Requirements for Civil Registration
Northern Ireland (Marriage Schedule)
The Marriage (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 came into effect on 1 January 2004. This law has changed the way church weddings are registered in Northern Ireland. In addition to completing their Pre-Nuptial Enquiry for the Church, couples must now give notice to the local registrar of their intention to get married.
Notice may be given up to a year before the date of marriage; however it is recommended that eight to ten weeks notice be given. Notice must be given not later than 14 days before the date of marriage, but if you leave things as late as this you may be faced with the need to postpone your marriage.
To give notice to the registrar, couples should obtain a Marriage Notice Application Form (one each) from the Registrar’s office at the Castlereagh Borough Council offices across from Forestside Shopping centre or from the Belfast Registrar’s website at:
Once you have completed these forms (full notes are provided by the Registrar) you should bring them to the celebrant who will officiate at your wedding, for him to sign. Please note: if the celebrant is a deacon, visiting from a religious order or from outside the Diocese of Down & Connor he may have to obtain temporary registration, please speak to the Parish Office about this.
After you have returned these forms to the local Registrar (in the Church’s Council Area) and they are satisfied that you are both free to marry, they will, no more than 14 days before the marriage, issue a Marriage Schedule to the couple.
The Marriage Schedule is very important, if the celebrant does not have this document your wedding CANNOT take place. You should give it to him or leave it in the Parish Office 2-3 days before the wedding, ideally at the rehearsal.
After the wedding ceremony, the Marriage Schedule will be signed by the couple, the witnesses and the celebrant; this replaces the signing of the register. The Celebrant will return it to you immediately after the wedding; you should arrange to have it delivered to the Registrar’s Office within 3 days of your marriage, in person or by post. Further advice is available from the Registrar’s Office and website.
Couples getting married in the Republic of Ireland need to give three months notice to the Civil Registrar of the district in which the marriage is to take place. Further details can be obtained from the parish in the which you are getting married. If the Marriage is to take place abroad, or either of you is currently living abroad, or is a foreign national subject to immigration control please contact the parish to ensure that the Church as well as Civil documents are in order. For weddings in Rome, visit:
If you have any further queries regarding your Church Ceremony, please contact the Parish Office.