Ireland does honeymoon destinations very well. We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to luxury hotels and spas, plus there are tonnes of alternative honeymoon destinations too. From haunted houses to private pubs, today’s post, in collaboration with with Chill Insurance, brings you some of the most unique honeymoon spots in Ireland.
Secluded Island Break
Though none of them could be described as bustling, Inis Meáin is the most quiet of the Aran Islands. However, that seclusion doesn’t mean you’ll have to forgo luxury. Inis Meáin Restaurant and Suites is a secluded boutique hotel that’s caught the attention of all the big names in travel. It’s hailed as authentic, aesthetically in sync with its surroundings – a haven for those who want to unplug.
Book very early to avoid disappointment – 2019 is all booked up!
Lots of hotels in Ireland allow for pets, but Batty Langley Lodge in Kildare is something special. It’s a historic house with river views, and you’ll be the only couple there. It sleeps just two (plus one pup) and is self-catering. A gem for couples that want to wind down from their wedding by not having to speak to any other humans for a few days.
If cooking isn’t your thing, try Tankardstown House’s award-winning restaurant. Its cottage suites are dog friendly, plus there are acres and acres of space for walks on the Tankardstown Estate.
Delphi Resort is another option, with scheduled retreats throughout the year and an on-site spa with more relaxing treatments that you could get through. Note the Voya Baths in particular – heaven in a ‘tub!
Lighthouses, tree houses, self-catering pubs – if you want to rest your head somewhere that’ll make for a good story, you’ve got a lot of options.
You probably thought historic accommodation would be a castle, but what’s alternative about that? Instead, we’re going for a medieval ringfort in Wexford. You are welcome.
If you like your history to be a little more recent, check out four-star Renvyle House in Galway. W.B. Yeats was a frequent guest here, spending his time conducting seances and generally trying to have a natter with some ghosts. A prime spot for honeymooners with an interest in both the paranormal and luxury surroundings.
Probably the biggest decision you’ll make for your wedding is where to have it. If you’re viewing or contacting wedding venues around around Ireland at the minute, this handy cheat sheet of questions to ask before you book will ensure you feel as prepared as possible.
Once you know what the venue charge, find out exactly what they’re charging for. Some venues have packages that include decor, food and entertainment. Others cover only the hire of the venue itself.
Is your venue accessible?
People who use wheelchairs or who have limited mobility in some regard should be able to get into and around your venue comfortably. That means accessible doorways, bathrooms and hallways, for a start. Poke around yourself to get the lay of the land. Some venues are accessible in the strictest sense, but maybe the accessible bathroom is ages away from the reception space.
Is your venue child friendly?
If you’re not having an adult-only wedding, ask your venue how they usually accommodate children. Will you have to pay full whack for kids meals, is there a space for them to be entertained?
Can legal wedding ceremonies be conducted here?
A big one! If you want to have your ceremony at the venue, make sure it has a license to hold ceremonies.
How many weddings can be held on the same day?
A lot of venues have a one-a-day policy with weddings, but it’s not guaranteed. Ask how many weddings can be held on the same day and if there are any other couples booked in for the date you’d like.
What’s the minimum and maximum capacity?
Obviously you’ll need to be sure that the venue can fit all of your guests. It’s also important to make sure you have more than the minimum numbers, as you might have to pay the difference.
Is there a dedicated wedding coordinator and will they be there on the day?
Wedding coordinators can be such a help, and many venues include them in their packages. Check that the person you deal with throughout the planning will be there on your wedding day and be sure of exactly what they’ll help with.
Can we have live music?
Venues in residential venues sometimes don’t allow live music in the evening, and smaller venues often can’t accommodate entire bands or musicians with larger instruments.
How late can we play music?
Rural couples – don’t take it for granted that you can party all night because your wedding isn’t in a residential area. Country house weddings often have curfews in place because of their proximity to farms. No matter where you’re getting wed, ask how late the party can go on.
How much guest accommodation is there, and what are the prices?
Another one that’s especially important if your wedding isn’t in a city. Find out how much the rooms will costs guests, if there’s a discount, and if there are local options for over-spill.
Can we decorate ourselves, and to what extent and from what time?
I’m placing emphasis on “to what extent” here, because I’ve heard of more than one case of a couple being very disappointed that they couldn’t spruce up their venue as they hoped. Restrictions on balloons, adhesives and confetti are common. Historic, grand venues or churches can often be quite fussy about this kind of thing. Tell the venue what your vision is before you sign a contract.
Can we bring our own alcohol? Is there a fee for this? Can you serve alcohol?
A corkage fee is a charge on couples who bring their own alcohol to the venue, and it’s quite common. It’s also important to be sure that your venue is licensed to serve booze in the first place
What are the insurance requirements?
It’s not wildly common, but some venues request that you take out wedding insurance.
Are there any additional fees, like for cake cutting?
Check that everything is covered in your quote. I’m talking tax, cake-cutting, room hire.
Are there any photo, video or drone restrictions?
Again, not wildly common, but I asked this question at a venue viewing and yep, they did actually have photo restrictions! I felt like such a swot, it was brilliant.
Is there a list of vendors we must use?
Lots of venues have a list of recommended vendors, which can be really helpful. However, some places have exclusivity with the venues on their list. Check that you’re allowed to pick your own vendors if you end up wanting to.
How much is the deposit and when do we have to pay?
Deposits can vary so much between vendors, so check how much you have to pay to secure the date and when you’ll have to pay it. It’s also worth knowing the payment schedule too, so you’ll know when you’ve got to pony up.
Lots of bridal designers include one or two short wedding dresses in their collections, but there are just a few that really, truly excel in the little white dress department. Here’s a steer in the right direction if you’re hoping to find a wedding dress that’s tea-length, above the knee or even shorter.
I think one of the most-liked dresses I ever shared on the Only a Wedding Instagram page was a Delphine Manivet design. Her short wedding dresses are always super chic and striking, with clean lines and lots of volume.
If this isn’t your first visit to the blog, you’ll probably be aware that you can now get BHLDN gowns in Ireland. You’ll be liable for customs and all the rest, of course, but the dresses themselves are quite budget-friendly.
The brand has plenty of traditional gowns, but there’s also loads of choice in shorter styles.
via Laure de Sagazan
Laure De Sagazan
This is an especially helpful option for last-minute brides. Laure De Sagazan carries a range of cute, boho short wedding dresses that can be purchased online and sent with express delivery.
If you want to make some serious savings, check out Wed2B’s range of short wedding dresses. They’re all under €600 and go up to size 30. If you spot something on the site that catches your eye, be sure to call ahead and check that your local Wed2B carries the style. For more, read the post on what happens in a Wed2B store.
A little quirky and fashion forward, Rime Arodoky is also available in The White Gallery or on the designer’s e-boutique. Styles are more edgy than the average short wedding dress, it’s my pick for brides who want something really memorable.
Food trucks can work well at any type of wedding. Whether you’re keeping it low key and having a pizza reception, or you just fancy some extra tea and scones, there are tonnes of options. Today’s post looks at eight cool food truck styles, from pizza to prosecco.
Mad as I am about Oreo milkshakes and fries, I didn’t know Eddie Rocket’s did weddings until recently. It was too late to book for my own wedding at that stage, and, while I’m sure it’ll probably be legally binding without the burgers, I would have LOVED to see everyone’s face when this food truck rounded the corner.
If you fancy something with a touch of retro glamour, check out The Vintage Parlour. This cute food truck serves ice-cream and scones with tea or coffee, and you can also opt-in for prosecco, doughnuts and cocktails.
Another one that’s gonna give your guests fuel to tear up the dance floor, The Chip Van offers “juicy burgers, jumbo hotdogs and beautiful battered cod.”Have a look through the rest of the menu and pricing on their website.
Like something a little more spicy? You’ll get your burrito and taco fix with Mexico K Chido, a food truck service that promises authenticity and classic Mexican flavours. Book or check out locations where you can taste some of their offerings on Roaming Hunger.
Galway-based Boxty’s menu is a spud-lover’s dream. I think “stuffed boxty pancake” is more poetic than anything I wrote down for my vows. Potato cakes aside, there’s loads of chip, burger and chicken options, plus a great kid’s menu.
6:30am We (me + himself) adopted a dog, so we’ve both arranged to be home as much as we can for a couple of weeks. We’re able to work from home anyway, and we haven’t been able to travel much in the last two years, so annual leave abounds. We’re up early house training the dog, who we’ll call Chunk for the purpose of this anonymous spending diary.
3.30pm I bought a Creme Egg with change and forgot to take note of the price. This is probably a good thing as I bought a Kit Kat a few weeks ago and it was €1.15. Robbery. Thievery! We’ll call it a spend of €1 because that’s all my psyche can allow.
Daily total: €1
7:00am I’m saving €5 a week for my fella’s birthday. I can’t remember what fake name I gave him in the last diary so we’ll call him Bruno. This goes into a vault on my banking app. I’ve got €15 so far, lol.
10:00am I book a €30 seminar/workshop thing for later in the month. I held myself back from that kind of thing in the past, but I’ve been making a big effort to weather the anxiety. It’s work-related and I feel more competent for evening thinking about going. Worth it!
Daily total: €35
9.30am This is a week of appointments. I head to therapy (€60) for the first time in a few months to knock some issues on the head. I stop into the library on the way and get The Country Girls for FREE. Yay libraries!
11:00am One of my vendors emails me back to confirm my booking. I transfer the deposit (€100) and feel way more excited than expected. It’s getting very real!
6:00pm Guess who needs new shampoo again? I’m almost finished the products I bought in my first submission and am ditching the idea of a curl-friendly routine.
8:30am I accompany my mam to the hospital so she can get a blood test. I talk her into getting a cup of tea after but she pays for her own. I skipped it because I knew she’d insist on paying and tea in the hospital café is almost €3 now. I know this sounds miserly but we’re forever in hospitals and cancer really nixes your earning power, you know?
9:00pm Speaking of, my health insurance bill comes through. I pay for myself and himself, so it’s €140.
Daily total: €140
11.00am I have my own GP appointment (€60) and it ends in a referral letter for a blood test. The wait at the hospital is over three weeks so I just book a nurse appointment (€25) at the GP clinic. I check to see if Sports Direct does wedding dresses on the way home.
8:00pm Another vendor needs part payment! I transfer €600 and scroll through their website with glee. I feel sick spending that much money in one go. Bruno has to get me lukewarm chamomile, but hey, swings and roundabouts.
Daily total: €825
9.30am We get up early to walk the dog and stop off in a cafe with lots of outdoor seating. I buy myself a chai rooibos tea because caffeine is for jokers. Bruno asks for a diet coke. I wasn’t planning on getting food but the queue was barely moving and I was stood beside the most enticing spiced fruit muffins for too long to resist. I get something chocolate for my guy Bru and the muffin for myself. Drinks and treats comes to €10.14.
12:00pm Chunk the dog has lost his tag. I buy an engraved replacement (€1.18) on AliExpress but will have to pick up a stop-gap next time I’m in town. They had one that said “bitch magnet” on the reverse but I didn’t have the nerve.
12:15pm Bruno goes to get groceries while I finish watching the Madeline McCann Netflix series. He pays for the food, my sister pays for the Netflix subscription.
Daily total: €11.32
Weekly Total: €1242.32
Wedding costs are really accumulating now, which is reflected in this week’s whopper total! I definitely had some notions about just “finding the money” for some fab wedding shoes, or “making it work” when it comes to our honeymoon budget, but Bruno is a budget wizard and, with everything mapped out for the next while, I’m a lot less optimistic about cultivating an ability to pull money out of my butt.
It’s tough to know what you should budget for your wedding dress, but we’re hoping to make the process a little easier! We’ve listed what you can expect to pay for wedding dresses in Ireland, from budget options to luxury gowns.
High street bands like French Connection, ASOS* and Dorothy Perkins have bridal collections that range from about €100 to €600. Move quick when these seasonal collections come online; budget-savvy brides tend snap these launches up very quickly. Most high street brands won’t restock their bridal ranges.
You can hire a wedding dress from a few different Irish retailers. Prices range between €100 and €400. Places like Covet in Dublin and The Ivory Closet in Limerick even make temporary alterations to your dress so it fits like a glove. We’re huge fans of this option. It’s sustainable and more affordable. Win win!
You might find something incredible on Etsy or eBay for sheckles, but vintage bridal boutiques tend to set their price point from around €400 to €1800, with a premium on more elaborate and perfectly-preserved vintage gowns.
Lorraine brought you along on her try-on sesh at Wed2be, where the prices range from under €100 to €699. Similar outlets like Smart Brides and Bridal Village will be around the same price, though outlets that carry sample dresses (see below) will have stock that goes up to around €2000.
If you’re following some bridal boutiques online you’ll probably see sample sale dates being advertised. Sample sale events held so boutiques can clear stock to may way for new-season gowns. The dresses in this sale will have been tried on by other brides and might be lightly damaged or slightly stained, so you’ll make some great savings. The price depends on the original cost of the dress, but they’ll usually be reduced by between 25 to 50%, sometimes higher if you’re lucky.
This is a tough one to gauge. It depends on the original cost of the dress, its condition and how in-demand it is. Sites like Stillwhite tend to have wedding dresses with savings of around 40%, but there are some gems with even bigger reductions. You can really bag a bargain if you’re willing to make the leap and buy online – but we’d always advise being very, very cautious. You can also poke around the Facebook Marketplace, Done Deal and Adverts.
You’ll need upwards of €1200 in your budget to get the Say Yes to The Dress experience. We’ve found that lots of bridal boutiques will have a couple gowns at the €1000 mark, with more choice around €2000 to €4000, and some blow-out gowns that cost more.
Plot twist – the dresses we wrote about in the boutique category that cost thousands and thousands of euro aren’t the top-of-the-line option. Weddings, eh? Couture wedding dresses carry the largest price tags. Prices start at around €3500, but that’s really on the lower end of things. Some luxury wedding dress designers won’t have much choice at all until you get past the four-figure bracket.
Today’s post brings us out from behind the desk and into a fitting room. Lorraine headed to Wed2B in Dublin, Ireland to check out their budget-friendly wedding dresses, and she brought you along with her. Sorta. Scroll down for the full Wed2B experience!
The crowd that did Meghan Markle’s wedding frock hasn’t gotten in touch to dress me for my big day, which is weird, but there’s no time to sort out this mix-up.
I headed along to Wed2B and, as it’s a little different to bridal boutiques, thought I’d share the experience.
Speaking of difference, the price comes in way lower than at bridal boutiques. Wed2B is probably the biggest name in budget-friendly wedding dresses. Most gowns are under €599. There’s also a range of premium styles that cost up to €699. Accessories are affordable too, most Wed2B veils will leave you with change from €100.
You don’t book an appointment, you just show up and join the queue. There might be no wait at all, but you might have a chunk of time to kill on Saturday or Sunday.
In my case, visiting the store on a weekday meant I was behind just two other brides. I could have used the hour wait to browse the rails with my gang, plus there was plenty of plush seating, but the manager took my phone number and said we were able to go to a nearby café for fry-ups. Well, she said coffees, but when you’re out, you’re out.
There’s a touch-screen tablet at the front of the store, where the consultant inputs your contact information. You’re then asked about sizing and directed to the rails that carry your size. You pick four favourites and bring them to the fitting room sofas. There’s a short wait for your consultant to set you up in your own booth.
If you want to try on four more dresses, you go back out and join the queue again. I was one of only two brides in the store when I wrapped on my first four, so there was no wait. This is worth noting if you’re not exactly sure of what styles suit you – you’ll want to head along on a weekday, when re-joining the queue won’t mean a very long wait.
Picture typical high street dressing rooms, only much bigger and with fancier decor. That’s what the Wed2B fitting rooms are like. A seating area for your entourage runs between two walls of fitting rooms, and each individual fitting room is hidden from view by a big velvet curtain.
The mirror takes up the entire back wall of the fitting room, and the dresses are hung each side. There’s a little platform that makes it easier to see how the dress will sit once you have it altered or are wearing heels.
The nice thing about the fitting rooms is that you don’t have to trek through the store, you just stand in place and the consultant pulls the curtain when you want to show your pals.
It’s definitely more hands-off at Wed2B than at other boutiques. My consultant didn’t pull any dresses or make any suggestions, but she was nice about the dresses I tried on and happy to let me and my pals/mam deliberate ourselves. There was zero pressure to buy and I didn’t feel awkward about almost instantly leaping out of the dresses that I didn’t like. So yeah, you don’t get a glass of something fizzy and the run of the entire store, but I liked that it was very chilled out.
So fab! The level detail and structure was brilliant. The boning on one was so good that I shouted “I’m not even wearing Spanx!” to everyone in the greater Dublin area.
Whether or not you’ll like the aesthetic is just a matter of personal taste. I feel like the gowns have mass appeal. They were modern but not trend-led or edgy. They had slinky dresses, huge princess gowns and everything in between. There’s lots of choice, basically.
If you want to buy, you buy the dress off-the-rack. There’s no wait, you don’t order one in. This also means that dresses can go out of stock, so you’ve got to be decisive.
I was genuinely so impressed with the dresses, as were my gang. Like I say, there wasn’t a lot of pomp or ceremony, but I don’t really like consultants fussing over me. To my mind, the appointment felt natural and breezy. I’ve already pointed pals in the direction of the store, and of its neighbouring breakfast cafés. It’s a big bridal thumbs up from me!
Wedding hair and makeup artists are more in demand on some dates than they are on others. There’ll be more competition for peak wedding-season dates like summer bank holidays than there will for mid-week winter bookings. So, if you’re hoping to get hitched on New Year’s, get those emails sent. Dates like these will go fast, there’s really no such thing as booking too soon in this instance. Go, go, go!
If your dream vendor is at the top of their game, always in the magazines and killing it on social media, they’ll be snapped up early too. In-demand hairstyles and makeup artists in Ireland take bookings well over a year in advance of weddings. So, if your heart is set on somebody that all the gals are after, you’ll need to get in as early as possible.
If you’re more chilled out about your makeup or hair and will happily pick from a handful of fab hair and makeup artists, you’ll find somebody great in this window and you should have a selection of trial appointments to choose from too.
Mid-week and out-of-season brides have less competition, so can delay a bit more making their bookings. We’d still advise getting in as early as possible if you have your heart set on a particular vendor though – better safe than sorry!
This is a difficult one to write because we have no chill. If you, however, do, and won’t panic when you a few “sorry, I’m booked!” emails, then you should book your makeup artist or hairstylist with around six months to go. This should leave you with enough time to arrange a trial too.
You might not have your pick of the pack, but you do have options. Get in touch with your faves; we’ve seen brides get sorted last-minute with amazing artists who just happened to have a free morning. Makeup artists and hairstylists with no availability might be able to pass on the name of somebody they recommend.
Most bridal makeup artists in Ireland offer their services in package deals. The package will cover yours and two or three other faces, usually bridesmaids and a mammy. This price will be their minimum call-out fee, which means that you’ll pay it even if you only have one bridesmaid.
For a package that covers the bride and two additional faces, you’ll find prices range from around €225 to €400.
In some cases, makeup artists charge extra for travel. We’ve seen charges of around €20 for travel within a county and we’ve also seen costs over €400 for long drives and overnight stays in Ireland. You’ll be looking at more if you’re having a beach wedding on a remote island resort, obvs.
In-Salon Bridal Makeup Deals
A lot of money can be saved if you can make it to a salon or makeup studio on the morning of your wedding. Here, you can avoid package deals and just pay for your own makeup, which is brill if you’re not having maids. Prices range from around €50 to €90 for bridal makeup, and bridal trials range from around €40 to €70.
If you’re going this route, make sure you check that the salon will open early enough to allow you to get to your venue or next appointment on time. Many salons will open earlier for bridal parties, but it’s not worth leaving to chance.
The above prices are based on vendors that specialise in bridal makeup. If you’re happy to go with somebody who is building up their portfolio or who has less experience in the industry, you’ll probably shave a few quid off your bill.
However, we caution against the use of friendors for stuff that takes front and centre at your wedding. Y’know, like your face. If you’re going to get a friend of a cousin to do a nixer, it’s wise to book a trial and have a good nose around pictures of their previous work.
Note: We’ve featured two Irish makeup artists in this post because their work (and their brides!) are stunning, but there’s no link between these makeup artists and the prices we’ve listed. You’ll have to contact them directly with any price queries – we’ve compiled our price guide from a massive range of vendors.
Meath seemed like the best choice to kick off our series on each county’s fab wedding venues. It’s a hub of country houses and private estates. Plus, most of the venues listed are only around a half hour from Dublin – brilliant if you’re based in the city, or if you’ve got guests arriving via Dublin airport. We’ve whittled it down to eight well-loved venues – here’s hoping you find the one!
Just an hour from Dublin, Loughcrew is an exclusive-hire country house with lots of character. Shabby-chic styling and lots of rustic touches make this venue feel less formal, more laid-back. It’s our pick for couples who have their heart set on a fun, whimsical feel to their day.
The best bit? The ruins of St. Oliver Plunkett’s Church are just a stone’s throw from the house, and the structure is licenced for civil ceremonies. Great if you love a bit of Catholic glamour but don’t actually want the whole church experience.
Ugh, we love The Millhouse. What a ride of a building. Seriously. Shove your partner out of the shot and just get your portraits beside that Georgian facade.
Like lots of country houses, it’s all yours for the day, so you can arrange things as you see fit. You can get wed in the Old Mill ceremony room, or take things outside and exchange vows in their orchard.
You can often put your own stamp on country houses, but the bare bones usually lean in one of two ways – more rustic and laid-back or more polished and grand. Clonabreany, we feel, falls into the latter category. The styling is elegant and luxurious, in line with the building’s Georgian structure.
The best bit? There are 90 bedrooms on site, which is a rare find in a country house. It’s perfect if you’re having a two-day celebration with family and friends who have a long way to travel and a grá for plush accommodation.
Bellinter House is a hotel, but it has all the appeal and trappings of a stately home. You can hire the whole place to be yours exclusively, but you don’t have to if you don’t feel the need. Couples who don’t go for the exclusive option will still benefit from the venue’s one-wedding-per-day policy.
The best bit? The ease of a hotel wedding with the style of a country house. It’s the best of both worlds.
Ballymagarvey Village via DKPHOTO
This authentic country village has gorgeous, leafy grounds and dotey stone-clad cottages. It’s just a half hour’s drive from Dublin, but it’s totally removed from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s a real rural escape.
The best bit? If you’re outdoorsy, you’ll love the ceremony space options here. The historic building sits really comfortably in the landscape and feels totally in sync with nature. A gorgeous place to switch off.
Here’s an absolute gem for couples who like barn weddings. It’s the perfect backdrop for a boho wedding (see the Darek Novak shots above and in his portfolio) – way more intimate and cosy than you might expect a castle to be.
The best bit? It’s cool and a bit different, but not lacking in any of the creatures comforts you’d expect at a traditional Irish wedding. Win win!
We’re going to start putting a quid in a jar every time we gush about a Georgian county house, but we couldn’t leave this one out. Boyne Hill House also featured on our list of leafy escape venues in Ireland, and leafy-escape describes the venue well. It’s the perfect blend of polished and rustic.
The best bit? It’s super secluded, in the middle of the Boyne Valley, and the extensive grounds are gorgeous. Who doesn’t love a good Victorian walled garden, eh?