Victoria and Timothy married at St James’ Church Bushypark, Galway, Ireland. A church just a stones throw away from Timothy’s childhood home. It was going to be more of a journey to get there on the big day though, as Victoria and Timothy now live in Australia and they planned their Irish Wedding from the other side of the world.
The reception was held at The Lodge At Ashford, Cong, Co. Mayo, Ireland – a boutique hotel in the Irish countryside. This was a summer wedding, but as Victoria reminded me, a summer wedding in Ireland does not guarantee sunshine. Luckily, Friday July 22nd, 2011 ended up being one of the brightest days of the year.
David Jenkins was on hand to capture all of that gorgeous light.
A Dress From Down Under
I have always chosen to dress to what suits my shape best rather than following trends too closely so I knew when it came to picking my wedding dress that I would do the same. Strapless dresses do not suit my shape so that automatically meant I was limiting my options – it is amazing how many wedding dresses are strapless!
I knew I wanted something classic, romantic with a touch of lace and a design that would flatter my shape and that I wanted to splurge on a designer gown. I started trawling through bridal magazines and there was so few dresses that I liked for myself that I was convinced I would have to have something made. Then when flicking through Cosmopolitan Bride (the Australian edition) I came across the most gorgeous dress that was featured in one of their ‘real weddings’ I knew straight away that I had to try it. The dress was from the ready to wear collection of Alex Perry a leading Australian designer. I flew from Brisbane to Sydney with 2 of my girlfriends and went to the Alex Perry flagship store and tried on the dress over 18 months before the wedding. It was the first one I tried and I knew it was the one – my friends started crying when I tried it on! I made some slight changes to the existing dress to better suit my shape and changed the lace bodice of the dress to a different fabric which I adored! The detailing was exquisite with such beautiful hand stitching detail.
The dress was a French lace appliqué bodice with an oversized bow at the waist and a double layered silk French tulle skirt with a satin silk underskirt. The dress was so light and comfortable, I could have worn it forever – I didn’t want to take it off.
I loved the idea of wearing an Australian designer dress to my Irish wedding – it was the perfect way to incorporate a part of Australia to my wedding day and I knew it would be totally different to anything available at home.
A Touch Of Romance
I wore a cathedral length silk tulle veil by Alex Perry, which complimented the dress beautifully – I always knew I wanted a full length veil – they are so romantic! I paired this with a Jenny Packham hair comb which had a beautiful vintage feel and was the perfect accessory for my wedding dress. I deliberated about the Jenny Packham hair comb for weeks and couldn’t decide whether to splurge on it or not eventually I emailed my sister and one of my good friends who both work for the Net a porter group and have an amazing eye for fashion and I knew they would tell me to absolutely go for it which they did! I really just needed the justification and I knew who to ask to give me the answer I wanted to hear ☺
In terms of jewellery I wore a pair of gorgeous Tiffany & Co diamond solitaire earrings of my mums. They were my something old and borrowed. I wanted my dress to be my statement piece and so my jewellery was understated but sentimental.
The evening before my wedding my mum and dad took me aside and presented me with a wedding gift – they gave me a beautiful gold and diamond tennis bracelet – it is absolutely beautiful and served as my something new!
I was adamant that I would wear a pair of skyscraper heels on my wedding day. I am only 5 foot 4 and Timmy is close to 6 foot so I needed to close the gap! I knew I wanted a pair of louboutins for the wedding day – a pair of gorgeous high heels with the iconic red sole (I could already imagine the photographs of them!) I really wanted a pair that would not only match my dress and the overall look for the day but that I could also wear again and again and so decided on a pair of very prive 120 peep toe pumps in gold matt. I always accessorise in gold tones so I knew they would be a pair that I could wear again and again and that would match almost any outfit! They have been one of my best investments!
Living in Australia and trying to plan who to use for hair and make up back in Ireland could have been a potential disaster but lucky for me my sister had got married less than 2 years before me and her hair and make up artist were so fantastic that I had no doubt in my mind who to use for my wedding day. Plus I had the benefit of having worked with them both before so I was confident they would do a fantastic job. Roisin and David work fantastically together and have worked together on a number of projects– they worked out the best schedule for all the hair and make up between them and brought a bit of calmness to an otherwise crazy morning!
I had Roisin Derrane look after the make up on the day for not only me but my bridal party too. It was really important to me that my make up was natural and that I still looked like myself and that the make up would suit a day time ceremony but still carry over to a night time look. So we focused on my eyes and kept the rest of the make up very natural. Roisin did a wonderful job on the make up and I barely had to touch up at all during the day, just some lip gloss from all the kissing!
My hair dresser was David Connelly who works for Dylan Bradshaw in Dublin but also does freelance wedding hair. I met with David the week before the wedding for a trial and he coloured my hair to a perfect creamy, blonde hue for the big day. For my wedding day hair I knew I wanted loose curls and my hair slightly pinned back to hold the veil and haircomb. During the trial with David we decided that a half up, half down bouffant style would work best. It would be elegant and timeless and compliment the dress well. I loved how my hair looked on the day, it wasn’t too structured or formal but was still quite elegant. The hairstyle worked well with the veil in and once I took it out it still went well with the gorgeous jenny packham hair comb. David did such a fantastic job with my hair and it held all night without dropping or losing its curl.
We were lucky enough to have Timmy’s cousin Mark Grehan owner of The Garden Powerscourt look after all the flowers. Mark was fantastic and straight away understood the look I was going for. I wanted it to be simple and elegant with a rustic countryside feel at the church and an elegant yet country feel at the lodge at Ashford.
For my bouquet Mark used Astilbe, Sweet Pea and White Roses. It was so simple yet stunning and photographed beautifully.
In the church we played on a garden style given the country setting and used white hydrangea heads in zinc pots for the pew ends and a country mix around the altar. Mark also created a beautiful floral arrangement around the arch entrance of the church.
At the Lodge at Ashford we stuck to the white colours and added a hint of pink. Mark used Astilbe and Green hydrangea heads in zinc and terracotta pots. When I walked into the reception room it took my breath away. The floral arrangements were stunning and exactly what I had hoped for.
Mark also transported the zinc pots of hydrangeas from the church pews to the reception venue and scattered the pots on the tables outside – it all looked so beautiful with flowers scattered everywhere.
Classic, Simple And Elegant
For our bridal party we wanted to keep with our theme of classic, simple and elegant. Timmys groomsmen were 3 childhood friends, his brother in law and his cousin. For the groomsmen we hired their suits – The groomsmen wore classic black tuxedo suits with black silk ties. The groomsmen felt more comfortable in ties than bow ties and I liked the idea of Timmy standing out from his groomsmen in his suit.
We had 4 bridesmaids and a flower girl. My two sisters and two best friends served as bridesmaids and Timmys niece Millie served as flower girl. For Millie we bought a gorgeous dress from Next – the dress featured a bow detail and a full tulle skirt so matched my dress well and we paired it with a pair of gold sequin ballet pumps from Monsoon in keeping with the theme of hints of gold.
Deciding on bridesmaid dresses was one of the hardest decisions I had to make for the wedding. With my bridesmaids being in Ireland and me in Australia I relied on them a lot to make suggestions and go and try on dresses and send me photos! I wanted all the girls to love what they were wearing and something that would flatter their shapes and suit their skin colouring. We finally decided on amazing Vera Wang bridesmaid dresses which I ordered from the US. The dresses were a stone colour with a gold mesh band at the waist and featured a bow detail on the shoulder strap. The bridesmaids paired their dresses with Dune gold peeptoe pumps which I ordered online. I bought the bridesmaids a pair of Tiffany & Co pearl earrings each as a wedding gift and they also accessorised with some of their own bracelets and bangles.
Without really initially planning it we ended up with a bow feature on my dress, the bridesmaid dress and flower girl dress which I loved and ended up carrying through the bow theme in our wedding cake display.
The Boss Man
When we started looking at suit options for Timmy we knew it would be a Hugo Boss suit – the fit of boss suits is perfect for Timmys build and he loves the simplistic, classic style. I considered my dress to be quite a princess style and so I knew a tuxedo would be the perfect match – giving a romantic, whimsical feel.
When Timmy tried on the slim fit black boss tuxedo we knew it was the one. He looked so handsome, I couldn’t have imagined him wearing anything else. He wore a Hugo Boss – Stars/Glamour Tuxedo. An elegant slim fit tuxedo which we bought online from the Hugo Boss website. He paired it with a Hugo Boss silk bow tie (bought online from the Hugo Boss website), a Hugo Boss slim fit Tuxedo shirt and a pair of Hugo Boss shoes. As a wedding gift I gave Timmy a pair of Lanvin rose gold and onyx cuff links which I bought from Mr Porter. The cufflinks were a real statement piece later in the evening when he removed the tuxedo jacket.
When I walked down the aisle and saw Timmy at the top of the church I couldn’t stop smiling – he looked so handsome! I had told Timmy I didn’t want to be crying as I walked down the aisle and that he needed to make me laugh so as I made my way down the aisle he wolf-whistled from the top which just made me laugh and smile (although there was still a few tears!) When we met at the top of the aisle I hugged him and held him tight for an extra few seconds just to recompose myself.
You Can See The Hapiness
From day one of wedding planning (besides the dress) I knew one of the most important decisions we would make would be the photographer. I am a big fan of photography and have thousands of photos as memories of mine and Timmys lives so far! I knew that the wedding photography would be one of the main ways to share the memories of the day and because of that it was such a massive decision to make!
I trawled the internet looking at photographer websites and blogs to find the perfect photographer for our wedding day. We flew our photographer David Jenkins from the UK for our big day. I had stumbled across David’s website while scouring the internet and fell in love with his style of photography. David captured the most beautiful moments of the day. David flew from the UK a couple of days before the wedding and met with us at the venue, we chose a couple of scenic locations for our portrait shots.
David was an absolute joy to work with on the day – Timmy and I felt totally at ease with him and he blended in so well with the guests and even stayed on longer than initially planned when everything didn’t go exactly to time! The photos David took are absolutely perfect. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I loved when Timmy and I went off with David to take our portrait shots during our drinks reception – it was lovely to get away on our own and have a bit of time just enjoying each others company and you can really see how happy we are in the shots David captured. They are some of my favourite shots.
Timmy and I were unsure on what we wanted to do for our cake. The lodge at Ashford are renowned for their food and we were serving a trio of deserts so we weren’t sure if a cake would be wasted or not.
In the end we decided on cupcakes which could be served with canapés on arrival for those who wanted something sweet, for the children guests as their desert and also as a midnight buffet (we even had left over cupcakes which we served the next evening at an after party!) The cupcakes were prepared by Galway Cupcakery.
I wanted our cupcakes to tie in with the theme of the wedding which was simple, classic and elegant with a touch of gold. We decided to display the cupcakes in gold foil wrappers with white/cream icing and an oversized bow that matched with my dress on the cake stand. Not only did they look beautiful but they tasted AMAZING! We displayed photo frames of our parents on their wedding days alongside the cupcake stand.
I also sourced vintage cupcake toppers from a US website www.fredflare.com which we served on the cupcakes for the children and also at the midnight buffet.
An All Nighter
At the church we had Nicola McGuire perform the church music. Timmy and I selected all songs for the ceremony together.
We both wanted to make the ceremony as personal as possible. Nicola was a fantastic help – she made suggestions on what songs to use when and on the day her vocals were so amazing. I would highly recommend her and have done so to friends! We also had one of Timmy’s friends and neighbour Thomas Chambers who is a fantastic vocalist sing with Nicola both during the ceremony and as we left the church. As we left the church Thomas sang Madness ‘It Must be Love’ and it ended up turning into a massive sing a long – it was such a special moment!
At the reception during the drinks reception we had a playlist of mainly jazz and easy listening music and as it was such a gorgeous day we ended up having music played through the grounds as our guests mingled outside in the sunshine.
After the speeches and in the evening we had the Weightless Astronauts a local band from Galway. Timmy and I had been to a number of weddings in the past where they had played and they know how to get everyone up and out on the dancefloor which is exactly what we wanted and they did a fantastic job. We couldn’t get people off the dancefloor and everyone was partying into the early hours of the morning! The band also provided a dj who took over as the band finished. It was almost 3am when it all wound up and then a couple of friends and family started on the hotels grand piano and carried on singing until amost 6 in the morning!
Our first dance was to Angels by Robbie Williams. We chose our first dance song together. We both agreed on it as it is a song that really meant something to Timmy and I. When we first started dating in 1999/2000 it was a song that was often played in nightclubs and when Timmy and I would be out and with friends we would always meet up on the dancefloor when this song came on so it had special meaning for both of us. It was such a special moment meeting on the dancefloor and dancing to a song that brought us back to our teens!
Given my love of photos we decided to organise a photobooth in lieu of favours so that our guests could have a lasting memory of the day. Each photo was printed twice so that guests could take home one photo with them and the other was placed in a guest book with a note for us to have as a keepsake. The photobooth ended up being a massive hit! We had people queuing up to have their photos taken and it was such a good ice breaker!
Whenever I look back on the photos I laugh as there was the most random assortment of guests grouping together to have their photos taken. One of my aunts had to be removed from the booth – she is in at least half the photos including crashing a couple of family photos! We sourced props from etsy and chose an assortment of moustaches and glasses on sticks for our guests to use in the booth! The photobooth was sourced through photobooth.ie
Personal And Intimate
I was pretty particular in how I wanted everything to look (yes I use the term particular as opposed to Bridezilla!) and had spent months on end searching through bridal magazines and trawling the internet for ideas and inspiration anything we incorporated into the wedding I wanted to be about making it very personal and intimate.
We couldn’t throw confetti at the church so instead we organised wedding bubbles that were handed out to guests as they left the church.
A rustic ‘wedding’ sign hung from the gate at the entrance to the hotel to point the guests in the right direction.
We bought a number of large and small lanterns that we scattered outside the venue on and around some picnic style tables – later in the evening as it got dusky outside and all the lanterns were lit it created a beautiful atmosphere and as it was such a warm dry night when people escaped outside for some fresh air they had somewhere to sit and chat and have a drink.
We named the tables after places that Timmy and I had been together and meant something to us and on each table there was a photo of either Timmy or Me or both of us displayed. The photos were displayed in gorgeous glass bauble photo holders which I ordered from not on the high street.
We placed a Thank You note in a frame at the bar which had a heartfelt message for all the guests from Timmy and I.
We bought disposable cameras for all of our young guests and an I-Spy list of photos for them to take. We also organised a kids club for the under 12 children so that there parents were able to enjoy the drinks reception and meal without worrying about the kids. As it was such a nice day while the adults had their meal the kids club went on a nature walk which they loved!
We arranged toiletries in the ladies and mens bathrooms for our guests to be able to freshen up that included party feet for the ladies, deodorant, mints, hair spray, hair clips etc. In the womens toilets we displayed the items in an assortment of glass jars with big white ribbon bows around them in keeping with the bow theme.
We had large letters in gold scattered throughout the venue – one by the photobooth that spelt out SMILE, one that had our initials V & T and one that sat at the head table that spelt out TORIA & TIMMY.
Do It In Style
Timmy and I saw our wedding day as an opportunity to throw the biggest party of our lives and to share it with all our loved ones. So when it came to any decision it was a matter of doing whatever we really wanted to do (our thoughts were we were only going to do it once so might as well do it in style). Timmy wanted a rolls Royce phantom as the wedding car so we researched it and organised it, I had wanted Louboutins as my wedding shoes so I got them – we didn’t go in with a set budget in mind but rather the budget would be whatever it cost to have the perfect day for us and we both feel we really achieved it.
Even though our wedding was relatively large (180 guests) we wanted it be very personal and intimate so we included as many family and friends in the ceremony and celebrations as we could. Living on the other side of the world to all our nearest and dearest is so hard so we wanted to absolutely make the most of the opportunity to be with them all at once. What was most special to us both was having all these people that we both love in the one place at the one time to be there to support us on our big day. There was such a beautiful atmosphere on the day and the gorgeous weather certainly helped! I remember arriving at the venue after the ceremony and all of our guests had already arrived and were on the lawn mingling as we pulled up in the car it was such a happy moment and a relief that everything was happening just as I had wanted it to.
In terms of advice my advice would be to remember the power of the internet – for researching and for shopping! There were so many items that I chose to buy online and saved considerably by doing so. Given that I was planning the wedding from Australia the internet allowed me to buy everything easily without having to ask too many favours of family members to run around and buy everything for me! I also found my photographer, stationery company and lots of inspiration from browsing the internet.
Another great piece of advice that I got from another bride was to take a few minutes on the day later in the evening and get away with just your new husband. The day goes by so fast and it’s nice to take a minute away together on your own to catch up and share a moment – that was a really nice moment that I am glad we had.
Finally I would say give yourself plenty of time to plan your day (the planning you do in advance will make for a smooth running wedding day) and make sure you do whatever makes you and your husband to be happy – the day is all about you and everyone will have a different opinion on what you should/shouldn’t do but I would say go with what you want.
Photography David Jenkins
Dress Alex Perry
Shoes Christian Louboutin
Make-up Roisin Derrane
Hair Dylan Bradshaw
Florals The Garden Powerscourt
Groom Hugo Boss
Cupcakes Galway Cupcakery
Yes folks, these are real people! 😉
It is incredible to think that you can plan a wedding from the other side of the world, but Victoria and Timmy managed it and how! With 180 guests it is a fairly large affair but these images really show how they managed to make it feel intimate and personal.
And what a day for it, I love the bright sun drenched images from David Jenkins. He is a total master at capturing the elegance of a moment.
The gold colour scheme that began with ‘those’ shoes and ended up infiltrating details throughout the day also lends this sunny spectacle a suitable air of opulence.
Thanks to Victoria and Timmy for sharing their big day.