A guide to planning a destination wedding in Ireland


A guide about all aspects of planning a destination in Ireland by

Olivia Buckley international

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.



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.


One of the most important things to remember when you embark on your search is to enjoy the experience.


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.


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.



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.


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.

Click here to read more about Irish Wedding traditions and blessings.

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.



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.


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.

So whatever you decide to do, do what makes you happy. We love what we do and that makes us happy! We wish you the very best as you celebrate the most magical time of your lives as a couple. Enjoy the excitement, embrace the adventure and don’t be afraid to take a chance. Believe you can and you are already halfway there. After all, a dream we dream together can be a reality. 

Until next time,

Olivia x

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.

Get in touch with Olivia 
More articles for planning a destination wedding in Ireland

Every wedding is unique, and for that reason, I create custom proposals for every one of my clients.

For more information about my process and to schedule a call :


Romantic Gloster House Wedding

Romantic Glosterhouse Wedding

Romantic Glosterhouse Wedding is a photoshoot created by a group

of top wedding professionals in Ireland

This photoshoot, A Romantic Gloster House Wedding, was in one of the most beautiful private wedding venues in Ireland, Gloster House .

A lovely day spent with a bunch of top wedding creatives in Ireland.

The result is a beautiful collection of soft, bright, airy photos with a romantic feel. 

This shows that even on a dull, rainy day in Ireland you have the option of natural, “fine art” photography instead what is generally accepted a dark and moody, brown look.


Wherever you travel from for your destination wedding in Ireland. This stunning venue, the 18th Century Gloster House in Co. Offaly is one of the most spectacular spots for your nuptials. With a historical beautiful white chapel located on the grounds of Gloster House and classic Italian/French Garden for your outdoor ceremony. On a bright summers day, you can think you are in the South of France or Tuscany but even on a rainy, Irish, day, this place has a lot of beautiful corners and spots for exclusive wedding photography.

Fiona from Fleurweddings in Ireland used a color scheme of soft pinks and vibrant reds that worked well with the soft blues and whites in the house.

Choose Gloster House as your romantic venue and organise your wedding with the help of a wedding planner and nearly all your work is done.

A florist that understands your ideas, a special wedding cake, pretty stationery that shows your personality. A dress that will let you feel like a princess after being treated by the best makeup and Hair specialist.

Et voila, you will have the best team to have the best wedding.

Exclusive Weddings at Gloster House . If your wedding is in a truly unique setting, the 300-year-old Gloster House is the perfect hidden, magical and romantic setting. The house is strictly a private venue so you will have your special day in this amazing house surrounded only  by your family and friends.


Vendors for this Romantic Gloster House photoshoot

Flowers and Concept               Fleur weddings

Makeup                                      Aoife Callaghan

Hair                                             Lorraine Browne   

Styling                                         Parade Flowers

Cake.                                           Cup Cakes and Counting

Stationery                                  Freckles and Fern design

Wedding dress                         The one by Sinead Corcoran

Videographer.                          Out of Mountain

Wedding planner                    Let Love Weddings

Every wedding is unique, and for that reason, I create custom proposals for every one of my clients.

For more information about my process and to schedule a call :


Top Castle Wedding Venues in Ireland

5 Castle Wedding Venues in Ireland with something special

There is something undoubtedly transformative about stepping into a castle. Perhaps it’s the thick high battlements protecting you from the outside world, the history, or the secret passageways and hidden tunnels? Or even more so…sleeping in one and getting a feel for the romance of times gone by, experiencing the privilege that past occupants living their pampered lives with servants all around? Here are some of my top choices of Castle Wedding Venues in Ireland you might want to spend your wedding night in!

Article by Roger Masterson, Company Director of Celtic Castles

5 Castle Wedding Venues in Ireland 

Ashford Castle

No expense spared for the big day!

A celebrity favourite, this is the ultimate wedding destination in Ireland…just ask James Bond, Pierce Brosnan! Take the castle on an exclusive hire basis and really go for the full princess option! The castle offers 83 bedrooms, many facing Lough Corrib, plus a very romantic Lakeside Hideaway Cottage.

If you want privacy, Ashford allows you and your wedding party the full castle experience without interruption. Don’t miss out on the estate’s unforgettable activities, including falconry, equestrianism, golf, river cruising, fishing and spa treatments; you will not be bored and, in fact, you may want to stay for more than just the weekend!

Glin Castle

Traditional small family wedding

Overlooking the River Shannon and hills of County Clare, this unique historic property, home of the Knights of Glin for over 700 years, is Irish charm at its best. Compact, with 15+ en-suite bedrooms, perfect for a small family wedding; don’t just stay for one night, make it a proper celebration and stay for the week…you will not regret it!

Family portraits and Irish pictures line the walls, and the library bookcase has a secret door leading to the hall and the very rare flying staircase. Best of all, the village is just 5 minutes’ walk away; the locals will have a few stories to share with you!  Glin is so good, you will want to bring all the family back for your anniversary!

Turin Castle

Just the two of you

If you want the full fairytale wedding, then this is the real deal, with a grand hall complete with authentic armour and weapons. You can squeeze a few more into this castle, up to twelve, but why? Elope and just have the castle for an intimate wedding for two. If you want to go Medieval in County Mayo, the owners Marnie and Brendan know how to look after their wedding guests and there is a wonderful stone building at the back of the castle, perfect for the ceremony.

The Black Castle

Rustic wedding for two

If you just want to turn up to your private, historic 16th-century tower, with your own personal wedding planner, The Black Castle will allow you to experience a castle wedding as it was several centuries ago!  YES, this is “The Real McCoy“! The Great Hall takes you back into the 16th century, with no electricity, plumbing or wi-fi. You will have to save your Insta pics for later! 

Your ceremony takes place in the candlelit Great Hall, warmed by a huge cavernous fireplace with a roaring fire under a stone-vaulted ceiling. Overnight, you will be provided with candles and a supply of fuel for the fire. The bespoke oak, half-tester, king-size bed is supplied with Egyptian cotton sheets and luxurious bedding. Yes, you sleep in the Great Hall!

Belle Isle

Location on the shores of Lough Erne

Originally built in the 12th century as a Norman keep, Belle Isle, this now, 17th-century castle on an idyllic island in Northern Ireland’s Fermanagh Lakelands, is an enchanted hideaway offering a romantic, old-world charm, while the estate’s 400+ acres of rolling hills, flowering meadows, tranquil gardens, and views of Lough Erne take you to a different world. Twenty-seven overnight guests in thirteen individually, beautifully-decorated bedrooms, allow for a lovely, intimate family wedding. You can split the castle up into two parts if your group is smaller.

I think everyone would secretly love to feel like King and Queen on their wedding day! Well, now you can…all at these Castle Wedding Venues in Ireland!

Also, read :



This article is written by Roger Masterson of Celtic Castles 

Celtic Castles delivers an award-winning castle booking service. Whatever you want from a castle experience, they can help. Short breaks for two, family holidays, weddings small and large or functions and events of various sizes and requirements; they have extensive experience of them all. Just tell them what you’re looking for and what’s important to you, and they recommend the best options.


Memories while also being discreet and almost invisible
Geraldine & Stephen’s beautiful review

Wim is a ninja photographer

who creates memories while being discreet and invisible

“We choose Wim for our photographer for our Wedding in December 2019 because as soon as we saw his photos we fell in love with how he captured such beautiful pictures with the most amazing light and detail. We count ourselves extremely lucky that Wim was available to photograph our wedding because not only did he capture the atmosphere and essence of the day but he also was an integral part of it. He made ourselves, our family and friends so relaxed and at ease, it was like having an old friend at our wedding! All of our guests commented on how professional, kind and personable Wim was. He had the ability to be there at every moment to capture lasting memories while also being discreet and almost invisible, like a #ninjaphotographer! We couldn’t be happier with the end results of the photos Wim captured, he captured us at our most natural and our guests in the individual moments throughout the day. He was an absolute pleasure to deal with from our first conversation with him, so personable and genuinely interested in us as a couple. We could only ever recommend Wim as one of the best photographers to work with. A kind and professional person who made us feel at ease, allowing us to be ourselves throughout our day.”

Stephen & Geraldine, Marlfield House Hotel, December 2019.

Read the article of Geraldine and Stephen’s wedding at Marlfield House: Winter Wedding at Marlfield House.

More testimonials: Press and Prais

Winter Wedding at Marlfield House

Geraldine and Stephen’s Winter Wedding at Marlfield House

Geraldine and Stephen’s Winter wedding in Marlfield House. A cool crisp day with perfect light for some beautiful, romantic, bright photos

We chose Wim for our photographer for our Winter Wedding in Marlfield House because as soon as we saw his photos we fell in love with how he captured such beautiful pictures with the most amazing light and detail.

We count ourselves extremely lucky that Wim was available to photograph our wedding because not only did he capture the atmosphere and essence of the day but he also was an integral part of it. He made ourselves, our family and friends so relaxed and at ease, it was like having an old friend at our wedding!

All of our guests commented on how professional, kind and personable Wim was. He had the ability to be there at every moment to capture lasting memories while also being discreet and almost invisible, like a #ninjaphotographer!

We couldn’t be happier with the end results of the photos Wim captured, he captured us at our most natural and our guests in the individual moments throughout the day. He was an absolute pleasure to deal with from our first conversation with him, so personable and genuinely interested in us as a couple.

We could only ever recommend Wim as one of the best photographers to work with. A kind and professional person who made us feel at ease, allowing us to be ourselves throughout our day.

Stephen & Geraldine, Winter Wedding in Marlfield House Hotel, December 2019.

Geraldine and Stephen choose Marlfield House for their Wedding.

With the beautiful gardens and the Iconic veranda, it is even in the dark Wintertime a perfect backdrop for Romantic, Bright, Fine Art Wedding Photography

More soon

You may also be interested in

An Elegant Wedding at Marlfield House



Romantic Castle Shoot on Grey Likes

I am proud
My photoshoot at Markree Castle is published on Grey Likes

Together with the vision of  Fiona from Fleur Weddings I combined forces with a great team to create this elegant and romantic inspiration shoot at Markree Castle. The castle’s new room has a luxurious French style and natural light streaming through the large doors and windows overlooking sprawling gardens. This is a gorgeous backdrop for wedding photos.  Spring blooms and romantic touches highlighted the design details including calligraphy. Check it all out in these gorgeous film images.


featuring in love photography

Proudly Published on Grey Likes

Let’s meet up at Markree Castle, for a non binding chat about your wedding photography. 

So if you are looking for a special wedding venue in Ireland with a Romantic french feel, this is one to consider. I will show the best spots for your exclusive wedding photo’s, including the chapel, the perfect venue for your intimate wedding blessing which is part of the Castle and reached by a corridor, you don’t even have to walk out the door:))  Sounds pretty beautiful, doesn’t it!

Get in contact for more details..


Read the full article for this shoot
Flowers by Fleur Weddings






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