Today is a special day, because this day 6 years ago, I married my best friend. Andrew and I had been together for 6 years when we tied the knot, making it 12 years combined today. We are both of Irish decent (very proud of that, I might add). So, when we would dream about our wedding day, we imagined going back to our roots and doing it in Ireland! We both wanted a destination wedding and I always wanted to get married in a castle, which Ireland has no shortage of, making it the perfect place for our special day.
We were engaged November 2nd in Paris. After an amazing dinner at the legendary Jule’s Verne Restaurant, located in the Eiffel Tower, Andrew took m out on the balcony and proposed with “the Tiffany ring,” from, of course, Tiffany’s. It really couldn’t’ have been more perfect – it was everything I dreamed of and more. Afterwards, we celebrated with champagne and rode the enchanting and celebrated carrousel outside the tower. We then purchased some souvenirs at a near by touristy store, to remember the night; a few paintings that sit in my dressing room and some pretty miniature Eiffel Towers for my nieces and my future little girl (yes, I got one for Elle and it sits on her shelf in her bedroom).
Since our wedding would be in Ireland, we decided summer would be the best season. It offers the best weather and made it easier for our friends and family to travel. That said, we only had 8 months to plan the big day. It was challenging at times, considering we were doing everything from distance; a wedding in Ireland, Andrew and I living in different provinces (I was living in Ottawa and he in Fredericton) and both working long hours. I really didn’t want to hire a planner (even though it would have made my life a lot easier). I own my own event management company, so it’s hard to pass the reigns of one of the most important events I’ll ever attend, to anyone else. So, with lots of conference calls, tonnes of research, reading of reviews, and simply trusting our guts – our wedding came together perfectly.
The theme in the back of our mind was a storybook fairytale. Taking some inspiration from Princess Bride (a favourite childhood movie for both of us). We looked at several castles, but both decided Luttrellstown Castle was the perfect venue for our special day. (Fun fact: Victoria & David Beckham were also married here!) We actually ended up staying at the castle for the entire week leading up to our wedding, making it more of a wedding week. It was so fun having all of our family there with us. We would wake up and have breakfast together and just hang out all day, drinking champagne and Guinness. My nieces and nephews were quite young then and had so much fun playing on the grounds and hiding in the castle. There were so many memories made.
Of course there was someone very important missing – I was really sad my dad couldn’t be there. He had passed away 6 years prior (just before I started dating Andrew) and I was missing him immensely, but I felt his presence in so many ways. The most beautiful means was via a butterfly. The day we arrived at the castle, I opened my closet to check for my dress, as it had been taken up by the castle staff, and there, sitting on the garment bag of my wedding dress was a beautiful butterfly. It fluttered around my room and I would see it every day, right up until my wedding. The photographer actually managed to capture it and I’m so happy she did, because the day after our wedding, I didn’t see the butterfly again. It was really quite special.
For my dress, I opted for a couture gown that I co-designed. I have a background in fashion and image consulting and just couldn’t seem to find what I was looking for, so this felt like the perfect and most meaningful option for me. My sketches hang in my dressing room as a beautiful keepsake. My dress in a closet – haha – still not sure what I will do with it (any suggestions!?). My mom is going to make an angel from my veil, which will sit as a tree topper for our Christmas tree! Something I can pass down to the kids.
We had 82 of our friends and family share in the festivities at the castle, which included a welcome to Ireland event that happened after our rehearsal; the wedding celebrations and a post wedding BBQ the day after. We had live music at all the events, which really set the mood. A harp player at the welcome event; a 3 piece orchestra at the ceremony, followed by a swing band for our dance (followed by a DJ after-hours) and a jazz band at the BBQ. I am a huge proponent of live music when possible – I think it adds so much to an event’s ambiance.
For each event we tried to choose food and drinks that really appealed to our personal tastes (since we are self-proclaimed foodies!) and fit the event mood. We chose 2 signature cocktails for each event. I went with a gin gimlet for the welcome event, Andrew chose a Mojito. For the wedding day, I chose a La Vie En Rose (which is in a champagne flute and was blush to match my wedding colours!) and Andrew chose an Old Fashioned. For the BBQ we went with Pimms & Guinness. I love adding the personal touches such as this to events, especially weddings. It’s so much fun and is what makes it YOUR wedding.
I walked down the aisle to Parachabel meets U2 in a mash up of ‘Cannon in D’ & ‘With or Without you!’ It was so perfect. My bridesmaids chose their own dresses in the same fabric and shade of blush. For decor we focused on lots of fresh white flowers, as we didn’t want to compete too much with the existing ambiance. Our florist, Michael Costello, was ABSOLUTELY amazing – highly recommend. He went above and beyond and did amazing work. We chose red velvet for our wedding cake. Our wedding song was, ‘At Last’ and to cap off the festivities we took everyone outside to write wishes on wishing lanterns – it was so magical.
Our photographer, Paula O’Hara and Videographer, Story of Eve, were an amazing team. We loved seeing our wedding through their lens and are so thankful we have the pictures and video to look back on it all. Everything honestly couldn’t have been more perfect. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are always little things you might wish you could do differently. I think as an event manager, I am trained to see details no one would even notice or care about. However, I always advise brides to remember that the wedding day is really about the love and the commitment – those are the most important aspects. If you have that, you have the perfect day; you have everything. So I took my own advice and our day was the perfect day for us. From the location, to the people, to the love that our ceremony embodied, it was all incredibly special.
Andrew and I were able to spend 3 glorious weeks in Ireland. One week leading up to wedding alone with each other to finish finalizing the details and just hang out. The second week was our wedding week, which was spent surrounded by family and friends and the third week we did our honeymoon exploring the countryside of Ireland. This enabled our nuptials to be legit when we came back to Canada, as we needed to be there for 21 days and also enabled us to have one of the most memorable and meaningful months of our lives. Oh, to go back and do it all again – such an incredible time in our lives. *sighhhh
Looking back, so much has happened since this day 6 years ago. We have grown so much as a couple and as a family! Although married life isn’t always easy or perfect and life can be full of uncertainties, one thing is certain: I wouldn’t want to share this journey with anyone else. I love the life that Andrew and I have created. God has blessed us immensely with our health, businesses we love, a sweet dog, amazing little girl and another on the way! So many amazing things have happened, because of that glorious week in Ireland. So, this day, on our 6th anniversary, we have a lot to celebrate! Happy Anniversary, Andrew. I love you, always & forever. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store, but for now, I want to soak up every precious moment with you and our sweet little family.
Thanks for reading! Have a wonderfuk weekend! Also, if you’re interested, you can check out our wedding video here!