Sitting on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, as the gateway to Europe, Ireland offers a host of idyllic locations for unforgettable weddings.

Steeped in history and romance, the lush green landscape dotted with remarkable castles and period country estates offers charm, breathtaking scenery and of course its famously warm welcome; making it the ideal location for your wedding day.

So, what do you need to consider to get married in Ireland?

Firstly, the law. It is possible for non-residents to have a legally recognized marriage in Ireland, be that religious or civil. We'll talk a little more about this shortly, and on what you need to do and who you need to contact, but first, it is a good idea to decide when and possibly where you might like to get married in Ireland.

Embrace the Irish weather

When choosing a destination wedding location, couples often do so to be guaranteed good weather. Part of Ireland's charm is that the weather, regardless of season, can never be guaranteed. Rain can and does fall throughout the year.

Thankfully it is considered to be extremely lucky to have rain on your wedding day and also can make for some pretty spectacular photos. With this in mind, if you are considering an outdoor ceremony why not include rain boots and umbrellas to add to the charm, or ensure your venue or location has an indoor option too. Many of our stunning wedding venues have fabulous conservatories or garden rooms for this very reason. Even though rain can fall through spring and summer, from May to October is generally when we see our best and warmest weather.

Ireland has so much to offer...

Ireland, as you may be aware, consists of 32 counties, each offering its own unique landscape, traditions and venues. As the land of the saints and scholars, Ireland is host to some of the most beautiful churches, abbeys, and cathedrals in the world, and even those which are now classed as ruins still make for stunning ceremony locations.

While the country is small, easily fitting inside the state of Indiana, because of our equally small population of 6.3 million, most of our castles and period properties are set in large swathes of land. If you dream of being Lord & Lady of the Manor or indeed King & Queen of your own castle, that is all possible here in Ireland. Many of our beautiful historic properties are available for private hire where you and your guests can 'move in' for a few days or even a few weeks while you wed and holiday in Ireland.

Irish wedding traditions

With Ireland's rich history dating back to 8000 BC, it would be remiss of any couple traveling to Ireland to make such a commitment to each other, not to include Irish Wedding Traditions in their ceremony and wedding day. Here are a couple you might like to consider:

• Irish Brides put the Infant {or Child} of Prague {a religious statue} outside in the garden the night before their wedding to guarantee good weather on their wedding day.

• A silver sixpence/ marriage coin/ old Irish 5 pence is put in (or on the bottom) of the bride's left shoe to symbolize wealth. This is not just to bring the bride financial wealth but also a wealth of happiness and joy throughout her married life.

• The top tier of a wedding cake, traditionally a fruit cake, is ‘saved’ for the christening of the firstborn child of the couple wed in Ireland.

• A (very old) Irish wedding tradition saw Brides wear their hair in braids with ribbon and lace woven through them. Braided hair is an ancient Irish symbol of feminine power and luck.

Top tips and requirements...

When planning a wedding, regardless of location, it is of course essential that you work with amazing wedding professionals. Often those planning a wedding from such a distance will benefit hugely from the services of a Wedding Planner. Being familiar with the area and the requirements, limitations and expectations, they can be an invaluable source of information, supplier recommendations and peace of mind. They can also help you create other trips and excursions for you and your guests to enjoy while you are here as well.

A wedding planner will also be able to guide you through the legal process of getting married in Ireland, which will require you to first choose a location where your ceremony will take place and to make contact with the Registrar based in or servicing that locale, at least 3 months before your intended wedding date. (Although it is recommended to do so at least 1 year out to avoid disappointment.)  You will find a full list of the Registrars in Ireland here.

To get married in Ireland you will of course need to provide certain paperwork, facts and dates. You can consult with the Registrar on what you need for your specific case, but a general list may be found here.

On agreement with the local Registrar, nonresidents of Ireland can post in their marriage notification to the Registrar, but they are required to attend a meeting with the Registrar at least 5 days before the marriage to complete their declarations of no impediment and produce the necessary documentation and particulars and be issued with their Marriage Registrar Form (MRF) - the Irish equivalent of a Marriage License. This is the case for both Religious and Civil marriages and partnerships in Ireland. A Religious Ceremony may also require additional meetings with the Priest in advance of the ceremony.

So, if you are looking for a magical, romantic destination for your wedding that you and your guests will treasure for a lifetime, Ireland should definitely be top of your list!

* Bláithín O'Reilly Murphy is the author of Distinctive Weddings; Tying the Knot without the Rope Burns.

** Originally published in 2016, updated in 2023.