You have booked the hotel, agonised over the colour scheme and have the photo booth ready and waiting but what about the legal side of things?

This article will explore the legal requirements in Ireland which a couple must comply with before their big day.

Capacity

In order to legally marry in Ireland, the parties need to have the capacity to marry each other. This means:

  • Both parties must be aged 18. Parties aged under 18 must obtain a court order entitling them to marry;
  • Neither party may be currently married to or in a civil partnership with somebody else, other than his/her proposed spouse/civil partner;
  • The parties must not be closely related to each other by blood or marriage, i.e within the prohibited degrees of relationship.

Consent

Both parties must be able to consent to marrying the other and understand the nature of marriage.

Notification Process

The parties must make an appointment with their local Registrar at least three months prior to the proposed date of marriage.  However, it is advisable that the parties make the appointment with the Registrar well in advance of the three month timeframe, in the event of last minute hiccups!

Prior to attending the meeting with the Registrar, it is important that the parties get their paperwork in order. The parties will need their passports and birth certificates, PPS numbers and, where relevant, original decree of divorce/original decree of dissolution and deceased spouse’s /civil partner’s death certificate.  A notification fee of €200.00 must also be paid.

Of course, situations may arise where the parties are unable to provide the Registrar with three months’ notice, for example, where one party is very sick or otherwise incapacitated. In these circumstances, a court application must be made to allow the marriage to proceed without providing the three months’ notification to the Registrar.

Following a successful notification, the Registrar will issue the parties with a Marriage Registration form. This form should be stored away carefully until the big day, when it is handed to the person conducting the marriage ceremony. Without this form, the marriage cannot be legally registered. The Marriage Registration form is signed by the relevant parties following the ceremony.

Remember the form must be returned to the Registrar by the parties to the marriage within one month of the ceremony.

Congratulations to our newly engaged readers!