Kinbane Castle, Ireland Elopement

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Laura & Brady travelled from Utah, USA to elope on the North Coast of Northern Ireland last Autumn.
They had their elopement ceremony at Kinbane Castle, a historic castle ruin nestled on a clifftop by the Atlantic Ocean.

They booked a boat tour for after their ceremony to explore the coast, which turned out perfectly as it was an extremely rare, hot day in Northern Ireland, being the hottest day ever recorded in September.
They even had the opportunity to take a dip in the sea at the end of their tour, underneath the iconic Carrick-a-rede rope bridge where on-lookers watched and celebrated from above!

Afterwards, they got changed in a local pub and headed to The Dark Hedges for some golden hour photos before heading back to their Airbnb where they tucked into their cake and ordered some takeout to end their day.

How was the location chosen?

From Caragh, the photographer: I sent the couple a location guide for the North Coast and they picked Kinbane Castle for their ceremony spot. It’s a great spot as it’s usually pretty quiet compared to the other locations which attract a lot of tourists.

You don’t need any permits for Kinbane Castle. The other locations we visited during their elopement day don’t require any permits or permission to photograph either. They are open to the public for free. 
You can only have a symbolic ceremony here, as to have a legal ceremony it must be performed on either private or licensed land.

This (ceremony) location is not easily accessible. There are 140 steep and uneven steps down to this location, and it can be extremely slippery at the bottom. Around the castle and cliffs there are no safety rails, so I wouldn’t recommend it for young children.

What about Sustainability and leave no trace for this area?

From Caragh, the photographer: It’s always important when planning an elopement to be considerate of the environment! I never allow confetti and always make sure any rubbish and food is taken away with us at any location we visit. I often like to have champagne pop photos, but it’s important to make sure you remove the cork & metal and store it in a bag so it’s not left behind.

Besides the obvious no leaving behind litter or food, no confetti, personally I don’t even like biodegradable confetti, as these locations are to be shared with everyone who visits and confetti can look untidy. It’s unfair for everyone else!

You must practice Leave No Trace at all times at this location and anywhere along the North Coast. No confetti, no litter, and leave no food as sheep often graze the grass.

What are your top tips for eloping in this area?

From Caragh, the photographer: Wearing suitable footwear is so important for comfort and safety. I always recommend setting aside a minimum of 1.5 hours at Kinbane Head, but 2 hours is preferable, to really have time to explore the entire area and take your time on the ascent back up the steps, which in some weather conditions can be especially difficult.

The best time to elope is in the shoulder months, ie spring and autumn, as the North Coast is an extremely popular tourist destination with the summer being peak season. Not only that, but in the height of summer, the sun doesn’t set until after 10pm, which can make elopement planning pretty tricky especially if you want to maximise your chances of having golden hour photos.

How did the Couple meet and why Ireland as a location?

From Laura, the bride: Brady and I met while working for the same company. He stopped by my area one day to learn more about the work I did and that was our first interaction together. From then on we slowly started talking with each other more and after a few months we went on our first date! 🙂

I remember we were trying to plan our wedding a couple months after our engagement and we just felt that we kept trying to make everyone else happy. One night I decided to search on Instagram for Ireland based wedding photographers. After viewing a few profiles, I came across Caraghs. Looking through her work made me so excited and I could see ourselves in her images! So the next morning I showed Brady and half jokingly said “what if we eloped in Ireland?” and he said “let’s do it.” From that moment we knew that eloping was actually the right thing for us, we loved the intimacy of it all and that it felt so much more focused on us and our love! We specifically chose Ireland because it had always been a country we wanted to visit. There’s just so much beauty in Ireland! It just felt right with the amazing green landscapes, old castles, stunning cliffside views, and moody weather! 

Any other tips you’d like to share?

From Caragh, the photographer: The North Coast has so much on offer, not just the stunning views! There are so many activities that will give you a unique experience on your elopement day ie renting a boat, taking a helicopter tour of the coast, paragliding, surfing, or even horse trekking on a beach. Take advantage of all that it has to offer to really make the best memories! 

The Vendors:

Photography: Caragh Isla Photography
Dress Designer: Alena Leena purchased at Alta MODA Bridal

The Photos:

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