Hundreds of couples around Ireland have had to cancel and postpone their weddings over the past year due to the pandemic.
From May 10th, 50 guests are permitted to attend a service, with a maximum of six guests at indoor receptions or 15 outdoors.
The numbers of guests allowed to attend wedding celebrations can increase to 25 from June 7.
Some people may be thinking of alternative options for their big day, with private gardens a popular option given the focus on outdoor settings this summer.
Peter ‘Franc’ Kelly, an “international couture wedding and event designer”, has shared his top tips for making a garden ceremony magical.
He told The Home Show with Sinead Ryan that the key to adding panache to a garden wedding is all about being creative with what you have.
Franc has worked with people arranging garden ceremonies with all types of budgets, including one person who booked out a castle, and another who converted their shed into a pop-up bar.
Couples may also have some additional money to spend after saving on booking a hotel, so this can be used to add some extra touches to their garden wedding.
“If it’s your garden or your parent’s garden, you can think about plants because plants are amazing and they’re an investment for the day and for the future,” he said.
“I’m always trying to get couples to plant a tree, even, in a garden so in the future they can bring their children, if they’re lucky enough to have them, to swing in it.”
He advises that garden ceremonies are all about “location, location, location” and opting for “the perfect feature”.
“I would create the perfect lounge area outside and bring a garden area inside, I’m always like, ‘Bring the outside in and the inside out’,” Franc said.
This can include bringing chairs, lamps, a piano or whatever you have outside and then moving plants or flowers inside.
Another option is to put a bar outside, and if you don’t have that, a wheelbarrow full of ice for the drinks will also work and these can be spraypainted to add even more of an effect.
“Lighting is huge for parties because you’re hopefully going to be partying into the night,” Franc added.
Festoon lights, string lights, or even bulbs raided from Christmas can create an impact, he said.
He continued: “What’s very important to think about is rain, obviously we’re in Ireland.
“I had so many couples last year who put up pop-up tents and they set the place up and it looked beautiful but then the next morning the tents had blown over and everything they had done was destroyed.
“So it really is important to think about rain and structures for your event because there will be a shower.
“Most of the time I would put up some kind of covering in the garden whether it’s going to be sunny or not and then you don’t have to worry about it.
Another idea is to rent some chairs if couples are having the service in their garden and then these can be moved to the tables during the drinks reception.
As for the meal, if having a sit-down dinner Franc would recommend serving it family style or having a buffet.
He says people should use everything they have, including a grill, BBQ, or even a pizza oven, especially if catering to a small group.
He also recommends hiring cutlery and dinnerware as they will be taken away when they’re dirty, saving a huge wash up the next day.
Meanwhile, Franc is launching Event Doc next week, an antigen testing company for events or companies around the country.
“We feel it’s the only way of getting people back into an event space safely so myself and Dave Henry from National Event Hire have come together with a large group of medical practitioners to cover the country with this antigen testing,” he said.
“Most countries around the globe are using antigen testing to get the events industry back on its legs because it’s the safest way we can see it of getting it going.
“If there are 100 people coming they’ll be tested in ten to 15 minutes.
“We really do want proper medical people at our events doing it and that’s why we’re launching Event Doc.”