Length of engagement: 18 months | Wedding date: July 28th 2012
Wedding ceremony: Clane Church | Wedding venue: Barberstown Castle, Kildare
Photographer: Mr. Eric Ronan, Eric Ronan Photography
We met… Mark and I met at a house party in Coogee in Sydney in 2003. We had mutual friends who were backpackers like ourselves travelling around Australia on a year out. We spoke at the party as we both had heard about one another through friends but talking was all we did that night! I remember that when I decided to leave the party to go home, Mark spotted me and followed me outside. He made sure I got in a taxi safely and even told the driver that he was taking his number down so to make sure I got home without problems! What a Scottish gentleman!
Mark and I soon started dating and I suppose the rest is history! We moved in together in Sydney and then travelled home together via Fiji and Thailand for a long holiday. When Mark returned to Scotland and me to Dublin, we decided to give a long distance relationship a go and low and behold, ten years later we are now married and expecting our first child early July 2013!
Our proposal… Mark booked flights to London and told me we were going to see the Lion King on Broadway. I was so excited! Funny thing was, when we arrived at London he let me know that we were in fact catching a connecting flight to Florence in Italy (A city we had fallen in love with four years previous). We spent four nights there and on the final night he took me to the main square and we sat and drank small bottles of champagne after he got down on his knee beside the carousel! It was perfect!
Our ceremony… We chose Clane church due to both its proximty to our reception and because of the beauty of the church itself. We visited a few churches in the locality but Clane was certainly the most beautiful and my goodness, what a long aisle!! Father George Begley (who is our local priest in Clonee and who is an absolute gentleman) was the solemeniser and he ensured the mass was lighthearted by putting everyone at ease from the onset. He gave up a lot of his free time to prepare us and we were very grateful to have him share our special day with us.
A good friend from teacher training college called Sarah Howard, provided the music for us on the day. We always joked back in the common room in college that she would one day sing at our wedding (never really believing that the day would ever come!!) and she was so professional and so beautiful on the day. Talk about a girl whose talent has yet to be discovered!! She simply asked me for the songs that we would like and she spent months preparing them. I remember the day Debbie Aspell, Mary Bennett and myself went to the Church to practise and I think we all shed a few tears when she sang Caledonia for us from up in the gallery.
Our wedding theme/colours… We decided that the colours that would suit a July wedding would be a mix of cream, pink and royal blue. My beautiful bridesmaids were open to any colour and design of dress and were so supportive but the minute they tried on the royal blue dresses from Coast, we knew they wouldnt look any more beautiful in any other colour. It was easy from there to choose flowers and my good friend Michelle really helped me in picking flowers that she would be able to arrange on the day for me. We got our fabulous gerbers and hydrangeas from the market in Smithfield. We did all bouquets for 70 euro. They were beautiful and really brightened up the dresses on what turned out to be quite a dull day in Ireland! What’s new!
My dress… I loved my dress so much! It was that feeling of “oh yes, this is the one” when I tried it on for the first time in Bridal Heaven in Clare Hall. It is from the designer Justin Alexander and while it looks simple from the photographs, there was plenty of detail in the bodice that our photographer Eric Ronan captured really beautifully. I found it very hard to put it away in its dress box a couple of months after the wedding! And if Im totally honest, I shed a few tears! I knew that the next time I would probably take it out would be to show my daughter (if I have one) in years to come!
We chose our photographer because… Eric Ronan came recommended by friends in Mark’s work – Angie and Sean. We decided to invite him out to the house to see some of his work. We also had others in mind at this stage but from the moment Eric came in the front door, we were sold! He greeted our dog first (which immediately won me over!) and then showed us all his fantastic work and had wonderful energy and passion for his art. We had him booked within days and he was a pleasure to have at our day. It actually felt like a family member was there with us as he made everyone relaxed and in good spirits for all the photographs. We were thrilled with the whole service he provided from the booking to the collection of our album. We highly recommend him to anyone who is planning to get married and wants to have a professional but relaxed service on the day of their wedding! (oh and stunning photographs which are a guarantee with Eric!)
We chose our venue because… Barberstown Castle was our first venue visit and subsequently, our last! From the moment Richard brought us in through the doors of the function room, our minds were made up. It is a stunning room and was perfect for our relatively small wedding. We felt like no one was left at the back of the room as the layout suited our numbers perfectly. We decided to go with “famous couples through the ages” for our table names and Barberstown Castle were able to accommodate all our requests with ease. The food was amazing and service was fantastic. We would highly recommend it as a potential venue for any couple!
We chose our wedding coordinator because… We were very lucky to have the services of Richard and Eimear in the run up to the big day and then fortunate enough to have Paddy and all the amazing service staff on the day. Richard and Eimear are a credit to Barberstown Castle. They really provide such a top class service and made everything so easy for us. Nothing was too much trouble and there were no stresses or problems on the day thanks to their wonderful organisational skills. Eimear was such a lady and she really made me feel relaxed in the week coming up to the wedding when table plans and all that goes with the final weeks preparations started to stress me out!
My favourite part of the wedding day… We loved it all. I got so excited outside the church. I had feared I would cry but I ended up feeling highly relaxed and ready to go at the bottom of the aisle, standing with my dad Tom! Mark enjoyed turning round for the first time and seeing me for the first time.
We both really enjoyed speaking about our amazing parents Tom and Yvonne and Carol and John during our speeches as they really are our inspiration in life. We cant wait to make them grandparents!
Our honeymoon… We decided to split our honeymoon into two parts. Immediately after the wedding we flew to Mexico to an all inclusive resort on the Riveria Maya for a fortnight which was heaven! It was pure luxury but there was still enough to do in terms of history and adventure (Chichen Itza, Talum, Xcaret, Xplore and local town of Playa del Carmen)
In October of the same year, we decided it was our time to visit a place we had always talked about visiting – Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. We were very fortunate to have had the opportunity to see such an iconic place and at that stage we were aware that we were expecting our first baby! Very exciting!
My piece of advice for other brides…
1. Make sure you remember who you would like in your family/friend photos before the day as your head turns to mush and you end up forgetting!
2. Make a speech as a bride – you will regret it otherwise!
3. Get yourself a videographer as it picks up on lots of the day that you either don’t see or don’t remember!
4. Omg remember to thank your brothers for being wonderful! I completely left them out of my speech and my younger brother Lee even did me the honour of wearing a kilt on the day and i never said thanks! Can I thank Ian and Lee now for being the best? Nearly a year on!
5. Don’t speed up the aisle like I did. Myself and my dad looked like we were on roller blades!
6. Really appreciate your bridesmaids! As a girl who isn’t lucky enough to have sisters, I was so blessed to have such support throughout the whole planning of the day. Caitriona Crowe has been a good friend of mine since our days in Trinity College and she really pulled out all the stops when it came to providing me with support and entertainment in the run up to the wedding. Herself and my sister-in-law Margaret organised a wondeful hen weekend in Galway and really spoiled me with thoughfulness and craic! I could not have gotten up the aisle without them and they really looked beautiful on the day as you can see.
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Former editor, current contributor, (she just can't let go!) Karen enjoys writing fashion but is known to dabble in decor from time to time. Her favourite section on the site is the Real Wedding section, followed closely by the Health & Fitness forums.