The Traveler’s List of Must Haves for an Irish Destination Wedding

Planning for a destination wedding in Ireland brings excitement and anticipation, but it also raises the question: What should travelers pack for this magical adventure? To ensure you’re well-equipped for every moment of your journey, here’s a list of must haves for an Irish destination wedding:

Layers, Layers, Layers

Irish weather is famously unpredictable and you can’t let a little rain dampen your spirits! Pack layers like sweaters, light jackets, and scarves to stay cozy during outdoor ceremonies or exploring the countryside. Bring a quality raincoat or a compact umbrella to stay dry and stylish, whatever the weather.

Sturdy Shoes

From cobblestone streets to rugged cliffs, Ireland’s terrain demands durable footwear. Opt for comfortable and waterproof shoes to keep your feet happy during all your adventures.

Formal Attire

Dress to impress for the wedding ceremony and any related events. Whether it’s a black-tie affair or a casual gathering, be sure to pack appropriate attire to celebrate in style. This includes a light (or heavy) jacket for unpredictable weather and comfortable shoes for dancing.

Sun Protection, Medication and Toiletries

Yes, it does shine in Ireland! Pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to shield yourself from the sun’s rays, especially if you plan on exploring the lush landscapes or enjoying outdoor festivities. Don’t forget your essentials, as well! Pack any necessary medications and toiletries, as well as a basic first aid kit, to ensure a comfortable and stress-free stay.

Adapter Plug

Ireland uses a different plug type (Type G) than many other countries. Ensure you can charge your devices by bringing a universal adapter plug along for the trip. This is definitely one of the most important must haves for an Irish destination wedding.

Camera or Smartphone

With its picturesque landscapes and charming towns, Ireland is a photographer’s dream. Capture every magical moment with a camera or smartphone to cherish for years to come.

Travel Insurance

Peace of mind is priceless. Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself against unexpected events like flight cancellations or medical emergencies.

Cash and Cards

While credit and debit cards are widely accepted, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash for smaller purchases or in case you encounter businesses that don’t accept cards.

Sense of Adventure

Above all, bring an open heart and a sense of adventure. Embrace the beauty, culture, and hospitality of Ireland as you celebrate love in one of the most enchanting destinations on Earth.

Whether you’re a bride, groom, or guest, preparing for an Irish celebration requires thoughtful consideration of the unpredictable weather, rugged landscapes, and cultural experiences that await. By providing your guests with this packing list, you’ll help ensure that they’re well-prepared for your destination wedding in Ireland and can fully enjoy the adventure!

Ps. Are you planning your destination wedding in Ireland? Fabulous! Be sure to find more Destination Wedding Trends and inspiration here.

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Brosnan Photographic 

Love at Adare Manor: Chris and Lucy’s Real Irish Wedding

When Christopher Lawlor and Lucy Corrigan matched on Bumble in 2019, neither one of them had any idea of the epic love story they were beginning, nor the fact that it would end in a brilliant Irish wedding at Adare Manor. With incredibly busy professional lives in New York City (Lucy is a lawyer and Chris is an entrepreneur and co-founder of an AI infrastructure company), it took months before they were able to meet for their first date.

When it finally happened, the two met at a wine bar (Compagnie du Vins Surnaturels) and immediately lost track of time, talking about everything from food to music to family. Their relationship took off and the two began to enjoy dates all over the city (many to see the New York Philharmonic).

Suddenly, the new couple found themselves in a city completely halted by Covid. When remote work became mandatory, Chris and Lucy made the decision to travel to Philadelphia to visit Chris’s parents “for two weeks”, unaware that two weeks would turn into five months! As soon as the restrictions lifted, it was time for Chris to “meet the parents” in Lucy’s hometown of Dublin. When all family and friends were introduced and all approvals were met, Chris took Lucy to Park City, Utah where she was met with the ultimate relationship test: three months of ski season. Lucy passed with flying colors and Chris proposed a year later, on a beach, Lucy’s much preferred location.

When I met with Lucy and Chris, it became clear that it was Lucy’s desire to share the beauty and warmth of her home country with all of their combined loved ones. Lucy said this about choosing Adare Manor: “We chose Adare for two reasons. The first is we genuinely think that it’s one of the best hotels we’ve ever stayed at and the second is… we wanted an Irish village where people could show up and all be in one place, close together.” With guests coming from all over the world, Lucy and Chris said they loved nothing more than the idea of their friends and family bumping into each other on the streets of Adare Village.

In the same spirit, Lucy and Chris wanted to cultivate an environment of reunion and laughter, creating memories their guests would keep for a lifetime. With everyone coming together, friends and family from both sides and from different countries, the couple wanted the atmosphere to be a mix of both formal and casual, to go from black tie to full Philadelphia Eagles attire within 24-hours (a hilarious moment that actually happened). Lucy said: “We could have easily gotten married at City Hall, but the opportunity to have all of the people we love come together in one room was too good to pass up. The vibe across the three days was about providing the space, the time, and the drinks for people to see friends and family they don’t normally get to see.”

Though there were many fashionable moments throughout the three day wedding celebration, when the time came to walk down the aisle, the bride wore an Elie Saab gown (that she fell in love with during a serendipitous try-on at Elizabeth Taylor’s old townhouse off 5th avenue!) and Chris wore a Saman Amel tuxedo with a La Bowtique bowtie.

With the vows completed, the new husband and wife exited the ceremony, walking down the aisle to the iconic soundtrack of Star Wars. The reception was brilliant, with everyone out on the dancefloor, including Lucy’s 91-year-old grandfather! Beautiful speeches were given, wedding crashers were escorted from the party by loyal friends, and a wedding cake made out of wheels of cheese (created by Lucy’s favourite cheesemonger) was enjoyed by all.

As a wedding planner, it is a dream to work with such a fun-loving, adventurous and beautiful couple as Chris and Lucy. It was an absolute pleasure to spend time creating a space where Dublin and Philadelphia could come together in an iconic celebration of Chris, Lucy, friends, family, love and cheese.

 

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Event Planner: Tara Fay | Venue: Adare Manor|  Photography: Greg Finck | Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands: Zameer Kassam | Bride’s Rehearsal Dinner Dress: Zuhair Murad | Bride’s Rehearsal Dinner & Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Groom’s Rehearsal Dinner Jacket: J. Mueser | Groom’s Rehearsal Dinner Trousers: Ralph Lauren | Groom’s Rehearsal Dinner Shoes: Magnanni | Brides Wedding Dress: Elie Saab | Bride’s Second Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Groom’s Wedding Tuxedo: Saman Amel | Groom’s Wedding Shoes: To Boot New York | Groom’s Wedding Bowtie: La Bowtique |

Unforgettable Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Your Wedding

Embracing the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day on your wedding day is a charming and unique way to infuse a touch of Irish magic into your celebration of love. Whether you have Irish roots or simply appreciate the festive atmosphere, here are some delightful ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on your wedding day.

Wear a Touch of Green

Start the celebration by incorporating green into your wedding attire. A subtle green sash, tie, or even emerald accessories for the bride and groom can add a touch of Irish charm without overpowering the overall aesthetic.

Lucky Charms for the Bouquet

Attach a small, meaningful Irish charm to your wedding bouquet for an extra dash of luck. Symbols like the shamrock, horseshoe, or Claddagh ring can serve as beautiful and sentimental accents. Click here for a little guide to lucky symbols at Irish weddings!

Irish Folk Music

Set the mood with a live band or playlist featuring traditional Irish folk music. The sounds of fiddles, tin whistles, and bodhráns will transport your guests to the Emerald Isle and create an upbeat atmosphere for dancing.

Traditional Irish Musicians
Engage Ireland at Adare Manor

 

Irish-Inspired Cuisine

Give a nod to Irish cuisine in your wedding menu. Consider including traditional dishes like Irish stew, soda bread, or even a playful twist with green-themed desserts. Your guests will appreciate the culinary journey and the festive flavours.

Irish Toasts

Incorporate Irish toasts into your wedding speeches. Raise a glass to love, luck, and laughter with a heartfelt Irish blessing. It’s a meaningful way to connect with the cultural richness of St. Patrick’s Day.

Whiskey Tasting Station

Create a whiskey tasting station for your guests to enjoy during the reception. Include a selection of Irish whiskeys and provide tasting notes. This interactive element adds a sophisticated touch and pays homage to Ireland’s rich whiskey heritage.

Celtic Knots

Symbolize the intertwining of your lives with Celtic knot decorations. Whether incorporated into the wedding invitations, cake design, or table settings, the intricate and timeless knots represent eternal love and unity.

Irish Dance Performance

Surprise and delight your guests with an Irish dance performance. Professional dancers or even a dance troupe can provide a lively and entertaining show, making your wedding celebration truly unforgettable.

Green Wedding Favours

Send your guests home with a little piece of Ireland by choosing green-themed wedding favours. Consider personalized shamrock keychains, Irish-themed candles, or even miniature bottles of Irish whiskey.

Gift bags for guests
Crisps and afters

Photo Booth Fun

Set up a St. Patrick’s Day-themed photo booth complete with props like shamrocks and and Irish flags. Encourage your guests to snap pictures to create lasting memories.

By infusing these St. Patrick’s Day elements into your wedding celebration, you’ll create a day filled with luck, love, and laughter. May your marriage be as joyful and enduring as the Irish spirit that inspires this delightful celebration! Sláinte to a lifetime of happiness!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Story of Eve , Arte de Vie, Carla Ten Eyck  Christina Brosnan and Eric Kelley

Top Places in Ireland to Wed in 2024

Are you considering a destination wedding to Ireland? I am absolutely thrilled that you are here! It is no secret that I believe Ireland is the most beautiful and magical place to say “I Do”. In fact, deciding on a wedding venue can be one of the hardest parts because there are so many gorgeous venues to choose from. Ireland is known for its picturesque landscapes and romantic settings, making it a popular destination for weddings. But there are some that stand out amongst the others. Here are the Top Places to Wed in Ireland in 2024:

Ashford Castle (Cong, County Mayo)

A stunning castle set on the shores of Lough Corrib, Ashford Castle offers a fairytale setting for a wedding. With its gorgeous acres of manicured gardens, lush forests and lively woodland, there is magic floating on the breeze and over the sparking waters of Lough Corrib. Additionally, working with the team of professionals at Ashford Castle is truly a rewarding experience in itself. It is nearly impossible to run out of things to do or options for entertainment. A wedding at Ashford Castle can be customized to fit the personalities of every couple that decides to say their ‘I Do’s’ at this enchanted place.

My other favorite detail? The accommodations at Ashford Castle are beyond compare. Each of the 83 rooms have been lovingly designed and individually restored, whilst taking every effort to incorporate the latest modern luxuries. The unique works of art and antique furniture are carefully and meticulously curated. Every one of the team’s efforts comes to fruition as you and your guests take in the sumptuous fabrics, custom-designed carpets, exquisite toweling, feature lighting and drift off to dreamland on bespoke beds wrapped in Egyptian Cotton bed linens.

Find my Deep Dive here: Ashford Castle!

Adare Manor (Adare, County Limerick)

A five-star hotel set on a vast estate, Adare Manor is known for its opulent architecture and elegant surroundings. The manicured gardens and the grandeur of the Manor provide a luxurious backdrop for a wedding.

Adare Manor wedding grounds scenery

An Adare Manor wedding is always one to be savoured, whether it’s small and intimate or a grand affair. It has a unique ambience, a mix of old-world glamour and modern technology and comfort, suffused with warmth and good old-fashioned Irish hospitality, that makes it one of my personal favourite Irish destination wedding venues. It’s what is known as a Gothic revival calendar house, so named because it has 365 leaded windows, 52 chimneys, seven stone pillars, and four towers, which mark the days, weeks, and seasons of the year. The award-winning hotel also includes a championship golf course (set to host the Ryder Cup in 2027) and a Michelin-starred restaurant. In 2018, it was named Hotel of the Year at the Virtuoso Best of the Best Awards ahead of properties like the famed Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat in France and the Berkeley in London.

But really, what makes Adare so unique is not only the setting, but the people. They have a motto they use, ‘Beyond Everything’, and that is really what they do. They go above and beyond for every single guest and every single wedding. For example, there’s Philip, the wedding butler and one of my favourite people at Adare. He becomes so involved with the wedding couple that when they say goodbye it’s a little like parting from a member of the family. Another example is Mary, part of the Adare Food and Beverage team. She gets to know every member of both families, what they would like to eat and drink, and where they need to be and when. It really is an extraordinary level of service, which reflects my philosophy as a wedding planner. It’s this kind of personal attention that makes guests feel truly pampered and turns an Adare Manor wedding from an event into an experience.

Find my Deep Dive here: Adare Manor!

Museum of Literature (Dublin)

When I speak to couples who imagine their wedding in an an intimate and opulent setting, surrounded by rich history and literary legends, I tell them the Museum of Literature Ireland (also known as the MoLI) is the venue for them. Couples who appreciate this city’s love of literature know that MoLI is the perfect wedding setting. Just traverse through Dublin and you’ll find a myriad of bookshops,  historic libraries, literary plaques and statues. Some of the world’s most famous writers called Dublin home.

Museum of Literature Ireland wedding groom

A relatively new addition to the cultural scene in downtown Dublin, it is a dedicated museum that celebrates the rich literary heritage of Ireland and its literary luminaries. MoLI is a partnership between University College Dublin and the National Library of Ireland. Inside the hidden historic rooms of the MoLI, you will find yourself encompassed by Georgian lavishness and you and your guests will join the ranks of all the fascinating characters that have passed through over the centuries.

Couples who choose the Museum of Literature Ireland have access to the gardens outside, including the beautiful Iveagh Gardens, which were originally owned by the Guinness family. The Iveagh house is located just a few doors down from the MoLI. Intimate weddings at MoLI are a joy to plan. It is stylish and elegant and offers opportunities for celebration both inside and out. I relish creating an atmosphere of exclusivity for you and your cherished friends and family to focus on the moment at hand.

Find my Deep Dive here: Museum of Literature!

Dromoland Castle (Newmarket-on-Fergus, County Clare)

Another castle setting, Dromoland Castle, offers a historic and romantic atmosphere. The castle is surrounded by lush greenery and a beautiful lake, creating a magical setting for a wedding.

Originally the seat of the descendants of one of the last High Kings of Ireland, Dromoland Castle is now an amazing luxury hotel that has welcomed celebrities and dignitaries from Bono to Nelson Mandela. Magnificent scenery, sumptuous interiors, a championship golf course, and elegant French-inspired fine dining add to the unforgettable experience. The venue is also incredibly versatile, offering a wide range of ceremony and reception spaces of different sizes, from a charming walled garden to the magnificent Brian Boru Hall.

Read more about Dromoland Castle weddings here!

Merrion Hotel (Dublin)

As soon as you step through the elegant Georgian doors of the Merrion Hotel in Dublin, you’re immediately transported into a world of luxury and charm, wrapped in a warm Irish welcome. This place embodies grace, romance, and hospitality – making it an unrivaled destination wedding venue in the heart of Ireland.

The Merrion Hotel takes its distinctive character from 18th-century townhouses, which once belonged to influential Irish figures — boasting 123 guest rooms and 19 suites, a two-star Michelin restaurant, a luxurious spa, and meticulously manicured private gardens. The hotel exemplifies grandeur, splendor, and comfort – everything you might wish for your wedding day.

You cannot go wrong with a Merrion Hotel wedding; it is undoubtedly a testament to Ireland’s rich history, elegantly situated within four meticulously restored Georgian townhouses in Dublin. These 18th-century townhouses, once the homes of notable figures such as Viscount Monck and Garret Wesley, were designed by famed Irish architect Richard Cassels. Over the years, they have witnessed significant events in Irish history, such as the birth of Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington. The hotel’s name, ‘Merrion’, comes from the title ‘Viscount Merrion’, granted to Sir Charles Monck in 1760. Today, the hotel blends its historic grandeur with modern luxury, offering a unique retreat that is deeply rooted in the city’s architectural and social history. It serves as a beautiful reminder of Dublin’s Georgian heritage while providing world-class services to its guests.

Find my Deep Dive here: Merrion Hotel!

Ballyfin Demesne (Ballyfin, County Laois)

I’m always delighted when my clients choose Ballyfin Demesne for their destination weddings in Ireland, as it truly is a special place. Built in 1820, the neo-classical Regency mansion (and later, boys’ school) underwent an extensive renovation in the early 2000s, finally reopening as a luxurious five-star country hotel in 2011. Since then, it has received multiple prestigious accolades, including being voted the best hotel in the world by Conde Nast Traveler and receiving the AA’s Hotel of the Year Award in 2018. If you want something very unique and private, then this is the place for you.

Wedding photos in front of Ballyfin Demesne

What makes Ballyfin wedding venue so special is that visiting it is like walking back in time. Think of it as a Downton Abbey house party of your very own. On arrival, the staff line up to greet you, just as if you were the lords and ladies of the manor returning to your country pile. And that’s just the start of the old-world charm and traditional Irish hospitality you can expect during your stay. The butlers all have a personal connection to the property, so they are part of the family there, and everyone has a story to tell.

Although Ballyfin is described as a country house venue, I think of it more as a little bit of paradise in the middle of Ireland. On a clear night, it’s easy to imagine what the world was like 200 years ago. With very little light pollution, the countryside is so still and serene that it feels like you’re the only people for miles around. And it’s so private that once you enter you really feel like you have arrived home. I’m delighted to have such a strong relationship with the wonderful team there, and to be able to recommend it to my clients knowing that they’ll love it as much as I do.

Read my Deep Dive here: Ballyfin Demesne!

Mount Juliet Estate (Thomastown, County Kilkenny)

A country estate with a Georgian mansion, Mount Juliet offers a blend of luxury and natural beauty. The estate includes a golf course, gardens, and a river, providing various picturesque backdrops.

To describe a bit more about why I suggested Mount Juliet, it is nestled within the verdant Irish countryside, it is a breathtaking wedding venue that offers an idyllic setting at a majestic Georgian Manor house, set on a sprawling 500-acre estate. The bride described to me that she had always dreamt of a winter wedding and this venue seamlessly blends historic elegance with modern luxury, providing an enchanting backdrop for the ultimate fairy-tale winter wedding. Surrounded by meticulously landscaped gardens, ancient woodlands, and the tranquil River Nore, Mount Juliet is the epitome of romance and charm.

Read about Esias and Sheena’s Mount Juliet Estate wedding here! 

These are some of my favourites and what I would consider the top places to wed in Ireland in 2024. There are so many, so reach out! We can talk about even more Incredible Wedding Locations in Ireland. Remember to consider the capacity, check reviews and testimonials, and visit the location, if possible. You should always discuss your specific needs with your wedding planner as they should be the expert in whatever venue you choose. Once you’ve decided on a location, you can move on to the next best part: First Steps to Planning a Destination Wedding.

I am so excited for you!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Ashford Castle website, Christina Brosnan, Dromoland Castle website, Story of Eve, Mount Juliet Estate website

Destination Wedding Trends for 2024

One of the beautiful things about life is that it’s always changing. It makes sense that love and weddings are ever-evolving, too. Here are some 2024 destination wedding trends to consider as you begin your planning adventure:

Unplugged Weddings

While this isn’t a new idea, it’s gaining popularity year by year. Some guests might struggle with unplugging from their ever-present electronic devices, but if you make it a wedding rule, you’ll find that most will thank you for the break from reality by the end of the event. Without distractions, your guests can truly spend some intentional time with one another. When you ask guests to disconnect from their devices during the ceremony, it encourages a more present and intimate experience. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the incredibly awkward moment of a ringing phone in the middle of your vows!

Virtual Elements

It might sound like I’m contradicting myself with the last point, but with the rise of virtual weddings during the pandemic, lots of couples have continued to incorporate virtual elements into their destination weddings for guests who can’t attend in person. Being able to attend in real-time, even though they are miles (or countries) away, will mean so much to your loved ones. Plus, with the ability to record and live-stream each precious moment, this reduces your guests’ compulsion to grab their devices and record for you. It also reduces the amount of cell phones inelegantly held overhead during the ceremony.

Eco-Friendly Weddings & Cultural Experiences

Sustainability and eco-consciousness have been on the rise in the wedding industry. Couples are choosing eco-friendly destination wedding locations, minimizing waste, and opting for sustainable décor and practices. They have also become much more culturally aware. Couples have been going out of their way to incorporate the customs of local culture into their wedding, including cuisine, music, and traditions. Here are some unique ways to incorporate cultural aspects and Make Your Irish Destination Wedding Stand Out.

Unique Locations & Intimate Gatherings

Couples are looking beyond traditional wedding locations and seeking unique, off-the-beaten-path destinations for their weddings. This might include mountains, forests, historical landmarks, or (may I suggest) beautiful historic Irish castles? With locations becoming more remote, we’ve seen another trend sprout forth – smaller, more intimate gatherings. Couples are often opting for quality time with a select group of loved ones rather than hosting large affairs. Pared-down events might also allow couples to invite their guests to spend more days or attend more activities.

Multi-Day Celebrations

That being said, some couples are extending their destination wedding festivities over several days, allowing for more relaxed and meaningful interactions with their guests. Knowing there are extra days to spend celebrating means more time for conversation with family and friends. It also means more time for adventures – like hiking, hot air ballooning, boating or falconry! Yep. Falconry.

As trends vary from year to year, you can depend on your wedding planner to keep you in the loop on factors like culture, economy and current events (especially if you plan on having your destination wedding in Ireland or any other country). One thing that never changes, though, are that weddings will always be about celebrating love and bringing friends and family together for the most important moment of your lives. That’s something we can always rely on.

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images collected from Story of Eve 

A Guide to Planning a Holiday Weekend Destination Wedding in Ireland

Wedding bells are ringing and you’re considering a destination wedding over a holiday weekend. The idea seems tempting but carries its unique challenges, especially if your dream destination is none other than the Emerald Isle. But before you dive in headfirst, let’s break down the pros and cons of planning your nuptials over a holiday weekend in this land of mystic beauty.

Pros of a Holiday Destination Weekend in Ireland

Extended Celebrations

Holiday weekends mean extended time off work and transforming your wedding into a mini-vacation for your guests. It’s not just a day, but a complete weekend of joy, celebration, and unforgettable memories.

Travel Ease

With extra days off, your guests have more leeway to manage their travel. They can arrive early or stay late without eating too much into their allotment of vacation days.

If the holiday weekend aligns with an Irish festival, your wedding can incorporate elements of Irish culture, providing your guests with a rich, immersive experience. Whether it’s the lively parade on St. Patrick’s Day or the traditional festivities on Easter Monday, these unique cultural experiences can elevate your wedding to a whole new level of enchantment.

Cons

Availability

Holiday weekends, especially holidays shared between countries like Christmas or St. Patrick’s Day, are peak times for travel. Flights, accommodations, and even your desired venues may be booked months in advance and prices are likely to be higher.

Attendance

Not everyone will be keen on using their holiday for a wedding, as these days are traditionally spent with family or on personal vacations.

Scheduling Conflicts

US and Ireland holidays don’t always coincide. For instance, while both nations enjoy festivities on St. Patrick’s Day, US-specific holidays like Labor Day or Memorial Day won’t be observed in Ireland, and vice versa for Irish holidays like Easter Monday or St. Stephen’s Day.

Before setting the date, research and compare Irish holiday schedules. You might find an overlap that works perfectly, no matter what countries your guests are travelling from.

Navigating the journey of a destination wedding over a holiday weekend can be tricky. Yet, with a dash of planning, a spoonful of understanding, and a pinch of flexibility, you can create an enchanting experience that marries the magic of the holiday and the romance of a wedding in a memorable Irish backdrop. The pros and cons are many, but at the end of the day, the sound of your loved ones’ laughter echoing across the Irish moors and under the holiday fireworks, will make it all worthwhile. If you are interested in reading more about planning a destination wedding in Ireland, check out my Do’s and Don’ts blog here.

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Images by Fred Marigaux Photography, Story of Eve, Unikeye Photography