Wedding Restrictions in Ireland in August 2021

Last updated: July 27th, 2021

If you’re planning to get married in Ireland after August 5th, 2021, you may be confused about what you are and are not allowed to do on your wedding day. The Irish government have stated that weddings of up to 100 guests can take place, but have left some details open to interpretation, leading to confusion among couples, their guests, suppliers, venue owners, and us, the One Fab Day editorial team! We’ve asked the government for clarification on multiple issues, but, in the mean time, we wanted to provide honest answers to the questions we’re getting on a daily basis, even if the answer is, “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid we just don’t know!”

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Photo by Fox + Quil Photography via One Fab Day

But First, a Note on Our Covid-19 Content:

Planning a wedding in a pandemic is a serious business, and we don’t take our role in advising couples lightly. It’s extremely important to us that we don’t pass on information that could lead anyone to put themselves, their partner, their guests or their suppliers at greater risk of Covid-19, or leave them open to fines or other penalties under Irish law. That’s why our policy is to only publish that comes from an official government source, and to link to that source every time.

We’d love to be able to give solid answers to all your wedding-related questions, and appreciate how frustrating it is that we can’t. We have been reaching out to the government for more information since the start of the pandemic, but unfortunately, they’ve been really unhelpful, and have yet to provide clarification on most issues. And, to make matters even more confusing, all of the documents they’ve published are subject to change, without notice. Of course, we’ll continue to update this feature with information as we get it, so make sure to scroll back to the very top to learn when it was last updated.

If you’ve got a question that isn’t covered here, do please send us an email ([email protected]) or a message on Instagram or Facebook, and we’ll add that to our list of issues to be clarified.

What about couples getting married between July 5th and August 5th 2021?

You’ll find all the latest information on this right here.

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Photo by You Them Us Photography via One Fab Day

FAQ: Planning a Wedding in Ireland after August 5th 2021

WEDDING GUESTS

  1. How many guests can attend my wedding? From August 5th100 guests will be permitted at wedding ceremonies and receptions, as stated here.
  2. Do my guests have to be vaccinated to attend my wedding? As there’s no mention of it here, it’s safe to assume that there’s no requirement for wedding guests to produce a vaccine passport in order to attend a wedding.
  3. Are my children to be included in the number of guests? We’ve had lots of questions on this since it was announced that children would be included in the restrictions around general outdoor and indoor dining, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there are any exemptions for children at weddings, as they are not mentioned in the updated guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses. We have sought clarification from the government on this, and have not been provided with a response.
  4. Are my guests’ children to be included in the number of guests? We’ve had lots of questions on this since it was announced that children would be included in the restrictions around general outdoor and indoor dining, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there are any exemptions for children at weddings, as they are not mentioned in the updated guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses. We have sought clarification from the government on this, and have not been provided with a response.
  5. Are babies included in the number of guests? We’ve had lots of questions on this since it was announced that children would be included in the restrictions around general outdoor and indoor dining, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there are any exemptions for children at weddings, as they are not mentioned in the updated guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses. We have sought clarification from the government on this, and have not been provided with a response. Given how attached newborns are to their parents, we would like to see an exemption introduced for babies in particular.
  6. Does the priest, celebrant or officiant count in the 50 guests? Priests, celebrants and officiants are not wedding guests, so we’re inclined to think that they’re not to be included in guest numbers. However, we haven’t been able to find any documents to back this one up. 
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Photo by Olga Hogan Photography via One Fab Day

WEDDING VENUES:

  1. Are wedding receptions permitted to take place at non-traditional venues, for example, restaurants, pubs, and private residences? This isn’t mentioned in any of the current guidance on wedding restrictions, but there has been a lot of confusion around this in the past. At Level 5, the COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021 Roadmap stated that weddings of up to 6 guests were permitted “regardless of venue,” suggesting that receptions could be hosted at non-traditional venues, but some venue owners were unsure whether they could interpret this as permission to host weddings. Unfortunately, the government have not clarified this at any stage, and there’s no documentation to back it up.
  2. What kind of weddings are permitted? As stated here, weddings of up to 100 guests can take place. As stated in the guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses, receptions before August 5th 2021 are required to be sit-down meals only. We have to wait for this document to be updated before we can say whether or not this applies to weddings after August 5th.
  3. How late can the wedding go on until? Currently, food and beverage facilities must be clear of all patrons by 11:30pm. We are awaiting an update on the guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses, which should tell us if this will still be the case after August 5th.
  4. Are Day-Two gatherings permitted? A maximum of 200 attendees are permitted to attend outdoor events “at the majority of venues”, as stated here.
  5. Is a marquee an indoor or outdoor venue? Failte Ireland provided a definition of an outdoor space in their guidelines here, advising that a marquee or gazebo with a roof and four sizes is not an outdoor space. The guidelines state that an outdoor place or premises is one that is covered by a roof, so long as not more than 50% of the perimeter (outside) is covered by a wall, windows, gate or similar. They go into more detail on this, which you can find in the document at the link above.
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Photo by Memento Photography via One Fab Day

TRAVEL FOR WEDDINGS:

  1. Are couples permitted to travel within Ireland to attend their own wedding? Yes, as stated here.
  2. Are guests permitted to travel within Ireland to attend a wedding? Yes, as stated here.
  3. Are couples/wedding guests permitted to travel from abroad to Ireland to attend a wedding? The government have advised citizens to travel safely and in accordance with public health guidance and restrictions. 
  4. Are couples/wedding guests permitted to travel between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to attend a wedding? The government have advised citizens to travel safely and in accordance with public health guidance and restrictions.
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Photo by Ali and Laura Photography via One Fab Day

WEDDING SERVICES:

  1. Are couples and their guests permitted to stay overnight in a hotel or other tourist accommodation on the night of the wedding? Yes, according to the guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses.
  2. Is live music permitted at a wedding ceremony or reception? We are awaiting an update to the guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses with information on weddings taking place after August 5th 2021. Currently, the guidelines state that live music is not permitted. 
  3. Is dancing permitted at a wedding? We are awaiting an update to the guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses with information on weddings taking place after August 5th 2021. Currently, the guidelines state that dancing is not permitted. 
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Photo by Aspect Photography via One Fab Day

HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WEDDINGS:

  1. What is best practice for mask wearing at a wedding? By law, you have to wear masks or face coverings in certain indoor settings, which are defined here. The government also advises wearing a mask or face covering when staying 2 metres apart from people is difficult, in busy indoor and outdoor spaces where a lot of people gather, and around people aged 70 or over or people who are medically vulnerable/unvaccinated. It’s worth bearing all of this in mind in advance of your wedding, and on the day itself. If you are providing face coverings for your guests, you should ensure that they comply with government guidelines given here. More guidelines on wearing face coverings are available here. For the wedding reception, which must be a sit-down meal only, we can look to Government public health advice on dining at restaurants for guidance. It states that you do not have to wear a face covering or mask while eating and drinking, but you should wear one anytime you’re not at your table, including when arriving at or leaving your table. Face coverings or masks must be worn by the staff during the service of the meal, according to the guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses.
  2. What is best practice for social distancing at a wedding? While no direct guidance has been provided by the government on social distancing at weddings, we can assume that physical distancing is recommended. The guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses states that as much furniture as possible should be removed from rooms to ensure maximum space for social distancing at weddings and that there must be adequate spacing between guests at each table. The HSPC Guidance for Food Service Businesses states that physical distancing of at least 1 metre should be maintained between people seated at tables, and physical distancing of at least 2 metres should be maintained between separate tables, although this can be reduced to 1 metre in certain circumstances. It’s worth thinking about your guests as belonging to separate household pods, and keeping this in mind when discussing seating arrangements with your ceremony and reception venues. The factors used by the HSE to determine who is considered a close contact of a person with Covid-19 might be useful in risk assessment, too. They can include more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact within 2 metres of someone who has Covid-19, indoors or outdoors, and sometimes more than 2 hours in an indoor space with someone who has Covid-19. 
  3. What is best practice for hand sanitising at a wedding? Government Public Health advice is to wash your hands properly and often, particularly when leaving and arriving at buildings, and before and after being in a crowd indoors or outdoors. According to the guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses, the venue must ensure that hand sanitisers (including touchless dispensers where possible) are readily available and accessible to all, at each access point. If you are providing additional hand sanitisers for your guests, you should check that they are registered for use in Ireland – a list is available here
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Photo by Dasha Caffrey via One Fab Day

REGISTRATION OF MARRIAGE:

  1. Is the registry office open? Yes, but the online booking system for marriage notification appointments is not currently available due to the HSE cyber attack, as stated here. Normal services should resume soon.
  2. If a couple needs to change their wedding date due to Covid-19 restrictions, do they need to reapply for their marriage license? Yes. The HSE have confirmed to us by email that, if a couple has already had their marriage notification appointment, and received their marriage license, but now need to change their date, they will have to reapply, but they will not be charged the statutory fee of €200 again.

RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES:

  1. Are the Catholic Church permitting wedding ceremonies on a Sunday? Traditionally, Catholic ceremonies didn’t take place on Sundays in Ireland, but, since the pandemic, some dioceses have allowed them. Reports from couples suggest that the policy on this varies from priest to priest, and diocese to diocese, so it’s best to contact your priest, and/or the priest in the church where you hope to get married, to find out more.
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Photo by Olga Hogan Photography via One Fab Day

WEDDINGS IN SEPTEMBER 2021:

  1. When will wedding guest numbers increase further? Unfortunately, we won’t know until further information is issued by the government. But we are working on content that will provide couples with information as restrictions ease. 

We’ve created lots of helpful content around adapting your wedding plans for Covid-19 restrictions – you’ll find it all here. 


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