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1 in 5 engaged couples want wedding abroad

18 February 2020

As the old saying goes: life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. While those moments differ from person to person, there are certain landmarks guaranteed to make an impact.

With IrelandLikes, permanent tsb set out to discover the nation’s most popular dream plans. You responded in your thousands and we’ve got the survey results mapped, county by county. 

Along with ‘home improvements’, ‘new wheels’ and ‘travel’, our IrelandLikes survey offered an array of ‘life event’ options. Votes were cast for everything from further education (for yourself) to communion celebrations (for your kids)… 

Love in the air

Weddings come out as the big ‘life event’ like for 31% of those surveyed.

Although it remains a significant goal for many, that figure could reflect its fading importance in 2020. Indeed, a Euromonitor report forecasts that Ireland’s marriage rate will fall to a record low by 2030. It’s predicted that we will see 4 marriages per 1,000 people by then (60% lower than in 1980) and people will wed older (32.4 years for men and 31.2 years for women).

IrelandLikes also reveals the changing manner in which we’re hoping to get hitched. Most strikingly, 1 in 5 people would like a wedding abroad.

Traditional weddings on Irish soil do remain popular with 26% of respondents – Tipperary and Offaly are the strongholds for church ceremonies and function rooms filled with family. Elsewhere, there’s more change in the air. Some 21% want a small family wedding, rather than a massive celebration.

Others are just keen to be alone with their true love –  17% of people are dreaming of the honeymoon. Bora Bora and Thailand are two destinations name-checked in IrelandLikes.

Back to the big day, there is an increasing trend for “bespoke wedding festivals”13% are thinking of long weekend events complete with food trucks, camper vans, tipis, amusements and professional videographers to capture it all.

Foreign affairs

Galway is the county most likely to throw a wedding requiring a plane ticket as well as a new hat. Some 50% of Galwegians specify a foreign location. In Donegal, 1 in 3 are for weddings abroad. They are also popular in Monaghan, Wexford and Dublin.

More specifically, “beach ceremonies” crop up most frequently. Having “fireworks” is also a noteworthy must-have.

Recent trends suggest mainland Europe is the favoured destination for most Irish couples. More leftfield celebrations of love from our IrelandLikes data? We wish a lifetime of happiness to the Monaghan respondent dreaming of a wedding in China! More common European spots are Spain and Italy, with Portugal, Croatia and Malta becoming increasingly popular.

France comes with a note of caution: the country has strict residency rules which prevent most couples from holding a legal ceremony. Typically you’ll need between 30 to 40 days of residency to do it. This means the majority of couples will have to have a legal ceremony at home, before holding the church or humanist ceremony on French soil. So, wherever you have your heart set on, it’s important to check the country’s laws before committing.

Best plans

Other watch-outs when tying the knot abroad? Getting up-to-speed with local customs. The day itself may be structured differently. In Italy, for instance, food will typically start being served at noon. Malta has late afternoon kick-offs for ceremonies, while some countries only get going in the evening.

On the bright side, destination weddings allow you to get away from standard hotel settings. From beaches to vineyards, the possibilities are endless with the right climate! It also takes the pressure off you having a gigantic 300-guest wedding. Weddings abroad are suited to more intimate affairs. Naturally, some people will be unable to make the journey and those outside your close circle will be less likely to expect an invite.

Hiring a local wedding planner may ultimately save you money, and definitely save you the time and effort it takes to navigate unfamiliar venues, caterers and culture.


If you’d rather wed closer to home, permanent tsb has some handy average cost breakdowns to help you start planning. Even if you’re after something more exotic, you’ll find useful savings tips to guide you on your journey from “I’d like to” right up to “I do”.

You can also click here to turn that ‘like’ into a loan, getting the funds in place to make your big day, a dream day.

Lending criteria, terms and conditions apply. permanent tsb p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

The content of this blog does not constitute advice and is for general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice before relying on anything stated in the blog. Some of the links above bring you to external websites. Your use of an external website is subject to the terms of that site.


Limerick Leader

Permanent tsb

One Fab Day

Citizens Information

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