How to Create an Irish Wedding Menu

If you ask guests what they remember most about a wedding, food will always be high up on the list. A wedding menu should be delicious, beautifully presented, and in keeping with the tone of the event, in order to give guests the very best experience. So if you’re planning a destination wedding in Ireland, there’s no better way to celebrate than with a proper Celtic feast. Or perhaps you’re planning a micro wedding at home before coming to Ireland for your wedding in the near future? If so, you may want to give guests a taste of the Emerald Isle. Either way, here are some top tips for how to create a delectable Irish wedding menu for your big day.


New takes on old classics

What is a traditional Irish wedding menu? Prior to the last century, you might have expected to find hearty everyday dishes, like stews, root vegetables, and soda bread. Today of course, many Irish weddings feature a global influence, with dishes and foods from all around the world. But increasingly, couples are opting for a contemporary take on traditional Irish wedding food. This approach makes the most of seasonal fare and locally sourced Irish ingredients. It’s also a chance for our fantastic culinary industry to show off, serving fresh takes on classic dishes that add a wonderful sense of place to the occasion.

Canapés are a great place to start. For example, smoked salmon on soda bread or blinis, lamb lollipops, or shots of leek and potato soup. For the mains, serve a traditional stew with gourmet cheese dumplings on the side, potato farls, or retro Colcannon. Ask your caterer for their ideas, and see if they can come up with some exciting variations!


Serve seasonal foods and local ingredients

Having your wedding caterer use fresh seasonal produce and locally-sourced ingredients is a great way to give your wedding menu some Irish flare. Different regions of Ireland offer locally reared beef and lamb, beautiful fish and shellfish, and speciality items such as cheeses and black pudding. These can take centre stage or add a twist to any meal, while foraged greens would make for an extra special touch. Even if you’re planning a micro wedding from afar, you should be able to find some of these ingredients available, and they’ll give your guests a delicious preview of what they can expect at your Irish destination wedding.

Some of the best ingredients to consider include Irish wild venison, Wicklow lamb, Atlantic salmon, Mullaghmore Crab, Dublin Bay prawns, Gubbeen cheese, and rich Irish Cheddar.

Don’t forget the alcohol!

We do like a drink at an Irish wedding, but it isn’t just about what you serve at the bar. Alcohol can also add something special to your Irish wedding menu. For example, serve blackened salmon with a whiskey marinade, a starter of mussels in an Irish cider, a stout-infused stew, or an Irish cream based dessert. You can also create a whiskey tasting menu. It goes beautifully with a steak! For a traditional touch, serve guests honey mead, which has been served at weddings in Ireland for many centuries.


Have a traditional Irish wedding cake

Of course, if you’re having a traditional Irish wedding menu, you must have a traditional Irish wedding cake! This is a tiered fruitcake, soaked in whiskey, covered with thick marzipan and a sweet glaze. It is filled with almonds, raisins and cherries, and was often topped with four leaf clovers for good luck.

However and wherever you’re getting married, adding a touch of home to your Irish wedding menu is sure to go down a storm!

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Lisa O’DwyerFred Marigaux Photography, Christina Brosnan Photography, Photogenic Photography

Same Sex Weddings in Ireland

It’s hard to believe that almost five years have passed since same sex marriage became a reality in the Republic of Ireland. I still remember the sense of pride and elation I felt when the country voted in favour of marriage equality in the 2015 referendum! And with same sex marriage now also legally recognised in Northern Ireland (as of January 2020), LGBTQI+ and same sex weddings are finally a reality across the whole island. Here at Tara Fay weddings we are huge supporters of marriage equality, and we love helping all our couples make their dream day a reality, whoever they choose to love.

The Marriage Act 2015 applies to civil ceremonies, which can take place in a huge variety of venues across Ireland. For example, castles, hotels, manor houses and museums. You can also opt for a Humanist ceremony for same sex weddings in Ireland (which can include outdoor locations). If you would like to get married on a private estate (ceremony venues must be open to the public), you can also choose to have a small legal ceremony and follow it with a symbolic ceremony in a location of your choice. Windswept cliff tops, fields, woodlands… wherever your imagination takes you!

While same sex weddings in Ireland are identical to opposite sex weddings in the most important way (i.e. legal status), it’s up to you how traditional you want your celebration to be. In fact, LGBTQI+ couples often feel less restricted when it comes to the details of the day, allowing us to create a day for them that feels completely personal. You make the rules! Here are a few elements to consider.


What to wear

Two tuxes? Two dresses? Matching or not? The answer is: whatever will make you feel incredible. There are a huge range of options, from dresses to suits to uniquely complementary ensembles. The most important thing is that each of you feels comfortable and confident. And, while you can choose to wear the same thing or matching versions, there are also lots of other ways to make your outfits coherent, from colours and fabrics to the flowers you carry or the accessories you wear.

The ceremony

Heterosexual Christian wedding ceremonies have a number of traditions, and many are defined by gender. For example, the bride’s family sit on the left, and the groom waits for the bride at the top of the aisle. With same sex weddings, you get to build the ceremony that best fits you as a couple. For example, you could walk down the aisle together, or towards each other from opposite directions. You also don’t need to include heteronormative phrases in your vows. Write your own, and personalise your ceremony with readings and music that you love.

Wedding traditions

There are lots of other wedding traditions that are defined by gender, and you can reimagine these exactly as you wish. For example, you can dispense with the bouquet and garter toss, or turn it into something new. You can have bridesmen and groomsmaids, a shared wedding party, or no entourage at all. You might also choose to have a first look, or to get ready together. It’s your wedding; your rules. And the same goes for your pre-wedding events, like hen parties and stag dos!

Whatever you decide on, remember this is your love, and your relationship that is being honoured. And, while all couples struggle with the expectations of family and friends, the most important thing is to focus on what matters to you as a couple.

I can’t wait to welcome more gorgeous couples home to Ireland for their same sex weddings in 2021 and beyond!

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Eric Kelley

The Dos and Don’ts of Planning a Destination Wedding in Europe

Dreaming of a destination wedding in Europe? Who could blame you! There are so many options for romantic European weddings, from ancient castles in Ireland to sunkissed villas in Italy or France. Whatever you’re picturing, planning a perfect destination wedding in Europe isn’t as difficult as you may think, especially if you have an experienced local wedding planner on board. But before you start packing your bags, here are a few important dos and don’ts to consider.

DO visit the location in advance

One of the best things about having a destination wedding in Europe is that there is a location to suit every couple. From beachy Mediterranean settings to vibrant historic cities, to cosy country retreats. The internet is a great place to start scouting venues, reading reviews, and swooning over images. But if at all possible, make sure you visit your destination before booking. (Plus, it’s a great excuse for a romantic getaway!)

DON’T choose a difficult-to-reach location

When picking a European wedding venue, it’s important to think about accessibility for your family and friends. Are there regular (direct) flights? Is there suitable accommodation at a range of price points nearby? You should also make sure that the location has all of the resources you need, otherwise you will have to budget extra to bring them in.


DO arrive a few days before your guests

It’s always a good idea to travel out to your European wedding destination ahead of your guests. This will give you time to settle in, calm your nerves, and get over any jetlag. You’ll also able to squeeze in a hair and makeup trial, and deal with any last minute details.

DON’T limit your celebrations to the wedding day

Having all your favourite people with you on a dream European vacation is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Make sure to organise additional outings or events for the group, so that everyone is able to get a real taste of your host country. If you’re planning a destination wedding in Ireland, that might include dining on some of our delicious local cuisine, visiting an historic site, or enjoying a golf or spa day, for example.

DO embrace the local culture

To make your destination wedding in Europe extra special, you should embrace and incorporate elements of your chosen location. For example, you could reflect it in your menu, your stationery, your wedding design or your ceremony. For an Irish destination wedding, a popular option is to have a bagpiper play you down the aisle. You could also invite Irish dancers to perform at the reception, and serve your guests a selection of fine Irish whiskeys.


DON’T make your destination wedding ceremony your legal one

Of course, it’s possible to arrange for your destination wedding ceremony to be a legal one. But depending on your destination, that can be a tricky and time-consuming process. In Ireland, the registration system can be more trouble than it’s worth, so I would recommend getting legally married in your home country. It also gives you more freedom with when and where your symbolic ceremony or blessing can take place.

DO make sure your guests feel welcome

It’s more important than ever at a destination wedding that you do everything you can to make your guests feel welcome. After all, they’ve come a long way to be with you! Treat them to welcome gift bags at their hotels, and provide them with all the information they need to enjoy their stay. Spend time with each of them during the wedding weekend, and be sure to add a personal touch with a handwritten thank you note to show how grateful you are that they are there.

DON’T try to do it all on your own

Planning any wedding is time consuming and stressful. A destination wedding has an extra layer of challenges. And depending on which European wedding destination you choose, language can also be an issue. That’s why it’s so important to find a team of professionals you can trust. Starting with an experienced destination wedding planner! They will be able to coordinate with other vendors, give you good (local) advice, and help you source those special touches.

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Lisa O’Dwyer and Photogenic Photography