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James & Samantha: Perfect Sunny Spring Elopement at Howth Head & Clontarf Castle

For many couples planning a traditional wedding at home ends up not being the right route for them. Samantha and James found themselves on that path as well.  We love the simplicity of this intimate dream destination elopement that really highlights one of Ireland’s most spectacular features: the southeastern coastline just outside of Dublin. Serving as stunning backdrop to their uncharacteristically perfectly sunny day, Samantha and James exchanged vows on the cliffs and then retired to the coziness of the historic Clontarf Castle in Dublin for a romantic evening of lots of champagne, some excellent 21 year old whiskey, and a few Guinness of course! We are completely in love with the gorgeous rings, Samantha’s beautiful lace dress, and accessories, James’ smart suit, and the overall vibe of the day — classically Irish but with the softness of spring, just perfect for their late March wedding day.

James and Samantha met as children, eventually falling in love and one day, James proposed! It was Christmas Eve, and the family were gathered at Samantha’s parents’ house. James had already secured her father’s permission, and his mother was in on the plot, her job being to lure Samantha outside on the porch when the time came. Samantha followed her future mother-in-law outside as requested to find James down on one knee. He proposed and she said yes, this gesture made all the more meaningful by the fact this was the exact same spot Samantha’s father proposed to her mother many years before. They started planning a wedding and quickly found that a traditional wedding wasn’t for them. They already decided to honeymoon in Ireland when the idea popped in their heads, “Why not just get married there?!” After some research they quickly settled on Howth Head and Clontarf Castle in Dublin for their dream destination elopement to Ireland.  They’re traditional ceremony was full of meaning, and the couple were blessed with an absolutely spectacularly sunny day, gloriously highlighting the amazing coastline of the Irish Sea. The gorgeous pictures were beautifully captured by the very talented Sean & Kate.

Waterlily Weddings is proud to share with you the gorgeous spring elopement at Howth Head and Clontarf Castle.

  Samantha and James chose to stay in an Airbnb in Temple Bar the night before their wedding. A note to the masses: there’s a reason we often describe Dublintown as “bustling” and “colorful!” It’s a festive city that often stays open until well into the wee hours of the morning, drinking and feasting and dancing and singing and quite the opposite of your quiet Irish countryside. Waking the morning of their wedding was slightly brutal considering their neighbors played darts until 6 am, but nothing would deter them from enjoying their wedding day!  They woke to an absolutely brilliant sun — not a cloud in the sky! — and got ready together, a nice break from tradition. They made their way in style to Howth Head for their ceremony which included some beautiful readings, exchanging of rings and vows, and parting from the traditional handfasting, they instead chose to do a love lock. The festivities began right after taking some beautiful pictures with their driver and champagne flowed for the better part of the evening. They enjoyed a romantic dinner at Clontarf, but first stopped at Abbey Tavern to pour themselves some Guinness (a tradition) and enjoy some exquisite Redbreast 21 whiskey. They relaxed in front of a cozy fire, cheered the night away, and really enjoyed their time together.


We love when couples are thoughtful about their wedding day, and especially when they figure ways to incorporate their loved ones who could not make it for their wedding.  James wore his grandfather’s ring (a ring he wore for his entire 99 years of life!) to keep his memory with him on his wedding day, and Samantha’s bouquet held a locket with a picture of her mother who sadly passed away.  Samantha and James were intent on really experiencing their wedding day, taking in all the details and feelings and emotions, and really plugged themselves in on their wedding day.  They ended up designing a honeymoon exploring Ireland immediately starting after their wedding, and absolutely perfect way to continue the celebrating!

James and Samantha, we love how much you two are in love. We love the details, the simplicity and emphasis on actually enjoying your wedding day and being present there in the moment. We love the 21 year old whiskey, and we hope you will cheers to many, many more years together. May God continue to bless you both, and hopefully see you soon again on the Emerald Isle!


Venue:  Howth Head (ceremony); Clontarf Castle (Dublin)  ·  Photographer: Claire Brown   ·   Celebrant: A Beautiful Ceremony   ·  Flowers: The Garden   ·  Planner: Waterlily Weddings   ·  Hair:  Martina King   ·  Make Up: Fiona Harrison   ·  Transportation:  Absolute Limos   ·  Dress: Galina Signature   ·  Suit: Bond Brothers Formalwear    ·  Rings: Ritani (New York)

Best Part Of The Day:  “The pictures, just laughing and joking with one another after the ceremony.

What I’d Change:  “Stay at the castle the night before!….”

Bride’s Piece of Advice: “Listen to the experts…if they suggest something, it’s probably for a good reason. Having a destination wedding in Ireland was the best…decision…ever! Have heard the phrase ‘wish I would’ve done it that way’ 100 times over.”


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