5 Ways to Narrow Down Your European Wedding Destinations List

So you’ve decided on a destination wedding, and narrowed it down to Europe. The inevitable next question is: where? After all, the location of your wedding will set the tone for the whole event, and put into motion so many other aspects of your wedding planning. But with the whole of the continent at your fingertips, how do you find the place that’s right for you? A beach in the Algarve, maybe. A castle in Ireland. An elegant chateau in the Dordogne. Or maybe even a glacier in Iceland? With so many fabulous European wedding destinations to choose from, it can be hard to know where to begin. Here are some things to consider, that will help you turn an endless list of possibilities into a more manageable shortlist.

Decide on a backdrop

The best place to start is with yourselves. What sort of backdrop do you envision? What sorts of places do you love to travel and what are your passions? Whether you dream of mountains or ocean, sun or snow, a secluded country venue or a vibrant city spot, the place you choose for your wedding should reflect YOU. And with so many European wedding destinations to choose from, there really is something for everyone. Sit down as a couple and discuss your dreams and expectations. Then make a list and start researching which locations fit your criteria.


Consider your guests

Choosing a wedding destination is far easier when you have an idea of how many people will be on your guest list. If it’s a larger one, this may allow you to eliminate locations that don’t have enough accommodations nearby, or that are hard to get to. It’s also important to consider the ages of your guests and whether you will be inviting children or elderly people. Creating a first draft of your guest list will give you a lot of information to apply to your destination search.

Think about season and weather

Another aspect of European destination weddings to consider is the season, and the weather you can expect during any month. This is especially important if you want an outdoor ceremony or reception. The weather here in Ireland is known for being a little eccentric, so we always prepare for showers, whatever the month! That said, the second half of the year is generally wetter and windier. August and December are typically the rainiest months and we do get plenty of pretty days throughout the year too!


The small print

When planning a destination wedding in Europe, it’s vital that you research the legal requirements. Each country has its own requirements and these often change. Of course, you can also get around this by having a legal ceremony in your home country, followed by a symbolic ceremony at your destination wedding. Also, be aware that if you want a religious ceremony, there are additional rules to follow in most countries and churches.

Guest activities

Destination weddings are more than a single event. They’re a chance to share an experience with your favourite people and explore a beautiful place together. That’s why it’s important to choose a location that has plenty to offer. Fortunately, many European wedding destinations fit the bill, with everything from historic sites to culinary adventures for all to enjoy!

Once you’ve narrowed down your location, it’s time to move on to the next exciting part: venue hunting!

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Lisa O’Dwyer and Aspect Photography

Planning a Memorial Service or Celebration of Life

Over my years as an event planner in Ireland, I’ve been honoured to become part of my clients’ lives. I’ve shared in their happiest moments, such as weddings, birthdays, and baptisms. And I’ve also been called on to help them celebrate their loved ones when they unfortunately pass away, by planning funerals, memorial services, and celebrations of life.

The first time I was asked to do a funeral and memorial service was about thirteen years ago. It was for a very old client, a very well known businessman in Ireland. I had worked with his whole family at different stages. He knew he was ill and dying, so he approached me to plan his funeral and memorial himself. It was an honour and a privilege to be asked.

Since then, I have been asked to plan one or two memorials each year, usually for families I have worked with previously. Most are akin to small state funerals, so I have to liaise with the police, local authorities, etc.

In Ireland, we are known to do death particularly well. We like to treat it as a celebration of life, frequently with a lively wake. Unfortunately, this has not been possible during the time of Coronavirus, where large gatherings are impossible. So I do think that many families will throw a much bigger memorial celebration later on. Meanwhile, they have time to think about the type of service they would like, and the details they will include to remember their loved ones. For example, which music they would like played, which prayers (if any) they might like said, and so on.

If this is something you’re dealing with at the moment, I’m so sorry. Losing a loved one is always heartbreaking, but it must be especially difficult at the moment. To help you, I’ve put down a few of my top tips for planning a meaningful and memorable celebration of life.

You aren’t alone

Planning a memorial service isn’t something you have to do alone. And, while I work closely with the funeral directors, my role has always been a different one. I act as a central point of contact between the family, the florists, musicians, the press, and media (when relevant). In many ways, it’s similar to my role as a wedding planner. It allows the family to hand all the coordination over to me at what is already such a difficult and stressful time.

Consider the seating carefully

That first funeral I planned was at home in a small family chapel, but the memorial was very large. Over a thousand people attended from all over the world, including dignitaries, presidents, and other heads of government. I had to update my knowledge of seating etiquette, and it showed me how important seating is at a memorial.

When creating the seating chart, it’s important to take into account the different aspects of someone’s life, and seat guests accordingly. If you’re dealing with a particularly large headcount, consider creating a second space with video feed. We have often done this, especially where there has been a live broadcast of a funeral mass.

Include a book of condolence

A common feature at a funeral or celebration of life is the book of condolence. At two different memorials, we had areas for guests to sign this, creating a lasting gift for the family. You can also use this opportunity to really stamp your loved one’s personality on the tradition. For example, one person had been involved in the aviation business. We had the undercarriage from an old plane set up in the tent and encouraged all his friends to sign and place messages on it. His children proudly displayed it later, as an homage to their father. Another client was an art collector, so I hung a blank canvas and placed a pot of lipsticks and black sharpie pens beside it so guests could leave their messages.

Select meaningful flowers

Flowers always add warmth and beauty to an event, and a funeral or celebration of life is no exception. Choose flowers that are meaningful to your loved one. For example, you could include their favourite flower varieties or colours, or the flowers of their birth month or the place they were from.

Include those who cannot attend

Even when large gatherings are allowed again, some people may not be able to attend or might be uncomfortable doing so. This is especially true for elderly people who are at higher risk but will want to celebrate the life of their friend or family member. One option is to webcast the memorial service, so they can attend virtually. You could also invite them to share their favourite stories or memories, and play them as part of a tribute video.

If you would like to talk to us about helping plan a funeral, memorial service, or celebration of life on your behalf, do get in touch. I hope we can help make this difficult time one of happy memories.

Slán go Fóill,


Image by John Ryan Photography

Ireland’s Best Historic Wedding Venues

The island of Ireland has many incredible historic properties. It’s part of our rich cultural heritage. So when planning a destination wedding in Ireland, it only makes sense to enjoy the romance and grandeur of a historic property and share the experience with your guests. Imagine, for example, saying ‘I do’ in an ancient castle. Or a stately country house that has seen generations of parties and celebrations. Historic wedding venues in Ireland are full of character and tradition. And like fine wines, they’ve only gotten better with time!

Here are five of the best historic wedding venues in Ireland.


Adare Manor

Adare Manor is a delightful mix of old and new. This 19th-century neo-Gothic manor house underwent a complete renovation in 2017 that retained the charm of its past while adding five-star modern conveniences. The 840-acre estate is set beside a picture-perfect village in County Limerick, and also includes medieval ruins, elegant parterre French gardens, winding woodland paths and a picturesque river.


Ashford Castle

When it comes to fairytale Irish castles, Ashford Castle lives up to the fantasy every bit. Not to mention an ample dose of five-star luxury! With multiple event spaces within the venue, this 800-year-old castle is as versatile as it is beautiful. It also includes a state of the art spa, school of falconry, and 350 acres of lush green land. It can be booked exclusively for complete privacy and seclusion. One of the most iconic of the historic wedding venues in Ireland!



This magnificent country house – considered one of Ireland’s finest Georgian mansions – is located at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in County Laois. The secluded estate features over 600 acres of ancient forests and gardens, while inside the property you’ll find luxurious guest rooms, crackling fireplaces, and a 2000-year-old Italian mosaic. Ballyfin is, as Veranda Magazine noted, “like a house party out of Downton Abbey”. What more could a bride or groom wish for?


Luttrellstown Castle

This idyllic 15th-century castle will provide you with the best of both worlds. On the one hand, Luttrellstown Castle is nestled into a secluded 560-acre estate, offering complete privacy and exclusivity. On the other, it’s conveniently located just twenty minutes from Dublin, allowing your guests to enjoy everything the city has to offer during their stay. And the castle was built for gracious entertaining. From the elegant dining halls to the magnificent ballrooms, it’s the epitome of timeless romance.


Powerscourt House and Gardens

Voted one of the world’s top ten mansions and houses by Lonely Planet, Powerscourt House stands at the heart of a vast historical estate. The gardens are also internationally renowned and provide a dazzling backdrop to any celebration. Exclusive use of the house and gardens is available, and ceremonies can take place in the gardens, in front of the ornate Bamberg Gate, or indoors in the ground floor entry hall. Afterward, guests can enjoy a reception in the stately neo-classical ballroom, which features vast ceilings, marble columns, and elaborate plasterwork.

Of course, there are many more incredible historic wedding venues in Ireland to discover. These are just a few of my favourites!

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Eric Kelley, Fred Marigaux Photographer, Ashford Castle, Photogenic Photography, Luttrellstown Castle


10 Reasons to Have a Destination Wedding in Ireland

One of the reasons I love being an event and wedding planner in Ireland is that it reminds me never to take my spectacularly beautiful home country for granted. From intimate elopements to lavish celebrations on a grand scale, my team and I have planned events in some of the most incredible locations around the country. That’s one reason I’m so passionate about encouraging people from all around the world to choose Ireland for their destination weddings. After all, Ireland has so much to offer its visitors. For example, there’s the breathtaking scenery, the world-class hospitality, the rich cultural traditions. And, of course, the venues! From fairytale castles to lush estates, there’s every reason to tie the knot on the Emerald Isle. Here are my top ten reasons to plan a destination wedding in Ireland.

Spectacular Scenery

Ireland is home to some of the most jaw-dropping natural landscapes on earth. From enormous rugged cliff faces to rolling green hills, waterfalls, and forests, you’ll be spoilt for choice with outdoor ceremony locations and picturesque photo backdrops.

Extraordinary Venues

Whatever kind of wedding you imagine, Ireland has your dream venue. Think fairytale castles, abandoned churches, glorious gardens, stone lodges, and country manor houses (just to name a few).

Unrivalled Hospitality

From one end of the land to the other, Ireland is known for giving visitors the warmest of welcomes. Our award-winning wedding venues and hotels also provide five-star service, meeting and exceeding the highest standards you’d expect for your big day.

The Craic

Weddings in Ireland aren’t just beautiful and memorable. They’re so much fun! From late-night sing songs to dance floors powered by wonderful bands, that stay full long into the early hours, nobody leaves a destination wedding in Ireland without sore feet and a huge smile on their faces.

World-Class Cuisine

Ireland has a wealth of wonderful, locally sourced produce available for your wedding. This bounty has been embraced by Irish chefs and our foodie scene is world-class. From traditional dishes to international fusion food, the menu will certainly be a highlight of your destination wedding in Ireland.

Multiple Attractions for Your Guests

One of the things that makes destination weddings so special is the chance to enjoy everything a location has to offer, both before and after the event. And Ireland has so much! Historic sites, cosy pubs, Irish music, and culture… The list goes on and on.

Cultural Traditions

Speaking of culture, having a destination wedding in Ireland gives you the opportunity to incorporate some of our ancient traditions into your ceremony in a meaningful way. For example, handfasting or Irish dancing. More on that to come…

Ease of Communication

Planning a wedding from abroad is so much easier when you don’t have a language barrier to overcome. English is one of our official languages and is predominantly spoken throughout both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Talented Vendors

I’m lucky enough to work with some of the most creative, talented, and professional wedding vendors in the business. There are no better people to trust to make your wedding day go off without a hitch!

A Unique Experience for Your Guests

If you truly want to wow your guests, look no further than a destination wedding in Ireland! While other countries may offer some of the benefits outlined above, here we truly are lucky enough to have it all.

Slán go Fóill,

Image by Eric Kelley.

Why Hire a Wedding Planner in Ireland?

So you’ve decided on a destination wedding in Ireland? Congratulations! There’s no place more magical to exchange vows, or to treat your guests to the experience of a lifetime. But as much as I love destination weddings, they do come with their own set of challenges. Planning such a big event from afar can be complicated, stressful, and time-consuming. That’s where a local wedding planner is worth their weight in gold! A specialist destination wedding planner can be your eyes and ears, offer insider knowledge and contacts, in some cases be your translator, and help you enjoy the process. Here are some of the reasons why hiring a wedding planner in Ireland is a must.

Specialist Knowledge of the Area

A destination wedding planner knows the ins and outs of everything local. For example, you’ll get the inside track on the best venues to choose, local culture and etiquette, – even the weather! (In fact, the weather is something that you’ll definitely want to keep in mind when planning a wedding in Ireland.) There’s so much more to a destination than you’ll find by searching online. Plus, having a wedding planner in Ireland will also help you and your guests make the most of your trip. They can recommend restaurants and accommodations and help plan activities and excursions to make the weekend extra special!

A Network of Trusted Vendors

Planning a fabulous wedding isn’t just about the details you choose. It’s about having a team of creative, talented professionals to make those dreams a reality. When you’re planning a wedding from abroad, you often won’t meet your vendors in person before the big day and that means you’ll be reliant on online reviews. But bringing am experienced local planner on board means having access to a vetted network. I have Ireland’s top luxury wedding vendors in my little black book. Many I have worked with repeatedly, and I know and trust them implicitly.

A Trusted Advocate

Your wedding planner has your back. They’re your advocate, your accountant, your therapist, stylist, and dear friend. They are the person who is always on your side, always acting in your interests and on your behalf. This is very different from other role players like venue coordinators or stylists. Your wedding planner acts as the buffer between you and all the different aspects of the wedding. They guide you through the process, so your engagement can be the happy time it should be. And they’ll save you a tremendous amount of time. Most importantly, they’ll take the reins so that you can relax and enjoy your big day, completely stress-free!

The Legal Stuff

Each country has its own legal requirements, which you’ll need to navigate for a destination wedding. Ireland’s registration system can be especially challenging. But not to worry! A wedding planner in Ireland can help you through this aspect of wedding planning. For example, by ensuring you have the correct paperwork before and after you arrive in the country and making sure any special permits are in order.

The bottom line is that a wedding planner in Ireland will help you save time, money, and stress. Especially during this uncertain time, when things are always changing and developing, it’s vital to have someone on the ground who you can trust. Not to mention to add to the fun, the personal details, and experiences you and your guests will have on arrival!

Slán go Fóill,

Image by Lisa O’Dwyer Photography.

Getting Married in Ireland: Where to Start

Whether you’re coming home to Ireland for your big day, have Irish heritage, or just want an incredible destination wedding experience, getting married in Ireland is a great choice. Of course, there’s a fair amount of legwork and decision making that goes into planning any destination wedding. But don’t be overwhelmed! Here are a few first steps to get you started. Follow these, and you’ll be well on your way to a memorable and successful destination wedding in Ireland!

Work out the basics

First things first! Sit down as a couple and discuss what kind of wedding you both want. Church or civil ceremony? Intimate celebration or big bash? Indoors or outdoors? Which season or time of year? And crucially: what is your budget? Once you have the basic parameters worked out, it’s a lot easier to narrow down your choices and find what’s perfect for you.

Identify possible locations and venues

The location you choose for your wedding will determine the mood and style of the event. If you’re getting married in Ireland, you have your choice of grand country houses, ancient castles, and modern city venues, for example. Start a shortlist by Googling wedding venues in Ireland and looking at venue websites and real celebrations on wedding blogs.


Plan a visit

If at all possible, I would recommend planning a trip to Ireland at the start of your wedding planning. Although virtual venue tours are increasing in popularity, there’s nothing quite like touring a property or area in person. It will also allow you to meet local suppliers in person, and get a sense of the experience you’ll be giving your guests.

Consider the wedding date carefully

Before you pick a date, be sure to factor in bank holidays, as well as special dates in Ireland (and in your wedding destination in particular). For example, St Patrick’s Day, the festive season, and both the August and June bank holidays are particularly busy. This will usually make flights and accommodations more expensive for your guests. It’s also a good idea to talk to your venue or wedding planner about the weather at that time of year. Although when you’re getting married in Ireland, a little rain is always a possibility!


Research legal and religious ceremony requirements

Having your legal ceremony in Ireland can be complicated, and having a Catholic ceremony even more so. That’s why it’s important that you start organising the legalities as early as possible so that all the paperwork is in place. You can also choose to get married in your home country in a private ceremony and have a symbolic ceremony in Ireland.

Get some help

You don’t have to do it all alone! Hiring a wedding planner in Ireland may be the best decision you make (apart from saying ‘I do’, of course!). We have local contacts and experience, can take care of all the details and logistics, and save you money, hours, and stress. And if you can’t tour a venue in person, you know we can do it for you and share our first-hand experiences from today and any from the past too.

Slán go Fóill,


Image by Lisa O’Dwyer and Photogenic Photography