“ To me, our wedding was like a fairy tale from start to finish and I honestly think I was in a daze for most of it! ”
The couple: Niamh Casey & Jonathan Ryan
Length of engagement: 9 Months | Wedding date: May 21st 2016
Wedding venue: Trump International Doonbeg, Co. Clare
Photographer: Ruth & Martin from Ruth Foran Photography
We met… at Primary School although I moved to Limerick and a new school after senior infants. Jonathan and I would continue to bump into each other during the summers when I would be visiting my grandparents. We went our separate ways for college and a few years after in our different jobs, but eventually met up again and the rest as they say is history!
Our proposal… happened while we were on holiday in Sorrento, Italy. The night before he had suggested that we go visit a lagoon that he had read about before we left. A very strange suggestion I thought as we had literally just arrived and I was looking forward to relaxing on a nearby beach rather than trekking around!
Anyway, I shrugged it off and the next morning we set off. After nearly an hour of walking, we finally reached a point that Jonathan recognized from his research on Google Street View. The path led us down a steep, damp, potentially ankle-twisting way to the bottom of a natural pool fed by an arched opening to the sea. At this stage, I was getting a little tired and weary in the heat when all of a sudden to my dismay Jonathan announced he was going to run in for a quick dip to cool down and basically told me to stay put and watch our bags. I remember thinking, how selfish of him, does he not think I would like to get in for a swim too?! Then what seemed like a few quick minutes, he was back by my side, happy out, cool and refreshed.
I immediately headed towards the water and heard him shout after me that there was some rock in the centre of the lagoon that I should check out. And that’s what I did. I swam out, saw the rock and attempted to climb up on it. It was a little tricky as it was covered in coral but I somehow managed it. Just as I caught my breath and took in my surroundings, Jonathan was on his way back in towards me. At this stage I was completely confused yet again and was wondering why he was coming out to me when he was adamant about watching the bags just moments earlier! Then before I knew it, he was climbing up on the rock himself, cutting and scratching himself in the process! Then I realised he was attempting to kneel down, again I presumed to balance himself when all of a sudden he asked me to stand up.
Of course I replied, are you mad?… why would I stand up on this thing, I will kill myself trying! After a few moments of him repeatedly asking, I attempted to stand up and while Jonathan was still on his knee (which really must have been sore) he pulled out a box from his pocket and asked ‘Will you marry me?’. To say I was completely and utterly shocked is an understatement. I was NOT expecting it and especially not on our first day on holidays, never mind at all. Of course I said yes and we spent the next few hours on the edge of the lagoon sipping champagne which Jonathan had also managed to bring with him. We also shared the champagne with some lovely Italians who were close by and had caught all the action so we had a nice little celebration – the same people Jonathan had asked to record the whole thing on video which is so precious and such a special keepsake. It really was the most perfect proposal!
My look… My dress was a Champagne coloured Duponi silk sweetheart neckline ball gown by Paloma Blanca. My hair was by MiMi’s hairdressers, Ennistymon. Leona from MiMi’s arrived to our hotel suite at 8.30am all set to do our hair, no mean feat to get through the Bride, Mother of the Bride and three bridesmaids. She was absolutely amazing and an oasis of calm. The amazing Ken Boylan did our makeup. He travelled down from Dublin the night before and also arrived promptly that morning. So relaxed, calm and a joy and such fun to have on the morning. He was ever professional and excellent on his timings, he did all of our makeup so efficiently and kept us all calm and relaxed. He was up on beds and climbing chairs making sure he did last minute touches before we departed for the church! I couldn’t have had anyone better.
Our ceremony… was a traditional church wedding at St. Senan’s Church, Kilrush, Co. Clare. We chose the church as it was close to the venue and as both our parents are from Co. Clare, we were very familiar with it. St. Senan’s church itself is a beautiful cathedral sized church with magnificent Harry Clarke stained glass windows.
His suit… Was a tailored Tux from Patrick Sheary in Dublin.
We chose our photographer because… we loved Ruth and Martin’s (Ruth Foran Photography) style and approach. Better still when we spoke with them on the phone, they just seemed to get exactly what we wanted. We also loved the option that we could have two photographers as each of us were getting ready in separate locations and we wanted both mornings to be captured. The beauty of working with two photographers is that you get a wonderful mix of formal shots which were important for us as we wanted to have those eight or so formal shots that you frame and we wanted all the more candid and fun moments captured too. By working with Ruth and Martin, we got the absolute perfect mix of formal and candid photos and all our little touches and special moments were captured beautifully throughout the day. The icing on the cake is that they are an absolutely fantastic couple and we loved sharing our day with them. They were very relaxed and fun to be with but the utmost professionals at the same time. We felt they had really listened to what we wanted, researched the area, church and venue and gave us exactly what we wanted. When we finally got our photos, our expectations were exceeded in every way.
What our bridal party wore… My bridesmaids wore rose and blush lace top dresses by Dessy, ordered through Ivory Lane Limerick. Their in-house seamstress did a fantastic job altering the dresses just days before to suit the bridesmaids travelling arrangements.
We chose our venue because… we just got the feeling! It was not only the beautiful location that drew us in but the fantastic staff at Trump International Doonbeg. From our very first visit, we were made feel so special and were congratulated on our engagement. The staff that work there are absolutely superb, we were instantly at ease there. They took their time to show us around and explained everything. Above all else, Sylvia Walnutt, the wedding co-ordinator there is an absolute gem. She was another reason that swung the venue from potential to definite on our list. Sylvia is ever smiling, welcoming and an oasis of calm. She was a dream to work with and imparted lots of great tips and knowledge from her wealth of experience to make sure the day ran smoothly for us. She and all the staff at Doonbeg were just absolutely wonderful.
Our wedding theme/colours… A classic and timeless Black Tie wedding.
Our menu… We had a starter of Smoked Salmon and Crab, followed by Pea and Ham Hock soup, followed by Passion Fruit and Orange Sorbet, followed by Fillet of Beef or Halibut, and finished with a Chocolate and Caramel Slice dessert. The food was divine, the staff at Doonbeg did an amazing job.
Our honeymoon… we mini-mooned in Paris for 4 nights directly after the wedding. We stayed near the Champs Elysee and spent our days trying to come back down to reality although it was rather hard when our days consisted of drinking café au laits, enjoying the spectacular sights and trying out all the delicious pastries on offer at every patisserie we passed! We became quite the connoisseurs! Later on in September, we honeymooned in Croatia. We spent 7 nights on the island of Hvar and 7 nights in the Old Town of Dubrovnik. We had a wonderful time and fell in love with Croatia and its turquoise waters. We can’t wait to return.
My favourite part of the wedding day… Gosh, how do you pick a favourite part?! To me, our wedding was like a fairy tale from start to finish and I honestly think I was in a daze for most of it! It is just so nice to see all the planning come together and to share that with all the people you love on the day. If I did have to pick a favourite moment, it was probably after the church when Jonathan and I went to Doughmore beach which the hotel overlooks. Our wedding car drove us to the beach and it was special to take time out with each other and let the day so far sink in. As we got out of the car, we had a little walk through the grass and over the sand dunes. As we climbed up, we caught our first glance of the beach and were both absolutely stunned at what we saw. It was absolutely magical, the tide was all the way in up to the white pebbles, the sun was shining and there were two horses training out on the beach in the distance. I don’t think I have ever seen it look more gorgeous!
My piece of advice for other couples… enjoy the whole process, the planning and the lead up. There is no denying that there are stressful moments along the way and the planning and organising can be quite time consuming but it really is such a special and fun time that I probably didn’t fully appreciate at the time. So my advice is to soak every minute up! It is such a wonderful time with lots of excuses for getting together with people for days out to plan things. I really enjoyed all the days out with my mum, mother-in-law, sister and bridesmaids. After that, try to relax and enjoy the day and remember to take some time out for you and your husband during the day to let it all sink in.
Wedding Venue: Trump International Doonbeg | Wedding Photographer: Ruth Foran Photography | Wedding Dress: Aibheil, Adare, Co. Limerick | Groom’s Suit: Patrick Sheary | Makeup: Ken Boylan | Hair: Mimi’s Ennistymon | Flowers: Joanne Dillion, Jo’s Flower Shop, Kilrush | Wedding Cake: Cakes by Alison | Band: Bentley Boys | Wedding Stationery: D2 Print | Ice Cream Sorbet: Adare Farm
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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.