We got back from our honeymoon the other day to find our Marriage Licence waiting for us.
My new mother-in-law had kindly delivered our Marriage Registration Form (MRF) to the registrar while we were away, and was able to get two copies of our licence printed on the spot. The only thing I didn’t realise is that, despite already paying €200 to register the marriage, we would be charged a further €20 for each copy of the licence!
I know that forecasts more than a couple of days out aren’t really that reliable, but it doesn’t stop me checking.
What we don’t want, for the big day, is for the weather to be too hot, or we’ll be sweating away – and conversely we don’t want it to be cold and wet either, for obvious reasons.
Instead of obsessing about something entirely out of my control, maybe I should instead focus my energies on the numerous bits of wedmin that need addressing.
In Ireland it’s a legal requirement that you need to register your intent to marry with a registrar at least 3 months prior to your religious or civil ceremony.
The process involves:
- Both the bride and groom attending the registrar’s office with a selection of paperwork (passports and birth certificates as a minimum).
- The registrar then fills in a form on their computer to capture your personal details, including your PPS numbers, the place where you are getting married, the name of your solemniser (priest or registrar), your parent’s names, and the names and dates of birth of your two witnesses.
- You then both make a written declaration of no impediment to marry. This is to state you are over 18, of sound mind, and are not related to each other through blood or marriage.
- You pay the registration fee, which at the time of writing is €200!
- The registrar then issues you with a Marriage Registration Form. This is the piece of paper you sign on your wedding day to make the marriage legal. The form replaces the old marriage registers that individual churches and registry offices would keep. The Marriage Registration Form has to be returned to the registrar within one month of the wedding, and they will then issue the Marriage Certificate.
The process to register our marriage was a little more troublesome than some because we were both born outside of Ireland. We both had to get our birth certificates legalised by the authorities in the countries where were we born. I had to send mine to the UK and I got it back within a week. My fiancée on the other hand had to go to the South African embassy and apply for a new birth certificate (they wouldn’t legalise the original one), and that took just over 2 months to come back – and by all accounts, that was a speedy turnaround.
Anyway, so we both attended the registrar’s office yesterday afternoon, and we now have our Marriage Registration Form. All the legal stuff is now out of the way. So for the next 14 weeks we can concentrate on organising a wedding!
We had been advised a few months back that we would need to register to marry, but didn’t realise quite how complicated the process would end up being.
By law in Ireland, regardless of whether you intend to marry in a church or a registry office, you need to give 3 months notice to the local registrar’s office of your Notification of Intention to Marry. Without this notification, you cannot legally marry in Ireland.
The process to give your notification involves both the prospective Bride and Groom attending a meeting with the registrar – and for that meeting you need an appointment, which you apply for using an online appointment system. At the appointment you have to hand over a €150 fee (another wedding expense!) and various documents – your passport and your birth certificate (plus related divorce/annulment/death documentation if previously married).
If either the bride or groom were born outside of Ireland (in our case, that’s both of us), then your birth certificate needs to be validated as being genuine by the country that issued it, with the affix of an Apostille Stamp. To get this Apostille Stamp, you need to either contact the embassy or government of the nation, and send them your original birth certificate for legalisation.
Because I was born in the UK, I need to send my birth certificate to the Legalisation Office of the UK government. They charge £30 (plus £14.50 return postage) to check the birth certificate and affix the Apostille stamp. The web site says they turn around most applications quite quickly in a few days, but if they have difficulty validating the document, it may take several weeks.
My fiancee, although she’s Irish, was born overseas as well – in South Africa. So she had to apply for the Apostille stamp from the South African authorities, and we were warned that that might take up to 3 months to be processed.
I’m glad we decided to start this process nice and early; otherwise we’d be panicking about getting everything done in time!