The Differences Between a Wedding Planner and a Venue Manager (and why you need both!)

Planning for your wedding day can feel a bit like learning a new trade, but knowing the differences between a wedding planner and a venue manager can help you decide which professionals will be best to help create the wedding you and your partner have been dreaming about. And thus, those professionals take away the need for a new skill so you can sit back and enjoy the experience!

As you get started in your planning, let’s take a look at the differences between a wedding planner and a venue manager.

Who or What Are They Focused On?

A wedding planner’s role is focused on the couple. We work with you and support you as a couple ensuring that the wedding is exactly as you’ve imagined it would be. Deciding on budgets and timelines, coordinating invitations, and helping you source the perfect locations and decor – all part of the wedding planner duties.  

On the contrary, often a venue manager is solely focused on anything concerning the venue. It is more than likely that the venue planner will work for the venue. They will ensure payments are up-to-date, guest numbers are finalised and the correct amount of food & drink is ordered. 

Anything that incorporates the planning of the whole wedding will be the responsibility of the wedding planner. We will attend meetings, viewings and tastings with you, taking the role of an experienced best friend, on hand to bring your vision to life (or help you find your vision too).

Once initial contact with the venue is made, the venue manager will show you around, provide prices or packages to choose from and identify which dates are available for your wedding. 

Who Pays Their Fees?

Another one of the differences between a wedding planner and a venue manager is cost. Depending on your needs (and the company you choose), the cost of a wedding planner will vary significantly. Bear in mind that your planner will be involved throughout all of the wedding planning, not just on the day, so this is an investment. A worthy investment!

Usually, the price of the venue manager is included in the wedding venue costs itself. This does vary with each venue, but that is traditionally the way it’s done. 

When Do They Start?

One of the main differences between a wedding planner and a venue planner is communication and the timeframe of that communication.

Wedding planners will be working closely with the couple as soon as they are hired, right up to, and including, the wedding day. This can be a relationship that begins months or sometimes years before the wedding. And the job isn’t done until the wedding is.

Couples will be in constant contact with their wedding planner, whereas communication with the venue planner may be closer to the wedding date. After the initial booking confirmation of the venue, you may not hear from a venue planner personally until a few weeks or months before the wedding date. At this point, they will want to confirm guest numbers, table and chair layouts and any further details regarding the venue coordination. This is something that your wedding planner will take care of on your behalf. If you’ve had a tour or tasting, you’ve likely met this person along the way at the property. But be sure to ask if they are the same point of contact on the wedding day. There is a difference between sales and service and some venues. 

Who Goes to the Wedding?

On the wedding day itself, it is more than likely that both wedding planner and venue planner will be present. They will ensure tasks are completed behind the scene. Again, be sure to ask your venue if there’s a difference between sales and service staff so you know who you’re working with come wedding day. Your wedding planner won’t change. 

Wedding planners will be on hand from early in the morning right through to when the last supplier has packed up. Whereas a venue planner may only be present for part of the wedding day, especially if your wedding takes place in a number of venues. 

In short, in order for your wedding day to be a complete success, you will need the help from both a wedding planner and a venue manager. The wedding planner will be your hand to hold, an organisational whiz, and a creative genius behind-the-scenes. Whilst the venue manager is integral in running your venue on the day with precision, from staffing (if done in-house) to catering (if provided) or simply making sure the venue is providing what it was contracted for. Both are important members of your wedding dream team! You can find out even more reasons why having a wedding planner at your wedding is becoming even more important by visiting my past journal entry.

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Lisa O Dwyer Photography, Story of Eve 





2023 St. Patrick’s Day Ideas to Include on Your Wedding Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a beloved holiday that is celebrated all around the world, and there is no better way to honour the Emerald Isle than by incorporating Irish-inspired elements into your special day. Here are a few of our favourite 2023 St. Patrick’s Day Ideas to include on your wedding daythat will help to infuse your day with the very essence of Ireland.

Let the music play 

First and foremost, a simple way to add an Irish touch to your wedding day is by incorporating traditional Irish music. A ceilidh band, which plays lively folk music, is a perfect option for the reception, while an Irish piper would be an excellent choice for the ceremony itself. These types of traditional Irish music will add a unique and elegant feel to the atmosphere of your special day.

Surround yourself with green 

Another way to add a wholly Irish touch is to consider using an emerald green colour palette. This rich, lush shade is the perfect symbol of Ireland, evoking the rolling green hills and verdant landscapes of the country. You could use it as the primary colour in your wedding decor, from the bridesmaid dresses to the floral arrangements. You could also incorporate it as an accent colour in your stationery or linens. If an emerald green isn’t to your taste, take your pick from one of the many other shades of rich greens that are still synonymous with the feel of Eire.

Serve hearty Irish Fare 

When it comes to food, you can’t go wrong with serving Irish produce. Allow guests to dine on traditional Irish dishes like colcannon, Irish stew, and soda bread by adding these choices to your menu. Serving drinks like Irish whiskey or Guinness as signature drinks always delight guests. Using fresh, local produce is a timeless way to showcase the flavours of Ireland as well as give your guests a taste of it too.

Carry symbols of love and luck as one of your 2023 St. Patrick’s Day Ideas to include on your wedding day.

To further infuse your wedding with Irish charm, consider incorporating horseshoes and shamrocks. Horseshoes are said to bring good luck, making them a perfect symbol for your big day. You could use them as part of your decor or even incorporate them into your wedding favours. A Shamrock, the national symbol of Ireland, is one of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day ideas to include on your wedding day. Use them in your floral arrangements or as a motif on your wedding cake and within stationery. (Read about more Irish wedding traditions here.)

Weave in Gaelic words of wisdom 

Finally, consider incorporating traditional poems and blessings in Gaelic. This ancient language is steeped in history and culture, and using it in your wedding ceremony is one of the more unusual St. Patrick’s Day ideas to include on your wedding day. You could have a Gaelic speaker recite a traditional poem or blessing during the ceremony or include a Gaelic translation of your wedding vows.

There are so many St. Patrick’s Day ideas to include on your wedding day that are great ways to honour the Emerald Isle and fill your wedding with Irish charm. I hope this has been a starting point for you to begin creating a truly unique and unforgettable wedding day surrounded by your loved ones.

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Lisa O’ Dwyer Photography, Story of Eve

Traditional Tartan Belleek Castle Wedding | Patti & Dom

This Belleek Castle wedding was one of my favourite kinds of destination weddings! The gorgeous American couple, Patti and Dom, chose Ireland as the location for their big day to honour their shared Irish heritage. Both of their families emigrated from County Mayo to the United States, and so it was only fitting that their big day took place at a castle venue in the same county. It’s a privilege to reconnect couples like this one to the culture and traditions of Ireland, and this heritage was the inspiration for all their wedding details and design.

Another very special element of the wedding is how Patti and Dom met. Both of them have a background in law enforcement and Dom is a bagpiper with the NYPD Pipes & Drums while Patti is a tenor drummer with the Cleveland Police Pipes & Drums. The two became friends through the close bond the two pipe bands share and their annual meeting at the Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Tattoo. One day, friendship turned to romance and the rest, as they say, is history!


Belleek Castle is a fairytale venue in the west of Ireland that has won multiple awards for its food and service, as well as ‘most romantic castle’. With a site dating back to the early 15th century, the Neo-Gothic castle is nestled in 200 acres of scenic woodland and gardens just outside Ballina in Co. Mayo. As Patti and Dom’s wedding took place during COVID, they had a limited guest list, with 22 friends travelling to Ireland to join them for the big day. Belleek Castle caters for both larger and more intimate wedding parties, and the atmospheric medieval-style Great Hall, with its open fire and intricate wood panelling, provided the perfect backdrop to the couple’s reception.


The Belleek Castle wedding ceremony took place in the restored 19th century stables, a beautifully rustic space which we decorated with candles and greenery that complemented the bride and groom’s attire. Both Patti and Dom wore the Co. Mayo tartan, which had featured on their invitations. Dom and his groomsmen opted for traditional kilts while Patti had the tartan incorporated on the hem and buttons of her dress. The couple had a traditional handfasting ceremony – another tribute to their Irish heritage.


We also used the Co. Mayo tartan as the inspiration for the reception design. A long banqueting table was draped in emerald green, with a tartan runner and dozens of smaller arrangements of traditional Irish flowers and greenery, as well as tall red, gold, and white taper candles. Guests were seated on red velvet chairs, and each found their menu and napkin tied with a tartan ribbon. It was a regal setting, befitting the incredible cuisine served up by the Belleek Castle kitchens!


Here’s what Patti had to say about her experience of working with Tara Faye Events for their Belleek Castle wedding:

“Invest in a wedding planner! I am the ultimate convert to this. I cannot recommend Tara Fay and her staff enough. Do yourself a favour and do this! Weddings and events are their profession, Tara guided us through so much that we never even dreamt of. We would have been lost without her knowledge and contacts.”

Congratulations again, Patti and Dom! I like to think that your Irish ancestors were smiling down on us – and that we did them proud!

Slán go Fóill,


Planner: Tara Fay Events | Venue: Belleek Castle | Transportation & Logistics: Ireland Chauffer Travel | Stationery: Lucky Onion | Groomsmen’s Kilts: Corless Formal Wear | Groom’s Kilt: USA Kilts | Dress: A.Daley Bridal | Whiskey Tasting: Connacht Distillery | Bridal Party Gifts: Olde Shillelagh Stickmakers | Luggage Tag Favors: Currys Leather on Etsy


You might also like:

10 Reasons to Have a Destination Wedding in Ireland
7 Irish Wedding Traditions to Include in Your Destination Wedding
Castle Weddings in Ireland: Best Venues & Planning Tips

Why Europe is the Hottest Destination Wedding Location for Americans in 2023

When COVID put a halt to travel in recent years, many American couples had to re-evaluate their dream of a destination wedding and turn to venues and locations closer to home. Fortunately, for those who love to explore new places, the world has (mostly) opened up again. Destination weddings are a hot trend for 2023, especially in Europe. In fact, US couples are flocking across the ocean to say “I do” in venues from French châteaux to romantic Irish manor houses. With its stunning landscapes, diverse cultures, and welcoming atmosphere, it’s no wonder the continent is a prime destination wedding location for Americans. And, of course, Ireland is one of the most desirable spots for many of them to tie the knot.

But what makes Europe (and Ireland in particular) such a hot destination wedding location for Americans? Here are just three of the top reasons.

Spectacular scenery. From the towering heights of the Alps to the picturesque beaches of the Mediterranean, Europe offers a variety of breathtaking backdrops for your special day. Whether you want to get married in a fairy-tale castle in the Irish countryside, atop a craggy mountain peak, or on a beach in Portugal or the Greek Isles, Europe provides the perfect scenery for your perfect day.

Ireland is a beautiful destination wedding location for Americans looking to tie the knot overseas. Our natural landscape is a sight to behold! Green rolling countryside, majestic coastal cliffs with views of the Atlantic Ocean… there’s no shortage of striking natural beauty that will provide the perfect backdrop for your special day.

st. patrick’s day wedding ideas handfasting ceremony

Rich culture. No matter which part of Europe you choose, you’ll find a rich and diverse history to explore. What could be more special than hosting your big day in a castle that has seen feasts and celebrations for centuries, or incorporating local traditions and food that will delight your guests?

The culture and cuisine of Ireland are second to none. From traditional Irish music to the best in modern Irish cuisine, the Emerald Isle provides an unforgettable experience for you and your guests. In fact, many American couples opt to wed in Ireland due to the country’s strong connection to their own heritage, which makes a destination wedding in Ireland even more meaningful.

Best of Ireland over a Wedding Weekend: the Cliffs of Moher

Romantic honeymoons. Another factor that makes Europe an amazing choice is that it’s a great place to honeymoon. Whether you’re looking for winter skiing or sun-soaked summer days on the Mediterranean, you’ll find it on the continent. Not to mention all the most iconic and romantic cities in the world, such as Paris, Venice, Vienna, and Barcelona. Your European honeymoon will be just a short trip from whichever wedding location you choose, allowing you to easily explore the continent together. (And your guests will be able to do the same!)

Ireland is not only easy for Americans to access, but it’s also an easy gateway to explore the rest of Europe. Ireland has five international airports, making it simple to access countries like Italy, Spain, Greece, and Croatia. An Irish honeymoon is also a great option, with lots of romantic sites across the island to explore!

With all of these advantages and more, it’s no wonder that Europe is the destination of choice for 2023! Whether you choose to wed in Ireland or any other part of Europe, it will be a day and a trip you’ll never forget.

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Lisa O’Dwyer Photography

Why You Need a Wedding Planner Now More Than Ever

Have you recently got engaged and are now facing the prospect of wedding planning? Perhaps you’re a few months down the line, and have already chosen your venue, wedding party, and colour palette. Or maybe you’re somewhere in between the two. Wherever you are on the wedding planning journey, at some point or other, every couple asks themselves: ‘do we need a wedding planner?’ There’s a perception that wedding planners are only for the most elaborate of celebrations but the truth is that almost any couple will benefit significantly from hiring a planner. Sure, anyone can plan a party, but event co-ordination is a complex and time-consuming process. Just like anything else that matters, it’s always a good idea to call in a professional to help! So, even if you think that maybe it’s not for you, here are some of the top reasons why you need a wedding planner – now more than ever!

You’re time poor. These days, time is a luxury most of us don’t have. In between work, private commitments, and daily errands, we’re lucky if we find a few moments to ourselves. Having the time to connect with each other as you prepare to get married is so important, not to mention celebrating with family and friends. Trying to squeeze everything in can create a lot of stress and result in you feeling burnt out and exhausted. On the other hand, working with a professional wedding planner will give you much of that time back. Your planner will be able to handle the majority of the work, including sourcing and booking a vendor team, dealing with paperwork, monitoring budgets, and attending to the finer details. That means you can focus on the fun parts, like your outfit and the honeymoon!

You’re planning a destination wedding. If you’re planning on getting married away from home, the time and complexity involved will only increase. You’ll need to do extensive research on local suppliers and then communicate with them through time differences and language barriers. Having a trusted professional on the ground will allow you to relax and know they have you covered. Plus, you’ll be tapping into their extensive local knowledge and professional network.

You want something extraordinary. Weddings may generally follow a traditional pattern, but every couple wants to feel that their big day is unlike anyone else’s. You want to wow your guests and give them an experience they’ll be talking about for years to come. Perhaps you have some out-of-the-box ideas or unusual requests. A wedding planner can help you bring your unique vision to life. And they’ll often add extra ideas that will make your wedding extra special and memorable!

You need an advocate. Another reason why you need a wedding planner is to juggle the different personalities and opinions involved. Although well-intentioned, family members, your wedding party, and others, can often bombard a couple with their opinions, ideas, and feelings. There may also be complicated family politics, which can be stressful to deal with, especially on your wedding day. Your wedding planner provides a neutral third party who can act as a buffer, mediator, and advisor all rolled into one. Wedding planners are the ultimate diplomats, but they also know how to be firm where they need to be in order to advocate on your behalf.

Tara adjusting bride's trailing dress.

You want a stress-free wedding day. No wedding day goes completely according to plan. No matter how carefully you arrange it, there are always a few small hiccups to be handled. These small things can leave you feeling a bit frazzled on the day if everything’s on your shoulders. More importantly, this is a day you’re supposed to be able to enjoy completely. A wedding planner will take all of this off your plate and allow you to simply show up, say “I do”, and soak in every moment!

These are just a few reasons why you need a wedding planner. If you’d like to know more about the process, do get in touch and we’ll talk you through it!

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Story of Eve, Kieran Harnett, Doreen Kilfeather


The First Things To Do After Getting Engaged When Planning a Destination Wedding

You’re engaged! Comhghairdeas! The days and weeks after you say “yes” to your person are some of the most exciting of your life. If you’re already dreaming of a destination wedding, then you have something truly special to look forward to. Not only will you get to share your special day with family and friends, you’ll also get to explore a new place, create lasting memories, and enjoy unique experiences together. But before you start packing your bags and booking flights, there are a few things you need to prioritise. Here are the first things to do after getting engaged when planning a destination wedding.


Celebrate! I know that you might feel you need to jump straight into wedding planning, but first, it’s important to soak up being engaged. Bask in the happiness of the moment just the two of you, then enjoy sharing the news with family and friends and seeing their reactions. Then, of course, there’s the social media announcements and another flood of well-wishes. And of course, you’ll want to throw some kind of engagement party or spontaneous celebration (or several). Pop the champagne, tell the proposal story over and over, show off your ring, and just enjoy every moment.

Compare your wedding visions. Before you make any big decisions, it’s important to spend some time talking about your dreams and expectations. Not everyone has the same idea of what their ideal wedding will look like. For example, is it intimate or expansive? Do you want a religious ceremony? What season do you imagine having it in? Do you have a location for your destination wedding in mind? Are there any practical considerations that absolutely must be taken into account? This is about big ideas rather than details like colour palettes or specific venues or details. Uncover the things that are most important to both of you and, if necessary, find a middle ground you can agree on.

Set a budget. Nobody enjoys talking about money, but setting a budget is always one of the first things to do after getting engaged. This is especially true for a destination wedding, as the cost of the trip itself will be a major factor and there are often hidden costs like currency conversions that can add up. All other decisions will flow from your budget, so unfortunately this isn’t something you can put off. If your parents are involved in paying for the wedding, be sure to include them in these conversations. Figure out your spending limits and priorities and then determine what sort of wedding you can have within this budget.

Adare Manor wedding venue Limerick Ireland

Choose your wedding destination. Once you’ve set your budget, it’s time to choose the perfect destination for your wedding. Are you envisioning a winter wedding in an Irish castle or a summer celebration along the shores of an Italian lake, for example? There are so many possibilities, especially when it comes to European destination weddings. Consider factors like cost, weather, availability of venues, as well as which destinations resonate with both of you. For example, it may be a place where you met, that you visited together, or somewhere you’ve never been but have always dreamed of. This is your chance to make those destination wedding dreams come true!

Hire a wedding planner. When you’re planning a destination wedding, it’s so important to have expert help! Not only will a professional destination wedding planner save you time and stress, they will be able to connect you to a network of trusted local service providers who can carry out your wedding vision to perfection. They will be on the ground to ensure everything runs smoothly and handle issues like legal requirements and vendor communication. And, when the big day comes, you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy every second of the trip with your guests instead of rushing around handling last-minute problems.

Book a trip to visit venues. Although a destination wedding planner will be able to advise on the best local venues and visit them on your behalf, it’s always best to see them in person if you can. Try to book a short getaway to your wedding destination so your planner can show you a few options. I love that magical moment when I know my couples have fallen in love with a venue!

Set the date. Once you’ve chosen your venue, it’s time to book it and set a date. Make sure to give yourself a good amount of lead time. This is not only to allow you plenty of time to plan your destination wedding, it will also allow your guests time to book travel and accommodation as well as time off work.

Save the date. With the venue booked and the budget set, you can finalise your guest list. It’s important to let guests know well ahead of time with a destination wedding, so try to send your Save the Date cards out as early as possible. In fact, if you’re still deciding on a venue, you could send these out with just the wedding location.

Of course, these are just the first things to do after getting engaged when you’re planning a destination wedding. There are many more to follow! However, if you get these right, you’ll be setting yourself up for a smooth planning process.

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Lisa O’Dwyer Photography, Story of Eve