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

Spring Menu Ideas for a Destination Wedding

The wedding menu sets the tone for guests’ whole experience, leaving them feeling spoiled, satisfied and ready to party! It’s also often the thing they’ll talk about for years to come. For a destination wedding, a menu is a great opportunity to showcase the flavours and cuisine of your location and celebrate local produce and suppliers. The best way to do that, hands down, is to embrace seasonality. Using fresh, in-season ingredients will ensure that ingredients are plentifully available and deliver a punch to the palette! (As well as helping to offset your carbon footprint.) So if you’re planning a spring destination wedding, you’ll want light, bright flavours and delicate textures for your spring menu.

Of course, any spring menu ideas that you consider should be inspired by the destination itself. For example, if you’re planning a beach wedding in the tropics, you should include local fruits as well as plenty of seafood. The same goes if you’re planning a destination wedding in Ireland. So here are my top spring menu ideas for an Irish destination wedding.

Lean in to seasonal flavours. Every destination has signature spring flavours. For Ireland, it has to be spring lamb. You just can’t beat the beautiful sweetness of the meat and it pairs perfectly with the vegetables that are plentiful at this time of year like peas, new potatoes, broccoli, broad beans, and baby spinach. Another great spring flavour option for a main meal is salmon – serve it en croute for something special and substantial. Leaner proteins like these are also good options for spring because they’re lighter, making for easier eating as the weather warms up.

 

Serve fresh seafood. The waters off Ireland are bountiful when it comes to seafood, and we’re known as major producers and exporters of seafood. There are so many ways to incorporate Irish seafood into your spring menu. For example, Irish mussels steamed in cider make a beautiful starter, as do seared, hand dived scallops or Dublin Bay prawns. An oyster bar can be a big drawcard at a wedding during cocktail hour and if you’re marrying in April you’re just in time to catch the end of the season.

Oysters

Incorporate lots of fresh produce. Fruits, vegetables and plant-based dishes are integral to a spring menu. This is the time when gardens reawaken and there’s a wealth of produce available. One of the best ways to showcase this bounty is to get creative with salads and other vegetarian starters.  The brighter the better – you could even include edible flowers to make your salads look like they’ve been picked straight from the garden. Irish cheeses like a bit of shaved Dubliner make a great addition to a salad as they won’t overpower the other ingredients.

Use seasonal herbs. As with vegetables, spring is a great time for fresh herbs and there are so many exciting ways to incorporate them into a spring menu, from side dishes, salads, and garnishes to cocktails with a herbal element. They can really bring forth the flavour in foods and will make any plate look seasonal.

spring menu ideas floral cocktails

Stick to light desserts. Winter and autumn are the time for comforting, warm puddings and desserts. For your spring menu, you’ll want to keep things nice and light and stick to spring flavours like berries, citrus, florals, lemon, and vanilla. Think light dessert textures like parfaits, semifreddos, and meringues. For an Irish destination wedding, rhubarb is the perfect focal point of your dessert – nothing says spring like delicious, fresh rhubarb!

One thing is certain – your spring wedding menu will be a memorable part of your destination wedding!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Story of Eve, Kieran Harnett, Lisa O’Dwyer Photography

Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Wedding Supplier

What’s the secret to a perfect wedding day? It’s not a gorgeous colour scheme or a breathtaking destination wedding venue (although both will make an impact!). Rather, it’s all about finding the ultimate combination of wedding suppliers, a dream team who will use their talents and experience to make your vision a reality. Your wedding suppliers are the foundation on which your wedding planning is built. That’s why it’s such an important part of a wedding planner’s job to recruit this trusted team. But how do we narrow it down? And what are the questions to ask before you hire a wedding supplier? Here’s the inside scoop!

The first step in working out whether a supplier is the right fit for you (and your wedding) is to do your research. Check their website, social media, and online reviews and take a look at their previous work. After that, it’s time for the interview – whether in person or via Zoom. Have a list of questions ready. Some will be specific to the type of work they do, but some questions are common to all. Here’s what I recommend as the key questions to ask before you hire a wedding supplier.

floral greenery garlands crystal chandelier

Are you available on our wedding date? It sounds obvious, but in the excitement, it can be easy to forget this crucial question! This should be the first thing you ask. After all, if a supplier doesn’t have availability on your wedding date, there’s no point in wasting either of your time. (Top tip: If the answer is no, your next question should be if they have anyone else they would recommend!)

Do you have any other events booked on our wedding day? While some wedding suppliers will likely have several clients on a particular date, others should give you their full attention. While having multiple clients isn’t necessarily an issue for cake designers, caterers, hair and makeup artists, etc., it’s good for you to know how busy they are and how much focus and time they will be able to give you, so you can factor this into your planning.

How long have you been in the wedding industry? While it’s not all about the length of time someone has worked in weddings, getting a sense of their relevant experience is a must. The more time they have put into honing their craft or business, the more you’ll know you can trust them to deliver.

Can you share some recent references? It’s one thing to look at a wedding supplier’s portfolio, but it’s just as important to talk to at least one or two of their previous clients, to get a real sense of how they work. A reputable vendor will always be happy to provide references.

wedding cake

How much do you charge for your services? Are there any other additional fees or costs we need to be aware of? Don’t be shy to ask about pricing up-front! In some cases (for example, a florist) they may not be able to give you an exact number until they know the scope of your wedding design. But they should be able to give you a good idea of their pricing structure and how the final cost will be calculated.

What are your deposit and payment terms? What’s your cancellation policy? If the last couple of years have taught us anything, it’s the importance of reading the fine print! Know what your potential wedding supplier expects up-front and what their policy is if a postponement or cancellation happens. Do they offer refunds, partial refunds, or no refunds for cancelled or postponed events?

What happens if you’re unable to provide the service or product? Another scenario that COVID has shown us is a possibility is that the wedding supplier themselves is unable to attend your wedding. What happens if they fall ill or are otherwise unavailable? It’s important to know they have a back-up plan in place.

These questions to ask before you hire a wedding supplier will give you a good sense of who you’re working with, and allow you to make a more informed decision before you sign on the dotted line. Good luck!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Christina Brosnan, Doreen Kilfeather, DK Photography