How to Legally Elope in Ireland

Hi, I'm Alisha!

I’m Alisha, Leesh, and lovingly known as Loco Leesh (she/her). I wear many hats as your elopement photographer. I’m also here to be your guide, planner, resource, best friend and hype woman. I'm here to laugh, cry, and occasionally dance alongside you. I'm also a barefoot hippie veteran. Betcha never saw that coming! What really sets my soul on fire is connecting with people on a deeply personal level *My Pisces is showing*. I’m here to tell you that you have permission to DREAM BIG on what you think your wedding day should look like. Because your crazy love deserves to be captured in an authentic way. 


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November 9, 2022

Hello, my lads and lassies, I see you’re considering having an Irish destination elopement but have no idea how to get married in Ireland as a U.S. Citizen. My name is Alisha and I’m here to help break down how to legally elope in Ireland. Unless you’re a lawyer and love this kind of thing…I’m guessing that figuring out the logistics isn’t a top priority when you could be focusing on other fun things that go into planning your elopement. It can be very overwhelming being a foreigner and trying to figure out how to legally elope in Ireland. It basically comes down to two choices. One is easier than the other. One is more “official” than the other.

First things first, the biggest difference between these two choices is that you get to either sign your marriage license at home or sign it in Ireland. The first question I have to ask is, is that something that matters to you on your wedding day? Your answer will help dictate how you navigate these two options.

Option one: Symbolic Wedding Ceremony in Ireland

You can either get legally married in your country of origin and do a symbolic ceremony in Ireland (meaning you’ve legally signed your marriage license in the place where your home address is). Then it’s all legally taken care of and your elopement will still be treated like your big day. You’ll still wake up on the day of your elopement, get ready, do a first look with your spouse (if that’s your thing), go on an adventure to an epic location in Ireland, exchange personally written vows, do a traditional handfasting, seal the deal with a kiss, pop some champagne and get the best photos ever!

Pros:  It’s much easier to go this route. It’ll be less of a legal/logistic nightmare to take care of it in the U.S.

Cons: You can’t say that you were “legally” married in Ireland. But who cares? If it’s a technical hang-up for you, then that’s your provocative but you can still say you eloped in Ireland because you’re choosing to acknowledge that as your special day.

Option two: Obtain Your Marriage License in Ireland

This option requires more legwork in regard to paperwork, but at the end of the day, you officially say you were married in Ireland. Again, you’ll wake up on the day of your elopement, get ready, do a first look with your spouse (if that’s your thing), go on an adventure to an epic location in Ireland, exchange personally written vows, do a traditional handfasting, seal the deal with a kiss, sign your marriage license, pop some champagne and get the best photos ever! Okay, let’s get into the details. There are a few things that need to happen in order for your marriage to be signed, sealed, and delivered. 

You must apply to get married in Ireland at least 3 months before your wedding day. The specific term is called a Marriage Registration Form (MRF). You can either go in person or attend an appointment over the phone. Make sure you have all forms of ID (birth certificate and passport) on hand and readily available. You can book an appointment here. The marriage notification fee is €200 and is non-refundable. To register your marriage license is absolutely free in Ireland but to order a certificate it is €20.

For your marriage to be legal, your ceremony has to be performed by a solemnizer (similar to what we know to be an officiant). To make the ceremony itself official in Ireland you have to make two declarations during the ceremony:

  • That you do not know of any impediment to the marriage
  • That you accept each other as husband/wife/spouse
  • You must have 2 witnesses present who are over 18

The place your hold your ceremony matters (legally)

Two other things to consider for your marriage to be considered legal in Ireland is that the place you get married must be:

  • Open to the public (cannot be private property)
  • Must have a physical address

The requirements with the second option can limit the epic locations you get hitched at in Ireland. Of course, you always have the option to file your marriage license at home. It all depends on what truly matters to you for your wedding day. If signing your marriage license on Irish soil is important to you, then we can easily make that happen. But if you don’t care about a piece of paper on your big day, then there is that freedom as well. In order to fully understand how to legally elope in Ireland, I recommend doing your own research. After all, I’m not a lawyer and this is in no way legal advice. 🙂

As always, I’m here to help plan and capture your epic Ireland elopement. Need some Ireland photo inspiration? Check out this honeymoon portrait session in Benbulbin, Ireland.

My Ireland Elopement Packages start at $4,500 and include:

  • Options of 4-Hour, 6-Hour, and 8-Hour Packages
  • 100+ Page Elopement Planning Guide
  • Unlimited Guidance & Consultation Calls
  • Custom Timeline
  • All Travel Fees and Expenses, including permits & visa applications-Minus something extra like a helicopter ride 😉
  • Vendor Recommendations
  • Location Scouting of The Best Locations in Ireland
  • Upgrade to 1:1 Vow Writing Consulting (pst did I mention I have a background in copywriting?)
  • Discounted Photo Album Design Services (with creative and romantic storytelling of your gorgeous elopement)
  • Gallery Slideshow
  • 500+ Culled and Edited High-Resolution Photos
  • Digital Gallery with Printing Rights
  • Surprise Gift From Me


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