THE WATERLILY WEDDINGS JOURNAL

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.

Caitlin & Raul: Te Amo at Luttrellstown Castle

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A wedding is more than a union of two people; it is a merging of two spheres, each sphere comprised of the own individual journeys, stories, histories, relationships, hopes, losses, and wishes for a bright, loving future together. It is a monumental event in the magnitude of that merger, testing at times the resolve of its participant, guided at times only on faith and conviction not just in oneself, but also in the love between the two of you together as one. Further still, many marriages are between two families of completely different identities: different religions with their own celebrations, cultures with their own form of expression and celebration. Some even differing on foods (one family is vegetarian while the other hunts wild boar on family vacations).

One of the unique pleasures we get to see as wedding planners is that merging of two unique spheres. Rarely the merger comes  effortlessly, usually  with more effort, but to be there in that moment when it happens is truly so special. Such was the case with Caitlin and Raul’s gorgeous wedding at Luttrelstown Castle this past June.

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Caitlin and Raul met back in 2011. Caitlin had just moved back to Virginia from California and made plans with her best friend from high school to meet her for dinner in Washington DC at a vibrant, bustling Mexican restaurant. After settling in, her friend informs Caitlin that her friend Raul owns the restaurant and he was going to stop by to join them. When Raul walked in the door Caitlin’s heart stopped. From that moment on, the conversations never ended, and they were the only two people in the world. Raul was equally stunned. Since childhood he had dreamed of meeting a girl with black hair and blue eyes and pale skin and there she was, right there in front of him. Two years later on Valentine’s Day he proposed and soon a wedding in Ireland would be planned!

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Caitlin made the most perfect bride. Tall and graceful in her movements, she was the embodiment of Grace Under Pressure, with a calm disposition, quite possibly the most gentle heart ever created, and a sense of selflessness and grace that serves only to inspire others around her to simply be better. Raul, comparatively, made the quintessential groom. Tall, dark, and handsome, he took command of every room in which he walked, a twinkle in his eye and an effortless charm to make you feel like you were the most special person in the room, that you were most welcome there, and that you were a part of his (huge) Colombian family.

A merger of elegance and grace from Caitlin’s side, celebrating in their ancestral homeland with the color and fun and uber friendly Colombians from Raul’s made for an absolutely fabulous wedding. From the gorgeous church that held the traditional Catholic ceremony, to the timeless elegance of Luttrellstown Castle, the wedding weekend celebrated the individual characteristics of each sphere and eventually came together in a moving, celebratory reception where two large families became one.

Waterlily Weddings is proud to present the beautiful wedding of Caitlin and Raul at Luttrellstown Castle. This, is their story…

“For as long as I can remember, since I was a little kid,

I would have a recurring dream about a girl with black hair, blue eyes,and beautiful pale skin. 

I couldn’t believe that she was there staring back at me…” 

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Luttrellstown awoke this June morning much as it has for hundreds of years — a tall stone fortress, imposing and demanding respect among the expanses of soft greenland, trees quietly rustling alongside the gentle river –seat of power now turned host of gatherings and celebrations. A strong Irish breeze catches the edges of the silk, hoisting higher still the bright Kelly green, pure white, and golden orange atop the castle’s crenelation, the droplets of Ireland’s blessing gently falling on Ireland’s pride. There was serenity about the castle this morning, not long born given the previous night’s festivities that only recently concluded with dawn’s approach, the sun giving gentle but firm reminder to its inhabitants that perhaps a at least a few hours of sleep would be needed in order to sustain the remainder of the day.

The early morning settled into a steady gentle rain. The smells of breakfast began off in the distance, coffee being brewed, sausages and bacon being fried, pastries being baked and the light clinking of silverware and plates being laid out could be heard in the far distance in the breakfast room. The castle’s staff now were in full force, including Martha whose sole purpose this morning was to make sure her newly polished floors of the Kentian room were not disturbed by anyone. Absolutely no exceptions. Ever.

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By mid morning the parade of staff and vendors were well underway, dancing to an invisible beat and laser-focused on the tasks at hand. Even the cappuccino maker in the breakfast room was recruited for the day, dutifully servicing everyone approximately every 15 minutes with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.  The castle was by this time in a quiet buzz of wedding day preparations, everyone set to task and ready to execute. Lambert and Pat were busily arranging the flowers for the day, including a most glorious waterfall of soft pink hydrangea, white orchid, bright pink peony, sweet heather, and richly green ivy along the castle’s large central stairway. Each bloom was carefully taken out of the container, hydrated in its own small capsule of water at the base of the stem, then expertly woven in through the banister and slits of the stair rail like a tapestry. The flowers created a gorgeous cascade of subtle colors — darker cyclamen and mountbatten gave way to softer shades of blush and lavender, highlighted by the briefest ray of sun that would peek its way through the grey clouds outside the window. To announce the day’s festivities and honor the guests who made the trek from American and afar, two more flags joined Ireland’s atop the castle: America’s red, white, and blue and Colombia’s red, blue, and golden yellow.

Upstairs remained conspicuously quiet. Everyone was trying to grasp the last minutes of added sleep, while the bridal suite was gently and calmly abuzz with the morning’s wedding ritual. Caitlin awoke, exhaustion giving way to a giddy excitement that led to an impromptu “happy dance” on the bed. She ate a breakfast with her father before making her way to confession with Fr. Agustin, their family priest who came all the way to Ireland from Virginia to preside over the wedding ceremony. When she returned to the castle she made her way up to the bridal suite and found the younger girls getting ready. It was then she realized her dream of getting married was very much real, and the outwardly calm demeanor gave way to a trace of nervousness in those sparkling blue-grey eyes.

She slid into her dress robe — white satin with “bride” written on back in a sparkling calligraphy of rhinestones, and sat down to proceed with hair and makeup. The flower girls all giddily took turns in the main room, altering oo’s and ah’s over dresses, hair, and nail polish with taking selfies and playing games on their phones. Caitlin retreated to the haven of the main bathroom, an expansive room with tiled floors, wood paneled closets, and a bronze soak in tub,  and took her seat by the large bay window. Her shiny black hair was expertly curled and brushed, a sweet small braid for good luck wrapped around the crown of her head while the rest of the expanse of her raven hair fell loosely around her porcelain shoulders, romantic and effortlessly timeless. Not much make up was needed to enhance this natural beauty: the black hair and long, dark lashes that framed the bright blue eyes popped against her pale skin, outdone only by a smile at once so gentle and warm, it reminded you that perhaps princesses from fairy tales really do exist.

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While the ladies made ready, the men retreated downstairs in the library for a bit of prim and prep of their own. A traditional barber prepared Raul and the rest of the gentlemen for the wedding day, while the rest of the guests helped themselves to a breakfast, more coffee, a look at the morning paper, and of course, rounds of congratulations among the fogginess of a night well spent. The haze of celebration eventually gave way to a palpable excitement, mitigated only by the soothing warmth of a steam towel and the swift movements of a sharpened blade. Raul slid into his Calvin Klein custom suit, then helped his sons with the more confusing bits of cuff links and tie-tying.

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As the guests gathered in the welcome hall and began to board their transportation, Caitlin was upstairs putting on the finishing touches. A crystal band glistened among her shiny raven hair as she slid into her curve-hugging, lace Jenny Lee dress and blush Monolo Blahnik heels. A pop of the veil on top and she was ready. Her father met her in the bridal suite, at once the twang of pride and pain that hits every fatherof the bride upon seeing his little girl about to embark on the biggest journey of her life. So swift is the jag of pain that one hardly can feel the tears too swiftly welling. A broad, proud smile beams his face, encouraging a match from Caitlin, and then father takes daughter’s hand into the crux of his arm, gently tucking her long, graceful fingers into the nook of his elbow.

With everyone safely on board and en route to the church, Caitlin and her father made their way down the grand staircase. A quick glance down towards the right saw the grand fireplace mantle, sculpted and festooned with a glorious cascade of pink and cream roses, fluffy peonies, full blooms of hydrangea, and ivy, all under the oil and canvased supervision of His Lordship hanging proudly over the adorned mantle.  They walked slowly over the red carpet of the entrance hall and carefully down the entrance stairs down to the waiting white Bentley and climbed inside. Thankfully the rain had let up and so far, the weather would hold!

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Meanwhile, at the church, the ceremony was a little behind schedule…

Forewarned the day before that Colombians use a schedule a general guideline more than a rule of thumb, the ceremony was now officially an hour behind. Raul stood nervously at the entrance, welcoming guests and family as they walked through the large wood and iron clad doors of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Phibsborough, Dublin. Located in the heart of Phibsborough, a suburb of Dublin’s northside, the church dates back to the 19th century. Strong neo-Gothic elements and stained glass windows are among the more notable aspects of this church, with an impressive size that could rival a small cathedral. As the saying goes, “you could hardly be called a Dubliner if you hadn’t heard of St. Peter’s Church in Phibsborough.” 170194 169195

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The guests began piling into the church, the Colombians in particular a parade of sparkling dresses, bright reds, cobalt blues, elegant blacks, and cheery yellows. The aisle was decorated with a topiary of hydrangea and ivy at each pew entrance, and a collection of different sized white lanterns with clusters of candles and a garland of roses and ivy at the top of the aisle.

The bridesmaids arrived and hastily got into line, adjusting dresses and wisps of hair that managed to escape courtesy of the “gentle” Irish breeze. And the men stood at attention while boutonnieres of roses were pinned to their lapel.

Raul took his place at the alter, together with Fr. Agustin, and waited for what seemed like ages. The suspense mounted with every glacial tick of the second hand until the spell was finally broken with the first notes of the 19th century organ from above.

One by one the bridal procession began down the aisle until it was finally Caitlin’s turn. One last deep breath, and she took a courageous step forward onto the mosaic tile floor. All in attendant stood up to welcome the beautiful bride and her proud father. They walked slowly but at a good pace, her dress gliding gracefully behind as she made her way down to her beaming husband to be. Raul stood at attention, suspense giving way now to excitement and relief, and a strange out of body realization that at this very moment, your life is changing and it looks so very bright.

Safely deposited at the alter, Caitlin joins Raul and the ceremony begins. Fr. Agustin precises with a traditional Catholic ceremony, readings, communion, and a special singing of Ave Maria by Raul’s sister and nieces. Caitlin and Raul wanted to personalize the ceremony as much as possible, including Raul’s children presenting the gifts at the alter and his nephew Aiden being the ring bearer.

Fr. Agustin pronounced them “husband and wife,” a quick kiss, and they were married! Some quick pictures outside and inside the church and then the party made their way back to the castle for the reception.

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The castle was transformed for the reception. The Kentian room – normally a sitting room – was converted into a nightclub atmosphere for the after party. The Van Stry Ballroom was filled to the brim with tables. Golden bamboo chairs were draped with a cream satin sash and crystal studded pin, the full place setting included mirrors etched with the evening’s menu, and a large arrangement of elegant white and cream flowers in the center was the perfect elegant touch to the already heavily gilded ballroom.

The center of the room’s fireplace was decorated with another cascade of fresh blooms echoing the rest of the castle and opulent candelabras glowed with the candles on the tables as the afternoon turned darker into early evening. The guests enjoyed champagne as they made their way back to the castle, hors d’ouvres, and tried desperately to abstain from devouring the dessert table. Mini cupcakes, meringue kisses, macarons, cake pops, coconut ice cubes, powdered marshmallow cubes, sugar cookies and glass jars filled with different candies were on display just outside of the ballroom. And of course, a centerpiece of four tiers of alternating whiskey salted caramel and lemon cake with strawberry buttercream in pink, blush, and gold delighted both visually and later the palate.

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Unexpectedly, the best part of the reception were the speeches. Everyone took turns, and spoke from the heart. The honesty was admirable, the courage to speak even more so, but what stood out even more was the heartfelt love that everyone there had for Caitlin and Raul. They love fiercely, on both sides, and in a moment of brilliance on part of Raul’s son, came together as one, united family. His honesty and love shone through in his words, clearly inheriting the same gift to command a room and make everyone feel at ease like his father. He converted the congregation more easily and definitively than any preacher possible could. And with that, inspired a flood of impromptu speeches from everyone else lauding and congratulation and pledging to the couple to support and love them.

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Emotionally satisfied and stomachs well fed from a multi-course dinner including Irish sirloin, rack of pork, potatoes, and a dessert table to make any sugar lover cry with delight,  everyone made their way into the Kentian room for some dancing and music. A DJ was hired who played contemporary and Colombian music, and everyone gathered together and danced and drank and laughed and loved  well into the wee morning hours. In fact, 7 am the next morning the DJ was still playing!

By evening’s end everyone had made plans to go sight-seeing together the next day, explore more of Ireland together, exchanged contact information. They came from all over the world for Caitlin and Raul, and under the guidance of Fr. Agustin and the spirit of the Luttrells, the two spheres merged.

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Caitlin and Raul, we are so happy for you and wish you and your family a wonderful life together, full of nothing but happiness. Take pride in your journey together, take time to enjoy your efforts, support one another, and always keep dancing.

THE SHORTHAND

Ceremony: St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Phibsborough, Dublin  •  Reception: Luttrellstown Castle Resort, Castleknock, Dublin  •  Celebrant:  Fr. Agustin • Photographer: Shane O’Neill, Aspect Photography  •  Videographer:  Joseph Berg, B&G Productions  •  FlowersLamber de Bie, Dutch Master Florist  •  Music:  Appassionata String Quartet (church), Helen Walsh (organ),  Elaine Gallagher (singer)   •  Linens & Furniture: Gotcha Covered  •  Table Plan, Menus, Personalized Teal Lights: Kay Patel, Intricate Creations  Cake & Confections: The Cake Cuppery  •  Hair: Michelle O’Halloran  •  Make up: Fiona Harrison, Lipstick and Blush, Dublin  •  Transportation: Absolute Limos (white Bentley)  •  Dress:  Jenny Lee  •  Shoes: Manolo Blahnik  •  Veil: BHLDN   •  Grooms Suit: Calvin Klein Custom •

Favorite Moments: First kiss, Raul’s kids doing the presentation of the gifts, Raul’s nephew Aidan as the ring bearer, seeing family and friends having a great time.

Bride’s Advice: “I think the biggest piece of advice is just to relax. No matter what, you’re getting married in IRELAND! The scenery and the people in Ireland are so magical that it’s really all you need!”

In The End: “I stressed out so much about the seating chart. I wanted to make sure that everyone had someone to talk to. We had 120 people come to our wedding from 8 different countries, so there were a lot of languages spoken I was worried about jet lag and if everyone would have a good time. But, during our BBQ rehearsal dinner the night before, everyone became one big family; you couldn’t tell who came from my side and who was from Raul’s. Everyone relaxed and were on vacation, embraced the Irish culture and became friends. They came as strangers and left as friends.”

For more information about Lutrellstown Castle, check out our post here.

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