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Which Style of Wedding Are You? Our No-Nonsense Guide

Which Style of Wedding Are You? Our No-Nonsense Guide


OK, so we know that every couple’s big day is unique, but heart-warming sentiments like this won’t get you any closer to your dream wedding. What you really need is a no-nonsense introduction to the different wedding styles that can feasibly be created by two people! Because, to get real for a moment, yes, every wedding is different, but there are essentially only a few types of wedding.

Photo by Berit Alits via One Fab Day

We’re not talking about specifics like the décor or the dress here, but the overall feel and look of the day. Some couples can picture their wedding before a ring has ever graced a finger, but most of us will spend a directionless few months wading through a myriad of options (home or abroad? country or city? castle or restaurant?) before settling on anything. That’s why we’ve condensed the options into a simple, easy-to-follow list – we’ve even created a handy quiz to help you figure out which style is best for you and your other half!

Photo by Memories by Magda via One Fab Day

How to Work Out Which Style of Wedding Is For You

Use this post as a starting point when you sit down with your partner to start planning. Try to imagine the mental postcard you hope to remember from the day. Is it a colourful picture, filled with streamers and balloons, or can you see all the trappings of an elegant dinner party? Is it just the two of you on a beach, or is your Aunty Mary front and centre, showing off her signature dance moves?

Once this picture is clear in your mind, you’re ready to start making decisions and crossing items off your to-do list!


Photo by Katie Farrell Photography via One Fab Day

Photo by Honey and the Moon Photography via One Fab Day

Most weddings will fall into one of these eight categories, but, of course, there will be exceptions. You might want a black tie bash in a country house, or a low-key ceremony followed by a blow-out party in your favourite city centre pub. There’s nothing wrong with taking elements from multiple types of wedding (in fact, we think it sounds like fun!), but your wedding will still match one brief more so than others. Once you figure out which one, the planning process will become a lot easier! So let’s get started…

Photo by This Modern Love via One Fab Day

Photo by Leanne Keaney Photography via One Fab Day

Photo by Louise Scott Photography via One Fab Day

1. The Country House Wedding

What’s the vibe?

A fun, informal house party (or garden party if the weather holds up!) for your nearest and dearest, in your very own private country pile. Bursting with charming detail, this kind of celebration usually rolls on for two or three days, and the idyllic country surroundings will make the whole thing feel like a glorious dream! This one can be elegant and luxurious or low-key and rustic depending on the country house you choose.

Who does this wedding suit?

This kind of wedding is perfect for creative couples who want to be hands-on with the fun elements of the day and leave the rest to the professionals! This couple wants a splash of luxury without the formality, and enjoys a spot of DIY – we’re talking painting your own signage or creating pretty centerpieces, as opposed to logistics like plumbing, electricity and furniture set-up! This couple should also be prepared to spend a drop a decent chunk of change – use €31,000, the average cost of a wedding in Ireland, as a very rough guide. Also, as the temporary occupants of your own house in the country, you will be expected to perform the role of hosts for at least two days, which is a dream for some couples, but a burden for others!

OK, this is the wedding style for me! What should I do to get started?

Have a look at the linked real weddings below for inspiration, then it’s time to find your perfect location. Our list of recommended venues should be your first stop!

Real Country House Weddings to Check Out:

Photo by Jesus Caballero via One Fab Day

Photo via Stylish Hip Weddings via One Fab Day

Photo by This Modern Love via One Fab Day

2. The Stylish Elopement

What’s the vibe?

A thrilling little trip with your other half to make it official in exactly the way you see fit – the only thing you need to worry about is satisfying your own whims! Your destination could be New York or Vegas, Clare or Donegal, but wherever you are, your wedding can still have all the style, personality and attention to detail of a 200-person party.

Who does this wedding suit?

An adventurous but ultimately low-key couple who are happy to forgo the fuss and fanfare, and have got the confidence to break from tradition. An elopement is a great option for thrifty couples, as they tend to cost a fraction of the price of a wedding with a large guest list, but, of course, this depends on how extravagant you plan on being!

OK, this is the wedding style for me! What should I do to get started?

You’ll need to settle on a location, but make sure to research the legal requirements before you get carried away. An elopement in Paris, for example, sounds dreamy, but getting legally wed in France is extremely tricky for two non-residents. Remember that if you’re happy to do the legal bit in a registry office at home and have an unofficial ceremony abroad, this will open up more options. Read our dos and don’ts for planning an elopement and wedding abroad guides to help you get started.

Real Elopements to Check Out:

Photo by Miracle Moments Photography via One Fab Day

3. The Black Tie Wedding

What’s the vibe?

A day-long version of a chic and sophisticated cocktail party in the kind of luxurious surroundings that you’ll only splurge on a handful of times in your life – a world class city hotel or country castle. The dress code sets the mood – this is a glamorous and glittering affair, but it can be lots of fun too!

Who does this wedding suit?

The couple who appreciates the finer things in life, although not necessarily in their everyday lives! You may be happy with lunch in the local pub on your birthday, but have always dreamed of owning a designer wedding gown and having your first dance to a ten-piece jazz band, and now is your chance! Whatever your motivations, you want an extravagant affair and are happy to foot the (sizeable!) bill.

OK, this is the wedding style for me! What should I do to get started?

Let’s face it – you probably already have your dream venue in mind, so now’s the time to contact them and make an appointment, while pricing up a few alternatives. The good news is that there aren’t too many venues that will suit this kind of soirée, so a quick look over our list of recommended venues will give you your shortlist. Be sure to warn your guests early if you’re having a strict dress code, so they have time to dig out their most glamorous glad rags.

Real Black Tie Weddings to Check Out:

Photo by We Heart Pictures via One Fab Day

Photo byNavyblur via One Fab Day

Photo by JAM Shoots via One Fab Day

4. The City Wedding

What’s the vibe?

A chic, contemporary and somewhat unpredictable celebration in the heart of your favourite city, usually a multi-location affair with a stop-off in your favourite pub for a pint and a visit to a local landmark for some super cool wedding portraits! This one feels more like an extended night out than a traditional wedding, and tends to have a smaller guest list than a typical country affair. If your chosen city is also your home town, this means an extra layer of convenience throughout the planning process, from first steps to the day-after brunch!

Who does this wedding suit?

Unfussy couples who want the comfort of getting hitched in their natural habitat or are looking for something simple, sophisticated and modern. These couples will get a kick out of the idea of hailing a public bus to the ceremony or hitting up their favourite chipper for an edgy photo op. They also might be hoping to keep costs down – of course you can drop €30,000 or more on a city centre bash, but it’s also possible to have a great day on a smaller budget. We’ve noticed lots of couples who are 35+ or have been together a long time are opting for a low key, but no less stylish restaurant wedding in the city.

OK, this is the wedding style for me! What should I do to get started?

Your venue will be a pub, a restaurant, or an industrial or arty city centre space, so these are your first port of call.

5. The Destination Wedding

What’s the vibe?

An exotic, sun-kissed bash that’s a physical and mental departure from the monotony of everyday life – essentially, it’s like going on holiday with all of your favourite people! If you live in Ireland or the UK, you’ll want to combine glorious weather with convenience for friends and family, so popular choices are Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Malta, but of course, you could pop off to Hawaii or South Africa if you’re so inclined!

Who does this wedding suit?

Seasoned travellers who are happiest when they’re exploring a new place, or time-poor folk who want to combine their wedding and honeymoon! It doesn’t matter whether you want someone else to do the bulk of the organising for you, or you’d like to be really hands-on – there are options for both, although the latter is a challenge if you don’t speak the language of your destination.

OK, this is the wedding style for me! What should I do to get started?

Brainstorm destinations with your other half, (our handy wedding abroad guides may help!) making sure to check out our list of recommended destination wedding planners, and peruse the below beauties for inspiration!

6. The Festival-Style Wedding

What’s the vibe?

A colourful and jam-packed day that has more in common with a boutique music festival than the kind of wedding your parents had! Your venue is a renovated barn in the countryside, or perhaps your very own festival yurt, and some of your guests might even be glamping, giving the whole day a back-to-nature feel (a cast of offbeat animals to appear in the photos is a bonus!).

Who does this wedding suit?

Arty couples who are brimming with ideas and want something super laid-back and effortlessly cool. They may have their heart set on an ’80s theme or want to incorporate references to their favourite movie, but really, the number one priority is giving their guests an epic day out! And like Country House couples, they should have a decent budget.

OK, this is the wedding style for me! What should I do to get started?

Begin with the all-important venue search! We’ve highlighted some great barn-style venues in this post.

7. The Marquee Wedding

What’s the vibe?

A hugely personal wedding day in a once-in-a lifetime location, be it your parents’ back garden, a secluded beach or some other, equally ambitious setting. This wedding may have a similar look and feel to a country house or black tie wedding but something about the location – a ceremony under the tree you climbed as a child, a killer view of the Atlantic ocean, etc. – gives it a completely unique edge.

Who does this wedding style suit?

A highly organised couple who’s willing to build a wedding from scratch. This means organising everything from the tableware to the toilet facilities, and hiring a planner to take over on the day so you actually have time to get married! It’s a huge undertaking, and contrary to popular belief, usually more expensive than a castle, country house or hotel wedding, so it’s not for those looking to cut costs.

OK, this is the wedding style for me! What should I do to get started?

Read our handy post detailing all of the essentials for a marquee wedding. This will leave you with a hefty to-do list, so make sure you rope in some willing helpers from day one.

8. The Hotel-Package Wedding

What’s the vibe?

A hotel-package wedding requires minimum faff on your part, and is more about celebrating with your family and friends than yielding cool photographs! This is the type of wedding that was most common in Ireland ten years ago, and although it’s not always the most unique, there are some beautiful hotels in Ireland to choose from, and this kind of wedding does have one big advantage (see below!).

Who does this wedding suit?

The beauty of this wedding is that it doesn’t require oodles of labour or creativity – you simply book a church or registry office for the ceremony and a hotel with an all-inclusive package for the reception, and you’re 75% done! It’s great for busy couples or someone planning a wedding from abroad, and if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t give a toss about cake styles or wouldn’t know what to do with a wedding piñata, it just makes sense to go back to basics. It’s also cheaper than the DIY approach!

OK, this is the wedding style for me! What should I do to get started?

Contact a couple of hotels in your chosen area and ask about their packages. Just because you’re not going to sweat over the small details doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t shop around! Hotels can differ vastly in their offering, so decide if it’s the location, the food, the event space, or the value for money that’s your biggest priority and go from there. Check out our recommended venues for ideas.


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