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Preparing for marriage

Planning your wedding day is an exciting time in your life: many congratulations! As you begin to plan for the big day, these next few weeks and months will undoubtedly be an exciting mix of joy, stress and questions. Through the work of the Church of Ireland Marriage Council, we want to assist couples with all the practicalities involved in a church wedding. And whilst there is much emphasis on the day itself, we encourage you to also consider the importance of marriage preparation, which provides a solid foundation that will sustain you as a couple in the years ahead.

Enrichment and support for married life

As a Marriage Council, we want to support married couples in the good times and the hard times. Relationship experts say that happy marriages are based on deep friendship. However as the years roll on, it can be so easy to take each other for granted. It’s therefore important to constantly work together at your marriage, and to be reminded of those early years when you first met and the things that brought you together. There are however times when couples recognise they need help from outside, and therefore through the Council, we can signpost people to counsellors both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Resourcing the wider Church

The local church is a source of hope within any community, because it reflects the love and acceptance found in Christ. As a Marriage Council we desire to resource local ministers and others who are involved in the support of couples considering marriage or who are already married.

For further assistance and support, contact your local minister in your local church.

Should you wish to know more about the work of the Marriage Council, please contact Aisling Sheridan   email: Aisling.Sheridan@rcbdub.org



Marriage in church is governed by the law of the land, as well as by the liturgy and rules of the Church of Ireland. For example, one of the partners seeking marriage must be baptized, and one of you must be a member of the Church of Ireland or of a Church in full communion with the Church of Ireland, unless, in exceptional circumstances, a bishop gives permission.  Similarly, a marriage must take place in a church building, unless a bishop gives permission, again in exceptional circumstances, for it to take place somewhere else.

In all instances, you will need to contact the local clergyperson of the church in which you hope to get married. You will then be able to have a conversation about marriage, what kind of wedding you are looking for, and also about making the arrangements for your special day.

You should check with the local church and clergy to see if they are free before making a firm booking for your wedding reception venue.

Responsibility for dealing with all of the civil requirements necessary to get married rests with you, the couple. More information on the notification requirements and the arrangements for registering a marriage is available on the following websites for each jurisdiction:

Northern Ireland:

Republic of Ireland:

Where one of you is divorced (or both of you are) marriage in church may still be possible.  
Please see “Regulations for the remarriage of divorced persons“ in the Appendices to the Constitution of the Church of Ireland, approved by General Synod 1996 as required by Canon 31
Your local clergyperson will explain the process to you, and he or she has to seek the opinion of the local bishop.