Although we do love the grandeur and pageantry of a large, opulent wedding, we also admire the smaller charming weddings set in the picturesque countryside, ideally on a bright sunny day. Such was the case with Molly and Patrick’s wedding at Castle Durrow. In the central- west of Ireland in County Laois sits an idyllic grey-stoned countryside estate with manicured gardens, sprawling grounds, and beautiful large trees. Castle Durrow is the quintessential Irish countryside manor house: quaint and elegant without the pomp and cavernous mazes of a traditional castle that offers the same fairytale feeling of a castle without being overwhelming. It’s very approachable, very warm and welcoming, and a perfect choice to suit Molly and Patrick’s countryside dream Irish wedding.
Molly and Patrick first met at school. Molly teaches 8th grade English, and Patrick (who teaches 8th grade math) was transferred one day to Molly’s school. They saw each other often at work, conversing at the lunch table which soon became a daily ritual for the pair. They got to know each other very well very quickly, and shortly thereafter found themselves at a wine tasting event together where they continued to hit it off. With encouragement from their coworkers, Molly and Patrick began dating. A year and a half later they took a trip to Mackinaw Island in Michigan and stayed at the Grand Hotel. Patrick proposed just before dinner, and soon a dream wedding in Ireland was in the works.
In the throws of wedding planning, Molly and Patrick soon realized that having a wedding in Michigan would inevitably lead to a larger affair, but they always envisioned something smaller and more intimate. Hosting a destination wedding as an option soon came on the table, and given their mutual Irish heritage, Ireland became a natural choice. They contacted Waterlily Weddings and Michelle quickly matched them up with the perfect venue: a grand estate that feels like a castle but isn’t so large, something affordable, and something that warm that would welcome the guests and give them the quintessential Irish experience. Castle Durrow was perfect to host their 30-40 guest wedding, and with the elegance of a grand castle on an estate level affordability.
Molly and Patrick woke this June morning to a sunny day. The castle was bustling with the day’s preparations, a quiet excitement palpating throughout the estate. They had just come in the day before, quickly settled into the Castle and set to wedding rehearsal points right away. With toay’s schedule firmly in place, bride and groom (separated for good luck!) set to getting ready.
Molly dressed in a beautiful lace dress by Becker’s Bridal. Her long, chestnut hair was pulled back in an elegant flow of effortless romantic curls. She was a vision of classic fairytale charm, and excitedly waited to meet her prince. Meanwhile, said prince charming was busily preparing his own attire. Dressed in full Irish regalia, Patrick invoked his Irish heritage through classic formal tartan attire. He enjoyed a pint with his father, brother, and close friends before embarking for the church.
Molly and Patrick, both Catholic, wanted a very traditional Catholic ceremony. The chose to host it at St. Tighearnachs in Cullhohill. They wanted to keep the ceremony extremely traditional with heavy Irish elements, so the choice to have harps was an easy one. Edel and Alida played a combination of traditional Irish music and spiritual songs to create the perfect mood. Molly walked down the aisle carrying the same purse her sister did for her wedding; inside was her grandmother’s bible and her grandfather’s handkerchief (her something olds).
Simple floral arrangements consistent with the Irish countryside adorned the pews and family members participated in the readings. It was a poignant ceremony; very straightforward in a shared faith that brought together all of their loved ones.
After the ceremony Molly and Patrick together with their guests made their way back to the castle. On the patio, a carpet of canapés was served to the guests, along with Castle Durrow’s signature cocktail, sparkling wine and good Irish beer for guests to refresh with. As everyone relaxed in the Irish summer sun, Molly and Patrick took pictures.
A little while later everyone was invited into the dining room for a five-course dinner of parma ham salad, basil tomato soup, lemon sorbet, a main course of fillet mignon or seasbass, and a meringue next with seasonal fresh strawberries to end the meal. A Spanish Sauvignon Blanc and a French Cabernet Sauvignon complimented the food perfectly. Everyone enjoyed the expertly prepared food and drink, and soon celebration was in order!
Molly and Patrick wisely elected to have a live Irish band perform for their reception. Some lighter music during dinner gave way to a full blown dance party complete with traditional Irish dancing after dinner. Everyone joined in and learned, Arundo leading the way. Everyone really enjoyed themselves and had no trouble kicking off their shoes and joining in the revelry.
A two-tier vanilla cake with buttercream frosting completed the evening. Molly wanted a very classic, elegant cake consistent with the theme of the day. The fresh flowers were selected to match her bouquet exactly.
Congratulations Molly and Patrick! We wish you a lifetime of happiness and much fortune. May the road rise to meet you…
Ceremony: Cullahill Catholic Church, Portlaois • Venue: Castle Durrow, Co. Laois • Photographer: Larry McMahon • Flowers: Lamber de Bie • Music: Windsong (harps); Arrundo (reception) • Cake: Kelly Lou Cakes, Portlaois • Hair & Makeup: The Powder Box • Transportation: Eamon Siney Coach Hire • Planning & Coordination: Waterlily Weddings • Special Details: heirloom purse •
Something old: grandmother’s bible, grandfather’s hankerchief • Something borrowed: mother’s pearl earrings • Something blue: blue ribbon sewed in knickers • Something new: diamond necklace (gift given from Patrick day before)
Favorite Moments: “Being pampered while getting ready in my beautiful, large bridal suite the morning of my wedding, how emotional everyone got at the ceremony, and how the entire reception looked and unfolded was perfect,” says Molly. Patrick agrees “From the mass, to the reception, to even seeing everyone the next day, every part of the wedding will be something I will never forget and will replay in my mind on a daily basis.”
Bride’s Advice: “Enjoy every minute of the planning process and wedding! Book extra nights at your venue before and after the wedding; it helps take the stress off and you can enjoy the venue a lot more.
In the End: I felt like I was living out a story from a romantic novel or movie.