Planning an outdoor wedding in Ireland can make for a wonderful and memorable occasion. However, anyone who has spent any time in this country will know that the weather can be unpredictable to say the least!
So, if your heart is set on an outdoor ceremony (garden, beach, lawn, rooftop terrace), here are some tips to consider.
Time of Year
Choose a suitable time of year for your outdoor ceremony. In Ireland we often get four seasons in one day, but generally the summer months are the warmest and driest.
The months that tend to have the most rainfall in Ireland are October, November, December and January.
Typically the best time of year for an outdoor wedding in Ireland is from May to September.
Location, Location, Location
Take time to choose the right location. Ireland is packed with stunning outdoor locations for weddings, such as endless sandy beaches, beautiful ornamental gardens, and gorgeous national parks.
County Kerry is particularly renowned for its stunning outdoor scenery along the Wild Atlantic Way. It has many beautiful, empty, long sandy beaches (some over ten miles long), and scenic national parks like the one in Killarney favoured by documentary maker David Attenborough.
Do make sure you do your homework, as some locations such as Killarney National Park require you to obtain permission for a Celebrant-led ceremony to take place.
Consider the size of your guest list and choose a location that can accommodate everyone comfortably.
Have a Plan B
Plan for inclement weather. Even during the warmest and driest season in Ireland, you should always have a back-up plan in case of rain or high winds - particularly along coastal areas.
One option is to consider renting a marquee, provide umbrellas for guests, or be close to a building where guests can relocate to in the event of heavy rain.
In some instances rain showers may be light or brief, and guests need only to shelter under an umbrella or inside for a few minutes before the ceremony can resume again outside.
Similarly, in Ireland we can also get extremely hot and sunny days. An outdoor ceremony I conducted in Cork on one of the hottest days the year had the venue scrambling for umbrellas for sweltering guests to shade from the sun.
Work With Local Suppliers
When planning an outdoor wedding in Ireland, it's a good idea to work with suppliers and venues who understand the local climate and terrain.
Your Celebrant and your venue wedding co-ordinator ideally should have experience with planning outdoor weddings.
Think about how your guests will arrive at your outdoor wedding ceremony if the location is remote or difficult to access. Do you need to lay on buses, cars, buggies etc?
Providing some kind of transport on the day if required, will ensure that everyone arrives safely and on time.
Whilst most weddings have some kind of dress code, it is a good idea to give your guests a heads-up if they should - or shouldn't - go for a certain type of footwear.
For example, heels would be unsuitable for a beach wedding, but guests can be advised to bring one pair of shoes for the ceremony and another for the party.
Flip flops could be provided for guests to slip on for the ceremony - in this case guests should be advised against wearing stockings or tights.
Similarly, you may want to advise your guests to bring a cardigan or jacket in case the temperatures are on the cool side, and to hold on to their hats if it's windy!
Planning an outdoor wedding in Ireland can be a really exciting experience, but has its challenges! As with any type of wedding it is advisable to plan accordingly.
Bear in mind that an outdoor wedding should not only take account of inclement weather in Ireland, such as rain or high winds, but also high temperatures and bright sunlight.
Planning for all these eventualities will make your outdoor wedding ceremony in Ireland a truly magical event!