To be legally married in Ireland, here are the 4 most important things you must to do first, to ensure your wedding ceremony is a real legal marriage.  The following 4 things are your minimum requirement for getting married in Ireland.

  • Choose your Celebrant/Solemniser
  • Book your Marriage Notification appointment
  • Choose your Wedding Venue
  • Attend your Marriage Notification appointment

With the island of Ireland consisting of technically two but very similar countries, there are two Marriage Acts, one for each the Northern Ireland (The North) and the Republic of Ireland (The South).  Both Marriage Acts are very similar with some slight differences which won’t make it difficult at all.


  • Marriage License – Marriage Registration Form (MRF) in the South or [?] in the North
  • Registry Office – HSE Civil Registration Office in the South, or Births, Deaths & Marriages Office in the North.

No Impediment to the Marriage

To be legally married in Ireland you must declare that there is no legal reason why you can’t be married.  That is, you are not related by kindred or affinity (the Marriage Act contains a list of relationships which cannot marry) that you are both over the age of 18, or both over the age of 16 with parent’s consent, and that you are not already married to someone else. 

This declaration of no impediment is made both in the Registry Office, and again during your marriage ceremony (or at your rehearsal up to 2 days before, with both witnesses present) .

Choose Your Celebrant/Solemniser

For your wedding ceremony to be a real legal marriage you must be sure to choose a Celebrant who has the necessary government authorisation to Solemnise a legal marriage.

If you choose a Celebrant who is not Government Registered to Solemnise Marriages, you will need to have two wedding ceremonies on different dates.  You will need attend the Registry Office on a separate day with your witnesses for your official Registry Office legal marriage, plus your non-legal wedding ceremony with your unregistered Celebrant on another day to celebrate with your family and friends.   While this may be ideal for the unregistered Celebrant,  it may not at all ideal for you – especially if you are living in Ireland.  As this will make your legal marriage date different to the date of your wedding ceremony.

If you choose Enchanted Ceremonies as your Celebrant/Solemniser, your wedding ceremony will be a real Legal marriage on the day if that’s what you want – which is always what’s best for you. 

Our Celebrants can Solemnise marriages in both North and South of Ireland.

Book your “Marriage Notification” Appointment

The first thing you must do is to book your in-person appointment to lodge your “Notification of Intention to Marry”.  The notification procedure itself is the same in the North and the South, but where you lodge your notification along with the minimum notification periods are different.

Getting Married in The South

You must lodge your Marriage Notification no less than 3 months before your wedding date, and no more than 12 months before.

Getting Married in The North

You must lodge your Marriage Notification no less than 14 days before your wedding date, and no more than 12 months before.

If You Live Overseas

If you live outside of Ireland you can lodge your Marriage Notification by email.  Don’t ever post original copies of important documents as they can be lost in the post.   Just contact the Registry Office closest to where you will be staying in Ireland and they will email you the forms and information you. need.

You will be assigned a “Notification Appointment” date to attend the Registry Office and present your identification documents, up to 3 weeks before your marriage date.  So please don’t go booking any of your flights until this appointment date is confirmed by the Registry Office.

If you don’t already have your Wedding Venue and Solemniser chosen, you can book your “Notification Appointment” with sufficient advance time in the future so you have time to choose these.

Choose Your Wedding Venue

You really are spoiled for choice here in Ireland with a multitude of beautiful wedding venues to consider.  You can choose from so many castles, country houses and luxury hotels, or arts centres, glamping resorts, some restaurants and cafes, and cultural sites throughout the country. 

Attend your “Marriage Notification” Appointment

You will both need to attend this appointment, and you will need to bring with you the following documents as a minimum, plus anything extra you have been requested to bring.

      • Full birth certificate
      • Photo ID
      • Name of your Solemniser ( and their postal address if requested )
      • Name of your Wedding Venue
      • Full names and Birth-dates of your two witnesses to your marriage on the day
      • Plus anything else you are requested to bring – please ask your Registry Office

If you email the HSE office located most conveniently to you they will confirm what documentation they need you to bring with you for your circumstances.  Your documentation may include:

It is not appropriate for us to advise the complete list of documents you need to bring to your Marriage Notification appointment as each situation can be different and usually is.

Always ask your Registry Office what documents they need from you well in advance as some documents may need to be ordered if you don’t already hold a copy.

If you have provided all the necessary information your Marriage License form will be printed and given to you in readiness for your big day.   In the South your Marriage License is also called a Marriage Registration Form, or MRF and will be given to you in a “Green Folder”.  This is another great milestone for you to celebrate – Yes!  Go out for dinner!

You MUST remember to bring your “Green Folder” and Marriage License with you to your wedding for signing during your ceremony. signed during your ceremony. 

After Your Wedding Day

Your signed Marriage License must be returned to the Registry Office as soon as possible to complete the final step of your marriage registration process.  It is recommended to return this form within 7 days, but you have longer than that, a maximum of 30 days.  But don’t leave it that long.

You should be well on your way to booking the rest of your wedding supplier “Dream Team” who will help make your day special!

Sharon Quigley
Author: Sharon Quigley