Having a non church wedding? A look at the different options for ceremonies.

Deciding on a wedding venue can be daunting-there are so many wonderful choices of venues! Most couples know from the outset whether they will be choosing a church or a another venue for their ceremony. Whichever venue you set your heart on, you have to also decide on what type of ceremony you are going to have, and what kind of celebrant you will choose.

Getting married outside of a Church setting can open up lots of possibilities, A popular option would be to have your ceremony and reception all at the one place, such as in a country house or castle. Another option is to have a ceremony with a reception elsewhere afterwards, like City Hall and then a venue of choice for meal and celebrations. You can also choose to be married in a nature setting, most couples do this in a venue where they can have both nuptials and celebrations, and in some cases such as elopements, it may be just the couple and the wedding team. Either way the choice is yours! Whatever you choose you need to be mindful of all the considerations to be made. So lets take a look at the options...


The first step is registering- no matter what kind of ceremony you decide to have, you will need to notify a registrar of your intent to marry at least 3 months before the date you plan to get married on. See here:



These can only be performed at HSE approved venues. They must be pre approved and licenced. Venues must be accessible, which rules out most ceremonies in more ourdoor settings. Exceptions can be made if it is and accessible garden or courtyard that is somehwere that is usually enjoyed by the public. The minimum lead time is 3 months, but its best to give longer to get a good day and time to get married.

You can find more information on this here.


If you decide against having a civil ceremony, then you will want to choose a celebrant who is aligned with your own ideals, and who can perform your ceremony in your venue of choice.

The marquee at Seafield Hotel, Wexford

The Irish Ethical Celebrants Society are an organisation of independent celebrants who have been professionally trained to create and perform bespoke ceremonies. This means they can perform a ceremony at any venue without restriction. This is especially relevant to those wishing to have their wedding in a more natural settting, like the woods, beaches. The service is completely tailored to you as a couple so you can includ or exclude whatever you want to! At present their cermonies aren't legally binding so you would need to do the legal part elsewhere.

Yvonne Cassidy is a member of the Irish ethical Celebrants Society, and she explains this in more detail here:

St. Olive Plunkett's Church, Loughcrew Estate and Gardens, Meath

The Spiritualists Union of Ireland have solemisers who can perform legally binding ceremonies. As they name suggests they believe in spirituality, in many different forms. They are legal solemnisers, ceremonies can often contain reference to spirituality. Ceremonies must adhere to regulations on approved venues. They perform ceremonies 7 days a week which allows flexibility in choosing your venue and date.

The Glendalough Hotel

Another option is to choose a Humanist celebrant. Humanist ceremonies make no reference to religion or spiritualism. Their focus is on celebrating the couple and those around them while they make their commitment to each other. They also look after the legal side of getting married.

Its good to bear all of this in mind when you are choosing your venue. Also, its worth asking the venue if there are any charges involved with having your ceremony there. There may be some compromises involved but there are great benefits to be had going the non traditional routes, for example being able to incorporate your own ideas and having your event and reception in the one space is really convenient for both you and your guests, and a unique setting gives an opportunity for some really different and spectacular images!

The Portcullis at Loughcrew Estate and Gardens