Photo Courtesy of Joe Conroy Photography Portlaoise at the wedding of the lovely James and Christine
Photo Courtesy of Joe Conroy Photography Portlaoise at the wedding of the lovely James and Christine
This week we watched eagerly for announcements regarding the possibility of moving to a level 5 lockdown and wedding numbers being cut once again from 25 guests to 6 guests. At 9pm on Monday, the couples of Ireland breathed a sigh of relief, in the news that weddings will remain at 25 guests for the remainder of the year. When did we ever think the news that weddings of 25 people would be celebrated so greatly, as it was for many couples last night?!
This pandemic really has shaken and changed everyone’s preconceptions of what a wedding “should and needs” to be. Of course, we have all seen so many family and friends postpone until 2021, in the hope that they can have a larger wedding, and rightly so, always do what feels best for your day!
However, as someone who is not even engaged but had an idea of what I thought my wedding would look like, I have found myself reevaluating. Seeing weddings of 15 – 25 people and the joy and amazing time had by all, it just made me think “They had an amazing day with 15 people, imagine what you could do with a wedding of 60-80 people?" I had always considered this a small wedding by the standards of the hotel, I was wedding coordinator, the majority of the weddings were averaging 150-160ish people. However, now looking at it with a set of new eyes following 2020, it sounds like a dream.
One (among many reasons) why I always thought I would have my wedding in Ireland or locally was to facilitate a larger wedding. I am sure I am not the only one thinking about elopements and or weddings abroad, following the shit show that 2020 was for so many couples. So, I reached out to Rachel Rose Weddings to help us navigate the idea of weddings in Spain. Rachel actually helped to plan a friends beautiful wedding in Cortijo Rosa Blanca. Said friends have also kindly allowed me to use their incredible wedding photos, shot by the very talented Rafal Borek, based in Co.Sligo. Now, it's over to Rachel Rose Weddings!
So, tell us a little about who Rachel Rose Weddings is and what you do!
We are Rachel Rose Weddings and we are a full-service wedding company based near Marbella on the Costa Del Sol, with years of experience and a passion for creating the perfect destination weddings in Spain. We have three stunning wedding venues, each a beautiful private country Villa for you and your guests to enjoy, creating wonderful memories not just on your wedding day but throughout your stay at your chosen venue. We offer a full planning and design service with in house catering. Everything you need for stress free, easy planning of your destination wedding in Spain.
What would you recommend the first step for a bride-to-be who dreams of getting married in Spain do?
The first step is to decide the area of Spain you would like to marry in and then search for a wedding planner that will fit with your vision. Your wedding planner will then be able to conduct a venue search for you based on your requirements. You may have already found a venue that you like so you will need to find out if they have an in-house wedding planner or can recommend a good planner locally.
What advice would you give to couples considering marrying abroad?
When choosing the area/venue they wish to marry in it is important to take into consideration the travel implications for their wedding guests and is it likely their key guests will be able to attend their wedding. Location of airport in the UK or Ireland and distance from airport to the venue needs to be considered as some guests will only be able to come for the weekend. Another point that needs some consideration would be, the proximity of hotels and self-catering accommodation to suit a range of budgets for your guests is also an essential factor. You want to make things as easy as possible as it will be costing your guests a lot of money to travel abroad for your wedding so it is important they will have a fun and stress free experience whilst here, some may incorporate it into their annual holiday. Local beaches and good restaurants are always a winner!
Is there a directory you would recommend? In Ireland we have Weddingsonline, an online directory of venues, suppliers and starting price points etc, is there something similar for those brides considering marrying abroad particularly Spain?
Unfortunately, there is nothing really comparable – we have www.bodas.net or www.zankyou.es but don’t let that deter you, a reputable wedding planner should be able to provide your with any supplier/service details you require.
**Hi it's me Bríona, I just wanted to jump in to note, many Irish suppliers will also travel abroad and build this into their package price. I know many Photographers & videographers, Makeup Artists, Hairstylists and even Bands who have all traveled abroad to work at weddings. When have the Irish ever said no to a bit of sun. A prime example being Rafal Borek, the photographer of the amazing photos shared in this Blog from Sarah and Bill's day.
I think couples can be reluctant to hand over money for deposits etc without meeting someone in the flesh first and some are afraid of getting scammed, what would you recommend couples do to ease their mind?
It is important that couples research their wedding planners/venue not only for reassurance with regards to deposits but also to see the quality of their work and make sure they are a good fit for them. A reputable planner will have a website as well a social media pages showing photos of their real weddings. Their facebook page is a good place to read reviews and for further reassurance you can usually contact their past Brides direct to ask a few questions about their own experience.
Do you provide packages and if so what kind of thing do they include? Accommodation? Food? Drinks? Décor?
As we work within our own venues, we offer a full wedding package which would include almost everything a couple could want for their destination wedding such as Celebrant, Photographer, Florals, Music, Décor, Lighting, Stationery etc. This is not set in stone though as we understand each couple is different and we are happy to tailor this to their own needs and vision.
Our catering packages include all the food and drink from the moment your guests arrive until last orders at the bar. With Sangria and homemade lemonade on arrival, canapes and cava after the ceremony followed by a wedding dinner that can be a more formal Gala menu, a served BBQ or a more relaxed Tapas and Paella affair.
Are the packages charged per person or an overall cost?
Our Wedding Day package is €8700 and the catering costs average around €120 per guest. However, this does vary from couple to couple depending on exactly what you want to include or exclude.
What are the drawbacks/things that need consideration before committing to marrying abroad?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to legally marry in Spain unless you are a Catholic and wish to marry in the church or you have both been resident for over two years.
We recommend our couples do the legal part back home just before they travel to Spain for their real wedding. We always tell our couples to keep this as simple as possible, literally just signing the paperwork, no flowers, no vows and no ring exchange so that these important parts of the ceremony are left for their real wedding ceremony in Spain. Most of our ceremonies here are conducted by humanist celebrants but it is also possible to have a more religious ceremony if they wish.
How important is viewing the venue in person prior to the wedding?
As long as your venue has plenty of photos, video tour, floor plan and photos of real weddings is isn’t essential to visit your venue before booking. A lot of our couples come from America or Australia so it just isn’t practical for them to visit before booking and most won´t see the venue until they arrive for their wedding stay. Nobody has ever been disappointed, and they have always said the venues are more beautiful in real life. Reviews from guests staying at the venue would also be helpful.
What are the benefits to marrying abroad?
It will usually cost less for a wedding in Spain when compared to like for like back home. Better still your wedding will not be over in just one day as you will usually have a welcome event with your guests a day or two before your wedding as well as a post wedding event. Pool parties are a popular option the day after the wedding when guests can nurse sore heads with jugs of iced sangria and a paella or BBQ and catch up on the events of the day before.
All in all, a wedding abroad gives you a lot more quality time with your important guests and will create many more memories than a one-day wedding at home.
One last huge thank you to Sarah and Bill for allowing me to share their beautiful photos with you all. <3
Venues had without doubt already seen a growth in demand for smaller, more intimate, weddings. Even when worldwide pandemics, lockdowns and social distancing were mere concepts in the movie “Contagion”. I believe this trend will only increase over the coming months as a direct result of the Coronavirus.
If this lockdown has given us anything, it is a newfound appreciation for what really matters. A time in our lives that physically distanced us to an extent we never imagined, has brought us even closer to those who matter most.
We know weddings will look different over the coming months, with the new social distancing regulations. However, I personally believe there will be a certain category of couple who will jump on board with the smaller wedding trend. Couples who previously felt they “couldn’t” have a smaller wedding. It seems Irish couples in particular do feel slightly more pressure to invite the whole G.A.A club or 4th cousin Jimmy to attend their Big Day and you know if you invite Jimmy sure Angela has to come.
Of course, we all know this doesn’t really matter and your day is about the two of you and celebrating the beginning of your new life together as a married couple. I have friends who have decided to get married abroad with just their nearest and dearest or eloped, just the two of them, for specifically this reason. However, a lot more couples than you might think feel this unspoken pressure to have a big gathering on their big day.
This uncertain time around gatherings and weddings in general will undoubtedly afford these couples more leeway and understanding from the extended family and friend groups. Meaning, they will be able to have the smaller more intimate wedding or even Micro Wedding they have secretly wanted for so long. Micro Weddings are typically 20 people or less. They are a lovely alternative to the traditional wedding, a more relaxed day without the constraints of timings and tradition.
As a wedding coordinator I have seen wedding couples craving the “something different” and wanting to invest their money in creating a unique day through personalised elements rather than inviting the whole parish. If you are someone who is detail orientated, a smaller scaled wedding can definitely work to your advantage. Needless to say, the first thing people will think of is the savings on having a smaller wedding. As a result of this smaller guest list, this may afford couples the opportunity to put additional budget towards those personalised details that perhaps wouldn’t have been an option at a larger scale wedding.
I have had the pleasure of organising a few different types of weddings all based around smaller numbers but all VERY different from the last and I think that is the amazing opportunity in something like this. Please don’t mistake me, every wedding day no matter what the size is unique to each individual couple. Smaller weddings just tend to be less tied into traditions and the traditional timings of the occasion.
One Smaller wedding which I had the honour of taking care of was Eddie and Georgia. They inspired my new favourite type of wedding to organise.
Their wedding day looked like this:
14:00pm - They had a beautiful ceremony for 10 people in an intimate private space decorated with fresh flowers, a white aisle and chiavari chairs in a semi-circle surrounding this lovely couple. A Fairy lit backdrop behind them added a whimsical atmosphere to the occasion.
15:00pm - We popped bottles of champagne with some fabulous candid family photos on the Garden Terrace while some of the significant others and family arrived for dinner.
16:00pm - The 30 guests sat for an elegant 5-course family dinner on a single table with candles and the fresh flowers from the ceremony running down the centre of the table.
18:30pm - The larger number of evening guests started arriving for a drink’s reception with bottled beers on ice, a selection of cocktails and Canapes. Meanwhile, our Bride and Groom had some photos of just the two of them taken with their photographer.
19:15pm - We announced the Bride and Groom into the Drinks reception and let them relax and mingle with their guests before giving a bell call to announce the ballroom was now open and the band was beginning. Everyone was straight on to the dancefloor and throwing shapes! This evening party consisted of 2 live bands.
When guests entered the ball room we had a screen playing a selection of photographs from the ceremony only a few hours previous for all guests to see!
21:00pm - A huge selection of evening food was served; everything from Hotdog stands to a pig on the spit with a huge selection of “Avoca” style salads. They had a cake table with a selection of sweet bites with a “deconstructed cake” of single tiers and double tiers in the centre.
Later - The Music carried on until late with a DJ following the 2 live bands for those who were still going & Tayto sandwiches were served in the residents bar after 2am!
They really had the best of both worlds, with a small intimate wedding ceremony and family dinner followed by an amazing party focused around this lovely couple on their special day!
Personally, I am a huge fan of the idea of the intimate ceremony and dinner service with the same 20 guests – 50 guests followed by a slightly bigger after party of 100 or more guests. I think this is a fantastic option especially given the current circumstances. If anyone made the mistake of marrying me over the next couple of months this is without doubt the type of wedding I would go for.
(Government permitting of course).
Also, in light of the restrictions and guidelines offered this far, I am of the opinion a wedding like this would work well with the social distancing rules. One clear advantage is the fact that only the immediate family and friends following the ceremony will attend the traditional “Wedding Breakfast” or dinner allowing for easier distancing.
During the evening party there is traditionally less need for seating given the fact most people are usually mingling and or dancing so with less tables and chairs there will be more space for social distancing (as per the Fáilte Ireland recommendations provided to aid the reopening of hotels). However, this is my opinion and I know the industry and venues are doing their best to piece together what weddings will look like under the new guidelines and restrictions in their own particular venues, so be prepared for a variety of options and solutions depending on the venue.
I would be happy to help you navigate the idea of a smaller wedding and if you have any questions or just want someone to brainstorm ideas with, I am more than happy to help! Leave me a comment below or use the contact page to submit questions privately!
The Day Two has grown hugely in popularity over the last couple of years and the available offering for this has become as important to people when booking a venue as the Wedding Packages themselves. Perhaps you are one of our 2020 Couples who has been forced to postpone, maybe you never considered a Day Two, but with a little extra time to save, it's on your mind about what you might like to add on to make your patiently awaited big day all the more wonderful when it does arrive.
Here are a few ideas to get you and your other half started:
The Home Bird
Initially having something small at home can seem like the easy option, especially for those who grew up with a field or two outside your front door or simply enough room for a marquee. In the Irish climate you know a marquee is an absolute essential. There are lots of excellent Irish owned events companies with marquees available for hire at reasonable prices!
There are lots of options for at home shindigs, Pig on the Spit or BBQ with the option of BYOB (Bring your own beer) for family and friends. As an at home gathering is usually a slightly more relaxed vibe, BYOB would be an acceptable invite request. However you could of course have a few buckets of ice with a selection of beers available. For those who might like to get a little more “Boujee” with the at home affair, Mixologists or Cocktail Bar hire are an excellent addition, not only do they provide top notch cocktails they also have amazing entertainment value; the same goes for the Pig on a Spit it has huge entertainment value. The company PigSpit.ie, whom I have worked with on events and weddings previously were extremely professional. In my opinion they offered an excellent value for the service with their “Hog in Hand Package”, a client (and personal) favourite. It consists of slow-roast hog, homegrown on their farm, served with a choice of ciabattas and brioche buns plus a choice of two sides! This business established by Johnathan Marry comes from family farm roots in Meath so you know you are getting quality Irish produce. The wonderful advantage to this option is that it can be served Outdoors or indoors so it is a great flexible option to compete with the ever-changing Irish Weather.
Personally, the at home option wouldn’t be for me. Let me explain why. Every year we have a Family Kris Kindle this involves my Dad’s side of the family congregating in one of the 4 family homes on a Saturday in December to exchange gifts. We get together for a buffet selection of dishes, as well as a smorgasbord of desserts and drinks. It really is the start of Christmas in our family. Having watched my Mam prepare for this weeks / months in advance, everything from organising the menus to cater to the families ever changing vegetarian/vegan guests, making her famous mince for the mince pies and organising games and entertainment, I wouldn’t even begin to consider trying to plan all this for twice the amount of people in addition to planning my actual wedding. Thank God this tradition only comes to our house every 4 years, like the Olympics and only twice as competitive!
The Easy One
I personally love the idea of having everything in the one venue, especially if your venue is slightly further from home. Make a weekend of it! Also, from a Wedding couple’s point of view organising everything from start to finish with one person, your coordinator, is an invaluable convenience in the weeks leading up to your special day. Speak with your coordinator regarding options available for Day Two, some questions to keep in mind would be:
Probably my favourite idea for the Day Two event, is the Post Wedding Brunch, an easy going start to the morning after your Big Day! Brioche breakfast baps with tea and coffee and the option of Mimosas, Bloody Marys and other “Hair of the Dog” type Cures are popular choices. Anytime between 12pm-3pm works best. This allows for a gathering of Family and Friends to discuss the shenanigans and fun from the night before without the obligation of having to stay the second night. Some guests will check out of their rooms, join you for Brunch and then head home, leaving a smaller intimate group of friends to continue the celebrations until later should you wish. This is also a great all-year-round option, more so than the classic BBQ option.
The Quirky One
Another great all-year-round option would be a quirky and super fun Arcade themed party. A laid-back gathering in a private space with finger food, personalised wedding couple cocktails and old-style Arcade games. So Fresh Entertainment (Based in Kildare) has a great selection of Arcade Games for Hire for such an occasion. Along with some room uplighters, with some great 80’s tunes in the background and a selection of throwback sugary sweets will be enough to create nostalgia even your Auntie Mary will appreciate! Think Pac Man but make it wedding...
Just a few Ideas for you to consider in the run up to your big day!
Do you have plans for a Day Two? Leave a comment below and share your ideas/plans with us!