Olivia Buckley International, led by Founder Olivia Buckley, is Ireland's foremost wedding planner, celebrated globally for orchestrating extraordinary destination weddings. With an unwavering commitment to exceeding expectations, Oliva and her team ensure a seamless and stress-free celebration experience. Their opulent design sensibilities, showcased in prestigious publications like Vogue and Brides, have garnered acclaim from Forbes 500 CEOs, celebrities, and sports icons alike. Renowned for their discretion and talent in crafting private sanctuaries, Olivia Buckley International promises an unparalleled planning journey. In an exclusive interview, Olivia shares insights into her approach and expertise, allowing you to get to know her better.

Olivia, your reputation as Ireland's leading wedding planner is well-established. Can you tell us what initially drew you to the world of wedding planning and what sets your approach apart from others in the industry?

I have always adored love and people. Weddings, to me, are incredibly moving experiences that celebrate the essence of human connection. I know in my heart that it has always been my destiny to work in this incredible industry.

After completing my Business and Marketing degree and further studies in Public Relations and Event Management, I dove into the world of events and was instantly captivated. The grand scale, the intricate design aspects, and the dynamic energy of live event management all held my fascination. I have immersed myself in the realm of luxury destination weddings.

It has been a true privilege to shape my career around creating exceptional celebrations for my clients and merging my two great loves: celebrating love and the art of event planning. At Olivia Buckley International, our unique ethos revolves around making the impossible possible, driven by our daily practice of passion and belief in reaching the extraordinary.

Could you walk us through your unique methodology and approach to wedding planning?

For our discerning clients, time is a luxury. Understanding dynamic, time-poor lifestyles, we transcend time zones to make every moment count. We specialise in flawless destination wedding planning and maintain impeccable standards with a skilled team empowered by cutting-edge technology. Meticulously overseeing every detail, our systems ensure a seamless and flawless experience.

As more than wedding planners, we're visionaries breathing life into blank canvases. Our global network turns visions into realities, all guarded with stringent privacy measures. With over four decades of luxury events experience, we consistently deliver on global standards.

You've had the privilege of creating unforgettable weddings for couples from around the world. What motivates you to continue planning weddings, and what do you find most rewarding about your work?

Every day in this profession is a new adventure filled with unique and diverse experiences. The journey is exhilarating; what motivates me to continue planning weddings is the profound joy and sense of purpose that comes from creating unforgettable moments for couples from around the world.

What I find most rewarding about our work is sharing this journey with our clients. Each wedding we plan is a celebration that is worthy of the love they share. It is the smiles, the tears of joy, and the heartfelt moments that make it all worthwhile.

Planning a wedding is a deeply personal experience for couples. How do you ensure that your wedding designs and concepts capture each couple's unique essence and love story?

Our team is entirely dedicated to our clients. Our process begins by forming a personal connection with them. We aim to immerse ourselves fully in their world, understanding who they are. The more insights we gather, the better we can support and shape their wedding, turning it into a physical representation of their unique journey together.

As our relationships with couples deepen, they become dear friends—this connection is the key to truly grasping what brings joy to their hearts. By investing time in establishing authentic connections, fostering relationships, and actively listening, we craft wedding designs that capture the distinct essence of each couple.

How do you embrace Ashford Castle for intimate wedding celebrations?

We bring boundless creativity to intimate celebrations at Ashford Castle, leveraging the flexibility that smaller guest numbers provide. The castle’s diverse spaces serve as versatile settings for crafting uniquely memorable events. Our expertise within Ashford Castle allows us to propose fresh, tailored experiences for intimate weddings.

One standout occasion, inspired by 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' immersed forty special guests in an enchanting lakeside world. A bespoke marquee with handcrafted willow arches led guests to a secluded lakeside haven featuring a custom-built willow tree and antique furnishings for a timeless ambience. Ashford Castle's expansive grounds enable us to create magical experiences for weddings of any size, radiating grandeur and boundless spirit.

The west of Ireland is known for its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage. How do you incorporate the natural beauty and local traditions into your wedding designs and experiences? 

Embracing the outdoors, the stunning landscape of Ireland rightfully earns its 'Emerald Isle' reputation. We view the unpredictable weather of Ireland’s west not as a challenge but as an opportunity. Through meticulous contingency plans, we craft ethereal event spaces that emulate the enchantment of outdoor celebrations. Understanding our clients' desire for local traditions, we weave Irish cultural experiences seamlessly into our wedding designs, fostering authenticity and connection. Every aspect reflects the region's unique cultural heritage.

Having orchestrated numerous exceptional multi-day weddings at Ashford Castle, is there one particular event that holds a special place in your memory and stands out as especially remarkable?

One of our most memorable wedding projects in Ashford Castle involved a high-profile client who placed paramount importance on absolute confidentiality. To ensure that every facet of the event remained concealed, we took extraordinary steps by implementing an additional layer of rigorous security measures.

Working closely with the Ashford Castle team, who shared our passion for excellence in hospitality, was an incredible experience. The event was complex, from intricate design elements to strict confidentiality across all teams. The celebration was an unparalleled success, staying entirely under the media's radar as intended.

As a destination wedding planner, how do you assist couples in making the most of their Ashford Castle wedding?

Our intimate knowledge of Ashford Castle is the cornerstone of our service. We have an intricate understanding of every facet of the property. From its historic event spaces to the expansive grounds, we navigate the possibilities and constraints effortlessly, ensuring that every event harmonises seamlessly with the castle's rich legacy. Given Ashford Castle's venerable 800-year history, it comes with regulations to safeguard its historical significance. Our proven track record and reputation have earned us the trust of Ashford Castle, allowing us the unique opportunity to push creative boundaries.

What advice would you offer to couples considering Ashford Castle for their special day?

Ashford Castle's magic lies in its rich history woven into its walls. Let this legacy be the cornerstone of your wedding. Incorporate time-tested traditions, embracing the castle's distinguished past in your unique love story. Explore hidden gems within the estate and savour gastronomic delights with locally sourced ingredients led by culinary expert Liam Finnegan. Immerse in the vibrant local spirit using wicker and poetry for an authentic Irish touch.

Ashford Castle's resident artisans, including Head Sommelier Paul Fogerty and Director of Chocolate and Pâtisserie Paula Stakelum, bring your wedding's narrative to life. The resident historian adds a historical layer, turning your celebration into a captivating journey through time. This exceptional team orchestrates an experience that transcends ordinary celebrations, evolving into an ode to love, history, and culinary artistry.