How to plan an Elopement in Ireland
A COMPLETE GUIDE TO ELOPING IN IRELAND
Ireland may be known as the land with 40 shades of green, the unreal Guinness ( if you like a pint of the black stuff ), and the friendly locals. It’s also a dream destination for your elopement.
There is definitely something for every type of couple here, from medieval castles, rugged clifftops overlooking the Atlantic ocean, beautiful beaches, epic mountains, colorful little towns, to fields and rolling hills dotted with sheep, right down to the friendly locals.
If you are thinking of eloping to Ireland, then this guide is for you!
Your Ireland Elopement Guide – All you need to know before eloping in Ireland
So, what is an elopement?
THE OLD VERSION – The definition of an elopement tends to be a wedding either in their local city hall or vegas with an Elvis impersonator with just two people present exchanging their vows without telling anyone.- This is a very old way of thinking. THANKFULLY that is no longer the case.
Now the definition of eloping has another meaning: you can get married in the presence of a handful of guests anywhere in the world your heart desires. It can be an epic adventure on the other side of the world, on the beach, up a mountain, the desert, you name it. You still need the necessities like a marriage license from the country, county, or state where the elopement will take place, an officiant, and in some cases and a witness (who may or may not know the couple). This can be the photographer also which makes it easier especially if you plan to do a long hike to find your elopement location.
Can you elope in Ireland?
Absolutely. Some couples choose to do the paperwork before coming to Ireland to elope or doing the paperwork afterward back in their home country. Or you can choose to do the legal stuff in the local town hall or register. It does not have to be complicated at all. Here in Northern Ireland, some couples choose to do the ceremony in City Hall a few days beforehand, then have their own personal experience either hiking or driving to the location surrounded by beautiful backdrops.
Why you should elope in Ireland
I would take a guess and assume you have decided to elope because you want to focus on the two of you and have the intimacy and privacy to do so. So you are looking to elope somewhere abroad. I truly think there is no place like Ireland for your intimate and meaningful elopement. Ireland provides the perfect backdrops to say “I do” not only that, its a wonderful place to explore as part of your honeymoon. There are so many possibilities here in Ireland for your elopement. Unlike big traditional weddings, you have fewer limitations on where you can begin your married life together. You have the option to hike for 10 miles, or not. Or you can say your vows outside a medieval castle on a clifftop, or maybe you want to elope on a beautiful beach then head to the local pub for some food and the craic. Whatever your reason for eloping, and whatever it is you are looking for, Ireland could just be the place for you.
How much does it cost to elope in Ireland?
The cost of eloping in Ireland really comes down to your budget. The only required expense is the paperwork. Anything beyond that is up to you.
But to give a rough estimate, without including travel charges, Elopements in Ireland can range from £4000 – £8,000 all depending on a number of factors. Where you stay, where you elope, to name a few. Some places like Dunluce Castle requires you to pay a small fee to have your ceremony there. You might want to factor in hair and makeup, celebrant, florists, photographer, etc. Either way, eloping costs way less than a traditional wedding. Which means plenty left over to explore and have an epic honeymoon or go back and have a small party and still spend less than a traditional wedding.
Things to consider when eloping in Ireland
The weather here in Ireland is known for always raining, but truth be told, yes it rains here, but not as much as one might think. It tends to have little showers, long showers are quite rare. We rarely get full days of nonstop rain.
We have such mild weather, no extremes which make every season a perfect time to visit Ireland. We can have very mild weather in the winter and sometimes cold wet days in the summer. You never really know what you are going to get, so keep this in mind. The beauty of our weather is, you might have four seasons in one day which can make some pretty epic photos.
Here are some tips about what to expect from the weather in Ireland by season.
Spring is one of my favorite times of the year here in Ireland. Apart from the obvious, all the flowers coming to life, which changes the look of the scenery. The cows and sheep are out amongst the rolling hills of green. The weather is usually so beautiful, the evenings are getting longer, so you have a little longer to hike and explore. April and May can be warmish here, sometimes they tend to be the warmest months. Its also a great time to visit Ireland as there are no crowds, minus easter where the schools are of and everyone is out, so if you want the place to yourself as much as possible avoid easter time.
Our summers run from June to August, which can be the hottest months, they can also be quite wet, but again, we rarely have a lot of rain, just a few showers followed by rainbows. We get about 18 hours of daylight, it gets dark around 11 pm. If you were to elope in the summer, I would suggest you have it later in the day for better light. Not only is this better for your photos, but it’s also a better time for more privacy. Most tourists will be back in their airb&bs or out at the pub or restaurant.
Autumn is my favorite time of year here in Ireland. The sun is still out, warm but with that crisp cold feeling in the air. Its quieter, kids are back in school, the landscapes are alive with reds and gold. It’s a stunning time of year to elope here in Ireland
If you are thinking about eloping in Ireland during the winter months, it’s hard to know what to expect. We can get mild, dry days, and super wet cold days. We are known for having all four seasons in one day. So, if you plan to elope in the winter here, be prepared to get wet, and embrace whatever the elements throw at you. That way you will have the best experience. You will also receive some epic moody shots!
I may be biased, but Ireland is truly one of the most stunning places in the world. With the rolling hills, dramatic cliffs, endless fields of green with sheep dotted over them as well as the beautiful beaches, quaint villages, and not forgetting the wonderful charming castles. It probably took me living in various places around the world to finally come back home to Ireland to really appreciate this beautiful country I was born in. For such a small country, we have an incredible amount of locations to explore and still to discover. Which is why I think Ireland is the number one place to go to for your magical, adventurous elopement.
So when is the Best time to elope in Ireland?
Like anywhere in the world you visit, Ireland has its best times to elope. I would recommend not eloping on weekend, especially during the summer and other holidays as it can get very busy with the schools being off and holidaymakers. I personally think the best time to elope in Ireland is spring and fall seasons for all the obvious reasons. Whichever you decide to do, consider eloping on a weekday. For quite a few reasons, fewer people around, accommodation can be a little cheaper, and you have more privacy. As well as that, here in Northern Ireland, we have some of the most iconic locations from Game of Thrones here, they can get very popular during weekends. You would have a much better experience exploring on a weekday.
I have an amazing team of elopement vendors to help build your perfect Ireland elopement package, so you can be prepared and ready to go no matter the weather or any other scenario that comes your way.
Best place to Elope in Ireland
Honestly, the number of places you could choose to have your elopement is never-ending. Given that, here is a selection of some of my favorite locations that are incredible. These locations include cliffs, castles, beaches, fields, and rolling hills, all you could need for your Ireland Elopement. Not to mention, little charming villages nearby to stop off for a pint of Guinness and some food and meet some locals.
Ireland vendors for your elopement package
I have worked as a wedding photographer for the past 7 years and I know the best local wedding vendors around. Eloping in Ireland is relatively easy, I put together a guide to help you with choosing your vendors. You can check this out here IRELAND ELOPEMENT PLANNING GUIDE
Can I bring a guest to my elopement?
Short answer? YES! Why the hell not. It’s your elopement, there are absolutely no rules. You make the rules. My only advice is, think about where you plan to elope, do you plan to hike for an hour or more, can your guest hike, etc. There are ways around this, you can say your vows somewhere handy for your guests then take a few hours away to explore by yourselves. Another thing, I would plan a picnic with your guests so yourselves and your guests are not starving, or waiting for you to come back from exploring. That way you get to enjoy your day, not rush, maybe even watch the sunset go down before heading back to your guests, or watch it together. Again, there are no rules!
Where to stay for your elopement
So this is a question I get a lot from couples traveling to Northern Ireland to elope, is where to stay. There are so many beautiful locations to stay, that it would be impossible to include them all here, so here is a selection of my favorites here in Northern Ireland. These locations are close to places like Dunluce Castle, The Dark Hedges, Giants Causeway to name a few.
Located in the heart of the Causeway Coast and Glens.
A restored Georgian farmstead with yew trees that are 300 years old. The old farm buildings with the charming stone walls offer six self-catering cottages that accommodate up to twenty guests. This is perfect for those who have a small micro or intimate wedding with their closest friends and family.
This place is perfect if it’s just the two of you. Located just 40 minutes from Dunluce Castle and The Dark Hedges, this Bubble Den is the perfect place to curl up under the stars.
This log cabin is in a prime location for your element stay here in Northern Ireland. Located in Bushmills, right by so many epic locations, like the Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and lots of hidden gems the tourists don’t know about. With two bedrooms, it’s perfect for anyone elopeing with just two guests.
Or maybe you want to stay somewhere that’s really unique. You couldn’t get any more unique than this renovated Horsebox, again located in a prime spot on the North Coast of Northern Ireland. I want to live here! It’s so tiny and adorable. The horsebox is located in a green field and with just a small walk to the top of the hill, you can see the unreal views of Mussenden temple and Inishowen on a clear day! There is even a small balcony with a table and chairs provided and it is positioned perfectly to watch the sunset while sipping your favorite drink and enjoying your first night as a married couple.
One of my favorite houses in Northern Ireland. This Georgian home is perfect for those eloping with a few friends and family. The rooms are stunning, its Historic Georgian Manor House is set in the idyllic countryside surrounded by fields, acres of woodland. It is right next to the iconic locations that are perfect for your elopement photos, like the Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Dark Hedges the list goes on. It is ideal for small wedding groups to stay and celebrate afterward with dinner in the large dining room.
Ireland Elopement Planning Checklist
Choose a place that means something to you. It could be somewhere you have been really wanting to visit for years, somewhere you both visited when you first started dating.
Think about the weather
You will be outside for most of the day, so think about your favorite season and plan ahead. Are you happy to get rained on as that is a possibility ( makes for amazing photos ) Rain can be romantic, especially if you don’t let it bother you and just embrace it. Think of the Notebook :-) Also, think about the temperature, would you rather it was hot, cold, all of this will help later on when choosing a specific location in for elopement.
The Guest List
Think about if you want a few of your closest friends and family along with you. Take into consideration where you will be saying your vows and if it’s accessible to everyone. Try including your family and friends in on your elopement. Maybe one of them can officiate for you. Another can do a reading.
Elopement Photographer When doing your research on photographers for your elopement, hire a photographer that specializes in elopements. They can offer planning tips, tricks, and ideas. Will help you fond the perfect location for your vows, they will know the right team of vendors to match you up with. Most elopement photographers will be able to help plan and guide your day for you, so all you need to worry about is showing up and having an awesome experience.
Consider a videographer This also allows your family and friends who were not at the wedding a chance to experience your elopement day with you. if you plan to have a reception party when you get back, this is a great time to share your video or highlights with your guests.
Other vendors As you are eloping you may not need too many other vendors on board, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the beautiful details from a traditional wedding. From a florist for your bouquet to an MUA and hairstylist.
Your Elopement outfits
This can be one of the exciting parts of planning your elopement. Outfit shopping!
The dress of dreams So, as elopements are away cheaper than a large traditional wedding, you have a perfect excuse to splurge out on thee perfect dress. My advice would be, make sure you can walk comfortably in it. Can you hike it up to your knees, twirl, lift it and let it fall, etc. Are you looking for a dress that will create that dramatic effect in the wind?
Shoes If you have chosen to elope on the beach, you may consider going barefoot or sandals. Or if your choice is the mountains, you will want to wear a pair of boots, preferably hiking boots, all depending on how long your hike is. If you do choose to hike, make sure to wear your boots ( if they are new) to break them in and make sure you are super comfortable in them. The last thing you will want is to get blisters or sore feet. Hiking boots will be perfect for hoping fences, jumping over muddy puddles, and of course, lots of walking.
Elopement Ceremony Planning
Writing your vows After eloping myself back in 2015, we were in the middle of Yosemite with no wifi. We wrote our vows that morning. It was actually pretty perfect because I am sure if I had access to wifi I would have spent too much time looking at what I am supposed to write. So turn off your phone and get writing. Do it the morning of if you can, the spur of the moment can bring up some funny past memories. Also, get yourself a special book to write this on and keep. This is my regret, we wrote it on a piece of paper, and I have no idea where mine is.
Hiring an officiant This is an important part of your elopement planning. If you are elopeing here in Ireland, you might choose to do the paperwork back home before or after you come here, which is perfectly fine. That way, you can have one of your guests, if you choose to have one, to officiate for you. Here is Northern Ireland, you can legally marry by having a humanist celebrant marry you. I have more info here in my Ireland Elopement Planning Guide Here I have mentioned some celebrants I have worked with in the past that are amazing at what they do.