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 

Summer Must-Haves for a Destination Wedding

Summer is the perfect time to host your destination wedding, but there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind when planning your big day during the busy season. These are just some of the summer must-haves for a destination wedding.

Outdoor Venue

The weather in summer is something worth taking advantage of and an outdoor venue will allow you to do just that! Picture yourself on a stunning beach, basking in the beautiful sun on your big day. If you’re not much of a beach person, gardens, vineyards, or even lush green mountains are fabulous choices. And, of course, I always recommend the stunning nature of Ireland for a dreamy and memorable wedding trip!

Clear Communication

When it comes to travel plans for your destination wedding, summer requires clear communication between you and your guests to get everyone there. As one of the busiest seasons for travel, your guests will want to know well ahead of time how to find their way to your country or location of choice.

This could even mean working out plans to travel as a unit of people rather than completely separate if that is the best way to keep all of your guests together.

Planned Accommodation

Just like you’ll need to communicate ahead of time for travel, planning accommodations will also make everything smoother during the busy season. Hotels can fill up fast during the summer travel season, so knowing your venue well in advance will need to be a top priority. As soon as you have that venue set, let your guests know!

Perhaps consider finding a hotel within a reasonable distance of your venue and see if you can book rooms for each of your guests as a large group so everyone is in a closer space.

Light and Breathable Attire

If you know your heart is set on a summer destination wedding, then it is likely your big day might be a bit warmer. Keep an eye on the typical weather of the destination and start to plan your attire accordingly. This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the gown of your dreams! There are plenty of gorgeous wedding gowns that will look incredible at a summer destination wedding.

However, if your heart is set on a heavier gown, opt to have multiple outfits for the different pieces of your day. This could include preparing light and breathable attire for the longer reception that will take place after your “I do” moment.

Remember, the most important part about planning your big day is you, so focus on what will make the process most enjoyable to you. Happy summer destination wedding planning!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Image by Aspect Photography

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 |

The Warming of the Ring Ceremony

Often, I am asked by my lovely couples how they can incorporate Irish culture and tradition into their wedding day. One of my favourite answers is the Warming of the Ring Ceremony. Recently, I was honoured to be interviewed by The Knot in regards to this centuries-old Irish wedding tradition.

What is it?

The Warming of the Ring Ceremony is a strongly symbolic tradition that includes everyone in attendance. Each ring is held (whether in the box or out of the box) by every attending friend and family member. Guests are encouraged to speak well wishes, pray, or internally focus on some loving intentions for the couple. In this way, the rings are ‘warmed’ with love before they end up on the fingers of the newlyweds.

How does it work?

There are a couple different ways I’ve seen the Warming of the Ring Ceremony preformed.

Typically, there is an officiant with a script for each different version. In the first, the officiant meets the guests as they arrive and offers them the rings. Before they take their seats, the officiant asks each attendee to ‘warm the rings’ with their intentions for the couple.

In the second version, the tradition takes place during the wedding ceremony. In this case, the officiant asks that before exchanging, the rings are passed around to each guest. Personally, I like this version the best. The physical warming of the rings carries such a beautiful sentiment.

How can you make it yours?

For your loved ones who cannot be in attendance, I always suggest adding a personal item of theirs: like jewelry, a linen or lace hanky to pass around with the rings. Personally, I think it is more intimate to pass the rings around without a box to make the ‘warming ceremony’ even more literal. As each guest physically warms the ring with their hands, they infuse even more warmth by way of loving thoughts and wishes. In the past, we’ve read poetry or scripture as the rings are passed to each attending guest, making these moments even more sentimental and sweet.

Are you interested in incorporating the Warming of the Rings Ceremony into your wedding day? Read my interview on The Knot or get in touch!

Slán go Fóill,

Tara

Image by Barry McCall

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