How To Plan An Elopement Wedding in Ireland (Updated for 2025)
The time is closing in till your elopement! You’re planning, and you maybe feel a bit unprepared. With everything going on, you know that there’s one thing that really matters: that things are undeniably you. In short, I think that eloping is the best way to get married. Because you’re going to do things your way, with the people you love the most. Now that you and your partner have decided to elope in Europe and you’re considering Ireland as one of your top choices, what are the next steps? I’ve created this little guide on how to plan an elopement wedding in Ireland so that it can help guide you through the next planning stages.
Meet us— European Wedding Photographers
I’d love to introduce us— we’re Jake + Genessa, European wedding photographers! Our couples bring us all over Europe and have brought us to Ireland for elopements many times! So, we actually know a LOT of the best tips + tricks to planning an elopement in Ireland and getting the best Ireland elopement wedding photos!
Here’s what included in How to Plan an Elopement Wedding in Ireland:
- How to get to Ireland.
- When to visit Ireland.
- Travelling to and around Ireland
- Legal Requirements for Eloping in Ireland.
- Epic Elopement Locations in Ireland.
- Ireland Wedding + Elopement Photographers.
How to Get to Ireland
Do we need visas?
Firstly, for anyone based in the EU, there are no visa requirements for Spain. Because Spain is part of the Schengen area, there’s borderless travel between Spain and other Schengen countries. Depending on where you’re coming from outside the EU or the Schengen area, you and your partner may have to apply for visas to travel to Ireland. For example, United States and Canadian citizens can travel to Ireland without a visa for a maximum of 90 days. You can also find out more information about whether you need at travel visa on Ireland’s Entry Requirements page!
Note about COVID-19 travel restrictions:
Since 4 July, Ireland is exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel. The EU has also lifted its internal border controls within the Schengen area, meaning that anyone within the EU can travel to Ireland. For information on entry requirements and chances of being quarantined on arrival, check this page frequently, because it’s updated weekly.
When To Visit Ireland
When should we plan our elopement in Ireland?
It’s good to take into consideration the weather you’ll be having for your elopement in Ireland, as well as tourism peaks and flight costs.
The best time to visit Ireland is between March and May for spring weddings, and September to November, when it’s not as crowded as it is in summer, or as cold as it is in winter. That said, Ireland has a mild, temperate climate and although it’s rainy at times, you can visit all year round.
Summer (June, July and August) is the warmest time of year, when Ireland’s landscapes are at their most vibrant and the days are at their longest. However, it’s also crowded and prices are at a premium.
Travelling To and Around Ireland
Public transportation, best flights, and ferries.
Luckily, most international flights come into almost every one of Ireland’s main main cities (Dublin, Cork, Belfast, and Shannon Airports are the most travelled through), however some airports may be cheaper to fly into. Because Ireland only has 5 international airports, picking the closest one to your desired location might make things easier.
When you’re within Ireland, if you’re looking to travel within the country, the easiest option to get around is renting a car (Kayak.com is a great place to start).
For Americans and Canadians, however, there’s the whole other-side-of-the-car, other-side-of-the-road thing to contend with— just remember to stay left and you’ll be all right. If you’re looking to cut back on rentals, the public transport within the big cities is very efficient, and will also save you a lot of money.
Legal Requirements for Eloping in Ireland
Process, duration, + timelines.
Logistics for Eloping in Ireland
Before we get into it, we want to make sure the basics are covered:
- You must be at least 18 years old to get married in Ireland
- You must be physically present in Ireland for at least three months before the big day.
- On top of that, you’ll also need to be ready to hand over €200.
If you or your spouse are outside of Ireland, then you’ll need to request approval for a mail-in registration. To get approval, contact the office as soon as possible. Once approved, they will send you out all the forms that you need to get started. If you go this route, do keep in mind that at least five days before eloping in Ireland, you will still need to appear in person at the Registrar. If you have special circumstances, talk to them and make sure you’re doing so with enough time to prepare everything before eloping in Ireland. Meanwhile, you can find details on what the legal requirements here.
When you are in Ireland, it is fairly easy to give notice of your intent to marry. In order to get your Marriage Registration Form (MRF)— which is something that all religious and secular officiants will ask for— you’ll need to bring a couple things with you. Here is a quick rundown of what you will want to bring into the office to give your three-months notice and get your required form:
- 1) Passport
- 2) Passport photos
- 3) Birth Certificate (If you are not Irish, your birth certificate must have an apostille stamp from your embassy, with the exception of those from Denmark, Italy, France, Belgium, or Latvia)
- 4) Original final divorce decrees documents, if relevant
- 5) An original dissolution decrees for civil partnerships, if relevant
- 6) For ended Irish civil partnerships or marriages, a final decree of nullity and a letter from the court is needed
- 7) Keep in mind if you are a widow/er, then you will need your deceased spouse’s death certificate and previous civil marriage certificate
- 8) If you are living in Ireland as a foreigner, then you will need evidence of immigration status (typically a GNIB card)
- 9) Lastly, if you are living in Ireland or intend to reside there after the wedding, you will also need your PPS number
Eloping in Ireland Checklist:
Here’s an official government checklist of everything you need to have and do. If you’re becoming stressed about all the paperwork, I highly recommend working with a wedding planner based in Ireland, in order to assist you with the documentation to have your legal wedding in Ireland.
Skip The Paperwork
If you’d rather not have to worry about paperwork, many couples choose to sign the legal papers in their home country before or after their trip. Jake and I recommend to all our couples to get legally married in their local courthouse a day or so before flying to Ireland. Here are a few reasons why symbolic ceremonies are so much better for international elopements.
- It saves you a lot of hassle and form filling.
- No Limit: you aren’t limited when choosing locations for your elopement ceremony.
- Customize you elopement: you get to make your ceremony 100% about you with zero legal obligations to do or say.
- Options: you get to decide if you want a celebrant or not during your ceremony.
- As a result, you don’t have to worry about forgetting or losing the paperwork in the midst of all your travel logistics.
Epic Elopement Locations in Ireland
Where should we go in Ireland?
Number one on our list for anyone planning to elope to Ireland would have to be Dunluce Castle, because it’s an absolute fairytale spot to elope!. This iconic castle is situated on the County Antrim Coastline in Northern Ireland. The ancient ruin was actually built on the rocks of the coastal cliffs.
This clifftop path, which are hundreds of feet above the Giant’s Causeway, offers breathtaking views. It’s perfect for the adventurous couples, because you can hike for an hour and have your ceremony at Hamilton’s Seat, possibly the best view in the whole of Ireland.
The Cliffs of Moher are one of the most iconic locations in Ireland, and is also very popular for elopement weddings. When couples start their Irish elopement journey it’s often the first place they tend to look at. One of the best spots for an elopement ceremony is Hags Head, because you’re able to hire the area from a local farmer and drive pretty much up to the cliff edge.
This road was made famous when it was featured in Game of Thrones as the King’s Road. In the past, the Stuart family planted this picturesque avenue of beech trees way back in the 18th Century, and it still stands now. Because it’s located in the heart of the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland, you will be able to explore other amazing locations like the Giants Causeway or Dunluce if you choose to elope here.
If you want to have a ceremony here you would need to go for sunrise as it gets very busy with tourists during the day and evening.
Giant’s Causeway is probably Northern Ireland’s biggest tourist attraction, and for good reason. For example, it’s surrounded by huge cliffs the causeway is a formation of basalt columns caused by volcanic activity thousands of years ago. It’s an amazing place, it’s probably best to head here at sunrise or after 6 pm when the crowds have left.
The Howth Cliffs offer a gorgeous and easy walk/hike with views of Baily Lighthouse, Ireland’s Eye, Lambay Island, Dublin Bay, and the distant Wicklow Mountains. In addition, it’s located just 30 minutes from Dublin Airport & 45 minutes from Dublin City Centre, this is one of the most convenient locations for an Ireland elopement. Click here to see an elopement we shot at the Howth Cliffs!
Love lush green locations? Then they don’t come much lusher or greener than the stunning 16th-century ruin of Menlo Castle. You are able to enter the ruin so you could have your ceremony inside or outside. The site is only 10-15 minutes outside of Galway too so its very easily accessible
Dunseverick Castle is another hidden gem on the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland— an ancient ruin of a castle, lush green fields & huge looming cliffs.. It is a special place because it has a tranquility & peacefulness to it.
This is a beautiful ancient Irish Abbey! It’s a stunning place to say your vows, and also offers a little shelter from the elements if you want a ceremony that won’t be affected by the Irish weather.
The Cliffs of Moher are just 45 minutes away so you have the option to head there for extra portraits. Galway is 55 minutes away too so you have great options nearby.
Ireland Wedding and Elopement Photographers
How do we find the right elopement photographer?
If you are looking for a photographer to capture your adventurous elopement in Ireland, then you’re in the right place!
As you’re at the start of planning your wedding adventure, I am so stoked for you guys! Jake and I are adventure wedding photographers in Europe, so we have photographed Ireland elopements many times. So, we know all there is about how to plan an elopement wedding in Ireland!
If you feel connected to out portfolio, then Jake and I would LOVE to hear from you. Above all, we specialize in helping our couples have the greatest experience while getting incredible photos in the process! Click HERE to inquire with us.
Ireland Elopement Photography Packages
Our Ireland elopement packages are about so much more than just photography. You not only get unlimited support from us from the moment you reserve your wedding date, but we do it with all our hearts. We’ll guide you through the whole process of planning your elopement in Ireland, helping you to find the most epic locations for your ceremony and your pictures, connecting you with other vendors in Ireland and helping you create a timeline for the day so that you can have the experience you want, without having to worry about when the best light is, or how long to plan for different parts of your day.
Our Ireland elopement packages range from €2400 to €5200 and include all travel expenses.
Other Planning Resources
Lastly, if you’d like to keep up with our latest adventures and some really awesome resources make sure to check out our Instagram.
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