Destination weddings in Ireland and DC/MD USA. Your Irish wedding planner – styling and coordination to die for weddings since 2006. Based in Dublin and Maryland.

How To Pick Your Ultimate Venue

Photo by Christina Brosnan Photography

Arguably the biggest decision in the wedding planning process you’ll encounter is picking the venue to host your dream destination wedding in Ireland. Here are some tips to make sure you’re on the right track and that much closer to bringing your vision to life!

1.  Work With Your Vision, Not Against It

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many couples end up picking a venue inconsistent with their vision. For example, a couple that chooses a Victorian castle but wants tons of modern details throughout the day.  Think about the setting you are going for: romantic fairy tale castle?  modern and chic? garden or nature elements? Then think about the vibe you want throughout the wedding day: casual? formal? something in between? Picking a venue already consistent with your theme will easily enhance the space, rather than frustrating you into changing everything.

2.  Get Our Advice!

As wedding planners, we’ve worked a variety of venues large and small throughout Ireland.  We’ve planned and produced so many different styles and aesthetics, incorporated lots of different details and even some quirky ones (petting zoo!), and we have a pretty darn good idea of what’s feasible in a space and what won’t fly. Come to the experts first with your vision and let us guide you to the venues that will be able to say more of “yes” for what you want to do and less of “no.”

3.  Consider the Cost of Decor

Some spaces will require a considerable hand of decor to transform the space while others will need just the slightest of touches. This really can affect your overall budget.  For example, you may love a particular space but once you realize you need to pull in tables, chairs, china, table setting, construct bars, and then add decor on top of that you can see your vision at this particular venue is going to cost well above your budget.  This is another reason why it’s really important to brainstorm with a seasoned planner before committing to a venue. Chance are we’ve encountered this already so we can advise you on what you’re working with and we can pivot if need be to stay on track.

4.  What’s Included v. What’s Been Instagrammed

Ah, Instagram…. both an inspiration and a trap at the same time. When considering your venues, make sure you remember that what you see may not necessarily be what you will get.  The overwhelming majority of venues come with a baseline of items available for your day included in the price: their basic table and chairs, their linens, their china, flatware, and glassware.  Those fancy gold rimmed glasses, colored candles, antique taper holders, modern table number holders, sleek chairs, colored napkins…. with all of that and more, there’s a really (really) good chance they were rented out separately from a third party or even a custom order. If you have a very specific vision, when considering your venue space make sure you’re crystal clear on what comes with the space and balance that with what you’ll have to likely source in order to bring your vision to life. Again, talk to us first so we can help guide you to not only the venues that can give you the best base to work with but also with the right vendors who can pull off your desired look!

5.  Remember Your Guests

Especially when hosting a destination wedding, remember that you have to be sensitive to your guests’ needs and comfort since they’re making the effort to come oversees for your big day. Things to consider:  are there bathrooms conveniently and readily available at your reception space? If your bridesmaid is afraid of heights, then maybe a ceremony at the edge of the cliffs isn’t a great idea. Make sure your venue is reasonably near their hotel accommodations so they don’t have to travel far for your ceremony and back after the reception. Again, as planners we take these into account when recommending venues for our clients so make sure to talk to us first before booking!

6.  Size Matters!

Get a realistic view of how many guests will come to your destination wedding.  You don’t want to pick a huge venue for 20 people so the reception feels cavernous and sparsely attended. Conversely, if 140 end up showing up you don’t want to cram them into a dining room of 70 with no room to scoot a chair out. There are so many different sized venues consistent with your vision that will have the right look and vibe for your day, but also be the right size so everything presents well and feels comfortable as well.

7.  Focus on the Feel, Not the Look

When you enter a space you really want to take a moment and let it speak to you a little bit. How do you feel in the space? Is there enough light? Is it too bright? Does it feel warm and inviting for your cozy reception you envisioned? Does it hit that magical note you were hoping for? Are you excited to be there? Your wedding day will end up being those questions — magnified. If you had your heart set on a venue after falling in love with the pictures on Instagram but you get there on a site visit and it just feels like it’s a let down — change the venue!  Some couples can’t make it out for site visits before their wedding — do not fear! We’re here to help! We will talk you through to make sure we know exactly how you want your dream day to be and then offer you options on what will best deliver it.

8.  Entertainment is Key

Of course it’s important how your wedding day will look, but it’s equally important how your wedding day will be celebrated. Do you want something small and intimate and super romantic, just the two of you? Then maybe a bustling countryside lodge isn’t the best idea. Do you want a bespoke reception with live band and DJ going into the wee hours of the morning? We’re looking at an exclusive hire property potentially. Think about how you want to celebrate the day and we can help narrow down the appropriate venues that can accommodate the requests!

What Are Your Top 3’s

When considering venues, we recommend clients go by this guideline to help stay on track. Ask yourself these 3 questions every time you’re vetting a venue:

  1.  How do I want myself (and my guests) to feel at the reception?
  2.  Am I getting excited when I think about this venue or am I getting nervous or concerned?
  3.  What do I want (and want my guests) to remember from my wedding day?

Going through these three every time you’re considering a space will help you focus on the important part of your day. The rest is just details.  And of course, reach out to us so we can help!

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