all your documents in order.
Generally, you'll be told exactly what documents you need to bring with you, but they usually include your PPS number, passport, and birth certificate in either English or Irish.
If you have been widowed, divorced, or have had a previous marriage annulled, you will need to bring a range of additional documents.
4. Fill out your Marriage Registration Form (MRF)
If all your documents are in order you'll be given your Marriage Registration Form (MRF).
The form is basically like a marriage license and is a necessity if you're going to be tying the knot in Ireland.
5. Book a wedding date
Making sure your desired date is actually available is pretty important.
Catholic weddings are unlikely to take place on a Sunday but are generally good to go ahead on any other day of the week.
Civil ceremonies can only be held during the week and never on weekends. Secular or spiritualist weddings can take place on Saturdays and Sundays.
6. Have your venue approved (civil and secular)
If you're opting not to get married in a church or a registry office, you'll need to make sure that your venue meets the requirements of the HSE.
If you're not sure whether your ceremony can be held in a certain venue, you'll have to check with your Registrar before you go ahead organising anything else.
The venue must be able to hold the capacity of those attending the ceremony.
HSE guidelines state that a marriage cannot be held in outdoor areas like a "private dwelling, a courtyard, garden, yard, or field," however in recent years, it became legal to be married in certain, approved outdoor areas.
7. Complete a premarital course
If you want to have a Catholic wedding, you may not have to worry too much about getting your venue approved, but you'll most likely have to complete a premarital course.
Premarital courses need to be booked well in advance. Afterwards, you'll need a formal letter signed by your parish priest saying that you and your partner are permitted to marry in the church.
This will be provided given that you or your partner are Catholic, neither of you have been divorced, and when you have given your parish priest your baptismal, communion and confirmation certificates.
These documents need to have been issued by your parish church within the last six months.
If you are not an Irish citizen, you will need to have your marriage approved by a bishop.
8. Pay your fee
Getting legally married in Ireland costs a standard fee of €200.
However, if you opt to have your ceremony outside of a registry office, this fee will be increased slightly.
9. Prepare to change your status (or don't)
Getting married leads to a lot of changes - not just in your life, but also in your legal position, and potentially your name.
Although many opt not to change their name once they wed, the decision to change your legal status isn't really an option.
Getting married will affect your tax, social welfare, pension, life insurance, and inheritance.
Both partners should be familiar with all of these changes before tying the knot.
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