“I turned over to find a blank page with the title at the top saying They Day I asked you to Marry me.”
The couple: Ruth Dowdall and John Young
Length of engagement: 19 months | Wedding date: 16th April 2016
Wedding venue: BrookLodge & Macreddin Village, Co. Wicklow
Photographer: Emma Russell Photography
We met… Through work. We both joined the company through a graduate scheme, he was part of the previous year’s intake so we were buddied up. We hit it off straight away but after a few months of flirting he surprised me at arrivals in Heathrow after I had spent Christmas back in Ireland, and we’ve been together since.
Our proposal… We went on holiday to Paris for my birthday. On my birthday itself we went to Disneyland (being the big kids we are) but John told me he wanted to go for a more sophisticated surprise dinner the next evening. After a morning of sightseeing we headed back to our hotel to get ready, stopping on the way to buy a bottle of Champagne (John says I should have known something was up as usually he’d go for a few beers!) When we were back in our room John gave me a final birthday present which was a scrapbook he’d put together full of photos and memories of us, with pages titled such as The first time we met, Our first holiday together etc. When I got to the last filled page I turned over to find a blank page with the title at the top saying They day I asked you to marry me and at that stage John was down on one knee. After I said yes (once I’d checked out the ring) he popped the Champagne to celebrate and we finished getting ready as he’d made sure to ask before I’d put my make-up on in case of tears (a good idea it turned out). That night we had a stunning meal on board the Bateaux Parisiens boat, eating great food, drinking beautiful wine and taking in the views of Paris along the Seine. Nineteen months later on the morning of the wedding John left me the completed scrapbook to open with photos and memories from that magical night filling the rest of the pages.
My hair and make up… Michelle O’Halloran did my hair and Amanda Boland did my make-up. I had a trial with both and from then on knew I was in safe hands. They really listened to my ideas and were able to share theirs which I really appreciated. Both my hair and make-up stayed perfectly in place even after hours on the dancefloor.
My favourite part of the wedding day… Too many to mention but a really special moment during the ceremony was when our mother’s did a reading called ‘Hands’ together. It was a beautiful reading and such a special moment.
Our ceremony… We chose a humanist wedding inside the old chapel building BrookLodge has which can be used for non-religious ceremonies. It’s situated over a cute wooden bridge that crosses a stream that runs through the grounds. It was such a beautiful setting for the ceremony and our celebrant Brian Whiteside was wonderful at helping us put together a wedding which was so personal to us. We had harpist Mary O’Donnell play throughout the ceremony and she performed stunning renditions of songs which are special to us, from Raglan Road to the music from the film Up!
What our bridal party wore… The bridesmaids wore three different from JS collection at House of Fraser all in spring pastels. They are all quite different so I liked the idea of their dresses being a little different to each other . We tied it together by incorporating the colours into the bouquets and I think it worked really well, the girls looked fab!
We chose our photographer because… We saw a real wedding for which Emma had taken the photos and thought her style was beautiful, atmospheric but also very natural. As we saw more of Emma’s work we were in awe of her talent and after meeting her for a coffee in Avoca we knew we wanted her to capture our big day. She’s such a friendly easy-going person and her passion for photography made us feel so relaxed as we knew she cared about the quality of our pictures just as much as ourselves.
His suit… A Ted Baker three-piece grey suit. We got the neckwear on a great website called Swagger & Swoon.
We chose our venue because… We’d originally planned on having our wedding in Dublin city centre to make it easier for the guests travelling from outside of Ireland. However, my mam’s colleague had given a glowing review to BrookLodge in Co. Wicklow so we thought it was worth checking it out. She drove me down for the first time and I was completely blown away by the beautiful grounds, stunning surroundings as well as how friendly the weddings team were. As we weren’t having a church wedding it was important for us to choose a venue with a ceremony location that felt special – the onsite chapel building at BrookLodge is more special than we’d even imagined we could possibly find. When I returned for a second visit with John he told me he was planning to play devil’s advocate after I’d given such a gushing report, but within 5 minutes of looking round he was whispering in my ear let’s just book a date now!
Our wedding theme/colours… We knew we wanted spring pastels as a colour scheme, the love birds theme happened by accident, John’s mum sent us stationary samples and we fell for a bird stamp she had used. She did all of the stationary for our wedding and we were so lucky that she almost instinctively knew the style that John and I were after and had the creativity to pull it off.
My piece of advice for other brides… Try to leave yourself with as little as possible to do during the week before your wedding. Of course there’ll be things to pick-up, last minute issues to resolve but it’s one of the most exciting weeks of your life so relax and enjoy it with your family and friends.
Photographer: Emma Russell Photography | Venue: BrookLodge & Macreddin Village | DJ: Funky Functions | Florist: Fussy Peacock | Stationery: Materials from the Paper Warehouse | Popcorn: The Pick n Mix Factory | Dessert Table: Meringues and Marshmallows from Delish Melish | Photobooth: Shoot booth | Hearts for unity candle: Melys Weddings | Head piece: Debenhams | Humanist Officiant: Brian Whiteside | Harpist: Mary O’Donnell | Bride’s Dress and Veil: The Bridal Outlet, Baldoyle | Bride’s shoes: Carvella | Suits: Groom’s from Ted Baker, others hired from Moss Bros | Ties & bow tiee: Swagger & Swoon
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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.