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Marriages

Any two people, regardless of where they live, can marry in Northern Ireland provided that they are:

  • Aged 18 years old or above on the day of your wedding (consent is needed if either is 16 or 17 years old)
  • Unrelated to one another in a way that would prevent them from getting married
  • Not already already a civil partner or legally married
  • They are not of the same sex
  • They are capable of understanding the nature of a marriage ceremony and consenting to marry.

Religious Ceremony

Officiants

Ministers, Priests, Pastors, or Chaplains, who will be solemnising marriages must be nominated to the Registrar General by a religious body and are known as Officiants.

Notice of Marriage

Notice for all religious marriages has to be given on the prescribed Marriage Notice Forms.  The Marriage Notice forms are available at all Registration Offices or you may download a copy (GRO-446) at www.nidirect.gov.uk/gro.  Each of the two parties must complete and sign a Notice Form.  The Officiant must also sign at least one of the Notice Forms to confirm that he/she has agreed to solemnise the marriage ceremony.  If your Officiant becomes unavailable to conduct the ceremony, contact the Registration Office where you gave notice to at once, as one of the Notice Forms must be signed by the substitute Officiant before the Schedule can be issued.

The parties should submit the Marriage Notice Forms to the Registration Office of the District where the marriage is to be solemnised along with the relevant documents (see below) and the notice fee of £44.00 cash/cheque or debit/credit card.  If paying by cheque, please make payable to ‘Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’.

Notice may be given up to a year before the date of marriage.  However, it is recommended that notice is given no later than 10 weeks before the wedding - the minimum notice period being 28 days before the date of marriage.  If you don't give 28 days’ notice, you may need to postpone your marriage.

Downpatrick and Newry Registration Office – Civil Partnership/Marriage Fees
Monday to Friday Room Hire £60
Monday to Friday & Saturday, 5-8pm Room Hire £90
Sunday and Bank Holidays Room Hire £90

Essential Documents to be Produced

All documents must be originals ie not photocopies and if not in English, accompanied by a certified translation.  These documents must be produced when giving notice.  The Registrar must see documents that prove your age, nationality and identity as follows:

Identity

A Full Birth Certificate (Long Version) showing parents’ details.

Status

  • If you are a widow, widower or surviving civil partner, the death certificate of your former spouse or civil partner.
  • If divorced - a decree absolute or a dissolution of Civil Partnership Certificate. A decree nisi is not acceptable.
  • If reverted back to a maiden name - the last marriage certificate must be produced.
  • If 16 or 17 years – Consent.  Consent Forms are available from Registrar.

Nationality
Passport or National Identity Card

If you are a non-EEA citizen, please read NI Direct’s Information on getting married in Northern Ireland for further information on the requirements.

Collection of Schedule

The Marriage schedule must be collected by either the bride or groom in person from the Registration Office where Official Notice was given, no earlier than 14 days before the marriage.

Solemnisation of Marriage

An Officiant can only solemnise a marriage when he or she is in receipt of a marriage schedule. Immediately after the ceremony, the schedule must be signed by the bride and groom, two witnesses (over 16 years of age) and the Officiant.

Return of the Marriage Schedule

It is responsibility of the parties to return the completed schedule, within three working days, to the Registration Office where Official Notice was given. This may be returned in person or by post. You may wish to ask a close friend or relative to do this important task.

Registration of the Marriage

Once the schedule is received the Registration Staff are responsible for registering the marriage. Then certified copies may be purchased from the Registration Office on payment of the appropriate fee. Certificates are £8 at the time of Registration, £15 thereafter.  You may pay by cash, cheque, debit or credit card.

Civil Marriages (Non-Religious)

Civil ceremonies are conducted by the Registrar and are non-religious.

They take place in each of the designated office wedding venues. They can also be conducted by the Registrar in other venues which have been licensed for weddings (contact Registrar for information) see: Approved Places for Civil Partnerships.

How and When to Give Official Notice

Notice of Marriage may be given within 12 months of the date of the marriage and is valid for 12 months.  The bride and groom must each complete a Notice Form and bring or send them to the Registration Office once within the 12 month period, but preferably no later than 10 weeks before the date of the marriage.

If you are having your wedding ceremony in the Downpatrick Registration Office, then notice should be given to the Downpatrick Registration Office.  If you are having your wedding in the Newry Registration Office, then Notice should be given to the Newry Registration Office.

Notice forms are available from any of the Northern Ireland Registration Offices or by downloading them at www.nidirect.gov.uk/gro.  The fees should be accompanied with the Notice Forms and all required documents. Contact staff for relevant fees.

Once the Registrar receives the two notice forms, fees and documents, the Notice takes effect from that date.  Then, the earliest possible wedding ceremony will be 28 days later (depending on availability).

Legal Requirements

To marry in Northern Ireland, you and your partner must be:

  • Aged 18 years old or above on the day of your wedding (consent is needed if either of you are aged 16 or 17 years old)
  • Unrelated to one another in a way that would prevent you from getting married (If parties are closely related to one another, they may not be allowed to be married, please check with the Registration Office)
  • Free to marry, for example, neither of you are already in a civil partnership or are legally married
  • Not of the same sex
  • Capable of understanding the nature of a marriage ceremony and of consenting to the marriage.

Essential Documents to be Produced

All documents must be originals ie not photocopies and if not in English, accompanied by a certified translation.  These documents must be produced when giving notice.  Failure to do so will mean postponement.

Identity

A Full Birth Certificate (Long Version) showing parents details.

Status

  • If you are a widow, widower or surviving civil partner, the death certificate of your former spouse or civil partner.
  • If divorced - a decree absolute or a dissolution of Civil Partnership Certificate. A decree nisi is not acceptable.
  • If reverted back to a maiden name - the last marriage certificate must be produced.
  • If 16 or 17 years – Consent.  Consent Forms are available from Registrar.

Nationality

Passport or National Identity Card

If you are a non-EEA citizen, please read NI Direct’s Information on getting married in Northern Ireland for further information on the requirements.