Donegal Wedding Planning tips

How many wedding guests?

This is one of the more important things to figure out early in the wedding planning process. If you are having a smaller wedding then you can consider the smaller wedding venues around the county but make sure to ask the larger venues too as many of them have smaller rooms that could be perfect for your big day.

Listen to the band

Listen to the band at another reception

Listen to your band

If you are thinking of booking a particular band that you haven’t heard before make a point of asking where they will be near you over the coming weeks. If you look closely at nearly every reception you can spot a couple that wasn’t at the wedding at the corner of the bar listening to the music and now you now why!  The CufflinksKeltic KaosKopy CatsMr Men BandFlipside and The Mindbenders are some of the Donegal Wedding Bands you may want to look into.

Make a wedding email account

Log onto and make a wedding email etc. This helps keep all your wedding things together and after you go on honeymoon you can ignore all the wedding emails!

Fill the important roles carefully

Definitely delegate and make a few lists of which guests will help with what. But for the really important roles don’t skimp. Hire professionals for your video and photo – uncle Jim’s shaky camcorder footage or random snapshots just won’t be same family heirloom as a proper professional album or dvd. There’s plenty your guests can do but mainly it should be mainly relaxing and enjoying a fantastic day out.

Set a Wedding Budget

This is a very exciting time in your life. But you need to discuss the budget with your partner. Identify any current savings and decide on a regular amount that you can afford to put aside on a regular basis until your big day. Try to clear any outstanding debts or credit cards before you begin saving! You will need money to put down on deposits on venue, cars, photo, video and the band.

Keep Track of your Wedding Spend

Once you have set your budget and you start to buy things for your wedding, it is a good idea to keep track of your spending to ensure you stick with your budget. There are several wedding budget apps available online.

Wedding loan

Try your local credit union for a loan. After the wedding you can use money given to you in presents to clear this loan. But if you can save up most in advance will leave you in a better position afterwards financially.

Take time for each other

The day is so fun and amazing but make sure to take time out to just chat with each other. In the back of the car heading to the venue; after arrival or after the meal it’s nice to make time just to spend in each others company. A nice idea is sometimes to go straight to the Bridal suite and spend a little time together, freshen up, and then head into the wedding party.

Consider mother nature and the light.

Christmas and winter weddings sound lovely but consider if it is snowing that you may need to have adequate travel preparations in place. Also once the clocks go back you are running out of light for outdoor shots from 3.30 to 4pm. Drumboe Woods is usually lovely for photo and video but at 4pm on a December evening it may not be! We were married during Christmas week and it was brilliant but just be realisic about the weather. In saying that there are no guarantees for July!

Will your car go there?

Heading to Fintra Beach or Rossnowlagh Beach for photos? Just bear in mind that some classic cars will not make it down the hills onto these beaches. Well they won’t make it back up really 😉 Also if you have a 30 minute drive to the reception allow a little longer on the day as your driver and car will usually be a little slower that your normal journey.

Get tips from each vendor

If you have already booked your photographer for example don’t be afraid to ask who they recommend for car hire, videography, and tips on your photo locations and venue etc. People who work well together will make your special day go together with ease.

sticky wedding plan

sticky wedding plan

Table plans

A table plan makes life so much easier for you and your guests. It is a little work but well worth it. Rather that put people in their comfort zone force the families to mix. Putting Uncles and Aunts and cousins of both families together is great for mixing early on in the day. Using sticky notes is a great way to do this.

Guest priority

To settle on you final guess list you can prioritise to make sure you get the right people there. Put family first, bridal party and your best friends to the top. Then list 2 could be uncles, aunts and cousins. Next maybe your co-workers then neighbours, parents friends etc. To trim back the list just remove categories from the bottom!

Plus ones?

Decide will you have plus ones or not – “no ring – no bring” could be applied here if you want to keep the numbers in check. And a table of your single friends meeting up the could lead to another wedding!

Nearby hotels

Try for a reduced rate for guests but it is also a good idea to compile a list of nearby hotels, b&Bs etc and webpages and phone numbers  and include this with your invitations.

Good driving directions

To ensure your guests make it let them know the best way to get to the hotel. Your hotel may even have maps done up. If you are taking people to a rural church it’s also a good idea to make sure there is detailed directions with the invite. It’s ok for the locals but anyone travelling from further afield may struggle on Donegal’s roads!

Ask and you ‘may’ recieve

If your hotel are giving you 2 free rooms on the wedding night maybe ask for a few extra rooms for the bridal party, or ask for the suite for the following night as well. if a hotel has two honeymoon suites and you stay on the Friday maybe they can let you stay again on Saturday. Can be nice to chill in the venue the following day with family and friends.

Ok maybe a little extreme but you get the picture! ;-)

Ok maybe a little extreme but you get the picture! 😉

Allow for slip-ups

I have worked at hundreds of weddings and whether it’s the mother of the bride’s flower going missing or a flower girl getting a speck of dirt on her dress – Don’t Panic! Live for the moment and take everything in and enjoy the day. There’s no point focusing on the inevitable little things that don’t go 100% to plan – in years to come those will be the memories you will laugh at. Don’t stress and enjoy the special day.

Bring back some memories

If you have nice invites, beautiful orders of service, decorations on the tables if may be worth tasking one your guests to hold onto some of these for you. These can be nice little keepsakes for the future.

Record your gifts

After the wedding keep note of all the envelopes and gifts. It’s nice to know after who gave what.

Prioritise – back to basics

To have a day to remember you may want to have an excellent photo album, a top quality video, and great memories. Your guests will want a good meal and a night partying to a fun band and DJ. Everything else is lovely but prioritise the main things and the day will be amazing.


wedding garter

wedding planning tips

Failing these tips you might just find you need one of these!

 Thinking about having a video made of your big day but not sure? Click here to find out why it’s a bride’s number 1 regret not having a video…

For more information on Donegal Wedding Videographer Jason McGarrigle and wedding videos please click here to go to my homepage.