Legal Wedding – Marriage Solemnisers explained

Legal weddings can be conducted in Ireland by those who are registered to solemnise legal marriage ceremonies.  You will find their names and contact details in a document titled “Register of Solemnisers” available from the HSE website.

Registration on the Register of Solemisers is not open to the general public. It is restricted to nominated personnel who must belong to an approved secular or religious body.

Marriage Solemnisers in Ireland are categorised by three marriage types according to the government:

  1. Religious
  2. Secular
  3. Civil

Here are the 3 categories explained:

  1. Religious = Marriages conducted by those belonging to an organisation with a Religious purpose and a belief in God.  This includes designated Religions who conduct beautiful religious ceremonies in their own churches, temples and other places of worship, along with the church-less interfaith Religious bodies who conduct non-denominational interfaith ceremonies for people of all faiths or none at any non-Religious location of your choice throughout Ireland.
  2. Secular = Includes both non-Religious organisations setup for a community purpose, and any Religions without a belief in God.
  3. Civil = Conducted by Registry Office staff (Includes Civil Registrars and office staff ).  A registry office marriage can be conducted either in the Registry Office, or at an outside venue of your choice (subject to inspection)

Religious or Secular you might ask?  Sometimes they can be one and the same!

Why? Some religions are non-theistic, ie. have no belief in God or the supernatural so are not recognised as a Religion in Ireland. So Marriage Solemnisers from those Religions are put into the category of Secular.

What does that mean?  This means that not all Religious bodies are required to conduct religious ceremonies. Some Religious bodies are interfaith, ie. they have interfaith principles.

This means they are required to conduct their ceremonies according to the beliefs and wishes of the couple, no matter if those beliefs are non-Religious, Spiritual, Religious or mixed faith. Interfaith Marriage Solemnisers can conduct either secular, spiritual, religious or mixed faith ceremonies.

No wonder there is so much confusion for the public!

So what does this all mean?  Well the main thing to remember is you no longer need to have two wedding ceremonies in order to have your wedding at a venue, date and time of your choice.

Many years ago you once had to do the “legal parts” separately by having a Registry Office marriage, and have your own personalised ceremony elsewhere on a different day with friends and family.   But it is no longer necessary to have two wedding ceremonies on different days like this.  So why would you ever consider it?

Modern couples in Ireland, realise that there are now thousands of Marriage Solemnisers registered to conduct legal marriages in Ireland, so the choice is up to you!

  1. Choose your beliefs, then –> 2. Choose your Marriage Solemniser /Celebrant

For more information about Secular Religions and to find out which Secular organisations in Ireland are Religious, you can see this article on Wikipedia: