“Instantly I thought “don’t assume it is an engagement ring” out of fear of making a fool of myself!”
The couple: Aisling & John Byrne
Length of engagement: 14 months | Wedding date: June 6th 2015
Wedding ceremony: Carlow Cathedral | Wedding venue: Clanard Court Hotel, Athy, Kildare
Photographer: Ebony and Pearl
We met… We met in The Old Mill Pub, Tallaght, where we both worked in 2007 – John as a bouncer and me as a lounge girl. We only worked there together for about seven months before John moved elsewhere.
Our proposal… We live in Perth, Australia and had decided to go camping for the Easter long weekend up to a place called Jurien Bay with our two dogs. The weekend didn’t go according to plan and it ended up raining all day Saturday. We were lying in our four-man tent with the two dogs waiting for the rain to die down so we could make lunch when a gorgeous Pearl ring was placed in front of me. Instantly I thought “don’t assume it is an engagement ring” out of fear of making a fool of myself so there was a silence which seemed to last forever, until John said “Well?!” to which my response was “Say it!” He than asked me to marry him, and to me it was perfect.
My hair and makeup… I got my hair done by a girl I used to work with called Colette Brocklebank. We worked together in Occasions Lucan and she is an amazing stylist and great at up-styles. Colette now works for herself and has a studio set up in The Green Isle Business Park, Dublin. My makeup was by Kate McCormack and she is amazing. I was actually very lucky to get a booking with Kate as someone else had just dropped out on my date, she is generally booked up months in advance. Kate has her own studio in Carlow Town but does travel for a small fee. Both girls can be found on Facebook.
The suits… We got all the suits from Aston Formal Wear in Dublin City. John had emailed over his measurements for the suit from Australia but only had his first fitting about 10 days before the wedding. John went for a slate grey suit and the fathers, groomsmen and page boy’s suit were all a pale grey.
What our bridal party wore… I actually got the bridesmaids dresses from a Chinese website and was surprised with the great quality, they cost me less than €80. I really wanted mint and couldn’t find anything in the shops so tried online. They got mint shoes from New Look and just had simple pearl earrings, pendant pearl necklace and pearl bracelet.
Our ceremony… We got married in the Carlow Cathedral, Carlow Town. The ceremony was lovely and I felt our priest Fr John Cummins made it personal to us even though we had only met him twice before. It seemed to go so quickly but then so did the whole day. The Cathedral has a webcam so a lot of our friends were watching back in Australia.
Our wedding theme/colours… I really wanted to go for a rustic theme for our wedding day and have DIY table settings with loads of flowers and just the small touches here and there that make the venue more personal, but it was very hard to do things like that as we live in Australia and were only flying home two weeks before the wedding. We did settle on a mint and grey rustic theme. John, the groomsmen and fathers had grey suits and my bridesmaids and flower girl were in mint. We used the rustic look in the flowers, cake, invites and menus.
We chose our venue because… I’m from Dublin and John is from Carlow, we wanted to choose somewhere close to one of our families so there wasn’t too much travelling with all the guests. We had looked all around Carlow but found some of the venues were too fussy with guest numbers (which at the time could have ranged between 110 to 160) and some places weren’t willing to negotiate anything under 120 which to me wasn’t very helpful at all. We decided to look just outside Carlow and came across The Clanard Court Hotel in Athy. From my first email to them they were so helpful, with us living abroad they had agreed to hold a separate menu tasting for only us when we were home for a holiday. They were happy to deal with our parents on our behalf and were very flexible when it came to adjusting the package we wanted. The grounds were fabulous and food was amazing (our parents went to the wedding open day before we booked). Claire, the wedding coordinator, was lovely to deal with and considering we didn’t actually meet her until five days before the wedding, she did a fantastic job getting everything ready.
My favourite part of the wedding day… After dinner, at that stage I was able to relax, have a few drinks and chat to all of our guests. The whole day goes by in a blur up until that point. I only had faint memories of the church until I saw the wedding video, then after that it was rush rush rush to get to our photo location (being 45 minutes late to the church didn’t help matters) then back to the venue which is more running around and getting pictures until dinner. I enjoyed the meal as it was a few hours of being able to sit and talk to my ‘new’ husband and bridesmaids which I hadn’t felt I’d done since that morning even though they had been by my side the entire day.
Our menu… We were very lucky with choosing our menu, instead of the usual menu tastings which are held a couple of times a year for upcoming weddings we got our own tasting with just us. We invited both sets of parents along also so was great to have the extra bit of help when it came to choosing. We chose the Chicken Caesar Salad for starters (the top table got the option of Pâté which is my favourite) for soup we chose Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup which I wouldn’t usually be a fan of but the Clanard Court had the most creamy soup I have ever tasted, it was gorgeous. We had a Champagne and Strawberry Sorbet. For mains we had an option of Roast Sirloin of Prime Irish Beef and Seared Fillet of Seabass and finally there was three miniature desserts; Banoffi Pie, Mini Meringue with Berries and Vanilla Ice Cream in a Chocolate Cage served with tea and coffee.
We chose our photographer because… I spent ages going through different photography portfolios, and what I didn’t realise at the time is that a year isn’t long enough to plan a wedding as so many people were already booked out for our date. After a few weeks I was having a snoop on Facebook at someone’s (who wasn’t my friend) pictures and there a photo of them at a wedding. I saw the Ebony and Pearl logo was in the corner so I Googled them and just loved what I saw. I’m not very ‘artistic’ and I find a lot of photographers go for the ‘arty’ kind of pictures, Stuart from Ebony and Pearl just seemed to capture the perfect moment. None of his pictures looked staged; he caught guests laughing, taking selfies and couples having a sneaky kiss. He already had in his portfolio some pictures I really wanted on the day so I made contact and my mam went to meet him. She was very impressed, so we booked him. I dealt with Emma through most of the process who was so helpful in the planning, and on the day Stuart actually went to the location I wanted our pictures (in Carlow – and was coming to my house in Dublin for 10am) to scope out the best places for when we all got there later that day. They were great to deal with and we would highly recommend them.
My piece of advice for other brides… Don’t get hung up over the small details, I fussed and fussed over flowers and my florist grew some of my flowers in her own back garden as I couldn’t get the ones I wanted anywhere. I loved them but I honestly don’t think anyone really noticed them. I stressed over trying to make my own menus/seating plan/favour cards and I think most of which went unnoticed. And as hard as it can be, try to relax, the day goes so fast and if you’re not thinking clearly it goes by in a blur, try and enjoy every second of it and don’t fret over time… it’s your day, people wait for you. Also, get a videographer. We only decided a month or two beforehand to get one and I am so glad I did. You’re spending a lot of money on your day, what’s an extra few hundred to be able to watch it again? You will want to see it and I have heard so many people say not getting one is their biggest regret.
Venue: Clanard Court Hotel | Photographer: Ebony and Pearl | Wedding dress: Cupid Bridal, Perth, Australia | Bridesmaids’ dresses: Online at Ali Express | Groosmen’s suits: Aston Formal Wear | Hair: Colette Brocklebank | Make-up: Kate McCormack | Car hire: VintageWeddingCars.ie | Band: Electric Avenue | Flowers: Christine McDonnell, Westpark, Tallaght | Church/Reception music: 4 in a Bar | Videographer: MG Best Movie, Dublin