Irish people are obsessed with the weather. It is a constant topic of discussion, and visitors here are often bemused by how much we talk about it. The weather in Ireland can safely be described as ‘changeable’. Other words like unpredictable, varying, unsettled and undependable are also appropriate. Ireland doesn’t really have clearly defined seasons, the way many other countries do. Winter is very wet, summer less so. Spring sees new growth and longer days. Autumn has the leaves falling off trees. But the back drop to it all is usually rain at some point in nearly every day, and some wind along the way as well.
If I’m making it sound a bit grim, that’s not my intention. Even though it rains here most days, as I said in the beginning, the weather is changeable. Lots of days are beautiful and bright, and even when they are not, there is almost always a part of everyday that has some lightness, a spot of sunshine, a patch of blue skies. And the result of all that rain is what makes Ireland so famously beautiful. Everywhere there is lush greenery, stunning backdrops and the famous “40 shades of green”. The sun breaking through the clouds, the damp leaves glistening, the fresh air – these are all the things that makes Ireland a place the people love to live and visit. So, when it comes to planning a wedding here, what can you do?
When speaking to couple who are planning a ceremony here, particularly those who are coming from abroad, I always tell them to assume it’s going to be raining. Any improvement on that is a bonus! So finding a venue with lots of indoor space is a good idea because chances are you’ll be inside for most of the day. I also recommend to them to not look at the weather forecast until 3 days before the event. As Ireland sits on the edge of the Atlantic, it’s notoriously difficult to predict what is coming next with the weather until a few days – or even a few hours – beforehand, especially on the west coast.
If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding, make sure you have a plan B. I have done ceremonies where the wedding was set up indoors and at the last minute, we decided to move it outside because a window of great weather appeared out of the blue (pun intended!). When that happens it’s fantastic, but it’s the exception, rather than the norm. I have also been at ceremonies where the couple were determined to do something outdoors and when the rain came, and stayed, they didn’t know what to do. This can add an extra layer of tension to an already stressful build up, so it really is so important not to make the ceremony location something that can’t be successfully adapted or changed.
And of course there’s always the chance that your dreams will come true, like happened this year… Ah, the summer of 2018! It will live in our memories for decades to come as one of the best summers we’ve ever had. Weeks and weeks of blue skies and sunshine, temperatures hitting the high 20’s and up past 30 on occasion – it was like living in a dream. ‘This is what is must be like for all those people who live in warm countries’ we all said to each other, with only a hint of jealousy. We washed everything in our houses that wasn’t fixed down, safe in the knowledge that we could dry everything in the same day – unheard of in this country! Brides and grooms all over the country rejoiced in the warmth – lady luck had shone firmly down on them. Outdoor receptions, beautiful photographs, bronzed guests – there were many happy days all across the land. If only all our summers could be like 2018…
But they are not, so when your big day doesn’t coincide with a heat wave, remember, you need to plan for the worst and hope for the best!
Credit: Sarah Connolly Photography