You’re newly engaged and dreaming of an enchanting destination wedding in Ireland. Let me assure you — it’s a fantastic idea. I did it, and so can you! This blog is tailor-made for brides who are budget-conscious, open to skipping some traditional wedding customs, and willing to trim their guest list significantly.

If this sounds like you, you’re in luck. When I planned my week-long wedding on the Ring of Kerry, I kept a detailed record of every penny we spent. From the house rental to the vendors, the honeymoon, and more, this guide will provide a solid estimate of what you can expect to spend on a budget-friendly destination wedding in Ireland.

The Budget-Friendly Destination Wedding Essentials:

  1. Rent a house or houses on the same property with enough bedrooms and bathrooms for all your guests.
  2. Ensure the property is picturesque enough to host the wedding and spacious enough for a reception, without needing to rent a tent or expensive china, linens, etc.
  3. Set aside some funds to assist friends or family members who are essential at your wedding but might struggle with the travel expense.

Let’s be realistic – you should be prepared to spend at least $20,000, all-in, for your wedding in Ireland. This will cover more than just your wedding day if you plan it right. But please, avoid going into debt for your wedding. Ensure you have the funds to pay it off in full before your flight leaves, and that it won’t deplete your emergency funds.

We spent just over $30,000 on our wedding week in Ireland, honeymoon, and pre-flight marriage celebration. However, about $18,000 of these funds went directly to subsidizing the travel costs for some friends and family. If you think you might have a similar situation, factor these assistance costs into your estimates below.

If you have at least $20,000 set aside for your Irish wedding (or a wedding in a similar foreign country), you’re ready to move on to the estimating phase.

Estimating Your Destination Wedding in Ireland Costs

Once you have a firm grasp on your budget, it’s time to gather cost estimates for everything from A to Z. This is the fun part, especially if you’re a detail-oriented bride like me.

I can provide a breakdown of what I paid for my wedding week at the Westcove House in County Kerry, but your costs may vary if you choose a different venue or if you don’t financially assist some friends and relatives.

In any case, I can fill in much of the costs for you and indicate where these numbers may deviate up or down:

  1. Wedding at Home:  $1,200

    In case you haven’t heard, having a legal wedding in Ireland can be complicated. I found it much simpler and more affordable to get legally married at City Hall in my hometown, then have the full ceremony and reception for our destination wedding in Ireland. If you decide to do the same, expect to pay around $1200 for a small, immediate-family-only, marriage and dinner at home. This covers the cost of the City Hall ceremony and license, a simple white dress and shoes, small bouquet, and dinner for around 15 adults and 5 children.

    To cut costs further, consider a simple backyard barbecue with immediate family instead of a formal dinner. Or, keep the marriage ceremony and dinner to just the two of you.

    Estimate: $400 – 1,200

  2. Flights:  $1,100 and up, depending

    Since we live on the East Coast, flights to Ireland in peak season are around $500 each, if booked as a group. In reality, we paid $4,935.10 towards flight costs to help out some family members who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to attend our Irish wedding.

    If you have some family members or friends who are integral to your wedding story, but couldn’t attend without financial assistance, add their ticket costs to your budget. As an alternative, you could also pay $3,000 or more towards your total group flight invoice, to reduce your guests’ individual ticket prices by $100 or so. Now is also a good time to figure out how much your airport parking will be while you’re away for 2 – 3 weeks. Ours was $120 for 18 days. (We found a 50%-off parking coupon.)

    It’ll be hard to get this flight cost lower for the two of you. If anything, budget higher here.

    Estimate:  $1,100 minimum

  3. Car Rentals:  $480 and up, depending

    Our share of the car rentals, plus gas, was around $480 for 1 week. In reality, we paid $5,387 towards rental vans and our rented car. Why? To help ease the financial burden on our guests. (We have some friends and relatives who wouldn’t be able to travel abroad if we didn’t help out here.)

    We had the money saved, so we rented 4 large vans for the group to share, and 1 car for ourselves. This is where some serious travel coordination came in. We knew that some friends and family would want to rent their own car so they could take their own day trips. But for those who preferred to take day trips in a group of 6 or 7, we rented 4 large vans. We had to figure out who would want to travel together day-to-day, if they could all fit in one van, and so much more craziness. Also realize that the vans will have to transport luggage on the way to your rental house and on the way back to the airport. So you can’t squeeze 7 people in each van and call it a day; you’ll need to figure that 1-2 seats may be taken up by everyone’s luggage, strollers, wheelchair… you name it.

    But I’ll save that fun for another post!

    Four vans + 1 car = $5,387 total. And about 4 – 5 other couples rented their own cars on their dime.

    Now, in these early months, you may not know exactly who would be coming to Ireland or who would want to rent their own car. That’s OK for this estimating phase. If you know that you would have to assist some guests with a car rental, budget $850 per van — which includes the highest/best insurance package. (More on insurance in a different post!)

    Also, if you plan to stay in Ireland an extra week or two for your honeymoon after everyone leaves, multiply $480 by the number of weeks you expect to stay. We were in Ireland for 17 days and spent just under $1,000 on our personal rental car.

    Estimate: $480 per car or $850 per van


  4. Lodging & Wedding Venue:  $1,110, or $7,706, or 10,000 Euros, depending

    Here’s where you realize that spending money on a traditional, 5-hour wedding in the U.S. is not the most budget-friendly option. Instead, consider a destination wedding in Ireland where you can find a large house to rent that fits ~30 people, plus nearby lodging for overflow as needed. The costs of these house rentals vary wildly across Ireland. You can rent castles and huge manors with butlers and maids to wait on you and your guests hand-and-foot. Many of these large houses will cater a wedding for you, with all the bells, whistles and rose petals to complete the fairytale. These types of venues are quite expensive, however, and are more like the cost of a fancy hotel for every guest, for 7 days. (Hint: $30 – 40k for lodging alone.) I can’t afford that, but bless you if you can!

    For a more budget-friendly option, shop for large house rentals on sites like You might find something like the Westcove House in Co. Kerry, with 4 lodgings on 1 property, directly on the ocean, and can sleep 26 people. And if you’re extra lucky, the house you find may also include a friendly staff of caretakers who do catering for larger groups. (Wedding reception — check!)

    Whatever you find, there are a few different ways you can pay for it —

    1) Pay for the entire property yourself (which is what we did)

    2) Share the costs with your guests, or

    3) Find an affordable but small rental property best suited for a wedding and have your guests stay at a nearby hotel. We rented 3 of the 4 properties on the Westcove House estate, and 1 neighboring farmhouse apartment, for $7706 total. If this cost was split between other guests, our share would have been $1,101.

    I shopped for the best venue and contacted 14 properties for pricing. Similar properties to the Westcove House started at 10,000 Euros for the week and couldn’t sleep as many people.

    Still, 10,000 euros is a safe number to budget if you intend to cover most or all lodging costs. Over the next few weeks, continue shopping for your favorite venue and secure a complete breakdown of wedding-week costs for your top 2 or 3 properties.


    Option #1:  10,000 Euros

    Option #2:  $1,100

    Option #3:  ~7,000 Euros

  5. Food & Drink:  $4,500

    The wonderful caretakers of the Westcove House offer catering services to all tenants. We hired them to cater our Wedding Reception, the Hangover Brunch, freezer meals for easy dinners throughout the week, plus provide breakfast groceries for each day of the week. The wedding meal, cake, and hangover brunch totaled $2,600. After breakfast groceries, freezer meals, and lots and lots of alcohol: $4500 total.

    A few ideas to get this cheaper:

    – Skip the hangover brunch

    – Find a less expensive caterer

    – Skip breakfast groceries, freezer meals, and all food for the week

    Though a small operation, our catering costs ended at $79 per person. Looking back, this feels high. However, food in Ireland tends to be more expensive than what I’m used to paying in New England. And remember — this is after converting costs from Euros to USD.

    Estimate: $80 – $137 pp

  6. Wedding Day “Other”:  $7,433

    By now you should have solid estimates for your City Hall legalities, flights, car rentals, lodging/venue, and food. Of course, these things do not make a wedding! Here are the remaining costs that I paid, and what you could expect to pay, to finalize your Irish wedding day plans:

    Bridal Gown, Accessories & tailoring: $1525

    Groom’s suit & accessories: $1080

    Photographer: $1050

    Wedding Bands: $600

    Celebrant: $600

    Musicians: $513

    Tips: $300

    Wedding photobook: $300

    Makeup: $200

    Flowers: $200

    Thank You cards: $65

    Other / Incidentals (travel clothes, garment bag, passports, etc.): $1,000

    To get these cheaper, you could:

    – Find a cheaper wedding dress or suit

    – Find a cheaper wedding band, or inherit a grandmother’s ring

    – Watch your spending on incidentals

    It’ll be tough to find a less expensive photographer, cheaper rings, and less expensive vendors. I’m confident I found some amazingly affordable opportunities here!

    Estimate: $7,433

  7. Honeymoon & Wedding-Week Day Trips:  $4,000

    To be fair, we splurged quite a bit for our honeymoon. We didn’t stay at $700/night hotels, but we slept in luxury and dined finely. A perfect way to cap off the perfect wedding week, and begin a perfect life together as husband & wife. (SO cheesy, I know! But true 🙂 )

    Think about it: Guidebooks usually suggest to plan on $100 – $150 per day for a budget-friendly vacation. A 10-day honeymoon at those costs ends up at only $1,500!

    However, you might want to splurge a little bit on your honeymoon. Maybe you go for the $200/night hotel rooms. Maybe you get a bottle of wine with each meal. In any sense, budgeting $200 – $400 a day for a honeymoon seems fitting. But cheaper is totally doable.

In conclusion, adding up these estimates comes to $20,000 – $30,000, depending… on… a lot. This is where every situation will be unique. Use these costs as both a guideline and reality check. When you’re ready to get into the nitty-gritty details, read on and reach out to me for questions along the way!

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