If there’s one thing that a pandemic has done for many of us, it’s to make us focus on what really matters and value the meaningful relationships with friends and family that form our inner circle. So, even with limits on social gatherings being removed, many couples in 2022 are still choosing a smaller wedding. Of course, the idea of an intimate destination wedding or elopement is nothing new – couples have often opted for pared down guest lists for these occasions in past years. A smaller wedding in a faraway destination really allows you to savour the experience with your nearest and dearest, creating memories that you can savour together for a lifetime.
So how small is small? A micro-wedding is generally less than 20 guests, while a small wedding is anything up to 60. An elopement, of course, is just the two of you, a celebrant, and a couple of witnesses. It’s really up to you how intimate you want to go, but whatever size wedding you choose, your intimate destination wedding doesn’t have to be any less special than a larger affair. Here are a few ideas for making your intimate destination wedding or elopement in Ireland an extra special one.
Go all out on the details. When you have a smaller guest list, you can really go to town on all those little details that turn an event into an experience. For example, a gourmet, multi-course menu, fine china and Irish linens, plush furnishings, lush flowers, and quality wines. You can also focus on making the wedding more personal. For example, by giving each guest an individual gift rather than a favour or handwriting notes of appreciation to be placed at each setting.
Choose an extraordinary venue. Your venue will really set the tone for your day, and when you have a unique venue it becomes a once-in-a-lifetime event. Having a smaller guest list often gives you a lot more flexibility. There are so many intimate venue options to choose from in Ireland, from five-star hotels to historical buildings, ruined abbeys, windswept cliffsides, castles, forests… the list is endless. For example, one special option is Inish Beg Estate, a private island hideaway off the coast of West Cork, which has on-site accommodation for 52 people.
Be bold with the bridal (and groom!) fashion. Of course, there’s no reason why you have to think inside the box for your attire, whatever the size of your wedding. But for many couples, there’s something especially freeing about an intimate destination wedding that allows their inner fashionista to shine. And why stick to just one outfit? Change it up from ceremony to reception, or wear a convertible dress. Think of the gorgeous photos!
Write your own vows. Personalised vows are always special, but for a small wedding or elopement, they’re a must. There’s something so emotional about speaking from the heart in front of the people you love most (and who love you). There’s won’t be a dry eye! Another way to make your ceremony extra special is to involve your guests in it closely through readings, music, ring blessings, etc. so that it feels like something everyone is taking part in together.
Rethink the seating. Instead of the basic altar and chairs set-up, with an intimate wedding you can opt for something different. Hire church pews and set them in a secret garden to create an outdoor chapel, create a cluster of beautiful lounge furnishings, or set the seating in an unusual pattern like a circle or spiral. Getting creative with the seating will show your guests from the start that this is a wedding unlike any other they have attended!
Make it a multi-day experience. A destination wedding is already a great opportunity to spread the joy over a few days, but this is especially true when you have fewer guests to co-ordinate. Host experiences in the lead-up to the big day, from local tours to cooking classes or even yoga in a special location like a rooftop or beach at sunrise. Take inspiration from your location and dream big!
Slán go Fóill,
Images by Story of Eve