Actual Cost of A Real Destination Wedding in Ireland, Part 1

Hey guys! I've been incredibly busy with our 2017 wedding season, June was a crazy awesome month.... insert teaser image now....

That being said, things have finally slowed down a bit and now its time to focus on my own destination wedding.  Which by the way, is getting costly...  I know, most people don't talk about what actual weddings costs, but you see I'm not most people.  And I think education is key when it comes to, well, most anything.  So today, we're chatting about the real cost for a destination wedding in Ireland.

Real Cost for a Destination Wedding In Ireland

There is a common misconception that destination weddings are much less expensive than a traditional (hosted at home, in the US) wedding.  And sometimes this is true (all-inclusive weddings are a fantastic example of this, elopements are another), that being said, the type of destination wedding you host, and number of guests, will dictate how much things cost. 

We all know that I love gorgeous, detail filled weddings with fabulous photography and great food, and even better wine.... and for my own wedding... it gets worse. Add in the travel expenses, gift bags and fun details and events for the wedding week and well.... thankfully we only have 50 or so guests. 

Today we're chatting about the key elements.  Location, Photography and Video. 

Location is KEY.

Mount Juliet.  Our wedding venue in Thomastown, Ireland.

Mount Juliet.  Our wedding venue in Thomastown, Ireland.

When we first started thinking about our wedding venue, we were going to rent a staffed beachfront villa in Jamaica.  It sounded perfect, but when we added up the number of people we wanted to go, it just wasn't large enough.  Then, my cousin tragically died, and we both wanted to honor him, his sense of adventure and our combined love of travel—so when a photo of a castle in Ireland popped up in my Facebook feed (thank you pixel advertising?) I knew this was it!  And our search started for the perfect venue in Ireland.  It makes perfect sense too, because my family immigrated to the US from Ireland way back in the 1700/1800's.  Anyway. 

Our original thought was that we'd have a small handful of guests, maybe 12-15 max.  So that's what I based my search on.  Most venues there, charge as much as venues here so imagine my surprise when I was getting quotes for $6,000-$7,000 for my 12-15 guests.  I was like Ummm, No Thank You. 

It's key to think about what's important to you when selecting a venue.  And budget was high on my list. 

When I found the Mount Juliet website and the photo of the manor house popped up, I instantly knew this was it.  It's stunning and while stately, it felt like home.  I had no doubt this is where we'd get married.  Thankfully, when I spoke with Alma (their on-site planner) she relayed that the wedding fee is only $250 and we can do photos anywhere on property we like.  Dinner would be at the Michelin rated restaurant the Lady Helen.  Since it was a small group we could finish the night with drinks at the Major's bar.  It sounded perfect!  So we set the date and booked Mount Juliet!

Now.  Our numbers have increased quite a bit and everything has changed, (we're now taking over the entire restaurant and have booked 1/2 the hotel;) but, we're still obsessed with Mount Juliet and they have been wonderful, very accommodating and easy to work with. 

For our venue, not including catering/alcohol/lodging, we've spent $1,500.  It's an absolute steal in my book and while our wedding isn't until next month (August 24th to be exact) I can already tell you it's worth every penny.  *Please note that we booked a manor house wedding at this venue over 1 year ago, and prices have most likely changed.

With catering & alcohol for our 50 guests we're expecting to spend approx. $8,000-10,000. 

Some of the other venues we looked at, both in Kentucky and Ireland, would have been close to double with a similar menu ($12,000-24,000+ depending on the number of guests).  In addition, if we'd had our wedding at home, we would have had closer to 200 guests.

Photography is KEY.

What good is a beautifully styled wedding without an awesome photographer? ha!  But, really, capturing the event is a major key element.  Here in the US we have some incredibly talented photographers and Ireland is no different.  When we started planning our wedding, it wasn't the Big Irish Wedding is it now, so we picked our favorite photographer in Ireland and booked him for a few hours, almost immediately.  Things have changed and since then, and we've decided to also bring along friends/photographers to document the entire week of festivities and remaining portion of the now full day wedding agenda.  I mean, how often will we have 50 of our closest friends and family together in one stunning location?  Yeah, it makes total sense. 

Tomasz Kronas Wedding Photographer, destination wedding planner, Lúnasa
Honey Heart Wedding Photography - destination wedding planner Lúnasa

For your photography you can expect to spend anywhere between $2,000-10,000 depending on who you choose, their location and travel fees.  To me this is a big bold line item.  The images will last a lifetime!  How do you put a price on that?  Anyway, we spent somewhere in the middle of that number.  Honestly it's hard to say exactly, because part of our photography was a gift—thanks to awesome friends and working on the wedding industry for 10 years!

Video is KEY.

I'm going to be honest for a moment.  (Ok, so I'm always pretty honest with you guys.)  But... Video wasn't high on my priority list—and it was even lower on Joe's.  So we kept pushing it to the side and expenses kept creeping up, so we decided to forgo video. 

I know.  That's crazy talk!  But, it's true.  Listen, taking 50 of the people you love most to Ireland is not inexpensive... so we had to make a few sacrifices.  That's when my mom stepped in and said "What?! You're not having video??" She was utterly shocked, and rightfully so.  We told her that it came down to a budget thing and then... she offered to pay for our videographer!  And when we found Story of Eve, our hearts were all a flutter and there was no turning back. See for yourselves....

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Our video was a gift, but expect to spend anywhere from $2,500-$5,000+ on video.

Guys... we cannot wait for this incredible day... in Ireland... at Mount Juliet... with the people we love most in a well documented way. :) 

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