Registry change to loosen up law on tying the knot
STRESS-free wedding days are about to become par for the course -- with a change in the law allowing civil marriages to take place in a variety of settings.
Would-be bride and former Miss Ireland, Lynda Duffy, demonstrated yesterday that even a few holes of golf were not out of the question before getting hitched.
From next Monday, brides and bridegrooms opting for a civil ceremony will be able to enjoy all of their big day at one location.
The one-stop-shop for weddings is set to become the norm as a result of a change in the law governing non-church marriages, which means the happy couple and their guests can attend the formal ceremony and reception without to stepping outside the chosen venue.
From next week, there will be no need to attend the sober and impersonal offices designated by the Registrar of Marriages in each county. The relaxation in the civil marriage law means that all hotels and locations such as community centres can be used to exchange vows.
But you can forget it if you fancy getting hitched on a cliff-top or in mid-air. The law states that civil marriages can only be allowed in "fixed structures".
There has been a huge growth in the number of civil marriages in Ireland over the past decade. Back in 1995, only one in every 10 couples married in a registry office. Now the figure is more than one in five, with 22pc of all weddings now non-church events.
The new law will be particularly welcomed by people remarrying after a divorce, as it means that they will be able to have the ceremony in an intimate and personalised venue.
Hotels are already gearing up for the new arrangements and one of the West of Ireland's most exclusive venues, the five-star Glenlo Abbey will host a Wedding Forum on November 18.
Glenlo Abbey General Manager Brian Burke predicted that hotels would now be the venue of choice for the vast bulk of civil weddings, as couples would opt for the convenience of having the entire day's events under one roof -- similar to what happens in many other countries.