Olivia Buckley International

In Conversation with Olivia Buckley, Ireland’s Leading Wedding Planner

AN INTRODUCTION TO OLIVIA BUCKLEY, THE RISE OF HER GLOBALLY ACCLAIMED WEDDING AGENCY AND THE ART OF WEDDING PLANNING
Inviting a wedding planner into your life is akin to welcoming a trusted guest into your cherished home. It is a profoundly personal act of trust, as you are entrusting them with your dreams, your dearest friends and your beloved family. In many ways, a wedding planner becomes not just a coordinator but a confidant, a friend, a mediator, and a trusted advisor all wrapped into one. For me, this invitation is an incredible honour, an opportunity to connect on a profound level, and an essential part of the extraordinary journey that is wedding planning. Before you extend the invitation to someone who will walk with you through one of the most significant journeys of your life, I would like to introduce myself. I am Olivia Buckley, and I consider it a privilege to be entrusted with the creation of destination weddings. Throughout my journey within the industry, I have been fortunate to earn immense respect as one of the industry’s most trusted professionals. What we do is indeed unique and highly specialised, and there are only a few who can match the level of service we provide. Let’s embark on a journey where we explore the artistry, dedication, and passion that I bring to every wedding experience.   Wedding Planner Olivia Buckley assisting her beautiful client and bride down the stairs at Adare Manor  

ABOUT OLIVIA BUCKLEY

Growing up in County Kerry in Ireland, I learnt from an early age that when you are passionate about what you do and have a great work ethic, anything is possible. The youngest of six girls, growing up on our family farm brought many life learnings that have shaped me into the person I am today. Our family farm was a labour of love. My mother, an unstoppable force of nature, fearlessly got her hands dirty. Her inexhaustible energy was truly infectious. My father was the steadfast voice of reason, always composed and diplomatic. As the patriarch among six daughters, diplomacy was indeed a valuable trait. These qualities instilled by my parents have served me well as I ventured into the world of the events, conquering challenges with dedication and diplomacy, just as they did.  
Olivia Buckley in her homeland County Kerry taking in the beautiful scenery near Killarney.   At the age of 18, I bid farewell to my family home in County Kerry and embraced newfound independence at University College Cork, where I pursued a degree in Business and Marketing. This education laid the solid foundation for a venture I would undertake ten years later. Shortly after completing my studies, I gained my first exposure to the intricacies of event management while working as a Marketing Executive. The door to this exhilarating industry swung open when our company joined forces with an Events Agency for an exceptionally stylish product launch. My involvement in this event was intense, and I found myself utterly captivated. From that moment on, I was hooked. Everything about events captivated me, from the scale of productions, the intricacies of design, to the live event management. The feeling of being on a live event—it just had endless possibilities and captured my entire imagination. With this passion for events, I returned to university and studied Public Relations and Event Management. From there, I entered into the world of luxury destination weddings and events, where I spent years refining my form. In 2013, Olivia Buckley International was born from an unwavering passion for events and a deep-seated love for crafting unforgettable life experiences. In 2019, I had the incredible opportunity to put my decades of experience to work in a deeply personal way – by planning my own wedding. It was a beautiful celebration held in Kerry, amidst the same picturesque landscapes that have always held a special place in my heart. One year later, my husband Bryan and I welcomed our darling son, Bryan Robert, into the world. Our precious addition added a new dimension to my life, and I have embraced my new title as a mom with open arms. I find immense joy in every moment with him, and I am thrilled at the prospect of sharing this wonderful world of events and creativity with my son as he grows.   Olivia Buckley and Bryan Greene laughing on their wedding day in Ireland  

THE INCEPTION OF OLIVIA BUCKLEY INTERNATIONAL

 In 2013, I founded Olivia Buckley International, with the vision to embrace the international event scene. I was confident that I could build a company dedicated to serving clients at the highest level, offering something truly exceptional.  In the beginning, I solely managed every facet of the business, from event production and design to guest relations, accounts, and branding. I truly became a master of all trades, and those initial days were filled with long hours and even longer nights. The perseverance I had learned during my childhood served as my guiding light during this period. It was a sink-or-swim situation, and I was more than ready to dive in.  As our company’s reputation continued to grow stronger, I had the privilege of welcoming an exceptional team on board. Carefully selected professionals, who share my vision and pour their hearts into the company, have helped the company flourish into what it is today: the preeminent luxury wedding planning agency in Ireland and a leader on the global stage.  
Wedding planners at Olivia Buckley International conducting a wedding design meeting in their studio in Limerick, Ireland.

 

PASSION AND PURPOSE

My passion centres around people and the art of curating extraordinary celebrations. What I treasure most in life are enriching experiences. It is the driving force that motivates me to create events that deeply resonate with those who attend. I want each celebration to be etched into the memories of my clients and their guests, to be recalled with fondness and awe even decades later. To me, it is all about the experiences and the people who live them. My purpose is to nurture and evolve my company continually, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the industry. With each new event, I strive to exceed expectations and break new ground. This includes delving into novel concepts, cutting-edge technologies, and collaborating with fresh creative minds, both from local and international spheres. Our clients crave distinctive experiences and we are committed to not merely following trends but pioneering them.   A wedding ceremony in the orangery in Ballyfin Demesne, during a multi-day destination wedding celebration.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHY HIRE A WEDDING PLANNER?

Your wedding planner offers a profound sense of peace and the luxurious gift of time. With a dedicated team by your side, you can fully immerse yourself in the celebration. Your wedding team has meticulously fine-tuned every detail, from the seamless flow of events to the intricate design. You hold unwavering confidence that your team will go to great lengths to ensure you are having the time of your life, without interruption. Wedding planners are the gatekeepers, ready to tackle any issues that may arise. They are the silent heroes working behind the scenes, ensuring that your wedding day is as perfect and relaxed as you have always dreamed it would be.  
A wedding ceremony taking place in the formal gardens of the towering Adare Manor, Ireland.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A WEDDING PLANNER AND A LUXURY WEDDING PLANNER?

Luxury weddings are characterised by their precision, meticulous attention to detail, and experiential nature. They entail a high degree of complexity, and only a select few can meet the standards they demand. Luxury weddings planners possess a unique ability to open doors and leverage contacts that others may not have access to. Through cultivated relationships with top vendors and exclusive venues, we provide you with the best the industry has to offer. Our negotiation skills and influential connections are employed to bring your vision to life, no matter how complex or unique. Luxury wedding planners orchestrate complex event logistics and manage headliner entertainment, intricate artist riders, extensive security arrangements and VIP experiences. We excel in leveraging our extensive resources and exceptional contacts to turn the most challenging requests into possibilities. For example, we recently secured a wedding ceremony in a heavily regulated, private location with significant red tape. Our expertise was instrumental in making our client’s vision and the first wedding in this unique area possible.  A hallmark of luxury wedding planning is a profound emphasis on guest experience. Our exclusive luxury concierge service ensures that guests enjoy unwavering attention, extending support for their travel, accommodations, top-tier travel experiences, and tailor-made comforts, all meticulously designed to elevate their journey. Acutely aware of the importance of discretion and privacy, luxury wedding planners boast in-house capabilities to safeguard their clients and their guests’ confidentiality throughout the planning process.  
Wedding planner Olivia Buckley International build luxury marquee on the grounds of Ashford Castle, Ireland. Band is ready centre stage to entertain guests.
Wedding planner Olivia Buckley International build luxury marquee lakeside on the grounds of Ashford Castle, Ireland.

WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU NEED TO BE A WEDDING PLANNER?

To excel as a wedding planner, a unique blend of qualities is essential, especially when navigating the intricate world of luxury events.

COMPASSION

Compassion forms the cornerstone of this role. It is about genuinely caring for your clients and their dreams, going beyond the call of duty to ensure their happiness. In the luxury realm, where expectations are high, this compassionate touch becomes even more critical. Understanding the emotional significance of a wedding and empathising with your clients’ desires is paramount.

CREATIVITY

A wedding planner needs to be on a different level of imagination and innovation. Crafting unique, breath-taking experiences requires the ability to conceptualise and design events that leave an impact. Each wedding should be a work of art, a reflection of the couple’s unique love story. While we bring expertise to the table, we must also listen attentively to our clients. Our creativity is led by the client. A great wedding planner should never impose a signature style; we consistently deliver a client-centric experience.

FINANCE

Managing the wedding budget and finances is a substantial aspect of weddings, and it becomes especially critical in luxury weddings, where multi-million dollar budgets are at play. This is a realm where diligence is paramount, as clients entrust you with their personal funds. In the world of weddings, there are numerous variables, elements, and ingredients that come together to create a spectacular event. We make it a priority to maintain transparency by breaking down all expenses into clear line items. This not only provides clients with a sense of reassurance but also ensures that we are acting in their best interests. The budgeting stage is an essential part of our journey, as it helps clients gain a clear understanding of where their finances are allocated, allowing them to make well-informed decisions. We believe that finance is a significant aspect of the wedding planning process, and we don’t move on to the overall event flow until our clients are well-educated about their budget.

ORGANISATION

In luxury weddings, our event flows are meticulously crafted to offer guests the opportunity to revisit spaces and experience them differently each time. It is about creating a journey that feels new and refreshing with every turn. Our team may have varying timeframes, ranging from five hours to just one hour, to completely transform a space. Effective resource management is key to ensuring that everything runs efficiently and smoothly. During live events, every minute is invaluable, and there are no second chances. We have one opportunity to get it right, which underscores the importance of thorough preparation. In the luxury realm, it is all about the seamless feeling that extends from the very beginning to the very end. We take on the responsibility of maintaining a highly organised luxury concierge team to ensure that the guest experience is nothing short of amazing. True luxury means that everything runs smoothly, and we work diligently behind the scenes to handle any issues that may arise, effectively solving problems and managing crises to ensure that the guest’s experience remains perfect.

LOVE FOR PEOPLE

A love for people is fundamental. Curiosity about who they are, where they come from, and what they desire is essential to building strong client relationships. Wedding planners should be genuinely interested in their clients’ stories and aspirations.

PASSION

Above all, a deep passion for the job is non-negotiable. The wedding planning industry demands unwavering dedication. It is an industry where you give your all, where you live and breathe every detail, and where the joy of creating unforgettable moments fuels your every endeavour. Passion is the driving force that makes wedding planning not just a profession but a lifelong commitment to celebrating love and connection.
Wedding planner Olivia Buckley embracing her clients on their wedding day in Ballyfin Demesne.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF A DESTINATION WEDDING?

Destination weddings are deeply intimate, affording you the privilege of connecting with every loved one in attendance. It is a distraction-free environment that allows guests to become fully immersed in the celebration. There are no early departures, no rush to work the next day – just uninterrupted moments to be fully present and share in your joy, whether your guest list comprises of 15, 50, or 100 guests. Choosing a meaningful location for your destination wedding adds a profound layer of emotion and significance to your special day. It is an opportunity to open your heart and share a piece of it with your guests. Alternatively, you can treat your guests to an entirely new experience or a place they have never been to. This choice adds a rich dimension of culture, heritage and family history, whether it is your own or one that deeply resonates with you. The most memorable times in life often come when you step out into the unknown and discover something beautiful. This is precisely what a destination wedding offers – an opportunity to surprise, enchant, and make your guests fall in love with a truly remarkable experience.  
An aerial shot of Ashford Castle at dusk with Lough Corrib in the background

WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT WEDDINGS IN IRELAND?

Ireland’s allure as a wedding destination extends far beyond its breath-taking natural beauty, earning it the moniker “The Emerald Isle” for a reason. It is the essence of Ireland itself. The words of poets and writers, the enchanting music, the spirited dance, and the cherished values of its people all contribute to the unique charm of Irish weddings. The warmth and hospitality offered to visitors make you feel like an old friend from the very first moment you arrive. There is a palpable magic in the air, especially evident in the misty moorlands as the mist lifts after a fleeting rain shower. While weddings in Southern Europe have their own appeal, a wedding in Ireland offers an intimacy that goes beyond aesthetics. It is a profound feeling, an experience that touches the heart and soul.
Olivia Buckley International's clients walking across Connemara moorlands on their wedding day.

HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD YOU PLAN A DESTINATION WEDDING IN IRELAND?

We generally recommend couples commence destination wedding planning approximately eighteen months to two years prior to their desired wedding date. This timeframe allows the destination to be chosen, the wedding planner to be sourced, vital vendor research, venue selection, and the securing of premium vendors. Vendors often fill their schedules quickly, especially the most sought-after ones who keep their calendars exclusive and offer a limited number of events each year. Working with a reputable wedding planner provides a substantial advantage. Established planners boast longstanding relationships with vendors, which they can leverage to find collaborative solutions and streamline project work. Vendors are often enthusiastic about partnering with well-regarded planners, which can result in increased flexibility in their schedules to accommodate your wedding date. While our standard recommendation is to begin planning eighteen months in advance, we have successfully executed event timelines in as little as three months. With the right team, anything is possible.  
Olivia Buckley International wedding planner team designing wedding ceremony at Ashford Castle.

WHAT IS YOUR WEDDING ADVICE TO COUPLES PLANNING THEIR WEDDING?

Invest time in understanding what you both want and make every effort to remain true to your vision. Think about the bigger picture before making any decisions. Consider factors like seasonality, the style of the venue, and how you envision the celebration unfolding. For example, a summer wedding could be best suited to a venue near the water, where you can host the ceremony overlooking the coast or a pristine lake. You might even consider a multi-day celebration with a yacht charter and a decadent picnic on a remote island. On the other hand, a winter wedding can be enhanced by the cosy ambiance of a castle with open fires, where the celebration begins with a welcome party of traditional music, dance, and a dazzling firework display against the starlit night. Another crucial piece of advice is to create a comprehensive timeline that includes all the tasks you need to accomplish for your wedding. Delegate specific tasks for each month and consistently work on them to avoid feeling overwhelmed in the final month. This way, you can fully enjoy the last month leading up to your wedding, soak in the atmosphere, and be free from worrying about any last-minute details. Lastly, when choosing a wedding planner, it is vital to select someone you connect with and who truly embraces your style and vision. Look for a wedding planner who takes the time to understand your vision, champions your ideas, and has the ability to bring your wedding to life.  
Olivia Buckley International bride Julianne Costigan experiencing her luxury wedding design for the first time. She is in awe of the beautiful dining experience designed by her wedding planner.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE ON WEDDING TRENDS AND STYLE?

As a wedding planner and designer, I generally do not follow trends. Instead, our primary focus is on embracing our clients’ unique personalities, their styles and seamlessly merging these with the aesthetics of the chosen wedding venue. It is important to recognise that trends may not always harmonise with every setting. The key lies in enhancing and complementing the chosen venue, rather than trying to compete with it. This is precisely why having a well-defined overall vision in mind before selecting a wedding venue is crucial.

For instance, envision selecting an ultra-modern design for an 800-year-old castle’s dining room. This choice would likely lead to a clash of textures and colors, resulting in a discordant and undesirable design. The harmonious integration of your wedding vision with the venue’s characteristics is a fundamental consideration in planning a truly beautiful and unforgettable wedding.