Paperwork, courses and certs… the requirements. Our blogging groom to be BluefishJD faces the daunting task of organising his marriage paperwork as he continues with his wedding plans.
Having decided on a Catholic Church wedding we then faced the mammoth task of understanding what exactly was needed and required by both church and state to make this wedding all legal and above board! Initially all the paperwork and hoops we’d have to jump through was fairly daunting but thanks to the missies on the mrs2be.ie forums who provided excellent advice and tips we were well on our way to knowing what was what.
At first my own paperwork and necessary steps and cost involved in a church wedding was near off putting in itself, never mind the added challenge of trying to organize all Bluefish Belle’s paperwork from Poland!
When booking the church and paying the deposit (€100 of the €250 needed) we were given a list of paperwork needed to include birth certs, baptismal certs, confirmation certs, letters of freedom and a signed completion certificate from a registered pre-marriage course as well as making sure all Bluefish Belle’s paperwork was stamped and given an Apostille Seal. This is the legal authorisation stamp of a document required when one or both parties are not from the country in which they intend to marry. I tell you, it was enough to make us think twice!! But to be fair once we got it all sorted I thought “what was I worrying about, it’s actually not that bad” but at the beginning it just seems like hard work.
Whilst in Poland for August last year we took the opportunity to meet with Bluefish Belle’s local priest who to be honest was a bit awkward at the beginning things like claiming he didn’t know what a letter of freedom was and fair play it’s not something that’s needed in Poland but surely if they are all part of the same church (catholic) they should have the same requirements, no? Anyway once we made our donation (aka paying him) sure he couldn’t have been more happy to help and would have everything ready for Bluefish Belle’s mother to collect in a couple of months time (October) so as it would be within the 6 month time frame. Thankfully he had everything ready and we got all her necessary church documents. Bluefish Belle’s mother told us that he announced our upcoming wedding 3 weeks running at mass which leads me to believe we over donated, but sure no harm – the whole of the city will know we’re getting married at this stage ha ha!
Next was Belle’s birth cert which we first had to obtain from her local civic offices and as mandatory then send off to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Warsaw in Poland for it to get an Apostille Seal. We got that back within 2-3 weeks so all that was left was for me to obtain my own documents from the local parish office, all of which were ready and waiting after an appointment was made over the phone and another €100 off the required €250 for use of the church. Just a quick bit on this fee: we were told this charge would have been €500 if we were not from the parish! I have yet to figure out the reason for the €250 charge as in surely a couple of certs/documents couldn’t cost that much. Anyway that’s a rant I won’t get into here.
Next off the required check list was the pre-marriage course. The local one which was church based and spread over 2 days just didn’t suit us so we went with a one day course from Avalon. To be honest I did feel it was going to be a waste of time for us as a couple, living with each other for the last 4 years. There was a lot that just wasn’t relevant to us. We went in with an open mind but within an hour the mind just shut down and we realized this had to be done it was a requirement – so just to grin and bare it! We met a very nice couple there who were very much in the same frame of mind as us, so we stuck with them for the day and had great craic. At times we were like the bold kids down the back of class, but we were the only ones answering out and putting some input into the discussions!
I do think in this day and age and the society we live in that these courses need a huge revamp to make it more relevant to everyone. It’s very common now for couples to live with each other way before marriage is even talked about and even decide to start a family, so as I said a review of the course material could inject some well needed relevance and proper interaction and response from couples who HAVE to attend these courses as part of the requirements for a church wedding. Just to add I can see why they are there and what these courses are for and in some cases can indeed help couples but I just wish (especially in our case) that it was just more relevant.
Marriage Notification to the State
Then came the registering of the marriage with the state. This particular appointment with the state was a real milestone in our eyes in the planning process and made this wedding feel real. We were so excited to get our little green folder. Again a little confusion on what exactly was needed as in birth certs, household bills, coloured photocopies or would just black and white ones do???? Again with a bit of help from other missies and a ring to our local registration office a comprehensive list can be got. Below I have included the checklist for state notification so hopefully it will be of some help to those of you yet to register:
MARRIAGE NOTIFICATION CHECKLISTBoth parties MUST attend the appointment together. Each person must bring their original documents.
- Passport – N.B. a photocopy of the passport photo page must be supplied. This photocopy should be in colour, and best quality, other wise a passport photo is required.
- Original (full) birth certificate, for both parties, and photocopy of same. N.B If either party was born outside of Ireland, a birth cert bearing an Apostille Stamp from the country of origin is required.
- Nature of ceremony (civil/religious).
- Name of registered solemniser.
- Name & date of birth of both witnesses (must be over 18).
- Proof of address in the form of a utility bill (and photocopy of same).
- P.P.S. Number.
- Irish divorced – original or a certified copy, granted under section 5 (1) of the Family Law Divorce Act 1996, stamped by the relevant court or solicitor (and photocopy of same).
- Foreign Divorce – please contact the Registrar prior to your appointment.
- Original civil marriage certificate (and photocopy of same).
- Original civil death certificate of late spouse (and photocopy of same).
IF YOU HAVE A CIVIL ANNULMENT
- Original civil annulment court order (and photocopy of same).
- A letter from relevant court, confirming that no appeal has been lodged against the Nullity Order.
FEEPrescribed notification fee of €150 (non-refundable). Additional charges apply for outside venues.
OTHER NOTESAt the notification meeting, you will be asked to sign a declaration that there is no impediment to your marriage. If you are having a religious marriage, you will also be given the Marriage Registration Form (MRF), which is authorisation for the marriage to proceed. This form will be signed by you, your witnesses and your rolemniser on the day of the marriage. The MRF should be returned to any Registrars office within 30 days, following which, your marriage will be registered.
With the boring but most definitely important parts out of the way I was back on track to getting the more fun parts of this wedding in place including a not the norm wedding dress shopping experience with Bluefish Belle so I will catch up with you all soon and share my experience of the land of lace, satin, tulle and sparkles!