A New Ireland – Guide to Getting Married

The people of Ireland nervously went to the polls on Friday the 22nd of May. That was the day that they would decide the future for same-sex couples who want to have the choice to get married. After months of heated campaigning from both sides, rumours were rife that it was too close to call; that the ‘no’ vote would win out because so many people were undeclared during polls. Saturday morning came, and the first thing I did upon waking was to check Twitter. ‘Early signs indicate a Yes to marriage equality’ was the first headline to catch my eye. As the day progressed, county after county declared a winning yes vote, and by early evening, we finally received the official announcement. A resounding YES to marriage equality had been given by the Irish people, with 1.2 million votes in favour of the referendum, ousting the con by almost half a million votes. It was the largest turnout in Irish voter history for a referendum, and a testament to the tireless campaigns over the past few months for people to get out and use their vote, and to use it for good.

There were quite a few proposals on Saturday night among the revelry, and so today I want to talk about the legal side of getting married in Ireland. This applies to both opposite- and same-sex couples, so don’t feel left out! This guide should give you a good insight into the process of applying for a marriage licence, and how to go about registering.

Whether you choose to have a religious, civil or secular ceremony, you will firstly need to notify your local Registration Office of your intention to marry. This must be done at least 3 months before your wedding date. If you intend to have a civil ceremony, this will be performed by a registered solemnizer from the HSE and you can make this arrangement at the same time as registering your intention to marry; however bear in mind that there are limited time slots available, a limited number of solemnizers that can perform the ceremony and it is only available Monday-Friday during office hours. Therefore if you are hoping to have a Friday afternoon ceremony in high-season (April-October), you will need to give much more notice than three months to get your preferred time slot and date.

Types of wedding ceremonies, how to get married in Ireland wedding blog

In order to register your marriage, you and your partner must be of consenting age (over 18, although exceptions can be made by applying to and successfully making a case at the Circuit Family Court or the High Court) and free to marry each other, i.e. not already married to someone else. You must produce proof of identity in the form of a valid passport and birth certificate. If one or both of you was born outside of Ireland, you must produce your birth certificate from your country of birth (this must feature the seal of that embassy). If you or your partner are divorced, you must provide official proof of this; likewise if you are widowed you must produce the death certificate of your former spouse and original marriage certificate. A €200 registration fee is also required. At this point you will also be required to advise the office of your intended date of marriage, what type of ceremony you intend to have, the names and dates of birth of two witnesses and the contact details for the ceremony provider, e.g. priest or humanist solemnizer.

Types of wedding ceremonies, how to get married in Ireland wedding blog

If you have chosen to go with a religious, i.e. church, or secular or humanist ceremony, you must make arrangements with the ceremony providers in your own time. This may incur additional fees. If you have chosen either of these routes, you may be booking your wedding date a year or two in advance – you do not have to register with the HSE until at least three months beforehand in this case, although it is worth getting this out of the way as you will be busy with other wedding plans at this point.

Types of wedding ceremonies, how to get married in Ireland wedding blog same sex marriage

Should you be living abroad and intending to get married in Ireland, it is possible to notify the HSE by post of your intention to marry. You will need to provide copies of the above mentioned documents, the registration fee, and you must also arrange to meet with the HSE in person at least 5 days before your wedding to produce necessary documentation. Postal notification may also be given when you are not living in the intended jurisdiction of the HSE where you are getting married; i.e. if you live in Dublin but plan to marry in Tipperary.

Once you have provided all documentation and the registrar is satisfied that you have no impediment to marriage, you will be issued with a marriage registration form (MRF). This form should be given to the person who performs your marriage ceremony in advance. If for any reason your wedding does not take place on the date stated on the MRF, e.g. due to illness or bereavement or other extenuating circumstances, the ceremony must take place within 6 months of that date, otherwise a new MRF will be required.

Top Wedding Stationery Tips

This is a piece I did recently for Weddingdates.ie, offering some handy tips and advice for planning your wedding invitations.

You’ve spent months planning the perfect wedding day, and now the time has come to actually invite people. Depending on your budget, you may decide to have your invitation suite designed by a stationery company, or you might choose to D.I.Y. As a stationery designer, I have seen all types of couples coming to me for help, from the ones who are super prepared and are ordering their invitations 6 months in advance, to those who tried the D.I.Y. route and failed miserably, and even those who left it til the very last minute to arrange.

True Romance Weddings

If you are thinking of going down the D.I.Y. route, I have to offer a caveat. Many people think that making their invitations themselves will be quicker, cheaper and easier on the whole. Unless you are an artist/graphic designer/crafting expert, or have a friend or family member who will be very generous, this will take time, and money! You need to take into account the time it will take to come up with an idea (this could be hours trawling through Pinterest), searching through websites or art shops to gather materials and then hours upon hours of printing, cutting and sticking. When you are initially gathering materials to try out, you might end up spending an awful lot of money on things you’ll never use. If you are trying to fit in making your invitations around a job, family and other wedding planning duties, you may be too tired to focus on the make-and-do, and end up with a costly mistake – like one bride who printed 200 cards with “Wedding Invation” on the front!

True Romance Weddings

If you choose to go with a stationery designer or printing company, don’t leave this until the last minute. As a rule of thumb, I would recommend people book their invitations at least 4-6 months before the wedding. Work backwards from your wedding date – if you are sending your invites out 8 weeks before the wedding, you will need 2-3 weeks prior to that in order to address them. Most designers will have a minimum notice period for ordering so that they can get the materials required – this could be 4 weeks or more depending on how busy they are. Bear in mind also if your wedding is not long after Christmas – there are postage restrictions in place for a number of days and many suppliers close down for the two weeks over Christmas.

True Romance Weddings

I’m often asked about the importance of ‘save the dates’. This is a ‘mini’ invitation that couples can send to guests well in advance of the wedding (often 6 months to a year beforehand) which outlines the date and the area the wedding will take place in. This is a big trend in the U.S.A. and is slowly trickling in to Ireland and the U.K. If you’re concerned about your budget, I would say you don’t necessarily need to send save-the-dates, but if you have family or friends travelling from abroad it is a great idea to give them extra notice so that they can secure flights and accommodation. Meanwhile, for the formal invitation, 6-8 weeks notice is plenty of time, but if you are getting married over special occasions such as Easter, Christmas or bank holidays, it may be worth sending out 8-10 weeks beforehand.

Finally, some tips to remember before you send out your invitations.

  • Number your RSVPS to avoid confusion – many people forget to actually write their names on the reply before sending it back to you, so by keeping a numbered list of your invitees and marking each reply card lightly in pencil, you’ll know exactly who’s coming.
  • Speaking of RSVPS, make it easy – include a reply card with your invitation or give the option of replying by email or text. Try to avoid a situation where you are trying to call everyone to get an answer three days before your wedding!
  • Triple and quadruple check your proof, and have someone else check too – your stationer should provide you with a digital proof to sign off on all text and spelling before going to print.
  • Order extra – especially useful when you’ve messed up someone’s name or spilled something, and if you have additions to the guest list at the last minute. A good rule of thumb is to order an extra 10%.

Finalist in the 2015 Social Media Awards!

I was really excited to get an email notification from the Social Media Awards this afternoon announcing the finalists for the competition as True Romance Weddings had already made it to the semi-finals for Best Blog of an SME. Lo and behold, when I opened the link for the list of finalists, there we are! I’m so excited to be a finalist among the real kings and queens of social media in Ireland, and it’s great to know that the blog is still going from strength to strength after winning at the Blog Awards last autumn. The awards ceremony takes place in Dublin on June 3rd; it’s going to be a busy week for me as it’s my other half’s brother’s wedding that weekend but I’ll make it work! Stay posted for any updates…

Social Media Awards sockies 2015 finalist badge

Inviting Kids to your Wedding

The issue of whether or not to invite children to your wedding has always been a big debate. There are many couples who feel it is not an issue at all or feel they have no choice as they have siblings and close friends with kids. Others feel very strongly that it should be an adults-only event, and so begins the struggle to get the message out to their guests without causing offence. If you choose to have a child-friendly wedding, here are some tips to help make your day run as smoothly as possible while keeping it fun for guests of all ages.

Make it clear on the invitation

First things first; if you plan to have an adult-only wedding, or keep it to immediate family members’ kids only, then make this clear from the invitation. You might also be happy to have kids at your ceremony but not the evening event. Be specific with who you address the invite to; and don’t be afraid to include a note or a little poem to let guests know that it will be a child-free event. For example:

Please celebrate with us

at an adults-only reception

immediately following the ceremony

Please respect our wishes for a child free reception

In order to allow all guests, including parents, an evening of relaxation we have chosen for our wedding day to be an adult only occasion. We hope this advance notice means you are still able to share our big day and will enjoy having the evening off!

Children at the ceremony, we’d love them on the scene. Reception time, however, is an adult’s only theme.

How to word wedding invitation no kids adults only

Image via Finkle

Seating Arrangements

This is a big question that I am often asked. Should you seat children with their parents, or all together at one kids table? There are merits to both. If some of your guests have small kids (under the age of three), then I recommend seating them with their parents – this can be the safest place for them in the event of a tantrum! For slightly older kids (up to early teens), set aside a table for them. This will make it easier for the waiting staff to serve them first and you can place kids gift bags or colouring sets at each setting to keep them occupied during the long meal and speeches. If there are a lot of kids attending, it may be worth hiring a childcare provider to manage them throughout the meal, and to entertain before and after. Make the kids feel special with individual place settings, a paper tablecloth that they can draw on to their heart’s content, bubbles and goody bags filled with sweet treats, comic books, photo props and toys. Beware of anything small and sharp though, not to mind the choking hazard but if it goes astray it will no doubt be stepped on by an unsuspecting guest who has slipped off their heels for dancing!

Meals & Sweet Treats

Ensure your venue or caterer offers a kids menu option. In general, a kids menu will be suitable for children up to the age of 12 – think chicken nuggets, burgers, pasta and ice cream. This will be at a reduced price; so bear in mind if you have some slightly older kids or teenagers and are trying to save money, but be aware that they are smaller portion sizes and may not be suitable for a 15 or 16 year old. Discuss this option with your venue to see if there is the potential to offer a half-portion of the main adults’ meal, without the wine of course, at a reduced rate. A candy buffet or ice cream cart is a fantastic way to keep kids occupied too, but keep it hidden until after the meal so that appetites haven’t been ruined.

Kids ideas for wedding candy buffet table

Image via Mariage Original


Some kids can be the life and soul of the party, and are often some of the last to leave the dancefloor (probably all the energy from the candy buffet!). However, it is worth looking at other options to keep them entertained during the meal and after party. Ask your venue if there is an area where you can set up movies and popcorn, games and arts and crafts. There are also great wedding-specific childcare providers who will provide anything from regular babysitting duties right through to full-on entertainment for the kids, looking after them during the ceremony, meal and providing activities for the kids to do afterwards. This is especially useful if you or members of your bridal party have small children and want to have the opportunity to enjoy every moment of your wedding without worrying about a crying child or “I’m bored” face.

Kids ideas for wedding kids cave

Image via Offbeat Bride

*WARNING* Many of the above tips will more than likely appeal to adults as well! Don’t be surprised if the candy buffet is commandeered by your adult guests too…

Love for Everyone

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’ll be well aware that Ireland are just over three weeks away from voting on changing the constitution to allow same-sex couples to legally marry. At the moment, two people of the same sex cannot legally marry in Ireland, and if this referendum passes it will give them equal rights to opposite-sex couples who choose to marry. I have always been an advocate of equal rights for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religion and so on. It’s been wonderful to experience the sea of support for the Yes vote in the past few months; it is a credit to the young people of Ireland that the new generation wants same-sex couples to be recognised equally in the eyes of the law. In spite of the bullying and discrimination that LGBT people experience in this country on a daily basis, they and the people around them are still rising up to show that they are not afraid to say YES to equality and to love.

Having been involved with the likes of Amnesty International and Student Politics for many years as well as debate, I have always been one for a good argument. Of course, this should be a two-sided debate – there are pros and cons to everything, and everyone has a right to express their opinion. For too long in this country, the negative voices have risen above the positive, trying to keep us in the dark ages when it comes to progression and equal rights. Overshadowed by the Catholic Church, women have been denied the right to choose when it comes to abortion, and similarly, same-sex couples have been denied the right to be recognised by their peers as married spouses.  Quite often the government have taken a back seat and left it up to the people to decide what they want instead of simply introducing legislation, as has been done in other countries. A few months ago, I saw this as a cowardly position, that they were afraid to rock the boat and offend the church. However, having seen the outpouring of support for the Yes vote from all political parties in the past few days, I am feeling pride in my country and in my representatives.

The Yes side have been very vocal about what they want to achieve – equal rights for all, the right to marry the person you love. The No side, on the other hand, don’t seem to have a strong enough argument to counter that. Instead, they have taken the stance that allowing same-sex couples to marry will ruin the family institution. That by allowing them the marry the traditional family unit of mother, father and child will change, and this will degrade ‘traditional’ couples. They seem to have forgotten, or at the very least are ignoring the fact that it is already legal for same-sex couples and indeed lone-parents to have children through surrogacy, artificial insemination and adoption. Their only argument is that a child will not develop properly, not achieve their full potential if they are raised by anything other than a mother AND a father. The very people who are arguing that same-sex marriage will degrade and demoralise current traditional families are themselves degrading lone-parent families and adopted children. They have no consideration for children who have suffered unspeakable abuse at the hands of their ‘traditional’ families. I’m not saying that a same-sex couple is going to be any better or worse at parenting than this traditional mother-father set-up, but it will not make them any less prepared. The very fact that the Yes side is so vocal and is being supported by so many public representatives, organisations and companies shows that the future is in their favour. The underlying argument of the No side is really that they do not want equal rights for all – but they just can’t come right out and say that, can they?

That being said, yes, I am in favour of a Yes vote, but you, my readers, are entitled to your own opinion. If you do not support equal rights for all, then vote no. If you do, then vote yes. If you are undecided, then please, I am begging you, get informed, talk to your friends and family, visit the Referendum Commission for unbiased information, and make up your mind by the 22nd of May. Finally, check immediately that you are registered to vote, regardless of what your opinion is. Every voice counts, please use yours.


Best of Bridal Week Spring 2016

Ethereal. Frothy. Regal. These are the words that spring to mind as I gaze upon the Spring 2016 bridal collections. Lace is still featured, but in smaller smatterings than previous years (much to my delight, I’ve been getting a little tired of lace). Replacing it are soft, full skirts of tulle, organza and jacquard; while pastel tones of blue, blush and gold seep into the filmy skirts. Bodices are laced tight and adorned with crystals and tiny flowers, with strapless and off-the-shoulder becoming the dominant necklines for 2016. The ballgown skirt is queen. Many designers cite Shakespeare and fairytales as the inspiration; not surprising given the recent release of Cinderella. I’m reminded a little of Marc Jacobs Fall 2010 collection for Louis Vuitton, full of ladylike decolletage and nipped in waists, all the while celebrating curves. My only disappointment is Vera Wang – sure, she’s been experimenting a little with her couture collections, but to witness practically emaciated models draped on chairs in little more than their underwear and translucent tulle is a little unsettling – in my opinion, the opposite of what bridalwear represents.

My favourites from this season are Badgley Mischka, Carolina Herrera, Romona Keveza, Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta (Peter Copping’s debut bridal collection for the fashion house since Mr de la Renta’s passing), Reem Acra, Naeem Khan and Amsale. Ines di Santo and Jenny Packham also caught my eye on a couple of pieces. All in all, I’m excited about this one – it’s romantic, regal and altogether girly while still celebrating the female form.

So, do you agree with my picks? Or did you spot any others that you think should be featured here? Let me know!

All images are from Style and WWD

Wedding Colour Schemes – Coral Pink & Gold

After giving us a few days of glorious sunshine and warm* weather last week, the sun has gone behind the clouds again and we’re not sure when he’ll return. Nevertheless, I’m still dreaming of vibrant, summer colour schemes and this week I am being indulgent and looking at one of my favourite combinations – coral pink and gold.

*warm in Ireland equating to approx 18 degrees Celsius, it’s the little things in life.

Coral pink is a really vibrant, happy hue and when combined with a sparkling gold, creates the perfect summer theme. The sophistication of gold works so well with the fun coral pink. Think full, soft coral-hued blooms tied with gold ribbon; tickled pink cocktails in gold-rimmed glasses, bridesmaids in ombré shades of coral accented with glistening gold accessories. It’s also a combination that works really well for the guys – coral pink looks great with pretty much all suit shades, including black, charcoal, grey and taupe or beige. A great way to start when you’re thinking of how to incorporate these colours into your design is to look at geometric shapes and patterns. Circles, polka dots, chevrons and stripes all look great as a design feature for a really pretty and modern wedding. Below is some of our favourite coral pink and gold wedding inspiration.

Coral also works really well with pastel shades like mint green (or indeed any shade on the green colour wheel), lilac and blush pink, as well as navy or gray for a stronger palette. If you’re thinking of using coral pink and gold in your colour scheme for a fall or winter wedding but worry that it might be too bright, just recalculate! Substitute pale or yellow gold shades for rose gold, and accent with deeper shades of red and umber for a strong colour scheme that will work well into winter. For even more great colour scheme ideas, check out our Pinterest board!