You will often here us talk about your destination wedding as an “experience” rather than an event. The word “event” seems so limited and finite; too narrowly focused. All of our clients choose Ireland in large part because not only does it offer an incredible natural setting, but also offers a chance to experience many things: different foods, traditions, customs, scenery, music, dancing, activities you may not otherwise look to do in your home country, or maybe done in a unique, Irish way. Whether you are planning a huge 300+ person wedding, or eloping just the two of you, as wedding planners we highly encourage you to conceptualize the totality of your stay in Ireland, not just the few hours of your actual wedding day, thinking more along the lines of what will everyone see and do and hear and feel.
We love when a couple embraces that concept and takes it even a step further. Brett and Ray did just that with their wedding celebration at Virginia Park Lodge. Taking advantage of the incredible grounds and scenery, they tailored a weekend rehearsal and wedding day full of fun and laughter and incredibly unique memories, all climaxing with a gorgeous tender ceremony in the fragrant lavender garden.
Waterlily Weddings is happy to share with you now their wedding day before they said their “I do’s.” Take inspiration from the colors, the fun, the purpose being to let everything loose and allowing everyone to bond together and be silly and just enjoy life in this incredible location.
The rehearsal dinner was held the day before the wedding, as is customary. Brett and Ray, together with their guests, went about the day leisurely enjoying the fresh air of the Irish country and taking in the beautiful grounds of Virginia Park Lodge. An American style family BBQ dinner was served after the rehearsal, including Hush Puppies and Sausage Bacon Blankets to start, a course of warm and comforting Macaroni & Cheese, a main course of Burgers & Ribs with Veggie Skewers and Mashed Potatoes, finally ending with Strawberries & Cream. Everyone feasted and drank their fill as the moonlight rose high in the evening sky, those inspired made speeches while the others simply relaxed and breathed in the comforts and quiet of a night in the country. The fire place in the main room of the lodge was piled high with wood, crackling noisily as guests walked through and stopped to warm their hands before grabbing a drink at the bar. Outside, a fire pit was similarly piled high and guests snuggled under thick warm blankets, slowly roasting marshmallows and laughing and drinking each other. A final treat, Dublin-based band The Heathers came to perform.
The next morning everyone woke to a typical Irish day: on/off rain, a little cold breeze, but promise in the air for a beautiful afternoon. Everyone enjoyed a light breakfast of perfectly scrambled eggs, in-house cured smoked Irish salmon, fresh pressed coffee, juices, and pastries with jams and butter made right in house from the gardens of the Lodge. Outside some special guests from Blackberry Farm arrive, and soon a full petting zoo is set up to delight the guests.
While the guests continued to enjoy the petting zoo and breakfast, we were behind the scenes busily preparing for the next event while Brett and Ray enjoyed some quality time together exploring around the lake. As breakfast finished up, everyone changed into some waterproof outfits, good timing as at this point it had started to absolutely pour outside. Brett and Ray spent some time by the lake’s pier taking in the scenery, and creating some spectacular pictures with their photographer Tim using color powder. Meanwhile back up at the lodge we had over 1000 balloons filled, a few water guns, and two tubs ready for an epic water balloon fight on the lawn of the green outside of the lodge.
As Brett and Ray departed the serene waters of the lake, we were busy up at the lodge filling water balloons. The guests changed into their clothes, some donned bandannas and really took to the theme with gusto. We filed the guests outside and they divided themselves into two teams. Weapons were distributed, words were exchanged, a warm up tug-o-war helped awaken competitive juices, and Brett and Ray arrived just in time as the games began. The rain began to fall lightly from the sky as colored balloons were launched from either side. Water guns fired at will, some courageous soldiers charged the lines to invade enemy territory. Some hailed victorious; many fell battled-wounded; all had a blast. In short it was a 45 minute epic water battle of hilarity, athletic prowess, devious behavior, and absolute fun.
Everyone retreated back to their rooms as the rain began to fall again, soaking wet and absolutely enthralled with the fun they just had. They enjoyed a light lunch of sandwiches, coffee, and tea in the Lodge. They changed and made their way down just as the sun split the cloudy skies to warm a spectacular wedding ceremony in the lavender garden. For more pictures and information on Brett and Ray’s wedding ceremony, check out the BLOG POST here.
Tim was an absolute sport this morning capturing these incredible shots throughout the color powder fight and the water balloon fight. A reminder as you’re planning your wedding, getting matched with the right vendor in spirit and personality is just as important as their photographic skills. These shots would not have been nearly as good had the photographer been shy or intimidated by the subject matter.
We love this fun, unique way of getting in the mood to celebrate for your wedding day. From cozy bonfires roasting marshmallows to full battle water fights on the grounds of a 5-star estate, the take away point here is to think about what really makes you happy, what defines you as a couple, and be confident to choose activities or details that not only will surprise and entertain you guests, but will be reflective of your own personalities as well. Take the time to enjoy the time you have with your family and friends (or just each other!). Don’t worry about the details being done; they are taken care of. Put the effort into having fun with your closest friends and enjoying your wedding celebration!
Venue: Virginia Park Lodge · Photographer: This Modern Love Photography · Rehearsal Dinner Accessories ( popcorn, lemonade stand, candy floss for rehearsal): I Do Weddings · Petting Zoo: Blackberry Farm · Music (rehearsal): The Heathers · Transportation: John Evans Coaches · DIY: color powder, water balloons, water guns, kiddie pools