In my case, I’m a Japanese person marrying someone from Hong Kong, so it was really complicated. First, each of us had to get our documents in order. We needed birth certificates (we only have copies of our family register in Japan, so I got the incredibly kind people at the Embassy of Japan in Ireland to issue an English-language birth certificate from the copy of my family register that I ordered), certificates showing we were legally eligible to get married (this proves that we fulfill the requirements needed for marriage, such as being single), and other personal documentation. Once these were ready, we called a place called the Register Office.
“So… I’d like to get married…”
As soon as I said it, they proposed a date—which was more than three months away! We decided to get married at the end of June, so we casually mentioned that we’d like to do it by our anniversary in November, but with all the documents and other preparations, we only managed to move it to mid-September on the phone. We were vaguely hoping to get everything taken care of by the end of the year, but not surprisingly, what they suggested would put us into the next year. They said that the date didn’t matter if it was going to be after the proposed date anyway, so we went with the 17th (which really had no significance for us lol).
Once we decided the date on the phone, they next asked us to bring our documents into the office—so we went. Everything was in order, and then when they were confirming the date and time of the registration, they asked us what our residency status was. When we told them, they said that we needed to go through an interview. Wait—what interview (lol)?. Somehow there’s an inquiry to find out whether two people deserve to be married. I’ve heard that there are some non-Europeans who enter into sham marriages with people who have an Irish or EU ID because they want visas, but we were shocked to find out that there was an interview when both people were Asian. Still, they told us we needed it so we just had to go through with it.
We showed up for the interview at the end of November. They interviewed us separately and then together about our relationship.
“When and where did you first meet?”
“What do you like to do together on your days off?”
“What color is the front door of the house you share?”
“Does your partner have any brothers or sisters? What is their mom’s name?”
“What is your favorite restaurant as a couple?”
Each person has to leave the room while the other one is getting interviewed, but the walls are so thin that you can hear everything they’re saying (which defeats the purpose of being outside? Lol). Of course there were slight variations in our answers, but when they called us both back into the room they started explaining the marriage registration process, so I guess we passed. For some reason they didn’t tell us clearly either way (lol).
So this is the official marriage registration date. Japan also requires a witness to register a marriage, but in Ireland the co-signers actually have to be present. Thankfully, some friends were willing to travel a long way to help us. The official conducting the marriage then had us hold hands and face each other as they read the vows (it was totally that “in sickness and in health” thing) and have us repeat it… which was a bit mortifying! We then got to sign the papers.
The ceremony itself only lasted a little over ten minutes, but having our two best friends looking on made it a joyful moment.
I certainly never thought I’d marry someone from Hong Kong in Ireland, so it was a bit of a strange experience. The process was a lot different than registering a marriage in Japan and it took a long time, but eventually we were able to have our special day. I’m grateful to everyone who was involved.