Over the past few years I’ve realised that most brides find they learn more from past brides who’ve already experienced planning their wedding.
So, I’m dedicating a section on my blog to ‘Planning your Wedding – Inspired by real Brides Experiences”. Here I will feature as many of the weddings I’ve done and brides I’ve met as possible. It’s a questions and answers style blog post with lots of lovely inspirational images too!
My first post in this series is “Karen’s Wedding” in Castletown Geoghegan. Karen is my sister so it was a natural starting point for me! As a family we had an absolutely fantastic day at Karen and Padraig’s wedding (in fairness we had waited years for it to happen!) – it was something very different for us as it wasn’t your standard venue.
We had been through a difficult year as our mother was going through treatment for cancer but Karen worked through all the organising and we all had an absolutely fantastic day! Have to admit I travelled home by taxi in the early hours of the morning but there was lots of great stories the following day from those who had stayed the night in a yurt, hut or caravan! I loved being Karen’s bridal makeup artist and I hope you enjoy her story!
How did you meet Padraig?
I met Padraig when I was about 16. We had some mutual friends and we ended up working part-time in shops a few doors down from each other. We used to take our lunch breaks together!
Tell us a little bit about the engagement ….
As we were going out about 12 years before getting engaged, most people had given up on the whole wedding idea. One Autumn evening we were just chatting over a cup of tea and the wedding topic just came up and we both said ‘sure will we just get married??!!’ There was no overly romantic proposal in that sense. We are both fairly laid back people, so I think the ‘proposal’ was just us!! We also kept our engagement a secret until 6 months before the wedding, so we had everything organised behind the scenes!
How did you choose your engagement ring?
When I was younger, I used to work part-time in a jewellers. I was always drawn to one ring in particular, which I used to try on and it was a marquise style cut. My husband to be left the decision to me, so it was no real surprise that I went for a platinum marquise cut diamond with smaller shoulder diamonds either side. I had looked around a number of shops before choosing my ring in Paul Sheeran Jewellers in Dublin. I had always loved the marquise cut, and love vintage styling and the ring I chose is a very classic style but also has a bit of an edge to it.
Did you choose your wedding ring at the same time and tell us a little bit about choosing that?
Yes, I wanted my wedding ring to compliment my engagement ring, so on the same day, I tried on the wedding ring and my decision was made there and then. My engagement ring was ‘wed fit’ style, which meant that my wedding ring would sit perfectly under the engagement ring.
What about Padraig’s ring…..
Padraig wanted a ‘no fuss’, simple wedding ring. After a lot of research, he chose a brushed titanium wedding ring from Stonechat Jewellers, Westbury Mall, Dublin.
Tell us a little bit about your experience choosing the church or if you decided on a civil ceremony, humanist etc tell us a little about that?
We got married in my local church in Ballinahown, just outside Athlone. This was the same church that I was baptised, and made my communion and confirmation in. We had our local priest and two priests who are family friends celebrate the wedding ceremony.
Did the ‘theme’ of your wedding influence the venue you chose?
Yes. As we are both laid back and fairly easy going, we wanted our venue to reflect this and also to set the tone for the day. We chose Mount Druid in Castletown Geoghegan, Co. Westmeath as our venue. Mount Druid has a lake house, converted rustic barn with laid back food, and guests have the option to stay in Mongolian yurts, shepherds huts, Father Ted style caravans and tin houses. We had a barbeque for dinner, which was very relaxing for our guests, and also meant that they didn’t have to sit for hours waiting on course after course…
Our theme was a mish mash of rustic, vintage, bohemian and DIY. The venue really set the tone for the rest of the wedding; from the invitations which I sourced from the UK from a company called ‘Sarah Wants’, to the flowers we chose, the church and venue decorations, the dresses, suits, music, cake…everything.
On arrival to the lake house at Mount Druid, guests were treated to home cooked ham, and handmade pastries along with my own chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. For the main course, we had a BBQ, which was all created from local and organic produce. We had Eton Mess as our dessert and more homemade treats for late night snacks.
Did you style it yourself or hire a professional?
We styled the venue ourselves. The team at Mount Druid were great and the venue looked fantastic already. They give you free reign the day before to decorate and put your own personal touch on the venue, which we did. I spent winter evenings covering jam jars with old book pages, cutting out hearts, making paper pom pom’s and making our table plan. I also decorated our candles for the church using twine, jute and lace. I spent months gathering jars, tin cans, bunting, fabrics, twines, ribbons and any other bits and pieces needed to add the final touches.
We want all the details on your dress, from shopping to choosing to purchasing to alterations?
I love lace, so when it came to choosing my wedding dress, I knew I would choose a lace vintage/bohemian style dress. I really really wanted a Claire Pettibone dress…unfortunately, this was out of my budget range. I had looked online and flicked through wedding magazine after wedding magazine, but nothing really stood out to me, as I felt a lot of the dresses looked very similar. I spotted my dress in the Wedding Journal magazine, and immediately knew it would be the one for me, and it was even better that it was available from The White Room in Mullingar, which was a 40 minute drive. My dress was from a Spanish designer called Otaduy, and The White Room were the only stockists of this brand in Ireland at the time. My dress had a silk slip and the main dress was hand made lace in a beautiful floral pattern. It had capped sleeves and tied very simply at the waist. The alterations were made through the White Room, by a fantastic seamstress.
I chose a simple cream peep toe shoe to compliment my dress. My shoes were from Next, and had wrap style straps and flowers on the ankle.
How did you choose the jewellery you wore on the day?
I only wore earrings on the day, and wanted marquisite earrings to compliment the vintage style of my dress. My mother bought my earrings for me in Timepieces in Roscommon.
How did you choose the fragrance you wore on the day?
I am quite particular when it comes to perfume. I really wanted an unusual but fresh perfume that would remind me of the wedding day each time I smelled it. I purchased my perfume from a great little shop in the Westbury Mall in Dublin called Parfumarija. This shop stocks some amazing perfumes from famous perfume houses from around the world. I chose Sublime Balkiss, which is a fresh floral chypre fragrance from The Different Company.
Lets not forget the boys! How did they choose what they wore on the day?
The boys purchased their suits from Galvin for Men, Tullamore, who were extremely professional and ensured that every last detail was looked after. We chose French navy suits, with white shirts and complimenting ties.
Tell us about your hairdresser …..
My hairdresser is David Claffey from Custom Cuts in Athlone. David has been doing my hair for years now, and knows exactly what my style is. I was so laid back about my hair that it was David who suggested I should have a trial done…I didn’t even feel the need for a trial as I trusted David to do what would suit me, and the dress. We did a hair trial the week of the wedding and it was perfect. David recreated the style on the day and also did a fantastic job on all of our hair.
I initially thought my hair might suit the dress down and in loose curls, however, as my hair is naturally straight, I thought this might not be a good option for lasting all day. Following consultation with David, we decided on a simple up-style, with some plaits worked into the style. As I chose not to have a veil, I went for fresh flowers in my hair, which worked well with the dress.
Any tips for brides regarding choosing hairstyles?
Choose a hairstyle that is ‘you’. Don’t do anything drastic with your hair and work with your natural hair type, whether straight or curly.
What was important to you when choosing your bridal makeup artist?
I wanted make up that was natural and made me look like myself! I had some problems with my skin in the run up to the wedding, and I really wanted my skin to look clear and fresh on the day. I don’t wear masses of make up or false tan, so I wanted a make up artist who would understand exactly what I wanted on the day.
I knew I wanted a make up artist on the day, someone who was trained and specialised in bridal make up. I know…….. I was really lucky to have my sister (a professional bridal make up artist). I chatted to Aileen regarding my style, the dress and my normal make up routine. Aileen took everything into account and created exactly what I wanted on the day. My skin looked exactly as I had hoped – fresh and flawless, and the make up lasted until the early hours.
I will say the trial is extremely important as it is your chance to discuss what you like and dislike when it comes to make up.
We’d love to hear about your flowers and what you decided upon and also who did your flowers?
Our flowers were by Lorna at A Room in Bloom in Athlone. I gave Lorna ideas of what we were looking for, and she created amazing bouquets and arrangements for the day. She is very creative and is excellent in coming up with ideas and suggestions.
How did you choose your bridesmaid and tell us about her dress?
I chose one bridesmaid, which was my niece Rebekka. Rebekka wore a coral dress from Dessy, which really complimented my dress. Her simple jewellery was from Monsoon, which were gold tone earrings with a mint green stone.
Anything special that you’d like to share about your bridesmaids?
She dyed her hair coral to match the dress!
Tell us about your photographer….
We chose David McClelland as our photographer. He came highly recommended to me (my sister who is a make up artist had met him on a few occasions and loved his work), for his natural photography style and he was so easy to work with in the run up to the wedding and on the day itself. On the day, we actually almost forgot he was there, and we didn’t spend hours posing and fake smiling for photograph after photograph. David took amazing natural shots and we were really happy with how our photos turned out.
YOUR top 5 tips brides who are currently planning their wedding
- Don’t get too caught up, or the day will become more of a chore to plan.
- Be yourself when it comes to your dress, hairstyle and make up.
- Personalise where you can – it really make a difference.
- Don’t wear false tan.
- Try to relax and most of all enjoy the day!
- Photographer David McClelland
- Rings (Bride)Paul Sheeran Jewellers
- Ring (Groom)Stonechat Jewellers
- Venue Mount Druid
- Bride’s Dress The White Room
- Brides Jewellery Timepieces
- Fragrance Parfumarija
- Boys Suits Galvin for Men
- Hair Custom Cuts
- Flowers A Room in Bloom
- Bridesmaids dress Dessy
- Music in Church Colin Fahy
- Band The Afters Band