Updated 26 October 2020
You’re getting married! Yes!! And thanks to the C word, outdoor weddings have never looked so popular in Northern Ireland and Ireland. But how does this work? Where to start? And will it be as amazing as the big wedding you may have originally been planning? This blog has all the answers, as well as some of the legal bits and bobs you need to tie up.
- 1 Can I get married in Northern Ireland?
- 2 How Many People Can Come to My Wedding in Northern Ireland?
- 3 Where Can We Get Married Outdoors In Northern Ireland?
- 4 Best Locations To Get Married In Northern Ireland
- 5 Get Married On The Beach in Northern Ireland
- 6 How To Legally Get Married In Northern Ireland
- 7 Will A Small Outdoor Wedding Be As Good As a Big Wedding?
- 8 How To Include Family and Friends in Your Lockdown Wedding
- 9 All Inclusive Outdoor Wedding Planning Services Northern Ireland
- 10 Small Intimate Wedding Photography Packages in Northern Ireland
Can I get married in Northern Ireland?
As of June 8th, YES YOU CAN get married in Northern Ireland!! Hooray!! How freakin’ exciting. Weddings are back. They are different, but they are back. And even in the subsequent lockdowns, weddings have continued to be permitted across the island of Ireland.
How Many People Can Come to My Wedding in Northern Ireland?
Currently you can have 25 people at your wedding in Northern Ireland, but we hope that will change after the current 4 week ‘circuit breaker.’ By the time 2021 happens, I’m hopeful that the previous restrictions of numbers set by venues will be back. But having an outdoor wedding will give a lot more flexibility.
I know it may be hard to cut it down, but people will understand and there will be loads of time for celebrations later. There is also the option of Facetiming, Zoom, or Instagram/Facebook live.
Where Can We Get Married Outdoors In Northern Ireland?
So this depends who is marrying you. If you are having a religious or Himanist ceremony in Northern Ireland, you can get married anywhere the officiant agrees to.
If you are having a civil wedding in Northern Ireland, you need to get married outdoors ‘as long the location has been licensed by the council as an approved place (couples will need to contact the registration office in the district in which the marriage is to take place in order to discuss the suitability of the location for the marriage and the action that may be required, and the two metre social distancing rules must be adhered to)’. For a list of licensed venues click here, but also be sure to check in with your local council as this list may not be as up to date as necessary.
10 popular outdoor venues in Northern Ireland include:
- Harry’s Shack, Portstewart
- Antrim Castle Gardens, Antrim
- Hillmount House, Larne
- Larchfield Estate, Lisburn
- Drenagh House, Limavady
- Kilmore Country House, Glenariffe
- Ballyscullion Park, Magherafelt
- Lissanoure Castle, Armoy
- Glenarm Castle, Glenarm
- Ivory Pavillion, Galgorm Castle
These are all council licensed venues, but it’s important you double check with your local council as to whether they will permit them being used for outdoor ceremonies.
Best Locations To Get Married In Northern Ireland
If you are having a religious or Humanist ceremony, you can get married anywhere in Northern Ireland. Just like an elopement, you really are spoiled for choice for where to get married. Northern Ireland is the best place in Europe for elopements and intimate weddings. Here are some of my favourite elopement locations, and for more details on them head to my elopement guide here.
Get Married On The Beach in Northern Ireland
If you live or travelling to the Causeway Coast and Glens area of Northern Ireland, you can get married in a civil or religious ceremony on any council maintained beach in the borough.
5 beaches you can get married on in Northern Ireland:
- White Rocks Beach, Portrush
- Downhill Beach, Castlerock
- East Strand, Portrush
- Cushendall Beach, Cushendall
- Runkerry Beach, Portballintrae
How To Legally Get Married In Northern Ireland
So there is a key factor in when and how you get married in Northern Ireland and that’s giving your notice to get married. Typically you must give atleast 28 days notice to get married. And you must do that at the council district in which you are getting married. Currently things are all over the place with backlogs and notices being extended etc. And I have had couples who have been able to get things expedited so your first port of call again is your registrar/officiant. Every council area is operating slightly differently right now due to staffing measures etc. so keep that in mind.
If you need to download the Marriage Notice Form you can do so by clicking here.
Will A Small Outdoor Wedding Be As Good As a Big Wedding?
YES YES YES!! Will it be different? Yes! Will it be less? NO.
Your wedding is about the start of your marriage. Your commitment to the love of your life. It’s a celebration of the love you both share. Ultimately it’s a promise to each other to stick together no matter what. And right now, that’s even more special. It will be amazing. It will be intimate. It will be focused on all that truly matters…each other and your future together.
How To Include Family and Friends in Your Lockdown Wedding
There are so many ways that you can include your friends and family in your intimate wedding. Numbers physically at the ceremony may be small, but it doesn’t mean that those you love can’t be a part of it.
- Set up a livestream via Zoom, Facebook or Instagram so that your friends and family can watch along in real time. It will be a worldwide celebration. Tell them to wear their outfits or get dressed up.
- Ask your family and friends to send an email to your officiant or one of the witnesses. Get them to read them out during or after the ceremony.
- Get your friends or family to send you something special to have with you. It could be your something old, borrowed and blue; a hair pin; a chain for your flowers or a garter. For the groom it could be some cufflinks, a tie pin or some socks. Something that has come from them.
- Have your photographer/videographer capture the ceremony so that you can have a watch party when this is all over.
- Have them drive by and honk those horns in celebration!!
All Inclusive Outdoor Wedding Planning Services Northern Ireland
So if you check out my elopement guide, you will see that I have experience of planning outdoor weddings here in Northern Ireland. I have worked with so many incredible vendors, and have been planning elopements for a while now. I am delighted that more local people will be making the most of our local scenery and would love to help you plan your day.
Packages including hair, makeup, flowers and photography start at £2595. Contact me here for my elopement pricing guide.
Small Intimate Wedding Photography Packages in Northern Ireland
Given this current situation I am also currently offering hourly coverage for weddings to allow you to have a flexible wedding photography package. These are unique times and that requires a unique approach to your wedding photos. It has never been more important to have these memories captured. If you are planning your lockdown wedding, please get in touch. I will help in any way I can…from a distance of course.