Elopements are a growing trend for couples looking to get married for many reasons. You might be non-traditional and not want the formalities that traditional weddings have, or you aren't religious and want a more personalised humanist ceremony. Maybe you have trouble with family expectations, or family drama and want to remove that altogether, or you are just low-key and don't want the fuss. Whatever the reason is - that's ok and I'm proud of you for doing what you REALLY want!

Ireland sunset elopement at dunluce castle wearing a boho dress by Flutter Dress

So, you have decided you cannot pass up the breathtaking scenery of Ireland for your elopement. That's great! Now what? Where do you start when planning an elopement abroad in Ireland? Thankfully, there are a bunch of resources available to help you figure out what works best for you. I have decided to put them all in one place, so you can start planning the most perfect day that resonates with you and your values.

Before we move onto the fun stuff, lets talk about the legal stuff!

If you are planning to have a legally-binding, religious or civil elopement ceremony in The Republic of Ireland that is recognised back home, your elopement must be done by a registered solemniser or Humanist Association of Ireland accredited celebrant, and must take place on a location with a postal address, or at an identifiable landmark, and be accessible to the public (not private property). You must also have two persons present who are at least 18 as witnesses. Your photographer(s) or videographer(s) can act as witnesses if you are eloping without guests. You must give notice of your Marriage at least 3 months before your ceremony and apply for a marriage Visa.

For Northern Ireland, your elopement must be done by an officiant for religious weddings, or a registrar or humanist celebrant for secular weddings. You must also have 2 witnesses who are at least 18. You must give notice of your marriage within the 12 months of your ceremony, and the minimum is 28 days before and apply for a UK marriage visa. I will leave relevant links below this blog post for you to check out any legal information!

For both Ireland and Northern Ireland, the types of legally binding ceremonies are:

Religious i.e Catholic or Protestant / Civil / Secular & Humanist.


Of course, if having a legally-binding ceremony abroad is a little too fussy for you, you can choose to sign the dotted line at home, and have your ceremony, where you can exchange vows and rings, here.


Ask yourself, "what does my dream elopement actually look like?"

Are you aimlessly exploring the mountains, then settling on a spot to elope? Are you by the sea, listening to the waves crash against the rocks while you exchange your vows? Are you heading to the local pub with your closest family and friends after playing some outdoor games, or maybe you planned a romantic, candle-lit sunset dinner on the beach for just the two of you, then end the night goofing off and dancing to your own play-list. The possibilities are endless. The time is yours to make it whatever you want, and to create a day that is full of your personality, and authentic to you as a couple.

Couple eloping in Dublin ireland by the cliffs in a boho styled elopement

If you are considering Ireland to elope, there's no doubt its because it is one of the most beautiful countries on earth. There are literally 100's of gorgeous places to consider when planning your elopement here.

What scenery speaks to you the most? Where do you both feel most peaceful? Here is a list of a few my favourite locations:

  • Dunluce Castle
  • Dunseverick Castle
  • Ballintoy Harbour
  • Kinbane Castle
  • Dingle Peninsula
  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Mourne Mountains
  • Wicklow National Park
  • Killarney National Park
  • Howth Head
  • Dublin City
  • Conor Pass

Dunluce Castle

Kinbane Castle

Howth Head

Dunseverick Castle

Keep in mind that for a legally-binding elopement in The Republic of Ireland must take place somewhere with a postal address or an identifiable landmark and not on private property.

The next step is to start reaching out to vendors. If you aren't using an elopement planner, I recommend reaching out to officiants and photographers to start off. Some photographers offer a lot of guidance when it comes to other vendors, locations, and help putting together a timeline. To check out a list of my favourite vendors, click the link below!

Consider the time of the year & time of the day:

While you can have your elopement ceremony at any time of the year, there are some factors you might want to consider before choosing a date! Weather, tourist traffic and holidays are three of the main things to think about.

While the weather is unpredictable, it may be wise to avoid planning your elopement around the wettest months which are December and January although rainfall is common throughout the year. The driest months tend to be April/May and in most southern parts, June.

You will find the best times to visit Ireland with the fewest crowds is Spring and Autumn. Summer is peak travel season here, so if you are hoping to avoid the masses of tourists, I recommend planning your elopement outside of the summer months. However, if having your elopement in Summer is something you want, just plan your ceremony for later in the day when tour busses stop running and tourist centres close for the day.

Lastly, consider the holidays. You might want to avoid having your elopement around St.Patricks day unless you are up for large, rowdy, drunken crowds (but maybe this is your thing!) Bank holidays, such as Easter, are times of the year when locals flood to famous landmarks and tourist attractions with the kids etc. Just something to think about!

Of course, you can have your elopement at any time of the year. It is your day! These are just some tips, but there are no rules!

Couple eloping at Dunseverick castle in Northern Ireland by the sea on the cliffs wearing a boho wedding dress

With any outdoor event, you have to be flexible with your expectations of your day! It is possible that some things might not go exactly to plan as you aren't booking a venue. Always have some sort of back-up plan or at least be open to one! You never know what you might run into on the day, such as weather or closures. If it rains a little, then so be it! I've shot plenty of sessions in the rain and they are epic! In the unlikely event that a location is closed, lets just go to plan B! Whatever happens, embrace it, and enjoy every second of your day!

Once you get to Ireland, your means of travel is super important! Especially if you are planning to travel around and visit a bunch of landmarks around Ireland & Northern Ireland. Remember, if you are going to take a trip to Northern Ireland, you need a separate visiting visa. You may also want to exchange some cash into GBP before you visit too, as Northern Ireland is part of the UK. You will need euro coins to pay the tolls between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and for some main highways in Ireland. Some offer card payments, but to be safe I recommend always having some spare change in your car which can also come in handy for public parking lots that some landmarks might charge for!

Renting a car is highly recommended. Public transport isn't great especially for long distance travelling and would take up far too much valuable time. Depending on where your elopement is, you may have to drive a few hours to your location from Dublin Airport. However if you are eloping on the West of Ireland, Shannon Airport is another possible option depending on where you are departing from.

If you are looking for a more authentic stay, maybe look into some Airbnb's here! I have stayed in quite a few around Ireland (especially near the Cliffs of Moher) that would be perfect for groups, or couples alike. Most offer a really personal and homey experience which I personally love. I have met so many amazing hosts who have enhanced my stay and given me advice on what to see, what to do and where to eat etc! Always look out for super-hosts or hosts with a good amount of reviews.

Another important note: Travel Insurance! INVEST IN GOOD TRAVEL INSURANCE! You do not want to worry about medical costs on the most important trip of your life. Get yourself covered!

The beautiful thing about elopements, is that they give you so much freedom to include anything you want on your day. There are 0 rules here! Scrap the traditional wedding timeline. Heck, have your day fully back to front if that is what you truly want!

The meaning of elopements have changed so much from the 'run-away-wedding' idea. This is still your wedding day. You can have it as simple as you like, or as extravagant and adventurous as you like. Don't think that just because you're eloping you have to forego elements that you would otherwise love. Have that incredible floral wedding arch you always dreamed of, the first dance, or even the reception!

You can also incorporate activities, tours (maybe even a boat tour to Skellig Michael), whale watching, swim with dolphins, hiking the Mourne Mountains & watching the sunset, or even take a night-time kayaking session and experience the incredible bio-luminescent lake (Tangled comes to mind!)

It is your decision to splurge on whatever areas that mean most to you if that's going to make it your dream day. The one thing I encourage you to do, is get it all captured. No matter how small or large. I for one would LOVE to see photos of your crazy adventure-filled elopement day!

glamorous elopement in a forest in county cork in ireland

I hope that this post has given you the resources, ideas and most importantly, the nudge you needed to make one of the best decisions of your life, elope! Now, go have fun planning it! Let your imagination run wild. I cannot wait to hear about your absolute dream day and I hope that I can experience it with you!

Do not let anything, or anyone come between what is most important. You, celebrating your love story with your person in the most incredible, adventurous and intimate way possible!

alternative elopement in Ireland on a lake