How To Plan The Perfect Same-Sex Wedding in Limerick

Thanks to Irish citizens’ almost unanimous vote in favour of marriage equality in 2015, same-sex / LGBTQ+ marriages are legally recognised here. There are a number of ways to legally marry in Ireland. We welcome all types of weddings at Clayton Hotel Limerick. Discover our tips on choosing between a humanist wedding vs civil ceremony when planning your perfect day.


Humanist Wedding vs Civil Ceremony

What is a Civil Ceremony?

Civil ceremonies have been a legalised form of wedding since 1836. There is a list of approved civil ceremony locations in Ireland that you can choose to be married in. These include all types of venues such as hotels, manor houses, castles, restaurants, heritage centres, museums and more. In this type of service, the wedding solemnised by a licenced registrar (civil servant).

It’s worth noting that:

  • Civil ceremony venues need to be pre-approved and licensed as certain regulations apply. Civil ceremonies cannot take place at a beach, field, woodlands. Any venue for a civil ceremony must be open to the public.
  • Civil ceremonies are non-religious.
  • Legally binding services can only take place between Monday to Friday in Ireland.
  • Ceremonies last up to 45 minutes and you need to arrive 15 minutes beforehand.

How to plan a Civil Ceremony

  1. Choose where you would like to marry in and make an appointment with the local registrar of that area.
  2. At the meeting, you will notify the registrar of your intent to marry. This needs to happen at least 3 months before your wedding (though we recommend allowing at least 7 months).
  3. You’ll tell the registrar which venue you plan to get married in. You’ll also tell them the date of your wedding and share the names and birth dates of your two witnesses.
  4. You’ll both need to bring the following documents:
  • Passport
  • Birth cert
  • Any divorce papers from a previous marriage
  • Death cert in the case of a widow or widower
  • PPS number
  • €200 fee
  1. After these steps you’ll be issued a marriage registration form.
  2. As the wedding date gets closer you’ll be asked to confirm any readings, music or vows you plan on having for the ceremony.

What is a Humanist Wedding Ceremony?

If you would prefer more freedom of choice when it comes to your wedding ceremony you can opt for a humanist ceremony. Couples are married by an accredited Humanist Association of Ireland (HAI) celebrant and the service is completely bespoke and personal. You can work with the celebrant to design a tailored ceremony that can include any non-religious traditions, readings, music and vows that you like.

  • Humanists do not believe in God or the supernatural. They respect scientific evidence and have a special appreciation of the world around us.
  • Humanist weddings (depending on your celebrant) can take place on any day at any time.
  • Humanist weddings may take place outdoors however they cannot take place in a private location that isn’t usually open to the public.
  • The ceremony tends to last around 30 minutes.

How to plan a Humanist Wedding

The steps involved in planning a humanist wedding are very similar to those of planning a civil ceremony.

  1. Consult the list of HAI approved celebrants to find a suitable celebrant in that area that you wish to marry in and arrange to meet with them.
  2. Chat with them about the type of ceremony you would like to have and give them the details of your ceremony venue.
  3. Confirm that the celebrant is available for your wedding date and arrange payment. Humanists cost between €470 and €500. This includes a contribution of €70 to the HAI.
  4. Work with your celebrant to create your preferred kind of ceremony. They will work off a ceremony template and can help you to include any traditions etc that you might like.
  5. You need to give a minimum of 3 months’ notice to the HSE registrar’s office about your intent to marry. You’ll then be issued a marriage registration form that you must bring to your wedding ceremony. You’ll need the same documents as listed above for the civil ceremony.

Next on your wedding planning list is to determine your budget.

Calculating your wedding budget

Your wedding budget mostly depends on the size of your guest list, your chosen venue costs and what you can afford. It’s important to calculate an estimated budget figure so that you and your fiancé can plan the perfect wedding without exceeding your limits.

Steps for calculating your wedding budget:

  1. Check if anyone is contributing to your wedding
  2. Calculate how much you can afford to save each month
  3. Make a mock guest list to get an idea of numbers and costs per head
  4. Identify and prioritise the “non-negotiable” aspects of the big day i.e. banquet dinner, live music, videographer etc
  5. Complete thorough research to identify any hidden costs that need to be included i.e. alteration costs, tips, late bar extension, hair and make-up trials etc
  6. Compare your total estimated costs with your budget and go over it again and again making changes until the figures match

Now that you’ve discussed and decided on all the basic elements of planning your wedding it’s time to start viewing wedding venues, attending wedding showcases and think about flowers, decor and outfits. How exciting! Allow yourselves plenty of time to plan these aspects of your wedding and try to enjoy the whole process – you’d be surprised at how quickly the time flies by.

Same-sex wedding venue in Limerick

At Clayton Hotel Limerick our civil ceremony space is on the list of approved venues by the HSE and boasts wonderful views overlooking the river Shannon. Our bespoke wedding packages range from €50 to €66 per person and all include a dedicated team of experienced wedding professionals to help you plan the perfect wedding. Get in touch to speak to a member of our wedding team to discuss your big day and see the glowing wedding reviews from our happy couples.

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