Tears of Joy

This was an emotional beautiful wedding day for Anna and Cathal. Tears of joy were shed, laughs were had, hugs were shared. It was the kind of wedding many couples dream of.

We started working with the couple about 18 months before their wedding date. Cathal is Irish and living with Anna in Brooklyn so choosing Ireland was an easy decision.

I pegged Parknasilla Hotel in Co Kerry for them right away. It’s elegant {just like them}, seaside and doesn’t’ feel like a standard hotel. There is no ‘ballroom’ and dinner would be had in the light and bright restaurant.

We booked them in for an April date right away.  Awake and Dreaming were there to document the emotional, amazing day.

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The boy’s day started out with a swim in the ocean. It’s kind of an Irish thing. I know I wouldn’t do it! But imagine it really gets the day off to a fresh start.

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The ladies went right in to hair and makeup. With 9 ladies needing to be done it was a beauty factory in the Bridal suite. No pressure though! We had my best team on it!

Hair was Tricia o’Sullivan and makeup, Annette O’Brien

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Anna and Cathal chose to do first look photos and spend a little quality time together before the festivities kicked off. It was well needed too because of the emotion that went with the moment of seeing each other for the first time.

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blank blankTo the main event at Sneem Church. A beautiful small town church all dressed up elegantly in flowers by Jill Wild, Flowersmith .  All of the flowers and styling was gorgeous.

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The fabulous classic white wedding cake covered with fresh flowers was by O’Carroll’s Cakes

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After the delicious dinner, it was back into the lounge for dancing and merriment with the piece de la resistance {did I spell that right??}, fireworks!! just to finish the night perfectly.

What a beautiful, elegant couple, fab families and gorgeous location!

Thanks again to Dave and Laurie at Awake and Dreaming Photography for perfectly capturing the day.

Ceremony with a View

Top priority for Alyssa and Aaron when we were planning their destination wedding to Ireland was to have a scenic location. A ceremony with a view.
We looked at a lot of manor houses, big and small in locations around the country. Our happy couple settled on Ballintaggart House, a 300 year old Manor house on the way in to Dingle. It worked for them on many levels. The intimate size for their wedding party of 50, the views are fabulous looking out over the bay, and how close it is to Dingle town.  Dingle is a super lively fishing town with more pubs then you could possible get to on a short visit so the group stayed in the area for four days and just relaxed and settled in to getting to know the locals.

This is what the wedding day looked like by super talented Hannah and Jaron Ball Photo .

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While the girls were doing some relaxing Yoga in the house, the guys went for a traditional groom’s swim at the beach nearby.

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After a relaxing morning the getting ready started with hair by Tricia O’Sullivan and makeup by Annette O’Brien. Two of my fave suppliers to work with!

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Once ready, Alyssa and Aaron met for a few moments together before the ceremony. The first look is just time to themselves before the wedding day madness starts.

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All of the flowers were fabulous from Leona at Every Occasion who I love to work with and always gets it beautifully right.

blankblank blank blankThere  were  some lovely nontraditional  bridal party members too like the  Flower boys who did a great job and each got a lollipop after the ceremony.   blank blank blank blank blank blank blank blank blank blank blank blank blank

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The dinner, reception and after party was lively, full of fun and pints of Guinness!

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Again thanks to Hannah and Jaron, Tricia, Annette. John, Clodagh and all of the staff at Ballintaggart. Other credit for the day goes to ceremony musician, Aoife Granville and the David Dillon, the band.

What a great day was had by all!!

Benefits of an Intimate wedding and micro wedding

We do a lot of intimate weddings. I think that is generally because of the nature of a destination wedding. Not everyone will make the effort to travel so it’s already a way to keep it small but there are a lot of benefits to having an intimate or micro wedding.

Moving forward, however, it’s likely that in this new normal of social distancing, with restrictions on larger gatherings, some family unable to travel to your destination wedding for preventative health reasons and even, equally financial constraints, intimate weddings may become the norm

But you know what?? They don’t have to be a compromise. In fact, just the opposite! There are plenty of perks and benefits of an intimate destination wedding. Like this one, we did at Ashford Castle for Amanda and Sean. It was fabulous!

Have a lookie below to hear why it’s a great idea no matter what your situation is!

Why you should have an intimate or micro wedding

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I always ask our couples ‘Why Ireland’ or ‘Why have a destination wedding’ and often the answer is that they simply don’t like being the centre of attention. Not every couple wants the hype and attention that a larger wedding brings. Micro and intimate weddings allow them to be a part of the group as opposed to on the outskirts.

You will likely spend less. Without that big guest list you likely won’t spend as much on food, drinks, favours and potentially on the location!

On the other side of that, you can spend more! But spend it on what you really want. Maybe you prefer to spend the same money on 25 people as you would for 100? Have a 5 course Michelin Star dinner and drink champagne all night. You can now afford to do that!

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photo by Savo.ie

Have an adventure together. Because you really do like your guests! They are your fave peeps! You can spend more quality time with them

Not be rushed. Smaller weddings are easier to move and more time flexible. I’ve had weddings where it’s raining at the time we are supposed to have our ceremony. We can tell everyone to have another drink at the bar and in 20 minutes until the sun comes out again. Easy peasy.

You don’t have to follow tradition. Your BFFs won’t judge you. Do what you like and not what you don’t. No cake? They won’t miss it! No first dance? Let everyone jump on the dance floor together.

Less stress. Many of my couples tell me after their wedding that the number of guests really added to their stress levels. Always asking that they should do, where they should go, how to get from here to there. Generally, it’s easier to manage people’s expectations and convey messages.

You are surrounded by friends and family that you can engage with. They aren’t just looking at you from afar.

More personal touches. You can super customize or DIY more – hand write place cards or notes to each guest by way of a ‘Thank you for coming’

No hard feelings. Putting a guest list together can be stressful too! With an intimate destination wedding you can say, ‘Sorry, it’s only close friends and family’ and actually mean it!

You don’t actually like being the centre of attention. Many couples don’t. It’s ok. With an intimate wedding, you are approachable and in the middle of the action.

More time with your photographer. Isn’t that what everyone wants in their destination wedding? Time to capture yourselves amid the epic scenery.

The people who matter most will be there. They will make an effort because they love you.

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Photo by Mrs Red Head Photography

More range of interesting venues. Breakaway from the standard hotels. You can’t get 100 people to hope a fence to get to gorgeous castle ruins but your 25 friends and family will be happy to do that for you!

Have a more authentic destination experience. Fewer guests offer you all the opportunity to get into the real nooks and crannies of a location. You can’t just drop into a pub with 120 people for a drink. You can with 20.

All in all, it’s a more relaxed day, less stressful planning process and so much more fun!

Who wouldn’t want that!!??!!

Relaxed House Party Wedding at Horetown House

Jessica and Ethan wanted a relaxed house party feel for their wedding. Lots of food and drinks and plenty of music. It was important to them that their friends and families had a great time since they were all traveling to Ireland from America for the event.

Horetown House was the perfect place for an elegant but fun party.

Here is how the day looked as photographed by Lima Conlon Photography

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The flowers and look of the day were based on jewel tones. Beautiful ripe juicy summery colors of pomegranates and plums all done by Silvia at Bella Botanica

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The couple had Jewish ceremony and all of the to reflect Ethan’s background with all of the traditions. Kippot, a Floral covered Chuppah, stepping on the glass and, during the dancing, a horah!

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Jessica looked gorgeous with makeup by Anne Hutton and Hair by Bonnie 
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After a private first look together,  Jessica,Ethan and their immediate families gathered  to  sign  the Ketubah  before the public ceremony with their guests.blank blank blank

Sylvia lovingly covered the Chuppah with greenery and coordinating jewel toned flowers for the wedding ceremony. It was a stunning display in the bright ceremony room at Horetown House.

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The couple weren’t fans of traditional cake so we set up a cheese wheel display as a substitute with all of the trimmings of fruits and crackers.

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Such a gorgeous couple, a beautiful wedding and fabulous party. Thanks to all of the team how made it amazing for them !

Get Married in an Irish Castle or Abbey Ruins

Great! We can help! We see and visit a LOT of Castle and Abbey ruins. It’s our ‘thing’. Certainly, they are romantic and scenic for sure! Plus there are lots of them in most areas of the country but if you are going to do it yourself, you need to know a few things.

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Legal Ceremony. Photo by Rob Coakley

Firstly, likely have heard or seen some ruins already that you are interested in. You can also find them online, and see images on google maps and street view but before you plan for a ruins location for your wedding ceremony, you must visit the location in person. For multiple reasons. The images you see may be old and inaccurate. You need to check for access. How the heck are you going to get to it? Do you have to hop over a fence or gate? Are the ruins beautiful but backs on to a road? Does it look great in images but has houses or an unsightly farm {and the smells that come with it} in the background? Potentially it could be grazing land for local farm animals. Do I need to remind you to watch your step? And you likely will need to get permission. Possibly pay a fee and prove that you have insurance to be on the property so be aware. These beautiful ruins are not always public nor have public access so it’s important to be respectful.

If you are having guests, you need to keep them in mind. It’s your dream to get married in stunning castle ruins but is an outdoor ceremony in a country known for rain something that your guests are excited about? Consider if they are healthy and fit enough to walk the distance across uneven grass to gain access to the site themselves. Then they may have to stand for your 30-minute ceremony. It may be possible for you to set up chairs. However, it’s unlikely you will have help setting that up unless you have a Wedding Planner.

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Legal ceremony in an Abbey Ruins photo by Tricia Victoria

Always have a backup option. Any time of the year. I always have an indoor backup location for our couples who want outdoor weddings. Most of the time we don’t use them and just go for it outside but it’s important to have. Remember Murphy and his Law?

The other big thing about ruins weddings is if you are planning a legal wedding ceremony then it becomes a little trickier.

In Ireland, you can’t just get married in a field or beside a lake or at the top of the mountain. It’s a little tricky to explain but to put it plainly, the location has to be open to the public and must have an address. Unfortunately most ruins, not all, but most, are in a private field, or public park. The private field would have an address of the owner but it’s not open to the public because it’s private property. The ruins in a public park doesn’t have a mailing address.

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Non-legal ceremony Abbey Ruins photo by Darek Smietona

The thing I tell my couples about the legal vs not legal commitment ceremony is that the day you proclaim your love for each other, fully commit and exchange rings and vows is your wedding day. It is beautiful, meaningful and real. Just because you didn’t sign the paper on that date doesn’t matter to your heart.

It is possible to find ruins on a property that is open to the public and has an address. Imagine a hotel, guesthouse or B&B with the ruins on the property or restored castle that has a ruin still attached and unfinished. This type of property is great because you have the indoor option that you may need as a backup and usually a lovely characterful place to stay close to your ceremony!

So ask yourself, how adventurous are you? What about your guests? Will you jump a fence for the perfect location? What about hop on a boat? Risk rain? Most of our couples do! And we do it all of the time.

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photo by Konrad Paprocki

I hope that helps to understand the things that need to be considered for a wedding ceremony, of any size, in Irish ruins. Let us help and

I say, just go for it!!