“We decided very quickly that we wanted to have a spring wedding. It’s such a beautiful and fresh season where everything is coming back to life after the winter. Pastel colours felt very fitting for March so we went with pale pinks, creams, ivories and a French navy for the guys.”
Names: Carly Dalrymple & Gerard Fitzgerald
Length of engagement: 15 months
Wedding Date: 22 March 2019
Wedding Ceremony: The Orangery, Killruddery House & Gardens, Bray
Wedding Reception: The Heritage, Killenard
Photographer: Laura & Benny Photography
We met… at work. I (Carly) had just moved to Dublin in October 2011 and on my first day in the office Ger showed me around and helped me to settle in. We very quickly became great friends and would spend many weekends going to rugby matches, at the cinema or out with friends together. Everyone assumed we were boyfriend and girlfriend from day one but it was actually two years before we had our first kiss . . . the rest, as they say, is history.
Our proposal… We got engaged in a suite at the InterContinental Hotel in Ballsbridge on the 8 December 2017. I (Carly) had been away a lot with work the few weeks leading up to our engagement and as we hadn’t spent much time together Ger had suggested we go away for the night. I had no idea where we were going or that he was going to propose. When we arrived at our room Ger gave me the key and told me to go on in. The room was huge and on the dining table there was a chocolate platter and some champagne. The chocolate platter spelt out ‘Happy Anniversary’ so I started to panic that we were in the wrong room or that I’d missed an anniversary, I was even trying to get Ger to go back to reception to get us a new room. It was at this stage Ger produced the ring and asked me to marry him. He quickly explained that the platter was meant to say ‘Congratulations’ and not ‘Happy Anniversary’. We still laugh at it all today! Leaving the comedy value aside I loved our engagement as we got to savour it just the two of us. We cracked open the champagne and he told me all about how he’d been planning it whilst I’d been travelling with work. He’d picked out the diamonds himself and had the ring custom made by Patrick Glynn jewellers, he’d only collected the ring three hours before proposing!
Our wedding theme/colours… We decided very quickly that we wanted to have a spring wedding. It’s such a beautiful and fresh season where everything is coming back to life after the winter. Pastel colours felt very fitting for March so we went with pale pinks, creams, ivories and a French navy for the guys. Crisp and fresh was key! Mary from Finesse Weddings really helped to bring our colours alive with the floral arrangements and bouquets. Our floral arrangements really helped to set off the Orangery and we re-used these again at The Heritage to help decorate the dining room. At The Heritage Mary also provided the cherry blossom trees and fairy light backdrops that we used in the main room to help maintain that fresh spring theme throughout.
Things we DIY’d/made ourselves… As we both have jobs that involve a lot of travel we didn’t opt for too much DIY, simply because we didn’t want to add too much pressure to ourselves at the weekend. Instead we were very particular about the suppliers we picked. When choosing our suppliers a really important thing for us was meeting people face to face. You can quickly tell if you click and if you ‘get’ each other which is so important when you’re relying on everyone to deliver on your wedding vision. If we didn’t click with a supplier we kept looking until we found someone we felt we trusted. We were delighted with all of our suppliers and I can hand on heart say that if we had to do our wedding again we wouldn’t change a single one, they were all amazing and delivered over and above what we ever imagined.
My dress… is not what I imagined I’d choose. Before I started looking for my dress a friend suggested to try lots of different styles as it’s not every day you get to try on wedding dresses. Initially I thought I would go for something very plain and simple but when I tried on the Zavana ZB119 dress in Beau Bride, Naas I knew it was the one. I loved how delicate the lace was, the detailed back and neckline and just how regal it all felt. I worked with Michelle of Beau Bride to tweak the front slightly so that it wasn’t too low cut. My veil was from Truly Bridal Boutique, Naas. At the outset I wanted a short veil so that it would be easy managed on the day but the more I tried the cathedral length veils the more in love with them I fell. As it’s the only day I was ever going to wear a veil I decided to go all out, the longer the better!
My shoes… Jimmy Choo ‘Evelyn’ Peep Toe. These shoes were very special to me as Evelyn was the name of my grandmother on my dad’s side of the family. She passed away over 10 years ago but was a huge part of my life. I had picked the shoes in Brown Thomas before realising that they were called Evelyn. I loved that they weren’t too high, had some sparkle and were something I would easily wear again after the wedding. Once I discovered they were called Evelyn that sealed the deal. My grandmother always loved her clothes and shoes so it felt like fate.
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue… Old was my ear-rings. These are my mother in laws and they were given to her by her late husband. Sadly Ger’s dad passed away 9 months before our wedding day and this was a nice way of including him as a memory on our day. New – my dress. Borrowed; Hair piece belonged to my Maid of Honour and was the same one she wore on her wedding day. Blue; I have a Sapphire ring that I was bought by my family and Ger’s for my 30th birthday, I wore this to mark both families.
My hair and make up… was by Debbie and Shay of Chez Shay. Debbie and Shay work with a lot of Heritage brides and came recommended by the hotel. It was really important for me that the morning of the wedding was as relaxed as possible with everyone together. The girls all came to the bridal suite in the Heritage and Debbie and Shay came to us. It was great fun having everyone together for a few hours and we had some pastries, yoghurt, teas and coffees sent up to the room. I decided to have my hair up to show off the back of my dress and I let the girls pick their own styles. For makeup we kept it quite natural, soft pinks and light browns.
His suit… as Ger wears a suit every day to work we wanted something a little more special for the wedding day. We had Ger’s suit custom made by Louis Copeland, Capel Street. Cathal O’Brien helped us throughout and was fantastic to deal with. We were walked through all stages from selecting the style of suit and waistcoat, the fabric and colours as well as the finer details of lining for the jacket and waistcoat. Outstanding service and superb quality. We also selected suits from Louis Copeland for the groomsmen.
What our bridal party wore… the bridesmaids had their dresses custom made by Joanne Ferguson of Joanne Ferguson Bridalwear, Newtownards, Northern Ireland. We decided to have the dresses custom made for a number of reasons, firstly one of our bridesmaids was due to give birth four months before the wedding and secondly the bridesmaids lived in various locations both in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Having the dresses custom made took all the pressure of finding something that worked for everyone from the high street and meant that we knew they would fit perfectly and that the girls would all feel really confident on the day. I also wanted to have floor-length dresses with a bit of a train and was finding it hard to get something as elegant in the shops. We were able to work with Joanne on styles and tweak things as we went. Joanne was so laid back and super flexible to work with, this made the entire experience stress free for everyone and the girls were able to attend fittings when suited them.
Our ceremony… we knew from the outset that we didn’t want a religious ceremony, it just wasn’t us and we loved the values of the humanist approach. Siobhan Walls was our celebrant and was brilliant at helping us to plan out a ceremony that really reflected us as a couple. We had two non-religious readings; Take Time (Anonymous) and Union (Robert Fulghum), four wedding wishes and hopes (similar to Prayer’s of the Faithful), unity candles, hand fasting and an anniversary box. The anniversary box is where you both write a love letter to each other before the ceremony and at the end of the ceremony you place them inside a wine box where you also have a vintage wine that you’ve selected together before the ceremony. The plan is that you then open the wine and letters on your fifth wedding anniversary. When it came to our vows we decided to write our own. We didn’t share them with each other before the day so it was really special hearing them for the first time at the top the aisle. Rumour has it there were some tissues needed amongst the guests . . .
Another huge part of our ceremony was the music. Maria Fitzgerald of WeddingSinger.ie was fantastic at helping us to select music that worked for the ceremony we had created with Siobhan. We had some instrumental songs playing as guests were arriving. The flower girl and bridesmaids walked up the aisle to Canon in D and I walked up the aisle to Can’t Help Falling in Love with You Instrumental. Songs throughout the ceremony included Falling Slowly Instrumental (Remembrance candles), Wind Beneath My Wings (mums lighting family candles), Nella Fantasia (Unity Candle), Songbird (Signing Registrar) and Hoppipola Instrumental (Recessional).
We lost our bridesmaids just before the ceremony! We had two wedding cars, one for the bridesmaids and one for myself, my mum and dad. When I arrived at Killruddery the wedding car carrying the bridesmaids was no-where to be seen. After 5 minutes of some panic and worry we discovered that the bridesmaids had been left at the wrong entrance and the only way they could make it to the ceremony venue was to walk up the gardens of Killruddery and sneak by the guests all gathered in the Orangery. Thankfully Benny (one of our photographers) was quick to spot what was happening and we have some great pictures of the girls tip toeing across the gardens of Killruddery trying not to be seen. No matter how much you plan things on the day you can be sure there is something you won’t have thought about . . . never in a million years did I think we’d lose the girls just before the ceremony but the laughs that it added to the day more than made up for it.
We chose our photographer because… we loved the idea of having two photographers. When we started to look at different photographers we started to see how special it could be having two photographers capture the same moment from different angles. When we discovered Laura and Benny we knew they were right for us. They are such a pleasure to work with and we clicked with them day one. We were nervous about the photographs taking up the whole day as we didn’t want that at all, we wanted to enjoy the day with each other and our friends and family. Laura and Benny made it totally effortless, really quick and most importantly fun! I cannot describe just how much fun we had with them. Not only did we have two superb photographers but Laura was like my own personal assistant on the day, keeping us right on time and makeup touch ups. We truly missed them when they had to leave that evening. Laura and Benny’s photo package also includes a small sample of pictures ready for you to view the very next day. This was a huge positive for us we had requested no guest photographs and videos during the ceremony as we wanted to keep it as intimate as possible and for guests just to be in the moment with us. Laura and Benny had our sample album with us before 9am the next morning with more than 60 fantastic pictures that we could share with everyone before they had even checked out of the hotel!
We chose our wedding coordinator because… Whilst we did the planning ourselves, we had the help and support of two fabulous wedding co-ordinators at both our venues; Marilyn Mooney at Killruddery and Trisha Broughan at The Heritage. Both of these ladies were a huge help and support and no ask was too much trouble for them.
We chose our venues because… Whilst we didn’t want our ceremony to be in church, the ceremony itself was very important to us and we wanted a venue that really captured how special the moment would be when we became husband and wife. We went to visit Killruddery on 22 December 2017. I remember it so vividly as we were a bit worried that in the depths of winter it would be hard to imagine what it could be like in spring. How wrong were we! Even three days before Christmas it looked amazing. From the moment we walked into the courtyard of the House and Gardens we were blown away and as soon as we were inside the Orangery we just knew this was the place. It just felt spectacular. From the surrounding gardens, the views of the water, the marble statues and the natural light it was the place for us. We booked it there and then. We picked The Heritage for our reception as it is a hotel we have stayed at many times and quite simply it’s one of our favourite hotels in Ireland. The service in The Heritage is second to none and the rooms are so luxurious. Although we were already sold on it being the hotel for our wedding reception we couldn’t help but be drawn in by Trisha their wedding coordinator and all the little details and extras that they included within their wedding package. Our package included all of our reception food and evening meal, a pianist and singer for the reception, overnight rooms for parents and ourselves as well as little touches leading up to the day; spa access, late checkout, upgraded room for menu tasting. As for Trisha, this woman is every brides dream! She was so responsive and nothing at all was too much trouble for her, it was so comforting knowing that she had everything in order on the day!
Our menu… We both really enjoy going out for dinner and trying new foods so the menu was going to be an interesting one to tackle. How safe did we need to play it to keep the majority of guests happy and how far we could push trying something a little different? We had a fantastic menu tasting with the Heritage and took a lot of guidance from the Head Chef. In the end we decided to try and achieve a middle ground. We had a mix of canapes, scones and mini doughnuts at the reception along with bubbles and beers and then a 5 course meal with choice of starter and main. Our starter was honey confit of duck followed by a choice of either sweet potato and red pepper soup or mango sorbet. We then had a choice for main of roast sirloin of beef or turkey and ham followed by a trio of desserts and teas / coffees. After dinner we offered all of our guests a dinner drink of choice. We decided to do this instead offering a glass of bubbles during speeches as everyone would have their dinner wine for the toasts. The after dinner drinks went down a treat and a lot of people complimented us on this afterwards. Finally, later in the evening we offered cones of chips and chicken and we also served our wedding cake.
Our honeymoon… we went on honeymoon four days after the wedding as we wanted to savour the time after the wedding and not head back to reality too quickly after the big day. When we go on holiday we love to have a mix of city, site seeing and new experiences so we tried to do the same with our honeymoon choices. We booked a three destination honeymoon through Trailfinders, Dublin and were provided superb service and advice from Anouck Gaillard who helped us put together the perfect package. We spent 4 nights at Grosvenor House Hotel Dubai, three nights on safari at Pumba Water Lodge, South Africa followed by 5 nights at Long Beach Mauritius. Every destination was so different but our favourite was safari. It was a once in a life time experience and we will never forget sitting at dusk watching a lioness hunt or being woken by a hippo searching for its breakfast! Truly amazing!
My favourite part of the wedding day… All of it! We really could not pick our favourite part, it was all quite different throughout the day but so amazing at the same time. From getting ready in the morning, to the ceremony, our reception, dinner with everyone and then the party. We just had so much fun throughout it all. In saying that the most exciting part was getting to see each other at the top of the aisle, we were just so thrilled to be back together and experience the day side by side.
My piece of advice for other couples… do what you want to do. When you start planning your wedding everyone has an opinion on what you should do, remember it’s your day and not theirs. Listen to opinions, take on board the ones that work for you and politely ignore the other ones. Prioritise the things that will mean most to you and your partner and ensure that you’re directing your budget towards these. If there is something that you don’t value as important to your day then don’t be directing a huge amount of your budget to this . . . and finally, have fun. This is the day that you marry your best friend, enjoy every single second of it.
Wedding Ceremony: The Orangery, Killruddery House & Gardens | Wedding Reception: The Heritage, Killenard | Photographer: Laura & Benny Photography | Planner/coordinator: Marilyn Mooney at Killruddery and Trisha Broughan at The Heritage | Videographer: Seed of Light | Flowers and décor: Finesse Weddings | Musician: Maria Fitzgerald, Frank McNamara and Katie O’Connor | Band and DJ: Top of the Popz | Hair & Makeup: Debbie and Shay from Chez Shay | Dress: Dress was Zavana ZB119, Beau Bride | Veil: Truly Bridal Boutique | Bridal shoes: Jimmy Choo ‘Evelyn’ Peep Toe | Suits: Louis Copeland | Bridesmaid’s dresses: Joanne Ferguson Bridalwear, Newtownards | Cake: Amazing Cakes | Celebrant: Siobhan Walls | Wedding rings and necklace: Patrick Glynn | Caricatures: Niall O’Loughlin
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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.