MICHELLE — Founder, Waterlily Weddings LLC; lead planner
hopeless romantic. eternal optimist. planner extraordinaire.
Why do you love being a wedding planning planner? Wow, where to start? There is no better job in the world! I get to work together with a couple, creating their dream wedding day in spectacular Ireland, and give them the gift of a beautiful memory without the hassle and stress a wedding normally brings. I love bringing their vision to life, and I take the trust they put in me to do so very seriously. I relish the pressure to match every detail, merging traditions, translating meanings, making sure each wedding looks and sounds and even smells exactly the way each couple envisions it in their heads. There is no greater satisfaction than the honor of being there for a couple’s wedding day: being able to witness every ounce of love, knowing the sacrifices and determination that went into getting there, and being a part of creating the celebration that is honoring their journey. Once you see the smiles of the bride and groom on the day, you feel that pure love, and we often have to fight back the tears ourselves!!
How did you get here? Growing up in County Wicklow, aptly named the “Garden of Ireland,” I spent every holiday traveling to different parts of the island and staying in some of Ireland’s best towns and villages. This gave me a lifelong appreciation of our Irish culture, traditions, history and of course, our great hospitality. And I’m thrilled to be able to share these important details with my clients, and create their perfect wedding day!
What makes you the best? I love translating my clients’ hopes and dreams for their wedding day to the perfect location and venue in Ireland. I encourage them to consider going off the beaten path and embracing a slice of unique Ireland, the parts that I know so well and love. I listen to my clients and work hard to create a tailored wedding day unique to their vision, personality, and spirit that will flow easily throughout the day and be classic and beautiful. Couples and their guests will experience the best in wedding professionalism: we work with award-winning, dedicated, creative, and passionate professionals who deliver world class service. This allows us to deliver the wedding day you’ve always dreamed of.
What makes me laugh: My husband; Irish Comedians Deirdre O’Kane and Tommy Tiernan.
Favorite designer: Oscar de la Renta – seriously wow
Best holiday: Honeymoon in the Maldives; backpacking in Asia
What I cannot say no to: Bailey’s cheesecake and a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Biggest risk I ever took: Traveling to Australia and Asia on my own at 22! A close second, starting my own business!
Countries lived in: Ireland, UK, US and New Zealand
social butterfly. believer in destiny. creative genius.
The beginning of a partnership. It all started almost 20 years ago. Michelle and I sat next to each other in a marketing lecture at DIT (Dublin Institute of Technology), where we became fast friends. Over the years, as Michelle began building the business, the time came to expand and open a Dublin office, she invited me to take a key role and I was so thrilled! I get to work alongside one of my best friends while planning the ultimate in lifetimes events — weddings — all in my beautiful home country of Ireland! Living the dream stuff, hey!
Forever A Dubliner . I was born in Dublin and I am still based here, operating out of our Waterlily Weddings Dublin office. I spent most of my childhood exploring the hills of Donegal (northwestern Ireland) and the other beautiful regions of the island. I am so excited to share my knowledge and passion for my beautiful home country with our clients, and help them discover the perfect, beautiful place to host their dream destination wedding in Ireland!
What makes you the best planner? With over 15 years of corporate event experience in both the Irish hospitality and Beauty industries, I bring my passion for creativity and a near-obsession for attention to detail to Waterlily Weddings. I am organized and extremely knowledgeable about our history and traditions. My role in Waterlily Weddings allows me to travel to the four corners of Ireland. This enables me to keep in face-to-face contact with all of our approved wedding venues and suppliers, ensuring top quality for our clients. I am on the constant look out for new venues, artists, suppliers, and talent to work with in order to craft bespoke wedding experiences for our clients. And I am excited to get to work on your dream wedding in beautiful Ireland!
What makes me laugh: really good chic flicks; Graham Norton (an Irish late night TV presenter and his Red Chair piece in particular); my twin boys!!
Favorite designer: Alice Temperley (love her)
Biggest risk I ever took: I’m not much of a risk taker – the truth be known. Too cautious for my own good.
What I cannot say no to: Chocolate – in any form!
Best holiday: My American road trip, Vegas, LA and San Francisco – got engaged on that one so I’m totally biased.
Countries lived in: US, Canada, Ireland.
dream translator. fairy tale firebrand. wordsmith.
Introduction to Waterlily. I met Michelle and Sile last year while my husband and I were planning our ten year wedding anniversary celebration. Originally honeymooning in Ireland, we vowed to come back ten years later with our children and best friends and share with them the glorious and mystical place that we fell in love with. After a stunning vow renewal ceremony at the Uragh stone circle in Kenmare followed by a legendary party at Sheen Falls, Michelle and I remained good friends. I found myself missing Ireland terribly, living vicariously through the amazing and romantic Irish weddings the ladies planned and posted online. Meanwhile, Michelle enjoyed my writing. I was thrilled when she asked me to come on board and write for Waterlily Weddings.
My Story. I grew up in Los Angeles and now live in Seattle, USA. I married the love of my life — a half Colombian/half Italian-Irish lad — and together we have three amazing kids (two girls, boy in the middle), and four Jack Russell terriers (all with Irish names). My family immigrated from Europe and I was the first in my family to be born in America, and the first to graduate college. The diploma says I’m a lawyer, but my heart and soul have always said I’m a writer. I play piano, sing, love to cook, and do the occasional craft when highly motivated. I’m an amateur genealogist, historian, and dabble in photography. I wear black and listen to rock n roll, I love everything vintage, collect antique tea cups, and teach and perform traditional Greek folk dancing. I love history, celebrating traditions and all things Irish! I can also take a wicked selfie.
What I Bring. Just like a musician can translate a composer’s music through playing an instrument, I do so through writing and conceptualizing. I have a strong background in Irish history and traditions (in particular ancient Ireland), and love the challenge of merging ancient traditions and cultural elements of couples into modern day weddings. I have an eye for detail, color tone, and textures which helps me conceptualize a truly bespoke wedding day for clients. I’m in love with the adventurous side of Ireland: the nooks and places where no one goes, that require boots to get there for the perfect pictures. When a couple says “I want something unforgettable and not ordinary,” I know exactly what they’re talking about. And I love sharing the latest wedding trends, colors, places, and weddings we’ve done on our BLOG.
What makes me laugh: my husband, Jimmy Fallon, my kids
Favorite writer: J.R.R. Tolkien, Jane Austen
Best holiday: trip to Ireland for our ten year anniversary
What I cannot say no to: chocolate and a good whiskey
Biggest risk I ever took: ditching class and eloping with my husband to a courthouse when I was 23
Countries lived in: USA
passionate perfectionist. chief organizer. task master.
A New York state of mind. I began my career 18 years ago with the esteemed world-famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC. I began as administrative assistant and quickly worked my way to Project Manager, overseeing a comprehensive restoration project including guest rooms, public areas, ballrooms, and restaurants. I eventually moved on to The I-Grace Company, organizing and directing construction projects and maintenance of high-end residential buildings in Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Ready to work. Now I find myself in the beautiful and creative world of wedding planning. Quality customer service, excellence in organizational skills, and details-oriented execution style is what I bring to Waterlily Weddings. In addition, attention to the most minute of details and a passion for perfection, I’m ready to work hard for our clients and give them the gift of a stress-free wedding day.
What makes me laugh: My husband and children for sure! I’ve got a house full of comedians.
Favorite designer: Well so many – tough to narrow it down but I’ll give it a try! Tory Burch for handbags and sandals (The Miller Sandal is my favorite), BCBG is my go-to every day, and Anne Barge for wedding dress designer for sure. I have been married for 10 years now and am still absolutely in love with my Anne Barge wedding dress (so I may be a little bias in this category!).
Best holiday: Croatia! Both my parents are from Croatia and the Adriatic Sea is just absolutely stunning!
What I cannot say no to: Ice cream, Nutella and a good glass of white wine accompanied by cheese.
Biggest risk I ever took: I am not much of a risk taker – let’s just say I like to play it safe. One of the hardest things I had to do was leaving friends and family in NJ and moving out of state, beginning a family, and putting my career on hold for 6 years. So grateful for Michelle giving me this opportunity to blossom again!
Countries lived in: USA
event architect. re-inventor. dream maker.
In the beginning. Michelle, Sile and I first met three years ago when they were planning one of their wonderful Irish weddings in Kenmare. We sat in front of a roaring fire and giddily discussed the plans for a couple’s upcoming nuptials. I was the wedding coordinator on behalf of the venue, so our focus had to match! I remember feeling at one with their passion for the couple’s vision and that they had their utmost interests at heart. It’s not often you meet such genuinely passionate and creative people as Michelle. I love to work with creative and passionate people, so we clicked instantly.
A view from the Hill. I come from the Hill of Tara in Co. Meath, The ‘Ancient Capital of Ireland’. My grandparents were the last private owners of the land of the High Kings. This historical site was acquired by the State in 1975 as it is a culturally and historically significant landmark. It was an honor and a privilege to grow up in this magical landscape and I am delighted that the nation and its visitors from all over the world can avail of this wonderful piece of history.
Finding a balance. I had the amazing opportunity in the first hotel I worked in to plan events (sometimes with a non-existent budget!). This really developed my creative problem solving skills and taught me a lot about this industry. I always loved private events and weddings, and after I met my husband in the industry, I decided to focus on building my professional portfolio in this specialized segment. Wedding planning came about as a natural way for me to balance the detail-oriented, Type A experience of my early career and the creative, highly-personal side of weddings and private events that I love.
Where do you find your creative inspiration? Each couple I meet brings a new wave of inspiration based on their loves and dreams for their big day. I am as much a dreamer 5 years after my own wedding as I was when I was 5 years old, pretending to be married under the Fairy Tree on the Hill of Tara. To fuel the inspiration you will often find me wandering through vintage shops and antique fairs. My love of up-cycling, recycling and re-imagining of reclaimed and sustainable materials for weddings means that somebody close to me will always find something missing from their office, shop or home that I have ‘borrowed’ to complete the day!
What makes me laugh: Slapstick Comedy — you can’t beat it!
Favorite designer: Anya Hindmarch – her original classics are stunning
Best holiday: 10 days in the Waldorf Towers in New York for our honeymoon
What I cannot say no to: Cadbury’s Dairymilk… mmmmmmmm
Biggest risk I ever took: Falling in love with my boss… we’re now happily married!!
Countries lived in: Ireland & Australia
The road to wedding planning. I took quite a scenic route into event planning and started my career in Dublin with a part time role in one of the leading event and brand activation agencies in Ireland. At the time, I was still a touring musician half of the year (I am a harpist) so I was surrounded by live events in a number of capacities. Fast-forward three years and my sister in law and I are running our own online destination wedding magazine and wedding styling company. I feel like I haven’t worked a day in years, it’s been that enjoyable. Now joining the Waterlily Weddings is the cherry on the cake (an opulent wedding one of course!)
A true Irish flower. I grew up in the Dublin Mountains along with my five siblings. My parents were big lovers of Irish music and our summers were spent attending fleadhs around the country so I’ve always had an appreciation for our unique culture. I love being able to share that with couples when they come to Ireland for the first time. I now live in Co. Clare with my husband.
What makes me laugh: Loads of things. I love comedy. Everything from Fr Ted to 8 out of 10 cats, countdown special!
Favorite designer: Ooh.. Paolo Sebastian. He made my own wedding dress. I do feel like I’m cheating on Elie Saab though.
Best holiday: Our 6 month trip around the world. We got engaged in Baguio 4 months in.
What I cannot say no to: Italian food
Biggest risk I ever took: Leaving a safe, reliable and well paid job to do what I love instead.
Countries lived in: Ireland, Canada
View our Look Book to see more of the beautiful weddings we’ve had the good fortune to create.