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Ireland Destination Wedding Etiquette: Dos and Don’ts

Etiquette is an important part of wedding planning, wherever you decide to tie the knot. But when you’re planning a destination wedding, there are a few additional factors to consider, including local customs. This is one good reason to work with a knowledgeable wedding planner, who will be able to help you avoid any cultural miscommunications. Thankfully, Ireland destination wedding etiquette is quite straightforward. It’s really about being considerate of your guests and hosts and practising basic good manners. Here are a few of the most important dos and don’ts to be aware of when it comes to Ireland destination wedding etiquette.

Do manage your guest list

While there are no hard and fast etiquette rules on the size of your guest list (and I’ve planned destination weddings in Ireland across a wide range of numbers), many couples decide to keep it relatively small. If an intimate celebration is your choice, let people know this to avoid hurt feelings about not getting an invite. Another perfectly acceptable option is to have a second party at home to celebrate your marriage later on. Knowing there’s another celebration may also make it easier for guests who have to decline the first invitation, for example, if they have financial constraints.

Don’t pressure your guests to attend

Of course, you hope that everyone you invite to your Ireland destination wedding will be able to attend. However, there will always be scheduling conflicts and other reasons why some will have to decline your invitation. Know this, plan accordingly, and be understanding of those who cannot be there. Don’t try to make them feel guilty or obligated, and try to include them where you can. For example, you might consider having a live stream of your ceremony so that those who can’t attend in person can still be part of your big day.

Ireland Destination Wedding Etiquette

Do make planning as easy as possible for your guests

You are not obligated to cover the accommodation or travel expenses for any of your destination wedding guests, including the wedding party. However, it’s a good idea to make it as easy as possible for them. For example, try not to pick a hard-to-reach venue and provide lots of information on accommodation options for a range of budgets. You could also consider renting a property or block-booking hotel rooms so guests can benefit from a discount.

Don’t delay sending your save the dates

Another way to help your guests plan their trip is to give them as much notice as possible. This will give them plenty of time to arrange time off work, book flights, and renew their passport. Instead of the usual four-month rule, save the dates for a destination wedding in Ireland should be sent out at least six months in advance and up to a year before the big day.

Ireland Destination Wedding Etiquette

Do go out of your way to make guests feel welcome

Destination weddings can require a lot of extra effort and outlay from guests, so it’s important to show how much you appreciate them being there. From the moment they arrive, make them feel welcome. For example, you could throw a party or drinks reception on the arrival day and have a special gift bag waiting in their rooms. Make it easy for them to enjoy the wedding as well as any group activities by laying on transportation where needed. While Ireland destination wedding etiquette doesn’t require you to pay for food (beyond what is served at the wedding), it’s a good idea to pick up the tab for at least one other meal. And you don’t have to wait until you arrive to be hospitable. Keeping them informed and doing some of the research on flights and accommodation, for example, will be appreciated.

Don’t act like a cruise director

While part of the fun of a destination wedding is the quality time you’re able to spend as a group enjoying the venue or surrounding area, don’t feel you have to schedule every minute of your guests’ day. This is a holiday for them as well. Many will want to enjoy some time away from the group, doing their own thing. You can always make suggestions for local attractions, even providing a list or an organized group activity, but give them the freedom to make their own plans too.

The bottom line when it comes to etiquette is to be considerate of others and to show them respect. And of course, share your gratitude for their attendance and support. Let these principles guide you and you can’t go wrong!

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Brosnan Photographic, Into The Light