|(Checklist for an Irish Wedding 2011-2012)|
Booking the Church
Booking the Church is normally done with a priest, in the parish where you wish to marry. If this is not the bride's parish, she should have a note from her parish priest, approving her marriage taking place elsewhere. In most parishes this booking can be done through the parish secretary or the sacristan.
The couple (i.e. not the Bride's mother!) should make this contact personally. This booking should be made at least three months before the intended wedding date.
Booking the Priest
At least three months before the wedding you should arrange with a priest to celebrate your sacramental marriage and sign your Marriage Registration Form, as official Solemniser. While the priest you select need not necessarily be from the parish of either the bride or the groom, he must be accepted by the administrator of the church where the wedding is to take place.
To conform with civil regulations, your wedding priest's name must be listed on the Registrar's register of solemnisers.
Book an approved Pre-Marriage Course
This is required in most dioceses as part of your Pre-nuptial Enquiry - always needed in order to have a sacramental marriage. You can check with the priest providing your wedding documents whether your intended pre-marriage course actually fulfils the required marriage preparation.
It is not clear what approval some courses have; they may look good online and yet not fulfil church regulations in your area. If in doubt ask your local diocesan office. While online pre-marriage courses are not approved by any diocese in Ireland, in exceptional cases your wedding priest might allow some latitude regarding a course done online.
The Pre-nuptial Enquiry Form
As part of the church's pastoral care for engaged couples, you need to do a Prenuptial Enquiry with one of your local priests. After the interview, he completes a Pre-nuptial Enquiry Form for you, which is an essential part of your wedding documents
This form records when you were received into the Church at Baptism and later Confirmed as adult members of the Catholic Church. It also indicates that you are free to marry and helps identify any special permission that you might need. It affirms that as an adult Christian you understand the nature of marriage and accept the duties and responsibilities of married life.
The Pre-nuptial Enquiry Forms of both bride and groom are sent to the parish priest of the place where the wedding is to take place, and afterwards these Forms remain in the parish archive.
This is to be sought from the church of your baptism. Very often it is the parish secretary who will issue this cert for you. You may need to collect it in person; phone in advance, so that the cert can be prepared, from the parish records.
The Baptismal Certificate to show your priest during your Prenuptial Enquiry should be of recent date (i.e. during the previous six months), so that it can also serve as documentary evidence of your freedom to marry, in the eyes of the church.
After the wedding, notification of your marriage will be sent to the church of your baptism where it will be recorded alongside the the record of your baptism.
Note: if there's doubt whether a copy of your Baptismal Certificate can be found (e.g. uncertainty about where your Baptism is recorded) you should notify your wedding church about this as early as possible, in case a provisional Baptism needs to be organised for you.
Get it from the church where you received your Confirmation. Very often it is the parish secretary who will issue this cert for you. You may be required to collect it in person. Phone in advance, so that the cert can be prepared, from the parish records.
Letters of Freedom (or Affidavit)
Documentary proof of your single status is required. The level of documentary proof required can vary from parish to parish. In extreme cases, you might need letters of freedom from every parish where you've lived for more than six months, since you turned eighteen. If this would involve an unrealistic paper-chase, the parish where you are marrying might settle for another kind of documentary proof, viz. an Affidavit or sworn statement.
Ask your wedding parish what level of Documentary proof is normally required. They just might settle for a personal letter from your parents, attesting your single status .
Registration of Marriage
Couples getting married in the Republic of Ireland are required to personally notify the Registrar of their intention to marry, at least 3 months before the intended wedding date. This notification can be given at any County Registrar's office.
If there is no impediment to your marriage, the Registrar will issue a Marriage Registration Form (MRF) giving you the civil permission to marry. This applies whether your marriage is to take place in church or in a registrar's office.
Before the marriage ceremony, you should give the MRF to the solemniser of your marriage. Immediately after the wedding the MRF should be signed by the spouses, the two witnesses and the person solemnising the marriage. It is the duty of the spouses to return the completed MRF to the registrar's office, so that their marriage will be duly registered.
Wedding Mass Booklet
While this is not required, for the convenience of their guests many couples opt to produce a personalised Wedding Mass Booklet, with their details and the texts they have chosen as the context for their vows.
Your Wedding Music
Alongside your readings from the Bible, the music you select for your wedding plays an important part in setting the context for your marriage vows. You should choose the songs and hymns in conjunction with your chosen singer(s), and incorporate the song titles within your wedding booklet.
Some detailed suggestions about music suitable to the wedding ceremony, and wedding singers whom we are happy to recommend, can be found on our Music webpage.
Apply for a Papal Blessing
Many newly married Catholic couples like to have a Papal Blessing scroll, to display in their new home. If you want one to be read out at your wedding, you should apply for it at least three months in advance of the wedding, along with a letter of recommendation from your parish priest.
Select the scroll you want, in any major bookshop. The cost of the scroll includes a standard offerring that goes to the designated papal charities, in return for the favour of having your scroll signed in the Vatican, by some official, on behalf of the Holy Father.
If you want the papal blessing scroll to include a wedding photo of yourselves, incorporate that choice in the sort of scroll that you select.
These too are entirely at the couple's discretion.
You should tell the sacristan what arrangements you've made, to ensure that your florist and carpet-layer will have access to the church at the appropriate time.
Ushers & Altar Servers
It is usual to appoint at least two Ushers for the wedding ceremony, to help show your guests to their places, distribute the wedding booklets and generally make themselves useful to the groom in having everything ready for the bride's arrival at the church.
Altar Servers are not required for a wedding, but can enhance the ceremony to have one or more servers on the sanctuary. If you do invite Altar Servers to minister at your wedding, please ensure that they will be nicely robed (usually in soutane) and know what to do (the celebrant or sacristan will tell them); and then give them some recognition afterwards for their services (about 20 euro in an envelope will be very well received!)
Register your Marriage
A couple intending to marry in Ireland must give notification in person to a registrar, at least 3 months before their marriage date. Notification can be given to the Registrar's office in any county. If there is no impediment to your marriage, they will issue you with a Marriage Registration Form (MRF) which gives you the civil permission to marry.
Before your ceremony, give the MRF to your solemniser. After the ceremony the MRF should be signed by the spouses, two chosen witnesses and the solemniser. After the ceremony, it is the couple's responsibility within one month to consign the signed MRF to any Registrar (not necessarily the one who issued it), for the marriage to be formally registered. You can do so in person, or by registered post.
If the completed MRF is not returned to a Registrar within 56 days of the intended date recorded on the MRF, the Registrar can serve a notice on you requiring you to attend at the Registrar's office on a particular date with the completed MRF. You cannot get your civil marriage certificate until the marriage is registered.
Book your Reception
For "wedding reception ireland" gives about 9,000 hits -- so I won't even try to highlight a few. Every town and village in the country is well set up to provide this service for bridal parties. You just make your choice according to your preferred location and budget.
What is your priority between church and reception, since you need access to both venues on your proposed wedding day? You might book the date for your church provisionally, to be confirmed as soon as you can arrange your wedding reception nearby, for the same date.
A wide range of suppliers provide wedding finer for Brides Bridal and Grooms Wear (for brides see for example The Bridal Corner, Dublin; McElhinney's, Athboy, Co Meath; Fairy Tale Bride, Delvin, Co WestMeath; Sally West Dundalk , Co Louth; Tomorrows Derry, Co Derry. For grooms, see Blacktie, Dublin; Declan Rooney Menswear,Galway; Top Hat, Kilkenny, Lapel 1865, Cork, etc.)
Start talking about your guest list early in the wedding planning process. Before you start verbally inviting people, it's a good idea to sit down with your fiancé and answer these two questions. 1) What's your ideal number? First, make sure you and your fiancé are on the same page on this. Have you always dreamed of a small intimate wedding, or a huge bash? Do you envision a guest list of twenty or two hundred? 2) Who is so important that you can't imagine getting married without them there? Until you have your reception and ceremony venues finalized, you won't know how big your guest list can be. However, it's a good idea at this stage to start counting family and your closest friends, and get a sense of how many essential invites you have. After all, if you have sixty essential invites, you should probably forget about the charming chapel that only seats fifty.
Wedding Invitations and Stationery
You can spend a little or a lot on your Wedding Invitations, depending on how fancy you want them to be. Google Wedding Invitation Stationery for a list of printers who can supply your needs. An attractive Wedding Stationery package is offered by Colm O'Dowd at Hardcopy printers.
Unless both the church and the reception-hotel are extremely well known venues, it is well to include some directions on how to get there along with your Wedding Invitations. Preferably include a precise GPS (SatNav) reference, and exact distances from well-known local landmarks.
If you google "Wedding Transportation" you'll find many suppliers. The main vehicle is the one to transport the bride (and her father) to the church; and bride & groom to the reception afterwards. But you may also wish to arrange a bus to ferry your guests to the reception.
Stag and Hen Parties
These can be great bonding occasions and be utterly memorable. We simply suggest that you keep a sensible balance between boisterous high spirits and dignity on these celebratory occasions. Remember who you are, and that lots of non-commissioned photos (and even some videos) will be taken; and you won't have control afterwards about the uses to which those pictures might be put, on Facebook and elsewhere.
Florist, Musicians etc.
Give some thought to what you want in both these departments, and then check some of the online offerings under Wedding Florist, and Wedding Music. You might bear in mind what is said about Wedding Music and Singers elsewhere on this site.
These are entirely at the couple's discretion. They should ask both the Photographer and the person making the Video-Recording to liaise with the Solemniser, to avoid any undue disturbance during the ceremony. Here are soom googled results for Wedding Photographer and Wedding Videographer
Many grooms and most brides pay special care to their tailoring and personal grooming in the run-up to the wedding day, in order to appear at their splendid best for their wedding vows. A wide range of businesses offer their services in this area. Rather than promote specific providers in this area, let's just suggest that you google questions like "grooms wear ireland" or "irish bridal beauty" ...
Cakes & Catering
Here we propose two separate google queries: "wedding cakes ireland" and "wedding reception ireland" ... among the hits will be such firms as:
The Wedding Planner phenomenon really took off in Ireland about the year 2000. While this is reflects the days of Irish extravagance and they certainly add to the costs of the wedding, a good planner can still offer value for money, if both partners are busy in their respective jobs, right up to the wedding day.
For weddings abroad a Wedding Planner can be of practical value. Here is this reflection from an Irish couple who married recently in Crete: Our wedding planner is costing us €2000, but the wedding is in Crete, he has been extremely helpful. They usually charge €500 if it is a simple wedding, but as there are between 80 - 120 people coming to our wedding, there is more work involved... there is no way we could have organised things ourselves.
One small caveat: To ensure that you get the best value from your wedding planner, note the points made elsewhere on this site, on planning your wedding abroad.
Celebration & economy
In Ireland in recent years it was not unusual for the wedding day to cost upward of €25,000. But in times of significant recession, a couple has to wonder what economies can be achieved, while still having a memorable wedding day. Perhaps some creative elements of DIY can be brought to bear in planning your celebrations, so that you don't leave yourselves with virtually no disposable income in the first year of your marriage.
Some hotels are now offering keenly-priced wedding packages, e.g. for 100 guests at €40 each. Why not look at some of these options before deciding to "break the bank" with a ruinously extravagant fiesta?