“The boys and girls suits and dresses were all navy. My dress had a touch of blush in it so the flowers were blush and nude tones, as well as all our stationery.”
Names: Ciara Monaghan & Stuart Gilles
Length of engagement: 1 year & 9 months
Wedding Date: 27/04/2018
Wedding location: Bellingham Castle, Co Louth
Photographer: Gary Barrett
We met… in Oz. The first time we crossed paths was in Dec 2008. Stuart was literally just off the plane from Ireland and I was at the end of my first year travelling around Oz. I don’t think we even spoke to each other, more just noticed each other in a bar. Same thing happened again a few months later in Melbourne on a night out. Noticed each other but didn’t actually speak to each other. It was November 2009 when we crossed paths again in Perth. It was like we were meant to be. Our paths kept crossing and we finally started chatting and got together from there. It’s true what they say … “what’s for you won’t pass you”.
Our proposal… Stuart had arranged a weekend away skiing in Mount Buller, Victoria, Australia. I wasn’t too keen on going, but usually I do all the holiday booking and as Stuart was keen on this I figured why not. We were at the top of one of the ski slopes making our way down and he pulled into the side so I followed. Next thing he pulled out a wee box with the ring in it and proposed! I was so stunned. Even though we’ve been together years it still took me by surprise. Obviously I said Yes. But needed to sit down for a few mins after to let it all sink in! It was v sweet.
Our wedding theme/colours… no real theme as such – boys and girls suits and dresses were all navy. My dress had a touch of blush in it so the flowers were blush and nude tones, as well as all our stationery. I think keeping it simple is best, less is more. Re the venue, Bellingham brings its own theme. It was exactly the vibe we were going for … stunning surrounds, inside just as beautiful as outside. We didn’t need to add much to such a beautiful venue. It was exactly what we wanted as it was.
Things we DIY’d/made ourselves… I don’t think we did any DIY as such. My sisters did a bit of the decorating. Like some photos around Bellingham of loved ones who have passed but we wanted them remembered on the day. Also refreshment baskets in the bathrooms and things like that but we didn’t go overboard as Bellingham is such a stunning venue. It really didn’t need anything added.
My dress… I didn’t know what I wanted. I just knew I wanted a blush tone and didn’t see what I was looking for in all the shops I visited. So I ended up getting the dress made here in Melbourne (Shehzarin Batha Couture). It’s a bit scary going with something from scratch and not knowing what way it’s going to turn out but Shez & Kanita were lovely to deal with and reassured me at every fitting it would be exactly as I pictured. The dress was so beautiful in the end I was really happy I went with my gut and didn’t just settle for something I only half loved.
My hair and makeup… Hair was done by my cousin Emma Zamboglou. She lives in Spain with her hubby and 2 little girls, so was v special that she flew home to be part of our big day and make our hair look fabulous!
His suit… Stuart picked his suit here in Melbourne, from Peter Jackson if I remember correctly! He kept it simple and went with a navy suit and white/ivory shirt and tie.
What our bridal party wore… The boys had matching suits to Stuart’s with different tie colours. And the bridesmaids, my 2 sisters also went for navy dresses (Asos) with rose gold shoes (Ted Baker) and accessories. The two wee flower girls are Stuart’s nieces and their dresses were cream (River Island) so it all blended in nicely.
Our ceremony… We went for a spiritual ceremony. Celebrant was Graham Barrett and he was such a breeze to deal with. All along I wanted an outdoor wedding but with Ireland you just can’t plan for the weather. So it was only on the morning of the Big Day we got the all clear to go ahead with it outdoors. It was beautiful.
We chose our photographer because… Gary’s pictures are stunning. He’s creative and has a great eye for detail. I loved how easygoing he was from the first time I enquired with him. When he arrived at the house the morning of the wedding he was all business, but full of banter too. He made us all feel relaxed throwing a few joked here and there to help us lose any nerves we had. He was honestly my favourite supplier of all. Just a pleasure to deal with. I can’t recommend him enough to anyone looking for a photographer for their big day.
We chose our wedding coordinator because… Ciara is the coordinator at Bellingham so her services were all part of the package. She is amazing, so organised and all over what she does. Shes 100% pro at this wedding business so having her oversee everything made it less stressful for us so we could enjoy our day.
We chose our venue because… it was beautiful, and not too far for all of our friends and family to travel to. Excluding those who travelled from Oz, the UK, Spain, Germany, Denmark, South Africa.
Our menu …. The food at Bellingham comes highly rated. It’s hard to please everyone but I’m certain on our big day everyone enjoyed the food.
Our honeymoon… we flew into New York for a night and went straight to Miami for a few nights. Then on to Jamaica. This was def both of our faves, so relaxing (exactly what you want after the wedding madness!). Amazing weather, just as you would imagine when you think of Jamaica, island bliss. Then we headed over to Cancun for a week before flying back to New York for a few days / nights. Then home and then back to Melbourne. Best holiday ever.
My favourite part of the wedding day… our videographer, Daniel, spotted a “field of gold” a few mins away from the castle. After the ceremony we jumped in the cars with Daniel and Gary (photographer) to get a few pictures taken. I think this was a nice quiet few minutes where myself and Stuart could just relax and spend some time together between all the madness of the day.
My piece of advice for other couples… trust your suppliers. They know what they’redoing soo you don’t need to stress the small stuff.
What is it that makes your wedding unique? It was all planned and organised from Australia. Pretty easy nowadays with everything available online!
Wedding venue: Bellingham Castle | Photographer: Gary Barrett | Planner/coordinator: Ciara Carolan – wedding coordinator at Bellingham Castle | Videographer: Bainis Films – Daniel Corcoran | Ceremony and pre-dinner Musician: Aisling Connolly | Band & DJ: The Seducers | Hair: Emma Zamboglou | Makeup: Sarah Murphy | Dress: Shehzarin Batha Couture, Melbourne | Suit: Peter Jackson | Bridesmaids dresses: Asos | Groomsmen outfits: Peter Jackson | Florist: Emer McKenna | Invites /Stationery: Bride to Bee | Cake: Groom’s mum | Celebrant: Graham Barrett – Spiritual Ceremonies Ireland
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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.