At the start of the year we predicted a change in the wedding market place for 2012. In February our 2012 wedding survey indeed showed an increase in couples looking for more alternative venues in which to host their big day. As you read, more and more fabulous restaurants are realising this trend, and are becoming part of the Irish wedding industry as restaurant wedding venues. This results in a wider choice of venues for couples and more options weigh up when it comes to their wedding day.
If you are considering a more intimate wedding reception, a beautiful restaurant could be the ideal venue for you –excellent food, top class service and formal, yet adaptable decor make first class restaurants a great choice for couples and their guests. Many restaurants are also hiring event planners and wedding coordinators to help couples with their wedding plans.
The following five restaurants are wedding venues that we feel embody the qualities that couples seek when they entrust their special day to a venue and its staff.
Bon Appetit, Malahide, Dublin | Seats: Up to 60 people
Bon Appetit in the stylish seaside town of Malahide, North Dublin, is a name synonymous with fine dining. This Michelin-starred restaurant is the ideal setting for a glamourous, sophisticated and intimate occasion and truly inspires that wedding ‘wow factor’ with its romantic and elegant interior and stunning Georgian townhouse exterior. Treat your guests to a champagne reception in the wine bar before retiring to the dining area for a dazzling meal served by first class staff.
Wedding packages aren’t predetermined, which means that not only do you have the opportunity to create your own personal space within this coveted but you are also invited to create an exclusive dining experience for your guests with award-winning Michelin Star Chef Oliver Dunne, and Bon Appetit’s gifted resident sommelier.
Wedding photos by Emily Doran
Sol y Sombra, Kerry | Seats: 60 to 120 guests
Sol y Sombra, a tapas bar set in a distinctive former Church of Ireland building, is truly one of Ireland’s most unique wedding venues. The transition from church to restaurant and bar was a real labour of love for owner Cliodhna Fowley and her father, Nick Fowley (owner of acclaimed sister restaurant, Nick’s) and their work is certainly something to be admired. An ideal place for a civil ceremony or partnership, the restaurant maintains all the beauty of a religious setting but with no affiliation to any church. Its original stained glass windows cast an atmospheric light over proceedings (in fact it is from these windows that the restaurant gets its name –Sol y Sombra, meaning Sun and Shade) and it’s heavenly acoustics are both enchanting aspects of the venue.
An informal yet stylish tapas wedding breakfast will create a wonderfully intimate ambiance and new Head Chef Sara Pastor Sanchez is just the woman to create a sumptuous set of dishes (including a traditional Irish menu, depending on your preferences) for every guest to enjoy.
Aqua Restaurant, Howth, Dublin | Seats: 100 guests with room for more evening guests
Since opening its doors in 2000, Aqua Restaurant on the shores of North Dublin has hosted many private and intimate Irish weddings. Its location on the waters in Howth, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking Ireland’s Eye and Dublin Bay, provides a stunning backdrop. Renowned in Ireland’s capital for its fresh-off-the-boat fish, Aqua excels at seafood dishes, however the chef and coordinators work with couples to create their own perfect wedding menu.
Aqua, in its proximity to Dublin City is a great choice for an intimate wedding reception, and is perfect for those travelling from out of town. With exclusive use of the venue you are guaranteed an impeccable personal service. Finish the evening off with cocktails and panoramic views of the sunset over Howth Harbour. Pure romance!
Photos of wedding by SOSAC Photography
Pink Elephant, Kilbrittan, Cork | Seats: Up to 80 for wedding meal, up to 160 for evening
The Pink Elephant restaurant stands incandescently over the shores of Courtmacsherry Bay in West Cork. Its serene setting and striking ocean views create a beautiful backdrop for wedding photos, and indeed for an outdoor ceremony or blessing on the plush green lawns.
Breathtaking views are just one aspect of this much loved venue however, superb dining and widely celebrated Irish hospitality combine to make The Pink Elephant a fabulous wedding venue with uniqueness, intimacy, and character at its core.
Create your own wedding from start to finish with their dedicated wedding coordinator who is on hand to discuss anything and everything you can imagine as you endeavor to put your personal stamp on this quirky venue. The space is yours for your exclusive use, so you really can create anything your heart desires.
Beaufield Mews, Dublin | Seats: 200 (private room, 60; outdoor seating, 20)
Beaufield Mews is regarded as a ‘hidden oasis’ in Ireland’s capital. Located just four miles from Dublin City Centre, it is the perfect mix of accessibility and seclusion, features that have facilitated the restaurant’s place as the oldest restaurant in Dublin.
A glorious olive and bay tree-lined driveway provides an idyllic entrance to the 18th Century stables and courtyard, and private gardens provide a peaceful setting for guests to mingle while sipping on pre-dinner champagne cocktails. The venue mixes old world charm with an alternative twist, rustic picnics have become popular for informal summer weddings on the lawn, while the restaurant’s Mini Feast menus are a cute alternative to the traditional wedding breakfast. Seafood stalls and oyster bars have even been set up alongside the wedding drinks reception at Beaufield Mews. However the restaurant is open to all ideas, and is always excited to see what they can create together with their couples.