Castles, giants, intimacy and adventure
A Dunluce Castle elopement is a rare and beautiful thing.
You’re ditching the plush, cosy venue for the smell of the sea, and the feel of the wind in your hair as you kiss. You’re swapping a DJ for the sounds of crashing waves, the cries of gulls and the crunch of boots on weathered stiles. Irish elopements aren’t just weddings but smaller. They’re days of adventure and intimacy, where your love story is all that matters.
I grew up looking at Dunluce Castle out my bedroom window, and still spend my weekends walking along the shoreline with my family. The Causeway Coast has always been my home. And as an Irish elopement photographer, getting to share it with other people feels like I’m playing them my favourite song. So when Randy and Mei-Ling asked me to be their Dunluce Castle elopement planner and photographer, I was all-in from the word go!
And honestly, these guys are just the best! So friendly, so chilled. And so adorably, madly in love. They trusted me with every choice, and completely handed me the reins of their Irish elopement fairytale. If you’ve been dreaming of a Dunluce Castle elopement, come take a look. This might just be the little nudge you’ve been waiting for!
Dunluce Castle elopement styling inspiration
I’d organised for Mei-Ling to have her hair and makeup done at Moon and Muse Studio. And after she was ready, I picked her up and brought her back to their B&B. We’d planned a first look at Dunseverick Castle. So Randy got ready before Mei-Ling put on her dress (we wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise, would we?!)
One thing I love about elopements is how involved I get to be! I’m not just an elopement photographer and planner. I’m an errand girl, taxi driver, Maid of Honour and Best Man all rolled into one! And getting to be with Mei-Ling as she finished getting ready, sharing in her excitement with just the two of us in the little B&B was such a wonderful experience.
And ML looked awesome! There’s few things as badass, beautiful and effortlessly cool as a bride in Louis V boots, a full back tattoo and a delicate flower crown! And oh my goodness, the bouquet! I’d worked with ML and Randy on their dream elopement styling and got in touch with Tortraits for the florals. And these guys seriously delivered! With reflexed roses, peach peonies and violet clematis, it added a wonderful splash of colour to ML’s incredibly cool look.
With laced boots, bouquet in hand and a smile on her face, ML was ready to go. A beautiful bride, filled with excitement, and ready for adventure.
First look at Dunseverick Castle
Randy waited for his bride, looking out over the ruins of Dunseverick Castle silhouetted against the sea. Wind in his beard, the thick green grass beneath his feet, and the sea air filling his lungs. And when he turned around and first saw ML, it was absolutely magic.
There are few moments on your wedding day that’ll stick with you more than the first time you see each other. And on a normal wedding day, you have to share that moment with a hundred people. With an elopement, you get to share it all by yourselves.
And from there we went exploring! The area from Dunseverick Castle to Dunluce Castle is staggeringly beautiful. Huge rock formations rise out of the sea, there’s endless little bays and coves to explore. And all the while you hear the waves breaking along the shoreline. We clambered over stiles, walked along stony paths, and stopped whenever we felt like so Randy and ML could have a kiss and a cuddle and soak it all in.
And this is the best thing about having a Dunluce Castle elopement. There’s no one watching, no immediate rush, no strict timeline to keep. It’s all about the two of you and your relationship, nothing else. No spectacle, no theatrics. Just you.
Fireside wedding picnic at Dunluce Castle cottage
One of the great things about planning elopements is I get to surprise my couples! I always love doing sneaky little things behind the scenes, and then seeing their faces when they realise they’re getting a whole extra experience together they weren’t expecting!
So before their ceremony, I surprised Randy and ML with a styled fireside picnic at the cottage at Dunluce Castle. We had nibbles, a delicious buttercream cake and a few drinks by the fire before their ceremony. And anyway, who needs a fancy three-course meal when you’ve got a crackling fire and each other?!
An intimate elopement at Dunluce Castle
Dunluce Castle is the most famous of all the Irish castles. Perched on cliffs above a turbulent sea, the crumbling ruins of the 500 year old castle are a jaw-dropping sight. Randy and ML had their ceremony on a grassy cliff top on the other side of the cove, with the castle rising into the sky behind them. With just us, the celebrant, and the sea, it felt like we had the world to ourselves.
As part of the ceremony, their celebrant John performed the Celtic ‘handfasting’ tradition (which is where the saying ‘tie the knot’ actually comes from!) I love elopement ceremonies. They’re so simple, so pure, and completely centred around who you are as a couple. ML and Randy read their own beautiful, personally-written vows, fastened the knot, and it was official. They kissed, they hugged, we cheered! It was perfect.
After we’d soaked in the view of the castle one last time, we all headed back to the cottage for cake and drinks. After all, you don’t have to ditch all the traditions if you don’t want to. And who can say no to drinks and cake?!
Elopement photography at Giant’s Causeway
As night began to fall, we headed out to the Giant’s Causeway for our last adventure. The iconic rock formations are unlike anything else on earth (it’s actually a UNESCO World Heritage site). And it’s a truly romantic, unique place for your couple’s portraits.
The sounds of the waves echo and shimmer through the gullies, and the smooth, alien rocks rise up like stepping stones from the foaming waves. We had the place all to ourselves. And Randy and ML got to explore one of earth’s great wonders on their first evening as a married couple.
As an elopement photographer, I always think your experience should come before the photos. But I also love imagining the photos on your walls for the rest of your lives. I picture you sitting down with your families and showing them the story of your Irish elopement fairytale. And few things are more perfect for a fairytale than a causeway built for giants.
Is a Dunluce Castle elopement right for you?
A Dunluce Castle elopement is a fairytale of adventure and romance. I guess the question is, is it your fairytale? There’s no piles of presents, no fancy sit-down meal, and no wild dancefloor party at the end of the night. You’re swapping traditions and crowds of guests for intimacy, closeness and wide open spaces. You’re swapping stilettos on a dancefloor for a pure white dress hitched up over emerald fields. And instead of a sea of faces craning to watch you make your entrance, all you see is one. But for some people, there’s only one face they need to see.
A Dunluce Castle elopement might not be how you imagine your wedding to be. But if this is the wedding day you’ve always dreamed of, that’s the day I want you to have. With Randy and ML, I organised everything so they literally just had to show up. But I can be as involved as you want me to be. So whether you’d like me to help plan the whole thing from start to finish, or just turn up with my camera, I’d love to be a part of your story.
Get in touch today for a chat or check out my Irish elopements page to find out more.