On November 5th the opportunity to marry at a hotel, country house or public building opened to couples in Ireland. The Civil Registration Act, 2004 is the legislation changing Irish weddings, and reshaping the civil ceremonies. Engaged couples now get far more options for their big day.
This is great news for brides and grooms who want to marry in a venue other than the church or registry office. It could mean you have your entire event at one venue. Also, you could now marry in a non-traditional place of worship, or maybe Vegas-style in a small chapel somewhere!
There are restrictions to where you can marry. Read our brief to make sure everything goes smoothly for your alternative venue wedding.
Firstly, you need to make sure the venue you have chosen has HSE approval. This means that the HSE will have to inspect the facility, and give permission before a ceremony can take place there. You will need to allow for this process and enquire well in advance of the wedding date.
Here is a list of what the HSE will need to approve about the venue in the legislation changing Irish weddings
- The venue must be a fixed structure. You cannot marry outside or anywhere that does not have four walls. This means no outdoor or marquee weddings.
- The HSE will also need to verify the building is ‘a seemly and dignified venue for the solemnization of marriages’. So in other words, a barn probably won’t cut it.
- The venue must adequately hold and comfortably accommodate the amount of guests you plan on inviting.
- The Solemniser can only perform the wedding if the venue is open to members of the public. Therefore, only venues with unrestricted public access without charge will receive approval.
- The ceremony room must comply with regular public safety measures for rooms open to the public, and be handicapped accessible.
- The room the ceremony is in must have public liability insurance cover.
- The venue can’t have a connection with any religion, religious practice or religious persuasion which would be incompatible with the solemnization of civil marriages.
The fees will increase for couples wishing to wed in civil ceremonies outside the registry office. Couples must also complete a Marriage Registration Form by a registrar, and have two witnesses present for the ceremony. The witnesses must sign the Marriage Registration Form too.
Secondly, the Civil Registration Act, 2004 and the legislation changing Irish weddings says couples will need to complete the notification of intention to marry (three months’ notice). The Registrar must receive this notice in person, not by post. All couples must sign declarations of no impediment and obtain a Marriage Registration Form from a registrar in advance of the ceremony. The Registrar will issue it after the couple complete the necessary notification procedures and the registrar is satisfied they are free to marry. The Civil Registration Act, 2004 has also removed former residency requirements in relation to civil ceremonies.
For more information about marriages, visit the appropriate section of the General Register Office website.
You’ll also find more information about registration, weddings and venues on the HSE website.
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Former editor, current contributor, (she just can't let go!) Karen enjoys writing fashion but is known to dabble in decor from time to time. Her favourite section on the site is the Real Wedding section, followed closely by the Health & Fitness forums.