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A Travel-Themed Wedding by Hollie The Wedding Planner

“We went abroad for our wedding so we were looking for something surrounding travel.”

Bride and Groom: Emily and Tom Carney

Length of engagement:  2 years | Wedding Date: 28/4/18

Wedding location:  Mount Falcon Estate, Mayo | Photographer: Sarah Koury

Planner: Hollie The Wedding Planner

We met… In San Francisco at a convention, however, didn’t meet up again until a couple years later in the UK.

Our proposal… From Emily’s perspective: Tom surprised me with a trip to Vienna – told me to pack my bags Thursday night and the next morning we were on our way to Italy. He had ample opportunities to pop the question – it’s  Italy, everywhere is romantic – but on the third day he took me to this garden he had heard of that wasn’t well known – almost secret – so it was very quiet and away from the crowds. We hiked up to this lookout point and perfectly, there was no one else around. That’s when he got down on one knee and proposed. It was a gorgeous day and a perfect setting.


We chose our photographer because… Sarah and I grew up together, in fact, we lived just around the corner from each other in Calgary, Canada. Like me, Sarah also moved to the UK and we had lost touch. It was actually Amy (maid of honour) who recommend Sarah and it made perfect sense – to have that Canadian and personal connection. It made the experience way more personable having a friend take the photos.

I was lucky to have that connection but if I hadn’t gone with Sarah I would have looked for someone I got on well with. I spoke to several photographers before Sarah and what I was looking for was that someone I knew we would get on well with and that could capture the type of photos we were looking for. Both Tom and I aren’t used to having our photos taken so we wanted someone who would make it natural and not staged.

We chose our wedding coordinator, Hollie, because… She’s brilliant 😉

We were going back and forth between the decision to go with a wedding coordinator or not and I’m so glad we did. Both of us had busy jobs where we get home late in the evenings, both of us travel frequently for work and although we had the best of intentions to focus and spend time on planning the wedding, in reality, it can be tricky, especially when it came to finding and speaking with suppliers.

Our coordinator, Hollie, was responsive right away with our needs. We spoke to a few coordinators and Hollie came across professional, kind and knowledgeable. She provided a quote that was within our budget and not overpriced. We believe with the service she provided we got a great deal! With Hollie, we felt comfortable that she knew what we were looking for and would turn our vision into reality – which is exactly what she did. She took away all the back and forth conversations with suppliers and on the day itself, we literally just got to enjoy the day and didn’t need to think about the logistical details. Really worth it!

We chose our venue, Mount Falcon Estate, because… We wanted to host it at a venue where our families from Canada, UK and Ireland could stay together, share memories and experiences over a weekend and not just a day – and Mount Falcon was the perfect place for this.

Mount Falcon was actually third on our list until we saw it. It was a stunning venue and knew those that were travelling from afar would love it as much as we did. Everything from the picturesque landscape, to the lovely rooms and to the accommodating staff, we knew we had to have our special day there. We had both our ceremony and the reception in the same venue which just allowed the day to continue nicely.

Our honeymoon… Hasn’t happened yet! We decided to wait until the following year – maybe to extend the experience but mainly due to holidays and work. We’re looking at Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, etc. as for us globetrotters, neither of us have been out that way.

My favourite part of the wedding day… It was an absolutely perfect day so it’s hard to just pick one moment. Tom and I went off to have a celebratory glass of champagne just before the meal, to let everyone make their way to the reception, which was really nice – just us having a moment just the two of us together and to reflect. We then made our way into the room where we were announced as Mr and Mrs Carney first time which was a lovely moment.

My piece of advice for other couples… I have two bits of advice.  One would be to add in as many personal connections/ties as possible to make it truly about you two and the second would be to find a way to extend the party! I’d always heard the day goes by in a flash and it really does. We had celebrations over three days, which still went by quick but it did create more opportunities to visit with all our friends and family (some of which travelled really far to be with us) and to create even more lasting memories.

The dress… A Charlie Brear dress called the Morello. It was light and flowy which was perfect for me. I added a beaded sash to the dress to add a bit of sparkle. The veil wasn’t chosen until my dress fitting. I wasn’t sold on the idea but once the dress was on the veil just completed the look.

His suit… A charcoal grey TM Lewin suit.

What the bridal party wore… The ladies wore a dress from the Dessy collection and customized them to their liking. I advised on the colour and let them advise on what style they thought would work well. They looked gorgeous.

The guys didn’t all match. Again we advised them on the colour scheme, they picked the suit for them and we picked out the ties to bring in the colours which worked great.

Something that I loved about our day… We asked everyone to turn off their phones during our ceremony. Tom and I didn’t want a bunch of phones in the air in our pictures and we wanted everyone to just enjoy the moment with us – which is exactly what happened and it was really special.

I got my invitations and thank you cards from Cherry Sealed. It’s just one woman who has an addiction to craft based items and her designs are brilliant. We went abroad for our wedding so we were looking for something surrounding travel. She has some cute designs that incorporates this theme nicely.


From the perspective of Hollie The Wedding Planner

Wedding theme/colours…  When Emily came to me for help she had a clear vision of a very natural and rustic style wedding. Mount Falcon is set right in the middle of nature with the most stunning grounds. Which fit that vision just perfect! The hotel itself has a very home from home feel with big open fireplaces and sitting rooms. The reception room, however, was a blank canvas when it came to what Emily envisioned. So we got to work on ideas of how to completely make it over and create that rustic, outdoor feel that Emily wanted.

Emily loves lavender so this was a big feature in the decor. We used it in some of the table centrepieces in crates, in the bridal bouquets and in the buttonholes.

To really help create that outdoor feel, Judy from Ballas florist added lots of logs, moss and foliage to the displays.

Judi even built a custom made backdrop, that Emily and myself had imagined up, to fit the theme. She used lots of hessian and pretty hanging leaves to ensure it looked and felt natural. The results were amazing and exactly what was in our heads!

When Emily described her wedding vision to me there was one word in particular that really stuck with me. That word was Teepee. Although ultimately it was not a Teepee wedding that they choose, I just knew there was still a place for that dream….. So myself and Judi got to work planning a surprise for Emily and Tom. We planned to present it to them the following month in Mount Falcon. The surprise was a custom-made Teepee high enough to use as their ceremony backdrop. Emily and Tom were both really excited about it and I was so happy that they didn’t think I had gone completely crazy!

The Teepee idea worked perfectly! It was even used twice on the day in the most wonderful of ways! Once for the ceremony backdrop as originally planned. And afterwards, it was moved to the entrance of the reception room and used as part of the polaroids station. It looked great and was a real feature piece at the wedding. The guests had a lot of fun with it too!

The hair and makeup… Hair was done by Sharon and her team from Sharon Ralph Hair Salon in Castlebar. All the girls looked fantastic and they loved their hair! Sharon was also really helpful in the lead up to the big day. As Emily was planning her wedding from a distance Sharon provided lots of inspiration and advise through photos and emails. The makeup was beautifully done by Shannon, Toms niece.

The ceremony…  was held in the lobby of Mount Falcon. With its uniquely black and white tiled floor and big windows overlooking the lawn. Their ceremony was beautifully created and delivered by their longtime friend Jon. As it was a ceremony created and delivered by such a close friend it made it feel really personal and special.

Emily and Tom also included a sand ritual in their ceremony. Not only is it a great symbolic gesture of the joining of their two lives but it’s also a fantastic keepsake of the day that they will have forever.

The menu… Emily and Tom opted for the “Clew Bay” Crab Meat as a starter. They gave their guests a choice of main courses. Slow Roast Chicken Supreme and Prime Fillet of Atlantic Cod & Marinated Tiger Prawns.

Followed by the Mount Falcon Dessert Plate with a mix of yummy mini desserts.

For their wedding cake, they had a naked cake from Enrica’s Cafe in Westport, which tied back perfectly to the rustic theme. There were also had lots of mini cupcakes in different flavours and colours. They went down a treat and also made a great display in the room.

Tell us about the day of the wedding. As the wedding planner, what was it like for you to handle the décor set-up, manage the suppliers and make sure the day was perfect?

How the wedding day itself will run is really all about the prep in the lead up to it.  And of course, you need to be prepared with plenty of plan b’s and to expect the unexpected.

The final timeline and schedule of the day had gone out to everyone involved 2 weeks beforehand. So everyone knew exactly what was happening and when. They all knew where to arrive, who to ask for and what number to call if they needed anything.

Another key part to the success of the day is to ensure that everything runs as close to the timeline as possible.

The talented and professional suppliers involved in the day, of course, play a key role in this. I was on hand to meet them and direct them as they arrived for their particular part in the day. And they ensured timelines were kept so everything ran smoothly.

We started the set up the night before. I wanted to leave as much time as possible on the morning of the wedding for the finer details. And of course to have time for the bride and groom and their guests.

Seeing how relaxed Emily was on the morning of the wedding gave me great joy. I knew I had achieved one of my main aims as a planner, which is complete peace of mind for the couple. They could feel relaxed and confident that I was in the background taking care of everything. Meaning they could concentrate on having the best day of their lives with family and friends.

What was your favourite part of planning this wedding?

There are 3 main things that I really enjoyed about planning the #tomily wedding

No.1 – The couple themselves

They are just such wonderful people! And an absolute pleasure to work with. They are completely in love with one another and their vibe is contagious. If I could clone them I would! 🙂 You could see just how important and loved they were as a couple by their family and friends who participated in the day.

Starting with the personal and heartfelt ceremony performed by Jon. To the speeches at dinner by best friend and maid of honour Amy and Emily’s father Dave. And in the first dance sung so beautifully by Tom’s daughter Victoria.

No.2 – Their wedding from start to finish was a whole lot of fun to plan!

A falcon made an appearance during the cocktail hour much to their guests’ amusement. They danced their way into and around the reception to “I’m on top of the world”.

And after dinner, they surprised everyone with Irish dancers. Which was a real delight, especially for the Canadian guests!

Emily even enlisted my help to surprise Tom the night before the wedding with an Elvis tribute act. Tom is a huge Elvis fan so he was over the moon! Everyone had such a great time, it was a brilliant way to get the party started.

No.3 – The decor

It was fantastic to help them build and create their vision from scratch. With of course the help of the very talented suppliers involved in pulling it all together on the day. As a wedding planner, the decor is a part I personally really enjoy.

Because you can get creative and help bring the couples ideas to life. The decor helps to make each wedding unique can give a completely different look and feel to a venue. It also helps to create lasting memories and make a great impact on guests! It was clear from the beginning that decor and detail were very important to Emily. And she allowed just enough budget to be able to make her vision a reality.

What is your advice to couples who aren’t very organised?

I would say invest in a good wedding planning app, folder, book or diary. Even better if it has a timeline guide and checklist to help keep you on track of what you should be doing and when.

Set yourself an overall budget to work towards and list all the vendors you will require.

When it comes to breaking down your budget first figure out whats most important to you both. Whether that be amazing photographs, the entrainment or the flowers and decor. Then ensure you allocate enough portion of your budget to the most important elements to you.

I would advise couples to start by booking their venue first, then their ceremony location and celebrant. Once these things are booked your date is set and you can then start to plan and book the rest.

I would also say be careful not to allocate too much of your overall budget to your venue. Especially if you know you are going to want loads of extra decor and flowers etc.

Even if you don’t want loads of extras I would still advise couples to allocate a portion of their budget for decor. The decor is one of the parts that personalise your wedding day.


Planner: Hollie The Wedding PlannerVenue: Mount Falcon | Photographer:  Sarah Koury | Florist: Balla Florists | Cake: Enrica’s Cafe Westport | Hair: Sharon Ralph Hair Salon | Band: The Kells | Elvis: Liam Murphy (It’s Elvis) | DJ: Tommy Elliot | Mirror: Yvonne Cassidy Celebrant

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Kelly Jane Hartmann

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.

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