Names: Lily MacMonagle & Liam Shannon
Length of Engagement: 2 Years
Wedding Date: 4th August 2018
Wedding location: The Dunloe Hotel and Gardens, Beaufort, Killarney, Co. Kerry.
Photographer: The Woodards
Liam & I met in 5th year in Geography class. We were both in the wrong class & we were being moved down the hall so we started chatting. I asked him what his name was and he said ‘Liam Shannon’ and I corrected him by saying ‘Shanahan’ as I had never heard the surname Shannon before. ‘No, its Shannon’, he said. I thought to myself he was a little rude, good looking but rude.
I was in 5th year & as I went up the stairs to my classroom one day, I could hear this girl roaring at the top of her voice. I turned to enter the class room and she was standing at the top of the room, her shirt hanging out, collar and tie open with her jumper tied around her wait. She was singing and messing to a group and I thought to myself ‘I’m going to kiss that girl’.
Needless to say he did and I didn’t take much convincing. That’s how we first met, but we didn’t go out until we were 22. We were always such great friends and we both travelled and went to college. It wasn’t until the end of 2010 that we eventually decided to give it a go.
Honestly, I thought we were going to get engaged any time we went somewhere special. Liam and I would have amazing holidays together. We went to New York – my favourite city in the world! We had dinner in The River Café looking out at the New York skyline and we took a helicopter ride around the city. We spared no expense and we also left without a ring!
He later laughed and told me that proposing wasn’t even on his mind as we had only been together for three years. I supposed we had known each other for so long that I was expecting it.
On July 31st, 2016, three years later, Liam managed to get down on one knee. We were due to go to Bali that October and I thought to myself, he is definitely going to propose there.
One night we went out for drinks prior to the engagement and after a bit of dutch courage I had asked him not to propose to me in Bali because I would have been expecting it during our travels.
Liam got so cross with me by saying how he had planned to purpose in Bali and that I had ruined it – I was heartbroken. The next day, I was woken up to breakfast in the garden (extremely hungover the night before) and he made me go for a walk in Muckross – it was so romantic. Little did I know that he was having a mental breakdown in his head with nerves.
Liam eventually got down on one knee at one of my favourite spots in Muckross, a little beach that overlooks the middle lake – it was like a scene from a Disney movie. As we walked along chatting and laughing to one another, he asked a tourist to take a photo of us. To paint the real picture, I was dying a death (self-inflicted from the night before) wearing illuminous pink gym pants and a white t-shirt that wasn’t ironed, carrying a ‘she’s just happy to be out and about’ look on my face.
Liam let go of me and went to go down on his knee and the tourist taking the photograph did not have a clue what was going on because I panicked and kept trying to pull Liam up saying ‘No, no no, I’ve forced you into this, get up!’ Needless to say he didn’t and I said ‘YES’.
We floated back to the carpark and Liam told me to pack a bag as we were going away for the night. We returned on the Sunday evening where we met all of our family and friends in a Killarney bar where we celebrated our engagement into the wee hours of the morning – it was perfect!
Our wedding theme/colours
Blush Pink and Gold.
Things we DIY’d/made ourselves
A friend of mine, Caroline Hartnett of Creative Harts is a wedding co-ordinator and she was a huge help to me with style and pulling me back when I was going mental. I made our seating plan with the help of my friend Avril and my sister Annie who was also my maid of honour. I used 3 wooden frames, sprayed them gold and wrapped them in fairy lights. I made a full seating plan by using pictures of each wedding guest when they were young – this was extremely stressful but 100% worth it. My sister Annie and her husband Johnny made us our favours. These were little gin shots that we had at every table setting which were amazing. ‘Formula 86 (The Witches)’.
My mum was a massive help in the DIY and décor of things too. She ordered the most amazing materials that we used for wrapping our menus, flowers and buttonholes.
This was definitely the hard part, until I found it. I went to Bán Bridal in Limerick and I met the wonderful Eilis. I went with Noretta, one of my bridesmaids and my dress was so simple. The minute I tried it on I just got such a wonderful feeling.
I added a piece of pink ribbon which was sourced by my mum and I also added this to the flower girl dresses which I picked up in TK MAXX for €18.00 each and they were divine!
My mum was the hero of the day when it came to the shoes and the wedding décor in general. She scoured the internet to try and get them in my size, I nearly dropped the day she sent me the picture of them on the kitchen table.
My hair and make-up…
My hair was done by the talented and loveliest hairdresser, Donna Masterson Hair. She is based down near Kinsale. She made me feel so relaxed and gave me exactly what I wanted, the same with the girls, they loved her.
I was so lucky with my make-up artist Susan Fox who is my cousin and she is an absolute Queen. She managed to have my make up so relaxed and pretty, yet lasted for the whole day.
We purchased Liam’s suit, the groomsmen and the fathers of the bride and groom in Ryles Suits Killarney & Tralee. The top table was black tie and that included our in-laws and grandparent – it looked super!
What our bridal party wore…
Our bridal party wore dresses from Bán Bridal. These were ordered through Eilis and the make of them was ‘Maid to Measure’. I chose to go with a dusty blue so the girls would be my ‘something blue’.
This was perfect – honestly. The music was so important to the two of us. We wanted to go with something a little bit different so we had a few members of the Gleneagle Brass Band play for us. Liam’s sisters and Grandfather both sang for our mass and it was the most special experience we could have asked for. During our vows I surprised Liam with the music from Sia ‘Breath Me’, one of his favourite pieces. Our friend David played this so softly on the piano.
Our family and friends were all involved in the ceremony. My grandmother who sadly passed away in December was able to be there which was so special for us. Liam’s cousin is a priest in Longford and he celebrated the mass along with our favourite priest Fr Kieran O Brien. One of our very close friends Rob Murphy, my best friend from college read the communion reflection, ‘I Like You’.
We chose our photographer because…
This was one of the hardest and easiest decisions. My family are all photographers, my sister Sally MacMonagle is one of the most spectacular wedding photographers I know, but she was also my bridesmaid. I didn’t want my dad doing it because I wanted him in all of the photos. But we both knew that The Woodards were the most perfect choice for us. We never felt like they were there. They were so chilled and captured the most beautiful shots. Our advice to any bride and groom would be go with it. If the photographer thinks you’re going to get an amazing picture standing on your head, in a field of roses, get standing on it because they are right. We had our shoes off up the gap of Dunloe in Kerry, walking through sheep and deer droppings to get the photos and they are out of this world.
We chose our venue because…
The Dunloe Hotel & Gardens was a no brainer. It is set in the most beautiful part of this country overlooking the iconic Gap of Dunloe. The hotel had reopened after a massive refurbishment and I could not have imagined the work that went it to it. It was so modern but timeless and classic at the same time. Hands down it was one of our favourite hotels. From the drinks reception to the day two, when we came back and had a massive singsong, the venue was just ideal. We couldn’t recommend it highly enough. The bridal suite was beautiful looking directly out on to the Gap, one of our most treasured views.
The food was genuinely exquisite. I still have friends speaking about it saying ‘it was one of the best meals of my life’.
Also, our tasting evening was so lovely and we could not have been looked after well enough.
Our wedding cake was gifted to us by our super talented friend Aisling, it was exactly what we envisioned. It also tasted ridiculously delicious.
After a few days at home with our family we heading off to ‘Finn Lough’ in Enniskillen which I would highly recommend. We stayed in one of their Forest Bubble Domes for one night. We dined in their delicious restaurant followed by cocktails in their theatre watching ‘This is 40’ which we had to ourselves.
We rented bicycles and cycled around the estate. We were sorry that we didn’t book a campfire by the lake but we will know for next time. The next day we headed to Galway to stay in Glenloe Abbey but we look a detour and did the stairway to heaven walk ‘Cuilcagh Boardwalk in Enniskillen which was gorgeous.
We then travelled to Adare Manor for two nights, literally one of the best experiences of our lives. We could not recommend it enough as a mini-honey moon. We had dinner on both nights, one night in the Carriage House and the other in the Manor Restaurant, it was exquisite. The sommelier treated us to a trip to the hotel cellar which was so cool, we both have a massive interest in it and he went through the different flavours and wines with us – it was such an experience.
Our friends were getting married that September in Soller in Mallorca, which is our favourite holiday destination so we added that in as part of our honeymoon. It was so special to us both, we got to watch our best friends get married and have our closest friend’s party with us on our honeymoon. Our partying wasn’t too mental though as were 5 weeks pregnant here.
My favourite part of the wedding day…
Getting married and saying our vows. Genuinely one of the most magical experiences we could have ever asked for.
My piece of advice for other couples…
Things go wrong – Big Deal!!!! You’re together, your family and friends are there with such happiness for you both, enjoy them. Enjoy the mishaps, they’re sometimes the funniest memories. Take time together to really look around at the people that have made such an effort to be there and share the day with you. Also, just financially, if you’re planning on buying a house in the future after the wedding, just don’t go crazy with the spending. Your wedding day will be amazing, you don’t need to rent chairs for 300 people for €5 each or spend €3k on flowers – it will be spectacular regardless. Just don’t lose your head (easier said than done)
What is it that makes your wedding unique?
We just put so much thought and had such attention to detail throughout the day – We had very personal touches throughout the day, from our little mass leaflet, to the music choices, the personalised pictures for our table settings and the sheer craic that everyone brought on the day Also, instead of DJ, when our band finished we had trad session with a group called the ‘All In Limerick’ and had a huge singsong it worked out so well.
Wedding venue: The Dunloe Hotel and Gardens | Photographer: The Woodards | Planner/coordinator: Jason Clifford | Videographer: Stephen O’Donoghue | Musician: The Gleneagle Band. The Bentley Boys and All In Limerick. | Day 2 we had a group called ‘Thingamjig’, a brilliant trad/modern duo. | Hair: Donna Masterson Hair | Makeup: Susan Fox | Wedding Décor: Deck the Halls, Tie the Knot and Creative Harts. | Flowers: Blooms, Killarney. | Dress: Bán Bridal | Suits: Ryles Menswear – Bennetti | Bridesmaids dresses: Maid To Measure – Bán Bridan | Cake: Dr. Aisling O’Connor | Celebrant: Fr Kieran O Brien and Fr Declan Shannon
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Kelly is a former wedding planner and a lover of anything pink. She believes that any bride can plan her own wedding, with a few tips and helpful tools.