Legal weddings can be conducted in Ireland by anyone who is authorised by the government to officiate legal marriage ceremonies.  You will find their names and contact details in a document titled “Register of Solemnisers” available from the HSE website.

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 interfaith Religious bodies who welcome those from all faiths or none.
  2. Secular = Includes both non-Religious organisations setup for a community purpose, and any Religious organisations without a belief in God.  Eg. Atheist or non-Theistic Religions.
  3. Civil = Conducted by Registry Office staff (Includes Civil Registrars and office staff ).  Ceremony is conducted either in the Registry Office, or at an outside venue out of office hours (subject to inspection)

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

Why? Some religions are not recognised as a Religion in Ireland so Marriage Solemnisers from those Religions are put into the category of Secular.

Why?  This is because in Ireland for an organisation to be registered as a Religion or Religious body, the organisation must have a belief in God.

What does that mean?  This means that a Religious body without a belief in God who conducts marriage ceremonies must be registered in Ireland as a Secular.  It also means that interfaith organisations who have a belief in God, who conduct either non-Religious, Spiritual or Religious or mixed faith marriage ceremonies to suit the beliefs and wishes of the couple, must be registered as Religious.

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 “legals” separately at the Registry Office 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.  So why would you ever consider it?

Modern couples in the know, 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 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:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_religion