Destination Wedding Invitation Ideas for your Irish Wedding

When it comes to destination weddings, it’s all about the location! But you don’t have to wait until guests touch down in your chosen location to get them excited about it. In fact, your invitations are one of the best ways to create a sense of anticipation and excitement right from the start, as well as provide a little taste of what’s to come. Your invitations can also act as a lovely memento once the trip is over. So, if you’re planning a destination wedding in Ireland, why not turn to the country and culture, the city, town, or region where the wedding will be held, or even the venue itself for inspiration? After all, you only have one chance to make a first impression, so make it a memorable one! Here are some of my favourite destination wedding invitation ideas for an Irish destination wedding.

Venue illustration. One of the loveliest ways to create a sense of place with your wedding invites is to commission a custom illustration and showcase it on your paper goods. It could be a depiction of a defining element of the destination (like the Cliffs of Moher) or an illustration of your wedding venue or even the church where you’ll exchange vows. For a Dublin wedding, it could also be an illustration of the city’s skyline. Choose a style that complements your wedding aesthetic and works well with the colours of your invitation suite.

Maps. Incorporating maps is also always a good idea for a destination wedding invitation. And it’ll be useful for guests too! Customise your paper goods with a bespoke map of the city or area, including some of the things that guests might like to do or places they can explore. You can make it as detailed or as simple as you like. Again, be sure that the style and colour palette matches that of the rest of the suite.

Floral wedding invitation on toile background

Flora and fauna. Another sweet way to bring a location to life in your destination wedding invitations is to include some of its signature flora and fauna. Think about flowers and plants that are indigenous to the locale. For an Irish wedding, that might be ferns and mosses, hummingbird fuchsia, flax (for Northern Ireland), or wildflowers. Fauna that you might include could be deer, hare, sheep or a number of birds. You could even consider an Irish wolfhound, the national dog!

Symbols. Every country has symbols associated with its history and cultural heritage that could be included in a destination wedding invitation. The shamrock immediately comes to mind, of course, but there are many other options too. For example, a Celtic knot (especially appropriate for a wedding!), harp, and Claddagh.

Patterns and textures. Another place to look for inspiration is the patterns and textures you’ll see in your wedding destination. Tartan and Irish lace are two good Irish examples, and can be subtly woven into an invitation suite. The best place to look for inspiration is the  venue itself, so when you visit your venue for the first time, be sure to look out for colours and textures that might translate to your paper goods and take lots of photographs. Anything from artworks and ceramics to stone or carpet could light that creative spark for you (or your designer).

French-blue-and-copper-calligraphy-wedding-invitation-suite

Literature and language. Another beautiful way to incorporate your wedding destination is through words. Find a piece of literature or song lyrics that you love or that are important to the place and have a calligrapher create a piece of word-art that you can use as a band or backing to your invitation. A Gaelic blessing would be a lovely touch for an Irish destination wedding invitation suite.

Envelope liners. If you prefer to keep your invitation simple, you can still incorporate illustrations or designs that speak to the locale. The best place to do this is on the envelope liner. After all, it’s the first thing that guests will notice as they open their envelope!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Lisa O’Dwyer, Story of Eve

Autumn Adare Manor Wedding | Aimee & Shane

When we first started working with Aimee and Shane to plan their Adare Manor wedding, we were anticipating a spring celebration with all their family and friends. Of course, 2020 had other plans! Like so many other couples, they unfortunately had to postpone their big day and reinvent their event to ensure compliance with COVID restrictions. With a date shift to October, we adjusted the colour palette to include more vibrant autumnal tones alongside the original green and white. The guest list was also slimmed down to a more intimate 50 people, prompting us to adjust how we planned to use some of the space. The lead-up to the wedding was a bit of a nail-biter and in fact we narrowly avoided a second postponement thanks to further restrictions imposed just a week later. However, despite the challenges along the way, the end result was pure joy, and every bit as beautiful and charming as an Adare Manor wedding should be!

Adare Manor illustration wedding invitation

Lockdown Liquor custom wedding favours

Adare Manor wedding venue Limerick Ireland

When it came to choosing a location, the couple were already familiar with one of my favourite Ireland wedding venues, Adare Manor in Co. Limerick. (In fact, it was where they stayed the night before Shane’s proposal!) They loved the picturesque Adare Village, as well as the fact that it was half-way between West Cork (where Shane is from) and Dublin (where Aimee calls home), making it convenient for both their families. They also loved the beauty and opulence of the estate and, as a golf fanatic, the groom loved the championship golf course which is set to host the Ryder Cup in 2027. Really, there was no other choice! Adare Manor was their perfect venue, and to celebrate they commissioned a watercolour illustration of the manor house which was incorporated into their stationery suite.

bride bridesmaid flower girls portrait

flower girls walking down aisle

Holy Trinity Church wedding Adare Village

Adare Manor wedding floral arch

autumn floral arch bride and groom

autumn floral arch bridal portrait

Although Adare Manor has several lovely ceremony venue options, the couple chose instead to have exchange vows at Holy Trinity Church in Adare Village, one of several beautiful churches nearby. It was at the church that guests were first introduced to the abundant florals that were a hallmark of the day, with a spectacular floral arch created at the entrance to the church. We used similar floral arches as a reception detail, surrounding the seating chart and as a backdrop to the band. Similar floral touches were added to the grand staircase and the bar and, of course, reflected in the table arrangements. As the bride said: “my flowers were the talk of the wedding!”

Adare Manor wedding staircase florals

Adare Manor wedding seating chart floral arch

Adare Manor wedding ballroom reception

Adare Manor wedding table décor

Adare Manor wedding tall centrepiece

Adare Manor wedding taper candles

Adare Manor wedding band décor floral arch

Adare Manor wedding whiskey bar

Adare Manor wedding bride and groom staircase

Aimee and Shane’s reception was held in the Grand Ballroom at Adare Manor, a spectacular venue that is part of the new wing and has its own private entrance. Although the Grand Ballroom boasts 4,800 square feet of space and has a capacity of 350, one of the reasons I love it is that it can be tailored to accommodate an intimate reception of as few as 20 guests. It allowed us plenty of room for social distancing while also creating an opulent, intimate atmosphere, especially with the chandeliers twinkling above! Walking into the ballroom, dancing to Stevie Wonder while their friends and family cheered them on, was the couple’s highlight of the day. Aimee said: “There was such an atmosphere of joy, that after a stressful few months prior, we could feel the happiness and positive energy fill the room.” Details like the custom whiskey bar and live band also helped to get the party started – essential for this fun-loving pair!

Adare Manor wedding couple portrait

 

Another highlight for the bride and groom was getting to share their big day with more than the 50 guests who were able to attend, thanks to a live stream that allowed them to attend the church ceremony virtually. Prior to the wedding, they had sent these virtual guests their mass booklets along with bespoke cocktails from Lockdown & Co., so that they were able to toast together.

Adare Manor wedding grand ballroom entrance

Adare Manor wedding entrance

Adare Manor wedding cake cutting

I loved planning this Adare Manor Wedding. Congratulations again to an incredible couple!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Planner: Tara Fay Events | Venue: Adare Manor | Photography: Story of Eve | Flowers: Shop The Garden | Dress: Monique Lhuillier from Browns Bridal, London | Bride’s Second Dress: Vivienne Westwood | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik, AQUAZZURA | Bride’s Jewellery: Annoushka, Rosie Fortescue | Rings: The House of Garrard | Groom’s Suits: Tom Ford, Canali | Groom’s Accessories: Tom Ford, Cartier, Barker | Video: Story of Eve | Stationery & Invites: Appleberry Press | Cake: MM Cookies | Favours: Laduree, Lockdown Liquor & CO | Officiant: Fr. Peter Sexton | Reception Music: Carly Coonagh | Ceremony Music: The Vard Sisters, RTE Contempo | Hair: Lukasz Rod, Batik Hair Salon | Makeup: Ashley O’Rourke

 

You might also like:

Adare Manor Wedding Venue: A Complete Guide
Black Tie Adare Manor Wedding
Ideas for an Autumn Wedding in Ireland

Destination Wedding Invitation Etiquette

There’s nothing more exciting as a wedding guest than receiving an invitation to a celebration in a far-flung locale like beautiful Ireland. Destination weddings are so much fun and they allow you to experience a place in a completely unique way, together with people you love. But they do come with their own logistical and etiquette issues, especially when it comes to the invitations. What information do you have to include? How early do you need to send them out? Who gets an invitation? The most important thing to remember about destination wedding invitation etiquette – as with all etiquette – is that it’s about common sense and treating other people with consideration, rather than following a set of old fashioned rules. So with that in mind, here are the destination wedding invitation etiquette dos and don’ts to keep in mind.

DO give guests all the information they need

Unlike a wedding at home, there’s a lot more information to communicate to guests at a destination wedding. Not only will you need to let them know the date and time, the location and venue, and RSVP details, there are also other elements to include. For example, accommodation arrangements, instructions for booking their trip, and invitations to pre- and post-wedding events. However, it’s important not to confuse or overwhelm guests by trying to fit all of this info on one page. Keep things simple on the actual invite, but make use of a multi-card invitation suite or a booklet-style invitation. That way, you can break up all the details you need to communicate.

Blue and gold wedding invitation

DON’T try to get it all on paper

Although enclosure cards are important, it’s also a good idea to have a wedding website. This will not only provide a reference in case guests lose any of the information you send them, but it will also allow you to expand information. For example, you can give flight details, suggestions for accommodation options or travel discounts, a list of things to do around town, currency exchange rates, and an up-to-date itinerary as plans evolve. You can also share information about dress codes, packing suggestions, etc. In terms of destination wedding invitation etiquette, it’s perfectly fine to include the address of your wedding website on your save the dates and/or invitation (or as an insert).

DO send out save the dates and invitations early

For a destination wedding, it’s more important than ever to give guests ample time to make arrangements for travel, childcare, leave from work, etc. So the more notice you can give them, the better. Send out save the dates at least six months before the big day and up to a year ahead. Remember, you don’t need to have all the information in place for the save the date! The actual invitations should go out no later than 3 months before the ceremony.

DO allow enough time for RSVPs

For a destination wedding, the RSVP date is a lot more than a formality. Your guest count can have a major impact on aspects like a group travel rate or accommodation bookings. Give yourself a little more time than you need or than the caterer requires. 2-4 weeks should be enough. If you haven’t heard from a guest by the RSVP date, be sure to follow up with them via a quick call.

bright watercolor calligraphy wedding invitation suite

DO send an invitation to everyone on your list

Good destination wedding invitation etiquette is for you to send a save the date and invitation to everyone on your guest list. That includes ‘crew members’ like your parents or bridal party. Not only does it make a lovely keepsake, it’s a good way of making them feel valued. If you’re planning to have a reception when you get home, you can include that information on your invitations. That way, if they aren’t able to attend, they’ll know that they can celebrate with you later.

DON’T mention gifts on the invitation

For a destination wedding, couples often feel that their guests are spending money on attending the wedding and want to let them know that they’re not expecting a gift on top of that. So can you print ‘no gifts’ on the invitation? In short, no. It’s generally not considered good manners to mention gifts at all on your wedding invitation. Instead, direct guest to your wedding website where you can include a sentence like: “Your presence is the only gift we require” or spread the word via family or friends. Either way, leave it off the invitation.

I hope that covers all your destination wedding invitation etiquette questions!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Brett Harkness, Christina Brosnan, Story of Eve 

5 Essential Tips for Planning a Wedding in Ireland from Overseas

Ancient castles and stately manor houses, stunning scenery, a rich cultural heritage, friendly people, talented vendors… There are so many reasons why planning a wedding in Ireland is a fabulous idea! But if you’re living abroad, doing all the planning from afar can certainly add to the stress, expense and complications. As an Irish destination wedding planner, I know it can be a little daunting, but I’ve also helped many navigate the challenges of planning a wedding in Ireland from overseas. Whether you’re an Irish couple coming home for your big day or a foreign couple dreaming of a destination wedding, there are a few important things to know as you begin your planning journey.

Take care of the legalities as soon as possible

It’s not the most exciting part of planning a wedding in Ireland, but the sooner you can get the paperwork and legalities out of the way, the better. You will need to give notice of your intent to marry to the registry office by post. This needs to be done at least three months before the wedding date, but it’s a good idea to lodge the paperwork earlier, if possible. You will also need to meet with the registrar and get your Marriage Registration Form five days prior to the ceremony. If only one of you is Irish, the other may have to provide additional paperwork, such as a Certificate of Freedom to Marry, which is issues in your own country and can take several weeks to process. Of course, if you want to save yourself the paperwork, you can choose to have a symbolic rather than a legal ceremony in Ireland.

Planning a Wedding in Ireland from Overseas

Embrace technology

When you’re planning a destination wedding from a distance, technology is definitely your friend! From Skype or Zoom consultations with suppliers to virtual venue viewings with drone footage so you can see the whole property, there are more ways than ever now that vendors can keep you up to date. Email and/or Whatsapp are also often useful tools for staying in contact and asking questions. One thing to keep in mind is the time difference. Many vendors are willing to accommodate communication outside the normal working week, but be patient waiting for answers to your emails and respectful about avoiding texting or calling in the middle of the night.

Factor currency exchange and fees into your wedding budget

When planning a wedding, it’s always important to set a budget early on – and stick to it! This can be especially difficult when planning a wedding in another country, because you’ll have to manage expenses in two different currencies (which are subject to fluctuations) and you’ll also have to transfer money across borders. When you’re paying multiple vendors, the fees can really add up! Beyond wire payments and credit card transactions, another option is peer-to-peer currency exchange, which can offer better exchange rates and fees without the paperwork. Explore all your options upfront and allow a little extra in the budget to cover these expenses.

Planning a Wedding in Ireland from Overseas

Plan at least one visit before the wedding

While this hasn’t always been possible over the last couple of years, I always advise my clients to make at least one visit to Ireland in person during the planning process. This will allow you to view potential venues in person and meet suppliers face-to-face, which can all help you feel calmer in the lead-up to the big day. If you’re not able to be on the ground at all, make sure you have someone you can trust in Ireland to do some of this for you.

Which brings me to…

Hire a wedding planner

The single most effective thing you can do when planning a wedding in Ireland from overseas is to hire a professional wedding planner from the start. A planner will have a wealth of local contacts, knowledge, and experience. They can also look after the logistics, saving you a lot of time, money, and stress. All of this helps to make the planning process much more enjoyable! And on the day you can relax and be in the moment, knowing everything is being taken care of for you.

Are you planning a wedding in Ireland from overseas? We’d be happy to help – get in touch to start the process!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Lisa O’Dwyer

5 European Venues for a Bridgerton Inspired Wedding

Dear Reader… Bridgerton Season 2 has taken the world by storm over the past month and, if anything, couples are even more in love with this wedding theme, having watched the evolution of Kate and Anthony’s grand romance. And no wonder – the series is a delightful blend of history, drama and Regency romance, with jaw-dropping fashion, whimsical details, and exquisite backdrops. I recently shared some of my favourite Bridgerton-style wedding ideas on Destination I Do. One of these is to choose a spectacular historical wedding venue, the kind of sprawling countryside manse that could easily have hosted one of the ton’s glamour-filled balls or opulent house parties. While the series itself is filmed in the UK, there are many venues across Ireland and the rest of Europe that would also fit the bill and be the object of all your desires. I’ve rounded up 5 of my favourite European venues for a Bridgerton inspired wedding.

Bridgerton is based in the Regency era, which took place towards the end of the Georgian era starting in 1811. This was the period when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son George ruled as Prince Regent until the King’s death in 1820. During this time, the aristocracy flourished, with fashionable society known as ‘le bon ton’. The Regency is now known for its fine art and architecture. And, while social classes at the time were based solely on birthright, today you don’t need to be a duchess or viscount to enjoy the best locations that the era has to offer.

Ballyfin wedding venue gardens

Ballyfin Demesne

Ballyfin Demesne is an exclusive Irish wedding venue set in the middle of the Irish countryside, in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains. This house was built in the 1820s, a similar period (give or take about ten years) as the one in which Bridgerton is set. It not only has the house as a backdrop (and what a house!), but also has many acres of parkland, forest, and formal gardens, as well as a lake, to use as the backdrop to your own Regency-style wedding. The glass Conservatory is a beautiful location for a ceremony or candlelit rehearsal dinner (cue: the orchestral version of ‘Material Girl’), while the State Rooms and Ballroom are the perfect place for dining and dancing. This is one of the venues for a Bridgerton inspired wedding that would certainly be Lady Whistledown-approved!

You can read my complete guide to weddings at Ballyfin here.

Gloster House wedding venue

Gloster House

While it wasn’t built during the Regency itself, Gloster House nevertheless boasts a beautiful Georgian mansion (built around 1700). Its grounds are such a great location for an outdoors Bridgerton-style ceremony, including Italianate terraced gardens, water features, woodlands, and lakes. After the ceremony, you can move throughout the gardens – and the peacocks always arrive at just the right time for their photography moment! The interiors are light and bright, in shades of white and duck egg blue – the Bridgerton family’s signature shades!

Glin Castle

Glin Castle

Built in the 1780s, Glin Castle in Co. Limerick has been home to the same family for over 800 years. It’s available as an exclusive hire venue and is so perfect for a Bridgerton-inspired wedding that you would have to add very few extras to make this little gem yours for your stay. The pleasure grounds are exceptional – just the kind of place for a promenade (or where Daphne and the Duke might get carried away!). Indoors, the reception rooms are filled with period furniture and details like the neo-classical plaster ceiling in the entrance hall and the family portraits that line the walls. There’s even a library with a secret door!

Villa Cora

Villa Cora

Beyond Ireland, one of my favourite European venues for a Bridgerton inspired wedding is the beautiful Villa Cora in Florence, Italy. It was just made for Bridgerton style romance – in fact, it was built as a gift of love by Baron Oppenheim for his princess bride. The villa is set inside a park surrounded by lush gardens that overlooks the famous Boboli Gardens, close to the historical centre of Florence, and has hosted guests including Tchaikovsky and Princess Eugenia, wife of Napoleon III. Entering the mirror room is like stepping back in time for your wedding experience – just the sort of place where Queen Charlotte would feel at home!

Villa San Michele

Villa San Michele

Not far away, in Fiesole, is the Villa San Michele, another exceptional European wedding venue with period drama flair. Even though it was built at the end of the 19th Century, it still gives off so many Bridgerton vibes that you can forgive the time difference! With views over Florence and plentiful wisteria (that blooms here twice a year), the gardens are so Bridgerton!

Whichever of these European venus for a Bridgerton inspired wedding you choose, you’re sure to feel like you’ve stepped back in time and into a romance worthy of a novel!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Brosnan Photographic, Glin Castle, Villa Cora, Villa San Michele

A Destination Wedding Planner’s Travel Tips for Ireland

As a very proudly-Irish destination wedding planner, one of the best things about my job is welcoming visitors to my home country – often for the first time – and giving them an unforgettable experience of céad míle fáilte, or Irish hospitality. Of course, there are always lots of questions about the best travel tips for Ireland, and I’m happy to share everything I’ve learnt from years of travelling the length and breadth of the Emerald Isle. There’s SO much to see and do here, not to mention spectacular scenery, picturesque villages, vibrant cities, and over 30 000 castles! While there are almost as many guidebooks available, you’ll often find the best advice comes from the locals. Here are 8 of my best travel tips for Ireland!

Check out flights to other airports. Dublin Airport is Ireland’s biggest international airport. However, it’s not the only one! You’ll also find international flights to and from Cork, Shannon, Knock, and Belfast. It’s definitely worth checking out which flights are available. This is especially true if you’re attending a destination wedding, as it might help you save on travel time – time you can use to explore your destination instead!

A Destination Wedding Planner’s Travel Tips for Ireland

Spend time in Dublin but don’t stay there the whole trip. I find that visitors to Ireland tend to go one of two ways. Either they arrive in Dublin and immediately exit or they limit themselves to the city. The best option is to do both! Even if you only have a short time, there are lots of wonderful places close to Dublin (or even in the Dublin suburbs, accessible by the DART train). The city itself is very walkable and easy to get around, but there’s a lot concentrated in a small area! Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, music, literature, shopping, or food, you’ll find lots to explore. And don’t just stick to the well-trodden tourist path. For example, while the Long Library and The Book of Kells at Trinity College is a must for book lovers, there are some other gorgeous libraries in Dublin, as well as MoLi, the literary museum that also acts as an intimate city wedding venue.

A Destination Wedding Planner’s Travel Tips for Ireland

Take a road trip. It is possible to see a lot of Ireland using public transport, but the best way to explore it at your own pace, including all those amazing off-the-beaten-track gems, is to rent a car and self-drive. Head north, south, east, or west – every part of the country has amazing scenery and sights to see. But do take your time, ideally spending a couple of nights in each place, and giving yourself plenty of opportunity to stop along the way. Do bear in mind that the country roads can be narrow and winding and that we drive on the left hand side of the road in Ireland. It doesn’t take long to get used to, though!

Get an e-toll tag with your rental car. If you do spend any time driving across Ireland, you’ll often find yourself coming to a toll road or bridge. Some of these need to be paid for in cash at petrol stations or you can go online. But the easiest way to manage tolls is to get an e-toll tag for a small extra charge when you pick up your hire car, which will also allow you to pass through without having to queue.

A Destination Wedding Planner’s Travel Tips for Ireland

Accept that it will (almost certainly) rain. Many people look for the best time to visit a destination based on the weather. But in Ireland, it can really be four seasons in one day, all year round. Rain is just a part of Irish life, so the best thing to do is embrace it! Pack lots of light layers, including a waterproof jacket and umbrella, as well as a good pair of waterproof walking shoes.

A Destination Wedding Planner’s Travel Tips for Ireland

Go early or late if you’re visiting the Cliffs of Moher. The cliffs are Ireland’s top tourist destination and they’re definitely worth a visit. The scenery really is as spectacular as it looks in all the photographs! But they can also be horribly crowded. The best way to enjoy them is either to arrive by 8.30am or after 4pm, when the tour buses from Galway and Dingle have already departed.

Get an OPW Heritage Card. If you’re planning to see lots of Irish cultural attractions, you’ll find it both economical and convenient to pick up a Heritage Card (available from all Office of Public Works tourist sites and soon to be available online too). It includes free admission to dozens of heritage sites across Ireland, including castles and national parks. (If you’re staying in Dublin for most of your trip, you may find that the Dublin Pass is a better option.)

A Destination Wedding Planner’s Travel Tips for Ireland

Talk to the locals! Irish people are extremely friendly, so don’t be shy about striking up a conversation. Not only will it give you an insight into the culture, it’s the best way to get recommendations for where to eat and drink! Irish pub culture is all about chatting with strangers and partaking in a bit of banter and storytelling. It’s all about the craic! If you’re staying at a hotel or B&B, the staff will also be only too happy to make recommendations and share some of their stories with you.

Most importantly, don’t try to cram it all into one trip! It’s impossible to see and do everything, and you’re better off enjoying fewer places at a leisurely pace. Plus, it gives you a great excuse to come back!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara