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Long Distance Love – Real Wedding at Ballymagarvey Village by Brenda McGuire Photography

 “The atmosphere at the ceremony was so happy and relaxed… so relaxed that my dad could be heard heckling us at one point!”

The couple: Ciara Verschoyle and Mark Weir

Length of engagement: 14 months | Wedding date: July 12th 2013Wedding venue: Ballymagarvey Village

Photographer: Brenda McGuire Photography

real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (3)Brenda McGuire Photography Real Wedding3real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (4)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (6)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (7)We met…. We met in 2007 while I was in Chicago on a J1. I worked at the same company as Mark for the summer and we got to know one another. After I flew home to Dublin, we stayed in touch over emails, and a year later I flew back to Chicago for a couple of days. From then on we had a long distance relationship, seeing each other every couple of months, until Mark finally persuaded me to move to Chicago in June 2011!real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (11)Brenda McGuire Photography Real Wedding4real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (19)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (20)Our proposal… the proposal was very simple, just the two of us at home on a Saturday morning in May. Mark cooked breakfast and as I was tucking in, he played our favourite song and appeared with a tray of mimosas and the ring!real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (15)My hair and make-up… Claire Hogan did my hair. I didn’t have a trial beforehand, Claire just came on the day, looked at a picture of what I liked and did exactly that! Ken Boylan did my make-up with his own range of products. It was the perfect amount of coverage and lasted all day and all night!real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (25)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (28)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (31)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (29)My dress… My wedding dress was a Kathy de Stafford ‘Le Fey’ dress from Kathy de Stafford on Exchequer Street in Dublin. I flew home especially to go dress shopping with my mam and sisters, and I found it in the first shop! Since I live in Chicago I had to have all my dress fittings the week before the wedding. The team were amazing, their attention to detail and finishes were perfect!real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (39)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (40)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (41)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (44)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (45)Brenda McGuire Photography Real Wedding2real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (52)The suits… Mark wore a black Hugo Boss suit. He wanted to look like James Bond! Mark’s groomsmen were his college roommates and wore matching black suits and lilac ties.real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (58)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (63)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (64)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (70)wedding-sand-ceremonyreal_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (73)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (75)Our ceremony… Our ceremony was so special. We had it at Ballymagarvey Village in their ceremony room. It was so personal and just focused on us and the commitment we were making in front of our family and friends. The atmosphere was so happy and relaxed, so relaxed that my dad could be heard heckling us at one point!real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (94)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (95)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (96)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (97)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (99)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (103)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (107)We chose our photographer because… Brenda McGuire was recommended to us and when we contacted her we instantly connected. She offered a complimentary engagement shoot which we did in the Phoenix Park, Dublin in December. After meeting her and seeing how well the pictures turned out we knew then that she was the perfect choice. Getting to meet before the wedding took any stresses away on the big day as we knew Brenda would get all the shots we wanted.real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (112)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (119)Brenda McGuire Photography Real Wedding1The bridesmaids… My three beautiful sisters were bridesmaids and wore Victorian lilac dresses with flower details on the shoulder.Brenda McGuire Photography Real Weddingreal_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (129)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (130)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (131)We chose our venue because… we loved Ballymagarvey Village from the minute we came across it online. My parents went to one of the open days and couldn’t fault it. It is so well maintained and the surroundings are the perfect backdrop for pictures. The staff were so friendly and thought of everything. We had no worries on the day, everything ran so smoothly and our guests complimented on how wonderful the staff were.real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (133)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (134)My favourite part of the wedding day… It’s so hard to pick one favourite because there were so many! At one point during the night, our guests surrounded myself and Mark on the dance floor in circles and sang to us, and I remember looking around and feeling so overwhelmed that all of our family and friends had come just for us, to celebrate our special day and wish us well.real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (139)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (140)Our wedding decor…  Our wedding colours were pink and lilac, my two favourites! We decided on a travel theme which not only had meaning because of how our relationship started out, but because half of our guests would be travelling over from the States for the wedding. I bought an old suitcase and made a sign for the card box. We had ‘wedding wishes’ cards made instead of a guest book for guests to write messages for our ‘journey ahead’. Our place names were in the shape of luggage tags with the date and venue which our guests took away as a keepsake. We made gift bags for those who stayed at the venue and hotels. Inside we included some of our favourite things from Ireland for the Americans, and likewise our favourite things from America for the Irish!real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (144)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (143)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (146)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (142)Brenda McGuire Photography Real Wedding6real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (149)Our honeymoon… We went on a ‘familymoon’ straight after the wedding. Since we live in Chicago, and my sister Niamh and her husband, who live in Melbourne, were home for the wedding we decided to spend as much family time together as we could so all nine of us went to Spain! A few weeks after the wedding myself and Mark went on a ‘minimoon’ to San Francisco and Napa Valley which was absolutely amazing.real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (138)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (150)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (152)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (153)Our menu… was delicious! Everything was cooked to perfection. Our guests raved about it, especially the dessert, Mrs. Osbourne’s warm buttery crumble with a pot of homemade ice cream!real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (158)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (159)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (171)real_wedding_ballymagarvey_village (174)My piece of advice for other brides… Try and plan well in advance, a little bit at a time. That way you don’t have pressure to make a decision you’re not 100% happy with, and also once the big decisions are out of the way you can enjoy planning the small fun details.

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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.


  1. Avatar Ashling Savage says:

    A beautiful day held by a beautiful couple..

  2. Avatar Romy McAuley says:

    An absolutely gorgeous couple and A Beautiful Ceremony! !! 🙂

  3. Been shooting weddings over 30 years, hats off the photographer, Great job. Great coverage of the wedding….. Stephen

  4. Avatar Brian O'Weir says:

    Mark and Ciara have left the bar pretty high. Hard to top such a beautiful wedding. In such a beautiful venue!!
    congratulations again!

  5. Avatar Rhythm says:

    Love this awesome wedding. Great shot, Beautiful

  6. Very beautiful wedding. The couple did a wonderful job of blending everything to create something wonderful and uniquely theirs.

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