Types of Wedding Ceremonies in Ireland

- Posted on: 08/12/2021 - Wedding ceremony lucan spa hotel LUCANSPACMS01

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When starting out with your wedding plans, chances are your first decision to make is what type of ceremony are you going to have. Not too long ago, this would have been a relatively easy (or limited!) decision, with nearly 90% of weddings taking place at a church going back 20 years ago. Nowadays, however, the choices available to couples have expanded. This choice, however, may have left you confused about the differing options available. Here, we look at the three main types of wedding ceremonies here in Ireland and the varying differences between each. 

Before we start, we’ll go through some common grounds between all different types below. Firstly, you must apply for a Marriage Registration Form or cert irrelevant of your ceremony type. To do so, you will have to set an appointment with your local registry office at least 3 months before your wedding date. It’s a good idea to have your ceremony type booked before this appointment, as typically you will be asked to provide details such as ceremony type, venue chosen and the name of the celebrant or solemniser of the marriage. There is a €200 notification fee to be paid at this time. 

Once everything is in order and you meet the criteria for getting married, you will receive your Marriage Registration Form (Green Folder) in which you, your witnesses and your solemniser will sign on the day you get married.

TIP: While a minimum notice of 3 months is needed, we would recommend booking your application appointment as early as possible due to the possibility of long waiting lists in place. 

Types of Wedding Ceremonies in Ireland
Generally speaking, wedding ceremonies in Ireland can be categorized into three types; religious, civil and secular (or humanist). We will give a brief overview of each here.

1. Religious
When we think of religious, our minds normally picture getting married in a church or place of worship. The process of having a religious ceremony differs with each denomination, and therefore it is recommended to discuss the arrangements with the church office directly. For example, some priests or celebrants will require couples to undertake a pre-marriage course prior to your wedding. The costs can also vary, with donations recommended of varying amounts ranging from €200 - €800. You may also be required to provide extra paperwork should you be choosing to marry in a parish you are not originally from. There will usually be certain rules on music and readings chosen during the ceremony.

Religious Wedding Ceremony

While these types of ceremonies fall into this category, there are also other types of ceremonies that are classed as “religious” such as spiritual ceremonies. These are non-denominational, legally binding ceremonies and are carried out by solemnisers from the Spiritual Union of Ireland, whom are listed on the Register of Solemnisers. Spiritual wedding ceremonies can take place at a wider range of venues, including outdoors and can normally be carried out 7 days a week. Spiritual ceremonies can include religious or non-religious readings, music pieces and rituals throughout the ceremony. The fee can vary from your chosen solemniser, but as a rule of thumb, a guideline price of €450 - €600 is the norm. 

Finally, many ordained Interfaith ministers are registered marriage solemnisers in Ireland and, similar to a spiritual ceremony outlined above, can carry out legally registered ceremonies at a location of your choice. Again, ceremonies in this manner can often be personalised to how each couple’s own wishes and generally adopt a more spiritual approach to the day. 

2. Civil Ceremony
Civil ceremonies are those performed by a registrar on behalf of the HSE or state. They are classed as a legally binding secular ceremony. Civil ceremonies take place either at your county’s registry office (Dublin’s is located on Grand Canal Street Lower) or at a HSE approved room or venue (typically at your wedding reception venue). Civil ceremonies occur on Monday – Fridays only. Therefore, if choosing this type of ceremony, be mindful that dates book out very fast and ample prior booking is recommended (especially for Fridays over the summer months). 

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Civil ceremonies cannot contain any religious material, including readings and music. However, contrary to some beliefs, readings and music ARE possible so long as they are secular or non-religious. It is also possible to celebrate a civil ceremony outdoors, so long as the outdoor space follows certain criteria (see more here). Civil ceremonies are in most cases the least costly option, with often only a small fuel fee included to have your ceremony take place in an approved venue. Lucan Spa Hotel is an officially approved HSE venue for both our indoor and outdoor ceremony options.

3. Secular or Humanist Ceremonies
Secular ceremonies are wedding ceremonies that avoid featuring anything spiritual or religious. A common misconception on secular weddings is that these are non-legally binding. This is not true, and a number of registered secular solemnisers feature on the Register of Solemnisers. 

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Humanist ceremonies are the most popular type of those classed as secular. These ceremonies are often very personal, focusing on each individual couple and tailoring the wedding ceremony to be meaningful, inclusive and reflective of the couple’s personalities. Humanists do not believe in a god or in the supernatural, and therefore would be non-religious in nature. For more details on humanist ceremonies, visit the Humanist Association of Ireland website here

Given their nature, the cost of a secular ceremony varies and couples are recommended to seek advice off the chosen secular body or solemniser for further advice and details. 

Getting Married in Ireland – Useful Information
Irrelevant of your chosen ceremony type, we have included a number of tips and useful information sources below to help you along the way. 

  • As mentioned above, you must apply for a Marriage Registration Form or cert irrelevant of your ceremony type. The fee for this is €200. You can find out more information on how to apply here
  • Make sure to check if your chosen celebrant or solemniser has the legal capacity to solemnise your wedding. You can check a full up-to-date list of legal solemnisers here on gov.ie
  • If you are already legally married and wish to celebrate a blessing with friends/family present at a future date (particularly popular during Covid-19 times), you can easily do so by hiring a professional celebrant to carry out a “non-legal blessing” whereby you can choose your own music, readings, poetry or rituals.


Lucan Spa Hotel offers a wedding day of your dreams in Dublin no matter what your size and plans. For more details and to arrange your own private viewing, you can contact our wedding team by filling out the online form here.

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