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A Chic Travel-themed Clonabreany House Wedding by The Fennells

“It was as if we had known each other forever.”

The couple: Julie & Scott
Wedding venue: Clonabreany House, Meath | Photographer: The Fennells


We met… in Thailand. I was on a girls’ holiday from Ireland and Scott was on a boys’ holiday from Australia. It was my second night in Bangkok and Scott’s first. Myself and one of my head bridesmaids Sarah were having a drink on Koh San Road waiting for another one of the bridesmaids, Holly, and three other girls we knew. While we were waiting we noticed a group of lovely looking boys walking past and immediately I liked, as I called him “the boy in the blue shorts”. They sat at a table a few metres from us. We ogled them a little more and kept drinking. All of a sudden, Glen – one of the groomsmen came over and asked us to sit with them. We said yes and joined them for a drink while waiting on the girls. I still had my eye on Scott who was sitting a fair bit away from me. Throughout the evening Scott was slowly moving closer and I was delighted with myself. We eventually got talking and it was as if we had known each other forever.



The engagement ring… We got engaged in Paris. We had booked a trip a few months previous and were heading there in December. In early September I met up with Julie’s Nana Teresa and told her that I wanted to ask Julie to marry me and was coming to her for advice about picking a ring. Julie’s family are jewellers so I knew I was going to the best. Julie’s mum had passed seven years at the time and her Nana explained to me how it would be special to incorporate part of Julie’s mum’s engagement ring into Julie’s engagement ring. We started designing the ring together along with the help of Julie’s uncle Keith. Just before our trip I asked Julie’s dad and brothers’ permission to ask Julie! They were all so supportive and her brothers were so excited! On December 11th we headed to Paris. We arrived late on the Friday and so had a few drinks and headed to bed. The next morning I was up early and beyond nervous. Julie is so hard to get up early in the morning and I had a deadline!

My dress… My dress was made by the amazing Ailva Devlin, an up and coming bespoke bridal designer. I knew I wanted my dress to be one-of-a-kind but I also wanted part of my own mum’s wedding dress to be sewn in on the lining by my heart. Ailva spent so much time with me putting together ideas. We tried on so many dresses and she guided me in what would work for my body. Even the choosing of the fabric was something that took quite some time as I wanted something that would cling, yet was breathable. Ailva listened to my every word but also used her talent and knowledge to create an incredible dress. Ailva also made my amazing veil that was the show-stopper as I wanted a very, very simple wedding dress. Everything was thought of and she even spoke with the hairdresser to ensure it all would work. I wore €40 shoes from Korkys which were simple and comfortable, definitely a huge saving and I still loved them! About two weeks before Scott was planning on proposing I was cleaning out my dad’s house and came across my mum’s garter she wore on her own wedding day. At the time, I was sentimental but after Scott surprised me two weeks later with the big question I felt that moment in my dad’s was her looking down on me and giving her blessing! I wore both my mum’s garter and Scott’s mum’s garter – that was really special.

Our ceremony… We both had decided we didn’t want a church wedding and so Clonabreany House was perfect for us with a beautiful ceremony room onsite. We really wanted to make the ceremony personal and special to us and so we went with a spiritualist ceremony and were lucky enough to have the brilliant Vincent Whelan officiating it. We included songs that were special to us and actually wrote our own readings for the ceremony using ideas online. We incorporated love letters, a remembrance candle for Julie’s mum and a blessing of the rings, it all added to the experience. As we walked down the aisle as husband and wife, one of our best friends Sophie sang a song we both loved. We really tried to make each part of the ceremony reflect who we were individually and as a couple. It was by far our favourite part of the day. It was the most incredible moment and was beyond perfect.

What our bridal party wore… Getting a dress to suit eight girls of all different shapes, sizes and height was going to be a tough one. Thankfully multiway dresses from Cari’s Closet in Malahide were very popular and so six of my eight bridesmaids went out to Malahide to suss them out! Thankfully the girls were all happy and felt comfortable in the dresses and the colour dusty pink suited everyone.

His suit… We got all our suits from Protocol for Men in Dawson Street. We went for a blue suit and dickie bows. The toughest part about it all was that I had five of my eight groomsmen coming from Australia and so a fitting would only be three days before the wedding. Protocol were amazing.

We chose our photographer because… We wanted the best. Simple. We were looking for someone to catch all the candid moments as well as showing the fun and sentiment of the day. Mark and Fiona (The Fennells) were amazing and so accommodating with any weird and wacky ideas we had! It felt as if they were family. They knew everyone’s names and just fit in so well. We could not have chosen a better pair – our photos are beyond exceptional!

We chose our venue because… Clonabreany House was incredible – the most perfect setting for a wedding. It fit our style so well so decorating it was so easy. I made a lot of signage and put together most of the decorations. Simple things like bulk buying 42 jam jars for €8 and I added some burlap and baby’s breath to fill out spaces and create a space full of flowers but on a budget! It worked really well. We went with wooden slabs and jars of flowers for our centrepieces and added our own twist with table names that I made. We kept the flowers simple with baby’s breath and amnesia roses. I also did a lot of work on our engagement album putting that together and also made a photo timeline of our story. I also added pictures of our parents on their wedding day and also those who we wanted to remember on our special day. We wanted the venue to reflect us and we really think it did! The venue came together amazingly and the staff at Clonabreany were so helpful.

My favourite part of the wedding day…  We both agree the ceremony was our favourite part of the day. It was out of this world and was so special to us. We also really enjoyed being announced as Mr and Mrs Ferguson coming into dinner – we had our favourite song playing surrounded by our favourite people. Lastly another stand out moment was our best friends Katie and Sophie singing our first dance, they spent months putting it together with the amazingly talented Dan O’Connor. It was perfect.

My piece of advice for other brides… Your wedding celebrates your love for one another and people are there to celebrate that – do what you both feel reflects you, not others.


Photography: Mark & Fiona, The Fennells | Dress & Veil: Ailva Bridal by Ailva Devlin | Groomsmen’s suits: Protocol for Men, Dawson Street | Rings: The Jewel Casket | Bridesmaids’ dresses: Cari’s Closet, Malahide, Dublin | Hair: Rathgar Studios | Make-up: Sue Norton using Stila | Venue: Clonabreany House | Ceremony solomniser: Vincent Whelan, Spiritual Ceremonies | Band: Reality Bites, Dan O’Connor | Flowers: VP Flowers | Cake: Amazing Cakes, Bray | Ceremony music: Sacred Sound | Stationery: DIY | Photobooth: Shoot Booth

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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.

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