How To Plan Your Irish Church Wedding

If you have chosen a church ceremony, the quick steps will help you when deciding the right church and priest to marry you.

When selecting a church, some people prefer to use their local church or the church they have been attending. If you do not have a regular church you will need to make a list of the churches in the area in which you will marry. Visit each church, Sundays are best as you may be able to attend a service and meet with the priest informally. Seeing the priest give a service will also give you an idea on his style and his personality. When selecting a church it is important to not just go for the “pretty” church, you need to feel comfortable with the priest/minister and also in the church. Stand at the alter and try and imagine yourself on your wedding day, ask yourself does this feel like the one? Do I feel comfortable and relaxed? Finding the right church will be like finding your perfect partner, once you find it you will just know.

When you have found the perfect church, call the church office and check your wedding date is available. Churches can book out up to 18 months in advance so it is important to get in quickly and reserve your date.

Questions to ask the church office

  • How much is the church fee?
  • What does that fee include?
  • Does the fee include the priest/ministers gratuity?
  • Do they include flowers or will you need to arrange your own florist?
  • What deposit is required to secure your date?
  • What documents should you bring to your first meeting?

Also make an appointment for 6 months before the wedding to meet with the priest/minister. During this meeting you will be able to discuss the ceremony details. The priest/minister will generally have a sample order of service booklet and a few hymns, song suggestions for you to choose.

Some churches require you to attend a marriage preparation course, ask the priest if this is a requirement and they many also give you some information and course details in your area.

Questions to ask the priest/minister

  • Does the priest/minister allow personalised vows or poems?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • What are the rules with photographers and videographer’s during the ceremony?
  • Are rose petals, rice or confetti allowed to be thrown after the ceremony?
  • Are there any restrictions with the lighting of candles?
  • When should the rehearsal be held?
  • What music options are allowed? Modern music, classical music, religious music or church organ.

When you meet at the church check the following

  • Count the pews so you know how many decorations are needed.
  • Check the seating capacity for the front pews, this will help with seating allocations.
  • Draw a small sketch or take a few photos of the inside. This will help with decoration ideas and seating capacity.
  • Check street signs and take note of the zones allocated for wedding cars. It will make parking the wedding cars easier and legal on the day.

You’ll need to confirm details such as date, church, priest/vicar at least three months prior to your wedding. Even though you’re having a religious ceremony, your marriage must first be registered with the state. Meet with a Civil Registrar of Marriage a minimum of three months before your wedding, in order to get your Marriage Registration Form (MRF). This is essentially your marriage licence and will cost you approximately €200.

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