A GUIDE TO PLANNING A DESTINATION WEDDING IN IRELAND
Life is a fairytale
and to see it we must open our eyes and cherish all that is around us. Your wedding will be one of the most special occasions in your life. It will be a day of love, laughter and happily ever after. When you picture your wedding, you will see a myriad of images. You will see your partner, your family, your guests and your gown. You will imagine the smell of fresh florals, the taste of delightful cuisine and the sound of music. You will dream of a perfect day in the perfect place.
We are so lucky to live in a world of infinite possibilities. We can do anything we want to do and achieve everything we want to achieve. The key to transforming your dreams into reality is to take things one step at a time. Before you can reach the pinnacle of your vision, take a step back and really think about what you want your wedding to represent. If you have always dreamed of planning a destination wedding in Ireland, embrace this. It is an incredible experience. Sharing the most special time of your life with your family and friends by your side is something you will always remember as you create unforgettable memories that you will treasure forever.
CHOOSING IRELAND AS YOUR DESTINATION WEDDING LOCATION
One of the top wedding destinations in the world, Ireland is blessed with magical landscapes and spectacular settings. With rolling hills as far as the eye can see, Ireland is home to the longest defined coastal route in the world. Covering nine counties and more than 2600km, The Wild Atlantic Way is a sight to behold. There are so many beautiful locations and wedding venues to choose from and you are only ever a plane ride away from exploring our charming little island. As one of Ireland’s leading destination wedding planners, we take pride in sharing our experiences with you so you can see the true beauty of the Emerald Isle.
CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING VENUE IN IRELAND
One of the most important things to remember when you embark on your search is to enjoy the experience.
DREAM DESIGN FOR YOUR DESTINATION WEDDING
Ireland has a huge variety of magnificent architecture. From regal castles adorned with beautiful gold leaf detailing to enchanting ballrooms bathed in candlelight, the perfect place is here waiting for you to find it.
How do you want to feel as you walk down the aisle? How do you want your guests to feel when they leave? What kind of story are you trying to tell with your wedding details and decor? These are important questions to ask yourself as you define what your wedding story will be all about.
Think about the kind of style aesthetic you would like. Are you more Jane Austen or James Bond? Do you prefer Gatsby glamour or classic romance? Do you have a specific dress code in mind for your wedding? Consider how different themes will play into your dress code. For instance, a rustic wedding theme and a black-tie dress code may not be the best combination. Think about how you are as a couple and look at your style collectively to choose a theme that is best suited to both of your personalities. Above all else, it should reflect who you are as a couple. All of the details should join together in perfect harmony, just like the two of you.
Creating the perfect fairytale moment between you and your partner is the ultimate goal. A rose-laden aisle, sparkling chandeliers and luxurious florals will awaken the magic in every soul. With so many emotions at play, your wedding is a love story unfolding as day turns into night.
DECIDING ON THE PERFECT WEDDING VENUE
As wedding planners, it is our job to understand the kind of wedding you want. Our creative vision, knowledge and experience will ensure your day will be an accurate reflection of you both as a couple. We want you to look back on the day and feel fantastic about the time you had, the place you were, and the love you were surrounded by.
We know how important it is to find the perfect wedding venue. It is important to take into consideration the proximity and accessibility of the main airports to the venues you are considering. If you are inviting large numbers for your wedding and you will not be able to have exclusive use of the venue, you will need to consider transportation for your guests and accommodation options. Consider your guest list and who you are inviting. The best wedding planning companies will have an experienced and knowledgeable guest relations team to look after all of this for you so you can rest assured that your guests will be in good hands during their stay in Ireland. Your venue can play a defining role in the theme of your wedding so it is really important to choose one that complements it rather than clashes with it.
Your venue can also have a big impact on your overall theme before you even realise it. If you are getting married in an outdoor setting like a castle garden, it can complement an elegant and classic theme. An outdoor or barn wedding can add a rustic vibe to your wedding theme. Keep in mind that no matter where your wedding takes place, there are always ways to add touches that define your style.
Thinking about when your wedding will take place can also help you to narrow down your choice of venues. Look at seasonal details to find additional inspiration. Natural landscapes make beautiful settings for wedding ceremonies and create breathtaking photographs. The time of year may not seem relevant to your venue options but it is an important consideration to take into account. For instance, a beachside ceremony might lose its charm in the winter months when the weather is extremely unpredictable. With so many private estate homes, country lodges, grand hotels, manors and castles, the option of exclusivity is a major advantage if you are looking for private rental for your wedding. This is appealing for many couples as it offers a very relaxed feel where everyone can stay together, get ready together and celebrate together. It is also a great option if you have a lot of children coming to your wedding and it gives you an overall feeling of privacy if that is something that is important to you.
As soon as you have set your wedding date, send out your save the date cards. Letting people know early means they can book flights and accommodation well in advance, taking advantage of pre-season and off-peak offerings. This might also be a good time to set up a wedding website. It is a great tool for sharing details about your location so your guests have the information they need if they would like to travel around before or after your wedding. Again, your wedding planner can look after all of this for you too so all the information will be at your fingertips.
CHOOSING A WEDDING PLANNER
Without an experienced wedding planner by your side, planning a destination wedding can be challenging. There are so many unknown pieces to the puzzle. Beginning your search online can be overwhelming with the huge array of venues and locations in Ireland. From medieval castles and majestic churches to stately homes and exquisite hotels, we know the venues that work.
We have been blessed with the honour and privilege of working with so many amazing couples in some of Ireland’s most spectacular venues. We are renowned for creating breathtaking experiences for our international clients and have fast become the leading wedding planning company in Ireland. Our suppliers also provide an outstanding service paired with impeccable attention to detail to ensure your vision is achieved and your expectations are exceeded.
INCORPORATING WEDDING TRADITIONS AND BLESSINGS
Ancient Irish traditions and customs are a constant reminder of the unique and respected culture that Ireland is so well known for all around the world.
Celebrating the best of your culture with respect and knowledge is an integral gift that a good wedding planner will be blessed with. Take time to discuss the possibilities of incorporating your own customs and traditions into a traditional Irish ceremony or blessing. After all, it is your day so you can do it your way! An experienced wedding planner will also establish effective lines of communication that will work for both sides no matter where you live in the world. Time should never be a challenge as it is important to develop a system that works for you both. Trust works both ways and the right destination wedding planner will understand that respect and consideration are the fundamental basics to developing a trusted friendship and a professional relationship.
CHOOSING YOUR PREFERRED TYPE OF CEREMONY
We understand that each and every couple has individual preferences in terms of perspective about the ceremony. The type of ceremony you choose will represent an expression of you both and what you are celebrating. Whether it is religious, civil, symbolic or legally-binding, it is important to consider what is important to you.
This is a straightforward, legally-binding ceremony where your marriage is registered in Ireland and which complies with Irish laws. Civil weddings can only be held indoors at a licensed venue and performed by a registrar on working days only, which are Monday through Friday.
Catholic weddings are the second most common legally-binding ceremonies in Ireland. Having a Catholic ceremony in Ireland requires following the rules of marriage outlined by the Church, which includes undergoing a premarital course. This type of ceremony can only take place in a consecrated church or chapel.
These are non-religious and non-denominational weddings that have recently been recognised as legally-binding in Ireland. It is a more relaxed and free-flowing ceremony that requires only two official elements and can take place in any location (including outdoor) as long as it is open to the public.
This is not too different from a Humanist ceremony as it is also non-denominational and does not conform to mainstream religious beliefs. Spiritual ceremonies are performed by a member of the Spiritualist Union of Ireland. Being a more liberal ceremony, it can take place on any day of the week, either indoors or outdoors.
Another way to incorporate your personality into the wedding is to pay tribute to your family or culture. Allow yourself to combine traditional aspects of your heritage with a modern twist. The mixture will be unique to you as a couple and your family will love the homage to their roots.
YOUR DESTINATION WEDDING CEREMONY
Sparkling sunshine and crystal clear skies make for a stunning setting, but, just like anywhere else in the world, the weather is never guaranteed. For this reason, the first element of your wedding to consider is your ceremony. Choose a style that best suits your personalities as a couple. This is your opportunity to ensure your special day is a true reflection of your style. It is a day you will want to remember forever so take the time to look at your options.
Do you want to get married indoors or outdoors? Do you dream of a clifftop ceremony echoed with the sound of the crashing waves below or do you envisage the sweeping feel of your gown as you glide through the doors of a majestic cathedral?
Of course, you can combine the best of both worlds with a magical ceremony outdoors followed by an exquisite reception indoors. A ceremony in an enchanted forest under a canopy of trees or a blessing in a botanical garden in full bloom would certainly set a spectacular tone for what lies ahead.
There are pros and cons with both options so it is important to consider what elements of your day will need to be prioritised if it comes down to it. There will be no need to worry about unpredictable weather with an indoor setting. You will be safe in the knowledge that whatever happens outside on the day will not affect your plans inside. Ireland is blessed with so many beautiful churches and buildings to host indoor wedding ceremonies and so many couples are planning a destination wedding in on the grounds of our majestic houses.
Outdoor weddings provide a stunning backdrop with the effortless beauty of the surrounding scenery offering a clean slate of visual interest. If you decide to have an outdoor celebration, it goes without saying that you must have a Plan B in place. An outdoor ceremony and reception will always be 100% weather dependent in Ireland. No matter what time of year, there is always a chance of rain or unfavourable conditions that will affect your outdoor plans.
The best wedding planners in the world will leave nothing to chance. Nobody can control the weather but we will always be prepared. We will have plans in place to change paths at the last minute so you will not be worrying about what to do when unexpected problems arise. Outdoor celebrations can be more challenging logistically but we will always find a way to work around unexpected situations. Planning will be a huge factor with outdoor weddings as you need to consider all the additional individual elements associated with marquees such as a dance floor, tables, chairs, lighting, sound and bathrooms. When choosing your venue it is so important to seriously consider what your ceremony might look like indoors as well as outdoors.
Until next time,
A world-renowned boutique wedding and event management company that has become synonymous with destination weddings and private events, Olivia Buckley International celebrates life, love and luxury. Understanding and appreciating the importance of life’s precious moments, Managing Director Olivia Buckley has successfully sculpted her passion for weddings and events into a true art form.
With deep roots in the world of weddings and events, Olivia has curated some of Ireland’s most coveted luxury events, both nationally and internationally. Celebrating over 20 years in the events industry, Olivia has worked with a cohort of some of the most accomplished conceptual artists in the business, forging solid relationships within the industry and assembling an enviable book of contacts to call upon.
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