There are so many compelling reasons to plan a destination wedding in Ireland (in fact, I listed my top ten here). Whether you’re Irish living away or the Emerald Isle has simply stolen your heart, it’s a wonderful choice for a wedding location. But you may be wondering exactly how to plan a wedding in Ireland. Where do you start? What are the dos and don’ts? How do you navigate the legalities? Well, you’ve come to the right place! As an award-winning Irish wedding planner, I’m glad to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for how to plan a wedding in Ireland. Read on to learn about some of the things you absolutely should and should not do as you embark on your wedding planning journey!
DO research religious ceremony requirements
Ireland is home to some absolutely beautiful churches, many of them Catholic. But planning a religious wedding ceremony in Ireland is not all that straightforward. There is often quite a bit of paperwork to arrange and there may be additional requirements like a pre-marriage course. Local churches may also have their own policies on whether they will marry non-locals. Each religion is different, so start with researching their exact requirements, and then contacting the church or place of worship where you would like to have your ceremony. You may find that the easiest option is to have a small religious ceremony at home, followed by a blessing or symbolic ceremony in Ireland.
DON’T wait to organise the legalities
Even if you’re not planning a religious wedding ceremony, there is a bit of legal paperwork to complete. Don’t leave it to the last minute! Your marriage license application must be lodged at least three months before the wedding date (around eight weeks in Northern Ireland). Couples living overseas can do this by post, but will still need to meet the registrar in person at least five days before the wedding. So the earlier you can start gathering the necessary documentation, the better. This is especially true if you plan to marry in a busy centre like Dublin, where a lot of weddings take place. Make it one of your first wedding planning tasks and get it out of the way.
DO make an advance trip to Ireland if possible
When you’re working out how to plan a wedding in Ireland from abroad, it can be difficult to make decisions like choosing a venue without seeing your options in person. I always recommend making at least one visit. Of course, this may not be possible, and I’m always happy to help my clients find the perfect venue from afar. But if you can take the trip, do!
DON’T pick a difficult-to-reach wedding location
While Ireland has some very special out-of-the-way locations, bear in mind that they may not be ideal for a destination wedding where most of your guests will already be traveling long distances to be there. The good news is that there are plenty of incredible (and unique!) wedding venues in easy reach of international airports like Dublin and Shannon. They also have plenty of accommodation for your guests and accessibility to nearby places of interest, so they can experience more of the country during their visit.
DO incorporate Irish wedding traditions
When in Rome – or in this case, Ireland! One of the best parts of planning a destination wedding is embracing the local culture and Ireland has a rich heritage to draw on. There are so many lovely Irish wedding traditions, from Celtic handfasting to wearing an Irish lace wedding dress or including Irish food and drink on your menu.
DON’T forget to plan for rain
Unfortunately, rain is another Irish wedding tradition that often can’t be avoided! There’s always a chance of some weather on your big day, whatever the season. That’s why it’s so important to work out alternative plans for outdoor ceremonies or receptions in advance, and have umbrellas and boots on hand just in case.
DO hire a planner
Whether you know the area well or not, it’s always a good idea to have an experienced destination wedding planner on your side. We know exactly how to plan a wedding in Ireland, and have long-standing local contacts and expertise that will help make everything a hundred times easier and less stressful. A wedding planner will also save you many hours of your time and help keep you on-track and on-budget. It’s one wedding planning decision you’ll never regret!
Once you’ve booked your wedding vendors (including your wedding planner), it’s time to sit back and let them work their magic! Although planning a wedding from abroad can be stressful, once you know you’re in safe hands, you can enjoy the process. Leave the worry to the professionals. Concentrate on appreciating the period of your engagement, and enjoying your destination wedding in Ireland alongside your guests!
To find out more about how we can help you plan your dream Irish destination wedding, check out our services page.
Slán go Fóill,