The New Irish Bride

March 2009

It’s a great day when a prestigious Irish Glossy Magazine calls to ask your input on an article they are putting together and that’s exactly what happened to me 2 weeks ago when the Irish Tatler got in touch regarding an article on wedding venues. I was delighted to contribute and I put together a piece for them on “The New Irish Bride” and the types of venues that people might be looking for. See below for what I submitted to Irish Tatler and if you want to read their piece, then you’ll have to nip out and buy the April edition!

Move over the traditional wedding – Irish Brides are getting more creative and inventive with their wedding plans. After all, no one wants to be sitting in the middle of a wedding only to get the dejá vu effect. As groups of friends get married one after the other, it can feel like Groundhog Day with the same guests, similar venue, decor, band and even style of dress!

Here are our top tips for some alternatives to the big traditional wedding:-

City Slicker: Bonos ‘uber snazzy, Clarence Hotel in Dublin offers great wedding packages for the romantic Dubliners. As 5 Star venues go, this one is reasonably priced and the upstairs function room can hold up to 120 guests. With beautiful large windows overlooking the Liffey and the city of Dublin, there is no more romantic spot than this for the city-dweller. They also can hold civil ceremonies in the hotel and joining ceremonies for same-sex couples.

Tree Huggers: If you want to ‘be green’ for your wedding check out the list of venues who have won the Green Hospitality Award on http://www.ghaward.ie The Maryborough House Hotel & Spa in Cork holds the Gold Medal award for its commitment to environmental management of the property. It is also a stunningly beautiful venue for summer weddings. They can erect a gazebo or small marquee in the gardens adjoining the Country House which makes for a relaxed spot for photos, a string quartet and maybe some champagne and strawberries. You don’t have to sacrifice luxury with this green wedding, the Maryborough Hotel has been doing weddings for decades, is very experienced and with its 4 star status and complete with spa, you will feel like a princess on your big day (even if you are a hippy at heart!). With the hotel fully ‘green’ it is then up to you to ensure the other parts of the wedding are eco-friendly so shop around for a second hand dress, or getting your Mum’s dress re-designed for yourself. Consider the environment and design pretty email invitations and reduce your carbon footprint by honeymooning in Ireland or at least closer to home.

Fit for a Queen: If you’ve dreamed of a fairytale wedding since you hung a pillow case over the back of your head as a little girl then getting married in a castle will be a magical experience for you. Markree Castle in Co. Sligo is an authentic Victorian castle and is straight out of a picture book. If lavish and opulent is what you want on your big day…look no further!

A Very Civil Affair: The new civil ceremony laws now mean that you can get married in any building that is open to the public but some couples still like the idea of the traditional church wedding. Well, for couples who want to combine the two, the beautiful Cork Vision Centre is the perfect spot to tie the knot. The Centre is an old church which has been converted into an art gallery, so the space is bright, open and modern on the inside but still maintains the charm of an old church. They can host up to 60 guests sitting down for the ceremony itself and up to 400 for a standing reception. The staff are hugely accommodating and put a huge amount of effort into working with the couple to make things “just right”. It’s also a bargain at only €400.00 to hire the venue.

For the Love of the Game: If you and your beloved are sports-mad, why not consider having the wedding in one of the legendary sports stadiums in the country. The first wedding in Thomond Park was held this Valentines Day and they have 5 more booked this year! Croke Park also has a venue that they rent out which could be used for weddings – you can theme the wedding with your county colours!

We’re Irish After All: If you and your beloved like a pint of the black stuff, why not consider the Guinness Storehouse as a quirky and unusual venue for the wedding with a difference. They have a range of rooms that are available to hire depending on your numbers and would be spectacular for an evening wedding overlooking the city lights.

Second time around: We are seeing more and more weddings for couples on their second time round and these tend to be smaller, more intimate affairs. For a boutique style wedding, private hire country houses are perfectly intimate and Ballintaggart House in Dingle, Co. Kerry fits the bill perfectly. Ballintaggart is a late Regency country house that has been extensively restored so it is extremely comfortable but retains many of the original features. Guests have the run of the house for the duration of the wedding and with breathtaking views of Dingle bay it would be a perfect retreat wedding to get-away-from-it-all with your guests.

Romance in the Recession: Don’t let the economy put you off tying the knot, there are plenty of recession busting wedding deals out there at the moment and with the hotels striving for business like never before, they are more likely to throw in extras so you end up getting great rates and still having the day of your dreams. If you are in the awful situation where your hotel has closed down, then the Mount Falcon Hotel in Co. Mayo are offering unfortunate couples who have lost their deposits an alternative wedding date, subject to availability. They will then reduce the final bill by the amount of deposit you have lost. Definitely one to consider if you don’t have wedding insurance, and are stuck in the predicament of losing money due to hotel closures.

Frolics with Foodies: For the food connoisseurs out there, there is nothing more shudder-inducing than 300 plates of Beef or Salmon being doled out at a function. More and more restaurants are offering private hire and some even allow civil ceremonies to take place before the meal too. Fallon and Byrne, a bouquets-throw from Grafton Street has a fantastic function room upstairs and the food is to-die-for. They also have a specially appointed wedding coordinator to help you plan your whole day. Oh! And did I mention they also have their own wine cellar on the premises?! Jola’s Restaurant in gastronomy-town Kinsale in Co. Cork works with the couple to design tailor made menus and they even bring in their own flavoured vodka from Poland for the post-dinner drinks!

With some of the off-beat wedding ideas like these, keep in mind that you MAY need to hire a wedding planner to help you with the preparation or at the very least an Event Decorator to assist you with the dressing of the room. The beauty of the traditional wedding hotel is that they have done this thousands of times before and you know your day is going to run like clockwork with them. Some of these venues are literally like wedding-factories and it will inevitably be a seamless event. There will be more work and hands-on involvement with a more unusual venue or theme but at the end of it all, you know you will have a truly memorable day and it will be totally unique to you and your beloved.

Check availability on for the wedding venues listed above.