Northern Ireland Elopement Guide For 2024

Updated 21 August 2023

So you’re thinking of getting married abroad. And you’re thinking of getting married in Ireland. Well Ireland is an island known for its incredible landscapes, backdrops, culture and history. Northern Ireland (basically the top bit for those who don’t know the difference) has it all, especially in its majestic Causeway Coast. With Game of Thrones locations, amazing venues and the best creatives in the world, it is the perfect place for your elopement. And I’m going to tell you what you need to know to start planning your intimate fairytale Irish wedding.

When Should We Start Planning Our Elopement in Ireland?

In previous years, I would have said any time within 6 months would have been plenty of time; but thanks to the ever growing popularity of Northern Ireland elopements, I would advise starting to plan ASAP.

If you’re travelling from outside of the UK and Ireland, you may need a specific visa to get legally married here. In this case, you need to have applied for your visa before you apply for your marriage license. So you need to start the legal process around 3 months in advance of your wedding date. You can find more information on the legal requirements for getting married in Northern Ireland here.

Best Elopement Locations

In all of Europe, I think you’d struggle to find locations as stunning as the Irish coast. Northern Ireland’s coastline has a range of incredible spots to elope. Here are my 5 favourites:

This medieval castle sits on the outskirts of the coastal town of Portrush. You can still access the castle, but the best views are obtained from a field nearby. It is particularly beautiful at sunset.

Murlough Bay has it all. A Game of Thrones location, it has wonderful greenery and rocks. It also has some hidden beaches and stunning views. It is a lesser known location so ideal for an intimate wedding.

murlough bay elopement ballycastle ireland

Probably one of the most famous Game of Thrones locations in Northern Ireland. Ballintoy harbour is beautifully positioned to get stunning light. With the dramatic rock formations, beautiful white sandy beach, quirky harbour and greenery galore. It is the location that has it all. No hiking or trekking required.

It’s a bit of a stretch to call it a castle, as there is only a little bit of it left. But it is a gorgeous view and perfect for an elopement. The mound overlooking the area is a great spot to say your vows.

Kinbane is one for the slightly more adventurous. Though still reasonably accessible, there are a lot of steps to climb down and up. But boy are they worth it. It’s the perfect intimate wedding venue.

Places to Stay for your Elopement

You’re coming to elope, so you’ll need somewhere to stay. There are some amazing places to stay on the North Coast. I work with some incredible local rental companies, which work out cheaper than air bnb; as well as providing recommendations for the best hotels in Northern Ireland. If you are searching yourself, you’re going to want to base yourself on the Causeway Coast. Search for Portrush or Ballycastle. These are two great little seaside towns near to all the best locations. They have some gorgeous restaurants, cute Irish bars with some live Irish music.

Northern Ireland Elopement Packages

4 hour coverage of your elopement, complete with travel and planning help, starts from £1995. I also offer a planning service which means I arrange your florist, celebrant, videographer and the planning of your entire day. If you’d like to know more about what I offer contact me here or check out my Instagram for more of my work, tips and advice.

Northern Ireland Elopement Videographers

It’s always amazing to have video of your elopement to show your friends and family. Especially to have those vows recorded. I love working with videographers. We work together to make sure your day is perfect.

Northern Ireland Wedding Florists

When it comes to elopement bouquets, there is no such thing as too big and wild. Dry flowers work incredibly will; as do bold vibrant colours earthy colours which stand out against the stunning coastline. I work with a number of local florists who can put together fresh floral bouquets or some preserved flowers; that look and feel real but you can keep.

It’s important to keep in mind the season you are eloping in when thinking about your flowers. Some flowers aren’t available in certain seasons; and the coast is notorious for wind, so your flowers need to be resilient.

Actually Getting Married In Northern Ireland

Getting married in Northern Ireland is legally different from getting married in Ireland. To get married outdoors legally, you can have a legal Humanist or religious wedding. I work with a range of celebrants who are create ceremonies that are ideal for elopements. They are so intimate, emotional and personal. There are some technicalities as to where you can marry, as you need permission from landowners, but there are some incredible options.

This is where working with a local photographer and planner really comes in helpful. We can help you find the perfect place to meet your needs and connect with all the relevant people to help you make all the arrangements.

Most couples do tend to do the legal stuff back home, as it makes it easier and more cost effective. It also means you have more time to travel and enjoy being in Northern Ireland instead of having to tie up paperwork. It doesn’t change how special your Celtic ceremony is and all couples say it’s so much more special because it’s so relaxed.

northern ireland elopement hand fasting ceremony

Elopement Hair Styles for the Causeway Coast

When it comes to elopement hair, I always say, let it fly. Let the wind take hold of it and create some beautiful movement in your photos. Elopements are wild and free and I love when that is reflected in hair styles. But I know that’s not for everyone. Braids or partially up, or flower crowns all make wonderful elopement hair styles.

If you are going to wear your hair up; get a trial at home so that you can see how it looks, particularly if you are someone who doesn’t wear your hair up often. Have the stylist take lots of pictures from different angles and then show it to your stylist when you get to Northern Ireland for your elopement. You won’t have time for a trial when you get here so it’s worth thinking in advance.

Northern Ireland Makeup Artists

When it comes to elopement makeup; nearly all brides say the same thing. They want to keep it natural. They want to feel like themselves but with a bit of a glow up. Of course though, you want it to stay on as you face the elements on your adventure. That’s where having a specialist elopement make up artist is so helpful. Rebecca Duff is one of the most popular elopement specialist makeup artists on the coast. Her approach to makeup is timeless and she works with you on the day so that it never feels too much. She brings such a warm energy and instantly relaxes everyone she works with. So she doesn’t just make you look amazing, but she makes you feel amazing too.

Best Time To Elope in Northern Ireland – (the weather)

If you’re planning to elope anywhere in Ireland, you can never guarantee the weather and Northern Ireland is no different. That being said, no matter what the season, the landscape looks incredible.

Spring and Autumn weddings tend to have the best light, with sunset being earlier, making it easy to plan with timings. It also isn’t as busy with tourists as Summer is. Though some locations like Dunluce Castle and the Dark Hedges are popular all year round.

The thing is, even if it does rain, the clouds and some wind really add drama to your photos. No matter when you come, if you’re up for some adventure, you will get amazing wedding photos.

Ireland Elopement Planning – Where To Start!

So I’ve given you a brief overview of all the things you need to plan your epic elopement in Ireland, or more specifically Northern Ireland. I recommend starting with your elopement photographer…hint hint, but I also offer elopement planning for elopements on the Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland. I know all the best spots for light, timings and tourists. As a photographer that lives on this epic coastline, I am a specialist in how to plan the perfect Irish elopement. As I mentioned, I offer a couple of packages which include hair styling, makeup and flowers – as well as planning. But planning help is included with all of my packages.

If you have any questions about anything covered here, or you’re ready to start planning your unique elopement in Ireland or Northern Ireland, get in touch. I can’t wait to help you plan. Lx

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