How to plan a wedding Ireland

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Planning a wedding in Ireland, where to begin? When it comes to getting started, it can be the easiest or hardest thing. Based on your wedding experience or a vision of your wedding that you have, wedding planning can get off to a flier. At some point it may hit a few road blocks, but no matter what point you are at or no matter what knowledge you have, this run through of how to plan a wedding in Ireland will be of help.

There is a lot to get through so to break up the heavy text here is a video of Laura speaking about where to start when planning a wedding. If at any stage the whole wedding thing becomes to much remember you can look at the wedding at a high level and do not have to get into the detail from the off. It can be helpful to step back now and then, picking off parts of the wedding planning piece by piece (venue, then band, then photograph, etc etc).

Just Engaged! Where to start planning a Wedding?

Video Summary

Easily overlooked is the tip of: Try to Maximise the Number of Preferred Suppliers for your Wedding.

All to often one item can dictate the date and thus narrow the availability of other suppliers. If you book a date at a venue, when you then go to look at bands, photographers, hair stylists etc those vendors may not be available for your date. Depending on your priority of date or vendors, that issue may not be of a concern to you. Sometimes, people realise after a lot of searching that they are trying to make everything fit into a date or location that does not particularly mean that much to them. If on the other hand, the date is the most important thing to you then that is great, as you are comfortable with your priority.

Newly Engaged – Wedding Planning during Lockdown!

A 2020 lockdown guide to planning your wedding and searching from the comfort of your home, because you may be in lockdown! (might be needed for 2021 too)

Checklist (High Level, Starting Out)

This Checklist is to give you an overview of what a wedding day entails. You may what just get a feel for the overall picture. You may want to pick off items that grab your interest. Each item can be broken down in detail into smaller components. No list is ever exhaustive so you may want to make your own list, in your order of priority and add your ideas too.

  • Budget (target and buffer)
  • Date and Season
  • Venue
  • Food and Drink
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Hairstylists
  • Makeup Artist
  • Ceremony
  • Band and DJ
  • Music
  • Entertainment (non-music)
  • Guest List
  • Bridal Party
  • Invites and stationary
  • Rings
  • Flowers
  • Décor
  • Wedding Dress and accessories
  • Bridesmaids Dresses and accessories
  • Groomsmen Suits and accessories
  • Gifts
  • Transport
  • Honeymoon
  • Day 2, Days Build up to
  • Get Married (enjoy the day)

Sources – Wedding Research

Before we break each checklist item down further here is a list of places you can gather information from. Searching can be fun or overwhelming so you may want to dive in and out of various sources of wedding information. All in all, please remember, it is your wedding day so strike a balance between appeasing people and doing what you want. Ultimately you must be happy, if something is nagging at you and you do not like it, try resolve it (amicably) rather than let it eat away at you.

Family

I have split out family and friends because family sometimes can have more to say and lean a little more. Be sure to do things how you want but please do not fall out over anything wedding related. Your family may have a go to supplier, the old reliable. You may be happy to take family recommendations or you may want to do your own thing. Bring something new to the mix. Either way hearing them out can do no harm.

Friends

Friends are a great resource when searching and planning. Weddings in friend groups can come like buses. So, do piggyback of other people’s leg work. Watch out for clear negative warnings, do not make the same mistakes others have, your friends won’t want you too either. When friends make a great find they love to share it so check in with them if you are starting out and they may point you in the right direct for the thing you are looking for.

Wedding Fairs/Shows

Large wedding shows or Expos are a great way to delve into the world of weddings. You will find everything from bubbles and umbrellas to Venues and Honeymoons. You can browse around just to get a feel of the options other there or you can book an entire wedding. You could even win a wedding!

Do check out the Munster Wedding Expo, Wedding Journal Show and Wedding & Honeymoon Show.

Smaller fairs tend to be venues showing all they have to offer with a selection of suppliers. So, do not expect every solution at these fairs. It is great to see a venue fully laid out for a wedding and you get to meet some of the trusted suppliers too.

Directories

Online Wedding Directories are a great resource. The break down by categories and locations can cut through endless searching. You will probably come across a type of wedding supplier that you did not even knew existed. The directories tend to have a function where you can email multiple vendors at once, hassle free. Or you can narrow down exactly who you want to enquire with. Reviews are a great feature of platforms too.

Do check out WeddingsOnline

Social Media Pages

Social Media is where it is at today. The great thing is you can follow vendors or hashtags to gather ideas, get to know personalities and in general get to know how things work. Instagram is brilliant for scrolling through images and watching daily stories, do check out IGTV too.

Social Media Groups

Forums have developed into Groups. There are general groups and specific groups, search for what you are looking for and join up. You will find like mind people helping each other out. As well as suppliers answering questions. When working well the community spirit really shines through. Do check out HIGM

Magazines

Yep they still exist. Sometimes you need to step away from online and flick some physical pages. The magazines are a great resource with excellently written articles, fresh images and quality suppliers. Watch out for RSVP Ireland and Irelands Wedding Journal.

Checklist (in Detail, more specifics)

Budget

You saving or good to go? Who is buying? The reason we mentioned target and buffer in the summary is you will be surprised at some point what costs what so have a cushion.

If someone is covering the bill check if they need notice before payment and be clear as to what the limits are. If you are saving, this may dictate what year you will get married in.

Having a target of what you have to spend will help you make the right choices when searching venues and suppliers.

Date and Season

The year you get married may be dictated by budget, giving people notice or avoiding clashes. These through what is scheduled the date and year you plan to get married to avoid mishaps.

If you have a specific date (like an anniversary) that means the world to you, decision made. If you are more flexible do contact key suppliers to maximise your wedding day preferred vendors.

Season is a big factor, let alone the weather, think about daylight hours and what you are comfortable with. Make sure you plan key things around day light hours, do not miss out on something because it is dark at 5pm and you have not allowed enough time for it.

Venue

Can be the biggest decision, we have heard many a couple say they booked other suppliers before the venue. But also people do the venue world wind tour, visiting 25+ weekends away and kind know they like the first venue they saw. Endless options, find one that suits you.

Food and Drink

Your tastes may dictate the venue and the suppliers you search for. There are endless options from using venues expertise to outsourcing segments of the day to specialists. Food Trucks, Donut Walls, Gin Vans and mobile Shebeens, it is endless, enjoy!

Theme

Most peoples theme is We Are Getting Married. However, you can really do what you like, in as small or as big a way as you want. Some go all out Disney, room décor to the toilet roll, others just put a hint of their favourites into their wedding cake. Whether it is some cheeky socks or full medical dress have fun, it is a party and celebration.

Style

Your style may draw you to certain venues and add on suppliers. Do think is what I am signing up for that may be functional but does in suit my style or the style of the wedding day. Try to avoid something being drastically out of context.

Organisers, planners, charts, books

Endless wedding planning accessories are available. You might have a system down from your daily life, grand put it into gear for the momentous event. If note you might combine the various documents you pick up, do keep fliers and notes as the amount of information you will come across is huge and as time pass you may not remember everything.

Abroad

Whether you are thinking of getting married abroad (outside of Ireland) or coming into Ireland planning will require your normal wedding checklist plus extra international check points. Of all check the rules in the jurisdiction you are getting married in and when certain meetings should take place, the final pre-marriage meeting in Ireland must take place 30 days before the wedding, so watch out for the likes of that. Pro to getting married abroad is the uniqueness of your wedding experience, Con is moving the herd of those important to you and all that entails (outside of organising a wedding).

Wedding Abroad - Waterford Ireland - Laura and Benny Photography
A couple travelled to Waterford Ireland from the United Kingdom, to get married abroad.
Wedding Abroad - Italian Sunset - Laura and Benny Photography
A sunset in Bologna Italy, a couple getting married abroad.

People buy people, personality really matters

If you have a gut feeling with a person regarding your wedding day, go with it, the day flies by, do not allow a person that should be no invasive interfere with your wedding day. Match Personalities that suit you as well as ensuring they are excellent at their speciality.

Contract, payment

Know what you signed up for! Be ready to settle balances as they fall due. Plan cashflow and budget. Be aware of add-ons, extra fees and non-refundable fees,

Invite digital/physical website

Stationary is endless, Save the Dates, booklets, welcome packs, hangover packs, invites and many more angles. Do consider digital to communicate quickly and keep people updated. But be conscious that older generation might need to be told in person or in writing.

Have fun choosing who to invite and fending off those who you are less inclined to invite.

Registry

What are the rules? Do the paperwork early. If going across multiple jurisdictions double check everything you need to cover off. If doing a religious ceremony make sure you have all the requirements met. If you are going non-religious, are the officiants legally registered.

Use help

There is so much to do, and you might want everything done super right, but do not over stretch yourself. Dish out jobs, take up overs of help. That said use reliable people for important jobs. If someone is not reliable but enthusiastic throw them a bone. The positivity of many people helping out to make things work for you does bring good vibes to the day.

DIY, only if

If you have mad skills, go for it. If you are just making invitations because you think that is easy enough be careful. Many a person has said I would have paid any amount of money not to tie another bow or glue another pearl. Know what you are getting into and have a cut of time. Do not try do everything the week of your wedding and particularly the day before!

DIY Wedding Table Centre Piece - Laura and Benny Photography
Ross a carpenter made bespoke table centre pieces.

Step back

Do not go full hog for 2 years. Step back and switch off every now and then. Let alone giving you a break it may well give you a new perspective. Try not to burn out and get wedding planning fatigue. Enjoy the course of the experience rather than having a full time job.

SAY NO

If something is truly bothering you, say no. whether it is a supplier insisting and telling how something is going to work. Or if a family member is behaving the way family can do. At some point just say you would prefer to do it this way as opposed to the other. Whatever does happen do not let anything bother you on your wedding day, shrug it off, have the fun and celebrate.

Speeches

If you are cool out and do not mind how things flow on the day, leave the speeches go naturally whatever each person plans. The speeches might be 15 min long in total (normally at least 4 speeches) or they could be 90 to 120 minutes. I will be honest, for each speech unless it is a really good speech the room is lost after 10 minutes, after 15 minutes the noise levels can increase and after that atmosphere is dark! Now that said an epic 20 minute speech can go down a storm.

Know what you like and do not like. If you need to give a father a window of 10 minutes because he is in danger of doing 40 minutes, than have a word. The time might take away from other parts for the day, dinner or dancing. Worst case it might sap the energy from the room. That said I love speeches even if I don’t know the people personally, so when the speech it good, it is great!

Wedding Speeches - Laura and Benny Photography
Bill brought his open stand to prop up his speech, he meant business.

Vows

Are you emotionally strong enough to say your own vows? Seriously have a think about saying you on vows or message to each other. The passion and personal touch make the best ceremonies. It can be tough to say lovey dovey stuff in public so it is totally understanding if you go traditional. If you want to express some love and emotion in private, a letter to your partner to read the morning of your wedding can steal the moment.

Table plan

Left it o the last. The fun bit is, you can display a table plan in lost of fun ways. The tricky bit is getting the plan right. Start with the top table (you can put it anywhere in the room). You could do a sweetheart table, just the couple or go grandioso! bridal party, parents, kids, celebrants, animals!

Once that is sorted, you can work on tables around you. One suggestion is, do not split people up. Polite chat is polite for so long then it can become a task. Having people relaxed and at easy will stoke a good atmosphere in the room.

Wedding Table Plan - Laura and Benny Photography
Josephine designed a brilliant table plan based of her travels.

Podcast

S2 #13 Newly Engaged – Wedding Planning during Lockdown – Laura and Benny Show – The Second Wave’s Surge

A tetchy podcast from Laura and Benny, Lockdown may be getting to them. Laura tries to help newly engaged couples (or those still researching) plan for their wedding during COVID lockdown. Benny is distracted by cheesecake and rugby.

With restrictions, Wedding Shows and Fairs cannot happen, viewings are limited and in person meetings are off limits.

Laura has a plan to give advise on searching for Photographers, Benny fires in random suggestions of using Family and Friends recommendations. Even puts forward getting a wedding magazine for your lockdown browsing.

Budgets get a mention, target and buffering! Priorities your favourites. 

Picking a date discussed of course. Benny warns not to faff about too much and is concerned of major sporting event clashes (you have been warned!

Online directories, pages, groups all get the run through. In general book as early as possible to avoid disappointment and be ware that the COVID postponement date shuffle is still going on. Hopefully 2021 sees much more weddings than 2020!

Wedding Planning & Decor – To Have and To Hold

Be it Wedding Planning, Wedding Styling, Wedding Day Management or Decor Hire this podcast has it covered as Laura speaks to Sandra from To Have and To Hold.

The discussion starts out with planning and what wedding planners can bring to the table as you set forward on your wedding journey. Wedding Planners can bring experiences and knowledge from countless weddings to help you achieve the celebration you want with less stress, freeing up your time and they can get you value for your budget.

Sandra explains the supplier piece of planning is about matching personalities and services from the right vendors to the specific couples. Budget wise it is about getting the most for what part of the wedding you prioritise while being realistic.

Having a dedicated manager on the day can help your Wedding run smooth and help ensure the details a wedding couple want implemented in a certain way are executed on the day. Time is critical on a Wedding Day and the experiences of have to best use time and not to allow the day to run away from the Wedding Couple is truly invaluable.

Styling a Wedding to a couples likes and dislikes are discussed. How a you can work through what feel and atmosphere you want to achieve while still making the space function for its purpose on the day.

Décor hire is endless for Weddings. Sandra and Laura chat about some of the options available. Whatever your ideas are do ask your Décor Supplier if they can help you source items for or create the idea you have. Some of the décor discussed: Cherry Blossom Trees, Wedding Signs, Name Place holders, Table Décor & Linen, Aisle Carpets, Wedding Arches, Wedding Chairs, Flower Wall, Fairy-Lights, Lanterns, Sweet Treats, Wedding Post Box, Table Plan Displays.

To Have and To Hold website: https://www.tohaveandtohold.ie/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tohaveandtoholdireland/

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