Changes to the laws in Northern Ireland on marriage and civil partnerships
The UK Government will make regulations that will mean civil marriage between couples of the same-sex, and civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples, will be lawful in Northern Ireland from 13 January 2020.
Registration Staff will be delighted to help you with your formalities.
Couples marrying in Northern Ireland have a choice of either a religious or civil ceremony. The initial arrangements are the same for both types of marriage. It is important to organise the date and time of your marriage as soon as possible.
Any two people can marry in Northern Ireland as long as:
- both are at least 16 years of age on the day of their marriage – anyone under 18 will need permission from their parent or guardian, or if appropriate a court order to allow the marriage to go ahead
- they are not related to each other in a way which would prevent their marrying
- they are unmarried (any previous marriage must have been ended by divorce, death or annulment)
- they are not of the same sex
- they are capable of understanding the nature of a marriage ceremony and of agreeing to marriage.
To make sure both parties meet these criteria, you must each complete a marriage notice form, and supply the other necessary documents needed to get married, before your ceremony can take place. These should be returned to the Registrar’s office in the district where you plan to marry. Please contact us if you have difficulty coming into our office with your marriage notice forms and documents.
Click here to download Marriage Application Form
Types of Ceremony
You can choose to have a civil or a religious wedding.
Religious Ceremonies: A religious ceremony can only be performed by a religious officiant, who has been registered as an Officiant and authorised by the Registrar General to conduct marriages. Before you give notice of marriage you must decide when and where you want the marriage to take place. A couple wishing to have a religious ceremony should consult with the Officiant and agree a date and a venue. A religious ceremony may, with the agreement of the Officiant, take place anywhere in Northern Ireland.
Civil Ceremonies: A civil marriage can be conducted by a registrar for the District in which it is to take place. You can hold the ceremony in the Townhall, Enniskillen or the Grange, Omagh or you can have your ceremony performed in one of the approved venues. Remember to make early arrangements with the Registrar. View gallery of images below.
To view the locations of approved venues for civil ceremonies on a map please click here
A registrar can officiate at a civil ceremony at an approved venue, at either 12noon or 3pm, subject to availability. Click here to make a booking enquiry.
Getting Married Outside of Northern Ireland
If you are getting married in the Republic of Ireland and live in Northern Ireland you will require a Certificate of Legal Capacity of Marriage (letter of Freedom). Contact the Registration office in the area where you live as you will have to complete marriage notice application forms and submit paperwork and documents in your local office.
If you are getting married outside the UK and ROI you will need to check with the authorities in the country where you are getting married exactly what is needed. Detailed information is available from the NI Direct website
The General Register Office, based at Colby House, Stranmillis Court, Belfast, BT9 5RR, provides help and advice about the following issues:
• getting married overseas
• immigration requirements
• ordering historical birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates.