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Church Requirements

The Catholic Church requires the following items of paperwork of all couples intending to marry within the Church:

  • Certificates of Baptism and Confirmation from the churches where you were baptised and confirmed. These must be recent certificates, issued within six months of the date of the marriage.
  •  Letter(s) of freedom to marry from each parish in which you have lived for more than six months after the age of 16. Alternatively, a certificate from a Commissioner of Oaths, confirming that you are free to marry, is also acceptable.
  • A certificate of attendance at a pre-marriage course. These courses are run locally by Accord and Esker Retreat House.
  • A pre-nuptial enquiry form - call to the priest in the parish where you live, and he will complete this with you.
  • Verification from the civil Registrar that the couple has given a minimum of three months' notice of their intention to marry, and that the marriage may proceed as planned.
  • If dispensations are needed, your local priest will see to these.
  • Written permission from the bride's parish priest for the marriage to take place outside his parish, if the Cathedral is not her parish.

Civil Requirements

The provisions of the Civil Registration Act 2004 became law on 5 November 2007, and the the following requirements must be met:

  • A couple intending to marry must attend in person, by appointment, at the office of the Registrar of Marriages and give at least three months' notice of their intention to marry. The local Registrar of Marriages is at the Health Services Executive (HSE) Offices, Shantalla, Galway (tel. 091-546277).
  • The officiating priest or deacon must be on the Registrar's list of solemnisers.

Full details of civil marriage are available on the HSE website.

General Guidelines

In order that your marriage ceremony may be the dignified, joyful ceremony you would like, please read carefully the following guidelines regarding marriages in Galway Cathedral.


While it might be fashionable for a bride to be a few minutes late, a delay that becomes excessive (20 minutes or more) causes severe disruption to the Cathedral and to other ceremonies and activities taking place.

As a matter of simple courtesy and respect for the many other activities taking place in the Cathedral, we ask that you ensure that the ceremony begins at the time planned.

Photographs & Video

You are most welcome to take a photographic and/or video record of this most special day in your life together.

Please ensure that the photographer and/or video operator respects the sacred setting of the sanctuary. Modern video equipment has no need of extra lighting beyond that already present – and it is not acceptable to turn the Cathedral sanctuary into a studio!

Please note too that the photographer must not delay the proceedings, particularly at the end of the ceremony. The final procession down the aisle is an integral part of the marriage ceremony, and should not be delayed or interrupted – there is time for additional photographs, if necessary, after the procession has finished. Please arrange this with the photographer in advance of the ceremony.
Please note, finally, that access to the organ gallery is not permitted. Only photographers who do not intrude on the ceremony will be allowed in the sanctuary.


All arrangements regarding music must be discussed with the director of music, Raymond O’Donnell ( at least one month before the ceremony.

It is important that any music performed at your marriage be of a sacred character. A copy of the Irish bishops’ guidelines on music at weddings is available from the Cathedral bookshop, and we recommend that you read this.

Some samples of music played on the Cathedral organ are available here.

The Cathedral organs are available for use by competent organists; one microphone in the sanctuary area is also available.


Marriage rehearsals take place at 6.20pm, usually on the evening before the ceremony, and must be over by 7.00pm as both the Cathedral and the car park close at that time (cars remaining in the car park after 7.00pm are subject to a call-out fee charged by the company running the car park).


The Cathedral does not provide a celebrant! You will need to organise a priest or deacon to officiate at your wedding.

Note that under the requirements for a valid marriage in civil law, the celebrant must be on the Registrar’s list of solemnisers (see the section on civil requirements).


The Cathedral does not provide flowers, but if you wish you are welcome to provide floral arrangements for the altar. We appreciate when at least some of these flowers are left on the altar after the ceremony.


For safety reasons, no lighting candles are allowed anywhere except in the sanctuary of the Cathedral.

Confetti & Petals

Confetti and petals are not permitted, either inside or outside the Cathedral.


Reserved free parking for 30 cars will be available on the wedding day – you should appoint someone to ensure that only cars belonging to the wedding party enter that area.


The fee for the use of the Cathedral and its facilities (applicable to persons living outside the Cathedral parish) is €400. Please note that the date and time of your wedding ceremony is not confirmed until this fee has been paid.

Please note too that this fee is non-refundable if you cancel the wedding within six months of the date.

Sunday Weddings

Galway Cathedral is not available for weddings on Sundays.


The Cathedral furniture – both in the sanctuary and the body of the Cathedral – may not be moved.