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Grandma’s House – A Real DIY Wedding at Home by Couple Photography

“Eoin showed me around his 96-year-old granny’s house and out the back there was this amazing run down hall which was surrounded by a very cluttered yard! I just saw the potential when I saw it. “

The couple: Sara Farrell & Eoin Kennedy
Length of engagement: 1 year | Wedding date: 11th July
Wedding location: Eoin’s Granny’s Dance Hall – Quigley’s Hall Banagher

Photographer: Roslyn Byrne of  Couple Photography | Preparation Shots: Elaine Barker Photography

putting up marquee for diy wedding

man watering flowers in back garden

portrait of elderly woman in kitchen

renovating old house

smiling elderly irish woman with sweeping brush

We met… In a lovely little establishment in Navan called Clems! It was Halloween night and by Christmas we were going out officially. We were together seven years when we got engaged and eight years when we got married.

renovating house men moving sofa

group renovating old house

diy wedding preparations at home

Our proposal… We were on a walk in our favourite part of the Pheonix Park when all of a sudden Eoin was on one knee asking me to marry him.

lace tea length dress tom flowers

bride having make up applied

bride spraying perfume

My dress, hair and make-up… I originally bought a Vera Wang dress in America but changed my mind eeekkk! I bought a Tom Flowers tea length dress instead. My friend Sheena styled my hair and my make-up artist was Lida Hertel.

bride first look black and white

bridesmaids red tea length dresses

groom with parents

His suit… was from Pat Byrne in Trim and his shoes were Kurt Geiger from Brown Thomas.

bride with red shoes red rose bouquet

wedding ceremony couple glance

wedding ceremony bride groom hug

bride twirling in tea length wedding dress

Our ceremony… We had a church ceremony in Banagher. Our priest Fr. Pierre Pepper was absolutely brilliant.

rustic decor diy wedding blue red yellow

red blue yellow rustic wedding inspiration

barn wedding couple retro sofas

bride black white portrait

Our wedding theme/colours…  We decided to go with a slight element of a Vintage Circus and the colours were red and white. We started off with our invitations in this style and then progressed with it through all of our stationery. We made our own napkin rings with circus tickets. We had a photobooth which was a €15 frame from IKEA and then €30 worth of clown props (it was a huge hit!) We made our own candy table. We then themed different parts of our venue to keep with the theme of Eoin’s granny’s house. It used to be a tailors so we had one outhouse set up as a replica shop and then we had another outhouse set up as her living room, we even used the original sofas, a wireless and the portraits of her parents, Mr & Mrs Quigley.

flower shape engagement ring gold

old dress makers station

old 1900s painting portrait woman

We chose our venue because… Where do we start with this! I worked in hotels for many years and I just really wanted something a little bit different. Way before Eoin proposed he showed me around his 96-year-old granny’s house. Out the back there was this amazing run down hall which was surrounded by a very cluttered yard! I just saw the potential when I saw it. When we actually started to talk about a venue, I suggested this idea to Eoin… he of course laughed but then eventually knew how great it could be. We spoke with our family who all thought we were crazy but agreed it would be great. The final port of call was to ask Granny Ev if she would allow us to take over the place for the next year. She gave us the go ahead and also told us at that point that she had gotten married there! If it was good enough for Ev, it was good enough for us!

We spent the year loading skips, planting flowers, sewing curtains, making centrepieces and so much more. We had to resurface the yard, this involved getting a digger to lift all of the current surface. Midway through the dig, the digger fell backwards in to a septic tank. It was a disaster. We had to get some very nice neighbours to get one of their friends to come down with a cherry picker to lift it out and a jeep to pull it out… it took a few hours but we got there in the end!

My mum and Eoin’s dad designed the garden and planted all of the new plants. Eoin’s cousin David prepared the garden all year and had it in amazing shape on the day! When it all came together the day before the wedding, it was so worth it. As soon as the draping went up (provided by Gorilla Design) it just turned the room in to a spectacular ballroom.

bride in red satin shoes

alternative wedding retro kitchen bride groom

barn wedding outdoors

We chose our photographer because… Having worked with many photographers through work, the one that always impressed me was Roslyn of I always felt that she had a very creative style plus she’s just great fun!




My favourite part of the wedding day… The whole thing, it is hard to pick a favourite. The lead up was brilliant. All of our close friends descended on the town to help us set up and even though it was hard work, we had such a great time.



We chose our wedding coordinator because… Well that was me and well I’m a control freak! We also booked two managers to run the wedding day for us. We chose Barbara Dunne from Thomas Prior Hall and Sean Reid of Doyles Croke Park. Both are highly regarded managers and I knew that I could trust my life with them. They left no stone unturned and the guests raved about how great they were on the day.


red vintage circus wedding theme


Our menu… We contracted Conor McLoughlin from North County Dublin Caterers. I can’t praise this man enough. He went above and beyond to help us in more than just the catering. We opted for a BBQ wedding and everyone raved about the steak. The quality of food was stunning and Conor gave us a great deal.


Our honeymoon… We booked with Tour America and booked Orlando and Cancun. Orlando was great fun but Cancun… Oh my God it’s heaven on earth. Our resort was Dreams Riviera and I couldn’t recommend it enough, it’s stunning! Tip for couples – we got a deal at the Red Cow sale that they do in January or February – we saved about €1000.



My piece of advice for other brides…

  1. No matter what you budget… add on another 10%-20%!
  2. DIY is not cheaper than a hotel.
  3. Guest numbers was the only thing that stressed me out, it will always work out in the end so try not to panic early on about this!
  4. My advice is to tell your bridal shop your wedding is a week or two earlier than it actually is so that the order arrives in good time… I had serious veil drama!
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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.

  One comment

  1. What an absolute pleasure it was to shoot all te behind the scenes preparation for my friend Sara’s big day! Happily though she gave me the day off of her wedding day so I could join the celebrations, kick back, relax and watch Ros do a great job!

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