Are you engaged and beginning to plan your wedding, but not yet decided on that extra-special wedding venue?  What an exciting time it is for you right now!

Have you heard or read somewhere that for a civil ceremony you need to have your wedding venue inspected and approved by the HSE?  Or that you are only allowed to choose a wedding venue which is HSE approved?

I have seen this confusing information published online in various places.  I have also seen some websites of luxury hotels and other wedding venues stating that their wedding venue is “HSE approved for civil ceremonies”.    This further serves to confuse couples who don’t know what a civil ceremony means here in Ireland.  I have also seen this confusing and/or wrong information published in newspapers and online wedding blogs.  Confusing and/or incorrect information can sometimes seem like it is everywhere.

It is certainly true that for a civil ceremony you must have your wedding venue approved and inspected by the HSE,   Here in Ireland a civil ceremony is another name for a registry office marriage.  A registry office marriage is conducted by a Civil Registrar either in the registry office or at an outside venue of the couple’s choice, which can be either during or after office hours.  

With me as your solemniser, there is no need for your wedding venue to be HSE inspected and approved as it would for a registry office marriage.  Despite this, your choice of wedding venue does need to meet the same criteria as it would for a HSE registry office marriage, in order to comply with the Marriage Act, although there will be no official inspection of your wedding venue by the HSE.

As a registred solemniser I can provide you with the correct advice for choosing your wedding venue.

The first requirement is that your wedding venue must be open to the public without any hindrance (entry fee), and your wedding venue must also have a postal address.  The reason for requiring a postal address is that once you attend the HSE office to notify your intention to marry, (and pay your €200 notification fee) the HSE office will send a letter in the post to your wedding venue to notify them of your marriage and your marriage date.

Next, your legal marriage ceremony must be conducted in a dignified manner, which means the venue must have room or other dedicated space for your wedding ceremony, away from any other occupants of the building.  A good rule of thumb to use when choosing your wedding venue, is if you can’t imagine a HSE Registrar conducting a marriage there, then it just won’t be a suitable venue. 

For example in Ireland, you can’t be legally married at a remote scenic destination or in a public park or gardens, or at a ruins or other sacred site where there is no building and no postal address.  But if an outdoor ceremony at a remote destination, or in a public park or gardens, ruins or sacred site is something your heart is set on, it can sometimes be arranged as a non-legal ceremony with a legal ceremony elsewhere sometime before.  

You might ask yourself is all the extra effort really worth it for a non-legal wedding ceremony that doesn’t have any legal standing?  You might also ask yourself – won’t a non-legal wedding ceremony really just be a fake wedding?  If a wedding ceremony at a scenic destination is your dream, then no it won’t be a fake wedding and yes it is always worth the extra effort, please don’t ever give up on your wedding dream!  A wedding ceremony doesn’t have to be a legal marriage unless you want it to be, there are no rules at all regarding the location of a non-legal wedding ceremony.

I must add that there are some remote and scenic destinations in Ireland, including public parks, ruins or sacred sites which do have a building with a postal address, so if your heart is set on a favourite place or you would like some suggestions, please check with me to find out what’s possible.

It’s all a matter of having a detailed working knowledge of the Marriage Act, and knowing where those places are.

There is an abundance of luxury guest houses, hotels, mansion houses and Irish castles available to hire for your wedding reception & celebrations after, with beautiful forests or beaches on their grounds, there is even one or two wedding venues that I know of around Ireland which have spectacular clifftop views.  You really are spoiled here in Ireland for choices.

Please don’t hesitate to call me to see if I am available for your big day, I would be honoured to work with you.

Sharon Q.

Ceremony Officiant / Registered Solemniser / Lover of Unique & Personalised Weddings

SHAI Registered Sound Therapist, Yoga Alliance RYT200 Registered Yoga & Meditation teacher, MBII Registered Positive Mind Coach, Community Volunteer, Musician, Visionary, Creator of dreams
= Earth Spiritualist Interfaith Minister

Tel: +353 (0) 858 313 43

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