You must give 3 month’s notice of your intention to marry in person to a Registrar at your local Civil Registration Offices, which are offices of the HSE. You are supposed to book your appointment online but anytime we tried the system was down until finally we found out that all the appointments for the next 6 months in Galway were booked up.
We decided to go into the offices ourselves and see if there were any cancellations and we were lucky enough to get one for about 3 weeks time.
You need to have the following documents with you at your marriage notification appointment:
- Original full Birth Certificate
- Name & Date of Birth of both witnesses
- PPS Number
- Proof of address
- 200 Euro notification fee
- Additional fee if you want the ceremony in an outside venue.
- Data capture form
The address for the office in Galway is: Civil Registration Service, Community Services, 25 Newcastle Road, Galway. The office is open from 09:30 to 16:30 monday to friday.
If you are booking your civil ceremony while at the appointment it is important to remember that civil ceremonies can only take place from Monday to Friday. Not every venue will be suitable for a civil ceremony, the venue must meet certain criteria. It must be a licensed venue and be approved by a Registrar. They have to inspect the venue so it is important to know what venue you are hoping to use when you are at your notification appointment. Here are the venue rules:
- The venue must be seemly and dignified.
- The ceremony room must have adequate capacity.
- It must have unrestricted public access without charge and meet health and safety requirements.
- It must have adequate public liability cover.
- It must be accessible to all including those with disabilities.
- The venue mustn’t have any connection with any religion or religious practice.
- It must be a fixed structure.
The ceremony must be conducted by a Registrar (in this case a Civil Servant). Two witnesses must be present and they must be aged 18 or over. There are two declarations that must be made by you and your partner, these are: That you do not know of any impediment to the marriage and that you accept each other as husband and wife.
Your ceremony can be as short or as long as you want it to be. It can be almost any format that you want as long as you do not make any references to religion. I found that when composing our ceremony this list was great to follow:
- Opening Words of the Officiant
- The Giving in Marriage
- Opening Reading
- Definition of Marriage
- Wedding Vows
- Second Reading
- Exchange of Rings
- Unity ceremony
- Declaration of Marriage
- Introduction of Newlyweds
We have decided against the unity candle and will be tying a fisherman’s knot instead.