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.

2016: A Waterlily Weddings Year In Review


Photo by Awake and Dreaming Photography

As 2016 draws to a close, we take a look back at some of the amazing moments we had the pleasure of being a part of this year. From romantic elopement by ancient stone circles to petting zoos and a pre-wedding water balloon fight, we’ve laughed and cried and rejoiced together with our clients. We’ve calmed the jitters, refined the speeches, and were there with you all in person and in spirit and cannot thank you all enough for the honor of it all.

As we settle into our wedding planning for 2017, we take a look at some of our favorites in 2016. Some you will recognize from our BLOG, some you’ll see in the new year. We’ve had a blast exploring new locations throughout Ireland and planning huge weddings to romantic elopements, visiting our favorite venues and building partnerships with new ones. As copy editor I get to comb through every moment, delighting in the details and sharing your stories. I thank you for that.

Without further adieu, I present our Waterlily Weddings Favorites of 2016!

Favorite Wedding

Kate & Jeremy — Kilruddery House & Gardens, Bray

i-KDWbzpH-L i-PCHxzwL-L

i-Mz5nwnB-L i-BMDCKmD-L

Photos by Siobhan Byrne

By far my favorite wedding to cover this year. Everything about this wedding was perfect: the location, the weather, the photographer, the flowers, the color palette, the accessories, the groomsmen and bridesmaids, the ceremony, the reception. It is the quintessential modern day Irish wedding experience. Kate and Jeremy balanced out the elegance of Kilruddery House & Gardens as site for their traditional Irish ceremony with a laid back, casual Irish reception at the pub. From Irish music to food, matching wedding bands made in Ireland, a gloriously beautiful bride in a perfect dress, to fine details, the wedding was perfection from start to finish and perfectly executed. And most of all, every one had a blast as is clear from the expertly taken photos by Siobhan Byrne. I thoroughly enjoyed looking through these pictures and writing this piece earlier this year, and it remains one of my all time favorite weddings. For more check out the BLOG POST here.

Favorite Elopement

Katie & Mike — Ballyvaughn, Doolin

Elopment of Katie and Mike in Doolin, West coast of Ireland, Captured by Poppiesandme Photography.Elopment of Katie and Mike in Doolin, West coast of Ireland, Captured by Poppiesandme Photography.

Photos by Poppies & Me Photography

Embodying the truest spirit of a couple eloping to Ireland, what I admire the most about Katie and Mike are their spirit. They left behind a wedding planning quagmire back in the states, trying to incorporate Irish elements into their day and balancing it with family interference when they they got fed up and decided to experience their dream Irish wedding day in actuality and elope there themselves. Their wedding day was supposed to take place at the Cliffs of Moher, but weather intervened. Their Plan B location didn’t work out either, as it was far too muddy to traverse the path. So a spur of the moment Plan C at the pier in Ballyvaughn gave way to a break in the weather and spectacular scenery and pictures to reward their efforts. Check out more of their beautiful traditional Irish ceremony on here in the BLOG POST.

Favorite Venue

Luttrellstown Castle, Dublin


jenya-steven-7984 jenya-steven-7402jenya-steven-8218jenya-steven-8563Photos by Purple Tree Photography

We had the pleasure of producing a few weddings at Luttrellstown Castle this year. We really love that the castle truly has everything clients are looking for in order to achieve their dream destination wedding in Ireland. It’s close to Dublin, has ample grounds to host a variety of styled weddings and wedding parties, looks gorgeous year-round, is available for exclusive hire which provides both privacy for our clients and their guests but also enables us to really produce your dream experience, and a dedicated and talented staff to support your vision. The castle is opulent but not intimidating, offering much inspiration for your vendors. We absolutely loved Jenya and Steve’s wedding a few months ago. As the weather began to turn to fall, the richness of the leaves and foliage matched the rich jewel tones in the castle itself, lending a visually stunning event. More on Jenya and Steve’s gorgeous wedding at Luttrellstown coming soon in early 2017! Stay tuned!

Favorite Outdoor Location

BJ & Rene — Caherdaniel, Co. Kerry


Photos by Katie Farrell Photography

Ireland is most known for its green pastures, castles, and bustling village towns, but what most people don’t know is it has an incredible coastline also, complete with jetting cliffs overlooking turquoise waters that crash gently on soft, sandy beaches that could rival the Caribbean. Such is the case with Caherdaniel. A small town on the famed Ring of Kerry, Caherdaniel is a coastal town located on the shore of Derrynane Bay. For the couple looking for a beach wedding but with an Irish twist, this location is unparalleled. You have the best of many worlds here: sandy beaches for your ceremony, beautiful calm waters, cliffs overlooking the gorgeous picturesque Bay, soft green grass, a quaint village backdrop, and a spectacular sunset to set the scenery off for stunning pictures. We loved that BJ and Rene chose this area for their wedding. Their day was filled with sunshine and lots of color, inspiration from the coast and seaside that came together in a day of brightness and pure love. We cannot wait to share more pictures with you and their story in 2017!

Favorite Dress — Bride

Jocelyn, Nenagh ruins

first-look-prep-78 jb-portraits-73

Photos by Stephen Dillon

We love when a bride takes risks and stays true to her personality and sense of uniqueness. We think Jocelyn just absolutely glowed in her gorgeous gown for her wedding day. Dreamy blue accented with lace was the perfect choice to draw out her gorgeous blue eyes. A bouquet of wildflowers and floral crown in colorful bright colors complimented the look perfectly, setting an incredible juxtaposition to the ruins of Nenagh as backdrop. Absolutely stunning. The dress is ethereal and straight out of a fairy tale novel, but still fashion forward with its open back and slim silouette. We are extremely excited to share more details and gorgeous pictures by uber-talented photographer Stephen Dillon of Jocelyn and Robert’s exquisite wedding very soon in 2017.

Favorite Bridal Bouquet

Flowers by Mulqueen’s — Lauren & Brice, Moyhouse/Lahinch

schwartzlaurenbricewedding213 schwartzlaurenbricewedding200schwartzlaurenbricewedding298

Photos by Larry McMahon

We do love a fabulous bouquet, but this year our favorite has to be Lauren’s. The soft peach tones, cream whites, and silvery sage greens mixed in with darker emerald green custom created by Flowers by Mulqueen’s absolutely stunned for her wedding day at Moyhouse in Lahinch. The color combinations, bouquet structure, and flow both complimented her overall look and wedding scheme, but also struck the perfect balance of romantic, classic, on trend, and Irish elements. It was a stunning bouquet fit for an equally stunning bride. Check back soon for more on Lauren and Brice’s beautiful wedding coming soon to the BLOG in 2017!

Favorite Venue Decor — General

Gregan’s Castle, Lambert de Bie

ma-0163ma-0552ma-0196ma-0040ma-0531ma-0543 ma-0001ma-0551ma-0512 ma-0577

Photos by Navy Blur

We love an elegant focused wedding palette but we crave texture and focal acrobatics. Lambert de Bie together with his team created a whimsical and elegant cornucopia of colors and textures for Amy and Michael’s Gregan’s Castle wedding this past fall. Taking heavy inspiration from the season, the venue displayed a carpet of rich colors from bright reds and oranges to deeper greens and soft pinks and peaches. Moss, branches, trees, bark all served as texture throughout the venue both in ceremony and reception. We love how he used fruits and berries mixed in with twinkle lights and hanging votives throughout the site to create an enchanting atmosphere that was rustic but still very elegant. Picture after picture is bright and colorful and full of joy, matching the couple. We are very excited to blog this extensively soon in 2017!

Outstanding Ceremony Detail — Decor

Brett & Rae’s hand-made iron arbor at Virginia Park Lodge


brett-ray-308 brett-ray-516brett-ray-508Photo by This Modern Love Photography

We absolutely loved this ceremony detail this year. Brett & Rae married at Virginia Park Lodge this past summer in the brilliant lavender garden. Rae’s father lovingly made the iron arbor by hand, choosing carefully symbols to work into the pattern that would serve as chuppah for the interfaith ceremony. The arbor was decorated with greenery and flowers right from the gardens of the Lodge and served as a beautiful and meaningful focal point throughout the ceremony.  More photos and BLOG post coming up about Brett and Rae’s incredible wedding in 2017!

Outstanding Reception Detail — Decor

Cascading flower staircase by Lambert de Bie — Caitlin & Raul, Luttrellstown Castle

37162  _dsc8824

Photos by Shane O’Neill, Aspect Photography

Without question this detail still burns brightly in our minds as one of the most incredible decor details we saw this year. Expert florist Lambert de Bie together with his team created an unparalleled centerpiece at Luttrellstown Castle of a fully decorated cascade of fresh peonies, hydrangea, orchid, ivy, and sweet heather to greet and delight Caitlin and Raul’s guests for their wedding. It was the most photographed element of the wedding, added instantly a sense of fairy tale romance to the setting, and set the tone for the wedding overall. The brilliant meticulous work, each bud and flower was carefully woven through the staircase by hand, was a delight in person and sets the bar for future weddings at Luttrellstown. Fore more check out the BLOG POST here.

Unique Detail — Ceremony

The Unity Black n Tan — Madelyn & Mike, Newtown Castle

dmp-197 dmp-199

dmp-200 dmp-204

Photos by David McCelland

We love when a couple take the opportunity to really stamp their uniqueness and personality to their wedding day. And such was the cake with Madelyn and Mike’s beautiful wedding at the Cliffs of Moher this year. Theirs was the first ever wedding held at the courtyard of Newtown Castle, perched right near the famous cliffs and overlooking the glistening Atlantic beyond. A gloriously sunny and warm day greeted them and their guests, giving way to a fun and bespoke ceremony that was traditional in every way save the Unity Black n Tan. In lieu of lighting a unity candle or creating unity sand, these home brew meisters instead had a different idea: Madelyn’s dad poured the lager (Harp) to represent her family, Mike’s father poured the stout (Guinness) to represent his, each in separate glasses that were designed by Madelyn’s mother. Then Mike and Madelyn each poured the lager and stout together in the central glass, representing the merging of two families, then drank from the cup. We love they took this unique detail true to themselves and their sense of humor and incorporated into their special day.  For more on their perfect wedding day, check the BLOG POST here.

Unique Detail — Reception

Mirrored Menus, Place Setting, Seating Chart — Caitlin & Raul, Luttrellstown Castle

385 391

415 400

Photos by Shane O’Neill, Aspect Photography

We loved the mirror detail Caitlin and Raul incorporate in their wedding. The seating chart, menus, and table numbers were all etched in mirror that glistened and glowed in the candle light and matched the brilliance of the chandeliers in the dining room for their wedding reception. It added an opulent detail to the beautiful ambiance that felt luxurious and befitting a castle wedding.

Unique Detail — Bride/Groom

Matching ring tattoos — Shelby & Brandt, Waterford Castle

_F6A5128_F6A5145 _F6A5153_F6A5175

Photos by In Love Photography

The most unique detail we saw this year by far was Shelby and Brandt’s matching tattoos. During their ceremony they exchanged temporary rings, then built into their elopement time immediately after the ceremony and before the celebration dinner to go get matching tattoos on their ring fingers as their real wedding bands. They got the date of their wedding in roman numerals and our Waterlily Weddings logo to remember their special day. For more on their gorgeous elopement check out the BLOG POST here.

Favorite Cake

Cupcakes & Counting — Jenya & Steve, Luttrellstown


Photos by Purple Tree Photography

Does it taste half as good as it looks? Yes. The incredible talents of Cupcakes and Counting delighted and impressed us and all of our clients throughout the year. But in particular this cake stood out. The hand-sculpted flowers are lifelike and brilliantly rich in color and texture, the addition of fresh strawberries added a natural element and the focused use of gold detail to enhance the beauty of the cake was just perfection. We’ve seen cakes completely overly styled, overly complicated and too much for the eye to take in; this cake strikes the perfect balance and really presents like a work of art. The restraint and meticulous detail to make sure every petal of every flower and every leaf is perfectly shaped to create a life-like presentation is a testament to the talents and labor of love of Cupcakes and Counting. Well done indeed.

Favorite Groom’s Suit

The Kilt — Patrick & Molly, Castle Durrow

Stojic-Molly-Patrick-Wedding1028 Stojic-Molly-Patrick-Wedding1039Stojic-Molly-Patrick-Wedding1274

Photos by Larry McMahon 

We do love a man in a good suit, but we love a man in a kilt all the better! Patrick and his brother chose to honor their heritage by donning a traditional kilt for Patrick’s wedding to Molly at Castle Durrow. We love the simplicity and classic elegance of the kilt, and love they chose to honor their heritage at the same time. Kilts aren’t for everyone, and a great suit or tuxedo is always charming and handsome. But if you can pull it off, give it some consideration for your wedding!

Favorite Stationary

 Dove House Handmade — Style Shoot, Smock Alley, Dublin

waterlilly-14 waterlilly-10

39  14

Photos by Shane O’Neill, Aspect Photography

I wish we had more pictures of people’s stationary! The first glimpse into your wedding’s style and theme is always the way you choose to announce it. With the invention of websites and evites, more couples are choosing to go the modern route to invite guests and announce their wedding day. But as a sucker for tradition and the lost arts, I still love a good paper invitation suite for a wedding. More so, hand-painted to calligraphy is most exquisite. My personal favorite this year was the hand-calligraphy invitations Dove House Handmade did for our style shoot at Smock Alley. Each was written by hand, then hand-dipped in copper paint to set off the theme of the shoot. The invitation suite, menus, and place cards were exquisite in person and really added a richness and timeless elegance to the setting.

Favorite Bridesmaids Ensemble


Favorite Groomsmen Ensemble

Kate & Jeremy, Kilruddery House & Gardens


Photos by Siobhan Byrne

Both of these nods go to one of our all time favorite weddings we’ve ever done, Kate and Jeremy’s incredible wedding at Kilruddery House & Gardens. The color palette was romantic and perfectly executed, flowing freely from bridesmaid to groomsman, each unique and different but still in a cohesive palette that really worked with the venue and overall tone of the wedding. The groomsmen were elegant and comfortable, working in perfectly with the vintage vibe of the wedding without being costumey. The result was a very elegant polished look that really enhanced everyone and you can clearly see in the pictures that everyone was genuinely happy and comfortable. Very well done. For more on their exquisite wedding, check out the BLOG POST here.

Favorite Accessory

Pocket Watch — Shelby & Brandt, Waterford Castle


Photos by In Love Photography

We loved the elopement of Shelby and Brandt this past spring to Waterford Castle. Their unique style, vintage vibe, and details made for a truly memorable wedding. As far as accessories go, we fell in love with Shelby’s gift to Brandt — a pocket watch with their picture inside. True love. Timeless. Perfect.

Favorite Pre-Wedding Event

Caitlin & Raul’s Southern Picnic Rehearsal Dinner, Luttrellstown Castle


Photos by Shane O’Neill, Aspect Photography

Our clients come to realize that hosting a destination wedding will involve more than just the wedding itself. You are excited to share the entire experience that Ireland has to offer, from sight-seeing and exploring together to the wedding itself. As couples look to incorporate the rehearsal dinner and activities into their wedding weekend, we’re seeing a trend to host a variety of experiences and activities that serve as both entertainment and bonding. Caitlin and Raul really hit it out of the park with their wedding weekend. The day before their wedding they hosted a southern-style picnic on the grounds of Luttrellstown Castle. Complete with lawn games, archery, a BBQ (with professional hog roaster) and more, the entire wedding weekend experience was fun, elegant, and perfectly suited. They really did it right, hitting all the notes from relaxation to supreme fun Colombian style. Check out the BLOG for more.


Photo by Awake and Dreaming Photography

We hope you enjoyed 2016 with us. We loved each and every wedding we had the pleasure of planning and producing, and heartily look forward to 2017. We wish you all a very happy new year! See you in 2017!!

comments +

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Ireland's top destination wedding planner

Advice and insight into how to pick your perfect wedding venue in Ireland or your home state.


Castle, Cliff, or Country Manor?

Your guide complete with food suggestions, things to do, and other info to help you plan an epic 5-day adventure in Ireland.


5-Day Adventure

Emma and Alex’s breathtaking wedding has been featured in print in Weddings & Honeymoons!


Weddings & Honeymoons

We are so happy to share Christina and Martin's stunning black tie wedding at Luttrellstown Castle has been featured on Style Me Pretty!

Style Me Pretty

Featured In


Talk about your list here and embed your newsletter opt in below! Crucifix kale chips vinyl tbh cloud bread gochujang jean shorts stumptown.

get this exclusive thing