How to Get Married in Ireland as a Foreigner

Created: Mar 29, 2024 | Updated: Mar 29, 2024

Marriage is a journey unlike any other, weaving together two lives, emotions, and experiences. It's a promise to walk through life hand in hand, facing whatever the world throws your way together. You have come to the right place if you are looking for answers on how marriage is done in Ireland, especially from the perspective of a foreign national. We’ve done the research and covered all the steps concerning how to tie the knot in Ireland, from the legal requirements to the necessary documentation, up to the planning process so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Irish Wedding Traditions

A typical Irish wedding is full of charm and centuries-old traditions. While modern Irish weddings can be a little different depending on what the couple likes, many choose to incorporate traditional elements that reflect Ireland's history and cultural values. 

The wedding celebrations usually start with Hen and Stag parties. These are just like bachelor and bachelorette parties where the couple spends the night out with friends to celebrate their last days of being single.

For the wedding, you should expect it to happen in a church. Like Italy, Ireland has a strong Catholic tradition, and so many Irish weddings take place in a church. However, civil and humanist ceremonies are becoming quite popular too. During the ceremony, an ancient Celtic ritual called “handfasting” is done. It involves tying the couple's hands together with a ribbon or cord to symbolise their union. Then, the couple exchange rings and vows, which is a central part of the ceremony. Claddagh rings, with their symbols of love, loyalty, and friendship, are a popular choice among Irish couples.

Traditional Irish music often features in the ceremony, with sounds from harps, fiddles, and uilleann pipes. It's not uncommon for the bride and groom to be greeted by a bagpiper or traditional musicians as they enter the reception. After dinner, they’ll have their first dance which is sometimes accompanied by a live band playing Irish music or a more modern song choice. A traditional social gathering called “ceilidh” often follows, with guests joining in traditional Irish dances. It's a fun way to celebrate and invites all the guests to participate.

There are also heartfelt speeches from the father of the bride, the groom, and the best man and then the cutting of the fruitcake, which is a symbol of prosperity and good luck. Towards the end of the night, it's customary to serve a midnight snack to guests. This could be anything from traditional Irish sausages to sandwiches, and then when the party is over, you should expect to continue celebrating the next day and for the rest of the weekend at a pub or a casual gathering. 

The Legal Requirements for Marriage in Ireland 

The first thing you need to do is understand what the legal requirements for getting married in Ireland are. Here are the criteria you need to meet before getting married in Ireland. 

  • You both must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must not be marrying under duress or by force. 
  • You both must be either single, widowed or divorced with proof such as death certificates, divorce certificates, dissolution of civil partnership certificates, etc.
  • You must be in the right mental capacity to understand marriage and what it entails.
  • You cannot marry or enter into a registered partnership with someone whom you are related to by blood or marriage to a degree that legally prohibits you from marrying them. Such relationships include:
    • Mother or father
    • Father’s sister or brother (aunt or uncle)
    • Mother’s sister or brother (aunt or uncle)
    • Sister or brother
    • Father’s daughter or son (half-sister or brother)
    • Mother’s daughter or son (half-sister or brother)
    • Daughter or son
    • Son’s daughter or son (granddaughter or grandson)
    • Daughter’s daughter or son (granddaughter or grandson)
    • Brother’s daughter or son (niece or nephew)
    • Sister’s daughter or son (niece or nephew)
    • Grandmother or grandfather
    • Grandfather’s or grandmother’s spouse (step-grandmother or step-grandfather)
    • Father’s or mother’s spouse (stepmother or stepfather)
    • Father’s brother’s or sister's spouse
    • Mother’s brother’s or sister's spouse
    • Son’s or daughter’s spouse
    • Son’s son’s or daughter’s spouse
    • Daughter’s son’s or daughter’s spouse
    • Brother’s son’s or daughter’s spouse
    • Sister’s son’s or daughter’s spouse
    • Spouse's grandmother or grandfather (grandmother-in-law or grandfather-in-law)
    • Spouse's mother or father (mother-in-law or father-in-law)
    • Spouse's father’s sister or brother
    • Spouse's mother’s sister or brother
    • Spouse's daughter or son (stepdaughter or stepson)
    • Spouse's son’s son or daughter
    • Spouse's daughter’s son or daughter
    • Spouse's brother’s son or daughter
    • Spouse's sister’s son or daughter
  • You may need a Marriage (C) short-stay visa depending on where you come from.
Documentation Requirements

For an Ireland Marriage Visa:

  • An international passport valid for at least six months after your date of departure from Ireland.
  • Printed, signed, and dated application pages.
  • Two coloured passport-sized photographs with your name and visa application reference number on the back.
  • An application letter detailing the reason for your trip to Ireland, how long you intend to stay, details of your accommodation, details of any family members in Ireland, and an undertaking that you will accept the conditions of your visa.
  • Proof of funds.
  • Final divorce, dissolution and nullity decrees as well as death certificates in respect of all previous marriages and civil partnerships.
  • Evidence of your intention to marry with any of the following:
    • A Marriage Registration Form (MRF).
    • Acknowledgement from the Registrar confirming the date of receipt of notification of intention to marry.
  • Evidence of your relationship history with the following:
    • Proof that your partner has travelled to your country of residence on some occasions to visit you and,
    • Proof of communication between you both.
  • Proof of your intention to return to your country with any of the following ties:
    • 3 months’ payslip and a letter from your employer (if employed).
    • A letter from your school affirming that you study there and will return after your visit (if you are a student).
    • The title deed of a property you own or rent.
    • Proof that you have dependent children or family members in your country.
  • Evidence of private medical insurance.
  • Proof of previous visa refusals, (if any).

For Marriage Registration

  • Birth certificates (should be apostilled if it was issued outside the EU/EEA).
  • Information about your upcoming marriage and witnesses.
  • A filled Data Capture Form
  • Notification fee.
  • Proof of address (original and photocopy dated within last 3 months).
  • Personal documents.
  • International passport.
  • Final divorce, dissolution and nullity decrees as well as death certificates in respect of all previous marriages and civil partnerships.
  • Evidence of immigration status.
  • You will also need to provide information, such as:
    • Whether your wedding will be a civil, secular or religious ceremony.
    • Venue and date of the ceremony.
    • Details of the proposed clergy.
    • Information about your 2 proposed witnesses.
    • A Personal Public Service number if you intend to live in Ireland.
    • A non-refundable notification fee of €200.

All of the above documents that are not in English, or Irish need to be translated by a certified translator or a certified translation service in Ireland certified by the Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association (ITIA) or the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL), that provide you with highly skilled translators work to accurately convey the message of your documents. You can get English translations and Irish translations to or from a large variety of languages. Moreover, foreign documents must usually be legalised or bear an apostille stamp from the country of issuance to be valid in Ireland. 


How to get married in Ireland


How to Get Married in Ireland in Four Steps

So, we’ve looked at all we need to put in place before marrying in Ireland. Now, let’s simplify the entire process for you into four steps. 

Confirm Your Eligibility

You and your partner must meet the criteria listed above. Be sure to go through each one and confirm if you are qualified to be married in Ireland. 

Declare Intent to Marry 

To declare your intent to marry, you need to go to the Registrar or the Civil Registration Service Office. At the office, you will be asked to sign, in the Registrar's presence, a declaration that you are free to marry and have no lawful impediment to your marriage.

The Registrar will give you an acknowledgement confirming the date of receipt of notification. This does not permit you to marry. At this point, you will be asked to pay the notification fee. The Registrar will issue a Marriage Registration Form to you. If all the information required has been supplied and there is no impediment to the marriage. 

Can a foreigner get married in Ireland?


Plan Your Ceremony

After you have finished with all the major paperwork and payments, you can now get into the real fun. Let’s give you a few tips on how to plan the ceremony. 

1. Choose Your Type of Ceremony: Decide on the type of ceremony you want to have. This could be a civil, secular or religious ceremony. 

2. Set a Budget: Determining your budget will guide many of your decisions, from the venue to the number of guests and the style of the event. Make sure to account for any potential costs like the venue, attire, officiant fees, decorations, and any additional services you might want.

3. Select a Venue: The venue sets the tone for your wedding. Popular options in Ireland include:

When choosing a venue, consider its location, capacity, availability, cost, and the logistics of getting married there (some venues have their own rules about catering, decoration, and music).

4. Choose a Date and Time: When selecting your wedding date, consider factors like the weather, special dates for you and your partner, and the availability of your desired venue and key vendors. Saturdays are a popular choice, but a weekday wedding might offer more flexibility and cost savings.

5. Hire Vendors: Depending on the complexity of your ceremony, you may need to hire various vendors, such as:

  • Wedding Planner: This is especially helpful if you're organising a destination wedding or need help with local customs and logistics.
  • An officiant: Ensure they are legally recognised to perform weddings in your city.
  • A Photographer/Videographer: Book early, as the best ones often have their schedules filled months in advance.
  • Hair and Makeup Artists: To ensure you look your best, consider hiring professionals who can provide hair and makeup services on your wedding day.
  • Music: Whether you want live music, a DJ, or a simple playlist, plan how music will be integrated into your ceremony.
  • A Florist: For bouquets, boutonnieres, and any venue decorations.
  • A Caterer: If your venue doesn’t provide food, you’ll need to hire a caterer.

6. Plan the Ceremony Details: Decide if you want to write your vows or stick with the traditional ones. Select your wedding party, including bridesmaids, groomsmen, ring-bearers, and flower girls. Don’t forget to decide on how you want the ceremony to unfold, from start to finish.

7. Have a Dress Rehearsal: A rehearsal is typically held the day before the wedding, especially for complex ceremonies or large wedding parties. This helps ensure everyone knows their roles and the event runs smoothly.

8. Personalise Your Ceremony: Incorporate elements that reflect your personalities and relationships. This could include unique music choices, a special reading, or a ritual that has personal significance.

Register Your Marriage and Get Your Irish Marriage Certificate

In Ireland, you cannot get your marriage certificate until your marriage is registered. If you had a civil ceremony, the Registrar who joined you will register the marriage as soon as possible after the ceremony with the information on the Marriage Registration Form that you filled out when you put in your marriage notice. If you had a religious or secular ceremony, you should give the MRF to a Registrar at a Civil Registration Service within 1 month for the marriage to be registered. It does not have to be returned to the same Registrar who gave it to you. 

Cost of a Marriage Certificate in Ireland

Registering your marriage or having corrections made on your marriage certificate is free in Ireland, although there are other charges such as:

  • A full standard certificate - €20
  • An uncertified copy of an entry in the Register - €5
  • To have a certificate authenticated at the General Register Office - €10
  • A Multilingual Standard Form (MSF) 

You can order a copy of your marriage certificate online, by post, by phone or in person at any Civil Registration Service. Postage costs €2 for orders in Ireland, and €3 for orders outside of Ireland. Delivery time depends on how long it takes to locate the certificate and where it is being posted. You will get a full refund if your record cannot be found.


Can Non-Citizens Get Married in Ireland?

Yes, non-citizens can get married in Ireland if they have an Ireland Marriage visa. 

Can I Stay in Ireland After Getting Married?

You cannot stay in Ireland for longer than 3 months if you entered with a C visa for marriage. If you wish to live in Ireland, you have to leave and apply for a Join Family Member (D) visa. 

Can you Get Irish Citizenship Through Marriage?

In Ireland, you have to apply for naturalisation after 3 years of marriage or civil partnership to an Irish citizen and 3 years of residence. 

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