Tent Wedding Décor Ideas

Want to create a wedding venue from the ground up, make a big impression on your guests, showcase the scenery around your wedding venue, and protect against bad weather at the same time? Then a tent wedding may be the perfect option for you! While marquee weddings themselves are nothing new, the last few years have seen tent structures reach new levels of design, comfort, and versatility. The sky’s the limit when it comes to tent wedding décor ideas! Because a tent essentially gives you a blank canvas to work with, you can create something truly unique. Whether you’re planning a destination wedding in the grounds of an Irish castle or a small celebration in your family garden, and no matter what wedding style or vibe you want to create, there’s a tent for you. I’ve planned and designed some stunning marquee wedding ceremonies and receptions – here are just a few of my favourites to give you some tent wedding décor ideas of your own!

Tent Wedding Décor Ideas

If your marquee reception is taking place on a site with amazing views, you’ll want to make the most of it. A clear tent will not only avoid competing with the surrounding scenery, but make it part of the attraction. Think: watching the sunset and dancing under the stars – all while being protected from the elements. Clear tents also reflect candlelight beautifully, creating a warm, intimate glow. One of the best ways to optimise a translucent tent, however, is to use hanging décor like this striking hanging floral installation we created for one of our weddings. Puffs of pink dried grasses and gypsophilia took on a floating quality, like whimsical clouds, drawing the eye upwards. We paired these elevated floral installations with low centrepieces on the tables, creating lots of space on the tables.

Tent Wedding Décor Ideas

A classic way to add softness and sophistication to a tented reception is to include draping. You get the feeling of a spacious, elegant lounge, opening up onto the outdoors and creating a beautiful flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. For this reception design, we paired white drapery with beautiful tiered chandeliers, wrapped with trailing strands of greenery. The leaves were beautifully whimsical, while the candles created a romantic ambience. On the tables, tall centrepieces in glass vases filled with bunches of green grapes reflected the greenery above – the best of modern and natural aesthetics combined.

tented reception décor

For this garden reception, it was all about bringing focus to the centre of the tent, with white draping and maypole garlands of flowers and greenery gathering together into a lavish central halo, punctuated by a stunning crystal chandelier. It looked amazing! Again, this was all about drawing the eye upwards to a focal point, emphasising the marquee’s height and shape. At the eye level, tables were adorned with lush arrangements in shades of purple, with pastel taper candles and toile napkins adding a special touch. The wedding took place during COVID restrictions, so we also used greenery to mark gaps between different parties at the long tables and mirror the garlands at the top of the canopy without feeling clinical.

Tent Wedding Décor Ideas

Biophilic design, or bringing the outdoors in, is very much a theme when it comes to tent wedding décor ideas and here we executed the concept to perfection! Making the most of the natural light from this glass structure, we created multiple installations of flowers and greenery, giving the whole space the feel of a greenhouse or conservatory. When you’re using a tent structure, one of the best ways to make it more natural is to wrap metal or wooden poles in greenery, turning them into lush vines that climb up from floor to ceiling. We also hung lavish displays of ferns and greens, interspersed with crystal chandeliers, hung from vine-wrapped cords. Not only did it look gorgeous, it also helped to make the space feel more intimate by filling in some of the negative space and ‘joining’ the tables to the high ceiling.

Tent Wedding Décor Ideas

Tents aren’t just for receptions! A rainy day didn’t stop the guests at this wedding from enjoying the beautiful Irish countryside scenery while the couple exchanged vows. Using an open-sided tent sheltered them from the weather while also providing scenic views of the venue. Again, we used natural design elements to reflect the outdoors, with tent poles wrapped in green and white garlands and an altar that looked like a tiny meadow. Even if the weather is in your favour, an open-sided tent is a good option for an outdoor ceremony, as it will create shade and allow airflow while still making the most of the sunshine.

Tent Wedding Décor Ideas

Now this was one for the books! For this wedding at Adare Manor, we designed a tented reception within the Walled Garden. The gated entrance was covered with pink orchids, creating a magical secret garden feeling, opening up into a glamorous space complete with water features, ornate mirrors, and romantic draping. We used a variety of low and tall table arrangements, as well as living trees placed between the tables, to create a true spectacle!

I hope you enjoyed these tent wedding décor ideas! Be sure to take a look at the Gallery for more examples of our work.

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Doreen Kilfeather, DK Photography, Paula O’Hara Photography, Aspect PhotographyKieran Harnett, John Ryan Photography

What Do I Need to Know Before I Book a Destination Wedding During COVID?

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect couples planning their weddings in 2022, we’ve come a long, long way in the past two years! Destination weddings, especially, are finally back on the table after travel restrictions and shut-downs forced couples to marry closer to home. This is definitely the season we expect destination weddings to make a comeback! But which questions do you need to ask before you go ahead and book that faraway destination wedding during COVID? And where can you find the answers?

Here’s everything you need to know before booking a destination wedding during COVID.

coronavirus wedding signage

What are the latest COVID restrictions for weddings in Ireland?

As of March 2022, most restrictions on weddings have been lifted by the Irish government. There are no restrictions on guest numbers for both indoor and outdoor venues, and no curfew. Live music and dancing is allowed, rules around the number of adults to be seated at a table no longer apply, and masks are no longer required. Those with symptoms are still required to isolate and test.

If you’re travelling or returning to Ireland, you will need to provide a vaccine certificate where no more than 9 months have passed since your last dose, proof of recovery from COVID-19 in the last six months, or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Can I ask unvaccinated guests not to attend my destination wedding in person?

While many couples feel uncomfortable demanding that their guests are vaccinated, others are setting what is being called a ‘vaccine boundary’. This is your choice, but it’s important to communicate it clearly and graciously, emphasising how important your guests are to you and showing empathy and respect. If necessary, you can also include them in other ways, such as broadcasting the ceremony on Zoom or via social media.

When should I send my destination wedding save the dates?

During COVID-19, we’ve learned how quickly things can change and had to be flexible enough to accommodate postponements. It’s possible we may need to work around this again in the future. I know some couples are nervous about sending out save the dates and invitations early because of this. However, if you wait, you also run the risk of guests making other plans or accepting other invitations (remember, it’s a wedding boom year!). So the rule for sending out destination wedding save the dates at least 6 months before the wedding still stands.

floral arch garden

When should I book my wedding vendors?

As early as possible! Venues are filling up fast and so are the calendars of service providers from planners to floral designers. When you find someone whose work you love and who is available on the date you want, don’t hesitate. Decisiveness will save you from missing out!

How do I keep up to date with the latest COVID restrictions and advice?

It’s a good idea to check government websites in your destination (you can find the Irish government website here) but don’t be afraid to ask your wedding planner and venue for updates as well.

How many people should I invite to my destination wedding during COVID?

While restrictions on numbers in Ireland and many other destinations have been lifted, it might be smart to keep your guest list smaller, with a maximum of 60 people. Rules can change overnight, as we have seen, and a small guest list lowers the chance you’ll have to uninvite anyone or postpone. The good news is that, for many couples, a destination wedding would be more intimate anyway. A smaller group is a lot easier to co-ordinate and it means you can splash out on guest experiences and spend more quality time with everyone who attends.

How do I protect myself from financial loss in case of postponement or cancellation?

It’s important to work with vendors who have destination wedding experience as well as solid contracts. Always read the terms carefully before signing and ask questions if you need to. Discuss COVID cancellations with your vendors so that you understand exactly what will happen should things change. Discuss all the scenarios and agree on deposits, fees, and notice periods, as well as whether being unable to travel to your destination is included in the cancellation terms. After signing, obtain written confirmation of any changes.

These are the key questions around booking a destination wedding during COVID. If you have any more, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Doreen Kilfeather, DK Photography

5 Fresh Summer Wedding Colour Combinations for Irish Weddings

Summer is such a wonderful time for weddings in Ireland. From sun-drenched country gardens and picturesque outdoor ceremonies to bright bouquets and even cooling summer showers, it’s no wonder so many couples choose this as the season to say “I do”. If all the recent sunshine has you dreaming of summer nuptials, you’ll want to choose a summer wedding palette that’s as fresh and vibrant as the season itself. These summer wedding colour combinations will delight your guests and turn your celebration of love into a celebration of the season too.

Here are five bold and beautiful summer wedding colour combinations to inspire you as you plan your Irish destination wedding.

Green, mauve, and taupe. Of course, we have to start with some green! This palette combines the classic Irish wedding colour with mauve, a shade that’s very much on-trend, as well as soft taupe. The result is a fresh take on familiar tones. In fact, mauve works for any season, but in this combination I think it would be beautiful for a sophisticated summer wedding at an Irish manor house or garden. Romantic and just a tiny bit moody, you can also add pops of a jewel tone like mulberry red to really add dimension.

Perfectly peachy. Blush is a colour many brides turn to for a summer wedding but I think peach makes a fresh and versatile alternative. In its softest hue it has the same dreamy romance as blush but with a bit of extra warmth and vibrancy. That makes it ideal for summer. Best of all, it combines perfectly with a huge range of colours from aqua and mint to neutrals like ivory or champagne, or in more unusual groupings like mustard and seafoam.

Neutrals with a pop of black. A neutral tonal palette is always chic and can work for a number of summer wedding styles. However, it’s the trend for dried flowers that has really made this look take off. One way to make your palette of neutrals really stand out is to pair it with a surprise: pops of black. Use it sparingly for impact and drama and the effect will be undeniably chic!

Lavender, yellow, and white. This is a classic palette but one we haven’t seen much of for a while, so it’s feeling particularly fresh. The pastel goodness of lavender always looks great with a crisp summer white. But when you add in a soft buttery yellow, you have pure sunny romance. Or, if you’re feeling bolder, take the yellow up several notches and use bright pops of daisy yellow instead.

Fuchsia. If you really want to take colour to the next level, this on-trend fashion shade is the way to go! Fuchsia is certainly a showstopper, and is perfectly suited to the summer season. Since it’s bold, be sure to pair it with more understated shades and not overuse it. Those pops of colour are all you need!

Which of these summer wedding colour combinations do you like best? Would you use any of them in your wedding design?

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Image by Lisa O’Dwyer Photography

How to See the Best of Ireland over a Wedding Weekend

One of the great pleasures of a destination wedding is that you’re able to experience more than just a lovely party but a taste of a new country or city too. It’s like a mini-vacation, often made even more special by the events and experiences laid on by the couple both before and after the big day. But what about your downtime? If you’ve travelled quite a distance to be there, you’ll probably want to make the most of every minute. Of course, if you’re attending a destination wedding in Ireland, staying longer is always your best bet. There’s so much to see and do! But, while I’d always recommend tagging an extra week or even just a few days on top of your plans, that’s not always possible. Here are my top tips for how to see the best of Ireland over a wedding weekend.

Best of Ireland over a Wedding Weekend: Wicklow

Destination Wedding in Dublin

If you’re a guest at a destination wedding in (or near) Dublin, you’re already off to a great start. Being closer to Ireland’s largest international airport will cut down on travel time and give you more hours to explore. Dublin city is also a fantastic destination on its own, with plenty of attractions, no matter your interests. There are also many attractions within a 1-3 hour drive, perfect for a day trip. In fact, the biggest challenge is keeping my list of how to see the best of Ireland over a wedding weekend in Dublin short and sweet!

  • Stroll around Dublin’s Georgian squares, stopping into the Little Museum of Dublin, before enjoying a picnic lunch on St Stephen’s Green.
  • Take a tour of the Teeling Whiskey Distillery or the famed Guinness Brewery to taste Ireland’s favourite tipples.
  • Visit the Kilmainham Gaol, one of the city’s top historical attractions. The guided tour is excellent. If you enjoy modern art, IMMA is directly across the road, or stroll through the beautiful Irish National War Memorial Gardens on the banks of the River Liffey.
  • Trinity College is another signature Dublin attraction. To see the Book of Kells in the Long Room, be sure to book ahead online.
  • Take in a performance at the Abbey Theatre, which was co-founded by WB Yeats. Be sure to enjoy a pre-theatre dinner at one of the city’s fine eateries first!
  • Enjoy the craic at a Dublin pub. Most tourists want to experience the nightlife at Temple Bar – try Palace Bar here for a more authentic experience. Of course, you’ll find fine establishments all over the city – don’t be afraid to ask the locals for their favourite!
  • If you don’t have time for a full day trip, head for Howth, a gorgeous fishing village with a castle and a ruined abbey to explore, as well as coastal hikes and cliff walks to enjoy.
  • For spectacular scenery, head for Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains. Forests, glacial lakes, moors and cliffs – it’ll take your breath away.
  • If you’re prepared to go further afield, many of Ireland’s most iconic attractions are within 3 hours’ drive, including the Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle, and Giant’s Causeway.

Best of Ireland over a Wedding Weekend: Galway

Destination Wedding on the West Coast of Ireland

The West Coast of Ireland is another popular choice for destination weddings in Ireland, especially for those coming from America. This is thanks to Shannon Airport offering direct flight routes between Ireland and the US. The Wild Atlantic Way has some really incredible Irish destination wedding venues, and is also a favourite for tourists, making it easy for you to see the best of Ireland over a wedding weekend in Galway or along the West Coast of Ireland.

  • No trip to the West Coast would be complete without visiting the famous Cliffs of Moher, the country’s top tourist attraction. If possible, visit after 3pm in summer to miss the coach tours and be sure to bring a jacket as the weather can be a bit unreliable!
  • A visit to Galway is a must! Expect colourful buildings, a picturesque harbour, street performers, live music, vibrant pubs, and great seafood. Be sure to stop into McDonagh’s, the best fish and chip shop in Galway, which has been open since 1902.
  • Take a drive around Connemara National Park to enjoy its rugged mountain and lakeside scenery. Stop for pictures or follow one of the suggested walking routes (all start at the Visitor Centre). They vary in difficulty but all are worth it for the views!
  • Take a ferry to Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands. Here you can hire a bike to explore the island. The landscape is dramatic, and there’s a wealth of plant and bird life, as well as a much-loved colony of seals. Don’t miss the prehistoric Dún Aonghasa fort.
  • Drive the Ring of Kerry, one of Ireland’s most spectacular scenic routes. Panoramic Atlantic views, picture-perfect villages, craggy islands – the route has it all, and takes around 3 hours if you drive it non-stop. (Although I would recommend giving yourself plenty of time to stop and see attractions like Skellig Michael, Killarney, and the Gap of Dunloe.

No matter where the destination wedding venue that you find yourself as a guest, Ireland gives you plenty of opportunities to get out and see the countryside, explore unique towns and villages, and meet the locals! So do make the extra effort of hiring a car – you’ll be glad you did!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

8 Ways to Personalise a Destination Wedding

No two marriages are exactly alike. Neither should any two weddings be the same. Your wedding day should be a reflection of who you are as a couple, your journey together, and the things and people you love. Infusing my clients’ personalities into the wedding design is one of the best parts of wedding planning, and it’s no different for a destination wedding. In fact, when you choose to have a destination wedding in Ireland, Europe or some other romantic location, you’re already off to a great start in terms of creating an experience for your guests that is unlike any other. The challenge is to find ways to personalise a destination wedding while also making your guests feel at home, and the key to answering that challenge is in the details. Every detail you choose is an opportunity to make your day stand out, to make it meaningful and sentimental, and to make it an unforgettable occasion for everyone who attends.

Here are 8 great ways to personalise a destination wedding.

Brand your wedding stationery. Personalising your wedding stationery can go beyond using colours you love. Have your designer create a monogram or logo that incorporates personal as well as destination-specific elements. You can use this in so many ways: invitations, programs, menus, cocktail sticks and napkins, signage, a custom aisle runner or dance floor, cake decoration, and more!

Build excitement with a special gift. The focus is often on welcome gifts and favours, but a unique way to build excitement for your guests is to have a package delivered before they leave. It could include useful items for the trip such as a guidebook or luggage tags, a packing list and printed itinerary, or some of your personal favourite travel treats and essentials.

Welcome bags with custom destination wedding design

Give your guests the warmest welcome. A welcome gift is always a good idea for a destination wedding, as it immediately makes your guests feel embraced. While it’s always good to include a few items that reflect your destination, such as local snacks or crafts, it’s also fun to include a taste of home. So if you have a fave from your daily lives that you can include, add that to the mix as well!

Plan activities you love. The joy of a destination wedding is spending quality time with special people. Group activities allow you to do this while exploring the local culture and landscape. But you can put a personal spin on these as well. For example, if one of you is a keen cook, you could host a cooking class for guests. Or if you’re keen hikers, plan an excursion to explore the countryside around your venue together.

Put your own spin on the menu. One of the best ways to personalise a destination wedding is through the menu. The perfect balance is a mix of local specialty foods with favourites from your home. The results can be really surprising – and memorable!

Make the flowers meaningful. Take a leaf out of the royal wedding playbook and choose flowers that are meaningful to you as well as beautiful. Again, a mix of seasonal local blooms and perhaps one or two of your favourites (or those of a loved one) is a lovely way to blend where you’re from with your wedding destination. A national flower is another option. For example, if you’re coming from South Africa for a destination wedding in Ireland, you might have your florist include a protea in the bride’s bouquet.

Gloster House wedding centrepiece

Choose music with a story. There are so many ways to personalise your wedding ceremony, including vows and readings. But music is always a good place to start! (Unless, of course, you’re exchanging vows in a church, in which case your musical choices will be limited.) Choose an instrumental version of a favourite song or play some typical music from home or from your culture.

Hand write thank you notes. Sometimes the old ways are the best! Handwritten notes are a beautiful way to make things personal (especially if they come on stationery with your wedding brand!). There are lots of opportunities for this kind of personal contact. A handwritten welcome letter, a personal note left for your guests with a treat at bedtime, a letter set at their place at the reception table, a daily note left along with the day’s itinerary, a personal farewell for them to read on the plane. You don’t have to write all of these, of course – these are just examples of the touchpoints you could use to communicate with your guests in a special way.

Whichever of these ways to personalise a destination wedding you ultimately choose, don’t be afraid to express your uniqueness creatively – even if it means changing up a tradition or two!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

 Images by Doreen Kilfeather, DK Photography, Christina Brosnan,

What to Wear to A Summer Wedding in Europe

If you recently found yourself invited to a summer wedding in Europe, there’s more than one reason to celebrate. Not only do you have an amazing event to look forward to, but a summer wedding in Europe is a great excuse to buy yourself a new outfit! Of course, choosing a wedding guest outfit can be tricky. There are dress codes to navigate, comfort to consider, and few points of etiquette to be aware of. A destination wedding adds further issues like packing, weather, and formality. Whether you’re gearing up for a castle wedding in Ireland or a beach ceremony in the Algarve, here are a few key things to keep in mind as you start your style search.

When in doubt, overdress. Summer destination weddings can be a little confusing when it comes to the dress code. Does a coastal destination mean a casual dress code? What’s appropriate for a marquee wedding in the grounds of a villa or manor house? It’s always a good idea to check with the couple and, if they give you a dress code, stick to it. But when in doubt, a good rule of thumb is to err on the side of formality.

Don’t upstage the bride. While you want to look fabulous at any wedding, it’s important not to compete with the bride, who quite rightfully should have all eyes on her. Rocking a bold accessory is great, for example, but save your most outrageous fashion moments for another time. And of course, it should go without saying that you shouldn’t wear white (or any white-adjacent colours like ivory, cream, pale champagne, or very light pastels. That’s a rule that’s just as important across Europe as it is in the USA and many other countries.

Ireland Destination Wedding Etiquette

Take a cue from your location. Try to make your fashion choices in line with where the summer wedding in Europe will be held. For example, a castle wedding in Positano in summer calls for elegant, floaty dresses while a city wedding in Paris, London, or Dublin might call for a chic cocktail dress. On a practical note, a quaint Greek or Italian village with cobblestone streets may be charming, but leave the high heels at home.

Research the weather. While a summer wedding in Europe often means sunshine and warm breezes, bear in mind that the weather can vary from one country and location to another (and one month to another). Do some research into the weather at your destination and bring along a wrap or jacket in case it gets chilly. (Hint: in Ireland there’s always a chance of rain, year round!) Heat is, of course, also an important consideration, especially in August when much of Europe can be sweltering, so avoid heavy fabrics or cuts that will show unfortunate sweat patches.

What to Wear to A Summer Wedding in Europe

Choose lightweight fabrics that travel well. For any summer wedding, you’ll want to opt for light, breathable fabrics. However, some summer favourites like cotton and linen are prone to creasing and will leave you searching for a steamer on the wedding morning. Blended fabrics are a good option (for men’s suits too) or summer-friendly materials like jersey, crepe, lyocell, or polyester. If you love the idea of a silk, opt for charmeuse, which is the most wrinkle-hardy of the silk family.

Choose a floral print. You really can’t go wrong with a floral print when it comes to spring or summer weddings. They’re always appropriate and pretty, work across a range of wedding styles and settings, and make a style statement without being too showy. They’re a summer wedding go-to for a reason!

Cover knees and shoulders for a church wedding. If the summer wedding in Europe that you’ll be attending will be in a church, especially a Catholic church, you should wear a dress that covers your knees and shoulders or bring a wrap that will do the job.

These tips will help get you started in finding the perfect wedding guest outfit for that summer wedding in Europe. Happy shopping!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Brosnan Photographic