Wedding Wednesday: Answering Your Most Common Wedding Ceremony Questions, Part Three [Episode 108]


If you’ve ever had a question about wedding ceremonies in Ireland, this is for you! Join us for the final part in this series, where guest experts are answering your most common wedding ceremony questions. This week’s theme is all about the legal side of things! 

THANK YOU to this week’s guest experts:

Keane Harley, Brenda O Grady, Lorraine Walker, Brian Twomey, and Steve Rawson



Episode breakdown

When should I begin the process with the HSE?

Keane Harley answers: 

This basically depends on your wedding date. Once you’ve selected and confirmed your date, you must give the HSE at least three months notice of your intention to get married. You’ll need confirmation of your celebrant, you’ll also need a venue confirmed and don’t forget to confirm with the family, witnesses and bridal party. Most people are making their plans well before 90 days before the wedding…. Ideally about 6 months to a year before the date, you’ll contact a local registrar (local to you or the venue). They prefer a phone call to set the appointment, and then they’ll send out a notification of marriage form which you’ll email or post back to them. You can make a booking online! The page to go to is – if any issues arise, you can contact them by phone. 


How do I make sure the legalities are carried out correctly?

Brenda O Grady answers: 

Brenda will collaborate with you to create your bespoke legal wedding ceremony. It is Brenda’s role to ensure that the legalities are carried out correctly. She does this by reminding you at every meeting not to forget your green folder. When she receives your green folder, at least a half an hour before the ceremony, she’ll check that all the details are correct. If there are any amendments, she’ll make them. After you’ve exchanged your vows, exchanged your rings, she has solemnised your marriage, she’ll then sign the marriage registration form and ensure that you have signed the form in the correct place and that the signatures match those on page 1. She’ll ensure that the witnesses are named correctly and that they sign in the correct place. She’ll ensure that all amendments are initialed by you and your witnesses. After your ceremony, she’ll hand one of you the green folder, usually in a bag with your candles and other bits and pieces from your ceremony, and she’ll remind you that it has to be returned to the HSE within 30 days. 


What will happen at my intent to marry appointment?

Lorraine Walker answers: 

When you attend your meeting with the HSE for your intent to marry, you’ll be asked for your ID, PPS number, your witnesses’ date of birth, your proof of address, and other information which is listed on the HSE website (how to get married in Ireland). The HSE people are lovely and they want the very best for you! Their offices are all over the country, you will have to apply to these offices, the both of you must attend, and you will receive your green folder on the day. When you receive your green folder, off you go for a lovely lunch and celebrate being in the green folder club! Good luck! 


Do you have to register your intent to marry in the county you intend to get married in?

Brian Twomey answers: 

The simple answer is no, you don’t! 

You can register your intent to marry in the county you live in and then get married elsewhere. is where you can find more information! You do need to give three months notice. 

There’s an online system so get in there and get your appointment online. 

You can also lodge your green book in any office you want. 


Are there any restrictions when it comes to civil ceremonies?

Steve Rawson answers: 

When it comes to restrictions on civil ceremonies, the most obvious is that if you choose a civil registrar, they only operate on working hours Monday to Friday, whereas humanist celebrants and others can marry you at any time, specifically weekends and holidays. With regards to venues, the venue you choose must be open to the public (hotels, bars, restaurants, galleries) or outside in open spaces attached to these spaces. Ultimately, the civil registrar will decide if the venue is viable. 

When you have your appointment with your civil registrar, they will ask who is marrying you and where you are intending to get married. 

For further information on this, visit – how to get married in Ireland.