Oh my gosh there is so much pretty to look at on todays Irish wedding, including our teacher Bride & movie director Groom!
Ciara’s bespoke gown which she had made by Shin Bu Bridal in Koreatown is stunning! Even with the language barrier she faced with the dress designers, they managed to create a totally unique dress tailor made especially to suit her personality. I LOVE the low back, the embellishment and that matching cuff WOW, I could literally waffle on about Ciara’s outfit alone, have you seen the headpiece & shoes yet?!
Yep I think I’m back in the room… but only to continue my appraisal towards the flowers & decor now. There is a wonderful Autumn & Halloween theme, but not in the traditional style you might be thinking, in the most elegant & sophisticated way possible with muted/pastel pumpkins and mood candle light creating such a romantic reception room. The ladies bouquets are also absolute perfection, made up of cream & dusky pink roses, berries and foliage, so apt for Autumn.
Prepare to be dazzled and totally swept off your feet. I’m still on cloud nine and also facing facts that I might just have a little bit of a girl crush on our Bride or at least her outfit!
Ciara The Bride: The dress was so important to me. Not spending thousands on a designer name, but making sure the dress reflected me and my style. I tried on so many gowns in Belfast, Dublin and Los Angeles (where we now live) but each one I tried on felt like it was made for someone else, and not for me. I was looking for something slightly vintage looking, ethereal and whimsical with lots of detail. In the end I started researching dress designers in LA and the one that kept coming up with glowing reviews was Shin Bu Bridal in Koreatown. Although Mr Seo and his wife speak very little English, they understood what I was looking for with the help of pictures of other dresses I liked (Anna Campbell’s Gossamer Collection) and a lot of sign language! They were willing and eager to take on the task. If I’m being completely honest, I found the experience of having a wedding dress made a little stressful. With the language barrier and me not having any skills in dress making, I had to absolutely trust The Seo’s. One visit a month for nine months, I started to slowly see it take shape and I was liking what I saw! I finally got to see ‘the finished product’ on the morning I was flying home to Ireland for the wedding – talk about cutting it fine! Mr Seo made me a matching cuff and a simple veil to finish off the look.
On the morning of the wedding, wearing the dress of my dreams and after having my hair styled by Lorraine Browne and my make up done my my super talented makeup artist best friend, Nikki Quinn, I was really happy at how everything had come together.
Colour came first. With the help of Pinterest and various wedding blogs I decided that mauve, blush pink and glittering gold would make a beautiful colour scheme for an autumn wedding. With my bridesmaids in Dublin and London, and me in Los Angeles, I knew we would never get to go shopping together so I relied heavily on the internet. I loved these soft, flowy, whimsical, tulle dresses the minute I saw them. Thankfully the girls did too when I sent them the pictures. The dresses were a perfect fit for the girls as they could change up the top half of the dress to whichever style suited them. I thought the girls looked gorgeous and they were really comfortable too.
The Boys’ Suits
This was their domain and I didn’t have any involvement here. (Ok, I picked the dark purple ties!) Gary went for a slim fitting black suit – simple, classic, smart, timeless. I thought he made a great choice.
Tankardstown House was the first and only wedding venue we looked at. It was everything we wanted and more. A big manor set in acres of scenic countryside, cosy rooms with roaring fires for the drinks reception, a magical orangery with candles and twinkling lights where dinner would be served, exquisite food, accommodation on site, staff that would go above and beyond to give us the best day of our lives, and, a bar that stayed open until 4am!
We actually stayed at the venue for 2 days, as the day after our wedding was Halloween and we really wanted to make the most of this holiday. Every one of our guests dressed up in fancy dress, even the staff at Tankardstown House! They also did an amazing job and decorating the house with the creepy Halloween props we brought home from LA – it was like a completely different venue!
Colour Scheme/ Decor
Autumnal, soft, whimsical, magical. The muted/pastel pumpkins hit the right note by acknowledging the Halloween wedding while at the same time keeping it soft and romantic. We also bought sparklers for all our guests to light outside when it got dark. My Mum made gorgeous candle holders by pasting pink and gold glitter into mason jars and lighting a tea light in each one. We put these out in the center of every table with the pumpkins, flowers and candelabras. Mum also made all of our 140 guests a tiny jars of homemade blackberry jam as a favours, but which acted as place names on the tables too! The jam kept in with the colour scheme and the autumnal feel.
I absolutely loved my flowers! I met with my florist, Aiste from Daisy Lane, in the summer time while I was home for my hen party. I told her the colour scheme and feel I was going for and we leafed through lots of her flower magazines to come up with the perfect combination of flowers for the bouquets, the boutonnieres, the arrangements for the church, for the top of our cake, and for the table center pieces at the reception. I was over the moon when Aiste brought the flowers to my house the morning of our wedding – they were even more beautiful than I could have imagined. There was no way I was throwing my bouquet later that night! After the wedding I hung it upside down in a dry warm room ready to press and keep forever!
I have to say a special word about Kitty Moss who did all of our stationery. She is amazing! I had seen Kitty’s illustrations before and was so impressed by her style. Before she started work she asked both Gary and I not only about our vision, but also about our personalities. We were speechless when she showed us what she came up with! A pretty, magical forest, painted with beautiful autumnal colours, and two little animals representing Gary and I in the middle! When we looked harder we found more details that represented our personality traits! She also painted haunting invitations for our Halloween party on Day 2 and our rsvps, tied them in a bow added a special bit of glitter and packaged them all together in black envelopes. She didn’t stop there! Kitty also designed our table names (we chose words that had something to do with Halloween, eg FIREWORKS, WITCHES HATS, BLACK CATS, GOBLINS, GHOULS, etc) and our seating plan. So many people commented on her work. It was stunning.
I knew the ceremony would be special, but I had no idea how emotional it would be! From the love and support I could feel radiating from our guests as my Dad walked me up the aisle, to my Dad giving me away, to hearing my family and friends read the prayers we had chosen, to the moving music, to putting a wedding band on the finger of the love of my life….it was all so overwhelming!
We got married in my parish church. It meant a lot to me as it is where I made my communion and confirmation, and then later, as a primary school teacher, brought my students for their sacraments. My parish priest , who I have known for many years, married us and he made it so personal and relaxed. He had the congregation in stitches laughing. We had The Avoca String Quartet play for us. Gary and I had spent a lot of time choosing our pieces. With me being a musician and Gary a film director big into his film scores, it was very important to us to get this right. The quartet did an incredible job.
The string quartet drove to the reception venue after the church to play for the drinks reception. Gary and I didn’t get to hear them play as we were getting our photographs taken but we heard they went down a treat! We had Deja Boo as our band. I had been to a few of their gigs before as they are friends of friends. I was adamant they play at our wedding. They had the crowd up dancing from the very first song, shoes came off after 15/20 mins, and the bar was pretty much empty until the interval as no one wanted to leave the dance floor. Our song writer/ music producer/ musician/DJ friend , Declan Quinn, took to the decks after the band finished. He played everything from Maniac, to Hold On For One More Day, to Teenage Dirtbag, to Riverdance! We were exhausted from dancing when we finally had to shut down at 4am.
Bernie Kennelly in Meath made our cake. I found her as a recommended vendor on an Irish wedding website. We went for two tall tiers – one carrot cake and one lemon drizzle, and we kept the icing soft and simple. Aiste made the flowers for the top and it looked, and tasted great. We thought we might have some leftover for Day 2, but it was all gobbled up.
Tankardstown House have won awards for their food and they are well deserved. We had canapes, a three course meal, more food at midnight and beautiful wines and prosecco throughout the day. Everything was delicious.
The photographs and video were the two things Gary felt most strongly about. He spends most of his time behind the lens so he was looking for someone who was exceptional with their use of light in their photography, made beautiful compositions and who could capture natural moments throughout the day without being in the way. The Lou’s more than filled the brief. Both of them equally as talented as the other.
On the morning of the wedding, Louie went to Gary’s parents house and Louise came to mine, to capture the fun and excitement of both families and bridal party getting ready. We hadn’t met The Lou’s before, but we all felt at ease immediately and hardly noticed the camera! The Lous were so, so nice to work with, we had great fun with them during the day and were really sad to see them go at the end of the night.
Our photos arrived just as we got back from honeymoon and we were so impressed. Every single picture was just beautiful. 3 months later and I still go through them at least once a week and re- live the day! I think what I love most about the photos is the reactions and interactions of our family and friends when they have no clue the camera is watching them; picking out special moments that Gary and I might have missed on the day.
This was another job that Gary was not going to give away lightly! We were so lucky when his friend Iztok who is a photographer and director himself, happily agreed to fly from Slovenia to film our big day. This guy is super talented and he did not stop going from 8am til 4am! Gary is going to edit the footage himself so I actually haven’t seen anything yet. He tells me it’s fantastic! I’m hoping it might be ready by mid February…it’d make a great Valentines Day present!
Advice for Future Brides
I loved planning our wedding but it was definitely stressful too – other brides might not tell you this so don’t think you’re the only one to have a meltdown! Read wedding blogs and use Pinterest for inspiration. Don’t leave too much to the last minute so that you can’t enjoy the run up to your big day. Take it all in – the day goes by so quickly. Enjoy every minute of it and don’t feel like you have to spend hours talking to your 2nd cousin once removed if you’d rather be on the dance floor! Take a little time out with your new husband – you are not likely to have felt more in love with him than you do on your wedding day.
Photography by The Lou’s
- Bespoke Dress, Veil & Cuff Shin Bu Bridal, Koreatown, Los Angeles
- Bridal Shoes Badgley Mischka
- Necklace Knightsbridge, Dublin
- Headpiece Jules Bridal Jewellery, Dublin
- Bridesmaid Dresses Jenny Yoo (Annabelle)
- Bridesmaid Accessories Accessorize
- Makeup Nikki Quinn
- Hair Lorraine Browne
- Grooms Suit Patrick Sheary
- Groomsmen Suits Dorian Black
- Church The Church of the Annunciation, Rathfarnham
- Venue Tankardstown House
- Cars At&T Chauffeurs
- Florist Daisy Lane
- Cake Bernie Kennelly
- Stationery Kitty Kitty Moss
- Pumpkins Meath Pumpkin
- Freestanding Letters Lovin Letters
- Entertainment The Avoca String Quartet
- Deja Boo
- Videographer Iztok Medja