ELOPING IN IRELAND – THE ULTIMATE GUIDE WITH TIPS, VENUES AND LOCATION IDEAS
Wedding planning is one of the most stressful, expensive, and daunting things that you can do. Fortunately, you can avoid all the hassle that comes with planning for a wedding by eloping. Elopement is quickly becoming one of the most popular alternatives to the traditional wedding ceremony.
Elopement is now a popular option worldwide for couples who prefer to have their wedding day by themselves or with close family and friends at a faraway destination and plan a party for the rest of their family and friends once they get home.
Ireland is one of the leading destinations for eloping and it is not hard to see why. The country’s ancient castles, rugged coastlines, and green countryside make it ideal for elopement. The country is also very progressive in terms of marriage rights since it enables the union of same sex couples to be recognized under the law.
First, let’s be sure we’re talking about the same thing:
1) What is an elopement?
Today’s definition of an elopement has completely veered away from the traditional one. In the past, elopement used to mean running away to get married in secret. Slightly negative vibes were associated with it since the couple was thought of as doing something sneaky. It was seen as though the bride was being stolen away.
Today, the definition of an elopement is where two people get married in an intentionally small way and in a far away location in most cases. In some instances, it is just the couple, but sometimes it involves having a few close friends and family members. The key element of an elopement today is the fact that the couple is free to choose how they get married.
2) How to Get Legally Married in Ireland
Couples often chose to get legally married in their home country first before eloping in Ireland to have a symbolic ceremony. The ceremony is usually carried out by a celebrant, officiant, family friend, monk, or Celtic priest. If you want to get legally married in Ireland, it is a relatively straightforward process. The Irish marriage license is valid internationally.
The couple getting married can be either opposite sex or same sex. However, you must be physically present in Ireland for at least 3 months prior to the wedding and be ready to pay 200 Euros.
If you or your spouse are outside of Ireland, you will be required to seek approval for a mail-in registration. To be approved, you should get in touch with the office within the shortest time possible. Once you are approved, they will send you all the forms you need to get started.
If you choose to go this route, keep in mind that you will still be required to appear in person at the Registrar at least 5 days before you elope in Ireland. If you have special circumstances, you should get in touch with the office and ensure that you have enough time to prepare everything before your elopement.
If you don’t plan on getting legally married in Ireland, then you can simply get married in our home country and elope in Ireland afterwards for the “real”, initmate vows exchange.
3) Why You Should Be Eloping in Ireland
Ireland is a beautiful country, which is perfect for a romantic getaway. Here are the top 3 reasons why you should elope in Ireland.
Ireland’s rich culture makes it highly admirable. The diversity in terms of food, fashion, people, and tradition make it the perfect elopement destination. If you would like to have a taste of some of the most delicious food in the world, you need to elope in Ireland.
If you want to have the best guest experience, Ireland is the perfect destination. It is known for its hospitality. The Irish are known for their generosity. Whether you are a gay or straight couple you can be sure to be treated equally and have the best time of your life.
Ireland is blessed with endless beauty. It is an irresistible land offering an impressive and diverse scenery that includes natural wonders, mountains, and historical features that will leave you with a memorable experience. Eloping to Ireland to get married is the best decision that you will ever make.
4) The Best Locations for Eloping in Ireland
If you would like to elope in Ireland, you should consider the following jaw-dropping locations:
Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park is the ideal location for eloping to get married in Ireland. Spanning an area of over 25,000 acres of land, it offers an impressive selection of spots to elope in. It offers something for every kind of couple.
Muckoss Abbey is one of the most popular choices in Killarney National pack fir history enthusiasts. The Gap of Dunloe, which is an old mountain pass that has stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the lake is the ideal location for nature lovers. Ross Castle, on the other hand is ideal for couples looking to combine nature and history.
Situated in the south-west of Ireland in County Kerry, the Dingle Peninsula is one of Ireland’s most popular peninsulas. For discovery, there is nothing better than to travel the tens of kilometers of the Slea Head Road, one of the most beautiful roads in Ireland. Between the views of the ocean, the cliffs, the vegetation and the many points of interest, the Dingle Peninsula will be a feast for your eyes!
Dunluce Castle is located in Ireland’s north coast, right on the cliff-edge that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. It is a location with amazing views of the cliffs that spread out into the distance as well as the stunning backdrop of medieval castle ruins.
Once the sun starts setting over the Causeway Coast, this lovely location becomes even more breathtaking. If you want to be amazed even more, you should consider heading down to the mythical Mermaid’s Cave located beneath the castle, which can be a perfect elopement location.
This is not an easy one, but the Dark Hedges are truly beautiful. The Dark Hedges is free and open to visitors throughout the year. Threatening or benevolent, these trees have the particularity of changing under the light, creating an inimitable atmosphere! But plan in advance and avoid summer and holidays to have a peaceful, uninterrupted ceremony!
Dunseverick Castle is yet another amazing destination for your elopement in Ireland. It is quite a special location with noticeable peacefulness and tranquility. It is a great place to exchange vows and has ancient castle ruins, massive looming cliffs, and lush green fields.
Dunseverick Castle is ideal for an elopement ceremony since you will be surrounded by cliffs that shelter you from the wind. It is a great elopement destination since it is not only easily accessible but also ideal if you plan to bring a handful of guests to your wedding celebration.
The Mourne Mountains are a magnificent granite mountain range with rounded peaks covering the southern horizon of County Down, between the town of Newry and the seaside resort of Newcastle. The Mournes formed about 50 million years ago when the erosion of the sedimentary layer discovered a granite layer unique to Northern Ireland. Poor soil only favors the growth of poor vegetation, mainly heathland, meadows and heather. The region remained isolated for centuries, living only on fishing and agriculture, as well as granite quarries which was shipped from the ports of Newcastle, Annalong and Kilkeel to pave the streets of major English cities.
5) The most beautiful elopement venues in Ireland
If you want something accessible – at least to exchange your vows!
6) The Best Time to be Eloping in Ireland
If you are planning to elope in Ireland, the time of sunset is one of the most important things to consider. Harsh midday sun is the worst kind of lighting to work with while cloudy conditions and evening sun tend to be more flattering and make everything look much better. That being said, the landscape still looks amazing no matter the season.
Spring (March to May) and Fall (September to November)
Spring and Fall are the two seasons that offers some of the best lighting conditions since the sunset is earlier, which makes it easier to plan with timing. In Spring, the Irish landscape usually has lovely pastel colors while in the Fall, it has brown and orange tones that give a completely different feel depending on your preferences. The two seasons are also not as busy with tourists as Summer is.
Summer (June to August)
Summer is perhaps the most popular season with tourists. The high temperatures mean hard light and many places full of tourists, which is why you should always allocate yourself additional time to get to some location. It also usually tends to rain a lot more in Summer in Ireland. Summer is generally not the best time to elope in Ireland.
Winter (December to February)
If you are fortunate enough you can get nice and snowy days in Winter, which can be great for your photos. Otherwise, it tends to be quite wet and cold. The days are generally shorter, which means that you have just about 5 hours of good lighting conditions to work around pictures. If you bring your rain coats and wellies boots everything will be okay.
7) What is the cost of an elopement in Ireland?
Travel to and from Ireland: $2 500
Travel visas (if needed): $150
5 nights in a high-end accomodation // $2 500
Elopement photographer // $6 000
Private chef or full board // $1 000
Officiant // $1 000
Florist // $500
Rentals // $500
Wedding dress and accessories // $4 000
Suit and accessories // $1 000
Total for a high-end elopement in Ireland: $19 150
Travel to and from Ireland: $2 500
Travel visas (if needed): $150
5 nights in an airbnb // $1 000
Elopement photographer // $4 000
Food // $250
Officiant // $500
Florist // $200
Wedding dress and accessories // $2 500
Suit and accessories // $500
Total for a budget elopement in Ireland: $11 600
8) What Should You Wear If You Plan to Elope in Ireland?
The location where you plan to elope in Ireland and the season are the two factors that will determine what you should wear on your elopement in Ireland.
The wedding dress is one of the most important features of the elopement. You can pack it away in a backpack and change when you get to the ceremony spot. Here are some of the key considerations for choosing a wedding dress for a elopement in Ireland:
- It should be a lightweight gown style dress
- It should be lace preferably since it doesn’t crease as much as polyester, chiffon, or silk
- It should not be big and poufy since it will be heavy and awkward
- It should ideally not have a long train. Shorter is always better
The weather in Ireland can be very unpredictable, which is why you must never forget to pack the right shoes. The shoes you choose should be comfortable. If you will be hiking for a portion of the elopement, you need good solid shoes with good tread. You can always hike up the train in your hiking boots or wellies if it is raining and switch into some fancy shoes once you reach your destination. When it comes to your overall outfit, weather tracking will help you decide what type of shoes to wear for the day.
It is always easier to choose what the groom should wear on an elopement in Ireland. A wool or tweed suit or just a nice waistcoat/vest tend are generally easier to travel around with. The important thing is to ideally wear comfortable, fitting clothes with little to no embellishments and you will have an easier time.
If you are planning for a winter elopement in Ireland, you need to pack the right outerwear. It can help you keep up with the Irish theme. Hand warmers, leggings, a shawl/blanket, a woolen scarf, an Aran cardigan, or a wool blanket can keep you warm and looking great in photos.
9) Eloping in Ireland – your checklist
Think about where you’d like to go
Ireland is a beautiful country with many beautiful locations. You obviously cannot elope in all these locations, which means that you have to choose one where you will hold the ceremony. When choosing the location, you should consider your budget, accessibility, and whether or not you plan to have other people in attendance.
Pick a date
You should have a date in mind for your elopement since that will determine the kind of experience you have. The season you choose for your elopement will determine whether the locations will be ideal for photos or not and whether there will be many tourists or not. It is generally advisable to pick a date preferably in Spring or Fall.
Find more informations about travel visas and wedding documentation
You should get in touch with the HSE for more information about the travel visas needed to get into Ireland from your home country as well as the documents needed for you to be legally married in Ireland as previously explained.
Book your accomodation
You will also need to book your accommodation, which will depend on where you plan to elope in the country. You should obviously book accommodation that’s close to where you plan to exchange your vows even if it might cost you more.
Book your photographer
You are probably eloping to Ireland not only to have an intimate ceremony with your lover, but also for the amazing sights. It is therefore imperative that you hire the best photographer to help you capture both of these elements.
Find a place to exchange your vows
The location you choose to exchange your vows will have to be first approved by the HSE. It will also depend on the type of ceremony that you plan to have. For instance, if you plan to have a Catholic wedding, you will obviously have to exchange your vows in a church. Similarly, if you want a garden wedding, you will have to hold it outdoors.
Book your other vendors
You should also book other vendors such as caterers, florists, and music providers. Ireland is a naturally beautiful country, which means that you don’t have to splurge on elaborate centerpieces or ceremonial arches. The caterers you choose will depend on the type of food you would like served and the number of people in attendance.
Plan your travel
You really cannot get away without renting a car unless you plan to stay in the Dublin area during the entirety of your stay in Ireland. Ireland generally has very poor public transport. Only 3 train lines connect Dublin to Belfast, Cork, and Tralee. While there’s a national bus network, you will have to make several changes when you travel long distances and the whole journey can take 2 or 3 times longer than if you were driving a car.
Live your dream elopement
It’s the big day, enjoy it fully!
10) Galleries of elopements in Ireland
- Marine & Etienne – An overnight post-wedding session near Lyon
- Kristina & Tyler – A chateau Challain elopement followed by a 10-days honeymoon in France and Italy
- Imogen & Paul – An overnight mountain elopement near Switzerland
- Elodie & Dean – A post-wedding session in Scotland
- Laura & Ben – A forest elopement in the Highlands
- Misha & Chris – A 5-days elopement in the Japanese forests
How to plan your peaceful elopement in Ireland with me
Schedule a non-sales call
Everyone truly hates sales calls (me included) so I refuse to do them. We simply chat about what your dream day and travel plans look like to see if we’re a match!
Book your date
We find the perfect date together and you’re officially booked!
I’ll plan your dream elopement
From itinerary planning to vendor suggestions all the way to helping you with permits, I plan everything.
Live your adventure
You live a peaceful, meaningful wedding day on an itinerary that’s custom created just for you.
Relive this day forever
I deliver your pictures and your choice of album from my collection, to remember this adventure, and share it for years to come.
Let’s plan your peaceful elopement
Where you can be you. Feel. Breathe in each other’s love.
Experience a place close to your hearts, or a bucket list dream.
Need more inspiration for your elopement?
Check out this brand new article about the best places to elope IN THE WORLD