Practical Guidelines

a) Get your documents early

Catholics living in Ireland but planning to celebrate their sacramental wedding abroad will need to have their wedding documents prepared in the home parish and sent via their diocesan office to the bishop's office abroad. This should be done in good time, usually two months ahead of the wedding.

b) Include your pmc cert

Some parishes abroad will want your pre-marriage course certificate to be officially authenticated/signed by the priest or deacon who is involved in conducting the course. Preferably have it stamped with his seal.

c) Wedding in Rome

If marrying in Rome, for more information click here.

Civil Requirements

The civil requirements are those of the country where the wedding takes place. Contact the relevant embassy here in Dublin. You may need a Nulla Osta (Italy), or Certificate de Coutume (France) document issued by the Consular Section, Dept of Foreign Affairs / Phone [+353-1] 478-0822. See the website of the Registry Office (Ireland) under the section "Getting Married".

The legal status of a marriage abroad is governed by the laws of the country where you marry. For civil purposes, a marriage certificate issued in a foreign jurisdiction is accepted in Ireland if you also provide an official translation from a recognised agency. Having married abroad, if you later need a copy of your marriage certificate, you can get one through that country's embassy.

In Ireland a marriage in church is also deemed valid in civil law, but (depending on the country) a church wedding abroad may not constitute a civil/legal marriage either there or here. If the church ceremony has no legal standing in the country where it occurs, neither will it have legal standing, back in Ireland.

Civil wedding abroad, followed by sacramental wedding at home [or vice versa]

A couple might for some good reason want to have their civil ceremony in one country and celebrate their sacramental wedding in another. Your civil marriage might, for example, take place in Spain, France, Italy (or wherever), followed by a sacramental nuptial ceremony back in Ireland, provided your local parish-priest gives consent for this in advance.

Alternatively, the civil marriage in Ireland could be followed by a sacramental, catholic wedding abroad. In this case, your church documents must be sent from your home diocese to the bishop of the foreign diocese. Most foreign dioceses ask that all documents be to hand well before the wedding date (at least two months). Make sure your pre-marriage course cert is one that is duly approved by your home diocese.

If their priest is flying out to bless their wedding abroad, we suggest a stipend of at least Euro 500 to cover flight and accommodation. This is preferable to asking him to submit a list of his expenses later.

A bilingual wedding?

If the bride and groom's mother-tongues are different, a bilingual wedding booklet can be prepared from texts elsewhere on this site. If you should need a bilingual priest to help celebrate your wedding, you can enquire from 087-820-4156, or on the day of your course; we may be able to help you to find one.

Wedding planner?

Many couples engage a wedding planner to liaise with the local priest (if he does not speak English), hotel, florist, photographer, musicians etc. These planners can be found by a web-search linking "wedding-planner" with the area where you are marrying (e.g. Tuscany, Catalonia, Prague, Dubrovnik, Krakow, etc.)

How the wedding planner can help regarding the ceremony:

  • Get you to the church: The wedding planner should ensure that (at least for the bride's arrival) the door of the church can be reached by car; and plan the exact route to be taken (to avoid the need for walking the final 200 metres, possibly in the rain, because of one-way or No-Entry regulations!)

  • Know the local rulest: The wedding planner should know of any local rules or prohibitions to be observed in the ceremony, which might differ from our practice in Ireland.

  • Contact the celebrant: If your celebrant is coming from abroad, the wedding planner should make contact in advance, to discuss any details needing to be arranged with the local church.

  • Wedding booklets: The wedding planner should ensure that your wedding booklets (if applicable) are at the church ahead of the ceremony, to be distributed to your guests as they arrive.

  • Punctuality: The Wedding Planner should get to the church at least ten minutes before the ceremony, to liaise between the visiting priest and the sacristan, organist etc., if there are last-minute details to be agreed. WP should also be there at the end, to ensure that the guests know the way to the reception, if this is other than the hotel where they have been staying.