“Our wedding theme. I would say it was a classic fairytale wedding with a twist. We did it our way! Our goal was to ensure our guests had loads of fun and enjoyed fabulous food.”
Names: Conor and Ann-Marie Guy
Length of engagement: 2 years and 2 months
Wedding Date: 28th of July 2018
Wedding location: Bellingham Castle, Castlebellingham, County Louth
Photographer: The Fennells
We met at a party through mutual friends. I arrived in a brown hoodie and cap with no makeup and hair done, what I was thinking! I was really embarrassed and got changed at lightning speed. But I knew straight away that Conor was the one for me. After having a few drinks, I asked him “Did he live near the Giants Causeway”? He said he lived close enough, even though it was 150 km drive. He promised to take me there, we went on our first date and so the adventure began!
Conor whisked me off to Chicago at the start of May in 2016. I was half expecting a proposal but nothing happened. I was walking past Jewellery stores ogling the rings knowing full well that it is dubbed the diamond Capital of America. On the last night, he said to me to be ready for 7pm as he ordered a taxi. When I walked outside, there was no taxi but a horse-drawn carriage waiting. As we travelled through the wide streets of downtown Chicago, I waved like the Queen and lots of people were shouting and cheering, only in America! We stopped at the Chicago’s famous Buckingham Fountain and got off.
I looked at Conor and he didn’t have a good look on his face. The fountain wasn’t on but I just thought it would magically come on. Next of all, Conor was down on one knee with a promise ring. He said all the right things and I ecstatically said a big yes. He was absolutely raging that the fountain wasn’t on as he had emailed and rang and they had assured him that it would be on that day. We got back on the carriage and he took me to a delicious steak house. There was a big crowd outside, they were waiting on one of the Cubs players who was dining Rizzo. We were hugged, congratulated and we went inside to have the nicest steak I’m ever eaten.
Our wedding theme/colours…
Our wedding theme. I would say it was a classic fairytale wedding with a twist. We did it our way! Our goal was to ensure our guests had loads of fun and enjoyed fabulous food.
Our twists were as follows: Instead of having music at the drink reception, Andy James worked his Magic around the venue and everyone had a story about him. He literally blew them away.
We had Instaglam Vintage pod at the drinks reception too instead of later on with a backdrop of wooden doors and draping flowers. There were great props to use and it is now great to have an album of my guests when they were looking their best with their lovely messages as well.
For our cake we cut and served this at our drinks reception. From previous weddings I have been to, I haven’t had a minute to eat breakfast before the wedding ceremony and the drink is flowing. Although the canapes at Bellingham were delicious and filling some people have a sweet tooth and love some cake with their tea and coffee.
At Bellingham Castle, there is a little kitchen which is open all night which was tea and coffee on tap. Instead of having a sweet table, I opted for a cookie bar, with ferrero roche, oat bars and Southhill Charity Chocolates. I also had baskets of a variety of Keoghs Crisps.
With the meal we had a choice of one dessert but we chose His n’ Hers desserts. Conor chose his favourite Apple Crumble for the men and I chose Bailey’s and Tia cheesecake for the ladies. Instead of having a prosecco toast, every guest had a drink of their choice.
Before the band started, they played Happy Birthday to our daughter for her 8th birthday and 8 cupcakes came out with candles for her to blow out and make her wish. It was great as there was a cupcake for each child.
After a big wedding meal, there always seems to be a bit of a bit lull. So, to counteract this, we hired The HIT Machine. Our guests heard the sound of a drum beating until The Hit Machine entered the room and beckoned everyone outside. Between, the incredible drumming and Irish dancing everyone’s mood was uplifted and the dance floor was full all night.
For the kids and some of the adults, we had giants cards for indoors and for outside we had giant ludo accompanied with snake and ladders, noughts and crosses and golf. Each child was also given a decorated bag with toys like mini jenga and personalised colouring booklet.
Our colour theme was very classic with the colours Navy, yellow and gold. We Incorporated this with Navy and creme gold gilded invitations, French Navy suits, yellow bridesmaids dresses, Miss Piggy roses (yellow and peach roses) and personalised Navy Napkins.
Things we DIY’d/made ourselves…
Our daughter used chalk markers and designed a gorgeous Welcome blackboard for our guests which was placed in the church. I also had my own décor for the church. Lit wicker hearts accompanied the baby’s breath and lanterns were scattered along the aisle. For the tables at our reception, I printed and mounted photographs from our favourite places we have visited and placed them alongside the place name for each table.
I had other ideas like wedding crackers which I bought and a “Where in The world” table plan but I just didn’t have time to make them. There’s so much to do coming up to the wedding that in the end I didn’t put myself under too much pressure.
My dress… I really enjoyed dress shopping. I must have gone to about six boutiques before I finally decided. I’d heard about a boutique in Wicklow and Tanya really knew a shape that would suit me. I got my belt and hairpiece custom made from Magnificence bridal.
My hair and make up…
We used Declan from The Powder Room girls for the weddingsonline awards and I thought he was really nice super chilled, professional that I knew he would be a fantastic person to have on the morning of the wedding. Nothing was a problem for him and he even brought in music for the day. For my makeup, I went to trials with three other makeup artists before I went to Michelle T Makeup. When I booked she sent me her beauty bible which told me how to care for my skin. This really made a difference.
Conor and his groomsmen choose classic Magee French Navy suits for the big day with a crème paisley tie for Conor and navy ties for the groomsmen. Conor got his suit from Collar and Cuff and demonstrated exceptional customer service.
What our bridal party wore…
The bridal party wore Ronald Joyce lemon chiffon dresses with a beaded spaghetti strap and a beaded back with a satin ribbon belt. As there were pearls in the beads, the accessories was a simple pearl bracelet and pearl earrings. We went to Angelos bridal as they had a great selection of dresses.
All Summer there was a heat wave, even the day before we went to our daughter’s tennis match and the sun was splitting the stones. However, when I woke up it was absolutely lashing rain but it didn’t dampen my spirit. Some of the neighbours came to see me off and 2 of them had to help with the dress to get me into the car. Our ceremony took place in St. Oliver Plunkett Church in the nearby village of Blackrock. It’s 10/15 minutes away from Bellingham Castle, has stunning views and is a beautiful church. My brothers and the church caretaker Ronan were on hand with umbrellas. When we were waiting to walk down the aisle, myself and my mam shed a tear. It was an emotional time as my Dad is no longer with us.
I choose Karin Professional as our singer because she simply has an amazing voice. I wanted an extra musician so she arranged a saxophonist to accompany her and they also played the flute. The flute accompanied by the piano worked well with Canon D Pacobel. I wanted an uplifting ceremony and it definitely had the feel-good factor. Our priest Father Brian White made us feel at ease and cracked a few jokes throughout the ceremony.
We chose our photographer because… My Neighbour had The Fennells for her wedding. She raved about him and their work and it’s unbelievable. They are so talented. I had read reviews that Fiona helped a bride button her loops and she did the same with me without even asking.
We chose our wedding coordinator because… At Bellingham Castle is owned by The Corscadden Family and Patrick runs this castle. At our show around, we met Ciara Carolan who was there every step of the way on our planning journey. They work as a team and their communication is unbelievable. Nothing is a problem for them. Ciara and Patrick were there on the day and they were amazing.
We chose our venue because… it’s just simply stunning and we heard nothing but good reports about it. Although it is an old castle, the décor is fresh. Each room is beautifully decorated with artwork but it’s very homely at the same time and it’s exclusive. We loved the buttery kitchen where guests could chill for the day and have a chat. Also, it’s in a great location and has beautiful scenery shots.
Mixed Leaf Caesar Salad Ciabatta Croutons, Toasted Pine Nuts & Shaved Parmesan Smoked Chicken Julienne
Soup Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup Garlic Croutons & Shaved Parmesan
Chargrilled Fillet of Irish Angus Beef Cooked Medium with Sautéed Onions and Wild Mushroom Brandy Cream Peppercorn Sauce
OR Steamed Fillet of Sea Bass Lime, Shallot & Champagne Cream
OR Supreme of Irish Chicken with Ragu of Tomato, Sweet Potato & Spinach
His: Crumble Apple
Hers: Cheesecake Baileys & Tia Maria
Served with Freshly Brewed Artisan Coffee or Fair Trade Tea Petit Fours
Tea, coffee & wedding cake
Our honeymoon… We took two honeymoons. One was straight after the wedding which was 3 days in Venice and then a 7 day Mediterranean Cruise taking in Greece, Montenegro and Croatia. We also went on a Familymoon to Orlando with our daughter Emily, My mam and brother.
My favourite part of the wedding day… I loved every minute of it. Conor’s favourite part was when the speeches were over and he could enjoy the rest of the meal.
My piece of advice for other couples…
Remember the day is about celebrating the love you have one another, you have spent enough time and money planning the day so relax and enjoy every minute of it.
Buy umbrellas. I got married in July but it is Ireland and the last thing you want to do is buy them the morning of your wedding. They even can be used as sun umbrellas as a prop for photos.
Take a honeymoon or mini-moon after the wedding. You will want your wedding buzz to continue and it’s great to spend time with your new hubbie.
I know it’s the number one regret but I would say book a videographer, find the money. Bigday.ie was unobtrusive and it’s such a keepsake.
I would say have your speeches after the starter. It means that the Best man can enjoy his man meal at least and your guests have had a taster.
Wedding venue: Bellingham Castle | Photographer: The Fennells | Planner/coordinator: Ciara Carolan Bellingham Castle | Videographer: Bigday.ie | Musician: Karin Professional | Band & DJ: Perfect Day | Hair: Declan Chapple from The Powder Room Girls | Makeup: Michelle T Makeup | Dress: O’Briens Bridal Couture | Bridal Accessories (belt and headpiece): Magnificence Bridal | Suit: Collar & Cuff | Bridesmaids dresses: Angelo Bridal | Groomsmen outfits: Collar & Cuff | Heineken Bottle covers: Donna Gormley Design | Heart Shaped Umbrella: The Lovely Little Label | Entertainment: Instaglam, Andy James Magician, The Hit Machine | Cake: Heavenly Cakes | Celebrant: Fr Brian White
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Kelly is a former wedding planner and a lover of anything pink. She believes that any bride can plan her own wedding, with a few tips and helpful tools.