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A Charming Ballyseede Castle Wedding by Tara Donoghue Photography

“ I loved the idea of having a castle to ourselves for a night!!”

The couple: Fiona O’Connor & Gary Connolly
Length of engagement: 2 years 4 months | Wedding date: April 22nd 2017
Wedding venue:  Ballyseede Castle, Tralee, Kerry
Photographer: Tara Donoghue Photography

We met… Dublin, November 2008, in the romantic location of Copper Face Jacks nightclub! Fiona had recently moved to Dublin and was out with her friends. Gary was on a weekend out with his friends also. We bumped into each other on the dance floor, exchanged numbers and went on our first date the following weekend.

Our proposal… After 2 years in Australia, Fiona returned to Ireland in June 2014 while Gary stayed on for work commitments. We got engaged at Christmas 2014 in beautiful Bali. We met there to spend Christmas together. Fiona was not expecting it all! We got engaged on a beach during an evening stroll.

My look… My dress was by Don O’Neill, Theia. I got it in Folkster Bridal in Kilkenny. It was love at first sight! My hair was done by Urban Angels, Glin and MK Beauty in Listowel did my makeup. Both were amazing and I was really happy with both! I trusted them completely and was not disappointed.

We chose our venue because… Fiona fell in love with Ballyseede Castle when she went to view it with her chief bridesmaid Elaine. It had such character and a beautiful intimate feeling. We also chose it because we could exclusively book it out and I loved the idea of having a castle to ourselves for a night!! They had an extension by the time our wedding rolled around which made our drinks reception perfect! The staff were unbelievable and made our weekend so special.

His suit… was from Richie Whelan’s Menswear, Naas, Co. Kildare.

What our bridal party wore… The girls wore grey Dessy dresses from Wedding World, Fairview, Dublin with a belt from Folkster. Their shoes were from Dune. The men wore navy suits from Richie Whelan’s Menswear, Naas, Co. Kildare.

We chose our photographer because… Our hotel recommended them and when I gave Tara (Tara Donoghue Photography) a call, I felt straight away that her and Dave would be amazing. Having a great photographer is so important for the smooth running of a wedding day. Tara and Dave were amazing and co-ordinated our whole day including our first look. They were on hand for advice and they just were unbelievable! We are so happy with our photographs, they have pride of place in our home!

The decor and details… We didn’t really have a set theme or colour. We wanted a really relaxed atmosphere with rustic vibes. Wild flowers were the only must and Leona from Every Occasion Florist made all my Pinterest ideas a reality! The ISPCA is a charity close to our hearts and we chose part of our favours to be a donation to the ISPCA. They provided cards for our tables with a photo of our adopted cat, which was very special to us. We complemented them with a bag of sweets at each place setting. Our cake was a joint effort by closest family and friends. Fiona’s godmother Maureen Healy made the fruit cake and a close friend Shauna Foster made the chocolate biscuit cake. Fiona’s cousin Tracy Corps coordinated the whole operation organising the look of Fiona’s dreams with rustic handmade cake stands and wildflowers. Karen Costello from Glin, Co. Limerick made the lemon drizzle cake and iced all the cakes for the perfect look! A cake made with a lot of love!

My favourite part of the wedding day… For Gary it was the moment he met Fiona at the top of the aisle. Hearing the whispers of the congregation. There was just an energy about it all! For Fiona it was their first look, which the fab Tara and Dave (photographers) organised before the ceremony. As their bridal party was there, it was so fun and exciting! It instantly relaxed me!

My piece of advice for other couples… Trust the vendors, they are the experts!! We gave vendor telephone numbers to our best man and chief bridesmaid the day before the wedding. This meant we completely relaxed and enjoyed the day before the wedding and the morning of the wedding. Everything ran so smoothly. Also, stay true to what you imagine your wedding to be… it is your day after all!


Venue: Ballyseede Castle Hotel, Kerry | Photographer: Tara Donoghue Photography | Dress: Don O’Neill, Theia from Folkster Bridal, Kilkenny | Hair: Urban Angels, Glin | Makeup: MK Beauty, Listowel | Invitations: Barry Quinn Illustrations and Capital Print | Flowers: Every Occasion Florist, Tralee | Church Singer: Claire Heffernan | Bridesmaid dresses: Wedding World, Fairview, Dublin | Suits: Richie Whelan’s Menswear, Naas, Kildare | Rings: Cara Jewellers, Dubai | Band: The Favours | DJ: Pro DJs

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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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