“I made lavender heart favours from old floral dresses and tops I had and I stuffed them with an old pillow and loose lavender. We also had one thaumatrope of Neil and I kissing on each table. It was completely cheesey but it was a bit of fun and a lot of people got a great laugh out of them and had never seen them before.”
Engagement: 15/03/12 (13 months) | Wedding date: 13/04/13
Wedding location: Rosleague Manor Hotel, Letterfrack, Connemara, Co. Galway
Photographer: Ebony & Pearl Photography
Our proposal… We had just had a scan of our baby that day and after I had to go back to work. When I got home I walked in the door and I was greeted by a scan picture of our baby stuck to the bathroom door that said “Mammy, Daddy wants you” and an arrow pointing to the sitting room. When I opened the sitting room door the whole room was rearranged and there were candles everywhere and hanging in the bay window was a banner saying “Will you marry me?”. Neil was down on one knee with the ring in his hand. I was so shocked that I just asked where my dinner was! The most lovely thing about the whole proposal was that Neil had hand-sewn the banner. It had taken him weeks as he could only do it when he had the house to himself. I love crafting and the fact that Neil took the time to make me something handmade made the proposal all the more special and something I’ll never forget.
My dress… was from Monsoon Bridal and cost €350. I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a dress that I would only wear once but at the same time I did want something I thought was beautiful and something I would be comfortable in all day. I had taken a chance on my dress initially and had a bit of bad luck with a dress I bought on ebay. It was a fishtail dress and although I had given my measurements, when I was wearing it I couldn’t bend down or lift my hands above me head! However the Monsoon dress was perfect. I was so lucky to come across it as it was the style I was looking for and it was a very light dress which was a bonus. I am 5’ 10” so the dress just came to the ground and I got away with wearing flat shoes. Comfort played a big role in my decision. My shoes were gold cut out pumps from Pennys €11. I got my jewellery in Dunnes Stores for around €15. I ordered my veil online for a mere €28 and my headband was a piece of lace trim that cost €12 in Hickeys. The alterations cost €50 so my whole wedding outfit came in just over €450.
What our bridal party wore… Our bridesmaids wore River Island Chelsea Girl cream lace dresses on sale through ASOS at €23.50 each. Bargain! Their gold belts were Penneys I think €3.50 each. Shoes and jewellery were BM’s own. I chose those dresses as they were something the girls could wear again. They were quite similar to my dress in the sense that they were cream, long sleeved and had a lace effect. I really liked the fact that we were matching. I also thought that lavender really stood out against the dress. The groomsmen wore their own suits and shoes.
My hair and make up… I got my hair done at the Hair Gallery in Clifden, Connemara. It cost €210 for my hair, my mothers and my three bridesmaids. I didn’t want my hair to look too styled and set so I asked for a natural loose look. I had practised my hair with my sister at home so I knew exactly the type of style I wanted on the day. As for the bridesmaids I wanted them to have a style that they liked so they all picked their own hairstyle. It just so happened that they all wanted their hair down but I wouldn’t have minded either way. I think it is better that everyone feels comfortable. Everyone felt very relaxed on the day and it showed. I had a make-up trial done but I didn’t feel like myself so I did my own make-up on the day. I really like smokey eye make-up so I went for that look finished with some liquid eyeliner and fake lashes (Girls Aloud – Kimberley). I used a bit of pink blush and a light pink lipstick.
,b>Our ‘wedding coordinator’… Myself and my friend, Flora Heffernan planned the
whole wedding so I guess you could say she was my wedding coordinator! We threw ideas back and
forth to each other and she designed my invitations and orders of service. I then made everything
from home. She was such a huge help and she even turned up early on the day of the wedding to set
everything up, from decorating the ceremony room to setting the tables and arranging the cakes.
We chose our photographer because… They did our friend’s wedding and we loved their photographs. Ebony & Pearl Photography take very natural photos and captured the day as it really was. They keep posed photos to a minimum but they are happy to take whatever photos you ask them to take. Many of the guests commented on how amazing the photographers were and they didn’t even notice Emma and Stuart floating around taking photographs. Our photos have turned out beautifully. They captured so many real moments and we couldn’t have asked for more than that.
His suit… Neil wore a Remus three piece light grey suit, shirt and tie (all for €370!) He wore his own brown shoes.
Our wedding theme/colours… I suppose our wedding theme ended up being vintage. I didn’t exactly pick a theme and stick to it. I gathered up ideas that I liked and tried to get them to work together. As for colours I picked creams and pastels mainly. I started by picking my flowers which were dried lavender, simple and beautiful. I love how striking the purple and green look together. After that I was pretty much happy with whatever colours went well with the lavender. I love colour so the more I had in my wedding the better.
Our ceremony… was a Humanist ceremony. It allowed us to have one venue with our ceremony and afters all in the stunning setting of Rosleague Manor Hotel. We wanted a personal ceremony where we could pick the words and the music. Having a humanist ceremony allowed us to have a ceremony that was completely about us. All the music was instrumental and comprised of our favourite songs played by Neil’s brother and one of our friends. We chose all the readings and other aspects of the ceremony. The result was a relaxed ceremony tailored to us.
We chose our venue because… Our friends got married there in 2010. We just thought it was the most beautiful setting. They had a humanist ceremony there too and it was the first one I had ever been to and we thought that that was the way to get married. We never thought about Rosleague Manor Hotel as it was the venue for our friend’s wedding and we didn’t want to step on their toes but when they suggested it to us a venue we didn’t hesitate. It’s a family run hotel and Mark Foyle and his staff will go out of their way to make your day as special and easy going as they can. It’s the complete package and the food is remarkable.
My favourite part of the wedding day… was how relaxed and enjoyable the ceremony was. While it was serious we laughed so much and in all the photos of the ceremony everyone is smiling and laughing. I also really enjoyed the speeches which I never thought I’d say. We both hate speeches so we had everyone warned to keep them short and sweet which they did. We had them all over and done within 30 minutes and we laughed so much. But I suppose my absolute favourite part of the day was sharing the day with our little boy David.
Our menu… We had a salmon and crabmeat starter, butternut squash soup, lemon sorbet, fillet of beef with onions and pepper sauce, monkfish with leek and a selection of deserts.
“Our favours were lavender hearts. I made the hearts from old floral dresses and tops I had and I stuffed them with an old pillow and loose lavender. We also had one thaumatrope of Neil and I kissing on each table. When I came across a kissing thaumatrope on the internet I thought the idea was great. It was completely cheesey but it was a bit of fun and a lot of people got a great laugh out of them and had never seen them before.”
“Our cakes were from Just Baked in Castlebar and they were delicious. We got three different 9 inch cakes for €100, Chocolate fudge, fresh cream and strawberries and raspberry and white chocolate. I made the cake toppers and table numbers myself. Cake stands were €8 each from Guineys, Castlebar. They were the perfect colour.”
Our wedding flowers… Myself and a few friends arranged the lavender centrepieces. I bought the dried lavender from lavender word in Yorkshire for €190 incl p&p. I ended up buying way more than I needed
unfortunately so I wasted some money there. Flora and I made the bridesmaids bouquets and the groomsmen’s buttonholes. Flora arranged my bouquet. She asked me what flowers I would like and then she chose them. She bought them for €50 from a florist in Galway but they were flowers you could pick up in any florist. I loved the mish mash of colour and that the flowers aren’t over-arranged. It’s almost as if she picked the flowers in a garden and gathered them together with a piece of ribbon. They were so beautiful. She even added a few sprigs of the dried lavender to tie in with the rest of the flowers.”
My piece of advice for other brides… Make anything you can yourself and rope in crafty friends; you’ll be surprised how much some people are willing to help. Have your wedding the way YOU and your fiancé want it, you’ll never please everyone so why not just please yourself! Try and have as much of the wedding organised as possible so there is very little to do in the days leading up to the wedding, that way you won’t get too stressed. The day goes so fast so take some time to just slow down and enjoy yourself. Speak to the people who you know will appreciate it; you’ll have plenty of time to catch up with your friends when others have gone to bed. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your wedding look like it cost a lot of money; shop around and haggle where you can; it’s a real case of if you don’t ask you don’t get. There’s no harm in being a bit cheeky the worst that will happen is they’ll say no!
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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.