Are you having trouble filling in your “capture of data form” in preparation for your marriage notification appointment, or deciding what kind of ceremony you’d like for your big day? Are you further confused by the myriad of “expert” websites with so many different and conflicting explanations of what ceremony types exist in Ireland?

That’s not surprising at all, because the explanation of the ceremony types available in Ireland do vary greatly depending on who you speak to.  The best person to consult regarding explanation of terminology in the Marriage Act is a person who is registered to conduct and solemnise legal marriages.  As a registered solemniser of marriages, I am required to abide by and therefore have a faultless knowledge of the Marriage Act of Ireland.

I will explain the three ceremony types described in the Marriage Act, and on your “capture of data form”.  The three ceremony types in the Marriage Act are Civil, Secular and Religious.

A Civil ceremony is a registry office marriage ceremony conducted by a Civil Registrar or other HSE Civil Registration Office staff, hence the name “civil ceremony”.   For a detailed description of how this differs with the civil ceremony in Australia, including why there is so much confusion in Ireland about what a civil ceremony means, you can learn more from my blog article What is a Civil Ceremony in Ireland Really?

A Secular ceremony is a legal marriage ceremony conducted by a registered solemniser of marriages who is a member of a secular organisation (an organisation who either doesn’t have a specific belief in God or who doesn’t permit their members to have a belief in God),   The organisation also specifies what kind of marriage ceremony its solemnisers can conduct. 

Because the beliefs and purpose of each secular organisation is individual and unique to that body and can vary so greatly, it is not possible to generalise by saying that every secular ceremony is non-religious.  This does not mean that a secular ceremony is non-religious, or that a secular ceremony can’t be spiritual either.   That depends enitirely on the requirements set by the secular body itself which the solemniser belongs to and what beliefs the solemniser has declared to abide by when becoming a member of the secular body.

A Religious ceremony is a general term for any legal marriage ceremony conducted by a registered solemniser of marriages who is a member of a Religious body, which either worships or otherwise permits a belief in a Divine being.  The Religious body also specifies what form of marriage ceremonies their solemnisers can conduct.

The diversity of religious bodies means that there are many who have an inclusive interfaith philosophy which allows them to welcome people from all faiths or none to take part in their activities without any discrimination of any kind. 

Therefore it is just not possible to generalise by saying a solemniser from a Religious body can only conduct religious ceremonies.  There are solemnisers who are Priests, Pastors, Ministers and Ceremony Officiants who belong to religious bodies with an inclusive interfaith philosophy which allows them to conduct inclusive ceremonies of all styles to suit the beliefs of the couple without discrimination of any kind.

I invite you to take some time to browse my website and learn more about me and my work, including some of the many testimonials I have received not only from couples I have had the honour to work with over the years, but also from their family & friends.

I would be honoured to work with you to create your unique & personalised ceremony of your dreams no matter how big or how small. 

Please don’t hesitate to call me to see if I am available for your big day.

Sharon Q.

Ceremony Officiant / Registered Solemniser

Earth Spiritualist Interfaith Minister, Modern Spiritual Teacher, Musician,
Spiritual Humanist, Visionary & creator of dreams

Tel: +353 (0) 858 313 43

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