Ireland vs. Switzerland: choosing destination for an adventure wedding

Outdoor weddings are sought-after by free-spirited couples who just want a big adventure for their big day. Dainty and fashionable are not their thing but everything nature-related, greens, mountains, oceans, and hiking boots are definitely included in their wedding vocabulary. If you’re one of these couples, you’re in for a treat in this blog post.

What’s with Ireland and Switzerland?

Switzerland and Ireland are wonderful options for an adventure wedding and we guarantee that every cent and effort that you will spend traveling to either country will be worth it!

700-ft cliffs with waves splashing wildly underneath, dense forests at the highest peak of Europe, and picturesque villages sitting amidst lush green landscapes are just some of the great outdoor features of Ireland and Switzerland. These lovely nature spots are waiting for adventurous couples who will dare travel to Europe for an epic wedding!

Choosing between these two countries will be the first step of your great adventure. Read on and we’ll help you make the right decision. Let's start by comparing the outdoor wedding venues in Switzerland and Ireland!

Elopements in the great outdoors: Swiss Alps vs. Irish cliffs

The Swiss Alps and the Irish cliffs have a unique beauty of their own and both offer an experience of a lifetime to all adventurous couples. But let's look at the main differences between these two.

Swiss Alps

Switzerland is best known for tall mountain peaks and Alpine valleys that define its unique beauty. Outdoor wedding ceremonies are best celebrated in magical elopement spots with views of these Alpine scenes. In Switzerland, your wildest wedding dreams will come true when you get married on a mountain plateau or in the middle of a green valley.

We recommend a specific spot called the Jungfraujoch or more popularly known as "The Top of Europe," reserved only for the bravest couples who do not mind the heights and the icy mountain air. After saying your “I do’s,” ride a cable car near the Alps to witness the iconic tooth-shaped Matterhorn peak! How’s that for an adventure wedding in Switzerland?

If you can’t decide whether to have an elopement between the mountains or next to water, the Swiss Alps can offer you both: between the Swiss mountains there are many beautiful hidden lakes where you can exchange your vows more privately, having the water element next to the stunning panoramic mountain views. Plus it might not be as windy as at the ocean coastline.

Irish cliffs

If you don’t know it yet, the Irish cliffs are some of the top reasons why couples from around the world are flying to Ireland for a destination wedding. In our experience as wedding planners in Europe, more than 50% of couples asking for our assistance are dreaming of the same scene for their wedding - the rugged cliffs at the coast of Ireland!

Obviously, couples who are hungry for a unique adventure find the dramatic cliffs of Ireland with the waves of the Atlantic ocean splashing underneath as a perfect scene for their big day. The cliffs are some of the best points along the Wild Atlantic Way, which is a 2,500-km driving route that passes through nine Irish counties. With the help of our wedding planner in Ireland, you will surely find a perfect spot along the Wild Atlantic Way for an epic clifftop wedding.

Our tip

The Alpine sceneries in Switzerland are majestic, but they are relatively harder to reach than the Irish cliffs. Some elopement spots near the Swiss Alps can only be reached via trains and cable cars, and you’ll have to make prior arrangements, but the breathtaking scenery along the way makes up for all the challenges. Irish cliffs, on the other hand, can be reached via train, car, bus, or even a bicycle. The challenge would be people watching as you recite your vows because some Irish cliffs are tourist spots too.

Waterside weddings: Swiss lakeside venues vs. Irish beaches and lighthouses

Swiss lakes and Irish cliffs are both desirable places for adventure weddings but here are some specific things to know about the two.

Swiss lakeside venues

Whether your wedding date is in summer or winter, lakeside elopement venues in Switzerland will offer an amazing backdrop for your wedding ceremony. Why? Because Swiss lakes are simply stunning all days of the year!

Lake Geneva, the largest lake in the country, is surrounded by mountain peaks that turn icy and more dramatic in winter while overwhelmed with forest greens in summer. The irregularly-shaped Lake Lucerne offers picturesque views of four Swiss cantons with their mountain peaks and traditional villages. Lake Constance, on the other hand, is shared by three European countries, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, so you can just imagine how glorious the views are from the shores of this lake. From any point of Lake Constance, you’ll see villages, forests, vineyards, hills, and medieval settlements from three different countries!

These are just three of the 1,500+ lakes in Switzerland, and they are all available as the pretty backdrop for your adventure wedding. Along the shores of these lakes are lovely villas, gardens, and outdoor spots where you can recite your vows. However, with the overwhelming number of Swiss lakes that you can choose from, you will need the help of our wedding planner in Switzerland to pick the right spot for you.

Irish beaches and lighthouses

If lakeside venues are great options for a Swiss elopement, Irish beaches and lighthouses are stunning choices for a breathtaking sunset wedding in Europe.

The best thing about Irish beaches is that they are not touristy so you can have privacy on your wedding day. Ireland is home to a total of 80 Blue Flag beaches, most of which are located in Kerry and Donegal. Blue-flag beaches are those certified with excellent bathing water quality and healthy coral reefs. Irish beaches gained this certification mainly because the beaches are not crowded and are well-maintained. For these reasons, they are ideal spots for intimate weddings. Add the lighthouses to the scene and you’ll have a wonderful beach wedding in Europe!

Our tip

Swiss lakes are definitely breathtaking but they are frequently visited by locals and tourists. In order to keep your ceremony private, you might need to rent a villa or a castle along the lake. You can also ask help from our wedding planner in Switzerland who knows off-the-beaten-path spots along the lake for a private ceremony. As for Irish beaches, there are plenty of them that are free for public use so you can simply stop by the beach and hold the ceremony while enjoying the crisp ocean sound and glorious views in the background.

Historic wedding venues: Historic Swiss spots vs. Irish ruins and monuments

Are you history-lovers dreaming of a wedding in a historic European spot? Here are a few things you need to know about getting married in historic places in Switzerland and Ireland.

Historic Swiss spots

What’s unique about Switzerland is that it’s a mix of many cultures, traditions, and local customs. Every part of the country is free to celebrate their own culture that is very much alive even up to this day. That’s one thing that adventurous couples will enjoy witnessing if they choose to marry in Switzerland. Geneva gives tourists a taste of Swiss history with its numerous heritage sites, spanning from religious buildings, theaters, and archeological sites. For a more laid back and close-to-nature experience, you can get married in Lucerne which is home to quiet medieval villages, and beautiful lakeside hotels and villas. All these Swiss regions are dotted with elopement venues that will give you a glimpse of Swiss history and culture.

Irish ruins and monuments

From ancient castles, century-old beech trees lining up in an eerie alley, to church ruins reclaimed by nature, you will find many historic spots in Northern Ireland for an extraordinary elopement. In Ireland (Republic of Ireland), the most stunning historic places to get married are derelict churches, abandoned castles, and old monasteries. If you’re history fanatics, you might love the idea of having a handfasting ceremony for your wedding inside these historic Irish spots. It will be a day that you will never forget.

Our tip

Both Ireland and Switzerland have traditional villages where you can walk around to enjoy a historic vibe. They’re also dotted with museums where you can learn a lot about their past. Switzerland has more heritage sites compared to Ireland, but the latter boasts of many ruins and abandoned buildings that are popular spots for intimate weddings. If you’re more interested in visiting world-acclaimed historic sites, Switzerland is a better choice. But if your goal is to literally have a ceremony inside a historic venue, Ireland might be a better option.

A fairytale wedding in Europe: Swiss castles vs. Irish castles

Whether it's an Irish castle or a Swiss castle that you will choose for your wedding in Europe, they both guarantee a fairytale experience. Here are the reasons why.

Swiss castles

Many castles in Switzerland are sitting along the beautiful shores of the Swiss lakes, offering great lake views for stunning wedding photos. You can enjoy a tranquil setting amidst a vineyard or wide fields when you choose a Swiss castle as your wedding venue because most of them are located outside of the main cities.

For a more urban setting, you can also find castle hotels in Swiss cities where you can enjoy gourmet food, relaxing spa treatments, and first-rate hotel service on your wedding day. Expect nothing less than elegant interiors with a twist of history when you decide to get married inside a Swiss castle.

Irish castles

While castle ruins are scattered across Ireland, there are so many fully functioning Irish castles too. In fact, operational castles outnumber all other types of Irish wedding venues in our list. These royal residences are mostly characterized by medieval features because they were built as far back as the 16th-century. But because the Irish government is dedicated to preserving these historic places, Ireland still has so many castles that retained their beauty and luxury throughout the years.

Some of them sit along the beautiful lakes, some have an imposing Gothic facade, while some are huge castle estates with wide courtyards, reception rooms, and activity areas.

Our tip

Both Ireland and Switzerland are serious about preserving their historic castles. While you have more options for castle venues in Ireland, castles in Switzerland may be fewer but they offer more scenic views for your wedding.

Perfect rustic wedding venue: Swiss mountain lodges vs. Irish cottages

The laidback country feel of rustic weddings may be something that you envision for your adventure wedding in Europe. Here are the options presented by Switzerland and Ireland.

Swiss mountain lodges

Mountain lodges and exclusive mountain resorts are top venue choices for a rustic wedding in Switzerland. They have reception halls and private terraces for ceremonies that lend a view to the Alps. Swiss village hotels, especially those in Gstaad provide a romantic Alpine setting with their stunning open spaces flooded with natural light, and cozy wooden interiors with five-star accommodations. These rustic wedding venues are located in the serene Swiss countryside and hillside regions.

Irish cottages

Experience the laid back Irish culture when you get married in cottages, lodges, and country houses that host intimate weddings. These rustic Irish venues are found among wide fields and magical scenery that will make you feel like a character in the Lord of the Rings. There’s a unique barn venue near Belfast that offers a wonderful ceremony spot in its 18th-century church with stone walls, vaulted ceiling, and originally exposed beams. For many of our couples, they fell in love with a charming thatched roof cottage in the middle of a nature reserve in Cork and chose it for their rustic destination elopement in Ireland.

Our tip

Rustic venues in Switzerland are located in high altitudes like hills and mountains so you can expect stunning Alpine views for your wedding ceremony. They also offer many outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and boating. Irish barns and cottages, on the other hand, offer ceremony spots next to forests and quaint old villages. They’re also surrounded with traditional Irish pubs and affordable accommodation options where you can experience the very simple lifestyle of the Irish locals.

In terms of location: The heart of Europe vs. the UK neighbor

Location-wise, Switzerland and Ireland are very different. One gives you easy access to other European destinations while the other is isolated but offers more than enough points for a complete adventure itinerary.

The heart of Europe

Switzerland’s location is very ideal since it’s landlocked by surrounding European countries Austria, Italy, Germany, and France. That makes Switzerland a perfect starting point to discover the rest of Europe. After your wedding day here, you can truly have a European adventure and you only need to ride a train to reach your next destination. You can visit the amazing Amalfi Coast in Italy, taste excellent wines in the neighboring French city, and experience the annual Oktoberfest in Germany!

The UK neighbor

Ireland is separated by water from other European countries but that doesn’t mean that your trip to Europe will be any less exciting. In fact, your whole stay in Europe may not even be enough to visit all the breathtaking nature spots in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the iconic spots in the UK. Stonehenge, the Tower of London, York Minster and Historic Yorkshire, the Lake District National Park, and the Eden Project are only some of the UK sites to fill your itinerary, not to mention the 27 stunning Game of Thrones shooting locations in Northern Ireland! They’re more than enough for an unforgettable adventure in Europe!

Our tip

If you want to visit many countries during your honeymoon in Europe, Switzerland will definitely be a logical destination for an adventure wedding. But if you’re not planning to travel from one location to another, and you just want to hike the mountains, ride a bicycle around a friendly neighborhood, or enjoy breathtaking nature views while traveling on foot, Ireland is a wonderful place to have an adventure wedding and a great honeymoon after.

Final words

It may be a bit overwhelming to choose between Ireland and Switzerland since they both offer amazing nature spots for your adventure wedding. It all boils down to your personal preferences and wedding budget. Getting married in Switzerland can be more expensive than tying the knot in Ireland but as mentioned earlier, you’ll have easier access to other European countries if you choose a Swiss elopement. If you’re leaning towards marrying in one of these two countries and you want to have a rough estimate of the wedding cost, get a quote from us and schedule a call with our dedicated wedding planner for that destination.

My enquiry
Added 0 venues