To sign the registrar's book - or march down the aisle?
Around three-quarters of weddings are still religious affairs - but there is no doubting the growth in popularity of civil ceremonies and humanist weddings.
According to WeddingsOnline's 2016 wedding survey, 72.5pc of weddings are held in a church, but humanist weddings (9.5pc) and civil ceremonies (18pc) have increased by 6pc since the same survey just a year ago.
Of course, a decision to have a non-religious ceremony won't be made on financial grounds alone, but it's often assumed that the freedom to eschew some elements of a traditional church wedding can give you greater scope to keep a lid on the costs of your big day.
A registry office would certainly be a cheap route, but if you want something a bit more lavish, you could choose to have the ceremony in the same venue as the reception, thus eliminating transport costs.
However, wedding planner Blaithin O'Reilly Murphy of TheWeddingexpert.ie says that a Christian church wedding can still work out cheaper than a civil ceremony -- even if you are a lapsed or non-practising member of the Catholic Church or other Christian denomination.
In any case, two donations are often sought by churches from couples; one for the church, and one for the officiating priest or minister, and these can amount to between€200 to €500, depending on whether it is your local parish.
"For couples, having a civil ceremony, even if the ceremony is to hosted at the same venue as their reception, there is a often a ceremony set-up cost and these can to run to between €250 and €1,000, depending on the venue, and there is a set fee for the celebrant as well, which can run between approximately €250 and €600."
On the other hand, a hotel venue may include decorations or flowers that might otherwise have to be paid for or provided in a church, which may offset the higher cost to use that venue. Also, if you want to get married by a registrar, will usually have to be on a weekday, which means you can save because it won't be on a weekend date.
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