About this elopement guide
How will it help me plan my elopement?
There are many great guides on how to plan your elopement or small wedding in general, so in this article – whilst still covering the entire process – we will focus on what is specific for elopements in Ireland.
We are particularly proud to offer you first-hand information based on all that we have learned over the years from planning elopements for our amazing couples. Peach Perfect founder and dedicated wedding planner Yana takes care of all of them and can share all her tips on planning a successful elopement in Ireland with you.
It is worth noting that even though we offer elopement packages, it does not mean that we sell a generic service to fit all sizes. Just like each and every couple is different, no elopement is exactly like the other. This is why all of our packages are customisable and leave room for your own wishes and ideas. In this article, we will talk about the typical elements we encounter in each elopement.
Do I really need a guide to elope?
Why do I need a plan? Shouldn’t elopements be spontaneous and simple?
Yes, you do need a plan! Even if “elopement” and “planning” don’t sound like natural friends at first, being prepared will ensure that you are relaxed on the actual day of your wedding, knowing that everything is taken care of.
But no need to worry, planning an elopement is still definitely easier than planning a “normal” Wedding for dozens, if not hundreds of guests. At Peach Perfect Weddings, we also organise destination weddings for parties of up to 200 people. A wedding like this takes approximately 250 hours to plan for a first-time bride. That’s over 6 months if you were doing it as a full-time, 40-hours a week job! Avoiding all that stress and time is actually one of the main reasons so many couples now choose to elope. For an intimate wedding in Germany, Italy, France or other destination spots with just for the two of you, or maybe with a few of your nearest and dearest, the amount of time and stress is (luckily!) significantly lower than that. With a professional wedding planner, the planning will be very relaxed for you. You share how you envisage your Wedding day and your planner will make your vision become reality. Simple as that! For those couples who prefer a hands-on approach, you can absolutely plan your elopement on your own. Just be prepared to put in some more time and effort.
When is the best time to elope to Ireland?
What is the “safest” time of year in terms of weather?
Generally speaking, there is no better or worse time to elope to Ireland. Each season has its pros and cons so this will depend on your personal preferences and requirements. For example, if you absolutely want an outdoor wedding and want to minimise the risk of rain as much as possible, it’s best to consider eloping during the least wet months of the year which are between April and July. Contrary to popular belief, whilst summer in Ireland tends to enjoy higher temperatures the average rainfall is actually higher. The wettest months of the year are August, October and December!
The other side of the coin is tourist activity. If you wish to elope in a popular place like the Cliffs of Moher then it’s best to avoid the peak tourist season which usually runs from May to September. If privacy during your ceremony is important to you and you don’t want to fight your way to the pub afterwards, then it’s also best to avoid eloping during the weeks around St. Patrick’s Day!
But what if it rains during my wedding?
Can we still have an outdoor ceremony if the weather is bad?
Rain in Ireland is an unavoidable and totally unpredictable thing. But once you embrace it, it can be a lot of fun! Think colourful wellies under your wedding dress and romantic umbrella photos! In most cases you can postpone the ceremony for half an hour or so and hope that the sky clears up. We usually advise all our couples to book a nice hotel which can serve as an alternative ceremony location if the weather is particularly bad. Our tip: Don’t try to predict the weather because it can change in a moment. So come prepared for the worst (torrential rain) and hope for the best (glorious sunshine). We always advice your brides to wear practical shoes, their hair tightly up against the wind and always have a pretty cover up in case the weather plays tricks on you!
Type of wedding ceremony
What are the different ceremony types? Which one is right for me?
The type of ceremony you choose will have an influence on your ceremony location. In Ireland, you have the choice between a Civil, Religious, Symbolic, Humanist, Spiritual, Secular wedding (more info on the different types here). If you are opting for a legally-binding marriage, that will be recognized back home, your ceremony location must fulfil two requirements:
- It must have a postal address or identifiable landmark (i.e. it cannot simply be on a random beach or in an open field!)
- It must also be accessible to the public (i.e. not on someone’s private property) So whilst a castle ruin in a field is OK as long as it has a name or address, an empty beach wouldn’t be suitable because you can’t pinpoint the location precisely. To overcome the hurdles and restrictions that entail a legally-binding elopement in Ireland, many of our couples choose to have a Symbolic blessing ceremony where they exchange vows and rings but sign the dotted line at home where the process may be simpler.
What are the most beautiful ceremony locations in Ireland?
When eloping with just the two of you or with a handful of guests, your venue options are much wider and often free to use! With a big wedding, you would need to hire out a space to host the 100-or-so guests you’ve invited, but an elopement can usually take place in a remote outdoor location for free. Specifically, in Ireland, these ‘venues’ can be anything from an abandoned castle or church ruins to cosy little cottages, beautiful fields, forests and breathtaking cliffs or beaches. When choosing an outdoor location, keep in mind to have a plan B ready in case the Irish weather strikes. Be sure to check out our article about 9 places for elopements and small weddings in Ireland for more inspiration!
Number of people in your elopement
How many guests can I invite for my elopement?
Although traditionally an elopement is just for two people, our couples often bring their nearest and dearest friends and family to witness the moment. Having a couple of guests is also useful if you are having a legal ceremony, as you are required to have two people over the age of 18 to witness the marriage taking place. Typically we consider anything up to 20 guests to be an elopement as this is the number you can still comfortably bring to a pub or reserve dinner for in a local restaurant. Groups of more than 20 people require more organisation and typically need special wedding venues reserved in advance that have the appropriate capacity.
An elopement for two also has its own perks! Couples decide to elope with just the two of them out of various reasons, but mostly because they realised that all they really need for their perfect day, is to be together. If you are planning your wedding to be legally binding, we can provide Witnesses as part of your elopement package. For the couples planning their elopement on their own, why not ask your photographer and videographer or musician to be your witnesses? After all, they will be present at your ceremony anyway!
Wedding flowers & music
I want to have flowers and music for my wedding day. How does that work?
With an elopement in Ireland, there’s no need to budget for elaborate centrepieces or ceremonial arches (except you want to!). The beauty of nature is your wedding decor! Of course, to make your special day as festive as possible some flowers are still advisable. With our Peach Perfect elopement packages, we always include a bouquet for the Bride and matching buttonhole for the Groom, made according to your preferences and matched as closely as possible to the reference picture you send us. So, what about music? Take it or leave it! – Whilst a traditional wedding most definitely requires at least some music to keep the guests entertained, with an elopement you can forego this expense in favour of partying at the local pub. Most pubs in Ireland host live music nights at least once a week, but usually almost every night during the summer and holiday seasons. We believe that music is very important to set the mood for your ceremony, so in our elopement packages we always include a live music element.
Getting from the airport to your destination and arriving in style at your ceremony.
Unless you plan to stay in the Dublin area during the whole of your stay in Ireland, you really can’t get away with not renting a car. Public transport in Ireland is very poor in general. There are only three train lines from Dublin to Belfast, Tralee and Cork. There is a national bus network but when travelling long distances you will usually need to make several changes and the entire journey can take twice or three times longer than if you were driving a car. We can arrange for an airport transfer for you and your guests, should you want to. When it comes to getting your ceremony location, it gets more interesting. Arrive in style with a vintage Bentley or let a classic horse carriage drive you to your ceremony spot – whatever best fits your style!
Flights to your wedding venue
At Peach Perfect Weddings we travel a lot… As your wedding date will most likely be influenced by flight prices and availability, here are our best tips for booking your travel to Ireland!
What are best airports to go to for different regions?
There are two international airports in Ireland that have flights to and from the USA: Dublin and Shannon. Flights to Dublin are more regular and from a bigger selection of US airports, however, if you are getting married in the West of Ireland then be prepared for an additional 3-4 hour car journey after you land. For couples who only spend a short time in Ireland to get married on the Cliffs of Moher or in another location in the West of Ireland we advice flying directly into Shannon Airport.
When are the cheapest flights?
Flight prices to Ireland usually correlate with peak tourist season of May to September. We recommend to do some research and set flight price alarms on Skyscanner.com. We personally use Skyscanner to plan all of our trips because it allows you to search flights by months instead of specific date. The search result will show up a bar graph of the lower flight prices for each day and you can see at a glace which travel dates are the most budget-friendly!
But don’t rely solely on flight comparison websites or even your travel agent… Sometimes the cheapest way to travel is via an additional city! And we’re not just talking about short stopovers to change flights. If coming from afar, take a 1-2 day city break somewhere where you can fly to for very cheap and then take another flight a day or two later to your end stop. For example, sometimes flying to London UK can be much cheaper than flying to Ireland directly. Whilst flights from London to anywhere in Ireland can cost less than the price a taxi ride to the airport if you book far enough in advance!
As a real-life example for the purpose of this article, we did a comparison of a one-way direct flight from New York to Dublin on 4th August 2018. A direct flight from NY to Dublin would cost you €223 per person whilst a flight from NY to London is only €137 with an onward flight to Dublin on 6th August being only €28! Yes, you have to consider additional accommodation and airport transfer costs, but if your time frame allows you to see an additional city on your journey and save money on your overall cost of travel to Ireland, then why not?
How much will it cost me?
Before you add a single guest to the table, the fixed costs of a wedding in average are about €10,000 for things like Officiant, Venue Hire, Photographer and Videographer, Flowers, Music for the ceremony and party, Invitations, Hair & Makeup for the bridal party, etc. This is not even counting the wedding attire yet! Of course, then you also have to feed and water the guests! The average spend per head is around €100. So if you have 100 guests to feed, you can see how the math works against your wallet here.
The cost for an elopement for the two of you or even with a few guests is much more wallet-friendly. Yes, you will still want the dress, the suit, someone to marry you, a great photographer to capture this day and what wedding could ever be complete without flowers? But the thing about elopements is, you decide how simple or elaborate you want yours to be. In our experience, the very essentials that an elopement needs are:
- An Officiant to marry you
- A Photographer to take your pictures
- Hair & Makeup team to pamper the Bride
- Flowers (Bridal Bouquet and Boutonniere for the groom)
- Lovely acoustic Music to set the mood while you exchange your vows.
At Peach Perfect Weddings a package like this plus ceremony location, help with legal paperwork and the convenience of having it all done for you comes at 4490€ – less than half of the fixed costs average of a traditional wedding!
Incorporate your own wedding style
Make your elopement about you!
Your wedding day is about you! Have it as simple as you want it. If all you need for a perfect ceremony is a celebrant and photographer – go for it! But of course, you don’t have to settle for only the basics when you elope. Want to have a reception with an amazing wedding cake? No problem!
Always dreamed about walking down a beautifully decorated aisle on your wedding day?Sure! I guess what we’re trying to say is, you don’t have to forego any of the things you would have for a traditional wedding just because you decided to elope. As you only have yourselves to please, the things you splurge or save on are entirely up to you. No bridesmaids’ dresses and groomsmen’s suits to worry about. No expense for having anyone else’s hair and makeup done other than your own. Nobody else’s taste to worry about when you choose what to order for your celebratory meal at the restaurant afterwards. So yes, eloping still requires some planning and a healthy budget, but it’s child play compared to organising a full-blown destination wedding. Most importantly, enjoy your day!
Choose with our team of experienced wedding planners in Europe the best solution for you and… just elope!