From Russia with love to Irish castles... brides flock here for fairytale weddings
RUSSIAN brides and grooms are flocking to Irish wedding venues.
Our castles are being promoted as fairytale wedding venues for the lucrative Russian wedding market.
New York company Your Royal Wedding is investing more than $500,000 (¤376,000) in a marketing scheme to tempt well-off brides-to-be and their partners to come to Ireland.
US-based Oksana Flanagan, who is married to an Irishman, has selected a number of high-end venues for marital vows, including Lismore Castle, Slane Castle, Cabra Castle and Adare Manor.
And their nuptials are bigger and blingier than anything witnessed here -- a traditional Russian wedding is spread out over at least two days and some weddings last as long as a week.
"The Russian and Ukrainian wedding industries are quickly developing and there is a lot of interest in western style weddings," Oksana explained.
"Russia has money and people are very eager to spend -- presenting huge business opportunities. People are spending more on weddings, they are going out of their way to be different from their friend's or relative's celebrations and there is a huge rise of destination weddings in Russia.
"People who came to Ireland for their weddings comment that this country has a lot to offer for any taste," she added.
"Guests love to make a vacation out of wedding attendance and spend extra time travelling Ireland.
"Hundreds of couples come to Ireland inspired by a dream to create their fairytale castle wedding -- my husband and I were one of them."
The wedding planner said that each of the brides are looking for something different from the experience.
The company has been promoting 'one-week' weddings in Irish castles to the Russian markets through national television, blogs and bridal magazines.
Within the next three months, the company will appear in almost two million issues, which they believe will generate interest from affluent Russian brides and grooms.
"Wedding business from the Russian elite will give a significant boost to the Irish economy," Oksana said.
But the businesswoman said she has run into problems in assistance for marketing in Ireland. "The company hopes for assistance from Irish officials in attracting business from this emerging market," she said. "Russia offers a large tourism opportunity to Ireland -- especially the luxury segment.
"The sad part is that only few see Russia as a great opportunity for Ireland."