Confidence. Inspiration. Revelry. Joy.
It’s hard, sometimes, to put artistic expression into words. Even the greatest wordsmith can struggle to pick the right combination of words, a perfect phrase, or cadence to capture what one experienced in real time. Thankfully, photographers come in to communicate without a single word, moments of pure joy and love that are exchanged between two people and their loved ones. And such is the case with Jenya and Steven and their dream destination wedding in Ireland.
Inspired by the rich colors of their favorite season — fall — we worked closely with Jenya and Steven to express their vision and draw out the little details that make them unique, folding these into their wedding day, creating a bespoke wedding experience and look unique to them. Then expertly photographed by Purple Tree Photography, you can clearly see the fun and joy experienced in this “Fall Irish Vogue” wedding.
Steven and Jenya met very soon after Jenya arrived in Hong Kong. They were both out one night and met at a bar. An instant attraction, they knew immediately they were going to be together forever. They continued to date and soon found themselves on a trip in the Philippines. While touring the beautiful Philippine countryside, they stopped at Antonio’s — a beautiful old mansion in Tagaytay. It boasts a fabulous restaurants, one of their favorites, and a beautiful garden straight out of Alice in Wonderland. Steve led Jenya into the garden and proposed. She said yes! And soon thereafter a wedding would be planned!
When discussing where to host their wedding, Ireland quickly moved up to the top of their list. Steven has Irish roots, and as they began to research they found themselves coming back to the Irish countryside. They loved the variety of venues, each one unique and stunning in its own right, and together with world class hospitality, they knew Ireland would be a perfect place to host their dream destination wedding. They booked a trip to tour some venues in person and found themselves at the gates of Luttrelstown Castle.
Situated on gorgeous parkland in the posh country village of Castleknock, Luttrelstown Castle is conveniently located right outside of Dublin, making it a very accessible destination from Dublin Airport and perfectly centralized to begin touring Ireland for you and your guests. As Jenya and Steven arrived on the castle grounds, they immediately fell in love with the venue and excitedly made their way inside. They explored throughout the castle, taking in the period architecture, antique paintings, and expanse of the grounds. But Steven was most impressed with the faux bookshelf library door secret passage. Convinced this was it, they excitedly told Steven’s family about their venue choice and his mother told them a story about visiting the castle when Steven was a child, and him “going in-and-out, in-and-out of this fake door in the library room” all day. They looked at each other and Steven and Jenya knew they made the perfect decision!
With venue choice done, the rest of the planning process was underway. With regular emails and skyping, we helped Jenya and Steven plan their dream destination wedding in Ireland. We discussed at length their traditions and what they really wanted incorporated, we got to know them very well over the months, giving us a clear idea of their design aesthetic and personalities, which made it easy for us to match them up to the perfect vendors who would understand their vision and be able to execute it perfectly, down to the tiniest detail. “We trusted our amazing wedding planners that items looked right in person,” Jenya says, “And our vision came to reality perfectly; wouldn’t have changed a thing!”
We are so in love with the result: the endless carpet of bold and bright fall colors, the soft foliage brought indoors to soften the gilded ballroom, the softer mauves and pinks and fresh greens at the ceremony against the dark cherry wood and golden cream walls, and the cake! We cannot talk enough about the cake! Hand sculpted flowers, strawberries dipped in gold, and how the tables just glistened in the candle light. But what we love the most is the bride and groom. Jenya and Steven were so positive joyous and ready to really emotionally experience and enjoy their dream wedding day. We love how they took the time to incorporate unique, quirky details like the ostrich and sheep details. We love how confident Jenya was in her photos before the ceremony; you can see she loves her dress, loves the venue, is having fun and really taking in every scent and color and feel of everything around her. We love the sense of humor everyone had, we love the special details like a handmade veil and Russian love ballads incorporated into the ceremony.
This wedding has everything and is so saturated with details that we love, just like a perfect fall day in full glorious bloom. We thoroughly enjoyed planning and coordinating this wedding and are so excited to share the incredible photos with you now.
Finally, without further adieu, Waterlily Weddings is so proud to share with you now, the incredible “Fall Irish Vogue” wedding of Jenya and Steven.
This is their story…
“Birds flying high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Reeds driftin’ on by you know how I feel…
The wedding day began and would end in typical Irish fashion. The morning broke brilliantly with a strong, autumn sun, ideal for hair and make up and pre-wedding photographs. Jenya woke at the castle with her bridal party, while Steven spent the night in Dublin with the boys. They woke and prepped at The Butcher Barber, then came back to the Dean Hotel to dress. He snuck a moment to himself and opened a letter Jenya had written to him. When it was time, he gathered with the boys and headed to the castle, arriving ready and excited by three o’clock in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Jenya enjoyed the morning’s sunshine in the comfort of her bridal suite. She spent the hours luxuriating in the spacious castle and sipping on tea and champagne while getting ready at a leisurely pace. She stole away to the window, nuzzled in the sun’s warmth, and quietly read a love letter Steven had wrote to her. Then taking advantage of the spectacular natural lighting, she dressed and ran outside with her photographer, Svetlana, to take some spectacular shots in her gown on the castle’s lawn. Barefoot and decked in her spectacular Giambattista Valli Haute Couture gown, she ran across the lawn of the castle, in full joy and excitement for her wedding day, brilliant colors of fall in full bloom behind her on the castle walls.
CEREMONY & RECEPTION
Jenya and Steven wanted a spiritual ceremony at the castle’s entrance hall. As the rain began to gently fall outside, Jenya walked in to Des’ree’s “Kissing You” as Steven waited excitedly for her. They exchanged their own written vows and readings reflecting their backgrounds were read: an Irish blessing, a Russian love ballad, and poems by Leo Marks. They wanted the vibe of their ceremony to be meaningful and fun, so two harpists performed songs by John Legend, Sam Smith, and Michael Bublé. The guests enjoyed the familiar melodies and even joined in the singing!
After being announced Mr. and Mrs., Jenya and Steven sealed it with a kiss and everyone made their way to the reception, while Jenya and Steve made their official entrance escorted by bagpipe. The Van Stry ballroom was transformed into a glistening dining room inspired from autumn’s rich, bold colors. They wanted to bring indoors the magical colors of the season like rich marsala, ruby reds, soft pinks, fresh crisp greens, and gold tones, bouncing them off of a deep neutral navy to hit the traditional Irish note. Texturizing with crystals, gold, and fresh fall fruits and foliage added a three-dimensional opulence that was at once elegant and approachable, glistening in the romantic candle light.
They have a great sense of humor and youthful fun about them. They incorporated two of their favorite things into the design aesthetic as well — ostriches and sheep — found in their stationary, menus, and dessert table. Guests were gifted ostrich wine bottle stoppers. The dinner progressed, punctuated by the bridal party’s hilarious speeches, and then the ceremonial cutting of the cake to Maroon 5’s “Sugar” as people continued their meals as a traditional Irish band kept the fun and revelry going from cocktail hour through after dinner.
An incredibly beautiful custom created Guinness flavored cake by Cupcakes and Counting was served to top it off, along with adorable sheep cupcakes that were almost too cute to eat. Almost.
As afternoon gave way to evening, the candles created the most elegant soft glow in the elegant ballroom. Arundo, the traditional Irish band, serenaded the guests through dinner with soft Irish melodies. And even a brilliant Irish rainbow graced the couple and their guests outside as the sun began to set, a perfect Irish touch.
Jenya and Steve danced to Muse’s “Feeling Good,” and the rest of the guests joined in. Steven surprised everyone with his speech — spoken in Russian — practiced for months under the tutelage of Jenya’s bridesmaids. The evening progressed on, bellies full and hearts full of love (and wine), when Jenya changed into a custom created red after party dress. Everyone danced the night away while the DJ spinned their favorite tunes. An epic party from start to finish, done in the Irish way, full of love and fun and laughter, a perfect modern Irish wedding fit for the magazines of Vogue indeed.
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
And I’m feeling good.”
Congratulations Jenya and Steven! It was such a pleasure working with you. We truly wish you continued blessings on this glorious road you both are on. Wherever your life takes you, from the four corners of the world, may your days together start with a warm sun shining, be blessed with a gentle rain to grow your love, and a beautiful rainbow to celebrate your adventure in this life together.
Venue: Luttrellstown Castle, Dublin · Photographer: Purple Tree Photography · Celebrant: Robert Wright, Spiritual Ceremonies · Cake: Cupcakes and Counting · Flowers: The French Touch · Music: Windsong (duet harps) (ceremony); Arundo (traditional Irish band) (cocktail hour); Sway Social (band for dancing and DJ for after party); Sean Kelly (bag pipe escort) · Transportation: Luxury American Limousines Ltd (vintage car); Dualway Coaches Ltd (coach for guests) · Table, Linens, Rental: Gotcha Covered · Stationary: ByFarr · Hair: Claire Barry · Makeup: Fiona Harrison, Lipstick and Blush, Dublin · Wedding Dress Designer: Giambattista Valli Haute Couture · Bride’s Wedding Jacket: Katya Revenko Veil: handmade by Katya Revenko · Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik · Bride’s Jewelry: Lane’s Bridal, Hong Kong · After Party Dress: SAU, Hong Kong · Groom’s Suit: Tom Ford · Groom’s Accessories: Shoes and socks by Paul Smith; tie by TM Lewin · Bridesmaids Dresses: custom made in Hong Kong · Groomsmen Attire: custom made in Hong Kong
Favorite Part of the Day: “Walking into the reception with the bagpipe escort. Our photographers made a last minute executive decision to turn the large chandeliers off in the dining room; the result was a sensual dark stunning room of guests, sparkling with candlelight and the reflections coming from their smiles made it feel so magical. I still have wrinkles from smiling so hard that day! It was the best moment ever, the ultimate sparkles and butterflies! Also the speeches were really memorable and fun to listen to and be apart of.
Most Romantic Part of the Day: “As people were finishing dinner, we got a bit of time to relax, giggle and enjoy the now clear entrance hall of the castle. We practiced our first dance and just enjoyed being alone for a bit.”
Anything You’d Change? “Wish we had a videographer!”
Bride’s Piece of Advice: “Have as much fun as possible planning, light candles and drink wine, make the day unique and reflective of you: if you want a cheese appetizer and a cheese soup (we did!) DO IT! It was a ballsy move but that’s what we wanted and our guests loved it! Also during the wedding day, try to spend time together as it goes by too fast!”