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A Chic Clontarf Castle Wedding by Paul Kelly Photography

“A lovely elderly man came over to us as we were walking on our own and wished us the best of luck and gave us a miracle medal.”
The couple: Laura O’Brien & Graham Barrett
Length of engagement: 16 months | Wedding Date: 12th September 2015
Wedding venue: Clontarf Castle Hotel, Dublin



We met… in work. I was transferred from another part of the company at the start of July of 2011 and by the end of July we were in a relationship! Our colleagues used to laugh and joke about how Graham seemed to find every excuse to walk past my office within our building and that before I joined they never saw him in that part of the building before! We had a staff night out a few weeks later after which he walked me to the bus stop and we shared our first kiss. From then on we were inseparable!



Our proposal… Well Graham always told me he wanted to marry me, but getting our house was our priority and he always said he wanted to propose after we moved in, yet at the time we got engaged, the house was still about a year off being ready. A young relation of Graham’s sadly passed away unexpectedly in the April of 2014 and after our engagement he told me that it made him realise life was too short to wait around for things to happen at the ‘right’ time. Lanzarote has always had a special place in our hearts. It was the first holiday destination we went to as a couple. On our fourth visit to Lanzarote we went for a walk on our way to dinner. The setting was beautiful, we walked along the cliffs of the Old Town and the sun was setting. The funny thing was, I said to Graham as we walked that if he were ever to propose this would be the perfect setting. We walked a little further and he stopped, grabbed my hand and went down on one knee with the ring in his hand. I genuinely thought he was joking (he is a bit of a messer), and I kept saying nervously “Are you joking? Stop joking and get up people are looking!”. He replied “I have a ring in front of you, do you really think I’m joking?”. I started crying then and said yes! After a few giggles and tears I called my parents, who already knew all about it as he had asked them for their permission the day before we left Dublin.





Our ceremony… was in St Brigid’s Church in Killester. I grew up not far from Killester church and had always loved it. Our local priest from Lusk, Fr. Paul Hampson conducted our beautiful ceremony. I walked up the aisle to Blush Choir singing ‘How Great Thou Art’, which gave me goosebumps. The ceremony was beautiful, we are both Catholic but really wanted our prayers throughout the mass to focus on love and friendship rather than bible stories, so I think we chose well.









My hair and makeup… my sister-in-law Gill Smith is a fantastic hairdresser and did my hair on the day. I loved it, she is so creative and is so good at what she does. My makeup was by the fabulous Michelle Regazolli. I had been watching Michelle’s work for some time on Instagram and loved everything about her work, I cannot recommend her enough.



What our bridal party wore… my bridesmaids were all different heights and sizes so I knew straight away I would be looking for the Eliza and Ethan Multiway dresses. I also knew I wanted mint green. I bought them in Neola Boutique in Malahide. The service there was excellent and they really made a fuss of us all when we went to try them on. The groomsmen suits were hired from Dorian Black in Balbriggan.



My dress… was from The Bridal Corner in Glasnevin. The designer was Enzoani. Perfect in every way! I had a belt fitted to give it that little bit of extra wow. The day I tried it on, I had already been to another shop in which I thought I had found ‘the one’. I remember my bridesmaid Lisa asking if she should call The Bridal Corner to cancel the appointment but I said no because I would feel awful as we were due there within the next hour and I would regret it and wonder ‘what if’. Boy was I glad I went! I tried it on and got THAT feeling! I realised that I had only thought the other dress was the one because of everyone in the shop’s reaction rather than my own. It wasn’t until June that I saw the dress and tried it on again, and I loved it just as much as the first time!





His suit… was purchased from Monza menswear on Dawson Street. The gents were very professional and the quality of the suit was amazing.






We chose our photographer because… Paul Kelly’s (Paul Kelly | Studio 3) work was like nothing we had ever seen before. His style was more about capturing the moments of the day rather than everyone posing for shots. We got to see how much everyone laughed and enjoyed our day. It really captured what we hoped the day would be. We met Paul Kelly at the wedding fair in Clontarf Castle and immediately hit it off. His offering was just so unique and his ideas were everything we wanted. Paul does a lot of photography work for Clontarf Castle so he knew where to get the perfect shots. He met with us two weeks before the wedding to talk us through our vision and it was at that point that myself and Graham said how real the wedding became and where the excitement began!






Our wedding theme/colours… we had no theme as such but I knew I wanted either a pale/baby pink or mint green for our bridesmaids. I loved the mint green for the bridesmaids so that’s what we chose, but we decided to go with pale pink sashes around the chairs for half of the tables and mint green for the rest. Our favours were mini cake pops for every guest, which were little brides, grooms and bridesmaids all to match our colours!






My favourite part of the wedding day… was in St Anne’s Park as we were getting pictures taken. A lovely elderly man came over to us as we were walking on our own and wished us the best of luck and gave us a miracle medal. It just made me think of loved ones who were no longer with us and made us both feel like it was a sign from them to say they were there with us in spirit. My mother really believes in Angels and our loved ones sending us signs to let us know they are with us and said she believes that was one of them!



We chose our venue because… I grew up close enough to Clontarf Castle but I had only been there a handful of times. Graham is from Kerry and he wanted somewhere that would mean something to us and where we could drive by with our children someday and show them where we got married, rather than it being somewhere we would rarely or possibly never visit again. We saw an offer on weddingsonline – Clontarf Castle were offering a discount and it also turned out that they were holding a wedding fair the following week. We went to see it and meet the team and we fell in love with it straight away and booked it the following day! I had wanted somewhere with a modern feel whereas Graham wanted the old style castle like venue. Clontarf Castle has both a modern and medieval feel which was the perfect match for us!!






Our menu… was a Parma Ham Crostini to start, then Vegetable soup. The main course options were either Salmon or Beef, and we had an assiette of three different desserts. The food later was just as good, Mini Burgers, Spring Rolls and Chicken Skewers amongst others. It was fabulous! For our wedding cake, we hired a fake cake from Timeless Cakes 4U to cut down on the cost, it included slices of cake to feed approx 120 guests in three different flavours. Everyone commented on how fab the cake looked and tasted!



My piece of advice for other brides… I know everyone says it but relax and just take it all in. The day will fly by in such a flash and will be over before you know it. We went around most of the tables during the food courses because we knew we wanted to enjoy the band afterwards rather than missing the whole night trying to talk to everyone. Have a few glasses of champers that morning to calm your nerves and try and stay calm, nothing will go wrong, and if it does, there will be others there to sort it so don’t worry! This will be the best day of your life.

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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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