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A picturesque 16th century castle in Ireland, the Summer Solstice and the iconic cliffs on the Irish coast.
“My fondest memory of that day was standing before my husband in such a historic place, wind tussling my hair, adoring smiles beaming from cheek to cheek as we read our vows to each other.”
From the bride:
My husband and I met almost a decade ago in Eugene, OR. From the start of our friendship, our connection was tangible and unfolded quickly into a once-in-a-lifetime love for one another. A year and a half in, we moved to Bend, OR in the pursuit of his career, and we’ve been living in the high desert ever since. Growing up in the valley, I often miss the lush plant life and the drizzle of rain. So, after we became engaged in 2021, I knew that I wanted to plan my dream wedding somewhere surrounded by green.
After my sister’s marriage at the end of that same year – as fun as it was – the detailed event, the painstaking planning, the lavish décor just wasn’t calling my name… So, I brought up the idea of elopement to Austin. I wanted a care-free day, spent on a whim the way we wanted, exploring somewhere beautiful with just the two of us. Of course, it can be a hard decision to leave your family and friends out of your union… thankfully, everyone was supportive and ultimately just wanted us to feel happy and fulfilled.
Why an elopement in ireland?
From the bride:
Neither Austin nor I had ever visited Europe, and we knew we wanted to honeymoon somewhere overseas, rich in history and slow-paced. Eventually, we thought: why not legally marry during our honeymoon trip? For the two of us, this was the perfect alternative to a courthouse or Vegas wedding.
After combing through the world wide web and many, many elopement coordination services abroad, there was just one that stuck out to me. “Elope To Ireland”, a streamlined wedding planning service, was hands down one of the best investments we made through our wedding process (besides my amazing photographer!), and they helped us navigate tedious legalities, documents, and the like from the comfort of our home.
Elope to Ireland suggested a minimum of three months’ preparation time to plan an overseas elopement, but if you’re like me, I would opt for a much larger time frame to get things done. My main priority was that I didn’t want to stress! A steady, drawn-out preparation period of almost a year gave me adequate time to ask and answer questions, obtain official papers, and think hard on decisions without a hitch.
How was the location chosen?
Ireland has no shortage of breathtakingly beautiful castles, cliffs, beaches, and fields of green… But I knew in my heart that it had to be the ruins of a medieval tower. There is just something to behold about a once-lived fortress, decimated and overtaken by the earth – haunting, still ever-lovely, magical. Luckily, Peter had just the suggestion: Minard Castle, the 16th century remains of a fortress in Dingle, Ireland. It sits picturesquely perched on a hill of green overlooking the ocean, towering over a small rocky beach below. Really, it’s what dreams are made of, and it fulfilled every wish I had for our wedding backdrop.
We couldn’t wait to get there. With bags packed full of wedding garb and excitement brewing within us, we set off to Dublin, Ireland. We adventured all the way from Dublin, down and around the southern coastline, winding our way over to the westernmost point of the entire country, Dingle Peninsula, where we were to be wed.
how did the day unfold?
Our wedding day came early the morning of the Summer Solstice, June 21st. Sitting on the bay front, looking out the window of our room in The Greenmount House, the sun shone over the sparkling water, past the cobblestone penned livestock. My beloved photographer, Keena Good, arrived mid-morning to document Austin and I getting gussied up and drinking in the peace of the day, not to be bothered by time frames and to-do’s. We sipped on wine while I did my own makeup and hair, and Austin got buttoned up in his formal attire. We had each other’s company and the company of Keena, the atmosphere was whimsical, and smiles shone over the music playing in the background: a custom playlist of The Paper Kites, Passenger and Mumford and Sons.
The day developed like a flower’s bloom, divine from beginning to end. Our legal ceremony had to be held in the decorated lobby of our BnB, but afterward, we headed to Minard Castle where a more stylized, intimate, and embellished ceremony would occur. My fondest memory of that day was standing before my husband in such a historic place, wind tussling my hair, adoring smiles beaming from cheek to cheek as we read our vows to each other.
We decided early on to bring a keepsake box we could store our booklets and love letters in, next to the Irish wine we bought in Dingle, next to the shell we picked up from the beach, next to the ribbons that were placed inside from our traditional hand-fasting ceremony. It is a day of memories, locked away with a key, to be revisited on a later anniversary. I would recommend any and every one to consider some sort of keepsake container for your special day. Whether that be a shadowbox frame, a wooden chest, even an envelope, it allowed us to pluck the tangible memories from our day and keep them together in a special way that would take us right back to those moments.
What’s Your favorite memory of the day?
One of my favorite things included in our memory box were letters that friends and family wrote to us for our wedding day. Since they wouldn’t be with us physically, that was important for the both of us to have. Austin and I spent time, just the two of us, opening them late at night and reading them aloud, which was a special memory I’ll cherish forever.
After our officiant finished our ceremony with a beautiful Gaelic reading, her and the witnesses left one by one, and the scene before us turned into a playground for our photographer and us. We are superbly blessed to have a friend in Keena, and the three of us danced among the walls and rolling hills, creating art we would always hold dear to our hearts. We drove together along winding roads, stopping to soak in the unique Irish beauty with a permanent snap in time here and there, along Sleahead drive and through the fields into the evening.
It was dark by the time we made it back to The Greenmount House, fully exhausted and high on such a thrilling experience. Ireland is magical. It has a warm and special hospitality that welcomed us with open arms, and its beauty is unparalleled to anything I have ever witnessed before. There was only one thing left for us to do to complete the perfect wedding elopement in Ireland: end the long day of adventure with a cold Guiness at a local bar.
I’m very thankful for my time there, for those whom I got to spend it with, and for a tall glass of brew surrounded by the amazing people of Ireland.