A Pretty Floral and Green Wedding at Clonabreany House

Real Weddings

“When it came to colours, I was drawn to colours like soft blush whites, floral and greens, quite natural/rustic yet classic.”

Names: Simon and Diane Purdue

Length of engagement: 1 year 10 months

Wedding Date: 13th May 2018

Wedding location: Clonabreany House

Photographer: Foran Sauvage

We met… officially during our time in college whilst we were doing the same degree in Marketing in DIT in Aungier Street but we actually attended the same primary school, St Pauls SNS in Ayrfield, same year/different class for about 4-5 years from junior infants up to 2nd class. Neither of us has any recollection of each other from this time though. This is mainly down to 2 reasons:

Reason 1: Simon jokingly will admit he didn’t learn how to talk to the opposite sex until I was about 19.

Reason 2: Diane had a strange and unfounded held belief that all redheads, without exception, were trouble makers and so avoided them.

So Simon’s cards were marked from the start. Diane left to join another primary school Northbay NSP in the mid 90’s and our paths didn’t cross again until college in the early 00’s.

However… it didn’t all come together right from the start of college. Again, the interactions were pretty limited in 1st Year. As Simon again would joke he wouldn’t learn to talk to women until the following summer and was still struggling to shrug off the bad-boy redhead rep that was bestowed upon him back in primary school.

Funny story – Simon did invite one of Diane’s best friends Fiona who was also attending Marketing in DIT to his debs. They have Fiona to thank in the linking of their paths.  Fiona was one of the Bridesmaids!

Diane spent most of 2nd Year living in the Biarritz in France and so it wasn’t until Year 3 that we actually started to get to know each other, coincidentally that summer both of our sets of friends decided to go to San Diego on J1 student visas for the summer in 2005.  We learned that we had a lot in common, attending the same primary schools, local secondary schools and a lot of mutual friends in common. They had similar family background and upbringing and grew up 10 minutes apart. We often joke one from Shelbyville and from Springfield.  We shared a similar sense of humour Simon was always laughing no matter how bad Diane’s pun jokes were which I think won her over.

In San Diego it still took a good few weeks/months of procrastinating before Simon eventually plucked up the courage to tell Diane how he felt on her birthday and was delighted to hear Diane felt the same.

From there on in, we haven’t looked back travelling together and getting the opportunity to live and work in Australia and New Zealand for almost two years. We are together 13 years.

Our proposal… We got engaged in Lisbon in July 2016. We started our trip to Lisbon with a 3 day music festival and Portugal won the European Championships while we were there too so the city was crazy and we both enjoyed the party so much two sore heads didn’t bode well for a proposal to happen. Simon was running out of time and scenic spots to propose, he proposed on the last day of the trip in Belem Tower a 16th century watch tower overlooking the Atlantic Ocean which to be fair was a very romantic spot.

We celebrated the proposal with a few custard tarts (a local delicacy) and had to quickly grab our bags to go to the airport. Simon proposed with a promise ring at the time and when we came back to Dublin we went shopping to choose a ring together. After trying on some styles Diane decided on the vintage halo style and went to Diamant where they could make a ring to measure. Tom was very helpful and helped design the ring that Diane had in mind.  Tom was able to make the design and was able to work to the budget. Diane ended up getting her wedding band made with Diamant also.

Our wedding theme/colours…We didn’t really set out with a theme in mind and to be honest I questioned most of the choices whether it fitted into any theme and how it would all come together on the day. What was most important for us that the day reflected us rather than any strong theme. When it came to colours, I was drawn to colours like soft blush white’s florals and greens, quite natural/ rustic yet classic.  (Inspired by styles we had seen at the venue/ Pinterest etc.) It was designing the invites that I think helped define a subtle theme throughout the wedding.

Simon’s friend gifted our wedding invitations (which was such a lovely idea) we worked with the designer Aisling Campbell with regard to colours and what type of style we had in mind – we wanted a fresh fun look nothing too formal, we played around with the idea of a simple floral boarder and the design grew from there. Blush, white and greens were the predominant colours. The design on the invites was carried through to the day with table numbers, menus and seating plan, framed signs. The colour scheme was also echoed in fresh floral arrangements throughout the venue, the bouquets and button holes, bridesmaid’s dresses, welcome sign, stickers etc.

Things we DIY’d/made ourselves… I have a tendency to get carried away with DIY projects that would have me up half the night gluing and sticking things so I was forewarned not to take on too much. I did try to resist but the few things we did ourselves included;

Our invites – We worked with the designer to create the design for our invites, along with a wedding timeline on the back. As a finishing touch we tied a twine bow around each invite to complete the look. Much to my dismay it took way longer than I had anticipatedJ. But I think it completed the look nicely. We also designed Diane and Simon envelope stickers online via Just Stickers to seal the envelopes.

We made a welcome sign outside the Ceremony venue instead of doing individual ceremony booklets – This consisted of an easel style chalkboard from IKEA with artificial flowers which we had picked up from The Range store, which we staple-gunned to the wooden frame. On the blackboard itself we got a chalk pen to write details of ceremony.

My Maid of Honour had lent us white wicker hearts which she had used for her own wedding, I added twine and glued artificial flowers and foliage to them which I picked up in The Range/ IKEA, and this tied in with the blush, white, green colour scheme. I used smaller hearts as pew ends in the ceremony room and larger hearts were dotted around the venue going up the stairs in the main house

I did the same with white lanterns that my sister also lent me adding twine bows around them that were dotted around the venue and outside courtyard

Sweet Table for the sweets themselves had a selection of favourites which I picked up in Tesco Aldi, Lidl, I was worried I wouldn’t have enough but it seemed to do okay. I was lucky enough that my Sister in law had all the sweet Jars and scoops from her wedding which she kindly lent to me.  Clonabreany were fantastic in that I just left them the sweets jars and lanterns and they made it all come together. For the sweet pots I picked up cups in Tiger and applied the stickers which we had designed for the envelopes. (I was looking for smaller paper pots but that’s all I could find as I left it too last minute)

Wedding Post Box, I thought this was a great idea and it had become popular in recent times.  I liked the idea that the best man didn’t have to keep running around with lots of cards in his hand and that guests could drop the card in the box if they so wished and go get themselves a drink rather than carrying it around. I know people are concerned about security but I was less concerned as Clonabreany was a closed private venue. I had researched the idea of renting one or buying a wooden one but I couldn’t justify the price…So I picked up a white storage box in IKEA with a lid and cut out a hole for the cards with a craft knife. I then draped and glued some artificial flowers to the outside of the box, with a gold paint pen wrote Post.

Instax Photo Booth, I was lucky enough when searching for my bridal flowers I came across an offer with Miss Daisy Florist that if you book your wedding flowers you get a flower wall. This spawned the idea of making a fun use of the wall. I purchased an instax camera, and some props which I picked up in Tiger, including a giant novelty inflatable heart. I had a light box sign on the table and a guestbook with markers so guests could take pictures and stick them in along with a message. I also had a frame that I put on an easel and I staple gunned lengths of twine across the frame and put wooden pegs on it so people could hang their pictures.

Sparkler Exit, I was inspired by all the fab pictures on Pinterest to do this one, I just provided the Jars which I had embellished again with the twine, purchased the Sparklers in advance at Halloween time so they were inexpensive enough and just put a framed sign beside them – Sparkler Exit @ 1am

Table Plan and Numbers, Simon put so much time into this, Simon did the table seating plan card designs in keeping with the invites and the sticker design. We did and the same with the individual Table Numbers which included funny stories from the both of us – a different story for each table which we mounted on mini wooden easels , captioned “have a laugh at our expense…” We wanted the day to be personal and encourage people to move around the tables to see the different stories and basically have a laugh.

Tayto sambos, as Clonabreany has a Shebeen bar we knew a late night snack was a must for the late night party we purchased the bread and Tayto Crisps and had a framed sign to say grab your Tayto Sambo for some soakage. Clonabreany buttered the bread a wrapped them individually for us and had them in the bar for us once the party in the main house had finished. They went down a treat and there was no messing around with guests buttering the bread etc.

Other little touches included photo collage both Diane and Simon growing up.

Also we had the ladies and men’s bathroom baskets which had all the necessities and flip flop baskets for dancing the feet!

We also spray painted some Cardboard Initial letters which again we picked up in The Range to put on the cake table D & S and larger ones around the venue.

My dress… In the search for my dress, I took a day off from work and made a few bridal shop appointments. I wanted to keep the search as local as possible as I thought in the long run it would be handier coming to fittings etc. so the appointments were based in Dublin. I brought my mam and sister my maid of honour along as I thought I would be the most indecisive shopper.  I didn’t have any style in mind and very much open to trying on a few styles. It was an exciting day as I had never tried a wedding dress on in my life.

I got my dress in the Bridal Corner in Glasnevin, it was the first shop I went into that day, the girls were so nice and I tried so many styles – I soon realised that I was drawn to a simpler style, I would always say of my style it’s quite plain. I didn’t buy the dress there and then and wanted to see what else was out there, but in my mind I kept coming back to the dress I had seen in the Bridal Corner. I made an appointment to go back to see the dress with my two other bridesmaids and they gave the final seal of approval.

I decided on an Enzoani Dress, silk Crepe, with embellished back. When it came to a veil I wasn’t sure if I wanted one but when I tried it I actually got emotional it all felt very real then and it made me feel like a bride.

I was drawn to the dress as it was such a comfortable dress to wear, I thought for the day I wanted a dress that I was able to go to the bathroom without having to be helped in and out of the dress and of course I could dance in. I felt elegant and I liked the clean lines on the dress, the feel of the material and felt that the embellished back and dramatic train added something special.  I had a great experience dealing with the Bridal Corner and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.

My hair and make-up…For my hair I already knew who I wanted to style my hair for the day, Cathy Mc Nulty had been the hair stylist for my sister’s wedding and ever since then I have been going to Cathy. So there was no question who I would use. I had two hair trials with Cathy, at first I thought that I would like a voluminous style and quite soft, I had lots of pictures from Pinterest and we tried lots of different styles. But it just didn’t feel like me. On my second trial I did a complete 180, I wanted to try a more sleek structured look, I had in mind Hollywood glamour to go with style of my dress.

Cathy was great with suggesting little changes and guidance and she was able to create what I was trying to articulate. I also purchased two diamante hair clips to echo the embellishment on the back of my dress. Cathy truly goes over and beyond and such a lovely person to have around on the morning of the wedding. Cathy also did the hair for my Bridesmaids, Mother and family friend all different styles on the day. I was not concerned with the bridesmaids having the same hairstyles etc. I wanted them to feel they could add their own style and feel comfortable.

My Make Up…For my Make Up it was actually Cathy who recommended I contact Annemarie Doherty Make Up and I was so happy I did. I had two trials with Annemarie also. Annemarie was great for skincare tips too so I definitely think I benefitted from them.  I wear makeup on a daily basis and I wasn’t adverse to strong eye makeup etc. on my first trial we experimented with a Smokey eye and dewy complexion however from there I realised that I could probably tone the Smokey eye back for a more classic look and although the dewy look was nice a more of a matt complexion would probably offer more coverage on the day.

The look on the day was a matt look complexion and with bronze tones on my eyes with a defined eyeliner and flick, individual lashes with a pink/ nude lip.  Again Annemarie did the make up for my Bridesmaids and Mother and all had their own way on how they would like their makeup. Annemarie is so professional and nothing is too much of an ask, Annmarie is such a lovely person and makes you feel at ease and joy to be around on the wedding morning.

His suit… Simon bought his suit and rented his 3 groomsmen suits and Father of the bride suit from Love Suits in Fairview, Dublin. The guys in the shop were very knowledgeable and extremely easy to deal with. The suits were of great quality and everyone smashing on the day.

What our bridal party wore… for the 3x Bridesmaids I hadn’t got a style in mind when we started shopping we initially started our search with a trip to a store that stocked Dessy as they had so many styles and designs to try. My bridesmaids were extremely easy going but I wanted them to feel glamourous and special. We initially had our eyes on a blossom colour hi-lo dresses but I saw them on Pinterest at a real wedding and it wasn’t really the look I was going for. As two of my bridesmaids were pregnant at the time I didn’t want to have them traipsing around town trying on dresses again. So I checked out the selection on Asos.

My three bridesmaids were tall so the Maya range in Asos has a tall range and I just thought that I would order them and no harm returning them if they weren’t suitable. The colour was darker than I had in mind for the dresses but the three girls tried them on and were all really happy with them. The 3 dresses were all originally long sleeved, 2 of my bridesmaids had a preference for short sleeves, so I went to the Zipyard on St Anne Street and altered them into a cap sleeve. For accessories and shoes I was not too fussed with them matching again as long as the girls were comfortable and felt good, 2 x bridesmaids wore gold shimmer shoe and another a blush tone – all worked fine and the dresses were to the ground so didn’t make much odds.

Our ceremony… Neither of us are religious so we opted for a Humanist ceremony which aligned with our take on the world. We were drawn to the flexibility of Humanist ceremony. You are able to personalise the ceremony to include readings, poems and songs that mean something to us and that reflected our personalities instead of religious readings/songs that we may not relate to.

Our celebrant, Shona Weymes, was fantastic. She was really organised and worked her obligatory ceremony parts around our reading and song choices so that the ceremony had a great flow to it. Shona has such a warm and energetic personality and its thanks to Shona’s delivery the ceremony itself was very relaxed and there were even a few laughs in there as well. We requested that it was an unplugged ceremony and that people would put away their phones etc. in the hope people would be present and enjoy the ceremony itself.

We received so much feedback from guest on how the ceremony was such a meaningful ceremony and very much personal to us.  We included two poems one anon and one by Seamus Heaney and Simon himself wrote a poem which he read out before the vows all very personal and a sweet touch. We had Tracy Gallagher vocalist and guitarist who helped us through our song choices and Tracy even learned off “I Promise” instrumental from Radiohead who Simon is a big fan.  My Dad walked me down the aisle to “Into My Arms, Nick Cave” and Mother of bride and Mother of the groom were involved in the lighting of the candles.

We also sat facing the guests which was different to a traditional church wedding – it was nice although nerve racking at the start to think people will be looking at you but it’s your closest friends and family so it didn’t matter on the day and made it feel all the more special.

We chose our photographer because… We did explore a few photographers and we had met one other photographer before ultimately choosing Foran Sauvage we had a funny story on our first encounter with the other photographer in that conversation was really stilted and we were sitting with him in a darkened room overall we left the encounter feeling a little awkward and that we just didn’t think our personalities fit nor what we had envisioned our photographer for the day.

On the search again we came across our photographer Foran Sauvage on the Clonabreany list of suppliers. Taking on board our previous experience it was important to us we had a photographer that we would get on well with and that we would feel comfortable spending time with on your wedding day. Thankfully the minute we met with Ruth and Martin in their studio we got a really good vibe off them, and the work we saw in the studio was fab and the style of photography suited our personalities. The added bonus was that there were two photographers on the day so that meant that we were able to capture so many aspects to the day.

Both Ruth and Martin were so easy-going on the day and made you feel at ease, at times you wouldn’t even notice they were there. They were good fun and gave good direction especially when it came to our couple shots, the two of us were nervous and admittedly camera shy but it was actually great fun.  Not only were they so easy to deal with quality of their work, the shots and photo opportunities they captured were great, they clearly have a great eye – one in particular was just before dinner and the sun was shining in the window and they quickly arranged a shot to capture the light and Diane’s dress. We are so happy with finished product and so glad that we chose them to capture our memories.

We chose our wedding coordinator because…We didn’t chose a wedding coordinator per se but Clodagh from Clonabreany was our dedicated co-ordinator and can’t say enough positive things about Clodagh. Nothing was too much of an ask and Clodagh is such a fantastic person, literally any request we had the answer was always “no problem”. The day before the wedding we dropped off all the boxes of decorations and DIY bits and Clodagh pulled everything together for us far beyond what we could have imagined. From balloons, lanterns, candles, photo booth sweet tables, Tayto sambos transformed all these bit and pieces into the final product which was so hard to visualise how it would all work.

Again we took great comfort in knowing everything that we asked would be carried out and completely seamlessly. It’s funny with planning the wedding everything was so personal and I was overwhelmed by all the great people that we encountered along the way, Clodagh is one of these people. Even leaving the venue the following day we sat with Clodagh chatting over tea and biscuits before we hit the road.  I was overwhelmed with appreciation and got emotional – Clodagh even got emotional herself -you feel like part of the family there. Literally could not have asked for anything more.

We chose our venue because… In choosing our venue, we really liked the idea of having a venue exclusively for the day that would be solely for our friends and family unlike a hotel style wedding something we could put our own stamp on. We were also hoping for a venue no more than 1hr from Dublin.  We made a short list of private venues and requested a few brochures. We must have seen about 6 other venues, all fitting the bill of private venue, but for one reason or another didn’t click / feel right.

Clonabreany was the last on that list and after this one I was all out of ideas! American football was on that afternoon and I know that Simon was no more interested in seeing another venue, but we made the short journey to Clonabreany and from the minute we pulled up I knew it was what we were looking for. Even though it was a cold drizzly afternoon it still looked fantastic. Although on a much larger scale the outside façade of the main house reminded me of the house were my grandparents lived and I just loved that. We were met by Dearbhaile initially and Dearbhaile was so nice and had such a welcoming personality.

We had a ramble around ourselves and then we joined Dearbhaile back at the house where we sat down in the marque for a chat and lovely tea and biscuits, the tea came out without biscuits at first and Dearbhaile joked is there not a biscuit in the house – I loved the down to earth family atmosphere (that’s what sold it for Simon I am convincedJ).From the grounds, the ceremony room, the quality of the guest accommodation, the Sheebeen bar, not to mention the house and the marque and the classic taxi cab, it was ticking all the boxes and the fact we clicked straight away with Dearbhaile, we got a good feeling that this was the type of place that we wanted to book with. What they say is true when you know you know: D.

We did not regret booking with Clonabreany, we unfortunately had to change the date of our wedding to a later date due to personal reasons and Dearbhaile and the team were so understanding and really supported us through what was a very difficult time. The first time we saw Dearbhaile again after the change of date we were greeted with big hugs and we really will never forget the kindness and support from all of our suppliers but most of all Clonabreany. The Staff there are amazing and guests commented on how attentive the staff were, and how the food was amazing also.

Our menu… When we attended the tasting we were blown away with how nice the food was. Simon and I love our food.  We went in with the idea of picking something different for our menu rather than a salad, soup, beef and fish option that you get a t most weddings. As it turned out the Caesar salad, beef and fish (seabass) that we had at the tasting evening were fantastic. The chef at Clonabreany House took a modern slant at these classics and re-invented them. I lost track of the amount of people who commented on how nice the food was at our wedding… even from people who would consider themselves foodies and notoriously hard to please. We couldn’t recommend Clonabreany House high enough in this respect! Even the evening food mini sliders and fish and chips cones were delicious.

We also had a Cheese Wedding Cake instead of a traditional wedding cake and Clonabreany arranged cheese platters for the tables and the Sheebeen bar afterwards – there was no shortage of food!

Our honeymoon…We were fortunate enough that we could both take 3-4 weeks off from work. So we decided to split our honeymoon up into two parts. The first part would be a two week road trip in California from San Francisco in the north to San Diego in the south. We hit a few places along the way, Yosemite National Park, Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara and then finally to San Diego. As we said earlier we had gotten together on our J1 in San Diego 13 years ago so it was nice thing to go back as part of our honeymoon and visit the old haunts and to where it all began.

From there we went to an all-inclusive Secrets Akumal resort in Tulum, Mexico which is an hour outside of Cancun for a week of relaxation, cocktails and sunshine. This really was luxury that we hadn’t treated ourselves to before. It was a fantastic trip.  We dealt with Jennifer in Gohop.ie and couldn’t recommend her more highly – she worked exactly to our budget and when compared to other agents the accommodation options for our budget was far superior. We left our honeymoon quite last minute to book but we didn’t have any problems.

My favourite part of the wedding day… I think unanimously we both say our Ceremony was our favourite part of the day as it all builds up to that point, it was so personal to us and it’s the one time of the day you’re reminded what your day is all about – the commitment you are making to the person you love in front of friends and family.  In fact Diane was a little stressed in the morning but it wasn’t until she saw Simon that the stress went away…which had to have been a good sign. 😀

If we could pick two favourite things we would say the entertainment also, we had the Trips and they were just brilliant they filled the dancefloor all night and we danced non-stop until the music ended

And thirdly although I know we are pushing it but singing at the top of our lungs to “Never Forget, Take That” in the Sheebeen bar at 5am with the last remaining die hard guests. We literally will never forget.

My piece of advice for other couples… Simon would say…Try to have Diane as your fiancée as she pretty much planned the whole thing.

Diane would say when it all boils down to it, it’s one day In your life where you are celebrating the two of you, try not to lose sight of that when you are knee deep in spreadsheets and budgets and rsvps…if you can try not leave an arts and crafting to the last minute sticking your fingers together isn’t a good look. I would also try to take some time off work in the run up – we were both working right up to the Friday with our Wedding day Sunday – I think we were tired for it, if you can take some time off do!


Wedding venue: Clonabreany House | Photographer: Foran Sauvage | Planner/coordinator: Clodagh @ Clonabreany | Musician: Tracy Gallagher Music – Ceremony and drinks reception | DJ/ Band: The Trips | Hair: Bridal Hair by Cathy Mc Nulty | Makeup: AnneMarie Doherty Make up | Dress/ Veil: Lacy by Enzoani, The Bridal Corner Glasnevin | Bridal Shoes: HIGM group on Facebook | Suit: Love Suits | Bridesmaids dresses: ASOS and the Zip Yard South Anne Street | Groomsmen outfits: Love Suits, Shoes Dunnes Stores | Cheese Wedding Cake: SuperValu Killester | Cake topper: Pennys | Celebrant: Humanist, Shona Weymes | Invites: Aisling Campell Design | Stickers: Just Stickers – envelope stickers, personalised beer bottle stickers and prosecco bottle stickers | Bridal Accommodation: Night before the wedding – The Hideaway at Fox Hollow | Catering morning of the wedding: Wedding Maids (come to your house cooks and serves delicious breakfast and tidies up afterward brilliant) | Florist: Miss Daisy Florist for bridal flowers and boutonnieres and flower wall, VP Flowers – table centre pieces and fresh floral arrangements in the venue, cheese cake decoration, fairylight backdrop for the ceremony room, candle arrangement, coloured hanging lanterns in the Marque | Candles: Beautiful Creations Ireland created personalised Ceremony Candles (also provided personalised champagne flutes for the bridal party) | Moposa Wedding Planning Website: We got subscription via Clonabreany when we booked with them but this was a really invaluable tool, budgets, and seating plans, personalised wedding website…it made everything really easy to plan | Rings – Groom – John Brereton Jewellers Grafton Street, Bride: Diamant for both wedding band and bespoke engagement ring | Honeymoon: Jennifer Kearney, Gohop.ie