Coronavirus Wedding Guidelines in Ireland: An Update

If you’re planning a wedding, I know that keeping track of the Coronavirus wedding guidelines in Ireland and beyond can be a struggle. Advice and restrictions change from week to week as the situation evolves. Just a little while ago, we were able to have weddings of up to 50 people again, but that has unfortunately changed as Europe faces a second wave. Since the start of this pandemic, it’s been my mission to work closely with both the government and hospitality industry to provide clarity to wedding vendors and couples. So, as we move into the highest level of restrictions (Level 5), I thought it would be a good time for an update!

Please note that, as I mentioned, guidelines are ever-changing, and it’s important to always work closely with your Irish wedding planner or check the government’s website to ensure your plans are in compliance. But for now (October 2020), here is a rundown of the most recent Coronavirus wedding guidelines in Ireland.

Guest Numbers

The Plan for Living with COVID-19, published by the Irish government in September, outlines five different levels of restrictions, with Level 1 being the lowest. The plan includes provisions for localised restrictions, where different counties may be at different levels, depending on the number of cases.

From 22 October, the entire country is at Level 5. However, an exemption to the original roadmap has been made for weddings, which allows up to 25 guests to attend a wedding ceremony and reception, whether indoors or outdoors. This number will remain in place until the end of the year. The government has also confirmed that people travelling to weddings will be permitted to travel outside the 5km travel restriction that is in place under Level 5, which is wonderful news for couples whose family or friends live in another county.

Level 5 specifics

Under Level 5 some additional restrictions have been issued by the government which apply to weddings.

  • Guest numbers are 25 people, not including the couple or essential staff
  • Travel – guests are allowed to travel to attend a wedding
  • Hotel accommodation for guests – hotels are permitted to open for overnight accommodation for the 25 guests and the couple ONLY
  • Hair and Make up services  are not allowed under any circumstances
  • Wedding dress shops are closed to the public
  • Wedding cakes are permitted
  • Photographers are permitted
  • Live music and dancing is not permitted and the reception must be fully seated
  • Novelty suppliers and acts are not permitted

While it’s impossible to know where things will stand for weddings in early 2021, we do know that the highest number of guests allowed at any level under the government plan is 100. This means that 100 guests is your best-case scenario. And remember, that number does not have to include any staff and suppliers who will be in attendance.. The numbers also apply to a church ceremony or to a marquee, even if it’s in your garden.  Currently under Level 5 restrictions, weddings can only take place in a hotel or venue.

Venue Guidelines

As well as the coronavirus wedding guidelines in Ireland published by the government, it’s important to be aware of the guidelines published by Fáilte Ireland (our tourist board). These provide specific recommendations for venues that impact table settings, dancing, etc.

Here’s what to expect when we go back to Level 3.

  • Weddings must end by 11.30pm. At this time, all wedding guests should have left the function and bar areas.
  • Guests must wear masks during the reception when arriving at their table and when leaving it. Face masks should also be worn by staff where other measures like screens or physical distancing are not possible.
  • Hand sanitisers must be placed at all entry points and there should be clear signage to request physical distancing.
  • For a drinks reception or cocktail hour, no self-service stations are allowed, and canapés must be served in individual portions. Distanced queuing systems must be in place, and extra furnishings should be removed from the room to allow maximum space for social distancing.
  • For a dinner reception, food should not be served family-style but should instead be fully plated with individual portions or sachets of salt, pepper, and butter.
  • Social distancing must be maintained at the tables. A couple or family are able to sit together, but groups or individuals who don’t live in the same house must be seated 2m apart.
  • Social distancing also has to be maintained on the dance floor. I would recommend encouraging guests to dance with other people at their table. You could even have a dance-off between different tables!

I know this is a lot to take in! But remember, the restrictions are all in place for the safety of your family and friends, as well as your wedding vendors. And, while weddings are different now, they can still be just as beautiful and moving and memorable as ever! And remember, with the guidelines ever-changing, a wedding planner is key to getting you through these uncharted waters!

Slán go Fóill,


Image by Lisa O’Dwyer Photography

The Dos and Don’ts of the Pregnant Bridesmaid

Having a pregnant bridesmaid or maid of honour as part of the wedding party is something many brides discover becomes part of their wedding planning process. Of course, you may be aware of a pregnancy (or potential pregnancy) well in advance. More often, however, you’re well into the planning process when you hear the happy news. And it is very happy news, of course! But once you’ve celebrated the blessing of a child, you may find yourself wondering what it means for the wedding. What will your pregnant bridesmaid wear? Will she be able to perform all her duties? Will she be able to be part of the wedding at all?

Worry not! Managing the needs of a pregnant bridesmaid just requires a little flexibility and understanding, as well as good communication. Here are a few dos and don’ts to help you along the way.

DON’T panic

First and foremost, don’t panic! It’s perfectly normal to wonder how a pregnant bridesmaid might affect your wedding vision, but it’s important to react in a supportive way, and not be angry or annoyed. And certainly, keep any thoughts about your friend stealing your thunder to yourself. You have every right to enjoy the extra attention you’ll receive as a bride (and she’ll want you to have it too)! Just be careful not to make everything about you or try to make her feel bad. Friendship is all about celebrating each other’s milestones.

DO have an honest conversation

Once the initial excitement has died down, it’s fine to raise the topic of your wedding. Let your friend know you still want her to be part of your wedding, but that it’s her decision. Talk about her concerns and discuss different options for both the wedding day and for pre-wedding events like your bridal shower or hen party. Make sure you also keep the channels of communication open throughout the planning process. Your friend should always feel comfortable being honest with you about what she can and cannot take on, and some of that may change as her pregnancy progresses, depending on how she is feeling.

DON’T assume she can’t be part of the bridal party

While a pregnant bridesmaid may not be able to give you the same level of commitment, that doesn’t mean she definitely can’t be a big part of your wedding! Again, a lot will depend on how her pregnancy goes and on how close her due date is to the wedding day. She may not be able to attend every event but make sure she always feels included. And if she decides not to be a bridesmaid, you can also recognise her in another way, for example, as an honorary bridesmaid or in some other role.

DO choose maternity-friendly bridesmaid attire

When it comes to dresses, there are plenty of options for a pregnant bridesmaid. You could opt for a mismatched look and let her pick a comfortable, flattering gown like an empire line or maxi dress. Or, if you’d like your ladies to match, you could choose a convertible dress or one from a range that has maternity options. Long dresses are always a good idea. And heels are out (at least for her).

DON’T forget to consider travel if it’s a destination wedding

If you’re having a destination wedding, then a pregnancy can throw a spanner in the works. Some destinations are off-limits to pregnant women thanks to Zika, and long haul flights can be a problem in the third trimester. If your bridesmaid won’t be able to attend, you can still include her in the pre-wedding festivities and any post-wedding celebration at home. And be sure to set her up to attend the ceremony via Zoom!

DO be flexible and make adjustments where needed

There are lots of ways you can make the experience of being a bridesmaid more pleasant for a pregnant friend. For example, you could have her sit in the front row instead of standing at the top of the aisle. Serve mocktails as well as cocktails and make sure she has appropriate accommodation. It’s all about putting yourself in her shoes (flat ones!).

Most importantly…

DON’T forget why you asked her to be your bridesmaid in the first place

Throughout the process of planning your wedding with a pregnant bridesmaid, the most important thing is to remember how much you love each other. Your friendship is about more than a single day or a perfect bridesmaid dress. It’s about being there for each other for all the important moments, and supporting each other however you can.

Slán go Fóill,


Image by Aspect Photography


The Best Luxury Wedding Venues Near Dublin

I’m often asked about luxury wedding venues near Dublin, especially by couples planning their destination wedding in Ireland, who want easy access to Dublin airport. Of course, I’m always happy to oblige. As a wedding planner in Ireland, I’ve travelled all over the Emerald Isle, and experienced some truly incredible Irish wedding venues. And you don’t even have to go far to find them! Within an hour’s drive from the capital, you’ll find everything from ancient castles and stately manor houses to five-star hotels, each with that special wow factor that will be sure to impress your guests. Today, I’ve put together a list of five top luxury wedding venues near Dublin and within the city itself. If you’re dreaming of a wedding with luxe décor, gorgeous food, stunning settings, and top-notch hospitality (with easy airport access for your guests), these might be for you!

Powerscourt Estate

Location: Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow

One of my favourite luxury wedding venues near Dublin – just 40 minutes from the capital, in fact. I’d go so far as to say that Powerscourt Estate (above) has the finest views in Ireland. A long avenue lined with beech trees sweeps its way up to the Palladian mansion, like something from a fairytale. It includes a grand marble hall, a Georgian ballroom, and a private bar with panoramic vistas of the renowned formal gardens and The Sugarloaf Mountain.

Luxury Wedding Venues Near Dublin The Shelbourne

The Shelbourne

Location: Dublin 2

The Shelbourne is a five-star luxury hotel in the very heart of Dublin, looking out over St Stephen’s Green. One of the capital’s most elegant properties, its 19th-century red brick façade is a city landmark, and the opulent interiors include gleaming marble, embossed wallpaper, decorative stained glass, and open fireplaces. It has a number of beautiful rooms for weddings, whether you’re planning a lavish ball or something more intimate.

Luxury Wedding Venues Near Dublin Carton House

Carton House

Location: Maynooth, Co. Kildare

Another wonderful luxury wedding venue near Dublin is Carton House in Co. Kildare (around 30 minutes from the city). This exclusive resort is located on over a thousand acres of parkland and includes an award-winning golf course. Smaller events can take place in the magnificent Gold Salon, while larger weddings can also be accommodated in the glamorous ballroom, which was recently refurbished.

Luxury Wedding Venues Near Dublin Tankardstown House

Tankardstown House

Location: Slane, Co. Meath

Tankardstown House is a country house wedding venue, only a 40-minute drive from Dublin, near the famous Slane Castle. This location is all about understated luxury and fine dining. The house can be booked exclusively for your wedding, so you’ll feel like you have your very own 18th-century manor! Summer ceremonies and drinks receptions can be held in the walled garden, while receptions for up to 230 people take place in the stunning glass-ceilinged Orangery ballroom.

Luxury Wedding Venues Near Dublin Luttrellstown Castle

Luttrellstown Castle

Location: Castleknock, Co. Dublin

Of course, I can’t talk about luxury wedding venues near Dublin without mentioning this spectacular 15th-century castle! Luttrellstown Castle was made famous for having hosted the wedding of David and Victoria Beckham and continues to host glamorous affairs in its beautiful ballroom with its sparkling chandeliers, and private, expansive grounds. It also has twelve sumptuous bedrooms, so you really can wake up on the morning of your wedding feeling like a princess!

If you’d like to know more about these and the other amazing luxury wedding venues near Dublin that are available, be sure to get in touch!

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Eric Kelley, The Shelbourne, Carton House, Tankardstown House, Luttrellstown Castle