Wedding Restrictions in Ireland in June 2021

Last updated: May 26th, 2021

If you’re planning to get married in Ireland after June 7th, 2021, you’re probably very confused about what you are and are not allowed to do on your wedding day. The Irish government have stated that wedding ceremonies (both religious and non-religious) of up to 50 guests, indoor wedding receptions of up to 25 guests can take place, but have given little guidance on how to safely achieve this, 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 May 10th and June 6th 2021?

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

What about the Level system?

Before May 10th, 2021, Ireland was at Level 5. However, it looks like the government have abandoned the Level system at this stage. The Levels weren’t mentioned in the official announcement on easing restrictions, but, when asked by a journalist, the Taoiseach has described this latest plan as “Level 3 plus”.

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Photo by You Them Us Photography via One Fab Day

FAQ: Planning a Wedding in Ireland after June 7th 2021

WEDDING GUESTS

  1. How many guests can attend my wedding? As stated here, wedding ceremonies, both religious and non-religious, can have a maximum of 50 guests. Indoor wedding receptions can have a maximum of 25 guests, subject to the public health situation at the time. The couple and wedding venue staff are not included in this number, according to the guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses.
  2. Are my children to be included in the number of guests? We have sought clarification from the government on this, and have not been provided with a response. As children are not mentioned in the guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses, we’re inclined to think that there is no exemption for them and that they must be included in guest numbers.
  3. Are my guests’ children to be included in the number of guests? We have sought clarification from the government on this, and have not been provided with a response. As children are not mentioned in the guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses, we’re inclined to think that there is no exemption for them and that they must be included in guest numbers.
  4. Are babies included in the number of guests? We have sought clarification from the government on this, and have not been provided with a response. As children are not mentioned in the guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses, we’re inclined to think that there is no exemption for them and that they must be included in the guest numbers. Given how attached newborns are to their parents, we would like to see an exemption introduced for young babies in particular.
  5. Does the priest, celebrant or officiant count in the 25 guests? We have sought clarification from the government on this, and have not been provided with a response. 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:

It’s worth bearing in mind that, while certain venues are permitted to cater for wedding receptions of up to 25 guests, not all venues are able to do this, for various reasons. You can find out whether a venue is hosting weddings of this size by getting in touch with them directly. 

  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.
  2. What kind of weddings are permitted? As stated here, wedding ceremonies (both religious and non-religious) of up to 50 guests can take place, and indoor wedding receptions of up to 25 guests can. As stated in the guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses, receptions must be sit-down meals only.
  3. How late can the wedding go on until? Food and Beverage facility must be clear of all patrons by 11:30pm, as stated here.
  4. Are Day Two gatherings permitted? There’s no exception mentioned for this, so we have to assume that no, they’re not.
  5. I’ve been informed by my wedding venue that they can’t accommodate a wedding reception of up to 25 guests. Why is this? This is a fairly common question at the moment, but only your venue can tell you the specific reasons why they’re unable to host weddings of this size, as every venue is so different. What we do know is that most wedding venues were not designed to host wedding receptions of 25 people, and countless issues arise from scaling a service down to such small numbers. Some venues have such high operational costs that they could only host weddings of this size at a huge financial loss. There are also staffing issues that arise with hosting one-off events, and safety issues to consider – the hospitality guidelines for Covid-19 are extensive and strict, and they simply can’t be applied to all spaces.
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Photo by Aspect 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, you can now travel between counties in Ireland.
  2. Are guests permitted to travel within Ireland to attend a wedding? Yes. As stated here, you can now travel between counties in Ireland.
  3. Are couples/wedding guests permitted to travel from abroad to Ireland to attend a wedding? In the guidelines for international travel, the Irish government advises against all non-essential international travel, so we’re inclined to think that no, they’re not. However, there’s no definition provided for what might be an essential reason, leading to more confusion among couples and guests. 
  4. Are couples/wedding guests permitted to travel between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to attend a wedding? Both the Republic of Ireland’s guidelines for travel and Northern Ireland’s guidelines for travel advise against all non-essential international travel, so we’re inclined to think that no, they’re not. However, there’s no definition provided for what might be an essential reason, leading to more confusion among couples and guests. 
  5. I have decided to travel from abroad to Ireland to attend a wedding. Do I need to quarantine? Mandatory quarantine requirements apply to anyone who enters Ireland from overseas. A summary of those quarantine measures is available here.
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Photo by Danielle O’Hora Photography via One Fab Day

WEDDING SERVICES:

It’s worth bearing in mind that, while certain suppliers are permitted to cater for wedding receptions of up to 25 guests, not all suppliers are able to do this, for various reasons. You can find out whether a supplier is catering for weddings of this size by getting in touch with them directly. 

  1. Are wedding services such as videography and floristry permitted at weddings? As they’re not mentioned in the guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses, we are inclined to think that no, they’re not. We have sought clarification from the government on this, and have not been provided with a response. 
  2. Are hair and makeup services permitted at venues or at private residences? From May 10th, 2021, hair salons are permitted to open, but hairstylists and makeup artists are not mentioned in the government-issued guidelines on weddings. We have contacted the government for clarification on this, and hope to update you soon.
  3. Are clothing alterations and tailoring services permitted, in order to service wedding parties? From May 17th, 2021, alteration services are permitted to operate, along with all remaining retail, as stated here.
  4. Are car services permitted at weddings? As bus, rail and taxi services were allowed to operate under Level 5, it follows that car services are permitted to operate at weddings now.
  5. Are couples 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.
  6. Are couples’ 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.
  7. Are couples permitted to travel for wedding services, e.g. to view a venue, avail of alterations to a suit? Yes. As stated here, you can now travel between counties in Ireland.
  8. Is live music permitted at a wedding ceremony or reception? No, according to the guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses, it is not permitted. This applies to “live or loud” music and all “live performances”.
  9. Is dancing permitted at a wedding? No, according to the guidelines provided by Fáilte Ireland to Hotels and Guesthouses, it 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. Wedding venues are not listed, but some non-traditional wedding venues, such as museums, are listed (that said, there’s been some confusion as to whether these types of venues are currently permitted to host weddings – see the Wedding Venues section above). 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. 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? Registry office services are operating as normal. 
  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 AFTER JUNE 7th, 2021:

  1. When will wedding guest numbers increase to 50? Unfortunately, we won’t know until further information is issued by the government. This will probably not be addressed until June.
  2. What will weddings look like for the rest of 2021? Unfortunately, we won’t know until further information is issued by the government. The next update on this is expected in June. 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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