“Our wedding theme/colours… We chose to have our wedding in the autumn, inspired by the rich colours, and warm vibes.”
Names: Victoria and Tim O’Donnell
Length of engagement: 17 months
Wedding Date: 27 October 2017
Wedding location: Arklow Bay Hotel, Wicklow, Ireland
Photographer: David Maury Photography
We met…as complete strangers, passing in a bar in London. We had no mutual friends or connections, it was entirely down to fate that we crossed paths. It was unusual for me to be in London, as I was living in a small coastal town in the south of England at the time, but I was visiting for a friend’s birthday. Tim is from Dublin, but he was living and working in London at the time.
Tim approached me to introduce himself first and thankfully wasn’t put off by me turning down his offer of a drink (I’d had far too many with the girls already). We ended up chatting over a glass of water instead and exchanged numbers, and the rest is history!
It turned out that Tim was out that night to watch his county play GAA (Dublin vs Cork), which stood out to me as my grandfather (and only connection to Ireland) was from Cork. As it turns out, like Tim & I, he also met my nan, an English lady, after moving to England work too. Dublin won the football that night, and I won myself my future husband!
After exchanging numbers, there was no end to our conversations online, although it took a month or so before we met in person again. We met for our first official date for a pub lunch, but were so nervous, and busy chatting, that we didn’t eat a single thing that we ordered! We still laugh about that now.
Our proposal… To celebrate my 30th birthday, Tim booked a trip for us to Oia, Santorini, an idyllic and romantic Greek island that I had only dreamt of visiting before. As well as the trip initially being a surprise, Tim proposed on the terrace of an intimate cliffside restaurant called Ambrosia, overlooking the sunset and the sea. My heart was so full and content on that night, one of the happiest of my life. Santorini took my breath away. The views are so beautiful, and the level of tranquillity there truly made us feel like the world stopped had around us. I’ll never forget how special it that trip was.
Our wedding theme/colours… We chose to have our wedding in the autumn, inspired by the rich colours, and warm vibes. It was actually a trip to see the Fall colours in Boston that made us realise that we wanted to have our wedding at this time of year, changing from our initial plans of a summer wedding. We thought that Burgundy would be an appropriate colour for this time of year, complemented with accents of copper here and there. The boys’ suits were navy.
Things we DIY’d/made ourselves… We love to travel, so designed our table markers to feature photographs from our trips to different destinations. We also designed a bespoke guestbook, filled with all of our favourite photos from our time together, with space for our friends and family to write their messages and memories of us. It’s a great keepsake to look back on. Keeping with the ‘cozy’ autumnal theme, we also borrowed a hand-made ‘s’mores’ table, made by our friend’s dad, which was set-up for toasting marshmallows. We also spray-painted white and copper mini pumpkins to dot around the venue. Tim was also delighted when our venue fulfilled his wish to create a late-night Tayto crisp sandwich station, which was very popular!
My dress… The Amara dress by Noya by Riki Dalal from the London flagship store in Mayfair. It was one of the first dresses that I had tried on and, even though I visited many other boutiques, I just couldn’t forget this dress. I felt like a million dollars in it and particularly loved the intricate lace, the way it sparkled in the light and the unusual neckline.
My hair and make-up…Browns hairdressing, Arklow. They did bridesmaids, mother of the bride and bride. The bride was still undecided about how to have her hair right up until the day of the wedding, but the stylists helped me to decide in the end!
Groom / groomsmen suits…We hired all suits from CT2, Blanchardstown village – all suits are available to buy or rent with in-house tailoring and a very friendly service. Page boy’s suit was Next and flower girls were from Monsoon.
Bridesmaids dresses: Style was The Vienna dress in colour Chianti. Designed in London by the brand Rewritten and purchased from a wonderful family-run bridal boutique, The Bespoke Wardrobe in Essex England, who stock beautiful bespoke wedding dresses by British designers such as Suzanne Neville and offer in house tailoring.
Our ceremony…We had Mary from Spiritual Ceremonies Ireland, who was so calming and warm. The ceremony included: ring warming, incorporating all of our guests; a sand ceremony, symbolising our unity; and lighting of candles, with both sets of parents by our sides, symbolising those who have been a significant source of illumination in our lives.
We chose our photographer because…
David’s photography stood out to us because of how clear and authentic his photographs were, really capturing the moment, without heavy editing, creating a stylish and beautiful effect. All of our friends and family have complimented David’s work after seeing our photographs and meeting him at the wedding too.
Our wedding day felt like a whirlwind, but David is very calming and unobtrusive, which is perhaps one of the reasons why he is able to achieve such natural shots. Although it only felt like minutes that we were with David on the day, he did spend so much time, not only with us, but with our guests and capturing all of the details from the day.
Looking at all of our photos is like being there again on the day, filling us with emotion and happiness. We are so grateful for all of the hard work and precision that David put into our photographs and albums.
We chose our wedding coordinator because… Orla provided us with all of information that we wanted to know upfront from the very first day that we met her. There was no stone left unturned and no question left unanswered, which was so reassuring. Orla is organised, practical, caring and accommodating to all of the unique requests that we had.
We chose our venue because…As well as being experts in organising and delivering events, they very clearly take great pride in doing so too. The team at the Arklow Bay hotel treat you like they would their own family. They truly make every effort to ensure that their guests to feel at home and feel loved, and go home with wonderful memories. From the bottom of our hearts, we are so grateful for their genuine hospitality and compassion for us, and all of our guests. We could not have enjoyed our time at Arklow Bay anymore and will return year after year.
Our menu… Starters: Wicklow Brie and Red Onion Tart or Chicken liver and Wild Mushroom Parfait then Cream of vegetable soup. Mains: Slow roast Sirloin of Wicklow Beef or Grilled Fillet of Hake. Dessert: Glazed lemon tart or Apple and Mixed Berry Crumble.
Our honeymoon… Sandals, Grand Antigua. The beach and island were stunning, the cuisine was divine, and the hotel offered everything that we could have asked for and more. We did a lot of research prior to booking to ensure that we were booking the right trip for us and we can truly say that our experience here was above and beyond what we expected. We particularly enjoyed a tour of the island, with two local beach boys that we met, one of which made Tim a basket out of palm tree leaves, which he now uses as a bread basket back home and loves!
My favourite part of the wedding day…Just before our first dance – stopping to take in the moment with all of our friends and family around us wishing us well. For Tim it was our vows, which we each wrote for one another. Both mothers read moving poems aloud, which we have printed and framed. Tim’s mum’s reading was interrupted by one of the grandchildren, who wanted to show his grandmother the flowers mid-way, which all of the guests found very funny.
My piece of advice for other couples… All of your hard work and efforts in organising the wedding will be worth it on the day (I know you’ll be feeling ready to give up during the last few days on the lead up). But I’ve never felt so ready for anything in my life as I did on the day, because we could enjoy the day with confidence, knowing that we had done everything that we could have done planning-wise. Take a moment to look around you and take in all of the love that’s there in the room with you from your friends and family, who are all there for you. I’ll never forget that feeling and the happiness that new I felt with my husband by my side.
What is it that makes your wedding unique? Tim’s dad, Brian, his speech had everyone smiling ear to ear. It was like an episode of ‘This is your Life’, detailing all of Tim’s academic and sporting achievements over the years, his move to the UK, how Tim enjoys being with the company he works for (Dornan’s Engineering)…rounded off with “and that’s Tim!” Brian later treated guests to a stage performance of a song by his one of his idol’s, Joe Dolan, which had everyone on their feet.
Wedding venue: The Arklow Bay Hotel, Wicklow | Flowers: Roses of Arklow | Photographer: David Maury Photography | Planner/coordinator: Orla Ryan, from The Arklow Bay Hotel | Videographer: Doug Murray | Irish Dancing: Celtic Dance Fusion | Musician and DJ: Jaker | Hair: Browns Hairdressing, Arklow Bay | Makeup: Jess Moloney | Dress: Noya by Riki Dalal | Suits: CT2 Blanchardstown village | Bridesmaids dresses: Rewritten from The Bespoke Wardrobe | Caterer: The Arklow Bay hotel | Cake: Shanc Trimble cupcakes and homebaking | Celebrant: Minister Mary Losty