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  • Michael Grace Celebrant

Just Engaged? - What Next?

Updated: Jun 3



Many congratulations if you have just got engaged. Celebrate and enjoy this incredibly special moment in your lives. Celebrate with family and friends. When the dust has settled and your start thinking about what to do next, I hope this blog will help you, with some tips on the things to consider as you start planning for your big day. These are the things to consider at the early stage of your planning, which will form the basis of and evolve into a detailed plan as pieces fall into place.



What sort of wedding would you like?

Are you looking for the traditional wedding in a chic hotel with you family, friends and neighbours or something more bohemian in an ancient castle? Or something completely different in a forest glade or sandy beach. The choice open to couples now, but as you choose, check any restrictions or rules, particularly for a legal marriage.


Type of Ceremony

Today in Ireland, you have choice, whether you want a church/religious ceremony, a secular ceremony or a civil ceremony. I have described each of these here.


Civil ceremony is a legal ceremony conducted by a HSE Registrar. These ceremonies can be held in a Registry office or in your wedding venue. The Registrars will conduct ceremonies Monday to Friday only (9am to 5pm).


Religious/Secular ceremony is a legal ceremony conducted by a registered solemniser. Venue can be anywhere, as long as it's open to the public and has a fixed address. Seven days a week and at a time of your choosing (in agreement with the venue and solemniser).


Non-legal ceremony conducted by a celebrant (solemniser or non-legal celebrant). Seven days a week and at a time of your choosing (in agreement with the venue and celebrant). Venue can be anywhere – there are no restrictions on the location or venue of this ceremony. As the ceremony is not legal, you would need to complete legalities separately to the ceremony, perhaps on a different day to the wedding.


When would you like to get married?

Would you like to marry this year, next year or later? Have you a preferred season and month to get married? And have you a preferred day – do you want a weekend, or would any day of the week suit you?

The things to consider when choose the time of year that you would like to get married include budget and weather. The popular months for weddings are May to September, so costs will be higher. You also have a better chance of better weather in those months. But do not rule out a winter wedding or seasonal wedding. Check out my other blog on why a winter wedding might be the thing for you. Have your ideal date for your wedding before you start contacting your suppliers.


What is your budget?

Are you looking for lavish or simple? Would you like large or small?

The more involved in your wedding the higher the cost. Think about your budget range and plan based on that. Do some research on average cost of suppliers, e.g., venues, photographers musicians, bands, DJs, outfits, entertainment, styling etc.


Have you a preferred style of wedding?

Traditional with family and friends or an intimate elopement with just the two of you? Home or abroad? Civil, religious, or secular?

The type of wedding you have should be the wedding of your dreams. From the traditional, surrounded by your family and friends to the intimate elopement with just the two of you or something in between. Also think about the type of wedding ceremony you would like. There are so many options available today. Do you want to get married in your local church or at your chosen venue? Or would you prefer a simple ceremony at your local registry office?


Start investigating and booking your suppliers

No matter how far out your wedding is, it is never too early to start thinking about your suppliers and get booking. To find the supplier that you want, that will create the magic that you are hoping to create, I recommend that you start booking as soon as possible. Here is a list of some of the suppliers that you should start investigating and booking.

  1. Venue. For both your ceremony and your reception. That may be the same place or you may be considering your ceremony in your local church or in any separate place from your reception.

  2. Celebrant/Solemniser. Depending on the type of ceremony you want (civil, religious/secular or non-legal) you need to investigate your celebrant/solemniser. Don't book the first you see, arrange calls with them (no more than 15 minutes). That 15 minutes will give you a chance to get to know them, rather than just making a decision from their social media or website. Also read through their testimonials. Your ceremony is the first big (and most important) event of the day so you want you celebrant to help set the vibe and start creating the magic

  3. Entertainment. This is a category that covers band, DJ, drinks reception entertainment (that might also be your ceremony music). Do you want other forms of entertainment on the day, for example a comedian, a magician etc.

  4. Photographer/Videographer. Think about the of how you want your day captured and look at the photographers and videographers websites to see who will capture your day in the way that you want, whether that is formal or candid or a mix.


How many will you invite?

Your guest list if often the hardest question to answer when planning your wedding. How many will you have at your wedding and who will you invite? Family only, family and close friends only, or family, close friends, and community (neighbours, work colleagues etc)?

The answer is often influenced by a number of things including budget, who is paying, location (home or abroad). Small is becoming more popular and have a look at my blog where I outline why small is good.


Gather inspiration

Before you book anything gather ideas, do your research. There are many websites that will give you inspiration and the answers to the previous questions will guide you on the style of your wedding and the choice of your suppliers. Before choosing a supplier, look at the websites, previous work and most importantly the reviews they have received from previous couples.


I hope that helps with getting you started on the exciting journey as you plan for your wedding day. Sit down together and start planning as early as possible. Enjoy the journey and check in here for more blogs to help you plan the perfect day.

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