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Welcome to the four-star Garryvoe Hotel, an approved Civil Wedding and Civil Partnership venue and unique beachside, luxury hotel overlooking beautiful Ballycotton Bay in East Cork.



For all you expats looking to book the dream wedding at home from abroad, 'Homeward Bound' from the Garryvoe Hotel is here to help you plan the stunning wedding you deserve!

Planning a wedding is no mean feat even more so when you're on the other side of the world. Trying to organise meetings and arrange viewings can prove to be seriously fustrating and not the best use of your precious time!

Long distance wedding planning brings its own unique challenges but we've got the perfect answer! 'Homeward Bound' is custom-built to address all those long distance wedding planning problems head-on. 

By merging our online resources we can make your wedding as hassle-free an experience as possible. With regular Skype meetings, email reminders and updates as and how you want them, we will keep you in control of your big day! 

Homeward Bound has an address book full of local contacts, we can advise on everything from churches to florists to cakemakers and dressmakers. 

We are here to help in any and every way possible, to make your wedding at home the memorable and unique one you have always dreamed of - without the added stress of organising it from abroad!

Stephen Belton (General Manager) & Andre (Deputy Manager)

What our Homeward Bound Complimentary Service can offer you
- planning you BIG DAY at home, from abroad
  • Regular Skype meetings
  • Email updates and reminders of meetings and important deadlines, taking into consideration different time-zones
  • An online, cloud-hosted project management tool to host and handle all communications in one place, accessible from any digital device (not compulsory at all, at all but techies love it!)
  • FaceTime/VideoChat with your Wedding Manager showing areas and rooms in real-time
  • Online menus and picture galleries
  • Templates for seating plans
  • Shared Pinterest board to incorporate styles and themes
  • Info on local airports and best transport links from there, including VIP options
  • Contact details and good working relationships with an extensive database of local florists, jewellers, dress makers, hairdressers, make-up artists, babysitters, pet kennels, photographers, videographers, musicians and more!
  • Details of bands and DJs of varying genres. Example playlists available via Spotify
  • Recommended accommodation options for family and guests
  • Concierge service for day-trips and local tourist attractions for first time visitors
  • Online Payment options from abroad
  • Guidance when picking dates for your seasonal wedding
  • Tidal timetables for beach photography!
  • Advice on Irish legal requirements
  • Countdown and reminders of important jobs prior to wedding and week of wedding.

TOP TEN TIPS for planning your BIG DAY at home from abroad

Homeward Bound Service

Top Tip 1

Visit home at least once before the big day. This is very important, and will help you streamline a potentially tricky process. At a minimum you should visit us, your church or civil ceremony hosting options, alternative accomodation for guests prior to the big day, potential photography locations. Your Wedding Manager will help compile a list of things to do now, over the intervening period and the week of the wedding.

Top Tip 2

Keep it local. There is an awful lot to be said to keeping vendors local. It cuts down on postage or extra baggage fees when travelling to your wedding back home. Also, God forbid any last minute mishaps were to happen, you have your dress-maker, florist or photographer on hand (or close by) to help.

Top Tip 3

Get all those legal loose-ends tied up as soon as possible. This ensures that any documentation for different nationalities or different faith ceremonies can be ticked off the list sooner rather than later. There is no saying what kind of delays could lay ahead, we don't want to tempt Murphy's law! This also leaves you much more time to ponder the fun stuff.

Top Tip 4

For all those travelling from abroad, have some research done in advance regards transport options from the airport. There will be plenty of choices, car rentals, taxi services, mini bus etc. Although it may seem quite obvious to you, it's a good idea to have some ideas available.

Top Tip 5

Have a range of touristy options for those guests who may have never visted the Emerald Isle - its your big day, and you don't want the added headache of organising day trips for pals, colleagues, future in-laws, second cousins and everyone in-between.

Top Tip 6

Have one point of contact such as a friend of family member to meet with us as further piece of mind. Although we will be here to help you every step of the way, there's no better judgement than a close friend, mum, dad or auntie.

Top Tip 7

Use Pinterest as a shared mood-board between yourself and your Wedding Manager. This is an incredibly easy way to create a style for your big day. You can pin ideas for flowers, dresses, food, decor and then share with your key suppliers. By gathering all the elements that inspire you in one place, this helps us create the dream wedding you deserve.

Top Tip 8

Utilise Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangout to stay connected with us. This will give you a chance to look around the Garryvoe, our facilities and the beautiful beach in real-time. It will put our venue into perspective and make planning a little easier and a bit more real.

Top Tip 9

Arrive at least a week before the big day itself. Homeward Bound provides a final countdown checklist of all those last minute jobs that need to be sorted out. This eliminates any mad panic and gets things done calmly and efficiently.

Top Tip 10

And, finally! Relax! It's your big day, your way and everyone is there to celebrate just that. By choosing Garryvoe's Homeward Bound we will make this as easy and stress-free a process as possible, ultimately giving you the dream wedding at home that you both deserve.

Eoin and Rosie's Story

Eoghan and Rosie have lived in Canada for four years, they met while studying in UCC. After graduating they both found it pretty difficult to find jobs in their fields at home, so they decided to take this dilemma and turn it into an opportunity to go explore the world. After six months of travelling, they both decided to settle in Toronto. There was a great Irish community, plenty job opportunities and not a million miles away from home - well a direct flight anyway! 

Rosie now works as a midwife and Eoghan as a civil engineer. During the summer Eoghan brought Rosie to New York to celebrate their six-year anniversary. Much to Rosie's surprise and mortification Eoghan got down on one knee at the top of the Empire State Building and proposed. Of course she accepted and then ensued the excitement and challenges of long distance wedding planning. 

Despite their differences (Rosie a Cork woman and Eoghan a west-Waterford man), they could agree on one thing - a wedding at home in Ireland and if at all possible, by the sea.

"It's always been so important to me to get married at home. Although I don't live in Ireland any more, my heart is still there, as cheesy as that sounds! I have a huge family, all of whom are so important to me, so there was never really a doubt in my mind that we wouldn't get married here." Rosie 

"Family is very important to me, and no matter where my base is in the world, I would always want such an important, milestone occasion to happen at home. Plus my mother would never speak to me again if I didn't!" Eoghan 

Garryvoe's Homeward Bound was created with the emigration generation in mind. For Eoghan and Rosie this gave them the peace of mind they desperately needed when planning their dream wedding from abroad.

"Honestly, it was made for us! I had Skype calls with Andre regularly and he showed us around the different parts of the hotel we'd be using from the ballroom to the bridal suite to the post-wedding private dinner; even down to the beach! 

I could see table settings, the lighting design, menu options and more which was so great because I felt way more in control! I was happy to leave all these things in their capable hands. Thank god for that, no one likes a Bridezilla! Especially not an anxious one over the phone!" laughs Rosie. "I'd absolutely recommend the Garryvoe to all those trying to sort out their own weddings from abroad. It's not an easy thing and to surrender all control... my worst nightmare! I have so many Irish friends who want to get married at home in the future. My advice? Get organised! Also have someone that you trust one hundred per cent! Andre, he's really patient but so on top of things!"

And Eoghan's thoughts?

"Oh god yeah, it was great! I could go online and look over the stuff when I had time commuting from work. The best thing though was Andre put Rosie's mind at ease, and that meant we could enjoy the whole process together, without any unnecessary headaches. It was a great day, everything we could have wished and we're looking forward to waking up in that amazing bridal suite again on our first anniversary!"

So the Countdown begins . . .

So the countdown begins! You've just flown home and now its all systems go to get those final bits and bobs organised. Now it would be easy to go into panic-mode and hide under your bed for the remainder of time you have got left. But don't! Take a deep breath, have a cup of tea and relax, we have you sorted with the Homeward Bound Checklist:

  • You have arrived home so now its time to look for your ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’. This is something that can only be done at home, so get onto mammy, granny and anyone else that can help
  • Get that final trim, test ‘do’, highlights or colour before the big day. This gives you time if (touch wood) something were to happen. Also it gives you time to get used to your new ‘do’ and let it settle
  • Have a wedding rehearsal or pre-wedding dinner. This will give you a chance to relax and have a chilled night out with all those special people involved in the big day
  • Have your wedding rehearsal in the church or ceremony venue. This ensures that everyone has an idea of the running order. Flower girls and junior ushers will know what they are supposed to do (hopefully) and bridesmaids/grooms men know their cues. Also, practice makes perfect!
  • Wear in those killer heels! Walk around the house in them for an hour or two every evening in a pair of woolly socks. Yes, you will look mad, tottering around in those 5-inch heels and your tracksuit, but this really will pay off in the long run. You will be comfortable and confident on the day itself (ask your mum or maid of honour to keep a pair of flats in her bag for you too!)
  • Get your tan, waxing and nails done. With the tan you can afford to go a little darker, a week’s worth of showers will ensure you have a sun-kissed glow and not that infamous tangerine sheen we all try to avoid
  • Do a makeup trial with hair and veil/headwear, have a friend take some quick pics so you can look over and make any last minute tweaks with your makeup artist.
  • Drink lots of water, get lots of sleep, eat well and nutritiously so you have lots of energy and stamina on the day – you’ll need it!
  • Meet with your Garryvoe Hotel Wedding Manager. This is a perfect opportunity to go through any last-minute questions you may have, any last minute niggles can be addressed and your mind put at ease. Also, give us the contact details of your main wedding party contact (l maid of honor, best man) that we will liaise with on the wedding day On the day itself, it’s great to have another point of contact. This will take the pressure off and let you actually enjoy your big day!

Best National Waterside Wedding Venue 2018 and 2016;
Best National Venue Coordinators 2017;
Best Hotel Wedding Venue in Munster 2015, 2016 and 2017!

It's all about Sharing The Love!