New law gives couples new options for wedding venues

A new law has come into effect this week giving couples wishing to marry in Ireland more freedom when choosing their ceremony venue. The new law allows couples to marry in venues other than churches and registry offices for the first time in Ireland.


Until now, civil wedding ceremonies had to be held in a registry office but from now on, couples can apply to get married in alternative venues that will need to be approved by the authorities.


The new law is also introducing some changes in the application process and couples must now meet registrar officials in person to apply for a marriage registration form, while the residence requirements of civil marriages are also being removed.


“The new laws are great news for Irish venues as it opens lots of new marketing options and it will encourage and for people from abroad wishing to have their wedding in Ireland so it will help with Irish tourism,” comments Wedding Planner Rosemarie Meleady of


The change in the law follows a growing popularity of civil marriages in Ireland. According to the CSO, the number of civil marriages was just over 22% of all marriages in 2006, five times higher than in 1996, when just under 6% of all marriages were civil ceremonies.


However, there are still some restrictions and the new law states that the chosen wedding venue must be open to the public and in a ‘fixed structure’, ruling out the possibility of marquees, private lands, beaches or mountain.


A new register of ‘solemnisers of marriage’ lists the people legally enabled to perform civil marriages and weddings. People not on this list will not be recognised by the State.


-If you need to find out more details about the new law please visit the Citizens Information Office at or the General Register Office website at