Photos by Poppies & Me
Destination weddings are very popular. We know that. But did you know that you can either throw a big bash at home and spend loads, or have a destination wedding with your nearest and dearest and spend much less. It’s like having your wedding, and honeymoon in the same place with friends and family!
I make no excuses or ever deny it. I love it here in Ireland and I love helping couples get married here. The scenery is unsurpassed, the people welcoming and the place is just great fun! When the weather is good here there is no place better and even when it’s not you get the romance of the rolling hills, dramatic cliffs and seascapes, foggy mountains, fantastic castles and manor houses.
Here are a few tips on planning a destination wedding.
So step one, decide on a location – Ireland? Ok. Great choice!
2) Know your marriage laws. It is easier than ever to get married in Ireland and paperwork can be done by post but you will need to meet the Registrar of Marriages in the county you want to marry in a minimum of 5 days before your ceremony. This can also be done on a shorter trip over to suss out locations and vendors. Marriages in Ireland are legal and valid in all of North America and Western Europe.
3) Visit at least once if you can. Whether your intention is a scouting trip, taking care of legal details or meeting vendors booked by your planner, try come over at least once during your planning. Twice if you can afford, but once should be enough to get the picture of what your day will be like. I also advise the couple to be here a bit earlier than their guests where possible to have that time together before all the action and activities begin. Once your guests arrive, everything should be done with regards to the wedding so you can relax and enjoy!
4) Get help locally. Whether you hire a local planner (highly recommended) or have a family member or friend living locally to where you would like your wedding you really will need someone there on the ground. This person should be able to take the burden of researching, meeting, and booking local vendors and know about weddings. Your Aunt Maureen in Donegal would love to help but does she know your taste? Budget? Is her wedding planning experience from 30 years ago?
5) Let your friends and family know well in advance. Generally destination weddings are smaller which is one of the reasons they are less expensive, however you do want the people nearest and dearest to attend so give them plenty of notice. Spread the word early and send out save the dates (In my opinion) about 8 months in advance so they can plan, save and get the time off. Create a wedding website with information on the local area, travel and accommodation info and itineraries to get your guests excited about the trip.