How to Legally Celebrate with 50 guests When the Limit is now 25 but 50 at the Ceremony

How to Legally Celebrate with 50 guests When the Limit is now 25 but 50 at the Ceremony

Couples getting Married in Ireland were overjoyed to hear the news of.an increase in marriage ceremony guests from 6 to a massive 50! But there was a catch – there is a maximum of 25 for the reception and celebrations after! What a Dilemma!

How cruel can this be? How can you remove 25 people from your ceremony guest list for the celebrations after without offending them? There is a solution – and it’s right there in front of you. You don’t have to remove anyone from your ceremony guest list either!..

What you do is have your ceremony at say, 12 noon, followed by your photo shoot.  Then two separate celebrations, each with 25 people. One celebration with 25 people for an earlier meal say 2:30pm, followed by a 2nd celebration for a later evening meal maybe at 7pm.

How you run both celebrations is completely up to you! Your wedding venue may even give you a discount for doubling your guest numbers!  What a day!  How lucky are you to have 2 celebrations!

Your Special Day

If you believe your ceremony should be an important part of your special day, no matter how big or small your requirements may be,

Please don't hesitate to get in touch so I can answer any questions you might have - and to find out if I am available on your big day..

I would be honoured to work with you.

Essential Advice for Your Enchanted Beach Wedding in Ireland

Essential Advice for Your Enchanted Beach Wedding in Ireland

My homeland Australia is renowned for its beach weddings. Here in Ireland it is possible to be legally married on a beach, but only if your chosen wedding venue has direct access to the beach from within their grounds. There are a number of glorious wedding venues in Ireland which satisfy this criteria.

In Ireland a legal marriage ceremony must be conducted at a location recognised by the Marriage Act, which is open to the public without hindrance, also with a building and a postal address.. The location does not need HSE insprection & approval, unless the marriage ceremony will be a Registry Office marriage ceremony (Civil Ceremony) conducted by a Civil Registrar.

For many couples getting married in Ireland who dream of a beach wedding, its not always that simple. Especially if they already have their favourite beach in mind which does not have an adjoining wedding venue! But there is a dignified solution, and here it is:

Option No.1,

Have 2 ceremonies on the day, and enchanted commitment ceremony on the beach, followed by a legal marriage ceremony at a. nearby location. I have conducted beach weddings many times using this method, and I can say from experience that it is a wonderful experience for your guests!

  • Your first ceremony is a commitment ceremony at the beach. This is complete with your choice of ceremony traditions which may include reading your own personal vows written to for each other and kept as a surprise, exchange of friendship rings if you wish, and of course the beautiful celtic handfasting.
    What could be more enchanting for a beach wedding here in Ireland to include the celtic handfasting? At this non-legal handfasting ceremony you are declared hand-fasted, you are not declared or pronounced married..
  • Next, have your legal marriage ceremony at a nearby location, approximately 1 hour later. Your handfasting chord can remain tied around your two wrists for this ceremony if you wish, as a symbol of your handfasting ceremony and removed when signing documents. Or your handfasting chord can be laid onto the altar as a decoration.

It’s not an offence to have a non-legal ceremony before a legal marriage ceremony – what is an offence is to include any ceremony parts from the Marriage Act in a non-legal ceremony (including do you take each other to be husband/wife/spouse) if the couple aren’t already married, and to pronounced a couple as being married when they are not really married at all.

Anyone can have a commitment ceremony without being legally married, in ancient times this was traditionally done as part of an engagement celebration, as long as they are not pronounced married in the non-legal ceremony.

.By including the handfasting in their non-legal beach commitment ceremony and declaring the couple handfasted, rather than married, is a very easy way to ensure that the handfasting ceremony complies with the Marriage Act.

Option No.2,

Have 2 ceremonies with your legal marriage ceremony at least one day before your non-legal beach wedding with all your guests. Your legal marriage ceremony attended only by your two witnesses. Honestly I can’t see the point of doing this – why would you ever want to have a fake beach wedding, when you are already married?

I am from Australia where every wedding ceremony is a legal marriage ceremony, because you can be legally married anywhere. But divorce rates are also much higher in Australia. So having some restrictions on the location of your marriage isn’t really such a bad thing. Being married the day before your big wedding ceremony day is a very European thing and something which as an Aussie, I just find very strange indeed!.

But if this makes perfect sense to you and you feel it is the best option, then just go for it! At the end of the day its your wedding, and what matters is that you have the wedding you have always wanted.

Conclusion

My Option 1 format for beach ceremonies where the beach ceremony is not a legal marriage, is what makes sense to me, but may not make sense to everyone. Which doesn’t mean that its either right or wrong.
Some couples may prefer to have legal marriage ceremony first, followed by beach ceremony eg. at sunset.
It’s all about what the couple really wants. I hope that makes sense!

Your Special Day

If you believe your ceremony should be an important part of your special day, no matter how big or small your requirements may be,

Please don't hesitate to get in touch so I can answer any questions you might have - and to find out if I am available on your big day..

I would be honoured to work with you.

Postponing or Canceling Your 2020 or 2021 Wedding – Refund of Booking Deposit

Postponing or Canceling Your 2020 or 2021 Wedding – Refund of Booking Deposit

If you are one of the many thousands of couples in the unfortunate situation of having to postpone or cancel your wedding for any reason arising from the changing pandemic restrictions, during 2020 or 2021 – thanks to the EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) 2019, you could be entitled to a full refund of your booking deposit and all monies paid in advance to a service provider for your original wedding date.

In everyday life, when a couple organises and books their wedding, the separate contracts with each service provider for the various aspects of their wedding ceremony and celebrations after are deemed (by the consumer law) to be a contract to provide a service at a certain place on a specific date.

Ordinarily (outside a government declared emergency such as a pandemic) if a couple wishes to postpone / cancel / change their wedding plans for any reason, and there are no compassionate circumstances, eligibility for a refund of booking deposits and monies paid in advance is determined by the contract agreed to with a supplier.

However – thanks to the EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) 2019, if there are compassionate grounds – it may be a different story. A couple who are postponing / cancelling / changing their wedding plans for any reason arising from the pandemic may very well be entitled to a full refund booking deposits and monies paid in advance.

There is more – a couple who are postponing / cancelling / changing their wedding date for any reason arising from the changing pandemic restrictions – are not under any obligation to re-book a supplier for a later date, if doing so is not in their best interests, for any reason including financial hardship.

The reason is that any consumer contract which puts the consumer at a disadvantage for reasons which were clearly beyond their control, is most often considered an unfair contract and cannot be enforced – even if the couple have already agreed to the contract in writing.

There are varying circumstances which make a contract an unfair contract, which couples in this situation would be very wise to investigate. But one thing is for sure – thanks to the EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) 2019, if a couple postpones / cancels / changes their wedding plans for any reason arising from the changing pandemic restrictions, they may in fact be due a full refund of booking deposits and all monies paid in advance.

There are exceptions to this rule for work already completed / items purchased in preparation for the wedding day which cannot be on-sold to another couple within a reasonable time frame (14 days). Such as:

  • Ceremony – design consultation & preparation of a custom-made ceremony
  • Flowers
  • Food & perishable items
  • Invitations & Stationery – already printed or special paper ordered
  • Jewellery – custom made or materials on special order
  • Purchase of clothing – custom made or on special order
  • Purchase of shoes on special order
  • Wedding cake
  • Any other special items ordered / made or work already completed in preparation for the wedding day which cannot be on-sold to another couple within 14 days.

In the case of a custom made item or an item on special order, a refund may not be possible where work has commenced and expenses already incurred. In some cases you may be required to pay for the item in full and take delivery of the item.

If you have postponed / cancelled your wedding from it’s original date and you are in dispute with a supplier regarding an amount of money to be with-held for work already done, for which receipts are not applicable or cannot be provided, you are advised to contact Consumer Protection Ireland for further advice, as you may have an unfair contract according to the EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) 2019.

Online purchases special note: If you have made first contact with a wedding supplier online, such as through their website or social media, ie. without ever meeting them in person (even if you have spoken on the phone) there are further contract obligations required by the EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) 2019 which your supplier may not have fulfilled (such as not advising you of the 14-day cooling off period) which could make your contract an unfair contract.

If you have postponed / cancelled / changed your wedding plans during the pandemic restrictions and a supplier is claiming that your booking deposit is non-refundable, and/or that you must book them for another date, you should read every detail of the EU Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) 2019 which you can find here:

https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/consumers/consumer-contract-law/unfair-contract-terms-directive_en

For advice regarding your rights to a refund for any reason – pandemic or no pandemic – please contact a lawyer with experience in Consumer Law who will provide you with 30 minutes free advice to assess your case. Your local Credit Union provides free legal advice. Advice from any other source may not be in your best interests.

How Many Wedding Guests Can I Have During Lockdown ?

How Many Wedding Guests Can I Have During Lockdown ?

With pandemic restrictions now being extended in Ireland, anxious brides are now asking the dreaded question – how many wedding guests can we have now?  What are the maximum numbers allowed?  Does it include the photographer and our ceremony officiant?

There is so much misinformation about this subject online. In fact, just about everywhere this sugject is mentioned has got the answer completely wrong. Why? Because they don’t have a deep enough understanding of the marriage act or it’s interpretation.

I like to get my information direct from the most reliable source, so I contacted the GRO in Roscommon, and this is the advice that I received:

  • The act of marriage cannot ever be considered a social gathering.
  • Social gathering restrictions do not apply to a legal marriage ceremony itself, but they do apply to any non-legal wedding ceremony and any celebrations after a wedding or marriage ceremony.
  • Each wedding venue has the discretion to enforce their own health & safety policy regarding the maximum number of wedding guests.
  • All public health guidelines in force at the time must be followed.

This means that there is no limit on maximum numbers for a legal marriage ceremony other than what is defined by the health & safety policy of your chosen marriage venue, which is based on the size of the venue and their ability to social distance and comply with any public health requirements in place at the time. 

I hope that helps make things a bit clearer for you.  If you have any questions at all please don’t hestitate to get in touch.

Your Special Day

If you believe your ceremony should be an important part of your special day, no matter how big or small your requirements may be,

Please don't hesitate to get in touch so I can answer any questions you might have - and to find out if I am available on your big day..

I would be honoured to work with you.

The Celtic Handfasting Tradition

The Celtic Handfasting Tradition

Above: Aoife & Jimmy’s wedding
at Ballyvolane House
Photo by whitecatstudio.ie

Braided handfasting chord fully handmade by me
to the bride’s choice of colours

The wedding tradition of celtic handfasting has seen a resurgence since Prince Wiliam and Kate tied the knot as part of their lavish wedding ceremony in London in 2011.

Handfasting is a rural folkloric and neopagan ceremonial spiritual custom, gaining in popularity as modern couples seek to incorporate ancient traditions in their ceremony.  Iinitially found in Ireland, Scotland and western European countries, the handfasting is a ceremony in which a couple hold a commitment ceremony by tying the hands with woven or braided chord.

Above:  Aoife & Jimmy’s wedding
at Ballyvolane House
Photo by whitecatstudio.ie

 

The handfasting ceremony was believed by many to be firstly conducted as an engagement ceremony,  a temporary binding of one year and a day.   If after this time the couple wished to stay together, the handfasting was repeated a second time as a marriage ceremony, and the couple were married for seven years.

If the couple wished to stay together after this time, the handfasting was repeated for another seven years or as a permanent marriage, depending on the couple’s wishes.  Hence the term “seven year itch”.

In ancient times, the handfasting ceremony was conducted according to the local traditions.  In modern times, a handfasting ceremony is part of a traditional wedding ceremony, and is written to suit the requirements of the couple.

There are unlimited variations in the ceremony wording, from the short, modern format lasting about 3-4 minutes, to the longer traditation format lasting anything from 10 minutes or longer.

If I am conducting your ceremony and you would like to make your own handfasting chord, I can give you creative ideas and explain some simple methods of making various styles.

Pictured are two of the many braided handfasting chords I have personally handmade.  If you are unable to make or purchase your own handfasting chord I am happy to make you a handfasting chord in your choice of colors.

In the first example, each of the 5 strands of the braided chord are individually twisted to make the separate chords before being tied and braided together in a 5-part braided chord.  Each end of the chord is then wrapped to form a tassle at each end.  Each custom-made braided chord takes approx. 4 hours to make by hand.

Retail price of the 5-part braided handfasting chord as pictured above (top) is €69.50 (or approx. €20 materials only price if I am conducting your ceremony) which includes your very own choice of 5 colors, the symbolic meanings of your chosen colors for reciting in your ceremony, organza bag and postage anywhere within Ireland (if I am not conducting your ceremony).

In the second example, twisted chords of varying thickness are wrapped together and stitched in place, tassles made for the ends and sewn in for a very effective look.  This type of chord takes about 3 hours to make and costs around €15 in materials.