Legal Info

The Legal Bit…

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Getting married is not all about the glitz and glamour of your big day  – there are some (very important) legal bits you need to take care of first.


Couples intending to marry in Northern Ireland have a choice of either a religious or a civil ceremony. Any two people may marry provided that both are at least 16 on the day of their marriage; they are not related to each other in a way which would prevent their marrying; they are not married; not of the same sex; are capable of understanding the nature of a marriage ceremony and of consenting to marriage.

Anyone subject to immigration control wishing to marry or register a civil partnership no longer needs a certificate of approval, an entry clearance for the purpose of marriage or registering a civil partnership or settled status in Northern Ireland.

Anyone wishing to come to the North to marry or register a civil partnership will still need to obtain the correct entry clearance before they travel to the UK.

You should arrange for two people, aged 16 or over, to act as witnesses. The registrar needs to see documents that prove your age, nationality and identity. Provide your full birth certificate (long version) and passport.

Notice for all marriages must be given in the 12 month period prior and submitted early enough to enable the registrar to be satisfied that both parties are free to marry one another.

Normally, notices should be with the registrar about eight weeks. The minimum period is 14 days before. A notice of marriage costs £20 per form – separate notice forms are required for each person.

Civil marriage in a registrar’s office costs £33 from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday; £116 from 5-8pm Monday to Friday and from 9am-5pm on Saturdays, and £165 on Sundays, Bank Holidays, and at all other times.

A certified copy of a marriage registration costs £14. If obtained at time of registration, it costs £8.



Anyone marrying in Ireland must give at least three months notification before they marry. You must make this notification in person to any Registrar.

No matter how you marry (i.e., through a civil or religious ceremony), the registration process is the same. You are issued with a Marriage Registration Form (MRF) by the Registrar, following notification, which gives you authorisation to get married.

You give it to who will be solemnising your marriage. Following the marriage ceremony, the completed MRF should be given to a Registrar, within one month of the marriage ceremony, for the marriage to be registered.



If you are an Irish citizen and are planning to marry abroad, you should realise that the legal validity of your marriage is governed, in part, by the laws of the country in which you marry.

In most, if not all cases, the legal formalities abroad are very different to those in Ireland.