Ultimate Guide to planning & designing your Civil/Interfaith /Spiritual Wedding Ceremony in Ireland
Photo caption: Daragh Doyle Wedding Celebrant & registered solemniser performing the wedding ceremony of At the Mill House Slane in October 2021
Sixty percent of couples in Ireland now get married in a non-Catholic church setting.
There are a number of different options:
What type of Ceremony to have?
People often think that a wedding ceremony not held in a traditional church is a Humanist ceremony.
That is not at all the case.
Humanism is a specific dogma and belief system.
You can have a non-religious ceremony that is not Humanist.
Do your research.
What is an interfaith/spiritual Celebrant?
Interfaith celebrants carry out ceremonies for people of all faiths and none.
You could for example have someone from a Catholic background marrying someone of no faith at all.
Religious rituals can be included.
I would describe myself as spiritual.
We do not impose anything on couples.
What is Humanism?
Humanism is widely misunderstood.
A humanist ceremony where a legal Wedding is taking place, is considered to be a secular ceremony and humanist solemnisers are listed on the secular register of Solemnisers.
There are specific restrictions around Humanist ceremonies, particularly when there is a legal Wedding taking place, in that there can be no mention of spirituality by word or music, and no religious rituals.
It's also very important to point out that you can have a non-religious wedding or celebration of life ceremony, that is not a humanist ceremony.
Choosing the Venue
There are lots of factors involved in choosing your wedding venue.
If you plan to have a legal wedding ceremony onsite at the venue, your venue must be approved by the HSE to carry out legal weddings.
There are a number of criteria around this for example the venue must be open to the public.
The vast majority of Wedding venues in Ireland will be approved to carry out legal weddings.
Make sure to ask the question when booking your venue.
Choosing your Celebrant
Photo caption: Daragh Doyle Wedding Celebrant & registered Solemniser carrying out final preparations at the Walled Garden Adare Manor in Limerick in April 2022
As outlined above I am an interfaith Celebrant, and I can carry out ceremonies for people of all faiths and none.
It is very important to choose the right celebrant for you to lead your wedding ceremony, one of the most important moments of your life.
Do your research.
One really good way to choose your Wedding Celebrant is ask for a video of a precious ceremony the celebrant has carried out, this will give you a really good indication of how the celebrant operates and if they are the right celebrant for you.
Below are some YouTube videos of me, Daragh Doyle, celebrant in Ireland & registered solemnised performing ceremonies:
Choosing the Solemniser if you want to carry out the legal aspect of the Wedding on the day.
If you wish to have the legal aspect of the wedding carried out on the day your celebrant will also need to be a registered solemniser.
Ceremony cost vary from 400 - 600 Euro.
Never choose your wedding ceremony based on cost, the differential is very small in the overall context of the Wedding Budget.
Paying an extra 200 Euro can make the difference in having a memorable wedding ceremony on the day.
Remember your wedding ceremony creates the energy for your whole wedding day.
Initial Ceremony Preparation.
Photo caption: Daragh Doyle Celebrant meeting Adam & Adam at their home in county Meath, to prepare for their Wedding Ceremony.
If at all possible, you should meet your wedding celebrant in person to do your Wedding ceremony preparation.
It makes a big difference to the energy of your wedding ceremony on the day, building up a relationship with your celebrant.
I meet most couples in their homes, in their own environment, which really gives me an opportunity to get to know the couple better.
Photo caption: Daragh Doyle Wedding celebrant and registered solemniser with Adam & Adam on the day of Thor Wedding at the Millhouse Slane on 17th August 2922.
Most couples will have live music, and I recommend having 4-5 pieces of music during your ceremony.
It really adds to the ceremony and there are many talented musicians providing lots of choice.
Some couples will have music played over a system in the venue. You will need to nominate someone who is technically in the ball.
Playing the music at the right time and having the technology right and ready is crucial.
This is one thing that can easily go wrong if not managed properly.
This is a great way to involve family and friends in your ceremony.
Most couples will have 2-3 readings or poems.
You can also include shorter reflections/ prayers of the faithful.
Below is a link to suggested readings & poems.
You should include 2-3 rituals in ceremony.
Popular rituals include:
Romantic time capsule
See my Rituals Blog Post for more information.
Photo Caption: Daragh Doyle performing the handfasting ceremony at the K club in Kildare in July 2022.
Your story & Journey as a Couple
I learn about the YOU! The Couple's story & Journey. How they met and got to know each other, how they are similar and what their differences are, what they like to do together, their engagement etc.
I tell the couples story during the ceremony and it makes the ceremony really personal to the couple.
Typical Ceremony structure
Bride entrance & music
Welcome & setting the scene
Unity candle part 1
Copies story & journey
Vows & exchange of rings
Proclamation of marriage
Unity candle - Part 2
Signing of the marriage legal forms. - Music during this time.
A further ritual such as sand ceremony / handfasting
Returning the Green folder marriage registration form
On the day of the Wedding, after the ceremony is completed, the celebrant should hand the green folder to a nominated and responsible person, who in turn should return it to the couple the next day.
It must be returned to the registration office who issued it within four weeks, do not delay, bring it straight back.
Final words of advice from me
As well as being a celebrant I’m also a wedding planner.
I have seen a lot of Celebrants in action during my time as a wedding planner.
There is a wide variance in the performance of celebrants.
A celebrant should be highly professional and deliver to a very high level, remember it’s one of the most important moments of your life.
Do your research!
See a video of your celebrant in action.....HERE you'll find some of me!
Don’t choose your celebrant on the basis of saving a few hundred Euro, it’s one of the most important moments of your life!
The right celebrant will make all the difference to the energy of your Wedding Day.
The Wedding Ceremony sets the tone and the energy for the whole wedding day.