Choosing where you’ll have your wedding is probably one of the biggest planning decisions you’ll make! But it’s not an easy one – with so many amazing wedding venues dotted around Ireland, brides/grooms really are spoilt for choice from beautiful castles and quaint country houses to amazing boutique offerings. So just how do couples decide on ‘the one’? We looked to our real wedding couples for some inspiration – find out how they decided on their dream venue and see how it all came together below!
“We chose our venue because of so many different reasons! We wanted a venue that we could have exclusively for our guests for the full weekend. We are also real foodies so it was important to us that the food was good and we also wanted somewhere outside of Dublin but not too far! Virginia Park Lodge ticked all the boxes! The venue is owned by chef Richard Corrigan who personally cooks for all the weddings – so I knew the food was going to be good! Seán and I flew over to Richard’s restaurant in London for our menu tasting with my mum and dad in June – it was the best meal that any of us had ever had so we knew that all of our guests were in for a treat.”
Photo by Emma Russell Photography | See Fiona & Seán’s full real wedding here!
2. Jennifer & Alan at The Millhouse, Slane, Co. Meath
“We said from the start that we wanted to get married in a relaxed venue that let us put as much of ourselves into the occasion as we could. We would like to say that we searched high and low for a venue but we didn’t. When we visited The Millhouse in Slane, we immediately knew it was the right place for us. We loved the ceremony room, the lovely country house and quirky bedrooms, the scenery on the banks of the river Boyne, and also the bathtubs randomly dotted about the grounds. Essentially it was the bathtubs that sold it. One of the things that sold the venue to us was that we wanted a small private venue, where we could have both our ceremony and reception in the same place and which we could completely take over for the day. The Millhouse fit the bill. We also loved the old buildings and quirky features, which we knew would look really good in the photos, contrasting with all the colours of the wedding decorations and everyone dressed up for the occasion. The staff were superb throughout and provided us with so much support, both in the planning and on the day itself.”
Photo by The Fennells | See Jennifer & Alan’s ultra inspiring wedding here!
We chose our venue because Carlingford is very picturesque and has so many options for people to stay, we knew people would make a staycation of it. The Four Seasons Hotel Carlingford was the obvious choice as it could accommodate our numbers and this is the main stay of their business so they really know how to deliver. Megan, the wedding coordinator at the Four Seasons Hotel Carlingford, was amazing from the minute we met her until we checked out of the hotel after our wedding. Actually the whole team were. From keeping in touch in the weeks before to embracing everything we asked for, right up to me handing her a tiered cake made of cheese the night before, asking would she build it… not a bother!
Photo by Kathy Silke Photography | See Lisa & John’s glamorous wedding here!
“We visited quite a few venues across Dublin, Wicklow, Meath and Kildare in search of the perfect place. The second we walked into the function room in Barberstown Castle we knew that it was the place for us. Every other venue we visited had some negative aspects but we found it difficult to find a negative to Barberstown. We really didn’t want the typical hotel function room. The stonework, fireplaces, grand piano, medieval chairs and tables make Barberstown such a unique venue. It speaks for itself as a venue and we had very few décor additions to make to the room. Anna Nugent was our main point of contact in Barberstown. She went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure our day was perfect. Her organisational skills and attention to detail meant that nothing was left to chance on the day. It also catered for our second day bbq (in the main hotel) which everybody really enjoyed.”
Photo by Eric Molimard Photography | See Sarah & Lorcan’s romantic wedding celebrations here!
5. Roseanne & Emmet at Mount Druid, Co. Westmeath
“When we went to have a look at Mount Druid we immediately fell in love with the place. It was exactly what we wanted. The tin chapel, the boathouse and the barn were so colourful and nothing like anything we had seen at any other venue. It offered that laid back and fun atmosphere we were after. The venue is perfect if you are looking to put your own stamp on it. We made lots of our own decorations.”
Photo by David Maury Photography | See Roseanne & Emmet’s fun wedding here!
“We chose our venue because we fell in love with it straight away. We knew from even looking at the pictures it was where we wanted our wedding. We fell in love with staircase at The Heritage Killenard; when you walk into reception you really get that wow feeling. The ballroom was amazing.”
Photo by Couple Photography | See Ciara & Mark’s elegant wedding here!
“We wanted somewhere that could take our wedding numbers and would look like somewhere from a James Bond movie so we chose Fota Island Resort in Cork.”
Photo by Emma Russell Photography | See Oriel & Niall’s fab James Bond themed wedding here!
8. Aisling & Michael at Glasson Lakehouse, Athlone, Westmeath
“We chose our wedding venue for many reasons but the main reason was because of its beautiful setting, the hotel has amazing views of Lough Ree and the surrounding areas. We also chose here because it is family run and has a very homely feel. The staff at Glasson Lakehouse were superb, they always had a smile and a helping hand. The food was delicious with plenty to go around. The honeymoon suite was huge with a beautiful view!”
Photo by Aindreas Lynch, ATL Photography | See Aisling & Michael’s gorgeous Glasson wedding here!
“I fell in love with Palmerstown House Estate when I first set eyes on it. I wanted a location close to home that was not a hotel, and this was perfect, it’s a hidden gem just outside Dublin. The manor house is breathtaking, the scenery is beautiful and the Christmas decorations were up with no fairy backdrops in sight… only candles and fires. All the staff, especially Sinead and Declan, were so accommodating, nothing was too much trouble. They made the day so amazing for us and our guests, the food was outstanding. People still talk about it, they were in awe on the day in the manor house and couldn’t believe that it’s your venue for the day.”
Photo by Konrad Kubic Photography | See Amy & Ger’s fab festive wedding here!
“We visited and looked in to lots of venues around Galway but we knew straight away Lough Rea Hotel & Spa was the one for us. The staff are very professional and the attention to detail was amazing. The wedding coordinator at the hotel, Karen Brady, was incredible. She did everything and anything to make our day as perfect and special as possible. All those things made it the perfect venue for us.”
Photo by Paul Duane Photography | See Juliana & Adam’s beautiful wedding here!
11. Mairead & Neil at Ballykisteen Hotel, Co. Tipperary
“We chose our venue because Ballykisteen Hotel & Golf Club has a beautiful setting, an amazing room with high window and fairy light backdrop. Also the first wedding we went to together was there so it all made it a bit more special.”
Photo by McMahon Studios | See Neil & Mairead’s stunning wedding here!
“We were originally planning a marquee wedding but when we looked into the amount of work that would be involved we decided against it. A woman in work told me that if she was getting married again she would have it at Ballymagarvey Village which I had never even heard of. We went to one of their open days and we were just blown away. Every detail was so beautiful from the chandeliers in the trees as you drive in, to the beautiful conservatory in the mansion house, to the amazing accommodation. But it was when we walked into the reception room with all the twinkling lights that we were completely sold. The staff there were absolutely brilliant and looked after every single detail, we didn’t feel like we had to worry about anything.”
Photo by Kathy Silke Photography | See Ciaran & Fionnuala’s enchanting wedding here!
13. Ruth & John at BrookLodge, Co. Wicklow
“We’d originally planned on having our wedding in Dublin city centre to make it easier for the guests travelling from outside of Ireland. However, my mam’s colleague had given a glowing review of BrookLodge in Co. Wicklow so we thought it was worth checking it out. She drove me down for the first time and I was completely blown away by the beautiful grounds, stunning surroundings as well as how friendly the weddings team were. As we weren’t having a church wedding it was important for us to choose a venue with a ceremony location that felt special – the onsite chapel building at BrookLodge is more special than we’d even imagined we could possibly find. When I returned for a second visit with John he told me he was planning to play devil’s advocate after I’d given such a gushing report, but within 5 minutes of looking round he was whispering in my ear ‘let’s just book a date now’!”
Photo by Emma Russell Photography | See Ruth & John’s dreamy day here!
“We had stayed in Kinnitty Castle Hotel before. It was the only venue we went to see. We loved the feel of the place and were particularly impressed by the banqueting hall. It was about a 50 minute drive from Stradbally which meant it was close enough for me to be able to get ready at home!”
Photo by Couple Photography | See Elma & Michael’s quirky castle wedding here!
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Pamela enjoys writing about all things decor (she loves buying it too) and has a not so secret addiction to stationery.