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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Dublin Destination Wedding

Words by Katie Martin
Photos courtesy of Elisha Clarke

Michael, who was once a commitment phobic, jokingly made an agreement with Jennifer that if he ever proposed, they would have a castle wedding. Less than two years later, Michael changed his mind about commitment and proposed to Jennifer, who enthusiastically said, “Yes!” After Michael popped the question, Jennifer reminded him of the agreement they had made about having a castle wedding. What started out as a joke for the couple, soon turned into a memory of a lifetime when they had a Dublin destination wedding at Drimnagh Castle.

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The couple’s choice to have a destination wedding in Ireland was easy to pick as Jennifer has family ties there and Michael wanted to see a foreign destination. When it came to choosing where to have their wedding, Jennifer’s main request was to have it at an authentic Irish castle. “We could not have done it without the help of our amazing destination wedding planner, Keely Beth Gledhill,” says the bride. “Once we discussed our vision for the ceremony, she contacted several venues and sent us a review of each location. Drimnagh Castle turned out to be exactly what we both envisioned and we immediately fell in love with it.”

Michael and Jennifer soon experienced several challenges upon choosing to have their Irish castle wedding at Drimnagh Castle. For starters, the castle was publicly funded and they couldn’t guarantee the location for their March wedding. There were also no on-site facilities for meal preparation, which forced the couple to hire an entire kitchen for their wedding day. “It seemed like one expense after another, but our wedding planner kept us grounded,” says Jennifer. “She worked out solutions and communicated with all the vendors and we know that a lot of work was done behind the scenes.”

For organizing the wedding guest list, Michael and Jennifer kept it small, with only 14 attendees, who were all overjoyed with an invitation to go to Ireland. “Our guests considered it an opportunity to enjoy a short vacation and they were honored to be invited to celebrate in the intimate occasion,” says Jennifer. However, some family members were concerned about costs, travel and the plan to get there. “After confirming our budget, we offered to cover their airfare and communicated frequently about plans, but in the end, everyone covered their own costs and had an amazing trip.”

As for where guests would be staying, the couple initially fell behind on making those plans, but luckily the best man stepped up to help. “He chose a conveniently-located hotel for us,” says the bride.

Once family and friends arrived, the start of a busy wedding weekend began. “Guests arrived on multiple dates, wanted to see the sights and had different levels of involvement in the wedding,” says Jennifer. “We planned one group event so that everyone could gather and relax the day before the wedding.” The couple even had help from the hotel’s guest happiness coordinator, Silvana, to ensure that everyone had a stress-free vacation.

When the couple’s special day arrived, they had no regrets and could not have asked for a more perfect affair. “We have no regrets and realize that there would be stress with any wedding, destination or not,” says the couple. “The bonus with a destination wedding is that both the couple and guests are treated to a much more memorable experience.”

We asked the couple if they had any special advice for others planning to have a destination wedding and they offered a list of their main pieces of advice:

  • Understand why you’re truly considering a destination wedding and create your vision accordingly. Try to include culture and events that your guests can experience.
  • Get a wedding planner early and be sure you are comfortable with them understanding and communicating your vision. That person will be your link to vendors and the driver behind a successful day.
  • Splurge on what you love. For us, it was the food and the location.
  • If you can find a videographer whose style you like, hire them! We originally did not plan on having one, but friends and family are happy that they are able to look back at that day.
  • Keep loving one another. Things are going to get stressful and it may even feel overwhelming, but you are in this together and have an opportunity to create a fairy tale. When the day comes, enjoy being with one another as a married couple.

Vendors: Photographer: Elisha Clarke; Ceremony/Reception: Drimnagh Castle; Wedding Planner: Keely Beth Gledhill; Florist: Malvern Flowers; Stationery: Jackalope Press; Catering: Naomi’s Kitchen; Hair: Sian Sharkey; Makeup: Alyson Smyth; Gown Designer: Justin Alexander Signature; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Englunds Apparel; Bridesmaid Clothing Designer: Alfred Angelo; Groomsmen Clothing Designer: Englunds Apparel; Videographer: Cathal Farrelly; Accommodations: Ashling Hotel; Bride’s Car: Absolute Wedding Cars; Celebrant: Tom Farrell, Spiritual Ceremonies; Music: Sacred Sounds; Jewelry: Benari Jewelers, Henri Daussi, Mikimoto, Ooh Jacquelina, Soru Jewellery, Triton; Rental: Select Hire

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