Wedding venues are hiking their prices by at least €10 per guest, meaning couples will have to pay €1,400 more for a typical reception for 140.
An Irish Independent survey of some of Ireland’s most popular venues has revealed how rising energy, food and transport costs have added thousands of euro to the cost of couples’ big days.
Weddings that had to be postponed because of the pandemic are now taking place, making venues scarce, with many offering only midweek dates for next year.
The Irish wedding industry is at the peak of its planning season following a glut of engagements between Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Amid high demand and rising costs, a number of venues are already raising the prices in their 2024 brochures.
Inflation is being blamed for the rise in prices, but observers have warned that Irish venues may follow international trends of increasing their rates every year
The price increases are also hitting luxury venues, with the five-star Cashel Palace Hotel increasing the price of its most expensive package by €60 per person from the 2023 rate of €235 to €295 next year.
Inflation is being blamed for the rise in prices, but observers have warned that Irish venues may follow international trends of increasing their rates every year as destination venues are already upping their prices for 2024 and 2025.
Clonabreany House in Co Meath is raising its prices for Friday and Saturday wedding dates in the summer season by €10, from €135 to €145.
Richard Corrigan’s Virginia Park Lodge, one of the most highly rated wedding venues in the country, is increasing its rates for next year.
According to its 2023 brochure, the rate for Friday and Saturday weddings is €145 to €160 per person, but the 2024 rate is going up to €155 to €170.
Ballymagarvey Village in Co Meath, which has strong demand for dates all year round, is also raising its price per head for next year.
Its peak package is increasing by €10 per person to €150 between this coming summer and the next.
In a sign that high demand is leading more couples to choose off-peak or weekday weddings, Ballymagarvey Village is increasing the price of its midweek and Sunday packages by €7 to €10 per person, depending on the time of year.
Killruddery House and Gardens in Co Wicklow, home to one of the most stunning ceremony rooms in Ireland, has also increased the price of its wedding packages in response to inflation.
The venue, which hosts a limited number of weddings each year, recently wrote to brides and grooms on the waiting list for 2024 to say the prices are going up.
“This price increase will help us maintain these values as we grow and move forward,” the venue said in an email last month.
Management at the Tudor Revival-style mansion advised couples it was opening its diary early for this year due to high demand.
The price rises come as the wedding industry struggles to cope with demand, following the postponement of so many weddings during the pandemic.
There are signs the traditional summer wedding season is becoming a thing of the past, with many couples now looking for dates in any month and on any day of the week
Couples who recently asked about availability at Tankardstown House, which consistently features as one of the top venues in Ireland, have been warned the Co Meath country home has only midweek dates left for next year.
They were told: “We have very limited availability for 2024, I am sorry to say. All Friday and Saturday dates have been booked for the year except November 8.”
There are signs the traditional summer wedding season is becoming a thing of the past, with many couples now looking for dates in any month and on any day of the week.
Dublin’s Luttrellstown Castle, perhaps best known as the venue for the 1999 wedding of David and Victoria Beckham, advised couples it was offering a 20pc discount for wedding celebrations booked for this coming November.
All of the venues contacted by the Irish Independent declined to be interviewed. Most avoid publicising their prices.
The wedding industry, like every other in Ireland, is grappling with escalating costs.
Increases in the price of food and energy have hit venues, while increases in the price of fuel is one of the main drivers of hikes for hairdressers and make-up artists, musicians and celebrants who all face higher travel costs.
Some bakeries are reporting significant hikes in the price of cardboard boxes for wedding cakes, from €3 to €10 for standard packaging.
Gabi Kmitas Petal and Nessa Hurley, of Gabi & Nessa Studio, a wedding planning and styling service, say couples on a range of budgets are facing potentially stressful cost increases.
“Flower costs have increased by 40pc due to Covid-19, due to the price of electricity, due to the cost of transporting the flowers, most of which are coming from the Netherlands, so the price is very high,” Ms Kmitas Petal said.
“There is always a solution, but you will need to sacrifice something.”
Ms Hurley said she believed the current spike in prices was a “genuine” attempt to cover increased costs, but she believed further hikes may be down to demand.
She said her company is currently planning a number of destination weddings, and she has noticed international venues are quoting higher prices for 2024, and rates higher again for 2025.
“I think the Irish weddings are going to start doing the same thing, because they can,” she said.