Church Papers

Each Catholic getting married needs a completed Pre-nuptial Enquiry Form which will be provided by one of the priests of your current parish

This takes about 20 minutes to complete and is usually done by appointment. Both people do not need to be present unless you already live in the same parish. Each Catholic party to the marriage needs to have one completed by his/her priest.

If your partner is not a Catholic or is a non-Catholic Christian (has been baptised in a non-Catholic Christian church whose baptism is recognised by the Catholic Church e.g. Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist) the priest completing your premarriage papers will need to apply to your bishop for a ‘dispensation’ or permission. (This is because it is understood that the Sacrament of Marriage is normally celebrated by two Catholics.) Your priest will process this for you. Allow extra time (usually about two weeks) for this process.

When meeting with the priest to complete the papers - at least a month before the wedding, - you need to bring:

  1. A Certificate of Baptism from the church where you were baptised, which has been issued in the six months prior to the date of the marriage.
  2. A Certificate of Confirmation from the church where you were confirmed (not required if your Certificate of Baptism includes a record of Confirmation).
  3. Letter(s) of Freedom: Needed if you lived for more than six months in a parish other than your current one since you were aged 16. (Obtainable from a priest of the relevant parish(s); not needed for college years.)
  4. Evidence of pre-marriage preparation. (A Certificate is normally issued to you at the end of the recognised courses.)

The priest who completes the pre-marriage papers with the groom-to-be forwards his papers to the priest who completes the papers for the bride-to-be. He then forwards both sets (if applicable) to the parish priest or priest-in-charge of the church where the marriage is to take place.

These papers are used to fill in the information required for the State’s Registration of Marriage Form and they are then filed at the parish where you get married. An entry detailing your marriage is also made in the church’s Marriage Register. The church where you were baptised is also notified and an entry is made in your baptismal record. The parish church of the place of your marriage will be able to supply you with a church certificate of marriage.

State Requirements

Following the commencement of Part 6 of the Civil Registration Act 2004, anyone notifying a Registrar after 5 November 2007 of their intention to get married in Ireland must give 3 months notification in person to the Registrar. This applies to all marriages, whether solemnised by a Registrar or according to religious rites and ceremonies. The Registrar does not have to be the Registrar for the district where you live or where you intend getting married.

You need to make an appointment with the Registrar in order to give the notification. In order to ensure the notification is given at least 3 months before the date you intended getting married on, it is advisable to arrange the appointment well in advance. When you make the appointment with the Registrar you will be informed what information and documents you need to bring with you.

When you attend the Registrar you will have to make a declaration of no impediment. The Registrar will issue an acknowledgement to both of you and the proposed solemniser of the marriage confirming the date of receipt of notification. If all the information required has been supplied and there is no impediment to the marriage, the Registrar will issue you with a Marriage Registration Form (MRF). The couple must present this MRF to the priest solemniser in advance of the wedding day.

At the end of the wedding ceremony you will be asked to sign the Marriage Registration Form. This is witnessed by your best man and bridesmaid, signed by the priest, and returned to the couple. The couple must return this MRF to the registrar no later than a month after the marriage ceremony. The marriage is registered for the state by the local registrar and the local registrar will then be able to supply you with a civil certificate of marriage.

For up-to-date information and all matters relating to civil registration of marriage in Ireland consult the General Register Office