Eloping to 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 destination.
Why elope to Ireland?
We have it all in Ireland (well except 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 are spoiled for choice. We have castles and cliffs, hills and hotels, seasides and city-scapes. From our Ancient East to the Wild Atlantic Way we have you covered. Since the Equality Referendum in 2015 the country has seen a massive boost in boutique, exclusive hire venues opening their doors. Country estates and barns have been transformed into beautiful bespoke venues.
Some of the most popular locations are the Cliffs of Moher or one of the many castles, but I invite couples to 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 to 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 and to be in the country at least 5 days in advance of the wedding to attend an interview with the Health Service Executive (HSE) which is the governing body over births, deaths and marriages in the country. 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 a marriage blessing. 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 types of locations so some beaches, hillsides, manor houses etc would not qualify as registered locations, so again 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, and many independent de-consecrated chapels are open to couples who wish to have a church wedding without the dogma or association to a particular faith. Again of lot of these changes have come about because of the Equality Referendum as many same-sex couples want a church wedding and should be able to have one!
Booking an Independent Ethical Celebrant
An Independent Ethical Celebrant is the perfect choice for any couple planning on eloping to Ireland. As a wedding Celebrant, I will initially ‘meet’ my overseas couples through Skype for an initial consultation 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 an elopement ceremony even easier.
Often the ceremony is the last thing couples think about and 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 these elements of the ceremony and together start creating a ceremony that is completely unique, lots of fun and one they will cherish.
Couples often want to include some ancient Irish element to their elopement ceremony and 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.
Ethical 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 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 Independent Ethical Wedding Celebrant and Wedding Florist, based in Dublin. Yvonne works with couples from all over the world, helping them create beautiful, simple, fun wedding with bespoke ceremonies and floral design. To find out more about any of these services please Get in Touch.