Your complete guide to the Best Irish Wedding Venues 2020
“What’s your top 5 wedding venues you’ve been to in Ireland”. Probably my most asked question from pals and family when they first get engaged. I can never pick just 5. Also, my favourite, might not be your favourite. I’ve created this guide to the Best Irish Wedding Venues to help you pick your venue.
First things first, download the One Fab Day 100 Best Wedding Venues guide here. It’s the biz and I found it so helpful when I was planning my wedding. Ireland truly is a wonderful place to get married but the number of Best Irish Wedding Venues on offer can be quite overwhelming. If you’ve always had your heart set on getting married in Ireland then you’re in the right place. At the end I’ve listed my favourite places that I’ve shot in for your dream Irish wedding.
Things to consider when trying to find the Best Irish Wedding Venues (for you).
If you keep one thing in mind whilst planning your wedding it’s this; It’s your day, do it your way. Make a list of what’s important and what’s not. If you want a big wedding, make sure your venue can take your numbers before you have your heart broken. Ditto for a small intimate wedding.
What kind of wedding do you want? (you really really want? )
It’s gonna make things a hell of a lot easier if you’re both on the same page when it comes to the kind of wedding you want. Discuss what you both expect before even starting to look at Irish wedding venues. You may have to compromise on things you thought were important but on closer inspection, aren’t really.
Big, Small or really intimate wedding?
Some people have always dreamed of a big wedding. All of your friends, family, neighbours, workmates, the whole lot, all around you for one big party. For others, this is their idea of a fresh hell. All the blogs and magazines will tell you the same thing I’m gonna tell you. Sit down, and make a list of everyone you think you’re going to invite to the wedding. You can always cull it at a later stage. This will give you a good idea of the number of people attending your wedding and will start to filter out some wedding venues who can’t take your numbers.
If you’re having a church wedding you’re going to have to consider a couple of things. Travel time from ceremony to the venue is very important. And I’m not talking the quickest time you can get there in your fast car. I’m talking real-time in that vintage car you just had to have. The general consensus is no more than an hour but if you ask me, no more than half an hour from ceremony to the venue is perfect.
Civil, Humanist, Friend Ceremony?
If you’re not having a church wedding, you’re gonna wanna see if your chosen venue can host ceremonies and has space for them. Most venues will have this but it’s always good to check. Bonus points for a killer indoor and outdoor ceremony space. Yes I know you’re planning an Irish wedding but we do get good weather, remember the summer of 2018?
Style of wedding
A very important thing to consider is what style of wedding do you want. For me, I always wanted a fancy house party kinda wedding and that’s what I had. You might want an elegant castle wedding, or a laid back boho outdoor wedding, or a hotel wedding. Everyone is different. So have a think about what kinda people you are and what style of wedding you want. No point visiting castles if you wanna get married barefoot in a forest.
Time to get in touch with the Best Irish Wedding Venues
You’ve created your guest list, you’ve figured out what kind of wedding you want and you’re ready to make contact… What the heck are you gonna ask them?
What dates are available.
Unless you’re booking the wedding years in advance this is where you might have to be a little flexible. If you’re looking for a bank holiday or around Christmas time, know that these dates book up far in advance. And they come at a premium. If you’re flexible with your date you may be able to negotiate a better deal (don’t tell any of them I said that).
Do they have a wedding coordinator
Most exclusive venues will have this. Some hotels will not and you will have to supply your own. I can’t express to you how important and invaluable this person will be to you. If they don’t have one in the venue there are plenty of brilliant ones in Ireland who offer on the day coordination services to take all the pain away and allow you to enjoy your dream Irish wedding.
Are their packages flexible
Any venue worth their salt will send you a package list on enquiry. Go through them and figure out what you want and don’t want and see if there’s wiggle room. For example, we didn’t want 5 courses but that’s what our venue offered. We whipped out two courses and sent out more canapes instead. You’re spending the same money just redistributing. A tip I got was, go for the highest package you can afford then negotiate closer to the time, it’s easier to budget to change things than try to upgrade your package.
Can all your guests stay on-site?
If they can, happy days, you may have to pay an exclusivity fee in order to book out the whole wedding venue. This varies from venue to venue but should be quoted on enquiry. If there isn’t enough accommodation, have they a list of recommended alternatives in the surrounding area.
What do I need to supply?
I’m not only talking about decor here. One venue we visited didn’t have a kitchen or a toilet so we would have had to supply all that. Most venues will have that (thankfully) but you’ll need to ask about the bar, corkage, cakeage, entertainment etc. Take into consideration that they will have done this many times before so trust their expertise and they’re generally not trying to swindle you out of your hard-earned money.
What time does the bar stay open until?
This was my husband Darran’s number one question when looking for a wedding venue. He didn’t want the party to end. You may need to pay extra for a bar extension in order to keep the party going so check with your venue sooner rather than later.
I give you my favourite Irish Wedding Venues that I’ve shot in
Waterford Castle Private Island Resort
A legendary Castle on an Island, with its own ferry! You can’t get on or off the island without using the ferry (or your own private helicopter). Exclusively yours on your Wedding Day! Weddings at Waterford Castle Hotel are offered on an exclusive use basis. This means the castle is only accessible to you and your guests, with 19 rooms and suites for your family and friends. Your very own Castle Wedding!
What I love: The fact that it’s on an island of its own means that you feel even more removed from your day-to-day. Also, the light in that bridal suite is unreal!
Average Price Per Head:
Borris House, Co. Carlow
Borris House is a private historic house dating back to the Kings of Leinster and when you choose to have your wedding at Borris House the house is exclusively yours for your wedding day. Every wedding I have done in Borris House has been different. It’s a venue you can really put your stamp on and make it your own.
What I love: The lace garden at Borris House is stunning all year round. The light in the bridal suite is a dream and I also have a soft spot for their rustic ballroom.
Horetown House, Co. Wexford
Horetown House is my favourite venue of them all. Disclaimer, I got married there, that’s how much I love it. It’s a private country house wedding venue in Co. Wexford with a laid back vibe with excellent food and stunning grounds!
What I love: The ceremony space, The White Room is the nicest ceremony room I’ve ever seen. Also, Benji the dog 🙂
Mount Druid, Co. Westmeath
Situated in the picturesque village of Castletown Geoghegan, County Westmeath, Mount Druid is an exquisite parkland of 100 acres. The purpose-built tin chapel, boathouse, barn and their custom made accommodation nestle sympathetically into the landscape and offer the opportunity for a bespoke wedding to remember.
What I love: The tin chapel is an amazing ceremony and the reception in the barn is some of the most fun I’ve had at weddings. The vibe is unparalleled in Mount Druid.
Tinakilly House, Co. Wicklow
Set in 14 acres of mature landscaped gardens and overlooking the Irish Sea, Tinakilly House offers peace and tranquility but is only 45 mins from Dublin. This stunning country house hotel in Wicklow oozes charm and is the perfect party venue for your Wicklow Wedding.
What I love: There’s a proper homely vibe in Tinakilly House. With everything on site, it’s easy to get in the party spirit from the get go.
Ashley Park House, Co. Tipperary
Ashley Park House is an 18th-century country house situated on the edge of Lake Ourna. It is steeped in character and it’s higgildy piggildy rooms make it a joy to explore. The marquee has the most beautiful light. There are gardens to stroll through and games to play on the lawn. The perfect private wedding venue.
What I love: The ceremony space is unmatched by any other space. It has a massive glass front which makes it look like you’re on the lake. A stunning spot for portraits too.
Clonabreany House, Co. Meath
Clonabreany House is such a fun wedding venue. Everything is on-site including the ceremony space. It’s designed with the flow of a wedding in mind with space for the drinks reception, couples portraits, dinner and dancing into the wee hours. Bonus points for an epic dancefloor.
What I love: There are so many spots around Clonabreany House for all your portraits meaning you won’t be away from the fun for too long.
Ballymagarvey Village, Co. Meath
Ballymagarvey Village is another one of those ‘made for wedding venues’. Everything is on-site, the ceremony space is a short walk from the house and the party starts as soon as you leave that room. There are a plethora of spots for photos so again, you don’t have to go far.
What I love: The sunsets in just the right spot, out by the lake behind the reception space. You can nip out of your ceremony and be back before you’re missed.
Fallon & Byrne, Dublin City Centre
What I love: It’s so central, a stones throw from the Stags Head for your drinks reception and easy to get around the city for your wedding potraits. The room has gorgeous light too.
Ballybeg House, Co. Wicklow
Ballybeg House is a country home away from home for intimate and unique wedding experiences over a 3 day period. Everything is on site, from the converted barn ceremony space to the Victorian marquee for reception, they can host weddings off up to 170 guests.
What I love: The flow from ceremony to drinks reception to dinner is seamless. The grounds and the view are stunning, some of the best in Wicklow.
That’s it, there are some of my favourite Best Irish Wedding Venues. There’s many more I haven’t shot in and I’m dying to give them a go. They are The Cliff at Lyons, Tinakilly House, Trudder Lodge, The Mill House Slane, Gloster House, Carton House, Ashford Castle, Adare Manor, Ballinacurra, Ballybeg, Ballyvolane, Bellinter House, Clonwilliam House, Cloughjordan House, Fallon & Byrne, Lisnavagh House, Hilton Park, Kilruddery House and Gardens, Kilshane House, Kilashee House, Martinstown House, Powerscourt House and Gardens, Rathsallagh House, The Shelbourne, Tankardstown, Virginia Park Lodge.