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A Sublime Summer Wedding at Finnstown Castle in Ireland

“As we were getting married outside in summer we decided on a bright and airy floral, blush pink and white theme.”

Names: Cheryl Hanlon and Sean Mahony

Length of engagement:  1.5years

Wedding Date: 8th July 2018

Wedding location: Finnstown Castle, Co. Dublin

Photographer: Stephen Corkery

We met… Over 10 years ago in a local nightclub. That club is actually responsible for at least 6 marriages and/or long-term couples in our family and close friends.

Our proposal… On Christmas morning 2017. Just the two of us and our then 2-year-old son. It was so personal and exciting and really made our Christmas extra special.

Our wedding theme/colours… We agreed very early on that we wanted a relaxed close family and friends affair. A ‘small’ wedding of only 90 people was perfect for us.  As we were getting married outside in summer we decided on a bright and airy floral, blush pink and white theme.  The bridesmaids’ dresses were chiffon white/floral and the bridal party had blush pink buttonholes/corsages/bouquets.  Small touches of blush pink were dotted throughout the day. Like the tiebacks on the chairs, our candles, and our centrepieces.

Things we DIY’d/made ourselves…  We made the seating plan ourselves. Choosing a Superhero theme as a nod to our 3-year-old son Finn. He is absolutely obsessed with superheroes. Our tables were named ‘Thor’, ‘Spiderman’ etc instead of being numbered. And each table had a frame with the name and a small biography of that hero on it. We were told that it was a great talking point to get conversations flowing and made people smile!

My dress… Was the first dress I tried on in the first shop I went to. It’s designed by St. Patrick and is a simple long line crepe dress with a train, a bateau neckline with a low back with heavily embellished shoulders, and back. I loved the simplicity of the dress and it was so comfortable for the day. I bought the dress in The Bridal Boutique in Fairview. It was a joy to shop with the ladies there and I was delighted with the customer service and personal touch the ladies had. I actually recommended the store to my friend who got married a month after me and she also bought her dress there. The customer service is second to none.

My hair and make up… My sister in law is a hairstylist and she very kindly did the wedding party hair as a wedding present. I opted for a complicated up do, with a cathedral length veil placed high on my crown. With the bridesmaids opting for flowing curls and plaits. She brought with her a friend who did our makeup. It was soft and dewy with a hint of a smoky eye. They are a fabulous team and do a lot of weddings together so their timing and flow were perfect on the morning. And they made everything so stress-free.

His suit…  Sean and his two groomsmen got their suits in Best Menswear, Jervis Street. They opted for a 3 piece blue suit, so that they weren’t too dark for a summer wedding. The two lads had blush ties and Sean opted for a white tie to set him apart.

What our bridal party wore…  The bridesmaid’s dresses were bought online on LuLus Boutique.  They were beautiful v-neck and back, full-length white flowing chiffon with a blush pink watercolour style flower design. The bridesmaids were very comfortable in the lightweight dresses and they were perfect for the hot summer day we had. They each chose a loose hairstyle with rose gold earrings and accessories and blush pink strappy sandals.

Our ceremony… Was a humanist ceremony held in the gardens of Finnstown Castle Hotel. We had a large floral backdrop and large 4ft floral ‘LOVE’ letters behind the ceremony area. We opted for a relaxed and family centered ceremony.  The celebrant we chose was Lucie O’Sullivan. She really listened to what we wanted to be included in the ceremony. And put us at ease both beforehand and on the day. We chose two readings, read by our niece and a close friend. Our mothers were involved in lighting candles and our son was with us throughout the entire ceremony. It was exactly what we wanted. A close friend played acoustic guitar throughout the ceremony. It was a lovely personal touch.

We chose our photographer because… Stephen is fairly new to weddings but when I looked at his portfolio I really loved his style. We really wanted a casual laid back photographer to capture us and our guests more naturally while still doing the obligatory wedding group shots. He understood this perfectly, and now, looking at our photos we absolutely love that we and our guests are relaxed, chatting, smiling and laughing in most of the pictures. He is a father himself, so was absolutely brilliant with our son Finn and caught beautiful shots of him during the day. Stephen went above and beyond what was expected of him and stayed until late into the night so we have fantastic guest dancing shots.

We chose our venue because… Sean and I really wanted to stay in Dublin but not have a city hotel wedding. We fell in love with Finnstown’s gardens, grand piano drinks reception area and the room where the reception was held. It was spacious and elegant but not too big as we wanted an intimate wedding. The food is second to none. Every single person at our wedding commented on how good the food was. The wedding team at Finnstown are brilliant. They listened to what we wanted and delivered perfectly on the day. Caesar was in charge on the day. He kept everything flowing from start to finish and handled any issues that came up. He was completely trustworthy and has a beautiful calm demeanor that is perfect for a wedding day.

Our menu… For our drinks reception, we had a selection of canapes, sandwiches, and biscuits. We had a summer punch, bottled beers, and tea and coffee. Our dinner was amazing, yet simple. The starter was a beautiful deep fried Brie with salad. We then had the option of Salmon or Turkey and Ham, with accompanying vegetables. And we finished with a selection of desserts. Later in the night we served our wedding cake and some evening finger food, which went down a treat. Every single person has commented on how amazing the food was. It was satisfying, elegantly presented and delicious.

Our honeymoon… We headed to beautiful Lisbon for 5 days, just the two of us, and then the three of us headed to Alcudia for a more family-friendly week in the sun.

My favourite part of the wedding day… I couldn’t pick! My morning with my mam and the girls was so much fun and filled with laughter. Walking up the aisle with my Dad to Sean and Finn. Our personal ceremony. After the ceremony, having a chance to talk to Sean getting our pictures taken. Then the dinner and reception were just filled with fun and dancing. It was just a perfect summer wedding day for us from start to finish.

My piece of advice for other couples… Stick with your budget and don’t feel like you need all the ‘extras’. We had our DJ from straight after the ceremony right through to the evening which was brilliant. We bought selfie sticks and accessories and left them on the tables and people had a great time. No photo booths, candy carts etc and nobody missed them. Another piece of advice would be that we didn’t invite anyone we didn’t know personally or hadn’t spoken to in a year or so. This kept our day so relaxed and personal as our son knew everyone there.


Wedding venue:  Finnstown Castle | Photographer: Stephen Corkery | Planner/coordinator: The Wedding Team at Finnstown Castle | Videographer: Martin Doyle | Musician: David Murray | DJ: Midlands Wedding DJ | Hair: Kim, Sugar Cubed | Makeup: Ailish, Sugar Cubed | Dress:  St. Patrick at The Bridal Boutique, Fairview | Suit: Best Menswear | Bridesmaids dresses: Lulu’s Boutique | Groomsmen outfits: Best Menswear | Caterer: Finnstown | Cake: Cakes by Carolyn | Celebrant: Lucie O’Sullivan, Humanist Association of Ireland

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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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