Eloping in Ireland – why do it?

Elope to Ireland with Yvonne Cassidy Weddings

Eloping in Ireland

Have you decided to elope but aren’t quite sure where to go? Then let me ask you, do you dream of a mystical elopement ceremony atop a cliff or hillside, surrounded by nature?  Maybe an ancient castle is where you imagine saying your vows. Are you looking for history, great food and music, stunning natural beauty and a welcome that is second to none? If so then Ireland is the perfect place for your elopement or destination wedding.

Why elope in Ireland?

We have it all in Ireland (except maybe the weather!!).  But seriously, when it comes to amazing locations, you will be hard pushed to find anywhere better.  For such a small island, couples really are spoiled for choice. We have castles and cliffs, hills and hotels, sea-sides and city-scapes.  From our Ancient East to the Wild Atlantic Way, we have you covered. In recent years Ireland has seen a massive boost in boutique, exclusive hire wedding venues opening their doors.  Country estates and barns have been transformed into beautiful bespoke venues. Perfect for an elopement or destination wedding. 

Some of the most popular locations are the Cliffs of Moher or one of the many castles. but keep an open mind and think outside the box.  With so much choice, there really is something for everyone in Ireland. 

The legal bit.

The easiest option for any couple eloping in Ireland is to complete the legal side in their own country.  The process in Ireland requires couples who are foreign nationals to provide additional paperwork. You also need to be in the country at least 5 days in advance of the wedding to attend an interview with the Health Service Executive (HSE).  This does not suit many couples who want to keep those extra days for after the wedding ceremony.  

My advice is to do the legal papers at home and then hire a celebrant in Ireland to perform an elopement ceremony.  This is the same as a wedding ceremony, can have all the same elements, and is symbolic rather than legal. Also note that to have a legal ceremony in Ireland there are restrictions on the choice of locations. So some beaches, hillsides, manor houses etc would not qualify as registered locations. This is another reason to complete your legal papers in your own country.  

But I want to have a church wedding!!

You can still have a ‘church’ wedding in Ireland without it being a legal ceremony.  There are many hotel venues that have a chapel on-site.  Some de-consecrated chapels are also open to couples who wish to have a church wedding without the dogma.  A lot of these changes have come about because of the Equality Referendum in 2015, as many same-sex couples want a church wedding and should be able to have one!  These de-consecrated chapels are ideal for small destination weddings and elopements.  

Booking an Independent Ethical Celebrant

An Independent Ethical Celebrant is the perfect choice for any couple planning on eloping in Ireland. As a wedding Celebrant, I will initially ‘meet’ my overseas couples through Zoom for an informal chat where we all get a ‘feel’ for each other. Trying to plan a wedding is tough sometimes, trying to do it from abroad is even more of a headache and it is important that couples feel confident in their choice of wedding professionals.  I often advise my clients on suitable locations and other vendors to use, making the process of planning their Irish elopement ceremony even easier.  

The Elopement Ceremony

Often the ceremony is the last thing couples think about. They often get stumped on what they can include, what they feel they have to include (you should not feel you ‘have’ to include anything you do not want to!), choices of music etc.  We chat about all the elements and together start creating a fun ceremony that they will remember forever! 

Couples often want to include some ancient Irish element to their elopement ceremony. The most popular ceremony enhancement is the hand-fasting, which is the oldest Celtic wedding tradition.  In ancient times marriages were symbolised by the binding of two hands together, and it is where the term tying the knot originated. Many modern couples include this in their elopement ceremony as a nod to the past.  

Elopement ceremonies can be as traditional or as wacky as the couple wants, there really are no rules. So be who you are, be true to yourself! So many couples decide to elope because they want to break from the norm.  They do not want the big traditional wedding, or maybe they are simply adventure seekers, wanting to get married on their terms.  Then Ireland is the perfect place to come!  The beauty and the fun of an elopement ceremony is that it is not like everyone else’s.  It is a fantastic chance to really create something special and memorable that you will always look back and smile on. 

Plenty of my clients throw big party when they get home to celebrate, but for them the intimate ceremony is the part they treasure forever.  Elopement ceremonies and destination weddings have been some of my all time favourite weddings. I love the romance, I love the sense of adventure, I love how genuine it is.  There is no fuss and frills, just two people madly in love! What could be more beautiful? 


About Yvonne Cassidy

Yvonne Cassidy is an Irish Wedding Celebrant, based in Dublin.  Yvonne works with couples from all over the world, helping them create beautiful, simple, fun weddings with bespoke ceremonies.


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