Destination weddings in Ireland and DC/MD USA. Your Irish wedding planner – styling and coordination to die for weddings since 2006. Based in Dublin and Maryland.

Allison & Johnny: La Vie en Rose in Kildare

 View More: Weddings is proud to present  the destination wedding of Allison and Johnny.  A year ago they left their family and friends in the States and made the move to Maynooth, Co. Kildare to pursue their masters degrees. They decided to host their wedding in Ireland and invited their closest friends and family from America and Ireland to join in the celebration. They married on August 5th, 2015 in a beautiful classic Irish style ceremony and reception. We really love and are inspired by Allison’s classic turn-of-the-century aesthetic, with the lace off the shoulder dress, elegant handmade veil and floral headpiece, and vintage details against the lush gardens and medieval walls of Barberstown Castle. The wedding was in many ways classic Ireland: a sweet and meaningful traditional ceremony in the local catholic chapel followed by a reception full of great live music, food, and fun with plenty of dancing with their guests well into the night.  (Make sure to check out the gorgeous pictures in the slideshow at the end!)

This, is their story…

“When you kiss me, heaven sighs; and though I close my eyes, I see la vie en rose…”

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The morning light delicately streamed through the large bay windows of her well appointed suite in Barberstown Castle. The fortress was originally built in 1310 to protect the local village, and today sits tastefully in picturesque Maynooth, in the county of Kildare, some fifteen miles north of Dublin as part historical backdrop, part hotel. The imposing dim grey stone tower, typical of the early mediaeval period,  stands tall at the  forefront of the estate.  Scarlet colored ivy crawling along the castle’s outer walls, a lovely contrast of colors between the dark stone and cream white of the hotel adjacent. The castle stands framed by flourishing gardens and grounds, a variety of trees and flowers among aged white foundation walls and gravel pathways this August morning gentling stirring in the crisp Irish air, a beautiful setting to host an Irish wedding.

Allison woke from a restful sleep, eyes blinking in the warm light, her mind beginning to dawn on the special day ahead of her: her wedding day. Not frantic nor shaky, she rose pleasantly surprised at how calm and natural she felt as the day’s schedule began to quietly unfold in her mind. A turn taken about the room and she set to task, a quick workout as done every morning to help focus the day and settle any nerves that may be lurking.

 Johnny, conversely, woke with purpose. An excitement that fought with his sleep the night before woke him this morning and spurned him into action. There were still some details to attend to this morning and he was more than ready to busy his nerves and see to them.

Just a few hours from now they would be meeting at the altar of the charming local Catholic church, Our Lady Chapel. Originally granted in 1172, the parish saw many changes from small local chapel in the castle to today. It survived the flight of the Earls and subsequent acts passed by the English government in effort to Anglicize Ireland, the famine, and two world wars. The grey stoned chapel that stands today was built in 1867, and will stand as witness to Allison and Johnny, hand in hand declaring their love and becoming husband and wife.

One by one everyone arrived in the suite. Enveloped in a silk floral dressing robe, Allison was seated and the team promptly went to work. Her brunette hair was delicately braided then fixed into a chignon, golden wisps framing gracefully around her face, bright blue eyes shining with a fusion of excitement and regal calmness accentuated as John’s mother placed an elegant crown of white flowers and bright summer greenery she made herself atop Allison’s head. She slid the robe off and stepped into the gown. A classic white off-the-shoulder with delicate lace overlay gown clung comfortably to her slim form, the back bare and plunging downward into a single trail of perfectly lined lace. She was a vision from a different time, a picture plucked from 100 years ago with the same style and grace of a classically beautiful woman at the turn of the century. Vintage-inspired gold and crystal earrings and a bold pink lip completed the look.

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She stepped into the middle of the room. Her mother gave Allison her grandmother’s engagement ring. She placed the 100 year old family heirloom on her right fourth finger where it has taken permanent residence. She also gave Allison a golden heart pendant with the word “grandmother” engraved in the center. It belonged to her late mother. They took a green ribbon and tied the pendant to Allison’s bouquet of peach and cream English roses, a reminder that this wedding was not just about her and John but also about everyone present and past who helped create and shape who they are today. Mothers of the bride and groom each gave Allison a pence, one for each shoe, which she promptly dropped into her dusty sage colored suede heels and slipped her feet in.And finally, the veil. Hand-made with love and care by John’s mother, she came behind Allison and gently fixed the final touch.

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The day was crisp and cloudy, but dry. Rain was forecasted for the day (it is forecasted every day in Ireland), but so far it seemed to hold. Allison stepped out of the doors of the castle. Her eyes lifted and met her father’s. A brief moment where two souls forever connected met again and suspend in time. Those nerves which had been successfully suppressed earlier in the morning found their way out as sudden wave gripped Allison by the heart and lifted her out of her body. She was floating, only the smiles and laughter of her parents and bridesmaids guiding her through the courtyard and into the vintage bus waiting to take them to the church.

The day had gone insofar as planned, undisturbed and rather remarkably well despite the threat of rain. John’s sister noticed too, exclaiming, “Wow, I can’t believe nothing has gone wrong yet!” This was met with a resounding chorus of “NOOOOO DON’T SAY THAT!” The impending threat of jinx being far more insufferable than the threat of rain, apparently. The bus rang with laughter, Allison included.

The bus made its way to the church. As the guests continued to arrive and settle inside, Allison remained with her parents and bridesmaids in anticipation, wondering what Johnny was up to…

Johnny arrived at the church hours earlier. Accompanied by his trusted groomsmen, all smartly dressed in suits of grey and navy, crisp white shirts and matching green silk ties, he paced and pondered about the grounds, finding welcomed distraction through his fellows who were earnestly engaged in the retrieval of the whiskey they’d hidden in a down spout outside of the church earlier. Johnny refrained from partaking in the pre-celebration-celebration, wanting command of all of his faculties for the ceremony. Certainly with the day planned well, there would be plenty of time for proper revelry shortly.

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The guests arrived and eagerly settled into their seats. Family and friends traversed the great ocean from America to the verdant countryside of Maynooth for the celebration, excited to see a new land with all its lushness and customs. Also in attendance, the newly formed adopted Irish family Allison and Johnny made this past year during their first months after their move to Ireland. They gathered into chapel and took their seats in the wooden pews under the white-washed walls and wooden-arched ceiling. The colors streamed through the stained-glass windows, the altar bright with the light of the candles. The groomsmen made their way to their positions at the front, each straightening out their coats and shooting the cuffs with one final movement of declared readiness. Johnny took his place front and center, cheeks flushed with anticipation and happy nervousness.

The music began. Haunting sounds of traditional Irish music filled the chapel. A concert of time-honored hymnals were played, and the procession of ceremony began. Allison, safely hidden behind her bridesmaids, waited patiently for her cue.

The barrier of sage chiffon dresses in front of Allison thinned as each bridesmaid left. They floated down the aisle one by one, drawn closer and closer towards the front of the church with each note from the Irish flute guiding them. Finally, it was Allison’s turn. Eyes fallen downward, focused on the endless sea of white and lace before her, held by the love of her family in this life and those that have passed, she stepped one foot first, then the other. All other senses were lost. She could not hear, nor see, nor feel anything save the tiny surge of reassurance from the pence in each shoe. Finally she lifted her blue eyes and met them with Johnny’s. Encouraged, the last steps came stronger and more sure-footed. She reached him and he took her hand in his, pulling her up next to him, and she felt her feet meet the ground once again, taking their rightful place by his side.

The priest began with a traditional Catholic blessing. As the candles burned stoically behind the alter, friends and family witnessed the joining together of two friends, two partners, together in front of everyone and in front of God declaring their love and commitment for each other, hoping secretly the priest will not mispronounce their names. It was all so effortless, so natural. Allison and Johnny recited together a traditional Irish wedding prayer, something new for them that was befitting and solidified the feel of the day. The music continued with songs like Sweet 16, and then in one perfect moment it came — grace. Settling into the comfort and pure love of one another, with hands clasped together, Allison rested her head on Johnny’s shoulder and they were pronounced “husband and wife.”

Cheers and jubilation rang true through the high rafters of the church and the joyous sounds of Haste to the Wedding played, embracing the newly married couple as they made their triumphant exit. They reconnected outside of the church, together alone for the first time in days, and simply looked into each other’s eyes. Words were not needed. The generosity of the love from their friends and family that blessed them on their journey was overwhelming; all they could do was simply allow the feeing to seep deep into their bones and accept it with an open heart, recording this memory in time forever.

The guests returned to Barberstown Castle for the reception while Allison and Johnny remained at the church for some pictures, the most stunning being under an arch of pink and cream roses, small white flowers and greenery lining the gothic arch of the church’s wooden entryway. It was surprise gift from Allison’s mother. Johnny proposed to Allison under a white wooden arch one chilly day in March, in the Elizabethan Gardens of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It was only fitting they be blessed by a flowering arch on their wedding day.

View More: the castle was busy with celebration. The guests imbibed and reveled, waiting for the newly crowned bride and groom to return. They took their seats at a long heavily wooded banquet table, dressed in crisp white linens and adorned with fresh flowers. The room was cozy; the walls blanketed in colorful tapestries and candles glowing their warmth over the most welcomed guests. The air was joyous with the clanks and cheers of pints of Guinness and wine, like bells ringing in toasts to each other and the newly married couple. Then from the corner, with strength and pride the traditionally clad piper bellowed the bagpipes, announcing the entrance of the newly crowned Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Troutner. The cheers rang free and true through the room, and the bride and groom made their way around the table greeting each guest.

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They took their seat and enjoyed a feast befit a king and queen. Beginning with an elegant and traditional Irish smoked salmon with tender baby leaf lettuce, Vodka lemon cream and cucumber, the moved on to a course of butternut squash and sweet potato coconut milk soup spiked well with curry. Then, a rich roast of Irish sirloin of beef, with baby onion, lardon, and button mushrooms with traditional Yorkshire pudding and a red wine jus. To finish the palate on a sweet note, a crumble of mixed berries, luxurious crème de cassis and blackberry coulis. Well fed and entertained with the sounds of Irish music from the band, Allison and John started the revelry of the evening.

The gorgeous cake of coconut, key lime and lemon with fresh cream and perfectly ripe strawberries waited in the corner, begging to be sliced. The attendant came bearing a ceremonial sword and offered it to Johnny and Allison. They looked at each other and grinned with delight; this certainly was the way to properly cut the cake! Johnny held the sword as Allison fearlessly unsheathed it with great enthusiasm, then together they brought the blade down and through the cake to the resounding cheers of the guests. Cake properly distributed, guests adequately imbibed, and interspersed blocks of music and speeches (of which Patrick stole the show), and now the evening was well underway.

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Singing, dancing. eating, drinking. Allison and Johnny danced to Louis Armstrong’s rendition of “La Vie en Rose” to the delight of everyone. As the night pushed on the band transitioned to livelier music and the traditional ceili began. Dances were instructed with precision and the guests eagerly joined in the steps. One of the guests jumped up and commandeered the mandolin, astonishing even Allison and Johnny who had no idea of his mandolin playing prowess. Jumping, twirling, hands clasped and drawn up then down, skipping and galloping, the guests coiled and pranced and jigged the evening away to the sounds of the band until they were exhausted and it was time to bid a good night.

Thoroughly fulfilled in body and soul and six cups of coffee later, Allison and Johnny thanked their guests and made their leave. They would fall asleep that evening under the stars and clouds of most romantic Ireland for the first time as husband and wife, partners and best of friends together ready to conquer the rest of their lives.

“Give your heart and soul to me, and life will always be la vie en rose.”

The Shorthand

Ceremony: Our Lady Chapel, Maynooth, Co. Kildare   ·  Reception: Barberstown Castle, Maynooth, Co. Kildare   ·   Dress: Maggie-Sotterro, Touma’s Bridal in Fort Wayne, Indiana (USA)   ·   Shoes: Mira in suede, Madewell   ·   Earrings:   ·   Veil and headpiece: handmade by groom’s mother DIY   ·   Bridesmaids: JCrew   ·   Groom’s suit: Louis Copeland   ·   Groomsmen: various   ·   Ties:   ·   Music: Big Jigs Band   ·   Photographer: Kara Kamienski   ·   Flowers: Absolutely Fabulous Flowers, Celbridge, Co. Kildare   ·   Cake: Cake Cuppery   ·   Hair: Reita Muldoon   ·   Makeup: bride DIY   ·   Car: Lawler’s   ·   Details of Note: John’s pocket squares were Irish linen handed down from his grandfather when he got them in Ireland many years ago

Something New: the dress and veil     Something Old: the great-grandmother’s ring     Something Borrowed: the grandmother pendant     Something Blue: periwinkle Hanky Panty panties

Favorite Moments: floral arch gift surprise, triumphant piper entrance, saber cake cutting, seeing friends and family being well taken care of and enjoying Ireland, seeing their loved ones celebrating and having the best time all together

A Bride’s Piece of Advice:  “Enjoy the process, don’t over think it because the inevitable will happen and the most important thing is to simply enjoy every minute. It all happens so fast — before you know it it’s over and you will wonder why you stressed so much in the first place!”

In The End: “We had been through so much together the past year moving away from home and learning to live apart from our closest friends and family, being broke students, but still appreciating every moment. In God’s church we came together — our American family and our new Irish family — with so much love and we were so overwhelmed with completeness. We had been planning for this and thinking about it for so long, to see it actually come together was incredible. Everything felt right, everything felt worthwhile.”

Post Script: John and Allison graduated from Maynooth University with a master’s degree in Geography, and Anthropology and Development, respectively. They moved back to Indiana and love spending time with friends and family. They miss Ireland every day, and can’t wait to go back for a belated honeymoon to do more traveling and reconnect with their Irish friends.

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