Shane and Britt met in the summer of 2011 in San Diego, California (USA). Britt found herself with a group of friends at Shane’s house one evening, where they exchanged a few words. About a week later they saw each other again and hit it off. After an official first date at a restaurant called George’s overlooking the Pacific Ocean, four years of dating and Shane’s deployments, Britt and Shane returned to George’s where Shane would propose. Soon a wedding was being planned. Since Shane is Irish and Britt’s father and brother are avid golfers, Ireland became a natural choice. Upon some preliminary research they fell in love with the Emerald Island, and soon were planning their dream destination wedding in Ireland with our premier planner, Sile’s help. The decision came to be on Dromoland Castle.
Dromoland Castle (Drom Olainn) is a castle turned 5-star luxury hotel in County Clare, in Western Ireland. The first building constructed on the grounds dates back to 15th or 16th century, erected by Thomas, son of Shane Mac Anerheny. Originally a collection of smaller buildings, the site became known collectively as “Dromoland,” meaning “Hill of Litigation” and passed through generations of the O’Brien family. At first a modest house, Dromoland grew to prominence and survived the rebellion, land transfers, and legal disputes to rightful heirs. Eventually the property settled into the hands of Sir Lucius O’Brien who sought the construction of the present-day structure. Built of blue limestone and surrounded by woodland grounds, the property quickly gained notoriety and by the mid-19th century became known as “one of the most beautiful and desirable residences in Ireland.”
Dromoland has been preserved with very little change since then. The gothic revival style estate boasts four linked castellated turrets, a gothic porch to the north displays the O’Brien arms, the western portion faces the lake, and the east towards the hill where Thomond House, built by Donough O’Brien (16th Baron Inchiquin who sold Dromoland Castle and 350 acres due to the difficulty in maintaining estate) now stands and is occupied by the 18th Baron Inchiquin. The grounds are sprawling, dotted with trees and lush gardens, the highlight being the wooden gazebo on Turrett Hill built in the 17th century to oversee the training of horses.
Today the castle is owned and operated by American Bernard McDonough, who converted the estate into a top luxury hotel. And which is the scene for the gorgeous wedding of Britt and Shane.
This August morning Britt and Shane woke to rain for the first time in the ten days they had been in Ireland. Irish luck, indeed. No damper place upon them, Shane gathered with his friends and family and enjoyed a breakfast while Britt retired to the beauty salon to begin preparations for the day. Both calm, cool, collected, they were shocked at how time had flown by; their big day was actually here, and all the hard work and sacrifice from this last year in planning and the last four were all coming together for this one, special moment. The staff began to implement the proverbial Plan B, but Britt and Shane held steadfast in their calmness. They knew the weather would break and they could hold there ceremony outdoors as planned.
After putting on the finishing touches, Britt glided down the crimson staircase in a vision of creams with bright colored flowers. Shane awaited in the gardens outside with their friends and family who all traversed the seas to witness the wedding.
Vows were exchanged in a traditional ceremony in front of loved ones. Britt and Shane decided to write their own vows to reflect their uniqueness and make the day as special as can be. Celebrant Pat Buckley incorporated traditional Irish blessings to the delight of the bride and groom. Upon conclusion of the ceremony the couple and guests were greeted by a Horse and Hound Welcome as they made their way back up to the Castle for refreshment. An open bar received everyone and after more pictures and greetings, they sat down for a dinner of smoke salmon and oysters with vegetable salad and herbs, wild mushroom soup with truffle oil, a main course of grilled fillet of irish beef, lentils, spinach, carrots and rosti potatoes with rich claret sauce, and a soft meringue and petit fours before the main wedding cake was served. Guinness, wine, spirits flowed as Britt and Shane danced the night away with their loved ones to the sounds of traditional and popular music of Irish band, Carouse. The highlights: speeches especially by the best man, Shane’s brother, and their first dance to A Place Only You Can Go.
Congratulations Britt and Shane! May you enjoy a lifetime of happiness! Please enjoy some more pictures of Britt and Shane’s beautiful wedding day in the slideshow below.
Celebrant: Pat Buckley • Venue: Dromoland Castle, Co. Clare • Photographer: Peter Gordon, Big Day Out Weddings • Cake: Cakes by Elma • Videographer: Big Day Films • Flowers: Anne Mahon, The Flower Den • Hair: Dromonland Castle, Marina Hair Boutique • Makeup: Laura Kay Makeup
A Bride’s Advice: “As painful and stressful as it may be to plan a wedding, you will certainly get out of the experience what you put into it. Hire a great wedding planner like those from Waterlily Weddings and just know that it is worth putting in the effort up front so that the wedding day is as smooth and stress free as possible. We worked really hard in the months leading up and Sile was there every step of the way, keeping us on track and insuring that when the wedding day finally arrived, we had nothing else to focus on except ourselves and enjoying the celebration!”