How to Get Married in Ireland As a U.S. Citizen?
Ireland’s rich culture and traditions add to its beautiful history that transcends centuries. Add this to its enchanting outdoors, stunning buildings, mouthwatering cuisines, and lively festivals, and you have created the perfect tourist destination. And with its regal castles, preserved ruins, and endless picture-perfect views, this country boasts some of the best wedding venues. We show you how to get married in Ireland as a U.S. citizen:
How to Get Married in Ireland As a U.S. Citizen?
Getting married in a castle or overlooking a cliff ranks among the most memorable wedding moments. And with Ireland offering numerous such opportunities, many U.S. citizens choose it for their nuptials. Here is the blueprint for getting married in Ireland:
- Choose a wedding option: Options include civil, religious, and secular weddings. Knowing the best wedding option and learning the requirements helps you decide the wedding venue, date, and preliminaries. For example, people getting married in religious ceremonies will likely have additional steps that can delay the wedding date.
- Find an officiant: You need to decide who will oversee the ceremony. People getting married in civil weddings will have a registrar conducting the ceremony, yet those in religious ceremonies will need a religious leader. Find out who will step in and whether they are available.
- Book a wedding venue: You must include your wedding venue when filing your intent to marry. Getting one early enables you to file this application and also allows the officiant to confirm the suitability of the location. For example, people who choose civil ceremonies must choose venues that align with the registrar’s requirements.
- Contact the registrar: You must inform the local registry office of your intent to marry at least three months before your wedding date. This intent should include the type of wedding, where you will have it, and when you will have it. If you are in Ireland, you can do this by phone. If not, you can write to the registrar by email or post. While the recommended period is three months from the wedding date, sending the application earlier benefits you.
- Prepare your documents: All spouses must have valid documents proving their identity and freedom to marry. These include valid passports, certified birth certificate copies, and certified divorce decrees (if applicable) for U.S. citizens.
- Get an apostille: You will not need to translate your documents, as Ireland also uses English as an official language. However, you will need to validate your documents for foreign use. You do this by getting an apostille from the state that issued the document.
- Meet the registrar: The registrar will require you to show up in person at the local registry office to complete your paperwork. You must include all the marriage requirement documents and pay the legal and paperwork fees. You can confirm the amount with the local registry office, as it varies. Note that this meeting takes place at least five days before the wedding.
- Obtain a marriage registration form: If you meet all the requirements stipulated by the local registry office, you will get the go-ahead to marry. This form is integral to the wedding as you cannot legally get married without it.
- Get married: The officiant will oversee the wedding ceremony, after which you, the officiant, and your witnesses must sign the marriage registration form for the marriage to take effect. The registrar can then register the marriage and issue you with a marriage certificate, which you can collect from the local registry office.
Is a marriage in Ireland recognized in the United States? Once you get a marriage certificate, your marriage will be legal in Ireland and the United States. You can use this document to change your name, prove your marital status, and enjoy the associated marriage protections.
What are the Different Types of Marriage in Ireland?
People getting married in Ireland have the option of civil, religious, and secular ceremonies. Consider their requirements and processes below to decide which wedding in Ireland best fits your needs:
1. Civil Ceremonies
These ceremonies take place under the registrar who works for the state. Usually, these ceremonies take place in the registry office. However, the registrar can travel to a venue that meets civil marriage requirements in their representative county. If you choose a venue outside the registry office, the registrar must approve it, and you will pay an additional fee. Religious or spiritual mentions are not permitted during a civil marriage in Ireland as the process is secular.
2. Religious Ceremonies
These ceremonies take place under religious solemnizers of established religions. Most such ceremonies occur in a place of worship and follow the set religious practices. Since these differ, you need to contact the religious body under which you want to get married to get additional information. Also, some religions do not accept same-sex marriages and will thus not accept to hold such ceremonies. Same-sex couples can get married under civil or secular ceremonies.
People getting married in religious ceremonies are often subject to additional requirements. For example, those of the Catholic faith often need preliminary classes and meetings and may even need permission from their local parishes.
3. Secular Ceremonies
Like civil ceremonies, secular marriages do not center on religious or spiritual beliefs. They also allow couples to choose where and when to hold the ceremony as they do not have strict processes. Moreover, they often have fewer preliminaries than religious ceremonies.
However, people getting married under such rites must meet all the requirements for a marriage in Ireland.
If you get married in Ireland, is it legal in the U.S.? Civil, religious, and secular ceremonies are legally binding if the spouses meet all the preliminary requirements and sign the marriage registration form alongside their officiant and witnesses.
Marriage Requirements in Ireland for U.S. Citizens
Since marriage is a legally binding contract, Ireland marriage laws are strict regarding who can and cannot get married. Below are the main marriage requirements in Ireland:
- Age: You and your spouse must be at least 18 years old to get married. This legal age requirement applies to everyone regardless of their citizenship or residence.
- Consent: Before getting married, you must attest to being willing to enter the marriage. People who enter marriages through coercion cannot marry legally. Moreover, both spouses must have the mental capacity to understand what marriage entails.
- Preliminaries: Everyone getting married must have gotten the marriage registration form. Only special circumstances warrant an exemption from contacting the local registry office.
- Marital Status: You cannot marry if you are married to someone else. Only single people or people whose previous marriages have ended in death or divorce can enter a marriage. If you were previously in a civil partnership with another person, you need to dissolve it.
- Relationship: Closely related people, by blood or marriage, cannot marry. You can consult your attorney to determine if your relationship falls within the permissible categories.
- Witnesses: All wedding ceremonies must have two witnesses with the legal capacity to serve as witnesses. They must sign the marriage registration form to prove their witness once the ceremony takes place.
Please note that additional requirements may apply to people who choose religious ceremonies.
What Documents Do I Need to Get Married in Ireland?
The process of getting married in Ireland for foreigners only goes through once you get the marriage registration form from the local registry. But for the registrar to issue this form, you must submit documents that support your nuptials. So, what do you need to get married in Ireland?
- A valid ID: Foreigners need valid passports, while Irish citizens can use their national ID cards. As a U.S. citizen, you should ensure your passport is valid, in good condition, and has enough blank pages.
- Original birth certificates,
- A declaration of intent to marry: You should also include the kind of wedding ceremony you will have, when you will have it, and where you will hold it,
- Details of your witnesses: You will include their names, dates of birth and places of birth,
- Death certificate: This document applies if you were previously married and your spouse is now deceased. The same applies to people who were in a civil partnership and their partners are deceased.
- Divorce decree: If your last marriage ended in divorce, you must provide this as proof of your freedom to marry. On the same note, if you were in a civil partnership that has now been dissolved, you should include the original final decree of resolution.
- An apostille: Your original official documents will only be acceptable in Ireland if you get them apostilled. This document validates the signatures, stamps, and seals on the documents, making them valid for official use.
Once the registrar has reviewed your paperwork and deemed you fit for marriage, you will receive the following documents:
- A marriage registration form: This document is your license to marry. As such, you must present it on your wedding day and ensure it gets signed during the ceremony by you, the officiant, and your witnesses.
- A declaration of no impediment: You will get this document when giving your notification, and you should sign it before the registrar to confirm you are both free to marry per the Ireland marriage laws.
Note that additional documents may be necessary for religious weddings. For example, Roman Catholic couples also need baptism, communion, and confirmation certificates. They must also present proof of attending pre-marital classes, a letter of freedom to marry, and a dispensation letter (if one of them is not Catholic). So, as you prepare your documents, check in with your officiant to know what applies to your nuptials.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Get Married in Ireland?
The capacity to marry is integral to any wedding in Ireland. Thus, it begs the question, how old do you have to be to get married in Ireland? Every spouse must be at least 18 years old, regardless of whether they are Irish residents or citizens. This law applies to any U.S. citizen getting married in Ireland.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Married in Ireland?
Since couples have varied options to get married, the wedding costs often vary from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. So, how much does it cost to get married in Ireland? The costs come down to the following factors:
- Administration fees, e.g., getting an apostille, sourcing a passport, paying for a notification, etc.,
- The general wedding costs, including venue, entertainment, decorations, accommodation, flight tickets, and food,
- Hiring professional help, e.g., wedding planners, videographers, photographers, makeup artists, etc.
The costs also depend on the kind of wedding you want, as a luxury wedding will cost more than a small rustic wedding. As such, the best way to get a good cost breakdown is to hire a skilled wedding planner who can capitalize on the integral wedding components and cut out what you do not need.
How to Choose a City and Wedding Venue in Ireland?
With so many picturesque venues in Ireland, choosing one can be a challenge. Let’s consider some of the factors you can use to sort the best options from the rest:
- Guest list: Some venues can hold hundreds of people, while others are great for intimate weddings. Based on your guest list, narrow down your search to the options that can fit all your guests without feeling empty or crowded.
- Wedding style: Every wedding has a theme that should show in your venue. For example, if you are after a grand wedding, having the event in a rustic space would not work the magic. Instead, you would have better luck booking a castle or something as majestic as your vision.
- Location: While a venue may be awe-inspiring, it could be so far that accessing it would be a challenge for you and your guests. Consider how easy it will be to access and leave the venue and gauge this using your guests’ needs. You can also choose a venue that also offers accommodation to meet this need.
- Packages: Some venues come empty, and you must provide everything, from seating to decorations to food. Others offer more than just space and will throw in food, drinks, entertainment, photography, and other inclusions. Your plan determines what works best for you, as some couples want a blank canvas while others want a complete package.
- Pricing: How much will the venue cost? There’s no debating the importance of venues, as they can make or break the wedding. However, the cost of booking a venue should not be so much that you spend more than you initially wanted. Find a space that matches your style and your pockets.
Finally, ask as many questions as possible about the venue. You want to ensure you understand what you are signing up for before agreeing to anything, as most venues do not offer full refunds.
How to Find a Wedding Planner in Ireland?
Planning a wedding involves many moving parts aside from meeting the legal requirements. Hiring someone who understands navigating these constantly shifting requirements is key to having the perfect wedding. Here is what to consider when hiring a planner:
- Reputation: Working with someone who has stellar reviews is a great way to ensure your wedding will also be a success. You can get recommendations from friends, family, colleagues, or people close to you. Using social media can also be a great way to track down people who have good work ethic.
- Experience: How many foreign weddings has the wedding planner handled? While a planner may have excellent services, they may not have what it takes to navigate planning a wedding for foreigners. Lean more towards people who have dealt with varying wedding situations.
- Availability: You do not want to work with an overstretched wedding planner, as this will reduce your consultation time. Get to know the schedules of all the planners you wish to hire and focus on the ones with the least workload. Also, ask them how many weddings they take on at a time to understand their possible workload during your wedding.
- Style: A wedding planner’s role is to bring your wedding to life by implementing what you want. And while this might seem easy, it can be challenging when the planner has a different style from yours. Review what the planner has done in the past and its proximity to your vision. Then, choose the planners who have executed similar themes as your wedding will be right up their alley.
- Comfort: Gut feelings are key when choosing the person who will hold your hand throughout the wedding process. Do you feel comfortable entrusting your wedding to the planner? The sooner you choose someone who feels like the perfect fit, the easier it will be to work together.
Pricing also matters. Some planners prefer a fixed amount, while others charge a commission based on the wedding costs. You can review the quotes and determine the one that best matches your budget.