Wiggle those toes – it’s Bride Siobhan’s top tip for making sure you remember all of the best bits of your wedding.
You know the feeling, those moments when you are so blissfully happy you want them to last forever, so you try to imprint them on your memory? I think toe wiggling would definitely help with that.
And to help bring back all those emotion filled memories, Siobhan and Ross have a gorgeous set of images from Claire Penn that truly capture the spirit of their day.
On a more superficial note – Siobhan is another Bride who did her own make up…she absolutely nails a red lip and nail combo. If any of you lovelies are thinking about DIY Bridal make up, make sure you check out of first beauty vlog here.
Our Second Home
Siobhan The Bride: We are both born and bred in London, but my Mum & Dad are from Ireland. I have such amazing memories from going to Ireland every year when I was younger to Tipperary to our family home for Easter and Summer holidays with all my cousins and family.
In the 7 and a half years Ross and I have been together we have taken trips over to Ireland, with groups of our friends for long weekends and with my family, it has become a second home to him now too. After we got engaged we talked about what sort of wedding we wanted and we knew we couldn’t just settle for one day, so we knew we had to have somewhere we could have all our loved ones together for a weekend.
We thought Ireland would be so much fun and a great excuse for a mini trip for everyone. We found Kilshane House in Tipperary near where my Mum’s family are from, and the moment we started driving up the half a mile tree lined winding drive we knew this place was going to be special.
Add to that the fact you can hire the whole place exclusively for the weekend, there are 50+ rooms for most of our guests to stay in, an absolutely STUNNING reception room which used to be a church and we knew it was the one!! It also has the feel of a family home and we felt so relaxed from the moment we entered.
We are very lucky to have a very dear friend of ours Tom Cumberland who is an amazing hairdresser. He agreed to do mine and the bridesmaids hair for the wedding and was just out of this world. My hair is long, but very fine so doesn’t curl easily, I knew I wanted it different from just straight, and I don’t do up do’s, so Tom and I had MANY practice sessions at my flat until we got the perfect wave with heated rollers.
I did my own make up for the day as I wanted to look like myself, I went for a lesson with a make up artist at Fenwicks called Frey-ja Barker who uses all different brands and she went through what was best for my skin and how to apply.
I then added to that my favourite bits from Mac & Nars, like bright red lips and gold smoky eyes! I knew I wanted a stand out look as I’m not afraid to wear brighter make up, I wanted it to look quite Hollywood glam to go with the dress, I was glad I took the plunge and did it myself, plus now I have all the make up to use after!
A Love Affair With The Aspen
A few months after getting engaged my best friend had a fun day out to try on a few dresses, I found a couple I loved so thought “this will be easy!”. Over-Confident – wind on 6 months and you have the pressure of actually finding the ONE dress you will wear on your wedding day, the one dress that needs to make you look stylish, beautiful, classy and sexy and that you can wear from midday until 4 in the morning (yes I said 4am!)
I must have tried on over 50 dresses, I was adamant I wanted it to be corseted and very structured, as the un-structured dresses wouldn’t suit me, I just didn’t like any of them on me! I then went to an amazing shop called Miss Bush Bridal in Ripley and among all the corseted big gowns they made me try on a Jenny Packham…SWOON!
Well what a waste of a year trying all the other gowns on, it suddenly all feel into place, then it was just a matter of which one. As soon as I tried on the Aspen, I knew it was the one. They do say that don’t they!? It was the most comfortable dress I have ever worn and I felt amazing in it…I am still having a total love affair with it.
Very Special Accessories
I knew I wanted my wedding shoes to be really special, my amazing Maid of Honour Indi gave me a very big contribution towards them as a 30th birthday present, so I knew I could afford the Louboutins I really wanted. I wanted to be able to wear them again after so peep toed nude ones were perfect, the red looked amazing under the dress and matched my red nails and lips!
My veil was stumbled upon by accident; we went shopping for bridesmaid dresses and had an appointment at the fabulous Gillian Million’s shop in Teddington. It is like every girls heaven, full of the most beautiful jewellery and accessories you could ever imagine. She makes her veils her self, and it was so soft it was like butter in my hand, I had to have it. She does just the right mix of vintage and glamorous for her jewellery too so I brought myself a beautiful vintage bracelet from there.
My best girls had taken note of a necklace I loved and brought it for me for my birthday (so spoilt), and on the wedding day my mum gave me a beautiful vintage hair clip for after I took my veil off. I was even more surprised when I had a card from Ross on the wedding morning, which made me ball my eyes out (luckily before all make up was done) and with it a little box containing the most beautiful vintage art deco earrings, which I adore!
Style And Sophistication
My beautiful girls wore a stunning strapless chiffon gown in purple made by Dessy brought at Jane Jordan in Kingston. We matched that with silver shoes from Next, a statement silver / diamante necklace from Accessorize UK and really cool silver nail polish from Nails Inc. They looked totally stunning, I was very proud!
Ross The Groom: ‘I knew from the start I wanted an English gent look for me, my best men & ushers. We settled on fabric from Alfred Brown millers for our fitted three-piece suits. I went for grey ties, white silk pocket squares with a grey trim and cool 1 inch tie bars, brought online from a shop in the USA called The Tie Bar.
My shirt was from a traditional 60s inspired English tailors called Adam Sharner in Notting Hill and my shoes were from Loakes. My Mum had my granddads pocket watch put onto a chain and my Dad gave it to me as a present which I wore on the wedding day.’
Siobhan The Bride: They all looked really dapper and my hubby looked totally gorgeous (if I don’t say so myself!)
The Right Photographer
We knew from the start having the right photographer was important to us; I really struggled to find any that really excited me in Ireland, or ones who did the reportage relaxed style we wanted. I was then looking on these polka dot pages one day and saw a fabulous engagement shoot from the even more fabulous Claire Penn.
I went onto her amazing blog and fell in love with every couple she photographed and knew I wanted her to photograph our day. Claire travelled down to London to meet us for our engagement shoot in Battersea Park and once again blew us away; we instantly relaxed around her and knew we had made the right choice! We were so happy she agreed to fly over to Ireland from her base in the UK and it was the best investment we made!
A Relaxed Vibe
Our venue was so beautiful we let it speak for itself a lot of the time, we didn’t have a set theme as we wanted a really relaxed vibe for the whole weekend. But we did have different music for every section of the day, including for the drinks reception a CD with music by Vitamin String Quartet who play contemporary music like The Smiths, U2, Killers, Daft Punk and a particularly cool rendition of MMM Bop all on string instruments, we got loads of great comments on it.
The beauty of Kilshane House is that you can move your guests through the different sections of the venue at different parts of your day, we had our drinks reception on the lawn, we then had cocktails in the stunning glass conservatory before moving to the main reception room with its beautiful fairy lights and high ceilings. The tables had silver candelabras, which we had draped in green ivy, they were placed on mirrors with candles around the bottom. We went for a more rustic/vintage feel, with homemade banners and vintage suitcases to hold the photo guest book.
As I knew the weather could be unpredictable in Ireland I wanted something that took my mind off the rain if it did happen. I found some Heart Shaped Umbrellas on a really cool website called Love Umbrellas. I got them for me and the bridesmaids in Purple and Ivory to match our colours. It only trickled a little bit on the day but the umbrellas really made us smile so it didn’t matter!
We brought a mini Instax Fujifilm camera and loads of props for people to take pictures and stick in our guest book, this was one of the most fun parts of the evening and the guest book is hilarious (you should see the drunken illegible messages and photos from after midnight).
Purples, Pinks And Blues
I had a very clear idea of what I wanted for my mine and my bridesmaid’s bouquets. I wanted them to look quite dramatic, so I wanted mine to be only bright colours, incorporating the purple of the bridesmaid dresses and other dark pinks and shades of purple / blue. I asked for only large flowers, I wanted the purple orchids which looked amazing and large roses, I also knew I wanted long stems which would come out of the bottom of the silk wrap around.
The girls then each choose a white flower that they loved and had an individual bouquet made, so large Roses for one, Calla Lilies’ for another and Dahlia’s, again with long stems and ivory silk wraps, Michelle at Cashel Flowers did the most amazing job we couldn’t have been happier.
As Ross had pocket squares he wanted very simple boutonnieres, we decided on simple lavender with a silk wrap, they looked really cool and smelt gorgeous. We also had silver buckets with lavender plants dotted around different parts of the wedding, like the photo guest book table, card table and by the entrance.
A Pre-Ceremony Guinness
We got married at stunning Holy Cross Abbey, it was actually the church in the town my Nana grew up in, so is really dear to my heart, it helps that the setting is also breath taking. There is a traditional Irish pub attached to the Abbey, which all the guests stopped into for a pint of Guinness pre ceremony!
The priest was an old family friend who actually introduced my Mum & Dad, he was winding us up the whole way along, pointing to the wrong words and generally making the whole church laugh, it really made it so much more amazing than we could have expected! Ross’ sister and my three brothers did all the readings, which made it extra special.
A Beatles Tribute
Ross is a DJ, music is really important to him, so this was his forte! He is a huge Beatles fan and managed to find the most amazing tribute act called The Classic Beatles, they have even performed for the Queen and have worked with Sir George Martin. They are completely authentic right down to the accents and the stage banter.
They were one of the highlights of our night, everyone was up dancing and singing the whole way through. Our brother in-law even got up and played a guitar solo with them. They finished on a collaboration of Daft Punks “Get Lucky” and “Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Bands” it was fantastic! He then found a DJ who really listened to what we wanted and played the best music until 2am, we were up dancing all night!
Our first dance was to Paradise by Coldplay, it brings back fantastic memories of seeing them at Glastonbury shortly after we got engaged. We hadn’t rehearsed the dance, but that made it more fun, they were lots of impromptu spins and even a dip!
A Five Course Feast
We wanted to make sure that our guests had lots of eat and drink all day. There were plates filled with canapés during the drinks reception, which guests enjoyed while sipping Prosseco or cocktails including Strawberry Daiquiris and Mojitos (my favourite!)
All the catering is done in house at Kilshane House, it was a 5 course meal, we had a goat cheese tart with beetroot to start, followed by carrot and coriander soup with pesto oil, then fillet steak with three different types of potatoes and vegetables, followed by crème brulee with mini Madeline’s and summer fruit compotes, followed by tea, coffee and petit fours, it was all delicious.
For favours we decided (knowing our friends and family) the best thing would be miniatures bottles of Irish Whiskey, Baileys or Jagermeister, we brought purple striped bags and stickers with our names, wedding date and ‘Thank you’ on them from Amazon, they looked great and went down a treat!!
All Worth The Effort
As we were getting married in another country we wanted to give our guests as much info as possible so for our save the date we sent out an email that linked into a wedding website we created, it went down really well. We really struggled with our invitations, we couldn’t really justify spending lots of money on them, but also wanted them to reflect us and give our guests a feel of the wedding to come!
We then found this really great website called Paper Dates who did an invite that perfectly reflected the feel of our wedding, they were really affordable too. We even roped in Ross’ dad to help tie them all together with hessian string they looked great!
We created the table plan ourselves (with help from my brilliant Mum & Dad), we printed an individual Polaroid of each of our guests, we then put hessian string onto black card and used a red heart shaped clip to pin them on…It looked great and was a focal point of the wedding, a lot of effort but worth it!
A Smooch And A Screech
It really was the most amazing day of our lives, we didn’t go OTT with little details but added our own personality to the wedding, the things people remember so much are how much fun it was and how much love there was in the room, not how many flowers or signs we had! I got loads of great advice, I will pass on my two favourite pieces…
Steal away for at least half an hour on your own with your new husband, we snuck up to our room with a glass of champagne for a smooch and a screech, we could also look out our window to see how our favourite people laughing outside, it was magical.
At any moments you really want to remember, wiggle your toes. I did it as I was saying my vows looking into Ross’ eyes, during my Dads speech and while on the dance floor looking around at how much love and happiness there was in the room, we felt so blessed!
Bride’s Gown – Aspen by Jenny Packham at Miss Bush Bridal
Shoes – Christian Louboutin
Veil & Jewellery – Gillian Million
Bridesmaid’s Gowns – Dessy at Jane Jordan
Shoes – Next
Necklaces – Accessorize UK
Nail Polish – Nails Inc.
Groom and Groomsmen’s Suits – Alfred Brown
Ties, Pocket Squares and Tie Bars – The Tie Bar
Shirts – Adam Of London
Groom’s Shoes – Loake
Venue – Kilshane House
Make Up Tutorial – Frey-Ja Barker at Fenwick’s
Invitations – Your Paper Dates
Reception Music – The Vitamin String Quartet
Florist – Cashel Flowers
Band – The Classic Beatles
Photography – Claire Penn Photography
Second shooter – Jane Packard
What a stylish affair for a Friday!
Love the idea of stealing away for a ‘smooch and a screech’ with your new husband.
I think I want to move into Kilshane House.
Lots of love,