“We were lying in bed one night chatting about where we might go on holidays the following year, I suggested the Maldives but we agreed that it was a destination to be saved for honeymoon, so Dave said “Let’s get married!””
The couple: Joan O’Herlihy & Dave Johnston
Length of engagement: 10 months | Wedding date: 25th April 2014
Wedding ceremony: St Brigids Church, Rolestown, Swords
Wedding venue: Roganstown Golf and Country Club, Swords
Photographer: Ebony & Pearl Photography
We met… We met on Match.com in June 2012 – you can find anything on the internet these days, even a spouse! It was a whirlwind romance since then as we moved in together after four months, got engaged shortly after our one year anniversary and married a month and a half shy of two years together. When you know, you just know!
Our proposal… With both of us in our mid-thirties, we had discussed marriage a few times and we were both sure it was going to happen at some stage, however the proposal didn’t actually go as either of us expected. We were lying in bed one night chatting about where we might go on holidays the following year. I suggested the Maldives but we agreed that it was a destination to be saved for honeymoon, so Dave said “Let’s get married!”. I wasn’t sure if he was serious or not until he was away with work that weekend and had told everyone that we were engaged! In fairness, to make up for the lack of romantic proposal, when Dave collected the engagement ring he came home with flowers and champagne and was on one knee when I opened the door.
His suit… His suit was classic tails with a double breasted ivory waistcoat and tie from Bond Bros. Initially Dave didn’t want tails, however once he put them on he loved them. I think he enjoyed the showmanship of the tails being an ex-professional Irish Dancer.
My hair and make-up… My make-up was by Ailbhe Lynch who is a whiz with a make-up brush creating a look that was natural but at the same time enhanced – basically me, just a better version of me! Ailbhe was amazing as she sent me on skin care advice for the time leading up to the wedding and having suffered for the past few years with perioral dermatitis she suggested a skincare range that worked a treat at keeping my skin flare up free for the wedding. My hair was by Tori Keane. I wanted a classic up style for the ceremony, however I wanted to be able to relax and party after the formality of the ceremony so she created a style that could be half taken down by my sister after the ceremony. Tori was fantastic from start to finish – even the small things like taking loads of photos at my hair trial and emailing them to me so I could remember the look I had chosen, to make sure I was happy with it.
What my bridesmaid wore… My sister Kate wore a Vera Wang dress in a champagne gold colour with a blush pink faux fur jacket (bought in Penneys!). I bought both the hair pieces and a brooch for my sister’s dress from Jules Bridal Jewellery in Blackrock. This place is an Aladdin’s cave of all things bridal jewellery and if there is an element of one of their pieces that you would like to change, they are happy to custom make a piece for you. I found them so helpful and their prices are quite reasonable as I got two hair pieces and a brooch for about €100! I would highly recommend going in for a look.
Our ceremony… It was a traditional Catholic Wedding ceremony performed by our Parish Priest from Milltown Fr Philip Bradley. As we had a multi-denominational group of guests we opted to have the ceremony without mass. Fr Bradley was a big hit with our guests and he kept both myself and Dave relaxed throughout the ceremony with a healthy dose of humour.
We chose our photographer because… In the main we wanted a reportage style of photography that was natural but also beautiful and elegant in its composition and we felt that Ebony and Pearl Photography’s portfolio captured the exact feel we wanted from our wedding photographs. We wanted two photographers on the day as this gives more than one perspective on events as well as allowing the formal shots to be taken with the bridal party while allowing the other photographer to capture the guests at the reception. It was important for us to feel relaxed and I was feeling a little self-conscious about having somebody taking photographs of me all day but when we met Stuart we both felt so at ease, we knew he was the photographer for us. On the day he and his colleague had such a calm unobtrusive presence that I was completely unaware of being photographed and it has made for some truly beautiful pictures. We are so pleased with the photographs; it’s amazing what three hours of hair and make-up, a corset and a great photographer can achieve!
We chose our venue because… When we started looking for a venue we wanted a country house feel to the reception, however as both of us had family and friends travelling from the UK, we also wanted it to be convenient to the airport. Roganstown Hotel & Country Club was the perfect choice for us as it is about 12 mins from the airport, they run a shuttle bus for guests to and from the airport and it is a beautiful house in the middle of the countryside. Dave particularly wanted a reception room with the bar located in the room and somewhere that would cater for an ongoing party in the residents bar. With half our guests either current or ex-professional Irish dancers or musicians there was always going to be a bit of a seisiún into the small hours. We also wanted a venue that could cater for a second day of celebrations as many of our guests that had travelled were staying for the weekend and Roganstown had the perfect private bar area for us where we had a barbeque along with more music and dancing into the small hours.
Our wedding theme/colours… Our colours were Champagne and Ivory with Blush Pink. We wanted a classic elegant wedding style with vintage colours. I loved my flowers and based the colour scheme around them which included Amnesia, Quicksand, Vendela and Sahara Roses with Eucalyptus for a touch of frosted greenery. Clare from Cherry Blossoms was fantastic and incorporated all the ideas I had for my flowers into the most beautiful vintage style bouquet which was more beautiful than I had imagined and even incorporated a locket I had bought on Etsy at the last minute to hold a picture of my Mum so I could have her close to me.
Our wedding co-ordinator… Cassandra Conway was the reason we chose Roganstown Golf and Country Club for our venue. In fact Dave mentioned this in his wedding speech. When we were looking for venues we had shortlisted it to three, however Cassandra was the only one who had a 100% “can do” approach to our wedding. Nothing was too much trouble, everything was possible, the package was flexible and more importantly within budget. This continued right up until the moment we left Roganstown for our honeymoon, the staff truly are fantastic and made our wedding experience perfect.
Our honeymoon… Well given that the Maldives was the reason we got engaged there was never any decision to be made with regard to our honeymoon destination. We spoke to Cathal in Trailfinders and gave him our wish list for a honeymoon and he came back with the perfect choice for us. We spent two weeks in Coco Bodu Hithi in an escape water residence and it was paradise. The snorkelling and scuba diving was amazing on their house reef and we now know what it would be like to live in an aquarium!
Our menu… To start we had chicken and wild mushroom parcel followed by vegetable soup. For the main we had a choice of grilled Irish Chicken Supreme or Braised Shank of Lamb (which fell off the bone, it was so amazing) and for dessert we had Dave’s favourite profiteroles. To read the menu it seems underwhelming, however the quality and flavour of the food was exceptional and all of our guests commented on how great it was. The Chef Jason was so helpful when we were choosing our menu and one of the things I was most impressed by was our menu tasting at the hotel where we sampled as many of the dishes as we wanted along with the wines and got to chat to him after about anything we wanted to change or try again. Nothing was too much trouble for him and he certainly knows his way around a kitchen!
My favourite part of the wedding day… Watching Dave and his friends dance a couple of numbers from Lord of the Dance, it was my first time seeing him dancing (other than in the kitchen) as we had met after he left the show. I sat front and centre and was so proud of my new husband, there is nothing more attractive than a man that can dance!
My piece of advice for other brides… We got a lot of advice before the wedding and the most common one was to spend time together as it is very easy to be apart for the majority of the day after the ceremony and photographs. We took this advice and during the drinks reception we chatted to friends together rather than going our separate ways and then had some time in the bridal suite before the meal to chat about the day. Of course we hardly saw each other after the meal until the small hours of the morning in the residents bar but I am glad we got that advice.
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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.