The moon garden at Drenagh House | Photo by Mark Barton

Ceremony

Five alternative wedding venues for a unique ceremony in Ireland

Looking to wow your guests with an unusual wedding venue for your ceremony? Rachel Farrell picks five fabulous options

If you're thinking outside the box for your wedding and want something unusual to 'wow' your guests, an alternative wedding venue could be the place for you.

Civil ceremonies and non-church weddings are becoming increasingly popular in Ireland. From old castles to art galleries, we've rounded up our top unusual wedding ceremony locations across the country.

  • Dublin Zoo

Haughton House, a restored historical building within the zoo grounds, offer all types of wedding ceremonies 7 days a week.This unusual wedding venue would be perfect for animal lovers, or those that want to experience the outdoors in the heart of Dublin.

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Couples can host a drinks reception in the interactive learning and discovery centre, as well as photo opportunities with some of the animals.

  • National Gallery of Ireland

Overlooking Merrion Square in the heart of Dublin city, the National Gallery of Ireland is a dream location for art enthusiasts

The restored Georgian house can host up to 40 guests for secular and civil ceremonies. They also accommodate dinner or drinks receptions from Monday to Friday.

  • Drenagh House

Located on the grounds of Drenagh House in Co. Derry, the magical Moon Garden is a romantic and intimate venue for exchanging vows.The Moon Garden can host up 120 seated guests, with the striking 'moon gate' creating a picture-perfect backdrop to any wedding ceremony.

Brides and grooms can also make the venue their own by adding flowers, fairy-lights, candles or an overhead canopy.

  • Smock Alley Theatre

Featuring a stained-glass window banquet hall, Smock Alley theatre is a spacious and ornate location along the banks of the river Liffey.

The theatre offers church-style seating pews for 100 guests, or up to 250 guests for a standing reception. If music is important for your wedding, this venue is the perfect location- the building provides perfect acoustics, so your guests can celebrate until 11pm.Prices start at €65pp for their wedding day package.

  • Bellinter House

An ancient weeping beech tree in Bellinter House, Co. Meath is a mysterious and ethereal venue for an outdoor wedding.

With views of the River Boyne, the grounds of Bellinter offer multiple options for those wishing to say "I do" in the outdoors.

For smaller ceremonies, the East Wing can accommodate up to 80 guests. Up to 206 guests can be hosted for dinner and wedding packages can be created to suit your every need.

Image credits: Drenagh House: Mark Barton | Dublin Zoo: Deirdre B Weddings | Smock Alley Theatre: Peter Carvill Photography | Bellinter House: Aoife O'Sullivan Photography