Planning a wedding in Ireland when you live abroad

May 3, 2016 | The Big Day

Planning a wedding can take its toll on your stress levels in its simplest form, but what about when you’re trying to plan a wedding in Ireland while living in another country?

Due to the mass exodus caused by the recession, there are a significant number of couples in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and beyond who want to tie the knot back home in Ireland.

So how do you go about it?

Planning a wedding in Ireland: The essential tools


Planning a wedding in Ireland from another country is not a time to be independent and proud – you’re going to need the help of your family back home. There are things you can do by phone or email, but some items on your list require a personal touch.

wedding in Ireland

Get both sets of parents to check out wedding venues in person for you. Not every single one on your list, just the few you’ve whittled it down too.

Similarly, if you’re posting paper invites, get the original batch delivered to your families and get them to do the posting. This will work out a lot cheaper than posting them individually from whatever country you’re living in. Obviously, you should reimburse them for this…

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

Appointing these guys as your wedding party isn’t just for show – yes, it’s a nice gesture, but they’re supposed to be helping you and your fiancée out.

wedding in Ireland

While bigger things can go to family or your best man/maid of honour, bridesmaids and groomsmen can help with smaller things, like sourcing wedding decorations, making centrepieces or place cards or creating props for your photo booth

The Internet

Last but not least, the World Wide Web. Seriously, how did anyone get anything done before this was invented? From Shared Docs on Gmail to basic photo research of venues to buying special accessories on Etsy, this will be your best friend during the planning phase. Not to mention that you can do most of your planning and booking of suppliers through SmartGroom!

wedding in Ireland

Planning a wedding in Ireland: Possible problems and their solutions

#1: Making important decisions from a-far

If you’re living in the UK, you may be able to schedule a few weekend trips back to Ireland to view venues and meet with suppliers, but if you’re stationed in Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, the US or anywhere equally far, you’re going to have to take a lot on good faith and also communicate via email and phone.

The solution: You can ask family and friends to act in your place and send you their thoughts (as well as some pictures).

#2: The lack of time

Yes, you’ve planned to come home a week before the big day, but a week is equal to mere minutes in wedding time. If you leave it until now to source decorations or make centrepiece and place cards, you’re screwed.

The solution: First of all, don’t be afraid to delegate and if you do, be sure to have some very nice thank you gifts for the people helping out. Draft in family and friends to help you source and collect things you’re going to need during the run-up to the ceremony. Take note of anything that has to be done by you during that week, and create a schedule you can follow to ensure everything gets done on time and nothing slips through the cracks.

#3: Deposits

A lot of smaller vendors may not have the facilities to take a credit card or PayPal payment as a deposit.

The solution: You can do a bank transfer, which can be costly in bank fees or you can ask a very nice relative to pay them in cash and reimburse them as soon as you’re home.

#4: The legalities

Turns out there’s quite a bit of legal paraphernalia to consider!

The solution: Get the paperwork done ASAP so you have plenty of time to solve potential problems. Get home at least seven days before your wedding to finalise papers and pay your fee. Also be sure to have both birth certs, as well as your baptismal records if you’re getting married in a Catholic church. Don’t forget that your Notice of Marriage needs to be completed at least three months before the Big Day. For more information on the legal side of things see here.