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A Shabby Chic Barn Themed Wedding

“Phil and I always wanted a shabby chic barn themed wedding.”


Names: Phil Conlon & Liz Healy

Length of engagement: 3 Years

Wedding Date: 29th July 2018

Wedding location: Ballymagarvey Village

Videographer: The fabulous Ronan Quinn




We met…

Phil: I left Tyrone in 2010 to spend 1 year in Australia. A friend whom I went to primary school which was also in Sydney. One Saturday he asked me to come with him to a bar that night as he had to meet up with his cousin who had just landed in Sydney from Chicago. So I met Liz for the first time in an Irish bar in Sydney in October 2010, but it wasn’t until NYE that we had our first kiss. Both of us had planned to return to our own countries in 2011, but we are both still in Sydney 9 years later and make regular trips back to my home in Tyrone and her home in Chicago.  Someday we will move to Ireland when the time is right.



Our proposal…

Phil: Nothing in our lives is straightforward so the proposal was no exception, I wanted to propose on Irish soil but we live in Australia, I also wanted to ask for her father’s blessing in person but he lives in Chicago, so the proposal wasn’t easy to pull off. I had to wait a very long time before Liz, her dad and I were all in Ireland at the same time, when the day finally arrived I wasted no time in asking her dad for permission, then we went to Torc waterfall in Kerry where I popped the question, it was a long time coming but we got there in the end.


Liz: Phil was very good at keeping this secret, he recruited my best friend to do some research before we left Sydney, but in the end, our friend just told him to let me pick the ring myself. I honestly had no idea that it was happening at all let alone on our trip to Ireland. While sightseeing, the day after my grandmas 80th, Phil was his normal self. He gave me no indication that he was nervous or going to ask me to marry him! When we made it to Torc waterfall, my favourite childhood place in Killarney and were looking around and taking photos, another couple actually got engaged right as we arrived and I was like “omg look babe, they got engaged!!!” little did I know I would be next haha. So when he finally popped the question I was so overwhelmed and shocked that it actually took me 5mins before I answered him. But of course, I was always going to say yes! Then an hour later we walked into a restaurant filled with 40 of my relatives and announced we were engaged, it was kind of awesome!!



Our wedding theme/colours…

Liz: Phil and I always wanted a shabby chic barn themed wedding. We loved seeing our friends weddings over the years in barns all over the world so we went with that theme as a start. With our chosen venue, we didn’t have to do much to make that vision come true, the venue spoke for itself. Ballymagarvey Village is a hidden gem, we instantly fell in love with the grounds and the reception room, just from photos. It was a bit fancier than we originally anticipated or wanted but it had everything we wanted and we could get married on site. We honestly fell in love straight away! As for colours, I always wanted a light pink colour, to look classy and elegant on all my girls, and was very summery! So after some searching, I eventually found two that I loved for the girls, and the exact colour was called ‘dusty rose.’ So we based the rest of the theme and colours off of that. So happy Phil and I agreed!



Things we DIY’d/made ourselves…

Liz: We didn’t really do many DIY or crafts for our wedding as we didn’t have much room in our suitcases to take them to Ireland with us, we also didn’t want anything breaking. My mom made us this scrabble photo frame for our engagement that had our names and personal things about us in it, which we used on the day. We also set up our own sweets table; with sweets from Chicago Australia and Ireland to have a taste of home for all the guests there as well as tie in our 3 countries that we call home. To incorporate a bit of our life here in Sydney we had our friends do a photo shoot of us with our 4 legged child (haha) enjoying the view of Sydney harbour and we had that on display as well.



My dress…

Liz: I’ve always wanted to wear my moms dress or at least incorporate it somehow. But it ended up being too short and didn’t keep well over the years. That, and it sounded like I was wearing snow pants when I would walk in it! So using the dress was a quick no, but I used some of the lace for the flowers and headpieces. I always saw myself wearing a timeless vintage looking dress so I limited my online searches to that theme. When I was in Chicago in 2016 I went with my mom and sister to try some dresses on and absolutely fell in love with this one dress, from the designer Pronovias called “Vincentia.” It was well out of my desired price range so I said I would keep looking though.

So when I went back to Sydney I went searching for the perfect dress, but no matter how hard I looked I couldn’t shake the feeling I had in that dress in Chicago. So eventually I searched for a store in Sydney that sold the same designer and I found a few and went to have a look. None of the stores had the exact dress I tried on but Luv Bridal had one very similar called ‘Danka’ so I agreed to come try it on… Oh man it gave me that same feeling! And that month they had a promo and sale on that designer!!!! So I got my veil for free and 20% off the original price of the dress! I was sold, so I bought my wedding dress in December 2017 8mths before the wedding! Then was able to take it home 5 months later after alterations! Myself and everyone loved it on the day!



My hair and makeup…

Liz: The second we got engaged I asked one of my longest friends from Chicago, Emily, to fly over and do mine and my bridal parties hair for the wedding. She happily accepted and all the girls, moms, and myself were very impressed with how much detail and skill she could manage in all our hair in such a  short amount of time! Our makeup was done by Laura O’ Niell from Larabelle makeup. She was on the recommended supplier list from our venue but luckily my cousin knew her personally as well. We were her last wedding of the year as she was ready to pop with her second child on the day of our ceremony. She is absolutely lovely, and I honestly can’t recommend her enough!!!! She is sooooo talented!


His suit…

Phil: Living in Australia and planning a wedding in Ireland is no easy task. Everything is a challenge even the time differences can be stumbling blocks. Planning an overseas wedding also means you need to think outside the box to get some things ticked off the list. I needed to pick my suits at the hire shop in Ireland but I couldn’t be there in person due to a busy schedule in Sydney, so the next best thing was FaceTime. Yes I picked my suit over FaceTime, with the help of my good friends Ursula and Stevie, standing in Red Menswear in Cookstown, Tyrone. My friend Stevie had to try on all the suits in the shop while my friend Ursula gave her best opinions to me while holding the phone, while I looked on from my couch in Sydney at 3am Sydney time.



What our bridal party wore…

Both: The girls wore dresses purchased from ChiChi London. Two different styles of a dusty rose vintage tea dress. Our Maid of Honour’s dress was a sweetheart neckline with small straps on either side, then hemmed below the bust. With a triple layer knee length bottom to it, the top later with rose gold flower designs. Our 3 bridesmaids wore nearly the same dress, but their neckline was a scoop high neck, all lace, and see through in the back. Then the same bottom but without the rose gold detail to it. They all paired the dresses with strappy cream heels, then gold sandals after the photos.


The groomsmen all rented suits from Reds Grooms wear in Cookstown. Their jackets, vests, and pants were a charcoal check design, with a white collared shirt, dusty rose tie and handkerchief, dark grey flower pin, and a tan/brown laced-up shoe. And finished with a silver and black square cuff link.


Our ceremony…

Both: We had the perfect ceremony. Neither of us wanted a traditional ceremony so for us a church wasn’t the right fit. So we wanted to find a venue that we could hold both the ceremony and the reception. We had the perfect combination, our celebrant was the talented Vincent Whelan from Spiritual Ceremonies Ireland which took place in the ceremony room at the beautiful Ballymagarvey Village. We included poems and song lyrics that had meaning to us, and involved our friends and family as much as we could in our ceremony. Liz also pre-recorded her processional song and played that as a surprise for Phil on the day. We included our moms in a candle-lighting ceremony as a nice sentimental touch. And lastly, our favourite personal touch was the love letter and wine box. We each wrote a love letter to one another about how we felt at this moment. We bought our favourite wine, and included a wedding invite as well. Our celebrant then read some beautiful words about respect and love and always putting each other first. Then we sealed it all in the box and it’s not to be opened until our 25th wedding anniversary, or if we feel like down the track we need a reminder on how we felt now. All our guests said they could feel the love in the room and loved how smoothly the ceremony ran.



We chose our videographer because…

Both: Ronan Quinn was recommended on our venue’s supplier list but also personally recommended to us by our dear friends Leon and Declan who used him two years before our wedding at the same venue. Ronan managed to capture every single amazing moment of our day. Things we didn’t even notice on the day we were able to relive while watching our very cherished wedding video. Ronan is very calm and caring on the day. You barely even notice he is there, but he still manages to capture every single moment. He also knew our photographer, The Fennells, very well. So that made the day and communication flow even easier on the day. We highly recommend Ronan to any couple getting married, he is worth every penny! We have watched our wedding video like 40 times since December hahah. We love you Ronan!


We chose our wedding coordinator because…

Both: We had Brianan Mc Cartney helping us plan our big day at Ballymagarvey Village. We didn’t get a choice, once you pay the deposit they allocate you a wedding planner to work with. With us being overseas, this was a necessity for us! We needed someone on the ground to pay close attention to detail where we weren’t able to. Her attention to detail and personal touch to our day was impeccable! It was great working with someone who made us feel so welcome and a part of our planning even with being thousands of miles away. We highly recommend her if you can request someone when/if booking the same venue as us!



We chose our venue because…

Both: We spent months trying to figure out what country to have our wedding in let alone what venue. We were going to get married in Nashville, Tennessee but that was proving very difficult. So once we agreed on the country being Ireland, we started to search for venues that fit our price bracket as well as our theme. We definitely knew we wanted all our guests to stay over so we didn’t choose a place close to anyone, so all our guests could sleep over and have a mini holiday themselves.

We finally decided on Ballymagarvey Village in Meath, a 5 star wedding venue that has won awards all over Ireland for various reasons. Our friends were married there in October 2016 and after seeing their photos and hearing their reviews we knew it was going to be a great match for us! Phil flew over in May 2017 and went for a tour of the grounds and instantly fell in love, we left a deposit that day! On our day the grounds were stunning, the staff was amazing and kind, food was delicious, and the rooms set up to perfection. You are treated like royalty, not only the bride and groom but all the guests are! Ballymagarvey will forever be etched in our memories, the amount of small details they master is amazing. A lot of our guests from Ireland and around the world were blown away, and even those who are usually hard to please top us our wedding was the best wedding they were ever at. We are begging all our friends to get married there so we can go back. Being overseas meant Liz didn’t see the wedding venue in person until two weeks before the wedding!


Our menu…

Again, living in Sydney meant we had to skip the food tasting. Instead we trusted Phil’s sister Grainne and husband Sean to fill in for us tasting the food and wine.



Starter: warm braised beef and Guinness pie with duchess potatoes.

Soup: leek potato and smoked bacon, served with a selection of breads.

Main: choice of: peppered Hereford sirloin of beef, served with celeriac puree, peal onion, and smoked pancetta cassoulet. Or baked fillet of seabass served with wilted pak choi and citrus beurre blanc.

Dessert: Ballymagarvey dessert plate: shot of raspberry sorbet, lemon tart, mini banoffee, and chocolate brownie.



Our honeymoon…

Both: After the wedding we had a small mini-moon travelling around Ireland while the weather was good, we had planned to go to the Maldives but we put that on hold as we just bought an investment property in the United States, so the Honeymoon will have to wait, maybe we will enjoy our honeymoon on our first anniversary.


My favourite part of the wedding day…

Phil: Seeing friends and family from all over the world in one place for our big day.

Liz: Having everyone we love in one place for the 2 days and the speeches.


My piece of advice for other couples…

Both: When you’re at your wit’s end and so over talking about flowers and table plans, just sit back and take a deep breath. Remember none of this will matter on the day. So don’t stress over the small details, relax and enjoy your day! Take it all in on the day, look around while everyone is eating or at the end of the night and see who was chatting to who and who is dancing, because it all goes so fast!

Also take note you won’t please everyone no matter how hard you try so don’t even try to please everyone, your wedding is about both of you, no one else!



What is a special touch that makes your wedding unique?

As an icebreaker for the tables we had them each sing us a portion of a song during dinner and we voted at the end who was the best and that table won a round of drinks




Wedding venue: Ballymagarvey Village | Photographer: The Fennells | Planner/coordinator: Brianán McCartney – Ballymagarvey Village | Videographer: Quinn Video | Musician: Day 1: Oliver Conlon (Tyrone) Rhiannon Corby (Sydney) Alan Brereton (Kildare) The Miracles (Tyrone) Day 2: Mad For The Road Band (Tyrone) | DJ: Kevin Hurson c/o The Miracles | Hair: Emily Gluecklich | Makeup: Larabelle Makeup | Dress: Pronovious Spain | Suits: Red Groomswear | Bridesmaids dresses: Chi Chi London | Charity: ‘Homeless Action Group Belfast’ – a great charity who every day feed young families in financial distress | Celebrant: Vincent Whelan from Spiritual Ceremonies Ireland | Selfie Mirror: Selfie Mirror Party Promotions

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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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