Arranging your wedding in Ireland? Plan ahead, make sure your paperwork is in order and get ready for the best day of your life…
Do your paperwork
When it comes to planning a wedding, paperwork is easily the least glamorous task. But if you don’t get the necessary items in order, there won’t be a wedding at all! Our advice is to plan ahead – you don’t want to get caught up in red tape at the last minute.
You MUST register your intention to get married at least three months before your wedding date in the Republic of Ireland and around eight weeks in Northern Ireland. You can apply to do this from overseas, and to be on the safe side it’s better to have a much longer lead-in time than this – at least 12 months.
In many cases, couples choose to do the legal paperwork in their own country and simply have symbolic ceremonies in Ireland. Bear in mind that if you are having a civil ceremony, you will also have to meet the registrar in person five days before you get married.
Same sex marriage is legal in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Drenagh House, County Londonderry
Embrace all the seasons
Ireland is blessed with four distinct seasons and each brings its own beauty. So if you’re planning on getting married here, don’t get caught up in thinking it has to be a summer wedding. In spring, the countryside is beautifully green, the weather tends to be mild, and bluebells blanket forest floors, bringing a magical quality to the landscape.
Autumn sees Ireland ablaze with beautiful tones of reds, golds and orange. It's a popular time for festivals around the island, making it a good tie-in if you want inspiration for entertaining your guests outside of the big day. While in winter, castles really do come into their own, with roaring fires, cosy sheepskin rugs and candlelit banqueting halls (not to mention Christmas trees and fairy lights, too!)
Powerscourt Estate, County Wicklow
Use a wedding planner
Wedding planners are not essential for organising a wedding in Ireland, but they can come in very handy for some couples and are a good time-saving option. From sourcing the very best suppliers and venues to working within a set budget, having a professional on your side can be useful if you don't have friends or family living here who can help out.
Finnebrogue House, County Down
Decide on your ceremony
From church weddings to civil ceremonies, simple blessings or humanist celebrations... There are so many ways to get married in Ireland, it's worth spending time thinking about what you’d like. Bear in mind that with civil ceremonies, you may marry at registry offices all around the island, but if you’d like to get married elsewhere, you need to ensure the venue is registered for civil ceremonies.
Many amazing venues all over the island are registered, but if you’ve found somewhere you love, but it isn’t on the list, don’t panic. In both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, you can apply for temporary approval for a civil ceremony to take place at a venue of your choosing, subject to conditions. For a religious ceremony, you will need to check with each church what their particular requirements are.
The Carriage Rooms at Montalto, County Down
Don’t panic if your budget isn’t huge
Yes, getting married abroad can be costly, but there are lots of ways to enjoy a wedding in Ireland without having to re-mortgage the house! You'll find incredible options for all budgets: get married outdoors somewhere like the awe-inspiring Slieve League Cliffs and enjoy a relaxed, cosy dinner in a local Donegal pub, or opt for a City Hall wedding in Belfast followed by drinks in the Crown Liquor Saloon, considered to be one of the most beautiful pubs in the world.
Bear in mind that off-season and mid-week can often yield the best deals on venues, so that dream castle, country house or grand mansion that you THINK might be beyond your budget, could be more affordable than you imagine.