YOUR PLANNING GUIDE
Is an Irish elopement for you?
So you’ve been dreaming of running off to Ireland to tie the knot – what a great idea! Ireland is known for its breathtaking landscape, intersting culture and of course the craic! I have put together a quick Irish elopement guide to help make planning your perfect day that much easier. So if you want to plan your own amazing Irish elopement keep reading.
But firstly what even it eloping? Back in the day it used to mean you would run off and secretly get married. Nowadays, it means more or less the same, but it doesn’t have to be a secret. There are many reasons why more and more couples are choosing to elope over the whole “Big Wedding” thing;
– The idea of combining an amazing holiday and your wedding is too hard to resist
– Family dynamics can mean the traditional wedding comes with its complications
– You’re an adventurer at heart and you’re true home is in the wild!
– The traditional wedding with all its frills really just isn’t for you
SO YOU’RE 6 MONTHS OUT…
Time to set a budget
When writing this Irish elopement guide I thought it best to start with budget. Of course an elopement is going to cost you less than a big wedding day, the average US wedding costs a whopping $33,900… just think what you could do with even half that budget. You could have the trip you have always dreamed of, make some amazing memories and tie the knot all in one. Not only is Ireland is GORGEOUS with endless places to see, but also Europe is right there… one short and cheap flight and you could be in London, Paris or even Rome. So if you have the time and you plan in advance then the world is your ouster! My advice is to have a good think about the things you would like to do and see while you’re here, and budget it soon so you get the most out of it all.
Right, where to go? Honestly the possibilities are endless. What really gets you both excited? You could venture west to the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare, where you can exchange your vows on the epic clifftop gazing out upon the Atlantic ocean. If you want to stay close to Dublin the Howth Cliff walk is a great option for those who want the rugged Cliffs while being near the city. Or go up into the Wicklow Mountains where you can find majestic forest and lakes just 1 hour outside Dublin. (If you have any questions about wicklow and its National Park let me know, I grew up there and know all the secret spots.) Are you looking for an old castle ruin, the Rock of Dunamase is breathtaking and a hidden gem. Honestly I could keep going. So have a look and see where you would like to go, Pinterest is a good place to start. Feel free to drop me a line, I would be happy to advise you on the best spots. The good thing about going the elopement route is you can really go anywhere you like, so get creative 🙂
Now you have your where picked, it’s time to pick your when.
It is hard to predict the weather year round in Ireland so no matter what season you can’t count out a little rain, however December to Feburary are definitely our coldest and darkest months. In terms of light spring and autumn are often the best. Many think Summer would be the obvious choice, but it is worth noting this is also the busiest time for tourist and many of the scenic spots may be busy. Also although sunny days are great, the harsh light of summer sun isn’t actually the best for photography. It is much more flattering when the sun isn’t as high. It’s also a good idea to consider the time on the sunset for the time of year you choose. In spring and autumn the sunset is earlier than summer and can make working a timetable for your day a little easier. You don’t have to be super specific right now just pick a few months that suit what you guys want. You can then consult a local expert (your photographer is a good choice) about the best time of year for what you want.
Choosing a midweek day, rather than a weekend is something worth thinking about. This means you would likely have your choice of venders as weekends book up quickly. As well as insuring that you wont get those big weekend crowds, giving you guys the space to have an amazing intimate ceremony in the most beautiful spots.
So what do regarding flowers?
Having the Irish landscape as your backdrop to your wedding you don’t necessarily need to have elaborate centrepieces and arches, unless you want to. In the spirt of the whole elopement vibe, it’s really up to you what you do. There are loads of amazingly talented florists in all over Ireland. I have had bride go out and pick wild flowers on the morning of her wedding. Some go for dried flowers off Etsy as they last forever, however its worth noting that you can’t bring plants through customs so you would need them to be delivered to Ireland. A great way to find amazing talent is on instagram or the blog One Fab Day has loads of great Irish vendors you can check out.
Irish elopement outfits
So firstly you will want to do your research for what to expect weather wise that time of year. I wont lie to you Ireland can be rainy at times, so I would always advise to expect some just incase. That way its only a bonus when its lovely and sunny!
Along the same line, the shoes you choose may end up limiting where you want to go, you don’t want to be struggling on the grass just off the footpath. And by that I mean good solid, warm, waterproof anything. Trust me you will be thanking me later. Even on a small hill its important to get the most out of it, and you don’t want to be worried about every step you take.
This doesn’t mean you have to have to sacrifice style for comfort. There are loads of different boots that can be not only suitable for our rough and frankly squishy ground, but also a statement.
And don’t forget to break your shoes in!
Best to be prepared for anything
In Ireland we have 4 seasons, the thing is you are likely to see them all in one day, so I would always say it’s best to be prepared for everything. You will never regret a pair of leggings for under your dress or trousers. Worse thing you can leave them in the car.
Regarding what you wear, its totally up to you. I always say go for what makes you happy. The best advice I could give is to not be too afraid of getting a little mud on it.
What are your plans for after your elopement? Depending on your plans it might be worth having an extra (dry) outfit for your wedding meal.
It’s also a good idea to have something to throw on if you get chilly. A light coat, cardi or scarf all look great and can keep you warm if needed.
I hope all this talk about weather hasn’t put you off. It’s really more to be prepared than anything. On a sunny day Ireland is the best place on earth and although they may be less common than in other parts of the world, we still get our fair share. Trust me its worth the wait!
Need a Planner?
If you are reading this Irish elopement guide and thinking there is more to this than you first thought and the organisation is already starting to seem like much to handle. There are plenty of planners who would love to help you organise your day from the other side of the world. Here is a list of a few planners who have been part of some amazing elopements in Ireland, so check them out:
– Waterlily Weddings
– Peach Perfect Weddings
– Petal & Twine
– House of Hannah
JUST 3 MONTHS TO GO
Are you hoping to get married legally at your elopement ceremony? If so then it’s best to get onto it as soon as possible, as there will be a little more administration involved. In Ireland you can’t make it official without letting the government know well ahead of time. This means being present in Ireland at least 3 months before the wedding. This is a big thing you need to consider when deciding to elope.
How a lot of my couples get around this, is they get the legal paperwork signed in their home country before or after the elopement. Then they have the Irish elopement as the real ceremony. You can have a humanist celebrant or even a friend conduct the ceremony. This way of doing things feels the same as a wedding, the only real difference is the time in which you sign the papers.
Getting your timing right
When trying to figure out a rough timetable for your Irish elopement, I recommend you chat to your photographer. This is one of the first things I do with my clients. We chat about what they want to do and I have a good idea how long things will actually take. That way you wont end up running around like headless chickens on your day.
It’s also important to consider light. If it is summer you have long evenings so more time, however you also have to take into account harsh lighting in the midday. While in winter with the shorter days you really need to make the most of the light you have. Honestly on a dark cloudy day in the depths of winter you could be looking at 3.30pm being fairly dark. Your photographer will know all about this stuff so you can trust them to guide you in the right direction.
NEARLY THERE, 1 MONTH LEFT
Write your vows
If it’s a Humanist ceremony that would suit you best, then there are loads of ways of doing it. My advise is to look around and see whats out there. Another thing to consider and my favourite is personal vows. I recommend this to all my clients wether they be going the traditional route or eloping. They don’t have to be long or poetry, so don’t let the idea stress you out. It’s a great way to reflect on what the day is about. Plus it’s just you guys so no need to worry about having an audience. I recommend not leaving these to the last minute or trying to make them up as you go on the day. Although they don’t have to be long and complicated, you still don’t want the added stress on the day of having to free style them. Have a read of this helpful guide to give to a good start point 🙂
Maybe the idea of writing your vows just isn’t for you. Remember it’s an elopement, you can do whatever you want! Maybe you would rather do a reading, some song lyrics, or something more traditional.
Either way, I suggest write them in a nice journal or even the back of a postcard from your trip. Try not to have them on your phone. You don’t want to be worrying about any technical difficulties on the day. Low battery and no signal is definitely not ideal. Plus they photograph much better than a screen 😉
Your Irish elopement Dress rehearsal!
So I know this sounds obvious but you are going to want to try everything on before the day. It is also worth doing a run through of the ceremony with the two of you so you both know whats what.
Wether you are doing your own hair and makeup or getting in s professional, you will want to do a practice run for that too. You definitely want to be confidant that on the day you wont end up stressed. This also applies for the guys too – if you are brave enough for a real bow tie I would recommend having tied one more than once before. Trust me there is nothing you need less than having to master the complexities that are bow ties half an hour before you are meant to be at the ceremony. I’ve been there and it takes the fun out of it all.
These run throughs of your Irish elopement make it easier to be sure you have everything you need, even the stuff you never thought you would.
Who doesn’t love a good list. Am I the only one who puts down stuff I have already done so I can feel like I’ve accomplished something? Just me..? Great. When planning a wedding be it a big traditional do or small a small Irish elopement, there are a lot of moving parts. I suggest you get yourself a journal. This comes in handy for the traveling you have planned and it just keeps all the important stuff together.
It’s also a great way to keep your memories in one place too. You could add to your journal a page for each place with the things you would like to do there. This is something you can add to while you are here, as locals will always have loads of tips for things to do and see. There could be photo pages and postcards. In many cities around Europe that have old school analog photo booths which are a lot of fun. When I traveled in India I brought my journal and added little stories and even recipes from people I met along the way. You can do anything you want.
YOUR ON THE EMERALD ISLE
Collect your paperwork
First things first if you are officially getting married here, you will need that paperwork. So make sure you get down the the right registry office to collect your marriage licence. Now make sure you don’t loose it whatever you do!
To start you need to get yourself down to your local for a pint of the black stuff. I know it sounds like a cliché but trust me you wont get anything else like it.
Get out there and try some of what Ireland has to offer. Wether it be a full Irish breakfast, some Tayto crisps or just a pint, make sure you get involved 🙂
For the more technical advice; it’s a good idea to unpack your outfits so that you are good to go. Unpack your stuff, but try keep it neat so you can have a calm space to relax in. It makes it a lot easier not to let any stress get to you when you don’t have to search to find things and there are no bags on the floor to trip over.
AFTER YOUR IRISH ELOPEMENT
Well done! You did it, you had your dream Irish elopement…and it was AMAZING!
Make sure you return the paperwork, you definitely don’t want to forget that!
You also may want to lighten your load for your travels. If you are off to Europe and wont be back to Ireland, then maybe you could head to the post office and get some of your stuff shipped home?
One last thing…
I hope you found this Irish elopement guide helpful and remember, wether it’s that big traditional wedding or the little elopement, things don’t always go to plan. It’s just the way and honestly its half the fun! Once you are both there then thats all that really matters. You will never have an experience quite like it. Who gets to say they stood on the side of an Irish mountain hail, rain or shine with the one they love most in the world. So get out there and make those memories, what a way to start the rest of your life!