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A Charming Ballykisteen Wedding by McMahon Studios

“We had the best day ever, we loved having all our friends and family around us.”

The couple: Gillian Galligan & Andrew Joyce
Length of engagement: 18 months | Wedding date: 29th July 2017
Wedding venue: Ballykisteen Hotel & Golf Resort, Tipperary
Photographer: McMahon Studios

Our story… We met in June 2006 in Tipperary Town. Andrew proposed to me in our home in Tipperary, he surprised me with flowers and candles. When I saw him on one knee in the sitting room, I ran down the hall in shock and then realised he was serious and had a ring which he designed himself.  We waited until the following day to share the great news with family and friends.

My dress… I bought my dress in Vows in Cork. It was the fourth dress I tried on and I fell in love with it the minute I tried it on. The dress was created by Morilee, it was a fitted, ivory dress with lace detail.

My hair and makeup… My makeup was by Coco Rouge Make-up based in Aherlow, Co. Tipperary. Theresa was great and did a wonderful job with everyone’s makeup. Theresa was great on the run up to the wedding, giving me skincare advice and the best products to use. My hair was done by Corina Laur Hair. Corina was wonderful especially as I wasn’t sure what to do with my hair initially. I also had trouble finding a suitable head piece and after showing Corina a picture of my dress, she kindly loaned me a beautiful headpiece which I used as my something borrowed. I couldn’t believe how comfortable and light my hair felt, it lasted well into the early hours of the following morning.

His suit… Andrew hired his suit form Connolly Man in Limerick. The staff couldn’t have been anymore helpful.

Our ceremony… We always knew that we would end up having a humanist ceremony and I was worried where we would have the ceremony. After searching online for different ideas, I saw St. John’s Knockainey on Facebook – a place that was less than a 10-minute drive from my house but I didn’t know that they held weddings. It was so quaint, intimate and pretty. I fell in love with the red door and knew we had to get to married there.

We chose our photographer because… I knew of McMahon Studios because they were the photographers at a friend’s wedding. I contacted Hilda by e-mail and met her a few weeks later. Andrew is camera shy and hates every photo he is in. After a few minutes of talking to Hilda, we knew McMahon Studios were the photographers for us. Hilda made us feel really relaxed and at ease. We knew that Hilda and Grace would be fun to have around on the day and that Andrew wouldn’t even notice them taking his photo – which was a must for us! Hilda and Grace arrived at my house the morning of the wedding and just fit in to the chaos, they were a great help on the morning of the wedding, helping my father with his corsage. They took lovely pictures of our family getting ready and of my extremely camera-shy niece, photos that I will cherish forever. I didn’t know when I was booking McMahon Studios that they actually took my Holy Communion pictures and that was a really nice touch.

We chose our venue because… Initially, Ballykisteen Hotel & Golf Resort wasn’t on our radar because it was so close to home, however, this turned out to be a blessing. We made an appointment with Helen and booked the hotel on the same day. Helen was a great help and I don’t think we would have booked the hotel on that day if it wasn’t for her. We had a lot of family travelling to the wedding so the option of lodges and rooms was a bonus. The children attending the wedding really enjoyed the swimming pool and the children’s club. It was great to have everyone stay in the same place for the whole weekend. We had a barbecue the day after the wedding in the hotel and this was lovely for Andrew and I to speak to family and friends again. The food was spectacular and plentiful with constant flow of wine. We stayed in  the hotel until we went on Honeymoon the following Tuesday, this was a great way to start married life.

Our wedding theme/colours… We didn’t really have a theme for our wedding, we just wanted to celebrate with family and friends. The colours we chose were navy and blush pinks. After a few searches online for wedding decorations and the thoughts of decorating a church ourselves, I decided to look at a wedding stylist – Kitture Weddings based in Limerick. I met Catriona at a wedding fair in Limerick and I really liked her decor and ideas. We couldn’t believe how beautiful the church and hotel were, they both blew us away. We couldn’t recommend Catriona enough; my sister has booked her for her wedding next year.

Our menu…

Starters: Confit of duck or Goat’s Cheese Tartlet

Soup or Sorbet: Vegetable Soup or Mango Sorbet

Mains: Dijon Mustard Roast Beef or Lemon and Herb Stuffed Chicken Breast

Dessert: Lemon Meringue or Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble served with Ice Cream

My favourite part of the wedding day… After the wedding we both confessed that we never thought we could enjoy one day so much. We had the best day ever, we loved having all our friends and family around us. A wedding is more than one day, it is the days and weeks leading up to the day and the days after talking about it. I never smiled or laughed so much as I did on our wedding day and that is what matters.

My piece of advice for other couples…

Relax: leading up the wedding people kept asking me “Are your nervous or worried?” And I wasn’t. Your wedding day is one of the best days of your life, why ruin it worrying about things that really don’t matter. I had a surprise the morning of my wedding with the unplanned arrival of my nephew and people thought I was very calm about the whole thing – why wouldn’t I be relaxed? Everyone was healthy and happy and that is all that matters.

Get family and friends involved: I was delighted and lucky to have Andrew’s mam make my bouquet. It made it so special and we had fun doing the flowers the day before the wedding. We will cherish these memories and pictures even more because they were made by a family member. Andrew’s friend, Jackie made our cake and it was amazing, it was special to have a handmade cake.

Do what you want: It is your day, do what you want, wear what you want, eat what you want and have the people that you want. Our family left us to our own devices and we had the wedding we wanted. Don’t feel that you have to do what is expected or ‘normal’.

Food: I remember after the ceremony when it was just myself and Andrew, I suddenly felt really hungry. Luckily, my wonderful husband had brought some fruit and water for me. This saved me as you are very busy until the sit-down meal.

Stay in the hotel: We stayed in the hotel for a few days after the wedding, this was great as we could take our time removing the dress, suit and presents. We also could relax the day after the wedding and not worry about getting out by a certain time.

Extra shirts: Have a second shirt for the groom and groomsmen, it is a long day of hugging and meeting guests, makeup can get on the shirts so a second one is handy. Andrew and his best man changed their shirt after the meal and Andrew said it was really refreshing.


Venue: Ballykisteen Hotel & Golf Resort, Tipperary | Photography: McMahon Studios | Suits: Connolly Man, Limerick | Wedding Dress:, Cork | Decor & Styling: Kitture Weddings, Limerick | Makeup: Coco Rouge Makeup, Tipperary | Hair: Corina Laur Hair, Tipperary | Accessories: Jules Bridal JewelleryRings: Matthew Stevens Jewellers, Limerick

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Pamela enjoys writing about all things decor (she loves buying it too) and has a not so secret addiction to stationery.

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