My contribution to a recent Weddingsonline piece about second marriages.

Are there any legal implications couples need to think about when getting married for the second time?

“I know it’s probably boring, but increasingly I have been finding couples getting married for the second time distressed to learn that their foreign divorces are not recognised in Ireland. Generally, a foreign divorce is only recognised in Ireland if at least one spouse was domiciled or habitually resident in the State that granted the divorce when the proceedings started (a person is domiciled in the country where they are born or, having emigrated, where they are resident and intend to reside permanently or at least indefinitely). On the lodgement of their Intent to Marry with the HSE, they may be required to provide solid evidence that this was the case and, therefore, that the divorce is valid under Irish law.

If the General Registrar is of the opinion that the foreign divorce is valid, then the new marriage can go ahead. If not, there is an opportunity afforded to the couple to provide additional information to, or else the couple can apply for a hearing before the Circuit Court to determine the validity of the foreign divorce in Irish law. If the Court decides that the foreign divorce is not binding, the only option to remarry in Ireland may be to get a divorce under Irish law.

The rules regarding the recognition of foreign divorces under Irish law are complex and I always advise couples getting married for the second time to make timely contact with the Marriages Unit of the General Register Office and take their advice.”

Are there any religious implications couples need to think about when getting married for the second time?

“As an Interfaith Minister, there are no religious implications couples need to think about when they are booking me to hold their Wedding Ceremony. I celebrate legal weddings for people of all beliefs and none and I will guide the couple through the process of creating a Ceremony written just for them that expresses their love and commitment to each other in a unique, personalised and meaningful way.

The ceremony will reflect their beliefs, personal stories, philosophy of life and personality and their Ceremony can be as spiritual, secular or atheist as the couple choose and may use any language, music and readings of their choice.

I have taken a vow of inclusivity and welcome diversity of gender, orientation, colour, nationality, ability and culture within the bounds of Irish law. I will help make the planning through to the delivery of the ceremony as stress-free and simple as possible.”

How do you help couples create a magical wedding day experience the second time around?

The couple’s ceremony is created with and for them and it is a very special and important part of their big day. My aim is to reflect their personalities, reflect on their journey, hopes and dreams for the future and make it an enjoyable and stress-free experience.

They may wish to include personal vows, selected readings, enhancements or mini ceremonies such as handfasting, sand ceremony, ring warming, the ceremony of light to name just a few. They may want a ceremony full to the brim with pizazz or something more low-key and meaningful, the choice is theirs.

We would meet virtually or in person (once Covid restrictions allow) so that I can get a sense of the type of ceremony the couple would like. I give them sample readings/verses, vow, and ring exchange reflections, enhancement suggestions, etc. This is how their bespoke ceremony develops and over time our meetings will result in a ceremony that will be relaxed, enjoyable, fun, and something both they and their guests can look back on with fond memories for years to come.”

How would you encourage couples to prepare for their second wedding/marriage ahead of time?

“As an Interfaith Minister, when I help couples prepare for their second marriage I have no requirement for them to undertake a pre-marriage course and during our consultations, I always encourage couples to reflect deeply on the journey they are about to embark on. I have developed a detailed questionnaire for couples to complete which entails reflection on their journey to date and their future life together. I create a safe space for couples to totally engage in the process of creating their bespoke ceremony their way for their special day.”

© Brenda O’Grady Wedding and Family Celebrant – Registered Solemniser