We’re blessed in Ireland with some of the stunning beauty all around us. From the rugged coastlines of the Wild Atlantic Way from Cork to Donegal to the Ancient East and Newgrange were surrounded by beauty & history, windswept vistas and cosy pubs.
It’s amazing to me that in the past year I’ve been fortunate to film many weddings for couples who have decided on this little green corner of the world to hold their destination wedding / elopement. From brides and grooms travelling from the USA, UK and all over Europe the idea of an Irish Elopement is becoming a really positive and beautiful experience and I’m thankful to have been able to capture these moments on film.
Here’s a few tips that I’ve picked up that may be of help!
Religious or Civil Ceremony?
Civil – You can chose to get married legally in the Civil Registrars Office from Monday – Friday. Also they have lists of pre-aproved locations like hotels that they will carry out the wedding. If you have your heart set on a Saturday wedding you could have a civil wedding during the week to have the legal paperwork done. Then you can hire a celebrant separately to do a blessing on the day and location of your choosing. Minimum of 3 months notice must be given.
Religious – You will need to contact a Church in the area you wish to get married in and typically any day is ok, if available, apart from Sundays and Holy Days. However the Priest/Minister may not wish to do the wedding if he doesn’t know you so if your heart is set on a Church Wedding then you will need to find a Church that’s open to you.
Who to bring?
At the least you will need two witnesses to sign the registry. These could be two willing people from a nearby pub! The smallest elopement wedding I have filmed have had a Bride, Groom, myself, a registrar, two witnesses! They can range in number from this and upwards! Often for an elopement or destination wedding the couple brings immediate family and closest friends. Just bear in mind that two will be needed to legally witness it! There’s no worries about a massive guest list typically (and the associated headaches!)
It’s all about you!
The beauty of deciding to elope that it’s about you! You can pop into a registry office on the wedding morning with your witnesses and legally get married then head off to a cliff top, forest, or beach for a beautiful ceremony surrounded by a few family & friends with a celebrant of your choosing. You can keep the day as light hearted and informal as possible. Make it special to you and if you want a sunset wedding on top of the beautiful Sliabh Liag Cliffs in Donegal with a few friends it’s your choice! Then off to a local seafood restaurant for some amazing food then into a local pub for some traditional music and a turf fire.
A Post Wedding Party?
You may feel guilty that not everyone got to take part, and some may be annoyed they didn’t get to go! So a post-elopement party at home could be a great idea. I’ve also seen couples have a pre-elopement party to allow everyone to feel more part of the wedding plans. You can still have speeches/toasts but with less of the pressure of organising a big event like a wedding. This is an ideal time to show the amazing film of your Irish wedding!
Hire some local vendors
While there is a lot to be said for bringing vendors you are familiar with – I’d still suggest having someone in the region of the wedding to help with organising. A local wedding planner, or photographer, videographer, can give great insights and be a person ‘on-the-ground’ for you. They can advise on locations and subtle details you may not have thought of. Maybe I’m biased but you should definitely have an amazing film made of your special elopement to show your extended family and friends – and also any family who come along in the future, of this amazing life-changing event.