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A Whimsical Summer Wedding

Names: Emma McDermott & Darren Kennedy

Length of engagement: 1 year

Wedding Date: 18th May 2019

Wedding location: Summerhill House Hotel

Photographer: Janet Meehan Photography


We met… in the old mill in Tallaght, it was Darren’s 30th birthday and he had a 30th balloon tied to his leg. We got chatting and the rest is history lol.



Our proposal… Darren proposed in Silverstrand, Co Wicklow overlooking my favourite beach. Silverstrand is my favourite place with so many memories, My grandparents brought me here on summer holidays as a child. Myself and Darren and a few family members still have a mobile home in silverstrand and keep making many new memories. Darren proposed on April fools day, it was no joke, he dropped to one knee at a place we call “our spot” on the cliff overlooking our favourite beech silverstrand with my dream Vera Wang ring.


My dress… I bought the dress from the bridal studio in Drogheda, Vanessa was fantastic to deal with and really knew her stuff. I had an idea of what I thought I wanted, but was open minded. I loved the top of the dress but never imagined I would get a full skirt I always thought I would have something more fitted. It was the first dress in the first shop and as soon as I put it on I fell in love with it, I tried on lots of different styles in the shop that day but the only one I wanted to try on again was the 1st one, as soon as I put it back on I knew it was my dress, Vanessa was fantastic, I didn’t like the huge train or the amount of tulle underskirt but Vanessa pinned back some of the tulle and some of the train to show me what it could look like and assured me this could be removed by alterations. It was a fantastic experience we had a great laugh with Vanessa which helps. My Veil was my something old, it was my friend’s veil she wore 19 years previous at her wedding, it was cut into a shorter length veil for her daughter who wore it for her communion just the week before our wedding. It was lovely to wear something sentimental for the day.    



My hair and make-up… Hair and Make-up was by Elegant Makeup Ireland, I contacted Gillian about make-up and she said she had a hairdresser, Lorna, also if needed, I set up a trial for both myself and my mam. Both Gillian and Lorna were lovely to deal with and great fun, our hair and makeup was perfect and lasted for the day. I changed my mind about my hair a few weeks before the wedding and Lorna assured me it would be no problem, it turned out fantastic on the day.



His suit… Darren’s suit was from Noel Reid Menswear in Dundrum village.



What our bridal party wore… We decided not to have bridesmaids or groomsmen as we didn’t want added pressure, hassle or stress on our friends, we wanted a relaxed day that everyone could enjoy, when we told our friends they were delighted, they could wear what they wanted and be comfortable and they had no duties to tie them down. We both asked a friend each to be our witness.



Our ceremony… We decided on a humanist ceremony as we felt it suited us best, we are not very religious and wanted a relaxed but fun day. From the moment we spoke to Amy Browne on the phone we felt at ease, she was so informative and got to know us and what we wanted before giving us ideas that she felt would suit us, as soon as we mentioned ‘Emma and her dad would be dancing up the aisle to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons “Can’t take my eyes off of you” while the guests joined in to sing the verse, she knew we were both up for a laugh and didn’t want the standard ceremony. We had a couple of e-mail’s and phone calls with Amy before meeting her 2 months before the big day to map out the ceremony, this meeting was brilliant for us as we got a real run through of the day and what would happen. We didn’t want to many boring bits and wanted to keep it short and sweet but still fun, we had 4 Friends/Family speak, 1 was a poem we made up about our love for our rival football teams. We had a sand ceremony and used sand from Silverstrand beach, we wrote a short paragraph about this and Amy spoke a little about it and the sentimental value of it. My Dad done his father of the Bride speech towards the end of the ceremony, he felt he could relax for the rest of the day with the speech done.



We chose our photographer because… A friend recommended Janet Meehan Photography and as soon as we spoke to Janet we knew she was for us, not only are her pictures absolutely amazing but she is the nicest person and so easy to have a laugh with. We had a list of pictures we wanted and people we wanted pictures with and Janet made sure she got every single picture and had some amazing ideas. I also wanted a group picture shaped in a heart which we weren’t sure if we would be able to get but Janet stuck with it and I’m delighted we managed to get this shot. We received a few sneak peek pictures from Janet while on honeymoon which was lovely. We arrived home from honeymoon and Janet hand delivered the pictures 2 days later, this was such a treat as the after wedding blues had just kicked in.   



We chose our wedding coordinator because… Summerhill house hotel’s wedding coordinator is Seamus Carr, Seamus was great to deal with nothing was too much trouble and he had some great ideas and suggestions to help with the planning. Everything went better that we could have imagined on the day of the wedding. I am a Coeliac and Seamus made sure there was plenty of food and snacks for me on the day. We also have a favourite drink that Summerhill did not have in stock but Seamus ordered this in so we had it the day of the wedding.



We chose our venue because… Our venue was Summerhill House Hotel, this was the 2nd venue we looked at out of 3 venues and as soon as we drove in the gates we thought wow, the driveway is through a small woodland area enclosed in trees to reveal the Summerhill House, we both got butterflies, As soon as we went into the House it did not let us down, all the fine detail throughout the house, fresh flowers, lanterns, Candles, old singer sewing machines, vintage furniture and big old mirrors. We both knew straight away this was the venue for us.



Our menu… We are foodies and love our food. We also know it can be a long day for guests so we wanted plenty of food throughout the day, during the drinks reception we had canopies chicken and chorizo skewers, bruschetta and salmon on brown bread, Scones and biscuits. For the meal we had Cream of Vegetable or Roasted pepper, tomato and chilli soup followed by Chicken Caesar salad, main course was a choice of roasted Wicklow spring lamb or supreme of Chicken, Desert was assortment of desserts. Evening food we had fish and chicken Goujons and chips, we also put our cake on tables with the evening food.



Our honeymoon… We travelled to Fort Lauderdale in Florida to relax for 5 nights before boarding a Caribbean Cruise and visiting Puerto Rico, St Maarten and Haiti. We then flew to New Jersey for four nights, New York and Boston for four nights.   



My favourite part of the wedding day… Our first look. We had our first look just the two of us with the photographer and videographer. I was dreading crying walking down the aisle and wanted to have the emotions out of the way before we faced everyone (it worked a treat). We also wanted to have that special moment for just us and it was beautiful and emotional. We then had both sets of parents join us for a glass of champagne to toast the day together before the ceremony, it was nice to spend some time with our parents before the day ran away with us too.   



My piece of advice for other couples… It’s your day do what you want and not what other people want, everyone will have their own likes and dislikes were all different but make the day about the both of you. The day goes so quickly. Get a videographer you will be amazed how some things are a blur or what you forget, it’s lovely to look back over the day and hear people’s voices and speeches.  Take time out during the day just you and your partner, we done this twice, first when everyone was being seated for dinner and again later after the dancing started. We sat and had a drink just the 2 of us to chat about the day it was lovely.



Wedding venue: Summerhill House Hotel | Photographer: Janet Meehan Photography | Planner/coordinator: Seamus Carr, Summerhill House Hotel | Videographer: East Coast Video productions | DJ: DMC events DJ service | Hair and Makeup: Elegant Makeup Ireland | Dress: The Bridal Studio | Suit: Noel Reid Menswear | Cake: Scrummy Mummy Cakes | Celebrant: Amy Browne | Sand Ceremony kit: Crafty Notions | Heart flower arch: Love at First Sight | Bouquet and buttonholes: All About Weddings | Invitations: Foxford Atelier | Table plan: Mirror was the hotels, Decals were from | Wedding wands: Ali Express

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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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