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A wedding with a special twist

The recent wedding of one Dublin couple was made extra special by the fact that the mother of the bride was also the celebrant.

Kiefer McGinn and Rachael Hegarty were married in a civil ceremony at Dublin City Hall, one of the most popular civil wedding venues in the capital, by Rachael’s mother, Julie Hegarty, a Senior Registrar in the Civil Registration Service.

On her experience officiating her daughter’s wedding, Julie revealed, “For me, the experience is twofold. Firstly, I was the mother of the Bride, which associated a rollercoaster of emotions. Secondly, I was the Registrar officiating the ceremony which is my professional role.

“The challenge was merging these roles together, I found this particularly difficult when I caught sight of Rachael walking down the aisle with her Dad. That pulled on my heart strings and I had to remind myself (before she got to the top of the aisle!) that crying wasn’t an option, I knew if I started, I wouldn’t stop and I had a ceremony to officiate in a professional manner.

“I never imagined I’d have the privilege to officiate both of my children’s wedding ceremonies. My son got married in October 2015. It added something extra special, that I know not everyone is fortunate enough to experience. Both of my children loved that they could include me as part of their ceremony in my professional capacity as well as their mother.”

Kiefer McGinn and Rachael Hegarty

Julie’s colleague and fellow registrar Louise Dodrill explained that there has been a dramatic increase in the popularity of civil wedding ceremonies. For the second quarter of this year, (April – July) there were 600 civil marriages officiated by their Registrars in Dublin alone.

“The freedom of a civil ceremony is that you can design and develop your ceremony, to personalise it into a bespoke wedding, by adding extra details such as a candle, sand and hand tying ceremonies or other additions that might suit the couple. With regard to content, the only rule we have is that we’re not allowed to favour any particular religion, hence why there’s no mention of religion,” explains Louise.

Civil ceremonies can take place in your local Registry Office or off-site, at an approved venue. Your local Register’s Office can guide you through seeking venue approval if your ideal venue is not already approved for civil ceremonies.

Getting married in Ireland can be a very straightforward process once you know what you’re doing! Given that marriage is something you don’t do every day, here are some top tips.

1.       Book early! Every couple getting married in Ireland, are required to serve a minimum of 3 months notice to the Irish State of their intention to marry, this is regardless of what kind of ceremony you’re having. Appointments and ceremonies fill up quickly, especially if you’re looking to get married on a particular date (eg New Year’s Eve).

2.       Paperwork Requirements – Use our paperwork checklist to ensure you’ve all your documents for your paperwork appointment. This can be found here.

3.       A civil ceremony can only be officiated by an appointed HSE Registrar between Monday and Friday. For other ceremonies, make sure your Priest or Celebrant is registered on the list of solemnisers. If they’re not, your ceremony won’t have any legal standing in the eyes of the Irish State.

4.       There is a statutory fee for all couples serving notice to the Irish State of their intention to marry of €200. There is no additional fee for a Registry Office ceremony, it’s considered a free service, but there is an extra fee if you decide to have an off-site civil ceremony.

5.       If you’ve any further questions, why don’t you call us on 01-8638200 or visit our office to talk to a Registrar. Civil Registration Service, Joyce House, Lombard Street East, Dublin 2.

 Photographs Courtesy of: Caroline McNally, Wild Things Wed Photography. Venue: Dublin’s City Hall, Dame Street, Dublin 2.