“Andy and Kate arranged a flash mob at the end of the ceremony, which I had no idea about. It was the best surprise ever when I looked around to see family and friends playing their guitars, dancing and clapping.”
The couple: Karen Finnegan and Andy Craven
Length of engagement: 16 Months | Wedding Date: 15th July 2014
Wedding location: Clonabreany House
Photographer: Julie Cummins Photography
We met… It was a modern day Irish love story for us… our eyes met across the bar in the well known McGowans in Dublin. I licked his face, he licked mine back and the rest, as they say, is history!
Our proposal… was slightly more romantic than how we met. One of our favourite musicians, Wallis Bird, was playing a gig in Rome so we decided to make a long weekend out of it. After sipping wine in Piazza del Popolo, while I jokingly told Andy he had to propose to me in the next two years, we headed up to the Trevi Fountain to see it lit up at night. He got down on one knee at the centre of the fountain and I managed to eventually get a ‘yes’ out through the tears. It was very romantic! Afterwards, people came up to us with pictures they had taken and they emailed them to us within hours which was lovely. The following day we went and got our rings blessed in the church around the corner, where my Mam and Dad got married.
What our bridesmaids wore… Our five beautiful bridesmaids wore dresses from the Dessy Collection on Dessy.com. Lilac was my Mam’s favourite colour so I just had to have it for my bridesmaids. I matched the groomsmen’s ties with the dresses. Together with the navy tonic suits on the boys, they all looked fab on the day!
The suits… Andy looked very handsome on the day, I must say, in a navy tonic slim-fit suit we picked up in River Island. The groomsmen all wore the same suit as Andy, from River Island, minus the waistcoat.
My dress… My dress was bought from the Kathy de Stafford Couture collection. It was one of the first dresses I tried on, and I just kept going back to it. I mixed two dresses together, and kind of liked the fact that it was unique.
Our ceremony… was a Catholic ceremony in St. Alphosus Liguori church, Kilskyre Co. Meath. The church was only a few minutes from Clonabreany House, which really suited us, as we didn’t want a long drive for guests between our ceremony and reception. Andy’s family did a fantastic job with the flowers, it was honestly the most beautifully decorated church I have ever seen. I could smell the lavender everywhere when I was walking down the aisle which was lovely. We had family members from both sides do the prayers which was nice and personal.
Our ceremony ‘entertainment’… My Dad’s partner Kate provided the music. We wanted a nice modern feel to the music, and Kate was great at helping us choose songs. Together, Andy and Kate also arranged a bit of a flash mob at the end of the ceremony, which I had no idea about. It was the best surprise ever when I looked around to see family and friends playing their guitars, dancing and clapping. A moment I will never forget!
We chose our photographer because… Julie Cummins is just amazing! We had spotted her on a wedding website and just knew she was perfect for us. Julie has a great ability to capture all of the important emotions and moments of the day through her photos. She made both of us feel so relaxed throughout the day, every picture felt effortless. Julie was so much fun to be around with her bubbly personality. When you meet her, you feel like you’ve known her years. I would highly recommend her for anyone’s wedding!
Our wedding theme/colours… We didn’t really have an overall set theme for the day, instead we added a lot of touches that really made our wedding feel personal to us both. We did this with lots of help from family and friends. Lavender was a big thing for me. My Mam passed away a couple of years ago and lavender was one of her favourites. Andy’s aunts Phyl and Sylvia and his cousin Fiona decorated the church with tons of lavender and wildflowers, and transformed it into our own beautiful meadow. We had pictures of lavender on our invitations, menus and thank you cards, which Andy’s aunt Elke helped us with. The night before the wedding, myself and the girls spent about three hours tying lavender cuttings to our place names for the tables. With Prosecco in hand, it helped pass the time!
Andy is a gardener in Dublin Zoo so we added a bit of a rustic / nature theme also. We had the finger print tree which went down a treat with our guests. It’s such a great keepsake to have after the wedding. We both made our table plan tree together, and with the help of my brother’s girlfriend Kate, we made our wooden table numbers.
To bring an element of fun to the wedding we added the vintage ice-cream van and the colourful lanterns and bunting in the marquee. I loved that we decided to go ahead with getting these, as they really did help create the laid back and enjoyable atmosphere we both wanted from our day. We just wanted everyone to feel relaxed and enjoy the party!
We chose our venue because… Clonabreany House was recommended to me by my colleague Kate, who also played the role of my personal wedding planner on the run up to the wedding! Clonabreany House was the first and only venue we visited and it was sold to us the second we laid eyes on it! We loved the idea of having the whole venue to ourselves. Everything from the structured marquee with the cool black and white dance floor, to the beautiful cottage accommodation to the private Shebeen bar was fantastic, and it was surrounded by beautiful countryside which created a lovely relaxed atmosphere. We wanted something a little bit different and Clonabreany certainly gave us that… We had Pauline, Cait and Jane help us coordinate our wedding in Clonabreany. Each one of them was so friendly and approachable, nothing was a problem.
My favourite part of the wedding day… It’s so hard to narrow it down as the whole day was full of fantastic memories. For both of us though, the ceremony really stood out. We had a really cool, down to earth priest, Fr. Kevin Bartley. How the church was decorated was just gorgeous. The music was very contemporary and suited our style, and the flash mob at the end of the ceremony was great fun! I think the ceremony really set the tone for the day, and it really helped that myself and Andy were totally relaxed and enjoying ourselves. Another moment that sticks out for me is when myself and Andy were surrounded by all of our family and friends on the dance floor, giving it socks to the song ‘Maniac’, it was so much fun!
My piece of advice for other brides… Be organised with everything. Don’t have loads to do last minute, so you can really enjoy your run up to your big day. Don’t be afraid to ask people for help, if people are offering, give them little jobs. Include your groom in your planning. Do some DIY. It takes time, but it’s worth it to have your wedding personalised. Hire a videographer, you won’t regret it! Make sure to spend some time alone with each other on the day to take it all in and have a little smooch! Love each other and enjoy the best day of your lives!
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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.