How to elope in Ireland – the ultimate guide
WITH TIPS. VENUES & 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.
Let’s dive in…
Welcome to the Adventure of a Lifetime
Hey there, I’m Amber!
When you’re planning your elopement in Ireland, one of the most important things you’ll do is hire an elopement photographer! Your photographer will not only capture all the incredible moments during your elopement adventure but also be there to help you plan all the details to make your wedding day everything you hoped for.
Being an Ireland elopement photographer and experienced travel planner, I’ll work to help make your wedding day amazing! With personalized location recommendations, travel tips, custom timelines, and more, I’ll help you plan everything you need to have the elopement of your dreams – so you don’t need to stress the small things.
If you’re ready to elope in Ireland, or want to learn more about Ireland elopement packages, let’s chat!
First, let’s be sure we’re talking about the same thing:
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.
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 plan an Ireland elopement.
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.
How to Get to Ireland for Your Elopement
Getting to Ireland is an important part of planning your elopement – because you can’t elope without actually being there! Depending on where you’re coming from, you can choose from a few different ways to get to Ireland.
Get to Ireland by Plane
Traveling by plane is definitely one of the most popular ways to get to Ireland. There are a couple of international airports in Ireland and Northern Ireland – Dublin Airport in eastern Ireland is the most popular, but you can find some of the same flights to Shannon Airport in the west. If you’re flying into Northern Ireland, Belfast International Airport will be your best bet.
Get to Ireland by Ferry
If you’re traveling from Europe, another way to get to Ireland is by ferry! The relaxing ride on a ferry will give you a completely different perspective on the beauty of Ireland – plus, it’s just really fun. You’ll find services from all over Europe, so whether you’re coming from England, Whales, France, or Scotland, you’ll be able to catch a ferry across the Irish Sea.
Getting Around Ireland During Your Elopement
Deciding how you’ll get around Ireland will depend on what your elopement adventure looks like. If you’re planning on staying in one city, you likely won’t need a car to get around. Public transport is pretty great even in the smaller towns, and you might be able to meet some locals that way! If you plan on taking the local buses, consider getting a travel card for the bus – Leap and iLink are the two most popular ones. Be sure to check out some private bus tours to explore some of the major tourist destinations – these can be a good option if you don’t want to go too far off the beaten path.
The trains are a good way to get between the major cities in the country and most rides are less than 2.5 hours long. If you’re biking, you can usually take your bike on the train free of charge, but not during peak hours so check to make sure your bike won’t be turned down when you arrive.
If you’re looking for more flexibility, you can rent a car! This is definitely the most convenient option, and will allow you to travel to the more remote places. The roads in Ireland are really narrow in some spots, especially on the outskirts of small towns – I’m talking side mirrors just inches from cobblestone walls – so I’d definitely recommend getting full coverage car insurance to be safe.
Lodging for Your Elopement in Ireland
Whether you want to wake up like royalty in a medieval castle or would rather spend the night tucked in the trees, you’ll find the perfect lodging for your elopement in Ireland. From cozy campsites to large estates, there’s a range of options to choose from when planning your elopement.
Hotels in Ireland
Ireland is known for its rich history full of grand countryside estates and beautiful castles – many of which have been turned into luxurious castles with spas, well-groomed gardens, comfortable suites, and fine dining. Ashford Castle, just outside of Galway, was once home to the Guinness family. Now, this 800-year-old castle sits on 350-acres surrounded by ancient woodlands, beautiful gardens, and an emerald lake. At Hayfield Manor in Cork, enjoy Afternoon Tea in the garden, take a dip in the Jacuzzi, or cozy up with a book in the Library. Since 1861, Lough Eske Castle Hotel in Donegal has been a place for visitors to relax and refresh – pamper yourself at the organic spa, go fishing on Lough Eske, or step back into history on one of their daily tours.
Airbnbs in Ireland
You’ll find plenty of Airbnbs all around Ireland. In the woods or by the sea, there’s no shortage of beautiful homes to rent out throughout the country. The Ark Ranch Treehouse is a rainforest oasis built on an organic farm, home to friendly donkeys, horses, and dogs. In Donegal, Birdbox Treehouse is 5 meters off the ground, tucked between tall trees. Though it’s not close to town, you can access plenty of hiking and cycling trails right from the property. If you’d rather be by the sea, the Spectacular Sea Views on the Wild Atlantic Way in Lahinch has huge windows and a cool rotating fireplace, perfect for curling up and watching the waves in the Liscannor Bay.
Camping in Ireland
Camping is a great way to be immersed in the natural beauty of Ireland! Though there aren’t many wild camping spots, you’ll be able to find plenty of established campsites throughout Ireland. Camp on the Aran Islands in the North Atlantic or tucked in the trees at Fossa Camping Park!
If pitching a tent isn’t your thing, explore one of the glamping sites in Ireland! They have adorable hobbit homes, cozy cabins, and unique tiny homes to make your camping experience feel a bit more luxurious.
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 Ireland elopement. 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.
Top 6 spots for your Ireland elopement
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.
The best time for an Ireland elopement
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.
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.
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.
Unique Things to Do When You Elope in Ireland
Ireland has so many exciting things to do! Between the rich history of the island to the lush landscapes, there’s so much to do and see.
Here are just a few of the things you can do when you elope in Ireland!
Ireland has about 30,000 castles and ruins – that’s a whole lot! Many castles have been converted to lodging, but some have been restored to their original beauty. Attend Gaelic cultural night at the 15th-century style Donegal Castle, explore “Mermaid’s Cave” at Dunluce Castle, or visit the science center at Blackrock Castle.
Go Whale Watching
To see some of the ocean wildlife, go whale watching off the shores of Cork! Boat trips are a minimum of four hours on the water, so you’ll have ample time to spot a breaching whale. On your excursion, you may see different kinds of whales, dolphins, and even some seals!
Rent a Bike
Ireland is an extremely bike-friendly country – almost every town and village has a place to rent a bike! The diversity of landscapes you’ll encounter means anyone can go biking, no matter what their abilities are. Bike along the shore and through the mountains or along railroad tracks and through the towns – you can explore so much of Ireland on two wheels!
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.
What is the cost of an elopement in Ireland?
All-inclusive, 7-day ELOPEMENT and honeymoon
6 nights in accommodation (3* or more)
Elopement photographer for 3 days
All meals for the 7 days
4-5 beautiful, natural and raw ceremony location options
Custom timeline of the day
Hair and makeup
TOTAL FOR An all-inclusive ELOPEMENT IN IRELAND:
Elopement photographer for 12 hours
4-5 beautiful, natural and raw ceremony location options
Custom timeline of the day
TOTAL FOR A 12-hour ELOPEMENT IN IRELAND:
Latest elopements in Ireland
Discover here the latest elopements in Ireland I had the chance of planning and photographing.
Ireland elopement – 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 accommodation
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.
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.
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.
DOES IRELAND SOUND LIKE YOUR DREAM?
How to plan your peaceful elopement in IRELAND with me
Let’s dive in, so you can start your journey right away!
Imagine a wedding where you can be you. Breathe. Bask in each other’s love.
Experience a place close to your hearts, or a bucket-list dream.
Are you eager to start planning your Ireland elopement? I’m here to help you envision, plan and immortalize this beautiful adventure! Contact me now for a free consultation!