Many people are surprised when they see how varied the landscape can be in Ireland. Despite being an island nation, there is an incredibly diverse topography, including mountains, hills, flat fields, lakes, rocky cliffs and probably most surprising: white sandy beaches. Especially along the southwestern part of Ireland — Kerry — you will find some of the most spectacular scenery the Emerald Isle has to offer. We often describe Ireland with it’s “turquoise waters” along the coast, and often people think we exaggerate. After looking through this post, you’ll see we most certainly are telling the truth! With the soft grass of the hills behind you, the rocky cliffs leading out to an incredibly deep blue sea that melts into shades of turquoise, azule, and cobalt blue, your feet walking through soft, white sandy beach as the sun begins to set, covering everything in a warm golden hue, it is truly one of the most romantic places in all of Ireland and just absolutely stunning to host your dream destination wedding. So when BJ and Rene contacted us at Waterlily Weddings, wanting a beach wedding in Ireland, we were absolutely thrilled and got to work!
BJ and Rene first met back in the spring of 2005 in Greeley, Colorado. They were casually introduced by a mutual friend at Nottingham Field at the University of Northern Colorado, where Rene played rugby. Fast forward two years later, they were formally introduced this time, and a budding friendship blossomed. In 2009 Rene moved from Denver to Huntington Beach, CA to pursue an animation degree, and the two still kept in touch. In fall of the same year, the same mutual friend who originally introduced them invited them both to his wedding. BJ and Rene met again and had their first kiss. Their friendship turned to something more, and a year later BJ asked Rene to move to Tucson, AZ where he was living. In 2014, BJ took Rene to Oceanside, CA. They walked along the beach, holding hands and talking, then found a little grass outlet with a bench overlooking the beach. BJ proposed to Rene and she said yes!
The couple knew they wanted to get married in Ireland. Rene’s mom is half Irish while her father has some Irish blood as well, and BJ has a bit on his mother’s side. Their heritage always played a roll in their lives, including their first concert together: Flogging Molly, a US based Irish punk rock band with Irish lead singer. They knew they wanted a beach wedding also, taking inspiration from their engagement, and also to honor their Irish heritage, so they looked to Ireland’s coast for their dream destination wedding. They wanted something fun and casual, bright and full of life, meaningful and traditional but not stuffy or overly done. They were inspired by nature and Irish tradition, and wanted that reflected in their wedding day. Waterlily Weddings suggested Caherdaniel as the destination, with a fun and casual reception right on the coast at legendary O’Carroll’s Cove. It was perfect and wedding planning commenced!
Situated in the southwestern corner of Ireland, Caherdaniel is a small seaport town on the Iveragh Peninsula, the largest peninsula in Ireland. The area is supremely ancient, some artifacts dating back to before the Bronze Age. It’s an eclectic mix of ancient Ireland, friendly Irish hospitality, seaside charm, and unparalleled natural beauty. It is one of the more varied areas in Ireland in terms of topography: woodland, cliffs, sea, sandy beach, hills, farmland, lakes, and flanked by a mountain range. The 360 view is incredible. Caherdaniel is part of the famed Ring of Kerry, a world-famous driving route that boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. For more on the area make sure to check out our BLOG POST. It’s a great mixture of really authentic, traditional Irish elements with a casual beach feel that really suited BJ and Rene’s vision perfectly.
The couple together with their closest family and friends arrived a day before to the area. The held the rehearsal and dinner and celebrated Rene’s birthday. They bonded together and enjoyed the scenery before the festivities to begin the next day!
The morning of their spring wedding day was a sunny one. Dark blue sky gave way to a brilliant sun, some storm clouds off into the distance allowing the couple to have their perfect beach wedding weather. Rene woke up and began to get a little nervous. She ate a bite and slowly began to relax, nervous energy and excitement taking over as she realized “this is the day, this is really happening!” Hair and makeup began and she relaxed more and more, nervous energy turning into an excitement that presented as broad grin and sparkling eyes that greeted her mother, sister, niece, girlfriends, and rugby teammates who all joined in. Laughing and joking, sipping and nibbling, the ladies all made ready and finally it was time for the dress. Her something blue — a pair of blue Converse — were ordered by Rene’s bridesmaid, Jessica, so Rene could borrow them for her “something borrowed” as well. The final touches included a custom made pendant and earrings made from a ring belonging to BJ’s Grandmother.
Meanwhile, BJ woke and immediately sprung into action. He ran to pick up some items the ladies needed, dropped them off as they were getting their make up and hair done, then went over to the house his parents and family were staying to touch base. Later on he met up with his groomsman Thomas and other friend Oliver. The morning was casual and at ease, everyone happy and excited for the day to commence. BJ eventually got ready, relaxed with a Guinness on the deck, small nerves an undercurrent to his outward calm.
It was finally time for the wedding! BJ and Rene opted for a traditional ceremony, interweaving some Celtic traditions and that honored both those who attended, as well as those who’ve passed. Friends and family participated by doing readings, the couple wrote and said their own vows, and their celebrant Dara invoked the blessing of the elements before the traditional Irish hand-fasting ceremony. Bridesmaids carried lanterns with flowers instead of traditional bouquets, and everyone gathered around the couple to bestow their blessings and well wishes on the start of their journey together as husband and wife. Taking inspiration from the colors of wildflowers, everyone was encouraged to dress in bold, bright colors. The bridesmaids chose their own dresses, and the groomsmen were given ties to match the purple, yellow, pink, orange and green color scheme inspired by the area. In case of rain (or on this day, so much sun!), guests were given yellow and purple umbrellas.
After the ceremony everyone gathered up the beach to O’Carroll’s Cove for drinks and a formal dinner. The reception was decorated in the couple’s “laid back Irish beach” theme, with a nod towards their rustic Colorado beginnings in the colorful wildflower arrangements and fun golf details. Everyone dined on casual beach fare, including: a fresh seafood chowder, chicken wings, crab claws, chicken and bacon with blue cheese and pear salad, and a main course of fresh seafood, sirloin steak, and supreme of chicken. Everyone toasted the bride and groom with a dram of Irish whiskey, chased by a soft serve ice cream! Instead of a composed, traditional tiered cake, BJ and Rene wanted something more casual and approachable to be consistent with their beach theme. They served three individual cakes: chocolate, lemon curd, and a naked cake with berry. Everyone enjoyed drinks, music, and dancing into the night. The laid bad atmosphere really enabled everyone to relax and enjoy themselves.
With the sun about to take its final bow for the day under the horizon, BJ and Rene took a chance to dance a bit under the immerging stars before rejoining their friends and family inside. A bright, Irish spring day gave way to the perfect weather for our couple. A full rainbow even made an appearance right at the climax of the ceremony!
Congratulations BJ and Rene! May love and laughter continue to light your days, and warm your heart and home. We wish you a lifetime of joy and continued blessings!
For more on BJ and Rene’s colorful Caherdaniel wedding, check out the slideshow below!
Ceremony: Caherdaniel Beach · Reception: O’Carroll’s Cove · Celebrant: Dara Molloy · Photographer: Katie Farrell · Flowers: Kenmare Flowers · Hair: Cathriona’s Hair Salon · Make-up: Annette O’Brien · Dress: Mori Lee by Madeline Miller · Veil/Accessories: Veil and Hairpiece bought at Laura’s Bridal Shop in Tucson AZ · Shoes: Converse · Jewelry: custom created pendant and earrings for Rene and diamond stud earrings for BJ made from family heirloom ring; Gusterman’s Jewelry, Denver, CO · Groom’s Suit: J Ferrar · Groom’s Accessories: diamond stud earrings, Gusterman’s Jewelry · Bridesmaids Dresses: bridesmaids’ own · Special Details: handmade jewelry using pieces of the ocean for MOB and bridesmaids, Poppy & Ivy Studios (Etsy); each groomsman had a different color tie to match the wildflowers used in the color scheme; coffee mugs with coffee beans and bottle of whiskey made by BJ’s grandmother for bridal party gifts · DIY: place cards made by BJ’s mother, Rene created the logo used on the key chains as thank-you gifts to guests and thank-you cards
Favorite Party Of The Day: “Celebrating with everyone who managed to make the trip. It was a special occasion for us all.”
Bride’s Piece of Advice: “Hire a wedding planner! Trust them fully, even to handle your family. They have dealt with it all before. They have your back all the way through, calm you down, carry your flowers for you, are just plain wonderful throughout the whole process.”