Sample Civil Ceremony

The civil ceremony is becoming increasingly more popular but there is still a lot of confusion about the structure of the ceremony and where you can include music. We hope this page will help you plan your day more easily.

The Marriage Notification Process

You the couple must attend in person at the office of the Registrar by prior appointment in person to give at least three months notification of intention to marry. At this consultation you will be presented with a Marriage registeration form.

While only three months notice is required by law it is advisable to contact the Registrar well before the intended date of marriage to receive a timely appointment. At this meeting with the Registrar you will be asked for the following: Full evidence of name, address, age, marital status and nationality.

In general you will be asked to produce passports as I.D., original final decrees in respect of previous divorce (if applicable), P.P.S. numbers of the couple. The Registrar will advise if any additional official documentation is required. You will also be asked for the details of the marriage, the intended date, the names and date of births of witnesses and details of the venue. The Marriage notification can be given to any Registrar, the HSE will advise you of the contact details that are closest to you.

You will then need to meet our Wedding Co-ordinator Claire who will complete the particulars on the documentation that apply to venue. Contact: Civil Registration Office, Joyce House, 8-11 Lombard Street East, Dublin 2. Tel: 01 8638200


Civil Ceremony Structure

Here is a sample of a Civil Ceremony Wedding.

Processional Music 

Examples include,  Nella Fantasia, Cinema Paradiso, Two Words, I Do, Viva Tonight, She Moved Through The Fair..

Opening Words of the Officiant

The wedding should begin by welcoming your guests.Friends, we have been invited here today to share with ______ and ______ a very important moment in their lives. In the years they have been together, their love and understanding of each other has grown and matured, and now they have decided to live their lives together as husband and wife.

The Giving In Marriage (Optional)

The traditional wording is”Who gives this woman to be wedded to this man” but as it is the 21st century ?, many couples opt for something such as “Who supports this couple in their marriage?” or “Who supports this woman in her marriage to this man?” or chose to leave it out altogether.


Examples include:  Fields of Gold, Footprints in the Sand, You Take My Breath Away.

An Opening Prayer or Reading

There are many options available here but allow this reading to add to the atmosphere of the ceremony. The following are some examples:

May the sun bring you new energies by day; May the moon softly restore you by night. May the rain wash away any worries you may have And the breeze blow new strength into your being. And then, all the days of your life, May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty. Now you will feel no rain/ for each of you will be shelter for the other; Now you will feel no cold / for each of you will be warmth to the other; Now there will be no more loneliness; Now you are two persons / but there is only one life before you. Go now to your dwelling / to enter into your life together; And may your days be good / and long upon the earth.


On Your Wedding Day Author Unknown. Today is a day you will always remember The greatest in anyone’s life You’ll start off the day just two people in love And end it as Husband and Wife It’s a brand new beginning the start of a journey With moments to cherish and treasure And although there’ll be times when you both disagree These will surely be outweighed by pleasure You’ll have heard many words of advice in the past When the secrets of marriage were spoken But you know that the answers lie hidden inside Where the bond of true love lies unbroken So live happy forever as lovers and friends It’s the dawn of a new life for you As you stand there together with love in your eyes From the moment you whisper ‘I do’ And with luck, all your hopes, and your dreams can be real May success find it’s way to your hearts Tomorrow can bring you the greatest of joys But today is the day it all starts .

Definition of Marriage

The Officiant says some words about marriage in general. He or she will most likely talk about the seriousness of the solemn vow you are about to make, and the new life together you are creating.

Wedding Vows

From the traditional to the romantic. Make this part of the ceremony special to you. Here are some sample vows:

I, (Bride/Groom), take you (Groom/Bride), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

Do you (name) take (name) to be your lawful wedded wife/husband? (each responds, “I do.”) Will you love, respect and honor her/him throughout your years together? (each responds, “I will.”)

I (name), take you (name) to be my (husband/wife), my partner in life and my one true love. I will cherish our union and love you more each day than I did the day before. I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together. I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall live.

I, (name), take you, (name), to be my friend, my lover, the (mother/father) of my children and my (husband/wife). I will be yours in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph. I promise to cherish and respect you, to care and protect you, to comfort and encourage you, and stay with you, for all eternity.

(Name), I love you. You are my best friend. Today I give myself to you in marriage. I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle. I promise to love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard, when our love is simple, and when it is an effort. I promise to cherish you, and to always hold you in highest regard. These things I give to you today, and all the days of our lives.

For a further selcetion of vows, please visit our “wedding Vows” page.


Examples include: Songbird, To Make You Feel My Love,  Coming Home, Come What May.

Second Reading.

Indian Wedding Blessing

Now we feel no rain, for each of us will be a shelter to the other. Now we feel no cold, for each of us will be warmth to the other. Now there is no loneliness, for each of us will be a companion to the other. We are two bodies, but there is one life before us and one home. When evening falls, I’ll look up and there you will be. I’ll take your hand; you’ll take mine and we’ll turn together to look at the road we travelled to reach this: the hour of our happiness. It stretches behind us, even as the future lies ahead. A long and winding road, whose every turning means discovery. Old hopes, new laughter, shared fears. The adventure has just begun.


A Walled Garden

‘Your marriage’ he said ‘should have within it, a secret and protected place, open to you alone. Imagine it to be a walled garden, entered by a door to which only you hold the key. Within this garden, you will cease to be a mother, father, employee, homemaker or any other of the roles which you fulfill in everyday life. Here you are yourselves, two people who love each other. Here you can concentrate on one another’s needs.’ So take my hand and let us go back to our garden. The time we spend together is not wasted but invested. Invested in our future and the nurture of our love. Anon

Please visit our “Readings & Poems” page for a further selection of readings.

Exchange of Rings or Gifts.

The bride and groom exchange words. For example :

  1. I (name) give you (name) this ring as an eternal symbol of my love and commitment to you. or . . .
  2. I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness. As I place it on your finger, I commit my heart and soul to you. I ask you to wear this ring as a reminder of the vows we have spoken today, our wedding day. or . . .
  3. This ring is a token of my love. I marry you with this ring, with all that I have and all that I am. Response: I will forever wear this ring as a sign of my commitment and the desire of my heart or . . .
  4. I give you this ring to wear with love and joy.

Music or Reading.

Examples include: From This Moment On, You’re Still You.


You’re The One For Me, by Dallas Fisher

You’re the one for me. Your eyes are like fire on a cold winter’s day Your soul burns within me Your touch blossoms my innermost passions And your voice melts my heart. You’re the one for me. You are the key to unlocking My most sacred fantasies. You’re the one for me, The one that wakens me When I’m at my deepest sleep With your passionate ways, The one that rivets me with Your beautiful, unique face. You’re the one for me. You are the one that I want to share My life, my love with for all eternity. I will love you always and forever. You’re the one for me.

 Lighting of the Unity Candle (Optional)

This is a lovely addition to any ceremony as the single candle symbolises one life together.


Examples include: One Hand, One Heart, Cavatina.


This could be a poem, a prayer, or a sanctioning of the marriage. It is generally the “final thoughts” of the officiant.

Declaration Of Marriage

The officiant typically says something akin to”By the power vested in me by the State, I now pronounce you husband and wife” or “I now pronounce you married.” This is followed by the first kiss of the newly married couple. Once upon a time, the officiant would say “You may now kiss the bride” but again, it’s the 21st century. It seems a little strange for someone else to be giving permission to kiss a grown woman. So now, either the couple kiss immediately after the declaration of marriage or the officiant says something like “you may now kiss each other.”


Examples include: Come What May, All you Need is Love, We’ve Only Just Begun, Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.

There can also be music while the photos are being taken.


Civil Ceremony – Sample 2


Processional: Eg. – From This Moment, Nella Fantasia, Two Words I do,.

Good Afternoon Everybody

My name is: ____________________ Registrar for Civil Marriages for this jurisdiction. I would like to welcome each and everyone of you here, to join with (Bride) & (Groom) in the solemnisation of their marriage.  (Bride) & (Groom) you both formally attended in the presence of a Civil Registrar on ___________ and on that occasion, a declaration was signed by you both, stating that there is no impediment of kindred or alliance or other lawful hindrance to your marriage.

We are gathered here in the presence of each other, in order that this man and this woman should be joined together in the covenant of marriage. This is a union not to be taken lightly, inadvisably or thoughtlessly, but with true love and commitment.


Lighting of the Candles. (Optional and can be placed earler if wished)

Eg – Now We are Free, May It Be, She Moved Through The Fair.


Poem/Reading Optional

Please visit our “Readings & Poems” page for suggestions.


Couple to Stand

I do solemnly require and call on you both, to now make a verbal declaration, in the presence of your witnesses, to re-affirm that there still is no impediment of kindred or alliance, or other lawful hindrance to your marriage today.

(Groom), repeat after me.

“I do somemnly and sincerely declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I ________ may not be joined in matrimony to ________”.

(Groom), do you understand the declarations you have now made?     Groom: I do.

Have you made them of your own free will and without duress?           Groom: I have.

(Bride), repeat after me.

“I do solemnly and sincerely declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I, ________ may not be joined in matrimony to ________”.

(Bride), do you understand the declarations you have now made?       Bride: I do.

Have you made them of your own free will and without duress?           Bride: I have.


Couple to face each other

(Groom), repeat after me.

“I call upon these persons here present to witness that I, ________ do take you ________ to be my lawful wedded wife”.

(Bride), repeat after me.

“I call upon these persons here present to witness that I ________ do take you ________ to be my lawful wedded husband”.

(Groom), will you have this woman to be your wedded wife?            Groom: I will.

Will you love her and confort her in sickness and in health?             Groom: Iwill.

(Bride), will you have this man to be your wedded husband?           Bride: I will.

Will you love him and confort him in sickness and in health?           Bride: I will.


Poem or Reading or Music (Optional)

Please visit our “Readings & Poems” page for suggestions.


Ring Ceremony


(Groom), repeat after me:

“I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and fidelity”.

(Bride), repeat after me:

“I receive this ring as a token that I will love and honour you”.

(Bride), repeat after me:

“I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and fidelity”.

(Groom), repeat after me:

“I receive this ring as a token that I will love and honour you”.

By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Civil Registration Act 2004 as  (Bride) & (Groom) have solemnly bound themselves in wedlock before these witnesses,

I now pronounce them Husband and Wife.


Lighting of the Candle (Optional)

Eg One Hand One Heart, Cinema Paradiso, Songbird.


Signing of the MRF

Eg Fields of Gold, Footprints in the Sand, A Moment Like This, The Rose, You’re Still You., To Make You Feel My Love.



Eg We’ve Only Just Begun, All you Need is Love, Come What May.




“Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you”.

 Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Yvonne Collier – Piano

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Chloe Kenny

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Denise Brennan

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