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A Glorious Gold and Black Wedding in a Castle in Ireland

“We wanted things to be about us and what we like, so we went for gold and black.”

Names: Annmarie & David Grainger. Lillie & Aliyah (kids)

Length of engagement: seven years

Wedding Date: 26/4/17

Wedding location:  Finnstown Castle

Photographer: Reflections Photography

We met…..We knew each other previously as I was in David’s sisters class in school. We fell out of touch and then when Annmarie was about 21 we bumped into each other in a nightclub in Clontarf and after a two-year friendship, we decided to start a relationship.

Our proposal… We knew straight away we wanted to get married and David actually proposed after just 3 weeks! This initial proposal was by text and coming all the way from Andorra as he was away. We got engaged on the 16/4/09 in our Mini car in the car park of Blanchardstown shopping centre after David picked up an engagement ring and just couldn’t wait to officially ask the big question.

Our wedding theme/colours…We didn’t really feel like we wanted a theme or colour. We wanted things to be about us and what we like, so we went for gold and black. It really complimented the reception room, as it had regal reds and golds. Our chair covers were gold with a black bow and the bridesmaids wore cashmere colour dresses. We got gold confetti bags and white and gold striped sweet bags with white stickers with our names and wedding date printed in gold on them. Our wedding cake had brushed embroidery on the bottom tier with light pastel sugar flowers and the top tier was brushed with light gold to continue the theme.

Things we DIY’d/made ourselves… We made up our own DIY sweet bags to give out to guests on the day. We got an assortment of old retro sweets that we loved as kids. Things like black jacks, fruit salad, milk teeth, love hearts, wham bars, and chalk lollies.

We bought a packet of name placements in Mr Price and only wrote out the bridal party’s names for the top table. We chose the tables our guests would sit at but let them pick what chair they wanted.

Annmarie bought canvas bag, mini tissues/wipes, moxi eye catcher wands, and flip-flops to make up bridesmaids bags. And toys, colouring books, crayons, and sweets for the kids in case they got bored.

My dress… I got my dress in Alexanders Bridal in Parnell St Dublin. Tina was so helpful. I had a crisis and fell in love with two dresses. They both had different elements I loved but one was way over budget. I wasn’t sure of how the one I could afford was sitting on me and began to have a total freak out over the whole process. I went back into Tina in Alexanders and she fit both dresses on me again and listened to all my worries and fears. Eventually, they had to tell me about a huge surprise. My amazing mother-in-law had paid for whatever dress I wanted to get. I really couldn’t be more grateful as I was finally able to pick my dream dress and relax about that element of the wedding!

My hair and makeup… we had a fabulous mobile hairdresser come out to our house on the morning of the wedding. This took all the stress away. I originally wanted an updo but decided to go with a vintage style soft curl to one side. I searched high and low for a headpiece that I like but couldn’t find anything anywhere.

When my dress arrived it had a spare diamanté applique (originally from the front waist of the dress) and I just thought it was perfect. Tina in Alexanders took it and got it made into a beautiful hair comb for me. I wanted a natural makeup and had gone to Leah many times before so I knew she would look after me and she did a fabulous job. She gave me great advice and all I had to do was buy my liner/lipstick so I could reapply after the meal. And my makeup lasted the whole night.

His suit… We went with a beautiful grey check suit from Debenhams, but not before we looked in plenty of suit shops. The staff in Debenhams in the Ilac centre were amazing and so helpful.

What our bridal party wore… we got beautiful cashmere colour (light gold) dresses in Alexanders. They are very flattering with beautiful lace on the back and really complimented my two bridesmaids complexions.

Our ceremony… Was all about us! We didn’t have any generic text pieces for the ceremony to be longer than 20 minutes. We gave Laura so much information about us and she went off and formulated a beautiful ceremony for us with lots of laughs.

We chose our photographer, Reflections Photography, because… Barry previously worked with David in a different industry. We had seen his work and heard he was brilliant, so we always kept him in mind.

We chose our venue, Finnstown Castle, because… David was originally going to propose to Annmarie here. But we never got that far after an impromptu proposal after collecting the ring from the jewellers. We thought the venue would be far too expensive for our budget but we wanted a mid-week wedding so it brought it to within our range. We had looked at so many places and everywhere we went there was always something that was constraining us from doing what we really wanted to do. And Finnstown was the first place that said yes to everything we wanted to do!

Our menu… we wanted to keep it simple and have something that our two children would also enjoy. We went for Chicken and leak Bouché as a starter. Soup for guests who didn’t fancy that. And for main we went with traditional turkey and ham with chestnut stuffing, seasonal veg, with fondant potatoes. Annmarie is big on sweets and cakes, so the dessert and cake had to reflect this. We had sticky toffee pudding for dessert with warm toffee sauce.

Our honeymoon… We decided to buy a new car instead of going on a big holiday. So two days after our wedding, we collected our new car and the following day we drove to Tulfarris Hotel in Wicklow for a mini-moon. And we plan on going to Iceland in the future.

My favourite part of the wedding day… for Annmarie it was putting the dress on. And then getting out of the car and walking through the gardens to get to the aisle. And finally seeing David when the doors opened.  David’s favourite part was signing the marriage certificate. It reminded him of signing in the courthouse a few weeks previously and knowing that we were officially married.

My piece of advice for other couples… Do what you want to do. Don’t take any notice of family saying do this or do that. It’s your day and you’ll only do it once. Take five minutes for yourself when you put the dress/suit on and again before you walk back down the aisle together just soak it all up.




Wedding venue: Finnstown Castle | Photographer: Barry from Reflections Photography | Band: Pink Champagne band | Piano: Kathryn Coakley Piano | Hair: Couture Class Hairstyling | Makeup: Leah Preston MUA | Dress and veil: Alexanders Parnell St Dublin | Suit: Debenhams Ilac centre Dublin | Bridesmaids dresses: Special day from Alexanders Parnell St Dublin | Groomsmen outfits: Debenhams Ilac centre Dublin | Cake: Eden Cake Company | Celebrant: Ceremonies by Laura | Wedding Jewellery: Newbridge silverware | Wedding shoes: Dune Dundrum | Flower girl and Junior bridesmaid: Alexanders Bridal | Invitation & Candles: Kelly T Designs | Wedding rings: H Samuel Blanchardstown centre | Wedding cars: Absolute Limos | Flowers: Magic Moments | Bridesmaid/flower girl hairpieces: Penneys Mary St | Tie/Pocket squares: Moss Bros Liffeyvalley | Confetti, sweet bags: | Lego Bride & Groom:



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Kelly Jane Hartmann

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.

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