Length of engagement: 9 months | Wedding date: May 20, 2011
Wedding location: Bellinter House, Navan, Co. Meath, Ireland
Photographer: Karina Finegan Photography
“We wanted a place that we could pretend was ours for the weekend, and really relax in. That was exactly how it worked out!”
We met… in Kennedy’s pub on Westland Row. He was there for some birthday drinks, I had just arrived in Dublin that morning for a summer study abroad at Trinity College.
“I actually proposed to him in bed one morning before we left for work.. I just blurted it out.”
– Maggie on her and Neal’s very non-traditional proposal!
My dress… was by this Spanish designer called Maria Luisa Rabell, who makes these really unconventional wedding dresses in all undyed, organic fabrics. I saved money by buying the sample from Myrtle Ivory in Dublin, and having it tailored to fit me. I changed into a short dress for the evening from Dirty Fabulous Vintage Boutique in Dublin.
Maggie’s first impressions of Neal… “I remember thinking he was tall! And he seemed really eager to help us enjoy Dublin on our first night in town.”
Neal’s first impressions of Maggie… “I saw this girl and her friend who seemed to need rescuing from getting chatted up by a very annoying guy. Then I was a little bit blown away by how funny she was in this completely unforced way.”
Our proposal… I actually proposed to him in bed one morning before we left for work. We’d been dancing around the idea for weeks so I just blurted it out. A few days later we went to an antique jewellery store in the Powerscourt Centre to pick out a ring together. When the ring was ready, he got down on one knee on the Powerscourt Centre steps… a few of our friends happened to be in Grogan’s and saw the whole thing, and started cheering!
Our wedding theme/colours… it was kind of supposed to be like an Edwardian garden party or something, but we mostly just chose things we liked.
Our ceremony… We’d actually been married in a civil ceremony in the US, where my family are from, two weeks before the wedding. In Ireland, we had a wedding blessing, which was performed by my uncle, who is a retired Episcopalian minister. The music was by a bluegrass band that I’d heard busking one day in town, they were brilliant!
We chose our venue because… the house and grounds in Bellinter House were so beautiful, without being fancy or fussy. We wanted a place that we could pretend was ours for the weekend, and really relax in. That was exactly how it worked out! Plus their food is to die for.
“My favourite part of the day was just relaxing in the sunshine during the cocktail hour and before the dinner had started, listening to the bluegrass band, feeling so blessed by the weather!”
We chose our photographer because… well, first and foremost, Karina Finegan is one of the most talented photographers we know! We’d worked with her on film sets, where she does really beautiful stills and promotional photography, but one of her specialities is amazing candids That’s what we wanted, a lot of candid photos of the people we love, being themselves.
We chose our wedding coordinator because… we didn’t really have a wedding coordinator, although the events coordinator at Bellinter was really amazing and made everything run smoothly. She even took bottles of wine around to all the neighbors living nearby the venue, to pre-empt any bad feelings about our late night disco!
“One of her specialities is amazing candids That’s what we wanted, a lot of candid photos of the people we love, being themselves.”
– On photographer, Karina Finegan
“Mostly just chose things we liked!”
– Maggie on putting together a wedding theme
Our honeymoon… was a month long backpacking trip around Spain and France. We stopped off to see a lot of family and friends, and finished it off by taking a ferry to London and relaxing with some more friends there.
“Our event coordinator at Bellinter House took bottles of wine around to all the neighbors living nearby the venue, to pre-empt any bad feelings about the late night disco!”
My piece of advice for other brides… is not to worry about how much your guests are going to enjoy themselves. I got a bit wrapped up in fretting about everyone having what they wanted and needed, there were times I forgot to relax and enjoy myself.
We used the Flying Baby Cake Company in Meath for our cake and cupcakes, they were divine and so affordable! Also, my mom got some amazing pieces for the weekend from Covet (who hire out designer gowns and accessories) in the Powerscourt Townhouse. Last but certainly not least: Springbreak, the eighties cover band who played long into the night and simply blew our guests away. I have relatives who still pull me aside to tell me how much fun they had dancing that night.
By Karen Birney
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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.