Names: Alison Birmingham and Philip Doyle
Length of engagement: 1 year
Wedding Date: 18-08-18
Wedding location: BrookLodge and Macreddin Village
Photographer: Aidan Beatty
We met… We first met at a friend’s party when we were in fifth year of secondary school. We hit it off pretty much straight away and spent most of the night together. This was followed by lots of chatting on Bebo and MSN (that’s how long ago it was) before a rendezvous at a disco and then a first date to the cinema and McDonalds – classy!
Our proposal… In August 2017 I travelled to Melbourne for a couple of weeks with work. Upon arriving home after 24 hours of travelling and totally jetlagged, Phil surprised me by proposing! He had set up candles all around the bedroom and spelled out “Will you marry me?” in lit up Scrabble lights. He caught me totally off guard and all I could do was cry at the surprise and how much I loved the ring he had picked.
Our wedding theme/colours… We didn’t have a theme as such, we just tried to incorporate lots of personal touches. The main colour palette for our wedding was a mix of blues and purples. The bridesmaids dresses were a greyish shade of blue and Phil and the groomsmen wore navy suits. Phil wore a blue and grey waistcoat to make his outfit a bit different. The flowers were a mix of blues, purples and cream. They were designed by Sharon Keogh and were really beautiful, she also decorated the bridge in Brook Lodge and made an archway for outside the chapel.
Things we DIY’d/made ourselves… We did a few bits of DIY, though tried not to take on too much so that it wouldn’t be stressful. We also got some help from family with some of it! It’s definitely fun to do a bit and add your own touches to the day. Ali designed the wedding invitations and we got them printed with Optimal Print. They incorporated a blue and purple circle with our initials in a Venn diagram – a nod to Ali’s love of maths! The theme for the table plan was gigs that we had been to, so we designed the table plan as album covers with people’s names overlayed on them. For the tables themselves, we spray painted frames for the table plans and added pictures of us at each of the gigs. We also spray painted some jam jars to use as candle holders. Ali’s godmother made the wedding cake, which was a delicious chocolate biscuit cake and was decorated with fresh flowers.
My dress… My dress was made by Rembo styling and I bought it from Sharon Hoey. I was a bit nervous originally going dress shopping but ended up loving it. My mum and bridesmaids came with me and it was a really fun day. One thing that I’d advise is to try on lots of different styles at first so that you can see what suits you. I’m pretty small (5 foot nothing) so we realised that I needed something which emphasised my waist so that I didn’t look totally swamped. My dress was pretty relaxed and really just felt like me when I put it on. It had the most beautiful lace train which I fell in love with.
My hair and make up… My make up artist was Fiona Harrison and she was amazing. It was really important to me to make sure that I still looked like myself and wasn’t too made up. Fiona was brilliant, I felt like she made me look like the best possible version of me. She also gave me advice at my trial about skincare in the lead up to the wedding which was so helpful. My hair was done by Martina King and she did a fantastic job. I brought her a picture which I had found on Pinterest with no idea as to whether it would be possible and she recreated it even more beautifully. I had been a bit torn on whether to wear my hair up or down. I wear it down a lot normally but also wanted it back off my face for photos, and I wanted something that was relaxed to go along with the vibe of my dress and the venue. I ended up going for a loose braid with a hair vine twisted through it and I loved it.
His suit… Phil went for a navy suit which we got from Protocol Menswear. We visited several different suits shops and this suit was the nicest fit plus they had a good selection of waistcoats. The groomsmen and the two dads wore the same suit. To make Phil’s outfit a bit different, he wore a blue and grey checked waistcoat with a navy tie, and everyone else wore a navy waistcoat with a blue and grey checked tie.
What our bridal party wore… The four bridesmaids wore dresses from ASOS, which were a greyish blue. The dresses were quite a floaty style and had some beading and sequins on the bodice. We were looking for something that was relaxed and not too formal. Our flowergirl wore a cream dress from Monsoon with pale blue, purple and pink flowers on the bodice.
Our ceremony… We had a Humanist ceremony in the chapel on the grounds of Brook Lodge and Macreddin Village. As it was a Humanist ceremony, our celebrant Susie Kennedy gave us a lot of freedom over what to include. We chose acoustic versions of songs that we love. Ali’s sister sang a version of Everlasting Light by The Black Keys which was really beautiful. Our singer for the rest of the ceremony was Doug Sheridan who has an amazing voice. He also performed at the drinks reception afterwards and lots of our guests commented on how great he is.
We chose our photographer because… We looked through lots of photographers websites and contacted Aidan because we loved the relaxed nature of his photographs. Before booking, Aidan gave us a phone call to explain exactly how he works, how the day would play out and also gave us some advice on timing of the ceremony. It was really helpful and he was easy to chat to so we knew that we’d get along well on the day. We are so happy with the decision, Aidan was brilliant on the day, and he and our videographer Brian Guilfoyle got on really well. Neither of us are that comfortable with getting our photos taken or being recorded but they both made it so easy, and also got lots of great candid footage.
We chose our wedding coordinator because… We didn’t have a wedding coordinator, but we did work closely with Monica who is one of the wedding coordinators at Brook Lodge. She was an absolute dream to deal with, she was so on top of everything both in the run up to the wedding and on the day itself.
We chose our venue because… We loved it from our very first visit, we came away from that visit so happy. As we were having a Humanist ceremony, we were looking for somewhere which had a nice place to hold this and the chapel at Brook Lodge was perfect. You walk over a bridge across a brook to get to it and it’s really beautiful. We got really lucky with the weather on the day of the wedding, and after our ceremony we had ice cream and prosecco by the brook which was a really nice thing to be able to do. The grounds are beautiful so there are loads of places to take photographs meaning that we didn’t need to travel anywhere. For the reception, they have a separate building to the main hotel so it’s your own area for the day. The food in Brook Lodge is really fantastic, it’s of such a high standard. Having good food served was something that was really important to us and this was a big part of our decision to choose Brook Lodge. We had a BBQ here the following day also and again it was a great setting for it, the food was delicious and we hired lots of lawn games which the staff set up for us, it was a really fun day. All of the staff were brilliant to deal with. They’re total professionals as they have done this so many times but they also make you feel like your day is really special. We were also looking for somewhere which had plenty of onsite accommodation for our guests and Brook Lodge ticked this box also.
Our menu… Food is a big part of Brook Lodge, with a lot of emphasis on organic and wild food. For our wedding menu, we started with a chicken and red pepper filo pastry roll. This was followed by an elderflower and prosecco sorbet – we went for this instead of soup as it was a summer wedding. For main course, we chose fillet of beef and hake which were both so good. For dessert we had the Macreddin dessert pot which is so delicious – we had been given mini versions of this when we first visited which helped to seal the deal! The night before the wedding we ate in the Italian on the grounds which was amazing, as was the food at the BBQ the next day.
Our honeymoon… The week after the wedding we spent a couple of nights in the Cliff House in Ardmore which we loved and a couple of nights in the south of France with Ali’s family. For our main honeymoon we decided to wait a few months, we went to Sri Lanka and the Maldives just after Christmas. Waiting was a great decision for us, it was lovely to have something to look forward to after the wedding was over.
My favourite part of the wedding day… This is a really hard one to answer, I don’t think I have a favourite moment because I loved all of it. We took the week off work before the wedding and the whole build up was great. We travelled down to Brook Lodge the night before and had dinner with our families and bridal party which was a really lovely thing to do – the calm before the storm! The morning getting ready with my mum and bridesmaids was so fun and exciting. I loved my parents walking me up the aisle, seeing Phil at the top and all of our friends and family there to celebrate. I loved the moments after the ceremony, we were just so excited and I couldn’t stop smiling. I loved all of the speeches, even doing my own one wasn’t too bad! The dancing in the evening was so fun, the dance floor was packed the whole night. We also really loved our day two, we hired giant Jenga, table tennis, foozball and cornhole from Budget Event hire and brought along some board games as well. All of our guests got so into the games and it was a really fun day, finished off with toasting marshmallows over some braziers set up by Brook Lodge.
My piece of advice for other couples… Figure out what the most important parts of the day are for you. Pick a venue that you love, for us this was such an important part of the day. After that, try to plan out everything that needs to be done as best you can and spread it out so that it never gets too stressful. If there’s any decision that’s causing you lots of stress, sit down and discuss it and make a decision that stops you worrying about it. And try to enjoy the planning! It’s such a fun time and while it can get overwhelming, I missed it so much afterwards so try to always look at the big picture.
What is it that makes your wedding unique? We tried to incorporate lots of personal touches into the day. We love going to concerts and listening to music together so that was incorporated into our table plan and ceremony music. I love maths so we had Venn diagrams on our invitations and sweepstakes for the speeches. Phil loves soccer and NFL so we had cupcakes made with little footballs and American footballs on them. I wore the necklace that my mum wore on her wedding day which was really special for both of us. I love Harry Potter so our cake topper said “Always” with the date of our wedding. Phil loves fudge so we had Mella’s fudge as our favours. We’re both pretty competitive so we had lots of lawn games and board games for our day two. It was important to us that the day felt like us.
Wedding venue: BrookLodge and Macreddin Village | Photographer: Aidan Beatty | Videographer: Two Paws Video, Brian Guilfoyle | Ceremony & Drinks Musician: Doug Sheridan | Reception Music & DJ: Bentley Boys | Hair: Martina King | Makeup: Fiona Harrison | Dress: Funny by Rembo Styling, from Sharon Hoey | Suits: Protocol suits | Bridesmaids dresses: ASOS | Caterer: Brook Lodge and Macreddin Village | Cake: Alison’s godmother | Celebrant: Susie Kennedy’