Same Sex Weddings in Ireland

It’s hard to believe that almost five years have passed since same sex marriage became a reality in the Republic of Ireland. I still remember the sense of pride and elation I felt when the country voted in favour of marriage equality in the 2015 referendum! And with same sex marriage now also legally recognised in Northern Ireland (as of January 2020), LGBTQI+ and same sex weddings are finally a reality across the whole island. Here at Tara Fay weddings we are huge supporters of marriage equality, and we love helping all our couples make their dream day a reality, whoever they choose to love.

The Marriage Act 2015 applies to civil ceremonies, which can take place in a huge variety of venues across Ireland. For example, castles, hotels, manor houses and museums. You can also opt for a Humanist ceremony for same sex weddings in Ireland (which can include outdoor locations). If you would like to get married on a private estate (ceremony venues must be open to the public), you can also choose to have a small legal ceremony and follow it with a symbolic ceremony in a location of your choice. Windswept cliff tops, fields, woodlands… wherever your imagination takes you!

While same sex weddings in Ireland are identical to opposite sex weddings in the most important way (i.e. legal status), it’s up to you how traditional you want your celebration to be. In fact, LGBTQI+ couples often feel less restricted when it comes to the details of the day, allowing us to create a day for them that feels completely personal. You make the rules! Here are a few elements to consider.


What to wear

Two tuxes? Two dresses? Matching or not? The answer is: whatever will make you feel incredible. There are a huge range of options, from dresses to suits to uniquely complementary ensembles. The most important thing is that each of you feels comfortable and confident. And, while you can choose to wear the same thing or matching versions, there are also lots of other ways to make your outfits coherent, from colours and fabrics to the flowers you carry or the accessories you wear.

The ceremony

Heterosexual Christian wedding ceremonies have a number of traditions, and many are defined by gender. For example, the bride’s family sit on the left, and the groom waits for the bride at the top of the aisle. With same sex weddings, you get to build the ceremony that best fits you as a couple. For example, you could walk down the aisle together, or towards each other from opposite directions. You also don’t need to include heteronormative phrases in your vows. Write your own, and personalise your ceremony with readings and music that you love.

Wedding traditions

There are lots of other wedding traditions that are defined by gender, and you can reimagine these exactly as you wish. For example, you can dispense with the bouquet and garter toss, or turn it into something new. You can have bridesmen and groomsmaids, a shared wedding party, or no entourage at all. You might also choose to have a first look, or to get ready together. It’s your wedding; your rules. And the same goes for your pre-wedding events, like hen parties and stag dos!

Whatever you decide on, remember this is your love, and your relationship that is being honoured. And, while all couples struggle with the expectations of family and friends, the most important thing is to focus on what matters to you as a couple.

I can’t wait to welcome more gorgeous couples home to Ireland for their same sex weddings in 2021 and beyond!

Slán go Fóill,


Images by Eric Kelley

Why Hire a Wedding Planner in Ireland?

So you’ve decided on a destination wedding in Ireland? Congratulations! There’s no place more magical to exchange vows, or to treat your guests to the experience of a lifetime. But as much as I love destination weddings, they do come with their own set of challenges. Planning such a big event from afar can be complicated, stressful, and time-consuming. That’s where a local wedding planner is worth their weight in gold! A specialist destination wedding planner can be your eyes and ears, offer insider knowledge and contacts, in some cases be your translator, and help you enjoy the process. Here are some of the reasons why hiring a wedding planner in Ireland is a must.

Specialist Knowledge of the Area

A destination wedding planner knows the ins and outs of everything local. For example, you’ll get the inside track on the best venues to choose, local culture and etiquette, – even the weather! (In fact, the weather is something that you’ll definitely want to keep in mind when planning a wedding in Ireland.) There’s so much more to a destination than you’ll find by searching online. Plus, having a wedding planner in Ireland will also help you and your guests make the most of your trip. They can recommend restaurants and accommodations and help plan activities and excursions to make the weekend extra special!

A Network of Trusted Vendors

Planning a fabulous wedding isn’t just about the details you choose. It’s about having a team of creative, talented professionals to make those dreams a reality. When you’re planning a wedding from abroad, you often won’t meet your vendors in person before the big day and that means you’ll be reliant on online reviews. But bringing am experienced local planner on board means having access to a vetted network. I have Ireland’s top luxury wedding vendors in my little black book. Many I have worked with repeatedly, and I know and trust them implicitly.

A Trusted Advocate

Your wedding planner has your back. They’re your advocate, your accountant, your therapist, stylist, and dear friend. They are the person who is always on your side, always acting in your interests and on your behalf. This is very different from other role players like venue coordinators or stylists. Your wedding planner acts as the buffer between you and all the different aspects of the wedding. They guide you through the process, so your engagement can be the happy time it should be. And they’ll save you a tremendous amount of time. Most importantly, they’ll take the reins so that you can relax and enjoy your big day, completely stress-free!

The Legal Stuff

Each country has its own legal requirements, which you’ll need to navigate for a destination wedding. Ireland’s registration system can be especially challenging. But not to worry! A wedding planner in Ireland can help you through this aspect of wedding planning. For example, by ensuring you have the correct paperwork before and after you arrive in the country and making sure any special permits are in order.

The bottom line is that a wedding planner in Ireland will help you save time, money, and stress. Especially during this uncertain time, when things are always changing and developing, it’s vital to have someone on the ground who you can trust. Not to mention to add to the fun, the personal details, and experiences you and your guests will have on arrival!

Slán go Fóill,

Image by Lisa O’Dwyer Photography.

Getting Married in Ireland: Where to Start

Whether you’re coming home to Ireland for your big day, have Irish heritage, or just want an incredible destination wedding experience, getting married in Ireland is a great choice. Of course, there’s a fair amount of legwork and decision making that goes into planning any destination wedding. But don’t be overwhelmed! Here are a few first steps to get you started. Follow these, and you’ll be well on your way to a memorable and successful destination wedding in Ireland!

Work out the basics

First things first! Sit down as a couple and discuss what kind of wedding you both want. Church or civil ceremony? Intimate celebration or big bash? Indoors or outdoors? Which season or time of year? And crucially: what is your budget? Once you have the basic parameters worked out, it’s a lot easier to narrow down your choices and find what’s perfect for you.

Identify possible locations and venues

The location you choose for your wedding will determine the mood and style of the event. If you’re getting married in Ireland, you have your choice of grand country houses, ancient castles, and modern city venues, for example. Start a shortlist by Googling wedding venues in Ireland and looking at venue websites and real celebrations on wedding blogs.


Plan a visit

If at all possible, I would recommend planning a trip to Ireland at the start of your wedding planning. Although virtual venue tours are increasing in popularity, there’s nothing quite like touring a property or area in person. It will also allow you to meet local suppliers in person, and get a sense of the experience you’ll be giving your guests.

Consider the wedding date carefully

Before you pick a date, be sure to factor in bank holidays, as well as special dates in Ireland (and in your wedding destination in particular). For example, St Patrick’s Day, the festive season, and both the August and June bank holidays are particularly busy. This will usually make flights and accommodations more expensive for your guests. It’s also a good idea to talk to your venue or wedding planner about the weather at that time of year. Although when you’re getting married in Ireland, a little rain is always a possibility!


Research legal and religious ceremony requirements

Having your legal ceremony in Ireland can be complicated, and having a Catholic ceremony even more so. That’s why it’s important that you start organising the legalities as early as possible so that all the paperwork is in place. You can also choose to get married in your home country in a private ceremony and have a symbolic ceremony in Ireland.

Get some help

You don’t have to do it all alone! Hiring a wedding planner in Ireland may be the best decision you make (apart from saying ‘I do’, of course!). We have local contacts and experience, can take care of all the details and logistics, and save you money, hours, and stress. And if you can’t tour a venue in person, you know we can do it for you and share our first-hand experiences from today and any from the past too.

Slán go Fóill,


Image by Lisa O’Dwyer and Photogenic Photography

Wedding Planning During Coronavirus

The Coronavirus pandemic has had far-reaching effects on all of us. It is already changing the way we travel, eat, socialise – and of course, wed. As a result, most of our resources as wedding planners here at Tara Fay Events are currently going into supporting our existing clients who have had to postpone or make major changes to their wedding plans. For these brides and grooms, the impact of COVID-19 is very personal, but they understandably also feel guilty grieving their wedding when people around them are dying or losing their jobs. It’s been important for us to create a safe space for them to talk and a (virtual) shoulder to cry on. For those of you who are also in this boat, my heart goes out to you. We are all in this together and we will celebrate again!

As well as working with existing clients, we’re also being proactive with any new leads. It’s important to be as forthright and open as possible about timelines and which elements of weddings may be altered in the new year. Knowledge is power! We’re also working closely with the tourist board and hotels. Our mission is to formulate some guidelines for the industry in general. Watch this space!

In the meantime, here is some of my best advice for how to handle wedding planning during Coronavirus.

Think about numbers

Determining your number of guests will be one of the most important aspects going forward. For example, how many guests will have to travel? If so, from or to where? Which social distancing measures may have to be put in place and are you going to be happy with these? It’s also useful to check the guidelines for the area where you wish to have your wedding. Are there maximum numbers imposed on gatherings for the next year?

One upside to this situation is that Coronavirus has brought with it a sense of perspective. Couples are putting more thought into the meaning of their weddings and also the people they want to have around them to celebrate with them. In the future, they will focus on having the people who really matter with them and not as many of the ‘necessary’ invites.

Explore all your options

Your 2020/2021 wedding may not look like you had originally envisioned. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t be wonderful! There are lots of options to consider. My best advice is to ask yourselves: what is more important at the moment, being married, or having a big wedding? For example, you can have an intimate wedding in a few months. Or you could wait a year and have the wedding of your dreams. Or both! When working with new brides and grooms at the moment, I tell them to think about the style of wedding they want. Then we have some fun virtually planning that ideal and finding dates and venues that suit it.

For example, we have had one wedding move to September 2021. However, the couple is still having a registry office wedding in July this year. It will be just the two of them and two witnesses. They will then have a lunch for both sets of parents and the witnesses. We are seating them at one large, square table outside. Each couple will be 2 metres apart. However, the table will still be very beautiful, and overflowing with flowers and candles. It will still be a truly special day for them!

Lean on your wedding vendors

Over the past weeks, there has been such a great community spirit in Ireland. It’s lovely that people are smiling at each other on the street again and saying hello. Showing respect for others and thanking their postman and grocery store workers. And of course, acknowledging the great personal sacrifice that everyone within the healthcare system is experiencing.

In the same way, it’s been incredible to see the wedding industry pull together through Coronavirus. Wedding vendors are rallying to help couples reassess and rebook and moving heaven and earth to help them and each other. Now more than ever is the time to hire a wedding planner. Even if it’s just to put contingency plans in place, working with a planner for hourly consultations. It’s also important to be very clear with all your wedding professionals about clear contracts. Good communication is key.

Mark your original wedding date

Have you postponed your wedding due to Coronavirus? A great way to do something positive is to plan something special for your original wedding date. For example, you could mark the day with part of the meal you had picked for the wedding day.

If you have friends or family who have postponed, small gestures that show you understand also mean a lot. For example, we’re sending handwritten letters and flowers to each of our couples to arrive on the original wedding date. It makes what might be a difficult day a little brighter!

Most importantly, remember that the time for celebration WILL come again. In the meantime, take comfort in the little things. Full moons, sunshine, birdsong, the smell of freshly cut grass. And of course, the love that you have for one another. We will get through this together!

Slán go Fóill,


Image by Lisa O’Dwyer Photography.