The cost to elope in Ireland may be less than you imagine. Especially when compared to the cost of a traditional wedding in the United States.
If you’re looking for an elopement experience in the Emerald Isle but think the cost to elope there is out of reach, read on; it might be much closer than you think…
Eloping? Magical. Ireland? Magical.
The perfect match.
Ireland provides what I like to call “an exhilarating sense of calm.” It’s an ancient place with history, stunning scenery, cute colourful towns, and a slower pace of life. There are opportunities for hiking and exploring as well as plenty of vistas that require hardly any walking at all.
Stand on a cliff edge with the wind in your hair. Walk arm in arm with your love down a village road. Set out a picnic on a broad, calm beach. And round out the day with some trad music in a pub.
For more on how to elope in Ireland, read the ultimate Ireland elopement guide.
When considering the cost to elope in Ireland, one of the largest categories is the travel itself. As with most things on this list, your mileage may (literally) vary. I’m aiming for estimates to give you a rough idea, as well as a list of things to factor into your budget.
The cost of your flight is highly dependent on where you’re flying from, how far out you book your ticket, and the time of year. As of the time of writing (late 2023), I’m seeing flights from Washington, Texas, and New York all from $500-1200. When looking at cheaper flights, pay attention to the airline’s baggage allowance and carry-on sizes. If you have a layover, leave yourself at least several hours.
Lodging is the next big item in the travel category. The Ireland elopement guide linked above has some recommendations for places to stay. The short version: AirBnB may not be the best choice in the big cities, historic hotels and castles are everywhere and an incredible experience, and staying with locals or in B&Bs will give you a taste of the culture.
On average, you can expect to pay $75-175 per night. Staying at a castle hotel will be more expensive, but not outrageously so! I’ve seen $200-600 per night, on average.
Getting around in the cities is fairly easy; public transit is readily available and very affordable, either by bus or train. Buses are also available to the more popular tourist areas, like the Cliffs of Moher.
To determine the cost to elope in Ireland, not just the cost to visit, we have to consider where you’re eloping. My couples typically prefer out-of-the-way places, with big views and small (or ideally no) crowds. And to get to those places, the best option is to drive.
Car hire prices do vary depending on the time of year and the demand. Automatic transmission cars are less popular in Ireland, so they’re more expensive to rent. I’m renting a manual transmission car in April 2024 for $50/day, including insurance, taxes, and fees.
If you’re getting married with a wee group and want to reserve a venue, that factors into your overall cost to elope.
From castles to hotels to country houses, the cost of a venue is one of the most variable I’ve seen on this list. These do include lodging for you and your guests and often some—if not all—meals. Prices can be difficult to obtain without speaking to the venues directly. I’m seeing some in the $8000 range.
Click here for more info on the best small wedding venues in Ireland.
If you’re eloping in nature, the addition to your cost to elope is…zero.
A majority of the time, it doesn’t cost a thing to elope outdoors in Ireland beyond the occasional parking fee. On rare occasions, you may need to apply for and acquire a permit, usually for a small fee.
Rachel, why just these vendors? Why not write about the other popular wedding vendors like celebrants, florists, and hair and makeup artists?
I can comment on photography because I am a photographer. Other vendors, again, provide services to suit a range of budgets, and that range can be so wide it hardly helps for me to try and comment on it here.
Now. Not a single vendor is required for your Ireland elopement. As a photographer, I’d highly recommend you document it though! For 2024, my photography pricing starts at $5400. I also provide highlight films that can be added on for $1000.
Want to chat about photography for your Ireland elopement? You can message me here! I’m happy to answer all of your questions about eloping abroad and how I can help you design an elopement experience just for you.
The details are part of what makes your elopement yours, the sprinkles on the icing on the cake.
Are you wearing a dress? A suit? Something else entirely? How about adding a cape or a crown for the Lord of the Rings vibes? Maybe a pop of colour or something moody.
Any of these things can obviously be purchased for an elopement anywhere; they don’t factor into the cost to elope in Ireland specifically. But it’s something to think about for your overall “wedding budget,” especially if the Irish landscape inspires you in some way.
Don’t be afraid to let your personality out here! You get to wear whatever you want. If you’re looking for ideas and recommendations, I have a whole list of physical and online shops for all my booked clients in the How to Elope guide.
Much like your attire and accessories, the extras and personal touches are part of what makes your day unique. Floral arrangements, live music, and activities like whale watching or ferries to other islands all make for a personalized experience.
Traveling doesn’t have to be super expensive. If you’re looking to tighten up parts of your budget, I’d recommend tackling the travel itself.
Your flights will be cheaper if you choose off-peak travel dates. In Ireland, the busiest tourist season is between June and August. I’m available to travel home at several points throughout the year, but I have special photography deals for folks eloping in May or September.
Lodging, too, will be cheaper in the shoulder seasons. You can also save some money here by staying in more far-flung places, i.e. not in central Dublin.
At the end of the day, when you’re considering the cost to elope in Ireland and your overall elopement budget, prioritize what matters to you the most! Focus on what is most important to you, and save money elsewhere if need be.
The point of this isn’t to tell you to pinch every penny.
Think about the average cost of getting married in the United States: $29,000 according to CNN!
Let’s say you book me as your photographer (and then don’t have to book a planner or coordinator), get an average-priced flight, stay somewhere nice for a whole week, including a castle for one night, and hire a car so you can go wherever you want. You can do all of that for less than a third of the average U.S. wedding. Sometimes way less.
A whole trip to Ireland, with a photographer/planner, for less than the cost of a venue in the States…?
On top of all of that: this is your Ireland elopement adventure, something you’ll likely only experience once. That experience can be magical, and I hope after going through all of this you’ll see that first, it’s not as out of reach as you may have imagined. And second, you deserve it.