A Black Tie New Year’s Eve Wedding

Real Weddings

“Our wedding theme/colours… Being on New Year’s Eve our theme was Black Tie and Sparkles.”


Names: Aoife O Donnell and Michael Mc Carthy

Length of engagement: 19 months – 1 year + 7 months

Wedding Date: 31.12.2018

Wedding location: Roganstown Country Club

Photographer: Ebony & Pearl Photography



We met… Oh it is an awful cliché but on a random Thursday night in Coppers!! Still to this day there is a lot of arguments as to who was introduced to who and by who!



Our proposal… It was my birthday – a Wednesday – Mike and I both were off work so he said he would take me for lunch. He packed a picnic and took me to the beach. We strolled along and he handed me a small glass bottle with a note inside and a cork on top which appeared to wash up on the shore. While I was reading the note which was from Mike he got down on one knee on the sand and proposed. He had my mother’s emerald and diamond ring which is special to me as she passed away before I met Mike and it is both mine and mum’s birth stone so it was very special. He had asked my dad for it. It was a very thoughtful way of involving my mum in our engagement.



Our wedding theme/colours… Being on New Year’s Eve our theme was Black Tie and Sparkles. We had sparklers, fireworks, rose gold sequin tablecloths, glitter invites etc. Our cake had a slight shimmer in it and a hue of purple.  The colour theme was purple. The bridesmaids wore purple, the flowers were purple and there was of course a purple ribbon and diamante buckle on our invites. From speaking with our guests the invites set the tone of the theme and they knew what to expect!



Things we DIY’d/made ourselves… We decorated the church ourselves. We hired the items from All About Weddings in Arklow and my lovely bridesmaids’ husbands assembled and decorated the church on the morning of the wedding.

We did our candy cart ourselves. We bought sweeties in the cash and carry and sweet jars in Ikea and off HIGM preloved page. We had personalized sweet bags and Forrero Roche stands bought from Etsy.

We bought our sparklers separately and bought personalized tags for them.

Our menu’s we did ourselves. One for each guest, and despite 2 paper cutters / guillotines, countless packs of glitter card from Easons it took a long time and in the end probably didn’t look very good! But as we had put a lot of effort and time into cutting and pritt sticking we used them anyways!!

I ordered our table numbers as clocks online – so each table was 1pm 2pm etc – 12pm. However when it was 28th of December and still no table numbers had arrived, we ended up having to enlist the help of Mike’s sister Rosie who made our table clocks and also a little wooden table number, decorated with purple flowers and painted them.

We typed and printed our mass booklets ourselves. We decorated them with pearl decals and ribbon from dealz!



My dress… I was very overwhelmed by the dress shopping experience. The first day I went with my 4 bridesmaids and cousin so 6 of us looking at dresses and getting 6 different opinions! With so much to choose from I decided to go looking with my sister only after that. We only ended up going to one store after that and I found the dress. I have to say the ladies in the bridal boutique in Fairview knew exactly what to pick. I was leaning toward a sparkly sequin type dresses but they steered me in the complete opposite direction and I went for a timeless elegant silk A line gown with a sweetheart neckline and one small jewel to the side. It meant I could accessorize and accessorize I did. I had a headpiece custom made and antique sapphire earrings which would have been too much with a sparkly number. I had a fur stole which I didn’t end up wearing and a bolero for the church.



My hair and make up… I know for most brides it’s the norm to have a more natural make up look. I knew when looking for my make up artist that would not be me. I love my make up and I wanted a proper glam look given that it is New Year’s Eve! Michelle Montgomery did not disappoint! She knew exactly what I was aiming for! I had a rose gold glitter eye shadow and a nudey pink lip for the church and the day, but changed it to a red lip for the dancing. All of my bridesmaids looked stunning.

I had a custom made headband made by Donna Mackin (Milliner) based on Meghan Markle’s wedding tiara. I was unsure if to wear hair up or down but went for a half up half down as a compromise. I had rapture extensions by Peter Mark popped in for a bit of fullness! Sinead Mc Goldrick was a dream to work with she gave each of the bridesmaids the look they were after!



His suit… Mark in Tangos was brilliant. Mike likes his style and designers although I usually get the credit. As we were having a black tie reception Mike wanted to stand out from all the other black suits and bow ties. He opted for a navy velvet jacket with custom made matching navy bow tie and black waistcoat and trousers. To compliment him the groomsmen wore Navy suits with a black trim on the lapel. Mark in Tango’s was so accommodating. Mike’s dad and 2 of his groomsmen are in Cork and was too difficult given the festive season to come up for fittings so was able to have them measured in Cork and went from there. Mike also decided against a classic brogue and instead went for a patent tassel slip on shoe! I doubt they will ever be worn again!



What our bridal party wore… With one bridesmaid living in England and after having so many opinions on the wedding gown when we all went shopping I decided to be very mean and go looking myself and pick 2 dresses and let them choose. Again I had my sister in tow to be my model and try them on.  I had the girls’ dresses custom made in So Amazing in fashion City Ballymount where the Miss Ireland dresses are. They were purple with silver sequin belts and cap sleeves and a little train. I think the colour suited them all and I loved their dresses. The dresses took 6 weeks to be made.



Our ceremony… We were married in Rolestown church, which is a quaint countryside church in Dublin. We hired the flower arch, lanterns and bay trees from All About Weddings. Our plan was to decorate the church the night before and have our rehearsal afterwards but things did not go according to plan as the parish priest would not allow us into the church that evening as it is closed on Sunday evenings. I was lucky to have my bridesmaids’ husbands so accommodating and Mike’s friends ferry the items from our apartment to the church on the morning of the wedding. They put fairy lights on the arch and laid out the lanterns on the window sills and steps to the church. Pew ends and flowers were done by our florist Flowers Touch.

Our music was very important to us as was all provided by Mike’s sisters and family. The cello, violin, harpist, guitarist and singers.

The ceremony itself was special as a family friend was our priest and was lovely to have someone who knows us quite well be able to marry us and put us at ease and wash away any nerves. Always on standby to provide a few jokes is Fr Sean!



We chose our photographer because… We wanted a relaxed discreet photos, no posed ones was the aim! And we went to the wedding fair in the RDS and looked at so many stands where the pics were so posed until we came across Emma from Ebony and Pearl. She is a lovely relaxed photographer. Mike and I are both extremely awkward around cameras (think Chandler from Friends getting his engagement photo taken for the paper!!) so we knew getting the photographs would be our most challenging part. We did have an engagement shoot which helped to prepare us but I have to admit on the day we did not go outside for photos as planned which meant we did end up having to do a few posed ones!!



We chose our venue because… Neither of us are from Dublin but we both have lived here for years. As our guests are predominately from Monaghan and Cork so we said we would meet in the middle and get married in Dublin region. We wanted somewhere in the countryside and on its own. We looked at many venues all beautiful but we wanted the bar to be in the same room as the dining room/dancing so people are always in the same room. And we wanted there to be enough accommodation onsite for our guests. This is when we found Roganstown Country Club recommended to me by a colleague at work. The reception room was perfect as it had its own private balcony where we could watch the fireworks at midnight. When we met with the wedding co-ordinator we were delighted. She was so accommodating and we felt like she really cared about what we wanted and would make it happen. When we went back with our families to show them we knew they would be accommodating as they even allowed us to take Casper my sisters maltichon doggy in for the show around and have coffee outside on the terrace and even brought him water and treats.



Our menu… We knew given New Year’s Eve we needed to make it a great party. And lots of alcohol!! For our drinks reception we had his and hers cocktails which was Cosmo’s or Tom Collins (G+T), mulled wine, prosecco and bottled beers. We had drink of choice for toast and a glass of prosecco for everyone at midnight. We deliberated about our menu so much I should be grateful they served us at all! We spoke with the chef about so many little things and had tastings after tastings but it was worth it. We had a choice starter, melon or volauvant, soup was carrot and coconut, main was beef or salmon, dessert was apple crumble and custard. We had mini burgers, chicken goujons, wedges, cocktail sausages and sambos for evening buffet and the residents bar after.



Our honeymoon… We have yet to book a honeymoon but are planning a few weeks in America which will hopefully end with a week in the Caribbean. After the wedding we did a minimoon to Galway and stayed in Hotel Meyrick.



My favourite part of the wedding day…  So many to choose from! I loved getting ready with my bridal party. Sitting down at dinner and looking around seeing all our family and friends in one room chatting and laughing and knowing they are there for us and happy for us and enjoying themselves. It’s the only time when all your different groups of friends are together and all your family, neighbours etc from both sides are all there to celebrate with you and it’s such a lovely feeling. Listening to the speeches and the lovely stories from our parents and friends. I loved seeing our reception room transformed, draped with fairy lights, sparkle dance floor, centrepieces etc the vision straight out of my head a reality, with our beautiful cake there, and knowing any drama with our supplier and hotel was worth it. I know most people will say seeing their partner at the top of the aisle or getting married but in truth that was really nerve wrecking!! I loved the build up and the planning just as much as the day!



My piece of advice for other couples… Definitely make a list of the photos you want with the people you want and have the photographer give you the running order so someone can be finding the people and ready and waiting. Although we did do this and Emma was brilliant we spent so much time doing photos we did not get to our drinks reception and still didn’t get the shot we wanted outside.

DIY can be great but if you end up with a disaster on the morning of the wedding or too close to the wedding like we did then it is not so great and only adds extra stress!!! Make sure the church/venue etc is allowing you to do what it is when you need to.

Make sure even if you don’t have a honeymoon booked you have somewhere booked just the 2 of you for a few nights. You will be exhausted and will want to chill out and that is where we really chatted in detail about our wedding and looked back on photos people started sending.

If budget permits it stay in the hotel the night after the wedding. We did and it was brilliant as we were able to say good bye to all our guests that were checking out after the wedding and not be rushed to pack up.

We also had tea coffee and biscuits in the bar for guests to sit and chat with us after they had checked out if they weren’t yet up for driving home which was really lovely as most people did come and sit and recap on the previous night.



What is it that makes your wedding unique? Well one thing I think made our wedding unique was we had Steve Garrigan from Kodaline play in the residents bar which was a surprise!! Our wedding coordinator Leo came up to get us from the reception bar as the majority of our guests had already gone down and we were thanking the DJ. As we walked in he was sitting waiting at the piano in the residents bar and began playing and signing The One.





Wedding venue: Roganstown Country Club | Photographer: Ebony & Pearl Photography | Videographer: Matthew Ryan | Drinks reception band: Ukebox | Wedding Reception music + DJ: Dec05 | Hair: Sinead McGoldrick | Makeup: Michelle Montgomery | Dress: Bridal Boutique Fairview – Sophie Tolli | Shoes – Jimmy Choo – custom order to have the date engraved on the sole | Suit: custom made @ Tango’s | Bridesmaids dresses: Custom made in So Amazing Ballymount  | Groomsmen outfits: Tango’s | Cake: Masterpiece by Julien Drapeau – French Wedding Cakes | Celebrant: Fr Sean Mc Dermott | Invites: Louise O Neill – I do Designs | Room Decorator: Event central | Florist: Flowers Touch | Photobooth: Eventoccasions | Post box: bens craft supplies | Headpiece: Donna Mackin Millinery | Sparklers: Glowsticks.ie | Fireworks: Emerald Fireworks | Rings/Jewellery: My something blue and old was antique sapphire earrings, I got my engagement ring in the same antique shop- Empress | Robes: Robes4you | Cars: on Loan from Lilis O Donnell