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.

Shelby & Brandt: Nothing Else Matters in Waterford


_F6A5293Waterlily Weddings is proud to present  the destination wedding of Shelby & Brandt. After being previously engaged respectively, Shelby and Brandt decided this time they would elope somewhere fun and carefree where they could focus on each other and the important step they were about to take. Shelby had always dreamed of going to Ireland, so when discussions came about on where to get married, it was an easy choice to make. With some guidance, Waterlily Weddings recommended the classically beautiful and unique, Waterford Castle. And soon preparations were underway. The intimate wedding was everything about the couple: traditional yet modern, passionate and timeless with a sense of absolutely effortless romance. Each detail was uniquely tailored to them, from their wedding song to the ceremony vows, to getting tattoos after the ceremony commemorating their union.  They married on March 15th, in a beautiful, intimate traditional Irish ceremony and relaxed with a romantic candle-lit dinner for two at Waterford, prepared exclusively just for them. We are absolutely in love with Brandt & Shelby’s vintage-inspired style and unique personalization throughout their day. Make sure to check out their gorgeous pictures in the slideshow at the end. This, is their story…

“So close no matter how far

Couldn’t be much more from the heart

Forever trusting who we are

And nothing else matters”

It was an uncharacteristically bright and sunny morning. Well, uncharacteristic for Ireland, that is. Despite the usual threats of rain and gentle spring showers, for once the Fates conspired to break the Irish morning into a most glorious hue of blue, softened with wisps of trailing clouds set high above the sky top. The sunlight streamed through the thick glass of the castle’s windows, panes of perfectly cut rectangles set between cross sections of iron and set firmly within the walls of cream-colored stone. Shelby and Brandt arose and greeted each other, excitement alight in their eyes waking up in Ireland after so many talks about it; how it would look like? what would it feel like? Content in their decision to come here, they took their leave from each other into different rooms to prepare for the day.

_F6A5128They met at mortuary college. Brandt was studying, working towards getting his degree, and Shelby was his embalming teacher. Time passed, and by the end of his degree program, Shelby and Brandt became very good friends, leading to a relationship after his graduation that resulted in an engagement shortly after. She moved to Pikeville to be with Brandt, and they moved into his father’s home: funeral home on bottom floor, quaint apartment on top. On Christmas Eve of 2015, the family gathered together in front of the Christmas tree, ready to open presents when in trots their adorable baby Great Dane, Harriet. A bow was tied around her neck, with engagement ring attached, and Brandt asked Shelby to marry him. Congratulations and tears from family around warmed the couple this cold winter morning, and they were soon planning their dream wedding in Ireland.

Reminiscing, Shelby sank into her luxurious white robe, plush and fluffy and warm and welcoming. She made her way into the bathroom, towards the window where her make up and hair instruments waited patiently to be put into use. A lovely morning indeed; ideal natural light glistened silently off the evergreen colored tiles of the bathroom’s walls as Shelby took her seat to begin. She began applying her makeup, accentuating her gorgeous moss-green eyes with expert application, a light blush to compliment her clear-as-water porcelain skin, then ran a brush through her hair, a beautiful combination of cinnamon, auburn, and darker shades of rich cherrywood. Each movement of the hand was born calmly. There were no wedding nerves to be had this day, but rather a still excitement that burned deep down in the center of her being. As the morning progressed, that calmness blossomed into joy and anticipation, a gradual crescendo towards the honor of becoming Brandt’s wife.

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Brandt, meanwhile, was in another room making his own preparations. He dressed in a crisp ivory linen shirt and custom made Victor Valentine suit made of blue herringbone tweed, a deep shade of blue between navy and azure that matched the loughs in Killarney to a tee. A skinny tie of mountain bluebird blue, tie clip, and pocket watch given to him from Shelby complete the look, inspired by “Peaky Blinders,” one of their favorite television shows set in post WWI England. The final touch, fixing the buttonhole of fresh gypsophila and lily of the valley, and one last look in the gilded mirror, Brandt made is way down the castle’s stairs and into the Conservatory. Handsome, sharp, and ready, Brandt excitedly awaited the arrival of his bride.

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Upstairs, Shelby slid into her white satin sweetheart strapless gown and slipped on some comfortable cream colored Tieks. Glowing hair curled to perfection, she fixed a classic white veil on top her fiery locks, and added a string of classic pearls to complete the timeless, elegant look. She picked up her flowers, a semi-teardrop bouquet of gypsophila and lily of the valley, stems wrapped with cream ribbon halfway down the stems, and made her way down the castle’s staircase to meet Brandt below. Exuding the timeless elegance of a vintage bride, Shelby was grace under pressure, each step taken down the stairs with a heart devoted to her soulmate and best friend beating with love and anticipation.


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Shelby stepped down from the final step. She lived her eyes up and they met Brandt’s. As the sun shone through the windows, illuminating his silhouette, making him stand out as the only person in the world. Shelby, a vision against the grand staircase, made her way on the red carpet that lined the tile floor and entered into the light of the Conservatory. Brandt’s heart was beating fast with one single thought in his mind: “Wow, she is the most beautiful woman in the world. And I am the luckiest man.”


The harp began to play from the corner, hauntingly beautiful and ethereal notes elevated by the stream of brilliant light that flooded through the Conservatory’s dome above. Rory, the officiant, began to recite the lyrics of the song “Nothing Else Matters” as Shelby began to walk down the aisle. Her favorite song, the power and emotion of this metal song translated into sweetness by the harp, the words proclaiming love and devotion fierce as a driving beat of a rock band or ancient Irish bodhran.


They stood together, eyes meeting one last time as engaged couple, ready to bond their love into marriage. A traditional ceremony begins, with a prayer from the Song of Songs:”…’My beloved is mine and I am his. Set me like a seal on your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is strong as Death…'”

The celebrant invites Shelby and Brandt to link hands, forming a circle to symbolize the unity represented in their relationship. Romy took out the hand-fasting chord, a thick and strong braided rope of blue, green, white, and gold, and wraps the chord around their clasped hands as she reads out their promises and vows of fealty, forgiveness, compassion, honor, respect, and love in each other and in the life they are to live together.

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Now bound by ancient Irish custom, Romy reads a traditional Catholic prayer. It was important to Shelby, a Catholic, to have that element strongly present in their wedding ceremony. She and Brandt bowed their heads and closed their eyes in earnest, focusing their hearts into one, as a reading from the Letter of Paul to the Colossians is read. “…Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful…”

By tradition, couples exchange rings at this point in the ceremony as a symbol of their love and devotion to one another. Brandt and Shelby, ever so coolly, decided instead to get matching tattoos on their ring fingers of the date of their wedding to symbolize that their commitment to each other is for life. To place-hold this milestone, they exchanged symbolic rings on their fourth fingers. Romy blesses the couple, as is the Irish habit, bestowing upon them her hopes for happiness this day to be carried throughout their lifetime, and recites a traditional Irish wedding blessing:

“May you never take each other for granted, but always experience the wonders of your union.

May your love consist of not only in gazing into each other’s eyes, but also in looking outward in the same direction.

May your life together be a source of strength and inspiration to yourselves, your families, and your friends.

May you never forget the beginning of your love for one another, take care of it, nurture it, and allow it to grow strong and firm in the years that are to come.

And, may you be always in love.

A final reading from the Gospel according to John: “‘….This is my commandment: Love one another as I have loved you,'” and concluding congratulations, and Brandt was invited to kiss his new bride. He gathered Shelby into his arms, and together sealed their union with a kiss.

Shelby and Brandt left Waterford Castle, taking the ferry boat over to Waterford City. Since they eloped to Ireland, there was no formal entrance; instead, they announcement of the new Mr. & Mrs. Justice was made by walking the streets of Waterford City. Taking in the scenery and quirky seaside port town, they stopped here and there to take pictures with their photographer, Wim. Walking hand in hand, arms embraced around each other, they eventually made their way to the JMD Bodyart studio to get their tattoos. The date of their wedding, written in Roman numeral script, and our very own Waterlily Weddings logo were tattooed with expertise onto the new couple, forever commemorating their love and devotion to each other and forever connecting them to Ireland herself.

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Newly inked, they returned back to the castle to celebrate with a delicious, candle-lit five-course dinner, expertly prepared using fresh, local ingredients by head chef Michael Thomas. No large reception, no greeting and thanking of guests, no requisite dancing or enduring of excessively long speeches; rather instead, an intimate dinner under soft, warm candlelight looking into each other’s eyes and recounting their favorite parts of their day. Truly, a bespoke wedding honoring the love of this gorgeous redhead and her charming prince at classically romantic Waterford Castle.


“Never opened myself this way

Life is ours, we live it our way

All these words I don’t just say

And nothing else matters”

We congratulate you both, Shelby and Brandt, on a beautiful wedding and wish you both a lifetime of blessings, love, and happiness. We are touched you chose our logo to remember your special day with, and know we too will remember the coolest couple Waterlily Weddings has had the pleasure of working with! Blessings to you both! For more beautiful pictures, check out the slideshow below.

Post Script:  After their romantic elopement to Ireland, Shelby and Brandt returned home and currently live in their family funeral home with their beautiful baby-dog. Shelby just completed her masters degree and Brandt is finishing up his funeral director Apprenticeship. They’re enjoying married life, working hard, and hoping for some beautiful babies soon!

The Shorthand

Ceremony & Venue:  Waterford Castle, Waterford  •  Celebrant: Romy, from A Beautiful Ceremony, Meath  •  Harp: Una McSweeney  •   Flowers: Lambert de Bie, Waterford •   Photographer: In Love Photography  •  Videography: B&G Productions   •  Tattoos:  JMD Bodyart, Waterford City, Waterford   •   Bride’s Jewelry:  Shane Company (Louisville, KY)   •   Groom suit:  Victor Valentine  •  Details of note:  pocket watch given by Shelby

Something Old:  Shelby’s great-grandmother’s handkerchief  •  Something New:  dress, jewelry, shoes   •  Something Borrowed:  Shelby’s mother’s ring  •  Something Blue:  rain boots and flowers on garter

Favorite Moments: Getting their tattoos and shooting the video shots for the videographer, and taking pictures.

A Bride’s Piece of Advice: “Get a wedding planner! Waterlily Weddings made our process easy and stress-free! Not many people can say that about their wedding day!”

In The End: “Because Brandt isn’t Catholic, a ceremony at a Catholic church wasn’t an option. Instead, we had it at the castle and worked with Romy to incorporate some Catholic ceremony elements into our own. We wanted to start some new family traditions as well, which is why we included the hand-fasting; we will hand down our chord to our children to use in their own one day.”

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