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A Rustic Woodlands Wedding With Lots of Personal Touches

Say hello to Nicola and Brendan, a beautiful couple who tied the knot in November. They embraced Brendan’s love for the outdoors and Nicola’s love for literature, creating a rustic woodlands wedding, featuring lovely DIY touches.


Couple: Nicola Power and Brendan Kelleher
Engagement length: 15 months
Wedding date: 2022-11-14
Wedding location: Ballykealey House, Ballon, Carlow
Photographer and Videographer: Peter Bell Photography and Film



Nicola and Brendan’s modern love story began with them chatting online. From their first date, there was an unshakable level of comfort between them. Their romantic proposal story is best told from Nicola’s perspective:

“We had decided to do a break away and explore some of the Wild Atlantic Way. We booked a stay in a hotel in Sligo that we’d been to a year previously and then were going to a little cottage hideaway in Cavan. When we arrived at the hotel, they had left a note to say “Welcome Mr and Mrs Kelleher”. I thought it was a cute presumption, being 5 years together at that point, we knew marriage was in our future. However when we reached the cottage the next day, Brendan began to comment about it and whether he should’ve corrected the hotel. I took offence to the idea he would make a complaint, as he had hoped I would, and as I walked out to the other room to tell him so, he was standing ready with a ring box in his hand and said “I just think it was a bit premature of them” before getting down on one knee!”



Their wedding theme was a celebration of the combined elements of who they are and what they love. Brendan loves the outdoors and Nicola loves reading and classical literature. To blend those ideas, they decided to bring in the outdoors and lean into the rustic woodlands theme. They kept their colours simple and clean with lots of greenery and lighting to complement the beautiful aesthetic of the venue. They injected their own personality into the wedding by leaning heavily on DIY. This involved creating table centrepieces of books wrapped in paper and lace burlap, adorned with handmade paper roses using paper taken from a worn copy of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. That same paper was used to create love heart confetti for the cake table.



Nicola wore an Ivory/Champagne ball gown style wedding dress with appliqué and diamonte details, purchased at My Dress Bridal in Carrick on Suir. She opted out of a veil and instead bought a piece from “HeartandSoul.ire” on Instagram. Their Sophia Crown, coupled with gold and pearl earrings and necklace from Pearls and Lace Bridal, proved the perfect additions. Since their wedding was in November, Nicola had the rather last minute thought to find a suitable cardigan, which she found on Zara in the week before the wedding.

Brendan wore a light grey, 3 piece Benetti suit from Jim McLoughney menswear in Nenagh, who also fitted the groomsmen, bridesmen and father of the bride.



The groomsmen and bridesmen wore navy 3 piece suits. They chose different colour ties and pocket squares to allow for a subtle differentiation between groom’s side and bride’s side of the wedding party. The bridesmen wore green ties and pocket square while the groomsmen wore a light blue/silver colour.

The bridesmaid wore a floor length velvet forest green dress from Folkster Kilkenny paired with a beaded green belt and silver pearl accessories from Pearls and Lace.



They describe their ceremony was very personal, simple and sincere.

“Padraig McLaughlin, our celebrant, worked so closely with us to create the exact atmosphere of joy, sincerity and celebration that we had hoped for. Throughout the process of developing the ceremony, Padraig really engaged with us and guided us to bring it all together. He told our story, sharing insights of us as a couple. We had readings that reflected what marriage really means to us. Laura O Neill sang beautifully accompanied on keyboard by Ewen. Music was another area we let our personalities come through, by choosing a lovely slowed down version of a well known song, Dusty Springfields “I only want to be with you”. The lyrics are very apt. Aside from an instrumental of Ed Sheeran’s “Joker and the Queen”, we also had a beautiful song by Caroline Kay called “Always You”. Our exit song was “An Everlasting Love”.”



They hosted their wedding at Ballykealey House, a gorgeous wedding venue! As a picturesque country Manor House, with beautifully manicured grounds, Nicola and Brendan had everything they could have wanted, all in one place.

“Our ceremony took place in the converted barn on site. With its exposed stone walls and custom ceremony table and bride and groom chairs crafted from wood taken from the grounds. We didn’t have to add a lot of decor to this area to create a feeling of romantic rustic charm. We got truly blessed with the weather, which stayed sunny and mild, allowing for our guests to enjoy a stroll back to the main house where they were greeted with a reception of drinks and hot food.
The food and service by all staff was exceptional. We had exclusive use of the venue and our guests were treated with such attention and care. I have had so many family and friends speak so highly of Ballykealey House. They were amazing at every turn, with the food, service, quality and beauty of the venue. Angela as wedding coordinator is just so lovely to work with and a fountain of knowledge. Danielle and Alison were the dynamic duo of the day who stayed by my side and looked after me so well. Luke went above and beyond by personally delivering full dinners to Brendan’s grandparents, living near by, who unfortunately contracted Covid in the week before the wedding. I could list all the staff that attended us as they truly deserve the praise and I don’t think I will ever tire of giving everyone at Ballykealey House our sincere thanks for the huge part they played in making our wedding day the best day of our lives.”



Their wedding was wonderfully captured by Peter Bell and his wife, Izabela.

“They put everything in to capturing every moment of the day and really worked to ensure we got all the shots we wanted, even if that included the use of smoke bombs! Early on when the wind hampered the opportunity for drone footage, Peter didn’t just write it off. As soon as the opportunity presented itself, we gathered everyone together by the fountain and got a lovely fly over shot.”



To entertain their guests, they had miniature bottles of whiskey and Irish liqueur as wedding favours. They had a candy Ferris wheel, jars of assorted sweets, a crisp board (with Tattoo, Meanies and Chipsticks) as well as a photo booth and vintage tripod!

They got the party going with The Pearls Wedding Band, who kept everybody up on their feet throughout the night.



Nicola and Brendan say they never stopped laughing or smiling throughout the day!

“When Brendan turned to see me as I had reached the top of the aisle, his reaction was such a lovely moment. But a moment that will stay with both of us, was sitting at our table at dinner, looking around the room and seeing our families and friends all interacting, smiling, laughing, having fun and just sharing in the joy and happiness of it all. It filled us with such gratitude and love.”




Newlyweds always give brilliant wedding planning advice!

“This is your day to celebrate and share with your nearest and dearest. Don’t lose sight of that or get to caught up in the idea of a “perfect” wedding day. Even the most perfect Instagram/Pinterest wedding you might have taken inspiration from, will have had its little hiccups! Every problem has a solution. Control the controllable and after that, you can only control your reactions.
Put time in to researching your vendors and finding what’s best for you. The right vendors will make your day and take away a lot of stress from you.
For all the couples aiming to do a lot of DIY/decor, organisation is key. A unique wedding wedding email address is a life saver, it will help you keep track of all correspondence but also you can create budget trackers, vendor contact lists and planning documents through it so it’s on a shared drive and access can be given to key people in the run up to your big day.”



Ceremony and reception venue: Ballykealey House | Coordinator: Angela Aughney | Photographer and Videographer: Peter Bell Photography and Film | Ceremony music: Laura O’Neill | Band and DJ: The Pearls | Hair: Tracey Lawler | Makeup: Kate McCormack | Couple’s outfits: My Dress, Carrick on Suir and Jim McLoughney Menswear Nenagh | Wedding party outfits: Folkster Kilkenny, Jim McLoughney Menswear | Cake: Uachtar | Celebrant/solemniser: Padraig McLaughlin | Stationery: Zazzle | Jewellery/rings: Tadgh O Flynn Nenagh | Accessories: Pearl and Lace Bridal | Flowers: Darling Buds | Candy Ferris wheel and photo booth: Candy Lady Lisa

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