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Wedding documents and formalities

Documents required by the Church

a) Baptismal & Confirmation certificates
b) Pre-Nuptial Enquiry Form (issued by a priest of your parish)
c) Documentary proof of your freedom to marry *
d) Permissions & dispensations where applicable **
e) Pre-Marriage course certificate

* . "Letter of freedom": furnish a Statement of Freedom to Marry, or an Affidavit

** Dispensation, e.g. for "mixed" marriage, or "disparity of cult" (from bishop's office)

The purpose of the documents is explained in our Checklist page

Documentation required by the State

  • 1. The couple must attend in person (together or individually) an office of the state Registrar at least 90 days in advance of the proposed wedding, to formally declare their intention to marry in the Republic of Ireland.
  • 2. The registrar's office issues a Marriage Registration Form (MRF) to permit a legal marriage to take place. (The couple must present their MRF to the solemniser before the wedding so that he can check that the details are correct before the marriage takes place. This should be done as early as is convenient..)
  • 3. The person officiating at the wedding must be a state registered solemniser appointed by his/her church. If changes are necessary – for instance, changing the name of the solemniser – the couple should contact the civil registrar, to arrange for the re-issue of the MRF at the earliest possible stage before the ceremony.
  • 4. Two witnesses must be nominated (normally Best Man & Bridesmaid)
  • 5. You will also declare before witnesses, before the wedding ceremony, that there is no civil impediment to the marriage. (The Solemniser will normally ask for this declaration of freedom to marry just before the religious ceremony begins, and have the couple sign it, with his own signature, later.)
  • 6. The couple must return their completed MRF to any county registrar's office, within one month of the wedding, for the marriage to be civilly recorded.

Registering a Marriage

Couples intending marriage are required to give notification in person, to a Registrar, of their intention to marry at least three months before their intended marriage date.
If there is no impediment to your marriage, the Registrar will issue you with a Marriage Registration Form (MRF) which gives you permission to marry.

Before the ceremony, you should give the MRF to your marriage-solemniser. Immediately after the marriage ceremony the MRF should be signed by you and your spouse, the two witnesses and the solemniser.

Returning the MRF: If you get married by civil ceremony, the Registrar who solemnised the marriage will register the marriage as soon as possible after the ceremony. If you get married by religious ceremony, you should give the signed MRF within one month to any Registrar (not necessarily the one who issued it), for the marriage to be registered.

Regulations for marrying abroad:

Irish citizens getting married abroad must fulfil the wedding regulations of the respective country. Normally, a document from the Department of Foreign Affairs, 80 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2 Tel: (01) 4780822 ... will be required, affirming that they are registered as living in this country.

A marriage certificate issued abroad will normally be recognised, for legal purposes, here in Ireland. The General Register Office in the Republic of Ireland has no function in the registration of marriages of Irish citizens that take place abroad, or in advising on such marriages. Marriages that take place outside the State do not need to be registered in Ireland.

Applying for a civil marriage certificate:

  • Marriage Register entries are public records and anybody can obtain copies of them.
  • You can apply in writing, by fax or in person giving as many details of the marriage as you can, i.e. full names, date and location of event, parent's names and occupations, mother's maiden names etc. Obviously the more information you can give us the more chance we have of finding the records you are looking for.
  • Our index and records are date based and are in a manual format so we will need accurate dates (correct year at least). The absolute minimum information we need is the forename and surname (of both parties if it's a marriage) and the year the event occurred and in many cases we will need some further detail/s such as an exact date, the location of the event, other forenames, parents names etc. (General Register Office)