Updated 2 January 2022
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 previous years, I would have said any time within 6 months would have been plenty of time; but thanks to the good old C word and busy schedules, 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.
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.
Northern Ireland Elopement Packages
4 hour coverage of your elopement, complete with travel and planning help, starts from £1395. 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 which stand out against the stunning coastline.
Actually Getting Married In Northern Ireland
Getting married in Northern Ireland is legally different from getting married in Ireland. Up until last year you could only have a civil or religious ceremony. But now you can have a legal Humanist wedding. These 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.
I work with a brilliant group of Humanist celebrants including Laura Fitzsimmons. Laura tells us a bit about how she works.
‘I write and conduct bespoke, meaningful wedding ceremonies all about you two and your journey both as individuals and as a couple. Through meetings (in real life or on Skype), emails and a little bit of fun homework for you and your partner, I get to know your values, your interests and your unique love story, and weave them all together into the ceremony of your dreams.’
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.
Northern Ireland Makeup Artists
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