For Irish couples marrying abroad

a) Get your documents early

Catholics living in Ireland but having a church wedding in another country must have their wedding documents prepared in the home parish and sent to the bishop's office abroad. Pre-marriage course cert should be one that is approved by your home diocese.


b) Have your Cert authenticated

Many parishes abroad want your pre-marriage course certificate formally authenticated by the priest responsible for your course, and stamped with a seal. To avoid complications, if marrying in Italy, France, Spain, Croatia or Poland, try to have your cert stamped by the priest directing your pre-marriage course.


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To help in your planning, install our free Irish Wedding Planner app (Android)

See also our page on Getting married in Rome


The Civil Requirements

The civil requirements are those of the country where the marriage 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, Sacrament in Ireland

[or vice versa]

A couple might want their civil ceremony in one country and the sacramental wedding in another. For example, your civil marriage may be held 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 an honorarium of at least Euro 500 to cover flight and accommodation. This is preferable to asking him to submit a list of his expenses later.


Preparing a Bilingual Wedding Booklet

If of 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.

Using a wedding planner?

This service may not come cheap, but many couples engage a wedding planner to deal with the practical details, to liaise with the local priest (if he does not speak English), hotel, florist, photographer, musicians etc. These services can be found on the internet, by a simple search that conjoins the phrase " wedding-planner " with the place where you are marrying: Tuscany, Catalonia, Prague, Dubrovnik, Krakow, etc.

Have your wedding planner help in arranging the ceremonial. For instance:

  • Getting to the church by car: the wedding planner should ensure that (for the bride's arrival at least) the church is reachable by car; and tell the driver the exact route to be taken (this can avoid the need for her to walk the final ten minutes, possibly in the rain, because of one-way or No-Entry regulations!)

  • Contacting the parish-priest: The wedding planner should know of any local rules or prohibitions to be observed in the ceremony, which might differ from modern practice back in Ireland.

  • Contacting the celebrant: If the celebrant is coming from abroad, the wedding planner should liaise with him 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 are brought to the church in good time for the ceremony, to be given to your guests as they arrive.

  • Punctuality: The Wedding Planner should be present at the church at least ten minutes before the ceremony, to liaise between the visiting priest and the sacristan, organist etc., about any 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.