An Ireland Destination WeddingWords by Katie Martin
Photos courtesy of Doreen Kilfeather
When London couple Jonas and Ciara were planning their wedding, it came easy for them to choose to have an Ireland destination wedding, as the bride and her family hail from the Emerald Isle. Jonas, from Sweden, was happy to get married in Dublin and it was even more special for them to get married in Ciara’s hometown. “All of Jonas’ family and our international friends were delighted to have an excuse to visit Dublin and Ireland,” says the bride. “Many people made a holiday out of it and traveled around the west of Ireland.”
For their wedding in Dublin, a lot of planning was required. “The amount of planning required when you have a wedding at home is incredible. I think I underestimated it,” Ciara says. “I travelled home once a month for six months prior to the wedding and when I was in Dublin, I was on a strict schedule.”
With Ciara flying from London to Dublin every month before the wedding, this meant that she had to make the most of her time while being home, which can be a bit more difficult when you don’t live where your wedding is taking place. “I am an organized person so I had a detailed to-do list,” Ciara says. “So once I had something completed like the flowers, I didn’t change my mind and I moved on to the next thing.” By having their wedding in Ciara’s hometown, it meant that everything was a do-it-yourself, which meant that having a to-do list was a must.
To add to the difficulties of planning a wedding, Ireland is known for its unpredictable weather, which made the day even more stressful for the couple. “The weather in Ireland is far from predictable,” says the bride. “I had to think of contingency plans for the high chance of rain, so I ended up having to plan for two very different weddings depending on the weather. Thankfully, we had the warmest weather that Ireland had seen in the entire year leading up to our wedding day and on the day itself.”
In order to stay on top of things and make sure their wedding ran smoothly, Ciara worked with wedding planner, Tara Fay, to figure out the vendors they needed for having a destination wedding. “Having an experienced wedding planner helped to close the gap on choosing vendors. I would explain what type of hair or flowers or makeup I would like and she would recommend two or three possible people to use, which saved so much time searching,” says the bride.
While the wedding took place at a church in the bride’s hometown of Dublin, the bride thought that the ceremony would be very different for Jonas compared to a beautiful Swedish wedding, so the couple chose to show Jonas’ Swedish traditions in their Ireland wedding. “We had some fun Swedish traditions included in the day that were low-key,” says the bride. “For example, during dinner when the bride leaves the marquis, everyone clinks glasses and runs up to kiss the groom.”
When it came down to the resources needed to plan a destination wedding in Ireland, Ciara mentioned the steps she took. “I had my wedding notebook, which had all my lists. I was methodical going through those lists. We created a website using Squarespace, which had so much information on it. We used WedPics, which is a picture-sharing app that all our friends downloaded and shared their pictures from the day on.”
The website that the couple created through Squarespace helped their wedding by making it more organized and also helped their guests out. “We had created a detailed website with lots of recommendations for hotels, tips for travel, recommendations for day trips and longer trips that we shared six months before the wedding,” says Ciara. “We also included a beautiful booklet with our wedding invites that was created by Fin Fellows, which had a lot of the details from the site.”
While the couple originally wasn’t sure what they wanted their wedding to be like, in the end, it was exactly what the couple envisioned, both beautiful and relaxed. Humorously, the couple focused on what they didn’t like at weddings, parties and events, and did the exact opposite for their destination wedding in Ireland. “At weddings, I am always starving during the reception so we ensured we had lots of canapés and we did an afternoon tea with sandwiches,” says the bride. Additionally, the couple offered espresso martinis to “energize everyone and get the dancing going.”
When asked what the couple would tell others preparing for their destination wedding, the bride shared a list of her main tips:
- The bride and groom set the tone for the day, so if you are relaxed then everyone else will be.
- Nobody knows that the food, music or flowers were meant to look different than how they appear on the day, so don’t worry if things aren’t as you had imagined.
- Make sure you have transportation and plenty of seating for the elderly guests during the day.
- Plan the bridesmaid dresses early, as you might want to get dresses from out of the country and that can take a while to get delivered.
- Be sure to check in with each other during the day. Everyone is going to be so happy for you and want to share in your big day, but it absolutely flies by and you want to make sure you enjoy it together.
- Drink plenty of water!
- Get a photo-sharing app. You get to experience the day through your guests’ eyes.
- At least for the day-of, hire a wedding planner, event coordinator or manager, because if there are any issues that come up, you can be totally relaxed for the day knowing you have someone who can help you.
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