These sweet Sydneysiders headed to Cavan, Ireland the beautiful brides hometown for their special day.
Wedding date: September 14, 2018
Wedding location: Cavan, Ireland
Number of guests: 110
Bridal party: 4
Ceremony start time: 3.30pm
Reception start time: 6pm
How did you meet?
We met on a Sunday afternoon at a local brewery in Sydney’s Inner West, that we both frequent – Wayward Brewing. We got chatting and hit it off, I don’t know if it was my ability to drink pints of stout or his beard! Bizarrely, a couple of promotion girls for a razor brand showed up and Steve suggested he’d have one of his legs shaved if I’d go on a date with him. He did, and I took him up on the offer. Truth is, I probably would have gone on a date regardless!
Tell us about the proposal…
Steve loves a production! He managed to conspire with some of my work colleagues and best mates to organise a mini treasure hunt that involved clues that took me to some of my favourite bars around Sydney. At each location I received an envelope that I wasn’t allowed open. The final clue took me to the rooftop of the InterContinental at Circular Quay, where Steve was waiting out on the balcony that overlooks the harbour. He took the envelopes, opened them, and arranged the cards to spell out – “Will you marry me?” in Irish (he did a decent job of pronouncing it too). The answer was of course yes! Unbeknownst to me my work colleagues and friends were looking on from the other side of the balcony – ready to pop the champers!
Where was your wedding ceremony and reception?
We did things a little differently, we had a civil ceremony in Kangaroo Valley, in the NSW Southern Highlands, and then headed to Ireland where we got married in a small country Church where I grew up, about 90 minutes north of Dublin, followed by a reception at Gartlan’s, a traditional thatch-roof pub in Kingscourt that’s over 110 years old (it’s been featured on numerous “Pubs of Ireland” posters).
How did you find the location and why did you choose it?
We choose Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church for a number of reasons, firstly it’s where my family are originally from and the same Church my parents were married in, it’s also set against a beautiful backdrop of Lough an Leagh mountain and rolling green fields – making for some stunning photographs. Gartlan’s was a little different, when people think of a wedding in Ireland they generally think of a castle setting, but we were after a relaxed pub-style session – given we met over a pint, and it ticked all the boxes. We weren’t sure it would work with the numbers we were planning but it was just perfect.
During the planning of your wedding how many times did you visit the location?
We made a trip to visit family the Christmas before we got engaged, Gartlan’s had recently reopened after undergoing a significant restoration project to bring it back to its former glory – and Steve fell in love with it (as well as the hospitality and the Guinness).
What was the theme of your wedding?
Rustic with vintage undertones
How easy or hard was it to plan your wedding?
We had the benefit of working with fantastic vendors and suppliers who understood exactly what we were after, and we placed full trust in them doing the job – making our lives a lot easier! My mother, sister and friend Ciara, were the best team of wedding co-ordinators we could have asked for, I think they shielded us from a lot of stress that can come with planning a wedding from 17,000km away.
Where did the majority of your guests stay?
Hollow Stream Bed & Breakfast, and numerous Airbnb’s in the surrounding area.
Did you have an itinerary or planned activity for guests on either side of the wedding?
For guests coming from overseas we had a list of suggested day trips and activities for them to choose from including Dun a Ri Forest Park, Lunch at Cabra Castle, Newgrange and Bru na Boinne, the Giant’s Causeway, and no trip to Ireland would be complete without a trip to Jameson Distillery or Guinness in Dublin.
What advice would you give a couple planning a destination wedding in this location?
Don’t have any expectations for the weather, I think that applies for every location not just Ireland - overcast and cloudy weather makes for better photographs after all! If you are planning a wedding in a small town or village, be conscious that you might not have a huge choice of vendors and suppliers to choose from and you may have to look further afield, and ask for recommendations from your function venue – they may have preferred suppliers that that they work with who know the venue, area etc…If you plan on getting married in a Catholic Church you may be required to do a pre-marriage course (which you can do from Australia) – contact your local parish for more details – and get on this sooner rather than later!
What did you like about having a destination wedding?
The excitement of planning both a holiday, honeymoon and wedding all in one – and sharing it with family and friends.
What was your favourite part of your wedding day?
It’s hard to single out a specific moment in what was a very special day, but that ‘first look moment’ with my grandmother was pretty epic, there was lots of ugly crying from everyone!
What advice would you give someone else planning a destination wedding?
Notify guests you plan on inviting as early as you can – particularly if international travel is required. If you are unfamiliar with the location, it’s worth looking at working with a local planner or co-ordinator that can help with sourcing and dealing with suppliers and vendors – this saves a lot of time, late night calls and unnecessary stress.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
We were so happy with our big day that’s not much we would have done differently or changed. If we were to do it all again though, I think we’d steal a couple of quiet moments away together amongst the madness – which is advice that everyone gives you – but it’s hard when you’re swept up in the moment.
How many days before the wedding did you arrive at your location?
How many days did you stay at the location of your wedding?
Were there any particularly special or memorable moments from the day you want to share?
We were lucky to be able to get some fantastic photographs at my Grandmother’s farmhouse before we went to the Church (breaking with tradition!), but it allowed us to have some time alone with her before everything got too chaotic. She sadly passed away a couple of months after our wedding, so those memories will stay with us forever. Walking down the lane to the chapel with my Dad, sister and old school friends was pretty special too, and Steve got to get ready in the old out-houses where my great-grandparents lived, using a wash basin and mirror my great-grandfather would have used.
Tell us about…
Flowers, bouquets and floral arrangements:
Our flowers and bouquets were a mix of greens, wild flowers, roses and fresh purple heather hand-picked from Lough an Leagh mountain. Heather was the main theme and featured in floral arrangements and jam jars in both the chapel and around Gartlan’s.
The menu and food served:
Our caterer went to great lengths to incorporate both Irish and Australian flavours across our menu. We opted for a buffet style set up with numerous gourmet food stations serving crowd favourites like Pulled Pork Sliders, Beef Burgers, Chicken and Prawn Skewers, and Guinness Sausages, accompanied by an array of salads, sides and home-made breads. As well as the wedding cake, the team sourced a dozen packets of Tim Tams and Macarons to take our dessert table to the next level. To wrap up the night we had Tayto Sandwiches – an Irish favourite (Cheese and onion chips on white bread)!
Wedding cake or equivalent:
We opted for a simple but delicious lemon sponge cake with a simple buttercream finish and dressed with fresh flowers. The cake was supplied by Ciste Milis, an artisan Irish bakery based in Kingscourt.
Music and entertainment:
As our guests arrived to Gartlan’s, there was a trio of traditional Irish musicians to welcome them. For the main reception we had a Tommy Reilly – a local one-man-band – who played a mix of new and old rock classic. Our entrance song was “Lonely Boy” by The Black Keys and first dance was “I Found You” by The Alabama Shakes followed by “Don’t Stop Believing”.
In addition to the distinctive thatch roof, Gartlan’s is a treasure throve of antiques and treasures, something we took full advantage of for our décor and styling. We simply added a handful of personal touches like old photographs, candles in old beer bottles, lanterns, wood stumps, fairy lights and bunting to fill out the space in the marquee.
Stubbie Holders (Australian Touch!)
Anything else you included on the day:
We opted for Guinness over Champagne for our welcome drink and even got in behind the bar to pull a pint!
The style of Steve’s suit was called “The Jamie” which he discovered when he went to order it, that was a sign from the universe telling him he’d made the right choice! While he bought a standard off the rack suit from Roger David, he had a waistcoat custom made and the suit tailored to his style.
Steve designed his wedding ring to incorporate elements that were important to him – a diamond from his mum’s engagement ring at the centre with an Australian sapphire and an emerald offset in 9ct rose gold on either side.
Jamie’s shoes were custom made by Shoes of Prey (no longer available) and included an inscription on the insole “mo chuisle mo chroí” – which means pulse of my heart.
Photographer: Kristie Carrick
Ceremony: Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Kingscourt Parish)
Reception: Gartlan’s Pub
Celebrant: Fr Gerry McCormack
Florist: Little Buds Florist
Decorations: Gartlan’s and our caterer provided numerous props, others were sourced from numerous vintage stores, garage sales. We also brought some props from Reverse Garbage in Marrickville.
Cake: Ciste Milis
Catering: The Wishing Well Bar & Restaurant
Entertainment: Tommy Reilly
Guest favours: Soupcan
Stationery: Niamh Gillespie Design
Engagement ring: Brilliant Earth
Wedding Rings: Chupi (Jamie) and Geo Gems (Steve)
Bridal gown: Lost in Paris
Hair stylist: New Episode
Makeup artist: Gwen Smith
Shoes: Shoes of Prey
Veil: Madame Tulle
Bridesmaid accessories: Chupi
Bridesmaid gifts: Chupi
Bridesmaid outfits: ASOS
Bridesmaid shoes: Shoe City
Accessories: vintage bag from SWOP
Grooming: Tooth & Nail
Shoes: R M Williams
Socks and tie: Myer
Suit: Roger David
Groomsmen outfits: Roger David
Groomsmen gifts: R M Williams